After-school club using GP

Observations from leading GP activities

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SimpleSi
Posts: 261
Joined: Jul 2nd, '17, 13:47

After-school club using GP

Post by SimpleSi » Oct 5th, '17, 16:35

Currently got 4 x 10 year olds in an after school club on Thursdays and I've decided that I know enough about GP to be able help guide them into writing projects in it

This is on networked Win7 machines (but logged on as local admins by me) running GP from a network drive share

So each of them is going to write a game that is suitable for reception (age 5) ages (I do this to keep the game design simple)
So we are doing one rocketship to the moon, one flappy bird type, 1 running and jumping type and last one has something to do with Batman!

The puplis are not expert Scratchers by any means so GP being difference shouldn't pose much of a challenge

2 of them did there backgrounds and characters in the basic GP image editor
1 did background in GP but googled for rocket ship,saved and imported it
Another (the most expert Scratcher - drew background in Scratch but hasn't exported/imported it into GP yet - spent too much time on it!)

Problems noticed
they had to repeatably click on things like image,save,open, okay
Now normally I'd put that down to user mouse issues but TBH - that happens to me quite a bit as well - I just thought it I had a dodgy mouse/old age :)

I wonder if some of the buttons have narrow hotspots?

1 GP session wouldn't restore the screen properly after it had been minimised for a while and I had to force close by Ctrl-c in the console window

And again - I have to own up that I've seen similar issues myself but usually after I've been running GP for 12 hours

I'll start reporting these sort of things when they happen (I'm on Win10 at home) and take some pics/videos as well

Hopefully next session, we'll get some programming done :)

JohnM
Posts: 261
Joined: Sep 11th, '15, 14:42

Re: After-school club using GP

Post by JohnM » Oct 5th, '17, 17:44

Thanks for this report. Keep me posted.

There's an issue with the way window redraw is handled on Windows. Sometimes you can fix a "black GP window" by resizing it. I believe this a bug in the SDL graphics library we are using, and its definitely specific to Windows. Let me know if it happens a lot and if you find any work-around (such as resizing or minimizing/unminimizing the GP window).

Are you planning to try any of the starter projects from the Resources page? Did you use any of the movies to introduce GP? We'd love to get some feedback about how well those materials are working...

SimpleSi
Posts: 261
Joined: Jul 2nd, '17, 13:47

Re: After-school club using GP

Post by SimpleSi » Oct 5th, '17, 19:43

Are you planning to try any of the starter projects from the Resources page? Did you use any of the movies to introduce GP?
Sorry No.

I'd already planned on getting them to make a game for younger pupils in the school (using Scratch 2) and it was a bit of a last minute switch to use GP to do them in :)

I decided that although GP isn't quite there yet - I was confident enough to be able to steer them around any issues

But I know from experience that pupils sometimes want to implement things in a game but Scratch isn't quite up to the challenge whereas I believe GP can pretty much ANYTHING they want to do :)

(Whether I know enough is the main limiting factor - not GPs capabilities ) :)

BTW - bit of feedback missed off earlier
They designed backgrounds - so made new class called background and then used the paint editor to draw it but the resulting costumes aren't big enough to fill the stage so they had to add a bit of code to scale them up 1.5 times - maybe default max image size should be stage size?

Some photos of session
Attachments
2017-10-05 16.13.15.jpg
2017-10-05 16.13.14.jpg
2017-10-05 15.49.44.jpg
2017-10-05 15.49.40.jpg
2017-10-05 15.49.34.jpg
2017-10-05 15.49.30.jpg

JohnM
Posts: 261
Joined: Sep 11th, '15, 14:42

Re: After-school club using GP

Post by JohnM » Oct 6th, '17, 22:42

They designed backgrounds - so made new class called background and then used the paint editor to draw it but the resulting costumes aren't big enough to fill the stage so they had to add a bit of code to scale them up 1.5 times - maybe default max image size should be stage size?
Yes, one should definitely be able to draw full stage-sized backgrounds (800x500 pixels).

I hadn't noticed this because on retina screen you can draw an image that's actually a bit bigger than the Stage.Thanks for reporting it. Will fix.

