This semester, I am taking a course entitled “Tinkering, Hacking, and Making” as part of my Digital Studies minor. Throughout the semester, we will be undertaking a variety digital studies projects that we will document on our blogs.
The next project that we were tasked with in DGST 201 was to create a Scratch video. Scratch is a free, simple programming language that offers pre-written commands, backgrounds, spirtes, and sounds that can be modified to create simple stories.
Scratch Project Requirements
Our class’s Scratch project had the following requirements:
Create a Scratch program that includes the following:
- Animation (Moving Sprites)
- Interactivity (Something happens when two Sprites touch, or when a Sprite is clicked)
- At least two sprites
- At least three backgrounds
How I Met the Project Requirements
Because this was my first time using Scratch, I decided to make a very simple story using three sprites and four backgrounds. For animation, I included a moving spider sprite. I added interactivity by having viewers click the small Spider at the top of the screen for him to appear. For sound, I included an owl sound to symbolize darkness in the beginning of the story. For the two end scenes, I modified the backgrounds slightly with the “paint” tool in black. I also included text in these two backgrounds, as well as speech-bubble dialogue throughout the story.
View My Story – “In the Dark”
You can view my Scratch story here: (Press the Green Flag and then ‘Space’ to begin)
I was able to teach myself most basic Scratch features by playing around with the commands. I wanted to keep the project simple and not require too many complex movements.
At first, I could not figure out how to set a background image that would not give away the “surprise” at the end of the story, as Scratch automatically pulls from the last slide of the story. To fix this problem, I added a fifth slide that would not be part of the story itself that would act as a title page.
Second, I realized that if a viewer does not find and click the Spider sprite in time, that the story will continue without Spider’s dialogue, as I have set the dialogue to an automatic timer. This is not a problem for me, as I know where Spider is, but it can make the story confusing if a viewer does not click on Spider.
I think that Scratch is a fun tool to use, and would be especially fun for students to use in class projects to tell a story.