Scratch is a browser-based open-source game engine free for anyone to use.
Scratch uses block coding, meaning you can learn how to code using pre-programmed blocks, rather than typing out long lines of code to create a playable game.
Follow our instructional videos to code your own game using Scratch. Your game will include backdrops, characters and objects of your own creation, as well as music. All this can be made within Scratch.
You'll also code your characters and objects as well as the mechanics (gameplay) of your game.
Recommended Year levels: 3-6
Learning areas: Mathematics, Media Arts, Technologies
Capabilities: Critical and creative thinking
1. Scratch, sprites, backdrops and coding blocks
We recommend setting up an account with Scratch (it's free) so you can save your project and come back to it. You're not going to get it done all in one go after all.
The first four videos introduce the building blocks for any good Scratch game, including backdrops, sprites, and the Scratch coding blocks you'll need to get familiar with.
Starting with sprites
Sprites are a special name for two-dimensional characters and objects in a videogame. Sprites can also have 'costumes' - basically different states the sprite can be in. These different costumes often relate to poses or movements you might like a character to make.
In this video, we introduce the ready-made sprites Scratch has available to you, quickly show you how to create your own sprite in scratch, introduce a couple of coding blocks, and show you examples of costumes.
Now you've got a handle on what sprites are, let's look at backdrops.
In this video we look at Scratch's ready-made backdrops, and how you can create your own backdrop in Scratch.
We also introduce some new coding blocks to prompt a backdrop change.
Let's go a little bit deeper with some of our coding blocks, and types of coding blocks.
This first video looks several motion, look, control and sound blocks to get you started. You'll start combining different blocks and see them in action.
In the next video we go further into sensing and operator blocks and put together a longer string of code.
Congratulations on getting through the introduction to sprites, backdrops and coding blocks.
Next we look at character creation and start to put together a functioning game.
2. Characters, objects & backdrops
The game we're making we've called 'Birdmonkey' but yours doesn't have to be called this. The aim of this game will be for the player to catch berries, stop the monkeys stealing berries, and beware the boss monkey! So first things first, we need to create the sprites (characters and objects). In this next three videos, we'll show you how to create a bird, sun, berries, and monkeys in Scratch.
Well done! The next step will be to create the backdrops for your game.
Without any backdrops, your game will just have a plain white background. So with backdrops, we can make our game more colourful, and more appealing. We can also use backdrops to show level changes and have different backdrops for different states of the game, such as when the player wins or loses. This means that backdrops don't just sit there doing nothing, we can apply some coding to backdrops just like we do sprites.
In these three videos, we'll show you how to create backdrops in Scratch, and how to apply some coding so your backdrop will change depending on the level, or whether the player has won or lost.
Well done. Next, it's time to do the bulk of our coding so your sprites and backdrops can come together to form gameplay.
You've already done a little bit of coding, but these next videos really focus on coding that will get your game up and running so we can get closer to a playable game - also known as gameplay!Work through each sprite in the suggested order.
Excellent stuff! You're one step closer to a playable game. The job's not quite done yet, because we want to include some music before we finalise the gameplay.
4. Making music
Never underestimate the importance of some good music! As well bring an extra element to your game, music can be used to create atmosphere for your game, and also indicate changes in the game such as winning or losing.Within Scratch you can create simple music, and code different pieces of music that play at different times, depending on what's happening in your game.
6. Good game(play)
So you've now got sprites and backdrops made, you've coded them all, you've got some music playing - now it's time to finish off the mechanics of our game, finalise the gameplay, and get the difficulty of the game where we would like it.
Congratulations on completing your version of 'Birdmonkey'!
If you're looking to expand upon your gamemaking skills, check out Game Builder Level 1. Here you can draw upon your Scratch skills to design your own version of a famous schoolyard game, and create even cooler sprites, costumes and music outside of Scratch.