Project: Screensaver or game

Use what you now know about LEDs, coordinates, and brightness to create your own project: a screensaver, or a game. You should find a way to use coordinates in your program. Even better, use variables to store and update your coordinates.

Screensavers

One type of project is a screensaver. A long time ago, computers and televisions used cathode ray tube (CRT)screens for displays. The glass screen of the display was coated on the back with phosphor, a substance that glows when painted with electrons from an electron gun at the other end of the tube. When the same area of the screen was painted (excited) over and over again by the stream of electrons, that part of the screen would sometimes “freeze” with the same image, burned into the phosphor for good. This was called “burn-in”.

Normally, if a show was running, or if someone was actively using the computer, the display changed often enough that burn-in wasn’t a problem. Programmers learned to create a demo screen with an animation that would run whenever the screen was idle. Today, nearly all computers and television sets use LCD displays, which are not affected by burn-in. But you can still find a screen saver in nearly every computer’s Settings panel, as an opportunity to show off some neat graphics or animation.

Your task is to create:

  • A “screen saver” animation using the plot/unplot blocks. You can fill the screen line by line, pausing between each one, or fill it with a random constellation of stars.

– OR –

  • A game that uses sprites to manage the x and y coordinate values of the different objects.

Your project might use variables to store the values of sprites, which are special structures that contain an x and a y coordinate together that describe the sprite’s location as one LED on the screen.

Project Ideas

Firework screensaver

This project uses a for loop with the plot/unplot blocks to create a symmetrical design on the screen. This student used a subtraction operation to get a variable that decreases as the index variable in the loop increases.

basic.forever(() => {
    for (let x = 0; x <= 4; x++) {
        led.plot(x, 0)
        led.plot(0, 4 - x)
        led.plot(4 - x, 4)
        led.plot(4, x)
        basic.pause(50)
        led.unplot(x, 0)
        led.unplot(4 - x, 4)
        led.unplot(0, 4 - x)
        led.unplot(4, x)
        basic.pause(50)
    }
})

This project uses a for loop with the plot/unplot blocks to create a symmetrical design on the screen. This student used a subtraction operation to get a variable that decreases as the index variable in the loop increases.

basic.forever(() => {
    for (let x = 0; x <= 4; x++) {
        led.plot(x, 0)
        led.plot(0, 4 - x)
        led.plot(4 - x, 4)
        led.plot(4, x)
        basic.pause(50)
        led.unplot(x, 0)
        led.unplot(4 - x, 4)
        led.unplot(0, 4 - x)
        led.unplot(4, x)
        basic.pause(50)
    }
})

Cascade screensaver

This example creates a diagonal cascading effect across the screen. Note the use of a variable (speed) to allow you to easily change the speed of the animation by changing just one number value.

let reverse = 0
let speed = 10
let inner = 0
let outer = 0
basic.forever(() => {
    for (let outer = 0; outer <= 4; outer++) {
        reverse = 4 - outer
        for (let inner = 0; inner <= 4; inner++) {
            led.plot(outer, reverse)
            basic.pause(speed)
            led.plot(reverse, outer)
            basic.pause(speed)
            led.plot(reverse - inner, reverse)
            basic.pause(speed)
            led.plot(reverse, reverse - inner)
            basic.pause(speed)
        }
    }
    for (let outer = 0; outer <= 4; outer++) {
        reverse = 4 - outer
        for (let inner = 0; inner <= 4; inner++) {
            led.unplot(outer, reverse)
            basic.pause(speed)
            led.unplot(reverse, outer)
            basic.pause(speed)
            led.unplot(reverse - inner, reverse)
            basic.pause(speed)
            led.unplot(reverse, reverse - inner)
            basic.pause(speed)
        }
    }
})
let reverse = 0
let speed = 0
let inner = 0
let outer = 0
basic.forever(() => {
    for (let outer = 0; outer <= 4; outer++) {
        reverse = 4 - outer
        for (let inner = 0; inner <= 4; inner++) {
            led.plot(outer, reverse)
            basic.pause(speed)
            led.plot(reverse, outer)
            basic.pause(speed)
            led.plot(reverse - inner, reverse)
            basic.pause(speed)
            led.plot(reverse, reverse - inner)
            basic.pause(speed)
        }
    }
    for (let outer = 0; outer <= 4; outer++) {
        reverse = 4 - outer
        for (let inner = 0; inner <= 4; inner++) {
            led.unplot(outer, reverse)
            basic.pause(speed)
            led.unplot(reverse, outer)
            basic.pause(speed)
            led.unplot(reverse - inner, reverse)
            basic.pause(speed)
            led.unplot(reverse, reverse - inner)
            basic.pause(speed)
        }
    }
})
speed = 10

