How to use this book

Sean McManus introduces you to his book Scratch Programming in Easy Steps

Book cover: Scratch Programming in Easy Steps

Welcome to the wonderful world of Scratch!

This book will show you some of the great projects you can build with Scratch, and will give you the skills and knowledge you need to start designing your own projects.

The book has been written so that each chapter teaches you something new, and builds on the previous chapters. For that reason, the best way to read this book is in chapter order.

Feel free to experiment as you go, though: there are lots of things you can do to customize and improve the examples in this book, and that's a big part of what Scratch is all about.

If you need advice on something that hasn't been covered yet, or you want to revise something you read earlier, consult the index for more information.

Here's what's in store:

  • In Chapter 1, you'll learn the basics of Scratch. Sprites are objects you can use in your games, and you'll meet the cat sprite here. In your first program, it goes for a quick walk.
  • In Chapter 2, you'll learn how to draw with Scratch, how to move sprites around the Stage, and how to make bits of your program repeat. The final project is art program Rainbow Painter, which leaves a colorful line behind your mouse.
  • In Chapter 3, Spiral Rider is your first game. You'll learn how to enable keyboard control of a sprite, and how to detect when the player's character touches something else, and you'll discover how to remember information in a program.
  • In Chapter 4, the Dodgeball game shows you how to build a game with lots of sprites moving at once. You'll learn how to design your own sprites, how to clone them in Scratch 2.0, how to make random numbers, and how to keep score.
  • In Chapter 5, you get to conduct the Cosmic Chorus. You'll see how to use recorded sounds and musical notes, how to get one sprite to control another, and how to make a title screen.
  • In Chapter 6, Quiz Break tests players' maths skills against the clock. You'll learn how to use the timer, how to use the operators for maths, and how to join text together.
  • In Chapter 7, the game Hangman teaches you how to use lists in Scratch, how to ask the player for information, how to structure complex programs, and how to write on the Stage.
  • In Chapter 8, you'll create an arcade game and learn how to make one sprite fire on another, and how to make special effects to include in your game.
  • In Chapter 9, you'll learn how to use Scratch with your webcam, microphone and the PicoBoard add-on which combines several sensors in one Scratch-friendly device. Flap your hands at the screen to wave away the bats and use your Picoboard to control a witch's night flight. You'll also see how to control a light connected to the Raspberry Pi from Scratch.
  • Chapter 10 contains seven short programs you can experiment with and customize, including the games Shop Cat, Maze Mania, Photo Safari and Breakthrough.
  • Chapter 11 gives you advice on creating your own programs, and resources you can use to help you get started.

The best way to use this book is to work your way through the chapters in order, creating the examples as you go. You'll learn more about programming, and you'll have a chance to customize the examples as you go. If you can't get the examples to work, or if you want to take a shortcut, you can download them through the links on the book's homepage.

Preview the Scratch projects in the book

The slideshow below shows you the projects in Scratch Programming in Easy Steps. The book covers both the new web-based Scratch 2.0 and Scratch 1.4, which is used on the Raspberry Pi. If you want to use a webcam, you need to choose Scratch 2.0. To try some of these projects in your browser right now, visit my Scratch Game Examples Arcade.

screenshot from Scratch Programming in Easy Steps

Take your first steps with Scratch by programming the cat to walk.

Find out more...

For more information on the book and bonus content, visit the Scratch Programming in Easy Steps homepage


© Sean McManus. All rights reserved.

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