Sunday, January 23, 2011

Evan's First Scratch Project= 1-23-11

My first experiences with scratch have been really interesting. When I started, I did not know what to do. I explored the scratch website, but I couldn't figure out what I wanted to do. I got some inspiration from the VoiceThread slides when we made the cat move around in circles. My idea was to have the cat move in a half circle, stop when it gets to 180 degress, and go back the other way-- just like a skater moves in a half pipe (see picture below).

I tried playing around with the blocks, but I couldn't make the cat stop going around all 360 degrees. Even though this is my first time using Scratch, I do have experience with programming through some of my classes in Informatics. It was interesting because I knew what I wanted to do in terms of code, but I couldn't translate my code into the blocks (I tried using the 'if-statement' block, but it was too advanced and had too many parts).

I then decided to do something different and started to make an animated story. I started with a fun background, made some introduction text, and made a button that, when clicked, changed colors and played an audio introduction too.
Sprite 2 code
My next goal was to go to the next page of the story, but this is where I got stumped. After some exploring, I found out where to find the block to change the background by clicking it, but I still couldn't figure out how to link a sprite with a change in the background. I first tried to make button that allowed you to link to the 'next page', but this didn't work because I couldn't find the right block sequence to 'change background when sprite3 is clicked' (the change in interface from sprites to backgrounds is confusing). I then took a different approach and made an animal move across the screen to go the 'next page'. This made the story more fun and interactive, but it still wasn't working, so I decided to save my work and return to it next time.

And then, as I was writing this blog, I added a 'green flag' block and was able to make it work! My sprite was able to change the background when it got the right edge of the screen! However, I still didn't know how make the sprite move over to the new background and clear the other sprites to start a 'new page'. My project so far is posted below:

Background change code (has bugs)

In conclusion, Scratch was fun to use. It was very easy to start and manipulate individual sprites to make a story or an animation. However, when it comes to having sprites interact on a more global scope, the projects become really complex. Also,  you are limited by the blocks themselves and it takes time to figure out how how some of them work and fit within each other (like the 'if-statement' and changing the background when a sprite does something).  The Scratch help documentation was a little helpful, but I still couldn't debug everything and make it all work. I think Scratch is very useful for simple projects. Likewise, the characters and interface make it more fun than coding. However, as the difficulty and complexity of projects increases, it becomes much harder because you are limited and confused by the functionality of the blocks. I definitely realized when I needed more advanced knowledge, and I look forward to completing my project later.

1 comment:

  1. Love the hand drawings here! Also like the idea of the half-pipe... It's a challenging movement -- I just tried it and got all sorts of wacky things. I'll let you know if I find anything though... Sorry to see it abandoned but the new project is fun too - like the animated story and the ability to change backgrounds... Looking forward to seeing how things develop!

    I think that the interactivity that you mention here is key to what sets Scratch apart from other programs that kids might use that might be easier for animation and storytelling. Let us know if you want help with some of the sensing stuff and I'll add an intro to the Week 4 materials as well.