This month I dove into the Harvard EdX course CS50x, Introduction to Computer Science (with a deadline of December 31, so there's time to join me!). Week 0 included the introduction to the concepts of binary and ASCII as well as the program Scratch. Scratch was developed by MIT to provide an opportunity to dabble in computer programming and be able to create a story, game, or animation with the use of blocks of programming code. Blocks only fit together if they are logically appropriate to do so. The CS50 course showed some great examples and you can view the code behind any of the public projects on the Scratch website for inspiration or to figure out how to do something.
At this point there are over 4.5 million projects on the Scratch website. A couple of them are mine. My first program was Game of Catch between Scratch the cat and a dinosaur.
It wasn't interactive, so in version 2 of my program I created the possibility to move the characters around. Using keyboard commands you can move the cat and dinosaur around the screen, but only if they are not holding the ball.
Once I got to the interactive stage, I let my kids "play" the game. Of course they were VERY excited to do this, which led me to my next programming idea. My daughter is learning her letters, so I decided to make a game that would allow her to learn and practice.
The Toddler Alphabet Game is aesthetically very basic. It's repetitive (just what a 20-month old needs). When the space bar is pressed a letter is shown and read, then it waits for the input of a matching letter from the keyboard. At the time that I'm posting this, my program is a little buggy, so I may work further to try to find and fix the problem, but I'm pleased with how well it does work and with the coding process I had to go through to get the results I wanted. Specifically, I'm pleased as how much I was able to clean up my code. I figure I spent about 15 hours on the program and it was riveting. I hope I'm as excited about learning some C as I move into Week 1 of the course.