Scratch

Projects that will appear when Scratch v2 goes live

While Scratch has always been pretty awesome for neat experiments and mini-games, it has never really become a practice tool for the majority of commercially developed games. This is for a wide number of reasons such as, the general inexperience of the Scratch community, the horrible art editor, and the lack of critical functions (cloning and multi-dimentional arrays). Scratch has gotten a ton better over the years too though, after the move away from the sluggish Java player to the flash one, lag in projects has gotten much more manageable. I think Scratch v2 is the final push the program needs to be considered a tool for professionals (or just really good amateurs). There are a few projects I think that have been popular on flash game sites that will become popular with Scratch v2.

 

1. Mario-esque Platformers and Various Tile-Based Games

This is one of the MOST popular project types on Scratch, that is always imitated but never duplicated. Easily the biggest issue with this is that the world in platform games are generally pretty big, and most scrolling games in Scratch use huge bitmap images to make up the map. I remember doing this with the game Archknight’s Adventure the result was a pretty fun scroller with 5 levels. Main issues were that the game, while only 5 levels, took up 10 megabytes with compressed images (forget having sound!). The original Mario Bros has way more than 5 levels but with a tiny file size of less than 1 megabyte, this was achieved though the use of tiles. Rather than having a number of huge bitmaps, you would ideally have 1 tile sprite that would clone itself to make the map and would have those clones change costumes as the player moved. I tried to replicate this in current Scratch and the results don’t look horrible in the present version of Scratch Linky. This was adapted from a Flash Actionscript based tutorial, but has a few bugs due to my shoddy transition from using 2d arrays in flash to 1d arrays (lists) in Scratch. This is probably also possible with the current version of Scratch but not ideal since you have to have 100+ individual tile sprites. This is for sure one of the first project I want to try to make with v2.

2. Tower Defense Style Games

This one has done pretty well in current versions of Scratch (example) but no version have the ludicrous numbers of enemies and projectiles that this genre is known for.  Most versions have a limited number of enemies and towers, with 1 dedicated projectile per tower. This is also technically difficult to program since you have to be well versed in pathfinding algorithms (such as A*) to make sure that towers do not block the path. The situation with this type of game (and most others) have gotten way better with the flash player, as the Java one had massive lag spikes when sound was played and just became very sluggish when project had too many sprites or costumes. With sprite cloning, the majority of the issues involved with this kind of project are gone and overall development time would be much faster.

3. Any Type of Multiplayer Game

From what I’ve seen on the beta website so far, the cloud variables work pretty well. I tried this MMO project that took your user name and put you in a world where you could walk around with other users. This seems much easier to do with Scratch than it would be to do with other languages so it seems to have potential. However, it was pretty laggy, so maybe this issue will be resolved later or people will learn to make more efficient projects. It also seems to be a good idea for someone to make multiple projects to act as separate game servers, so no one project becomes overloaded. Not 100% sure what the future holds for this one, but it will be fun to find out :)

Have any opinions on the matter? Leave me a comment below.