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Write your own Raspberry Pi game

Follow Stuart Andrews’ step-by-step tutorial to writing your own game on the Raspberry Pi and enter our fabulous competition to win £250

By Stuart Andrews, 14 Sep 2012 at 14:00

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The Raspberry Pi is a computing sensation, but it was originally designed with one key intention: to inspire a new generation to look beyond games consoles, smartphones and tablets, and embrace the way of code.

It comes with a selection of programming environments pre-baked into its Debian-based Linux distribution, but the easiest way to get started is with Scratch. Created by the Media Lab at MIT, Scratch was designed to teach children the fundamentals of programming, without the need to learn complex syntax.

Scratch allows users to drag and drop characters and objects into a game environment, then program their actions using building blocks, which are grouped into colour-coded categories such as Controls, Motion, Operators and Sensing. By dragging and dropping these into place you can create surprisingly sophisticated interactive stories, animations and games, then share them with a global community of students and developers.

Getting started with Scratch

In this feature, we’ll produce an arcade game – we’re calling it Crustacean Storm – while giving you a few pointers on how to take it further.

If you’ve never come across Scratch before, it might be worth looking at our previous feature on programming with it, which covers some of the basic functions. However, Scratch is easy to pick up; its scripts are comprehensible, and you can learn a lot just by downloading games and finding out what makes them tick.

Don’t worry if you don’t have a Raspberry Pi: Scratch will run happily under Windows, OS X and Linux, and even on the most modest of PCs. You can download it and find plenty of example programs here.

We also want you to share your completed games with us. We’ve teamed up with the creators of the Raspberry Pi to run our very own Scratch game competition.

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