Activity: Getting Started with Arcade

This activity starts with the basics needed to get started in Arcade.

The Arcade platform is similar to other MakeCode products featuring Minecraft, micro:bit, and more. Previous users of Arcade (or other block based coding platforms) will see familiar blocks and features. If you are new to MakeCode, welcome!

Arcade uses general game concepts such as ||sprites:Sprites||, ||scene:Scene||, and ||controller:Controller|| to make writing arcade games easier, as well as categories of blocks that are common to other Arcade Products such as ||loops:Loops||, ||logic:Logic||, ||variables:Variables||, and ||math:Math||. As soon as you add in your first block, you can start to run your code in seconds using the in-browser simulator, with your games changing with every new block you add.

In this activity, students are introduced to:

  • Opening a game, game controls, and playing a game
  • Creating a new game
  • The difference between blocks and script
  • “My Projects”
  • Sharing games by saving and creating a game link

Concept: Opening a game

Link to Video

Student Task #1: Playing Space Destroyer

  1. Click the “Space Destroyer” example game under the “Blocks Games” category
  2. Select “Open Example”
  3. Press left and right on the direction pad to move the space ship, and press the ||controller:A|| button to fire the laser
  4. Pay careful attention to what happens when the laser collides with an asteroid

New Project

Link to Video

Student Task #2: Starting and saving your own game

  1. Press the “Home” button in the upper left corner to return to the homepage
  2. Press the “New Project” button and name it “first game”
  3. Find ||variables:set mySprite to|| in ||sprites:Sprites||, and drag it into ||loops:on start||
  4. Make the new ||sprites:Sprite|| ||sprites:say|| something, by dragging ||sprites:mySprite say|| and placing it after ||variables:set mySprite to||

    Sprite Say

  5. At the bottom of the screen, select the “Save” button to save your game

    Downloading the game

  6. If you are in a class, you may need to turn in this file today, so be sure to keep track of it!

Student Task #3: Importing your game

To make sure you saved your project properly, we should import it back into Arcade!

  1. Press the “Home” button in the upper left corner to return to the homepage
  2. The “My Projects” section should now include the game you created in the last task. To the right of it, there should be a button labeled “Import” - press that button
  3. Select “Import File…”
  4. Select the file you saved in task #2
  5. Your code should now appear in the browser window

Alternatively, you can simply drag the image that you downloaded onto the home page and it will load automatically.

Student Task #4: Sharing your game

There is one other common way that we will keep track of our games: by making links to directly access the code.

  1. Press the “Home” button in the upper left corner to return to the homepage
  2. Select your game from task #2 under “My Projects”
  3. Select the “Share” button in the upper left corner, as shown below. Verify that you want to publish the code, and keep track of the URL it shows - that is a link directly to your code!

Sharing the game

Saving and publishing games

Besides sharing your game, you can save your game as a named project, download to hardware, and publish your game code to a repository on GitHub.

What did we learn?

  1. What did the ||sprites:say|| block do when you added it to the game in task #2?
  2. Compare and contrast the two different ways that we saved our game; what are the benefits of each choice? Which do you think you would use if you wanted to email a game you made to your friend, and why would you make that decision?
  3. Include the image created in task #2.
  4. Include the link created in task #4.

Teacher Material