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 :)



Garrus Vakarian Amigurumi/Plushie Pattern

Amigurumi Projects, Gamer Crafts

Remember the time I said I was working on a Garrus amigurumi, but I never finished or posted it? Me neither. That must have been someone else who doesn’t get distracted by starting too many projects before finishing the old ones.

I learned that I can’t crochet a turian face with enough detail for a 6″/15cm amigurumi. On the other hand, making an amigurumi base and adding felt details got me this:

  DIYgeekery Garrus Vakarian close upHere’s the rest of him:

DIYgeekery Garrus Vakarian 2

DIYgeekery Garrus Vakarian 1

I’m not entirely sure whether this is an amigurumi or a plushie, but it’s really easy to make if you know basic crochet and don’t mind a bit of felt sewing. Everything you need to know is in the pattern here…

Mass Effect: Garrus Vakarian amigurumi pattern

The scarred face bits are made with textured felt: you could always distress a piece of regular felt if you can’t find fancy stuff at your neighbourhood craft store. The fringe part stays up with wires, but you could leave that out if you’re making him for young kids, or someone who likes to chew on turians.

What character (gaming or otherwise) would you like to see next? I’m suffering a lack of inspiration due to the beautiful weather, at least in regards to craft-making. Anyone interested in a summer craft exchange?

Geek Meets Bandwagon

Amigurumi Projects, Gamer Crafts, Random Musings

Like this blog, but don’t like reading all these pesky words?  Want to see what else I’ve been up to?  I started a Tumblog, since all the cool kids were doing it.  In addition to mini versions of the posts here, I’ll be posting pics of random things I’ve made that aren’t original ideas or patterns, like this oh-so-adorable (and easy!) Bob-Omb from a free pattern by Wolfdreamer.  It was too cute not to make, and with unpopped popcorn kernels inside, it makes a handy paperweight for anyone who still uses tree-derived information storage formats.

Bob-Omb amigurumi

I’ll still be posting free patterns and original projects here, but the microblogging format is nice for quick posts.  I’m always on the lookout for blogs to follow, too… the sheer amount of creativity in the world just blows me away :)

Angry Birds Green Pig – Ornament Sized

Amigurumi Projects, Gamer Crafts

Green pig Christmas ornament 2

I’ve been busy making Christmas presents for many of the folks on my list – I’d originally planned to give handmade gifts to everyone but unless I find a way to reverse the space-time continuum that simply won’t happen.  I haven’t posted for a while since it wouldn’t be much of a surprise to see your gift online before you receive it, but I’ll put up a few things during the holidays :)

However… this little Green Pig ornament from Angry Birds has already found its new home, so I can post the pattern!  There are a few great free patterns online for Pigs already but they’re more in the 10cm or larger range: this little guy is only 3-4 cm high, perfect for hanging on a Christmas tree (or anywhere else you like).

Green pig Christmas ornament 3

BTW I don’t own Angry Birds, so please don’t sell these or the pattern.

What you’ll need:

  • green yarn (worsted weight)
  • size F/3.75mm crochet hook
  • stuffing
  • black felt for nostrils
  • googly eyes (or more felt)
  • glue (or needle and thread) to attach eyes and nostrils

Head/Body (where is his body anyway?)

  • 1) ch 4
  • 2) turn, sc x 2, 3 sc in last ch (work around the corner to the other side of the chain), sc x 2 in the other side of the ch, 3 sc in last ch (now you’re back where you started, and have an oval shape) (10)
  • 3) *sc, inc* x 5 (15)
  • 4) *sc x 2, inc* x 5 (20)
  • 5) *sc x 3, inc* x 5 (25)
  • 6-9) sc around for 4 rounds (25)
  • 10) *sc x 3, invdec* x 5 (20)
  • 11) *sc x 2, invdec* x 5 (15)
  • 12) *sc, invdec* x 5 (10)… now add stuffing
  • 13) invdec around until flap covers hole, FO and weave in tail

Ears (make 2)

  • 1) ch 4
  • 2) turn, hdc, dc, hdc, then FO and use tail to sew ear to head


  • 8 sc in magic ring, then FO and use tail to sew nose to head, squishing it a bit to make it oval

Now glue/sew on eyes and nostrils, and add a loop of yarn to the top of its head if you’re making an ornament to hang.  You can pull a loop of yarn loose on the bottom of his nose to make a little mouth (see picture).  Quick, easy and cute :)

DIY Super Mario iPhone/iPod Case

Gamer Crafts, Sewing Projects

Here’s a quick and easy tutorial for an iPhone or iPod case, like this one:

I was inspired by some cross-stitched Super Mario characters I couldn’t resist picking up at the Ottawa Comiccon (I can’t remember the name of the vendor – if by some chance it’s you, please let me know so I can give credit).  How cute are these?  The little piranha plant was the perfect size for an iPhone case.


