Recycled computers as Scratch! arcade machines — Pt 2

Scratch! is made for the web. It is used mainly as an online content authoring system, with easy sharing and collaboration built-in. So we’re trying to get Scratch! to do two unnatural things, run offline and run as a player only, disabling or hiding edit functionality. Step number one was to get Scratch! running offline on our chosen OS, Ubuntu 13.01. The latest version of Scratch!  is based on the Adobe AIR framework, which is where things get nasty. Adobe stopped supporting and releasing AIR for linux some time ago and getting Scratch! 2.0 running involved a number of work arounds including using 32bit packages, and messing with the gnome keyring. If this sounds like too much trouble, it was for us. After much tinkering, we ruled Scratch! 2.0 out and we rolled back to Scratch! 1.4  the most recent non-AIR release.

Scratch! 1.4 is breeze to install on any platform and on Ubuntu it is in the repository. Once Scratch! is up and running offline, the next step was enabling some kind of player mode. On launch we want Scratch! to go straight into playing a game in full screen mode, using arcade style controls without using a mouse or keyboard. Sounds straight forward? As far as I can tell, its not possible with the standard version. So what about a Scratch! player, something like flash-player? Perhaps being open-source means some talented soul(s) is working away on something so useful? Surely digging through the scratch forums will turn up a likely candidate? Bingo!  We have a (possible) working solution, just convert it to javascript and run from a browser. Admittedly we’d have to use a Scratch! 2 project, but that was no big deal, we could convert our Scratch! 1.4 game to Scratch! 2 online then The Edge’s crack web design crew could swing into action and we’d have a working concept. Stay tuned.

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