The Scratch Interface

Navigating the Project Interface

An important part of being successful with Scratch, or any game development platform, is learning the UI. This will help when going through the rest of the lessons and tutorials on Learn, but also if you look to other Scratch resources. Knowing the parts of the platform from the very beginning will save time in the long-run.

Much of the layout and features of Scratch are present in other game development platforms. Becoming familiar with the terminology and functionality now will help later when moving to a different platform such as Unity.

 Activity: Learning the Scratch User Interface (UI)

  1. Look at this screenshot:
    Scratch UI

    • Preview – This is a preview of your game/app. Click the Green flag to begin running your game/app. Your code scripts will begin running and you can use this to actively preview and troubleshoot. This also serves as a playthrough of your project!
    • Editor – This is where you edit your scripts, open the appearance editor for sprites and backdrops, or edit your sound files.
      • Note: You can switch between the Scripts, Costumes, and Sounds tabs to access different assets.
    • Stage – This is the backdrop of your game and can be changed using the switch backdrop to… block in Looks
    • Sprites – These are the characters/objects that act or interact with each other. Each sprite has its own code and can have several different costumes to change between. Costumes can be changed with the switch costume to block in Looks
      • Changing costumes is used to animate Sprites and can give the appearance of walking. This will be covered more in the lesson Inkscape and Scratch.
  2. Scratch uses other terminology that you may want to become familiar with. Here are some examples:
    • Asset – When Scratch loads your project, it will show a counter informing you the amount of assets that are being loaded. This is the amount of scripts, images (costumes and backdrops) and sounds that are in the project. Other game engines such as Unity use this term so it’s good to become familiar with it!
    • Blocks – Blocks are the puzzle shapes that represent your code. The blocks fit together, with different types of code having different shapes. Not all blocks connect together. You must fit together blocks that have matching notches. This is to prevent your code from having errors. Once a series of connected blocks are formed, this is called a script.
        • Hat Blocks
          • Hat blocks are designed to start scripts. They have notches for blocks to fit under them.
        • Stack Blocks 
          • Stack blocks are rectangular blocks that are notched on the top and bottom. These fit between other blocks.
        • Boolean Blocks 
          • Boolean blocks contain conditions. These are often used for reporting true or false.
        • C Blocks 
          • C blocks are shaped like a ‘C’ and contain code. A Forever loop is an example of this type of block, as the script fits inside the ‘C.’
        • Cap Blocks 
          • Cap blocks are used to stop scripts. Examples are the ‘stop’ and ‘delete clone’ blocks.

      [box type =”info”]These types of blocks represent different aspects of code. Making the connection between the block and what it means and how it fits with other blocks will help with all future coding and development.[/box]

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