Scratch Programming Playground by Al Sweigart

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Summary: Great introduction to Scratch

So, you probably wonder where to start your adventure with Scratch. Don’t look any further. You have just found what you were looking for.

Let me be straight here. This book is perfect read after finishing Super Scratch Programming Adventure! (published by No Starch Press). Supper Scratch Programming Adventure will provide you with very basics of Scratch, while here, you can elevate your knowledge and become more experienced and more sophisticated Scratch coder. You don’t have to be a nerd to start your adventure with games. In fact, author tries to convince you that your math related issues – I know some people have them – are really not that important. And I fully agree here.

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What I like about the book is the way it delivers the knowledge – through building games. Number of them. It encourages people to learn by practice and experiments. It will push you towards code development instead of making you remember the stuff. That’s something I really appreciate. That’s quite in the line with my approach to learning:

For the things we have to learn
before we can do them,
we learn by doing them.
– Aristotle

You are supposed to build games by actually developing them. What I find quite useful for the readers are steps taken while building each project:

      at first you take a look at sketch of your game. You can always do yours, all you need is sheet of paper and pencil
      then, you learn how to code each of the elements used in the game
      finally, you are encouraged to alter initial concept by introducing some changes into play (e.g. turn one player game into two player game, or to introduce some cheat codes)

This approach gives you the feeling of controlling everything. You are not thrown into deep water, instead, you make small steps to achieve the goal specified in each chapter.

But don’t be fooled by simple language and quite likable creatures hanging all over the place. They will teach you some good programming practices. You will be able to apply what you have learned, later during your engineering carer :) One of these principles is called DRY (Don’t Repeat Yourself, DRY at Wikipedia).


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What’s also important is that you can get immediate access to content of the book, you can play sample projects (they are available via scratch.mit.edu – Projects). This way, you can compare your work to what can be treaded as reference. Really useful. Especially for people who just start their experience with coding. And to make this review more appealing to people whose motto is – “seeing is believing” – take a look below. That’s what you will learn to code! Cool, isn’t it?

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If you have used Scratch before, you will be able to find (inside the project) the good old Scratch code. It consists of blocks that make it super simple to code.

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If you haven’t used Scratch before, don’t be afraid. It’s really, really simple. Just take a look here:

So, just to make a quick conclusion. If you like games, if you want to write games, if you want to learn how to code, grab this one and make sure to read it cover to cover and build all the projects you find there! And don’t cheat! Try to code everything by yourself. This way, you will get most of it.

NoStarch (print): Scratch Programming Playground
NoStarch (e-book): Scratch Programming Playground
Safari Books Online: Scratch Programming Playground

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