Like most people, I think, I was curious about Flappy Bird when I read about the success that the developer had with it but more importantly, the $50,000 a day that he was reportedly making from it. I downloaded the app and played with it for a bit and got a bit frustrated trying to get a 1 for a score and so deleted it. I don’t have time to master this nonsense.
Then I read that Flappy Bird was going to be pulled from the application stores, never to return. I figured that this was either an indication that he’d made a gazillion dollars and just didn’t want to support it going forward. After all, nothing succeeds like success. Score 1 for me, Brandon. The other option was that this was some ploy to get a lot of downloads in a hurry. I figured that I’d help the cause. I might never play it again but at least I’d have a little bit of history. So, I downloaded it again. Add two downloads to the big total for me.
Bored one afternoon, I figured it was about time that I mastered it. I got up to 3. Grrrr. When I read that a friend of mine’s daughter had a pretty good score, I realized that I just wasn’t cut out for flapping.
On the UK Microsoft blog, there was a post to promote the UK Hour of Code. It was titled “All in a Flap – How to create your very own Flappy Bird clone (Guest Post)”. Now, there were warnings that people were posting malware in their own clones of Flappy Bird but here was the opportunity to write your own. I wondered…
- how would this play out for the classroom?
- here was a chance to do something significant with Microsoft’s TouchDevelop code
The next step was predictable. I sat down to work my way through the tutorial to see what I could do.
The tutorial was laid out in the form of a series of challenges. Note the stars below. Each is awarded at the end of the completion of a step. Off I went.
The development environment, with overlaid tutorial, is interesting. Everything is designed to be tapped on to insert or edit your code as you go. For this ol’ coder, the urge to use my keyboard was there. However, I quickly boxed myself into a corner – the tutorial really was written for touch – so I gave in. After a while, you just get used to it! It’s not bad once you get the knack of it. I did want to make my game a little different so instead of the suggested bat, I decided to flap with an orange. It just didn’t cut it so I did go back and edit out the orange and replaced it with the bat. The results made much more sense!
All along the way, there is a dialog to explain what would be done next. You’re really stepping through the code development nicely. Nothing is given to you – you have to add and edit everything. I will admit to getting a bit frustrated but got over it in a hurry. Once I decided to go with the mouse clicks to do the selection and editing, development moved along fairly nicely. The only new challenge was when the desired action was on the next page of instructions. Again, I got over that with a little patience.
The ongoing tutorial really did explain things nicely. That will make it definitely easier to go back and modify the code afterwards.
When you’re done, it’s interesting to take a look at the code. Having paid attention to the tutorial as I went along definitely made it easier to go back and modify the script to see what I could do to break a well put together program. Selecting a line of code gets you back to the editing instructions. The only thing missing was creating your own comments inline.
As you can see, I went with a desert theme.
You’re prompted as you go to log in to save your code. That’s always good advice. It also gives you the ability to publish your code as an application from the web.
All in all, it was an interesting activity. I started with the end in mind and just kept going. Once completed, the real fun was in going through the code to see how it was developed and then modify it for my own fun and enjoyment.
You can’t beat writing your own game where you make your own rules and make things easy enough to get a high score. I think I’m at 5.