Thursday, June 19, 2014

My review of "Scratch 2.0 Beginner's Guide: Second Edition

                “Scratch 2.0 Beginner’s Guide: Second Edition” was written by Michael Badger and provides several projects that engage the reader and encourage exploring the Scratch 2.0 game engine.  Scratch 2.0 is a game engine that is maintained by MIT and requires very little programming knowledge.  For this reason, Scratch 2.0 is great for children and adults just getting started with creating their own games.  The book’s projects are as simple as creating a greeting card and as complex as a unique version of the classic game “Breakout.”
                I enjoyed trying the projects in the book.  Code is provided in download form from Packtpub’s webpage for the book.  I found the code a great reference for each project as it was a simple matter to compare your code to the code from the provided download.  The Scratch 2.0 engine is available online and in a desktop version.  I found myself using both versions, depending on the project.  The desktop version makes it very easy to try code that others have written; by providing an “open document” command.  If you use the online version of Scratch 2.0 you will need to upload the project; and that didn’t always work for me.
The projects that you create include a simple storybook,  a multimedia slideshow (which lets you use your own pictures), and a fortune-telling game. My favorite project is the “Breakout” clone. Each project lasts the length of a chapter, except for the “Breakout” clone which lasts two chapters. At the chapter’s end there is a short quiz, whose answers are found in Appendix B.  Appendix A provides information on using Scratch with a PicoBoard, and Raspberry Pi.
I recommend “Scratch 2.0 Beginner’s Guide: Second Edition” to anyone who is interested in trying Scratch 2.0.  By the end of the book you will have enough confidence to start a project of your own.  There is an extensive community supporting Scratch 2.0 and they will be happy to provide help with any problems that you might have.

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