Dodge ball game

This is a Dodge Ball game that uses one sprite (dodger) to try to avoid another sprite (ball). You use the A and B buttons to move the dodger to avoid the balls that are falling from the top of the screen.

let dodger: game.LedSprite = null
let ball: game.LedSprite = null
basic.forever(() => {
   if (dodger.isTouching(ball)) {
       game.gameOver()
   } else if (ball.get(LedSpriteProperty.Y) < 4) {
       ball.change(LedSpriteProperty.Y, 1)
       basic.pause(250)
   } else {
       game.addScore(1)
       ball.set(LedSpriteProperty.Y, 0)
       ball.set(LedSpriteProperty.X, randint(0, 5))
   }
})
input.onButtonPressed(Button.A, () => {
   if (dodger.get(LedSpriteProperty.X) > 0) {
       dodger.change(LedSpriteProperty.X, -1)
   }
})
input.onButtonPressed(Button.B, () => {
   if (dodger.get(LedSpriteProperty.X) < 4) {
       dodger.change(LedSpriteProperty.X, 1)
   }
})
ball = game.createSprite(randint(0, 5), 0)
dodger = game.createSprite(2, 4)
game.setScore(0)

Here is the complete Dodge Ball program.

let dodger: game.LedSprite = null
let ball: game.LedSprite = null
basic.forever(() => {
   if (dodger.isTouching(ball)) {
       game.gameOver()
   } else if (ball.get(LedSpriteProperty.Y) < 4) {
       ball.change(LedSpriteProperty.Y, 1)
       basic.pause(250)
   } else {
       game.addScore(1)
       ball.set(LedSpriteProperty.Y, 0)
       ball.set(LedSpriteProperty.X, randint(0, 5))
   }
})
input.onButtonPressed(Button.A, () => {
   if (dodger.get(LedSpriteProperty.X) > 0) {
       dodger.change(LedSpriteProperty.X, -1)
   }
})
input.onButtonPressed(Button.B, () => {
   if (dodger.get(LedSpriteProperty.X) < 4) {
       dodger.change(LedSpriteProperty.X, 1)
   }
})
ball = game.createSprite(randint(0, 5), 0)
dodger = game.createSprite(2, 4)
game.setScore(0)

Reflection

Have students write a reflection of about 150–300 words, addressing the following points:

  • Did you do a screensaver? A game? Something different? How did you decide?
  • If you did a game, what is the object of the game?
  • How does your project use coordinates?
  • Describe something in your project that you are proud of.
  • Describe a difficult point in the process of designing this program, and explain how you resolved it.
  • What feedback did your beta testers give you? How did that help you improve your design?

 

Assessment

Competency scores: 4, 3, 2, 1  

Coordinates and LEDs

4 = Uses at least 3 of the different kinds of plot/ unplot/toggle/point x y blocks in a meaningful way. * Uses variables to update coordinates.
3 = At least 2 of the different kinds of plot/unplot/ toggle/point x y blocks in a meaningful way.
2 = At least 1 of the different kinds of plot/unplot/ toggle/point x y blocks in a meaningful way.
1 = No plot/unplot/ toggle/point x y blocks are implemented.   

micro:bit program

4 = micro:bit program:
* Uses plotted LEDs in a way that is integral to the program
* Compiles and runs as intended
* Meaningful comments in code
3 = micro:bit program lacks 1 of the required elements.
2 = micro:bit program lacks 2 of the required elements.
1 = micro:bit program lacks all of the required elements.

Collaboration reflection

4 = Reflection piece addresses all prompts.
3 = Reflection piece lacks 1 of the required elements.
2 = Reflection piece lacks 2 of the required elements.
1 = Reflection piece lacks 3 of the required elements.