Printing for the NHS

The current lockdown situation has seen all First Coding classes move online for the foreseeable future. As there are no trips to the classrooms or our Salisbury offices being made, we’ve got a little extra time on our hands as a result. We’ve been putting this time to good use by assisting in the production of PPE for the NHS.

First Coding had access to a 3d printer but didn’t know where to go from there. Luckily there are a number of organisations coordinating the huge task of printing protective visors for front line staff and so after registering with 3D Crowd UK we introduced ourselves to the online community.

The group was so welcoming and helpful and it wasn’t long before they were instructing us on the best way to approach the task. So far First Coding has managed to print over 200 PPE components comprising of headbands, shield reinforcers and ear savers. They all get quality checked before being sent a central hub, where they get distributed around the country to places that require them.


When we make it through the Covid situation, I would like to think that the sense of community that people and groups have shown remain. I think the Wiltshire group as well as the others all around the country have done an amazing job in producing face shields for front line workers. If you or your school has access to a 3d printer, it is really important that as many people as possible register their printers to help, so please consider doing so.

A Puzzle Challenge

It’s challenge time!

First Coding asked a couple of game studios to set a challenge and they didn’t disappoint. No coding experience is required for these challenges, it’s open to all with a creative imagination and some paper. There’s also a chance that your idea might get included in a game, with your name in the credits!

A player (represented by the red block) walks into a room containing up to a maximum of eight sprites. The player can only escape the room once the puzzle has been solved. Can you design a suitable puzzle for the player to solve? The sprites can be dragged, stacked or even blasted to bits in order to solve this puzzle.

Can you plan a puzzle using only a limited number of sprites? You can submit your ideas to hello@firstcoding.co.uk and we look forward to seeing what you come up with. Ideas need to be submitted by Friday 15th May.

Good luck!

Game Design Video Series – Part 3

In this week’s game design video we finish up on our Scratch game Lockdown Letters.  Click the video below to learn how to code the paper aeroplanes that the player flies to the targets that we looked at last week.

Never assume Scratch is something only younger children use! At First Coding, we regularly submit the games we make in Scratch to game design competitions, competing alongside Unity developers and other independent game designers.

Files for this game and many other fun Scratch and Python projects can be found on our Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/FirstCoding

Game Design Video Series – Part 2

It’s target time!

In this episode we’ll be looking at how the random targets in the game are coded.

Every Friday they’ll be a new video showing how we make the game Lockdown Letters. Click the video below to learn how to build the title screen as well as the background.

Please consider subscribing to the First Coding Patreon page to get access to the Scratch file for Lockdown Letters as well as other creative coding resources.

 

Game Design Video Series: Part 1

Welcome to the first episode of our Scratch game design series. Every Friday they’ll be a new video showing how we make the game Lockdown Letters. Click the video below to learn how to build the title screen as well as the background.

Please consider subscribing to the First Coding Patreon page to get access to the Scratch file for Lockdown Letters as well as other creative coding resources.

 

We’ve Broken Your Software, Sir

I was recently interviewed by the nice people over at TeachPitch. They wanted to find out more about the projects behind my TED talk and discover how I engage my pupils in my workshops. You can read the full interview here.

“It also teaches the pupils how to test what they make. I teach them how to trace their tests using trace tables. Being able to test software and document the outcomes is a good skill in itself. I can see that look on their faces when they do find something wrong with what I’ve written, ‘We’ve broken your software, Sir.’”

Postponed – Salisbury Minecraft Event

This week First Coding would have been hosting another Salisbury Minecraft event, this time in the Salisbury Art Centre. Unfortunately due to the current situation, it’s been cancelled. However, First Coding is now working closely with Wiltshire Creative to help organise another Minecraft event during the summer. So everyone will hopefully get the chance to build their favourite part of the city later in the year.

Python Weather Recorder

Here at First Coding we love to see the projects that people work on after attending our workshops. Take this Year 9 python project for example. It’s a weather monitoring program that first lets you specify the location and the number of weather samples you wish to take, before logging the results in a spreadsheet. When all the samples have been taken and recorded, the spreadsheet then gets emailed to you automatically.

This is such a great idea and one that can be put to good use in so many helpful ways. Well done!

Step by Step Video Guides to Game Design

JOIN FIRST CODING AS WE MAKE A LOCKDOWN COMPUTER GAME

Starting Friday 24th April

First Coding is about to start making its first computer game inspired by the current lockdown. We’ll be  making Lockdown Letters step by step in a series of weekly videos, with a new one available every Friday.

We would love it if you followed along and made your own version of the game – adding your own ideas too. The concept is simple, you’re one of many people in a town currently under lockdown and you must circulate letters of encouragement to other households to keep the town’s spirits up. You can only communicate with people by writing notes on paper aeroplanes and flying them to their destinations.

We’ll be building the game in Scratch, and during the guide, you’ll find out how to make the game, converting it to HTML so that you can package it up for distribution, and even some tips on how you can earn some cash from your game.

About Scratch
At First Coding, we regularly submit the games we make in Scratch to game design competitions, competing alongside Unity developers and other independent game designers. Never assume Scratch is something only younger children use! You can see our recent Scratch competition entries at The Rocket Arcade if you’re interested!

Starting Friday 24th April on Facebook and YouTube!

Like our Facebook page and YouTube channel to follow your dreams of becoming a games designer. Open to all ages and abilities. Every week a new video will be posted, along with the opportunity to view previous sessions if you may have missed. There will be four weekly videos concluding with a fifth live Q & A session.

How Can We Help?

This week our school groups will be moving online for the foreseeable future and we look forward to continuing the great work everyone has been doing. Unfortunately due to the nature of some of the other workshops, it just wouldn’t be feasible hosting them online and I just want to thank the children and parents for being so understanding during this time.

As a parent myself, I am finding all the offers of remote learning and digital resources in all topics a little overwhelming at the moment, so First Coding has been looking at other ways to help.

We have been lending out our laptops to allow families to continue their schooling remotely after the recent closure of schools.

With a little more time on their hands, our older students are offering to help Salisbury independent businesses with a variety of skills such as setting up ecommerce on shops’ websites to designing posters. We couldn’t be more prouder of them and what a great way to work on their portfolio.