Incidentally, using a sprite for the background can be annoying since you can accidentally pick it up and bring it in front of the other sprites. Two ways to deal with that:

1. use the "set grabbable false" block (and "go back by 1000") on the background sprite
2. paint the background using the "set background color" with the optional image argument

However, (2) doesn't allow scaling, so you'd need to pre-scale the image. Here's a way to do that:
Screen Shot 2017-10-06 at 6.50.01 PM.png

The result will appear in the Images tab with a name starting with "snapshot", which you can change.

SimpleSi
Posts: 261
Joined: Jul 2nd, '17, 13:47

Re: After-school club using GP

Post by SimpleSi » Oct 7th, '17, 08:58

1. use the "set grabbable false" block (and "go back by 1000") on the background sprite
Could I request adding those to the right click instance thumbnail options please?

SimpleSi
Posts: 261
Joined: Jul 2nd, '17, 13:47

Re: After-school club using GP

Post by SimpleSi » Oct 8th, '17, 16:33

I had a look and came up with this mod of SpriteThumbnail.gp to add in the extra options

Code: Select all

method contextMenu SpriteThumbnail {
  menu = (menu nil this)
  targetM = (morph target)

  addItem menu 'show' 'showTarget' 'unhide and/or move instance onstage'
  addItem menu 'come to front' (action 'comeToFront' (morph target)) 'show this object on top of its siblings'
  // SW Add extra menu items
  addItem menu 'go back 1 level' (action 'goBackBy' (morph target) 1) 'go back 1 level'
  if ('handle' == (grabRule targetM)) {
    addItem menu 'make ungrabble' (action 'setGrabRule' (morph target) 'defer') 'make ungrabbable'
  } else {
    addItem menu 'make grabble' (action 'setGrabRule' (morph target) 'handle') 'make grabbable'
  }
  addLine menu
  ...
  

SimpleSi
Posts: 261
Joined: Jul 2nd, '17, 13:47

Re: After-school club using GP

Post by SimpleSi » Oct 13th, '17, 08:42

Week2

Started some coding :)

Main issues noticed

1. Sprites disapearing off screen. I know there is a block to set it to not do that but I think it should be another candidate for right-click thumbnail menu

Amendment 13thOct - I didn't realise that the keep on screen block only stops you dragging a sprite off screen
But adding an on edge, bounce block does the job inside a forever animate loop so I'm sorted :)


2. No separate change x position/change y position blocks. Can we have them please as much simpler to understand/explain x or y movement one at a time than both at same time with the move x y block The move x y block is great for more advanced students of course.

PS While writing this up - just noticed that the move block has a drawer with direction which I could have used. Will have to think about this as I've always taught pupils to use to change x/change y blocks coupled to arrow keys for game sprite movement.

But I can see that using direction means not having to use negative numbers to move left or down.

SimpleSi
Posts: 261
Joined: Jul 2nd, '17, 13:47

Re: After-school club using GP

Post by SimpleSi » Oct 13th, '17, 20:45

Forgot to mention that they wanted to show their projects off to headteacher using presentation mode but no Go button visible.

Their workaround was to press Go and then quickly switch to presentation mode :)

JohnM
Posts: 261
Joined: Sep 11th, '15, 14:42

Re: After-school club using GP

Post by JohnM » Oct 17th, '17, 18:59

There's no "go" button in presentation mode because in a finished app you wouldn't necessarily want to see a Go button.

However, there is a "broadcasts 'go'" command in the right-click menu in presentation mode.

One more option: save the project as an app. In that case, 'go' is broadcast when the project is started. But then you can't go back to the editing view to see the code, so its probably not the right recommendation for your students.

SimpleSi
Posts: 261
Joined: Jul 2nd, '17, 13:47

Re: After-school club using GP

Post by SimpleSi » Oct 17th, '17, 21:45

There's no "go" button in presentation mode because in a finished app you wouldn't necessarily want to see a Go button.
Good point :)
However, there is a "broadcasts 'go'" command in the right-click menu in presentation mode.
That will do the job nicely :)

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