Getting Started

If you’re not using a Raspberry Pi, you can skip ahead to setting up Scratch.

Devon’s First Computer

You can get a Raspberry Pi on Amazon for about $37. You’ll also need an SD Card, an extra USB keyboard, USB mouse and HDMI monitor, along with a wired connection. You can also get the starter package which comes with a case (which we had to buy later).

First you have to format the SD Drive using a disk formatter program and download and install NOOBS. The instructions there are a bit involved, but they work. With that installed, you can boot up and configure your Pi. Be sure to set the keyboard correctly (mine defaulted to UK English and had the wrong keyboard layout).

I also recommend installing an FTP server on your pi so you can easily backup your games to another computer. Installing vsftpd is pretty easy. With that installed, you can find your IP address by running  hostname -I. You can then connect via ftp and login using your pi username.

Installing Scratch

Even if you are using a Pi, it might be nice to install Scratch on your computer so you can do screencast videos of what you’re building to share with others. You can download Scratch directly from the MIT website. With that installed, you should be able to open any of the Scratch files we have made available on the site here.

Working with Scratch

There are plenty of great tutorials out there on working with Scratch, but I found the interface quite intuitive and picked things up pretty quickly.  When you first start scratch, you’ll be dropped into a project with a sprite already created.

scratch_start

I suggested tinkering around in here first and learning how things work. For example, you could add some code for when the green flag is clicked, make the character walk across the screen. You’ll want to push him way over to the left by setting X to -175 and then in a loop, have the character move forward and change costumes. Play around with the wait time to get the effect you want.

walking

Next, create your own sprite and get familiar with the editor.

Create a new sprite.

new

This will pull up the editor.

editor

Create something fun and then add some code for it to do something. In this example, I’m randomly positioning a green dot somewhere on the page with each cycle.

sprite_code

That’s really all there is to it. Beyond that, checking out some tutorials on YouTube or reading tutorials online can be really helpful. Over time you’ll get familiar with variables, if tests, broadcast messages and such. If you have any questions, reach out to us and Devon and I can answer your questions.

If you create something cool, let us know about it!

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