Ciphers and Secret Messages – Scratch Course

We will be running our popular Young Coders’ course again on Saturdays for 7 – 10 year olds. Commencing on 11th January 2020, 2.30pm – 3.30pm, it runs for four weeks and costs £80 per child.

The theme of this course is Ciphers and Secret Messages and over the four weeks we’ll not only be covering important programming concepts that can be applied to applications and game design but we’ll also be working up to a final project where the class will learn how to make their own cipher machines, encoding and decoding messages.

To book, please email hello@firstcoding.co.uk

Ecology Simulator

We’ve been putting together an ecology simulator in Scratch where the user has to decide when to introduce predators in order to bring balance to the ecosystem. Both the insects and predators follow rules:

INSECTS

  • The game will include habitat that insects will feed off

  • Feeding insects gain energy

  • Increased insect feeding will result in a shrinking landscape

  • Reduced insect feeding will result in an expanding landscape

  • Insects can only reproduce if they have sufficient energy

  • Insects die if energy levels reach zero

PREDATORS

  • One predator at a time will be introduced by the player

  • A maximum of three introductions at a time

  • Predators feed off insects to gain energy

  • Predators can only reproduce if they have sufficient energy

  • Predators die if energy levels reach zero

 

A Summer of Workshops

The summer workshops may not be over yet but I’m already so impressed with the standard of work being produced. Whether it’s the young coders who are giving Scratch a go for the first time or teens who are wanting to develop their Python more, along with building their own apps, your ideas and projects have been a great deal of fun. Keep up the great work.

Here are the titles from one of the games to come out of the app building workshop.

Game Jams

Weekly game jams such as the one held over at WeeklyGameJam are a great way of getting inspired and experimenting with new game design ideas. It’s also a great way to meet and interact with a community of people who share the same passion for games and coding as you do.

I decided to take my own advice this time and took part in the Can’t Touch It! theme where you have to build a game within a week that fits with the week’s chosen topic. After brainstorming a couple of ideas I got to work building a prototype in Scratch, then I worked on polishing it once I was happy the game mechanics were working. I’ve seen the most fantastic games that were built within a day, mine titled Circles was built in two days. I’ve detailed the process I followed over on my personal blog here.

The idea of the game is to continuously contain the smaller moving circle with the ever decreasing perimeter.

PLAY THE GAME HERE

 

 

 

Amazing Competitions

We’re running our competitions again! If you’re in one of the schools that hosts a First Coding computer club, be on the look out for our competition. Over the next couple of weeks pupils will have to code a maze solving (virtual) robot with the fastest times winning some fab prizes.

Free to enter and open to all pupils whether they’ve previously taken part in the clubs or not.

Asteroids!

It’s been another fun day training a young team of coders in the art of making the classic game of Asteroids. I loved seeing all the different ideas for their games, especially the war, food and animal themed versions. Please keep working on your great games over the Easter holidays and if you get stuck, please just drop me a line.

Happy Hens

After learning that one of our young pupils recently bought some chickens for her garden, we set about designing a web page to advertise the eggs she was going to sell. The nice thing about Scratch 3 is that you can embed your projects really easily and this is exactly what we did here.

By designing an interactive Scratch project to introduce everyone to her new pets, Elsie was able to embed it into her website. You can see the finished result here.

Elsie's Happy Hens

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.