MakeCode Arcade Spring Update

Posted on March 22nd, 2021 by Jaqster

I know we just released a major update to Arcade in January, but we couldn’t resist tacking on a few more things! So, we have a small Spring update for you. Here’s what it includes:

New Learning Path UI updates

As you recall in December, we also released the Game Maker Guide which was a new format for a series of tutorial activities which build upon each other. We’ve updated the user interface for this experience to make it look more like a fun, game-based learning path. This is still a work in progress, so we’d love to hear your thoughts! Click the Feedback tab on the page to let us know what you think, or post in the Forum.

Game maker guide

Immersive Reader and Color Labels

There’s a couple of accessibility improvements in this release. First, we got some good feedback from some of our color-blind users that the color palette in the Image Editor was not easy for them to use, as we had the color numbers listed in the tooltip but not the actual color names. So, we’ve added the color names to the tooltip labels - which makes things clear for everyone!

Color labels

The Microsoft Immersive Reader is a fantastic tool to help students with reading comprehension. It adds the ability to change colors, themes, font size, spacing, and highlight parts of speech. Along with its other capabilities, it will also read the text aloud. MakeCode Arcade tutorial instructions are now available in this format by clicking on the Immersive Reader icon at the top of any tutorial.

Immersive Reader icon

This is what using the Immersive Reader looks like:

Immersive Reader animation

We get a lot of great feedback about all the cool sprites and images that are available in the Gallery. But we also hear that it’s getting harder to find images in our gallery as it continues to grow. So, we’ve added a Filter option that allows you to filter the gallery by the different types of sprites or images. The Filter has categories you can select to help narrow the choices down to what you’re looking for:

Gallery filter

Block Sorting

For those of you writing very large games, we’ve implemented a better sorting algorithm to arrange the blocks when you click to Format Code on your workspace. We already added the ability to collapse your blocks which helps with organizing the code on your workspace. Now when you right-click on the workspace, and select Format Code, your code blocks will be sorted such that the on start block is first, followed by all the other blocks grouped by their category.

Block sorting

As always, if you find any issues, or have suggestions, please log them on GitHub.

If you have questions, or would like to participate in the MakeCode community, please join the Forum or follow us on social @MSMakeCode.

Happy Making and Coding!

The MakeCode Team