What you’ll need:

  • cross-stitch, patch, or other image you’d like to show off on your iPhone or iPod case
  • felt
  • needle and thread (and a few pins to hold it together while you’re sewing)

Step 1:

Lay your iPhone or iPod down on a piece of felt.  Fold the felt over to make sure you have room to cover the whole thing, with room for a 1/4″ seam allowance.  Cut out the shape, leaving an extra flap of felt on one half.

Step 2:

Sew on your decoration (it’s easier now than later).

Step 3:

Put your iPhone or iPod inside the felt.  Pin and sew right sides together along the bottom and side (your decoration should be sandwiched in the middle).  Make it snug: the added thickness of the decoration will mean you have extra room when it’s right side out again.

Step 4:

Turn inside out (or right side out, really).  Reinforce the free edges by rolling the edges under and running a stitch along them.

You’re done!  Now go rock your nerdy iPhone case.  You could certainly add a snap, toggle, or strap if you’d like (I primarily made this to keep dust and dirt off, and to keep keys from scratching it).

Customizable Commander Shepard Amigurumi

Amigurumi Projects, Gamer Crafts

One more Mass Effect plushie for you.  Everyone’s Shepard is different, so I made up a Commander Shepard pattern that can be customized to make male or female Shepards of various appearances.  FemShep shown here:

It would have been a better idea to use contrasting yarn colours for the armour: the details don’t show as well.  I’m a sucker for black-on-black, though (you never have to worry about matching…)

Pattern here:

Mass Effect Shepard amigurumi pattern

Aaaaand… because I worked all night and should never be allowed near a camera when sleep-deprived, I took more pictures.  Mass Effect 4: what do you think?

And why purple?  I have leftover yarn from the Reaper amigurumiand an inexplicable affinity for purple hair.

Mass Effect Legion Amigurumi Pattern

Amigurumi Projects, Gamer Crafts

I’ve written up the Legion pattern: I wouldn’t recommend this one for beginners, but I’m all for sharing free patterns!  If anyone is crazy and/or awesome enough to try this, let me know if you have questions.  I didn’t get into an electronics tutorial (the pattern would be waaaay too long), but a bendable LED flashlight or glow stick would work if you aren’t interested in learning how to wire and solder.

Mass Effect Legion amigurumi pattern

For more Legion pics check out the original post.

Projects under way: amigurumi chibi Shepard (female of course), a Futurama-inspired cross-stitch (my first and quite possibly last cross-stitch project), and a Super Mario iPhone case :D  Now I just have to find time to finish all these things…

Legion Amigurumi (with LED light!)

Amigurumi Projects, Gamer Crafts

I finally did it.  Yeah, it took a while, but… well… just look.

I made Legion, and he lights up.  He even gives a wicked lens flare.  Hehe.

Now, I realize that wiring an LED isn’t exactly high-tech electronics, but I’m so excited about how he turned out.  The battery pack and wiring are hidden in the chest cavity.  I’d highly recommend the awesome Make:Electronics book for anyone looking to learn basic skills (the first experiment is to lick a battery… definitely not a traditional textbook).  I haven’t quite finished it but I’ll get there, once I’ve finished up some other WIPs.

But for now, more Legion pics, because there are few things more adorable than a fuzzy robot.  I’ll post the pattern soon, just in case anyone else wants to make one too (not an easy pattern, unfortunately, but IMHO well worth the effort :)

Handmade Birthday Awesomeness

Gamer Crafts, Random Musings

I just got my birthday present from my amazing sister (who also cross-stitched the gamer coasters).  Granted, my birthday was a while ago, but I’ve had the pesky habit of not being in my home country much lately.

Here’s what she made me:

Those are X-Men comic book shoes, y’all.  You could hear my squee halfway around the world (yeah, that was me).  I’ll post some better pictures once I find out how she made them: I lack sufficient words to describe how awesome they are.

In the meanwhile, here’s a better look at the Marauder Shields birthday card:

Sadly, even he couldn’t save me from getting older.

Blasto the Hanar Spectre Amigurumi

Amigurumi Projects, Gamer Crafts

The Blasto pattern is finished :D

Thanks for all the love, Redditors!  This guy makes me smile every time I look at him.  There were a few requests to make more Blastos for sale, but crochet is fairly time-consuming (also there’s the minor snag that I don’t own Bioware, so there would probably be legal implications).  So I share my patterns for free, and for a dollar’s worth of yarn and a few hours of your time, you can have one too :)  Actually it might take less than a few hours, since I was making the pattern up as I went along and there was muy frogging going on.

You can modify the pattern to make a regular hanar… just don’t make the blaster.  It’s an easy to medium pattern difficulty-wise: nothing too tricky, just watch the stitch count or the side ridges won’t line up (when in doubt, put the double crochet stitches where you think they should go).

Blasto the Hanar Spectre amigurumi pattern

This one appreciates your feedback, and is delighted by your plans for replication :)