Making Games from Scratch

For Science!, Gamer Crafts

And now for something completely different: making your own video games! You might play my game and think: “Hmmm, this just looks like someone spent a few hours goofing around”, and you’d be right. I had quite a bit of fun playing with Scratch and making a simple, functional game. It’s a great place to start making games if you want to get your toes wet.

Click the picture to play (in a new window: WordPress doesn’t accept embeds from Scratch).

Scratch in space 1

Scratch in space 2

I don’t own Portal, Space Core, or Companion Cubes but I hope Valve doesn’t mind me using them for my homework project.

Here’s my sister’s game Zombie in Space: she drew all the sprites, even the braaaaaains! I love that we both independently decided to make space games :)

Zombie in space Screen Shot 2014-03-27 at 3.17.46 PM

I’m starting to upgrade my programming skills, which haven’t developed much since I used to make my name bounce around the Commodore 64 in rainbow colours. Ah, those were the days. If you’re so inclined, try out Scratch and make a game too: it’s an intuitive interface and easy to play with, even with no prior programming experience.

Go to the Scratch home page and make a free account to get started…

Screen Shot 2014-03-23 at 5.15.57 PM

You’ll notice that instead of typing code, Scratch lets you drag and drop puzzle pieces together to make commands.  The graphical interface is intuitive and relatively easy to figure out.

Pick a background, pick a sprite, and add some commands to tell your sprite how to behave.  There are plenty of tutorials online, but you can also get pretty far just by goofing around.  “If space bar pressed, move 10 steps” means that if you press the space bar, your sprite moves 10 steps.  Nothing cryptic, and no syntax to worry about.  Best of all, it’s free and runs in your browser window!

Screen Shot 2014-03-23 at 5.33.28 PM

Happy game making :)

 

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