Barcode Battles

First Coding can help breathe new life into an old laptop or tablet. This week we’ve been developing apps for Kindle Fires using block-based coding. The game is a really clever idea, scanning barcodes on packets to work out your opponents statistics, rather like Top Trumps. A perfect way to brighten up any trip to the supermarket with your parents!

Covert Scratch Projects into Android Apps

As well as converting Scratch projects into standalone programs (see previous post), did you know that you can also take any Scratch project and turn it into an app for Android? We’ve written an easy to follow guide that walks you through the process of producing standalone executables and Android apps and it’s available via our subscription package.

The video below is of the rotating globe that was built in Scratch and was used to advertise one of the retro gaming workshops earlier this year. This Scratch project was packaged up as an app and installed on various Android devices to demonstrate what could be done.

Game Design Concepts

As our game designing courses progress, there have been a number of really good points that have emerged from discussions and the projects we’re making.

The most important one so far has been to concentrate on what you’re good at when it comes to game design. If you’re more of an artist than a coder then focus on the art, there is a huge resource out there to help with the coding side of things. Likewise, if you’re a good coder but poor at art then why not consider purchasing some assets. This is we’ve done in this case and the best thing is, we’ve found a character that almost matches exactly our concept drawing!

Designing a game: Night FallDesigning a game: Night Fall

As our game is going to be a vertical scrolling ninja game, we’ve been working on a suitable name for it all weekend and we’ve hit upon “Night Fall”.

App Building Workshops

As well as our regular coding lessons, First Coding also provide weekend app building sessions for people ages between 8 and 80 who have an idea for an app but don’t know where to turn.

Building apps for Android is easier than you may think and we’ll show the basics to allow you to develop your ideas further. We’ll even show you how to publish your finished app to the app store. Click here to learn more about our weekend app building workshops.

First Coding is always developing new ideas for app. Here’s one we recently published to the app store, it’s a simple variation on the Simon game from the 1980s. Titled The 4 Dots this game will test your memory and it’s free to download from the Play store for people to play. Just click here.

The Code Machine

I love hearing about the journeys pupils’ projects have taken them on, so I thought I would share one of my own.

At the end of last year I put together a little code machine in Scratch (you can see it here), it used a simple Caesar cipher to allow you to send secret messages. This got me into reading a great many books on codes and it wasn’t long before I wanted to create an unbreakable code of my own.

First Coding Spy Month - The Secret Code Machine
I also met a few people along the way, including someone at the Secret Army Museum who discussed with me methods to check whether a coded transmission had been tampered with. All really interesting.

The Code Machine - First Coding - Salisbury Spy
I have now packaged up what I’ve learnt and built an app titled The Code Machine, soon to be available for free so all can enjoy.

The Code Machine - First Coding - Salisbury Spy

The Code Machine - First Coding - Salisbury Spy

App Building Workshops

Do you fancy learning a new skill over the weekends? We offer weekend Android app building workshops for people of any age and abilities. So if you’ve got a great idea for an app and you’re between 8 and 80 then check out our website for more information: http://www.firstcoding.co.uk/weekend-workshop-app-design/ We can even help you publish your app and get it into the Google Play store too.

First Coding is starting to publish a few Android apps of our own. Why not take a look in the Play store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=First+Coding Radio 4 listeners may appreciate our Mornington Crescent game!

First Coding App Building Workshop Salisbury

The Caesar Cipher App

Spy Month has been a great deal of fun especially seeing as though it’s been First Coding’s first monthly theme. The projects have generated a great deal of interest and I hope they’ve encouraged people to expand on the ideas we’ve shared.

The spy theme concludes with a rewrite of the Caesar Cipher project from earlier on in the month but this time built for Android. There are a few added extras with this one, mainly in the form of a more difficult code to crack as well as the option to send your coded message via text to a friend. It will also automatically decode any incoming coded texts too. If you don’t feel like typing then you can even talk to it and it will write and encode whatever you say.

Keep your eyes out for up and coming Android app workshops where we’ll be teaching people how to build their our apps the fun and easy way.

First Coding - Spy Month. Caesar Cipher for Android

Click here to download it and install the contents of the zip file onto your Android device. If you’re having trouble installing it then just drop us an email and we can guide you through the process.

Keep a look out for up and coming Android app workshops where we’ll be teaching people how to build their our apps the fun and easy way.

You can still catch up with the previous spy related projects by clicking here.