Top 5 Coding Tips – Number 3

Enjoy yourself – Learning to code should be fun as well as challenging. Once you’ve mastered the basics, try to develop one of your own ideas for a game or an app. If you’re stuck for inspiration, try and write something that already exists like a game of Space Invaders or Tetris. This will help you develop your skills of breaking down a task and planning the steps required to achieve your goal.

Top 5 Coding Tips – Number 4

Always start by learning the basics – You’ve heard the term “Learn to walk before you can run”, this can be said for learning to code too. Start off learning the basics, variables, loops, functions etc, writing little programs to try out and discover how these elements work and interact with one another. You will then have a good foundation in which to build on. Take your time.

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Top 5 Coding Tips – Number 5

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes – I see this a great deal with pupils, there is always a worry that your code may break if you try to incorporate a new idea into your program. My advise would be to always back up your work then should things not behave as you intended, you can always revert the code back to how it was. Always remain curious with your code, try out new ideas and concepts, it’s the only way to learn and develop.

BWS Summer Coding Competition

First Coding is very pleased to announce the first of many coding competitions this summer. Today we have launched the Bishop Wordworth’s School competition and it’s open to coding club members past and present. There will be Amazon voucher prizes for the person who can solve the maze in the quickest time, as well as rewards for best effort too.

The task is all based around mazes with pupils attempting to code their own maze solving program. There will be a couple of tuition sessions available in the coming weeks to help people get up to speed – this means that regardless of age or ability, everyone has a chance. Last year we ran a similar competition at the school and a beginner won the top prize, so please consider entering!

Python School Groups

We continue this week with our popular Python school groups, looking at clever ways to code text-based Choose Your Own Adventure games. Already there are some great ideas forming and we look forward to seeing the results in a few weeks time. In the meantime, you can play one of First Coding’s adventure games where you must navigate a secret underground bunker, solving puzzles and looking for the source of the mysterious radio transmissions.

The game is called Number Station and you can play it online here: http://numberstation.co.uk/

 

New School Clubs

New online school clubs started this week. Over the next six weeks we’ll be looking at clever ways to program in Scratch before making the transition to Python. For the groups who are more familiar with Python, we’ll be learning new game design concepts to include in our Python games before coding our HTML project portfolios.

With more groups starting this week, it’s going to be a creative couple of months!

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