Game Design using SCRATCH

How do we re imagine the classic videogame Space Invaders?

Section 1: Introduction to Scratch

  1. Scratch is a drag and drop interface that simplifies programming. Developed by the folks over at MIT, it is a free browser based tool that anyone can access. Let's get started by signing up for an account.
  2. Click here to go to the sign up page and click on Join.

Sandbox Activity #1

Once you have set up the account, view the following video clip to create an animation of Scratch the cat walking back and forth.
Sandbox Video1

Sandbox Activity #2

After you create you first scratch animation, you will browse for the submission of a peer and extend (remix) it to include a background, a different sound and color change of the cat sprite. See the video below for steps for steps how to do this.


- You can browse for submissions by typing in the user name of a peer

- If you are using an LMS, you can click on a shared link to their work

Sandbox Video2

Sandbox Activity #3

You will play the classic video game Space Invaders. While playing you will compose answers to the following:

  • What is the goal/point of the game?
  • How is the player sprite controlled?
  • How do you know when you have "won"?
  • Name one aspect of the game that made it too difficult or easy.
  • If you could improve one thing about this game, what would it be?

Section 2: Setting up a Cannon Sprite

After playing the original Space Invaders game and asking students to share their reflections on the mechanics of the game, it is time for us to recontextualize the game. In this phase we will be making a Space Invader-esque game for a couple reasons.

  1. We do not want to infringe on copyright laws. Classic and retro intellectual property is a very murky area at the moment.
  2. We want to encourage creative thought that would align to rhetorical spaces.

To this end we will be employing open source graphics and sounds, making sure to give credit to the orignal authors.

By the end of this section you should have:

  • A black background.
  • A keyboard controlled cannon sprite that moves left <-> right.
  • An laser sprite that travels up the screen from the cannon when the space bar is pressed.
Lesson 2 Setting Up The Cannon Sprite

Section 3 - Setting Up an Invader Sprite

By the end of this section you should have:

  • An invader that moves laterally (left to right).
  • An invader sprite that drops down when it gets to either boundary.
Lesson 3 Setting up an Invader Sprite

Section 4: Collision Detection

By the end of this section you should have:

  • An improved cannon/ship sprite that stays on screen.
  • A laser sprite that has a shoot sound, collides with an invader and disappears, and disappears off screen when it misses completely.
  • An invader sprite that appears at the beginning of the game and disappears when it gets hit.
  • Created a new sprite named explosion that takes the place of a destroyed invader and plays a sound.
Lesson 4 Collision Detection

Section 5: Setting The Stage

By the end of this section you should have:

  • An updated backdrop that has the words "Score" and "Lives".
  • The score variable shown.
  • An improved invader sprite that updates the score variable when destroyed.
  • An additional 6 invaders of the same type.
Lesson 5 Setting The Stage

Section 6: Broadcasters and Receivers

This section is quite lengthy as we are strengthening the logic of the previous sections and updating the motions of our enemy sprites.

By the end of this lesson you should have:

  • Updated the behavior of the invader sprites such that they move as a group when they encounter the edges of the game screen.
  • Created a "Lives" sprite that displays the number of lives remaining when the player gets destroyed.
  • An improved invader sprite that destroys the player.
Lesson 6 Part 1
Lesson 6 Part 2
Lesson 6 Part 3

Section 7: The Game State

By the end of this lesson you should have:

  • Created a "reset" message that allows the game to continue when the player gets destroyed.
  • Updated all invader sprites to take advantage of the "reset" broadcast.
Lesson 7 Part 1
Lesson 7 Part 2

Section 8: Dropping Bombs

By the end of this lesson you should have:

  • Created a new sprite named "bomb".
  • Updated the game engine (gameState) to randomly pick an invader and to drop the bomb sprite from it.
Lesson 8 Part 1
Lesson 8 Part 2
Lesson 8 Part 3

Section 9: Putting Up Barriers

By the end of this lesson you should have:

  • Created 18 new sprites that when assembled comprise the defensive shields.
  • Updated the laser and bomb sprites to interact with the barriers.
Lesson 9

Assessment Measures

Student Assessment Measures

Student learning and growth will be measured through two main components using a portfolio consisting of performance based assessment projects. There will be two-week long modules in this course all of which will be online work. This trimester course will consist of 6 modules. You must be proficient in 4 of 5 modules in order to pass this course.
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