A comprehensive guide to creating games in Scratch, a beginner-oriented programming language that uses visual blocks instead of raw code.
Woodcock begins by contextualizing computer games (explaining their elements, genres, and how computers think) and introducing Scratch (explaining its building blocks and how to acquire it and providing a rundown of what each part of the Scratch control window means). After this introduction, the book quickly has readers programming interactive games with animated characters, enemies, and scoring systems galore. Each of the eight games given (including mazes, jumping games, music patterns, races, and more) starts with a screenshot of the finished game that explains the roles of the characters and players’ objectives. Clear text and screenshots—of both code blocks and game visuals—then walk readers through each increasingly complicated programming step. While sometimes pages are information-dense, the steps’ numbering is easy to follow. Frequently, readers create their own images instead of using preprogrammed ones. What’s especially nice about the instructions is that they aren’t framed as “do this, then this”—they fully explain why (right down to meanings of number variables) and provide fixes for anticipated bugs. Each game chapter ends with a “Hacks and tweaks” section suggesting further customizations, sometimes building off previous chapters’ code. A “What Next?” chapter directs readers toward potential futures as programmers, be it hobbyist or professional.
An absolutely wonderful introduction to programming games. (glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 7 & up)