D.I.Y. micro-games with Scratch!

The past two Wednesdays we had a program that I was really excited to finally try out at Sellers Library- making games with the Scratch programming language! Making games on a hobby and indie level has become increasingly popular, and there's more and more free and easy to use tools perfect for starting to try making your own games. For an entry level program, we used Scratch, which makes coding as easy as taking blocks of code and snapping them together.

The first Wednesday we had 11 teens show up. After a brief introduction to the Scratch program, they were each challenged to make a simple game consisting of a maze, a character the player can control and a goal to reach. It should be noted that we had some technical difficulties and some computers were having troubles connecting to the internet, meaning all the graphics had to be drawn with the simple paint program included instead of simply grabbing some graphics from the included library. We pressed on though, and each person made wildly different versions of a maze game! I'm including a lot of them below, and they are as-is, so some have problems with collision detection or movement, but one of the fun aspects of Scratch is that anyone can "remix" a shared project, so anyone is welcome to make a copy and add their own touches to it! It will even show up on the original project's page, by clicking the "tree" icon (to see the other projects branching out).

The second Wednesday session was a little smaller with 7 teens. This time the challenge was to take a project that had already been started, in this case a simple Pong clone, and play it a bit. As they were playing, I asked them to call out impressions about the game, or ideas to improve it. Lots of ideas were put forth, such as adding a second player, adding a scoring system, having the ball speed up as you played or adding background music. We then spent time getting some of these items added in, and then the remainder of the session was spent adding or changing whatever they wanted. Once again some ideas worked more than others, or sometimes just adding in something random did something crazy, and there might not have been enough time left to get things working again, but I'm including these as-is to be tinkered with additionally.

Click through the break below to see the embedded games. (I'm putting them below a page break to reduce loading times on the main page!)


New book titles!

More new books for this week! Click through below for the full list, and you can click the titles to be taken right to the book's listing on the library's website to request it or put it on hold!


Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver
Sisters Dara and Nick used to be inseparable, but that was before Dara kissed Parker. That was before the accident that left Dara's face scarred. Now the sisters totally estranged. When Dara vanishes on her birthday, Nick thinks Dara is just playing around. But another girl, Madeline Snow, has vanished, too. Nick becomes increasingly convinced that the two disappearances are linked-- and she has to find her sister, before it's too late.