What Problems Will a Child Encounter When Designing a Scratch Game? – A Real Example

My son recently is busy on designing his first big Scratch project. Previously he usually followed tutorials or realized partial functions of a big project. Now he is planning to finish a project with his own for the first time.

We brainstormed several ideas and he then sat in front of the computer, ready to delve into the coding. He chose one favorite backdrop and then wondered who will become his main characters.

Hey! Wait, boy. Don’t you forget to do something important? Yes, it’s planning!

I always emphasize the importance of planning, planning and planning. He definitely did not get it. With my strong suggestion, my son finally decided to write down his ideas and the interface design. They looked messy, but anyway, we had something documented to work on.

Planning: Layout Design
Planning: Sprites & Their Actions

After that, we reviewed those sprites’ actions and the layout design. After adding a few missing points, he finally started off!

Struggle to Create Perfect Backdrop and Sprites

However, soon I realized another problem. He tried to create a perfect backdrop and spent lots of time to adjust the position of those geometries, which represented the ground or overhead platforms. I suggested that he drew some simple geometries as backdrop. What’s important at that stage is to realize the functionality of the program, and after that, he could beatify the sprites and backdrop, and optimize some details.

The below image shows the initial stage design. My son apparently was not satisfied with the stage effect, which looked too plain. If you are eager to know the final stage layout, scroll down to the bottom of the post to compare with this!

Initial Stage Design

Copy the Code From Other Projects but Didn’t Adapt

Since my son attended other coding lessons instead of TheCodingFun previously, he had some sample projects in hand to refer to. Use Export and Import functionality of Scratch platform, he copied the code from other projects to his own one. However, not all the code could fit into its setting. He realized that sometimes it might be easier to write code from scratch than copying existing code and changing it.

I agree in some aspects. That is just like writing a composition. If you copy a long paragraph from the other model composition, you will find it does not fit into your setting and make your writing awkward. Therefore, when coding, we could refer to others’ project and utilize their method or small segments of code, but don’t copy in bulk!

Easy to Error out the Cascading Loop

When my son could not figure out the errors, he came to seek my help. Several times, I noticed that the problem lay in the nested loop. When there are “If…else” block, “Repeat” blocks in one code segments, there are several layers of nested frames. He did understand the nested relationship between various blocks, but just put the nested blocks wrongly.

Overuse Parallelized Coding Segments

Since Scratch supports parallelized coding, the sprites can do multi-tasks simultaneously. Therefore, the sprites can speak, change its costume and walk at the same time. However, I found many times my son overused the parallelized coding. It will make the code burdensome and lose concision.

Overwhelmed by the Workload

The program development lasted the whole weekend. Several times, my son just laid down on the ground and claimed that he would give up. It was too challenging for him to implement by himself. I admitted that his plot design for the game was a bit too complicated for his current level. He was kind of like overwhelmed by the workload and felt too tired to move forward.

a best strategy might suggest him to cut out some features and then create a version 1.0 first. Once he got an initial version, he could upgrade it to version 2.0 or 3.0.

Wrap Up

After struggling for one week, he finally finished his freestyle project. Both of us heaved a sigh of relief. This experience also demonstrated the importance of freestyle project. If the students always follow the tutorial and the detailed guidance from the teacher, they will not learn how to integrate the taught knowledge points and understand why the teacher asks to design in this way, instead of that way.

Job is done. Anyway, the result looks attracting. Both his brother and he were satisfied with the cool effect and enjoyed the game. Take a look at the game’s final effect. Are your interested? You could play it now!

Game Demo

Play the Game Now


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One thought on “What Problems Will a Child Encounter When Designing a Scratch Game? – A Real Example

  1. Pingback: Let’s Learn Scratch Through Others’ Project – A Sample Project Part I – Coding Courses Designed for Kids

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