Moving from Touch Develop to MakeCode

This page is primarily for users who previously used Touch Develop and the Creative Computing for Games and Apps (CCGA) course. You also can read more about MakeCode replacing Touch Develop and the retirement of Touch Develop.

Your Scripts

Touch Develop supported logins and stored your scripts in the cloud. MakeCode does not support logins nor cloud storage. MakeCode stores your scripts in browser-local storage on your machine and provides two other ways to store and retrieve your scripts:

  • each time you press the Download button and save your compiled program to the Downloads folder (as .png file) your original script text is embedded inside this file – simply drag-and-drop or import the file into the web app to retrieve your original script;
  • use the Share link on the upper left of the MakeCode editor to obtain an anonymized URL that you can use to later retrieve your encrypted script from the cloud; do not lose this URL, as it is the only way to retrieve your (unecrypted) script text

Editors and Languages

Touch Develop used a specially designed language particular to that project, as well as a specially designed editor for editing Touch Develop programs using touch interfaces.

MakeCode provides two code editors: a drag-and-drop block programming editor, based on Google’s Blockly and a text programming editor using the TypeScript language and the Microsoft’s Monaco editor.

TypeScript language, which is a superset of JavaScript; TypeScript compiles to plain JavaScript, a standards-based language supported on all modern web browsers. For more information about programming with MakeCode, see the reference material on blocks and JavaScript. These two ways of programming are common to every MakeCode editor.

The following material about the MakeCode game engine is subject to change.

Game Engines

Both Touch Develop and MakeCode have sprite-based 2D game engines, with some minor differences. Both include a simple 2D game engine with basic physics, sprites, sounds, scoring, and keyboard control.


The coordinates are the same. Positions on the screen are based on pixels. The origin of the grid is the top left corner (the x-axis is horizontal, the y-axis is vertical). Sprite positions refer to the center of the sprite, i.e., the halfway point of its width and height before any rotation is applied. Speed and acceleration are measured in pixels/second and pixels/second^2.

Unlike Touch Develop where the game size would vary with the screen, the MakeCode game engine supports a single 128x128 screen with a palette of 16 colors.


Sprites are 2D bitmaps that are drawn directly to the screen. While Touch Develop supported sound and image upload, MakeCode lets you paint your own sprites with a built-in editor. Here’s a simple example of creating a sprite:

In TypeScript, the image is rendered as text where each character is the index of the color in the color palette in hexadecimal (from 0 to f).

let sprite: Sprite = null
sprite = sprites.create(img`
3 2 2 2 . . . . 
4 3 2 2 . 2 2 . 
. 4 3 2 2 2 2 . 
. . 4 2 2 2 . . 
. 4 3 2 2 2 2 2 
. 4 3 3 4 3 2 2 
. . 4 4 . 4 3 2 
. . . . . . 4 3 


Touch Develop supports various inputs from mouse or touch. MakeCode restricts inputs to a set of 6 buttons: A, B and 4 directional buttons.

The keys event can be used to register code that runs when a key is pressed; or key state (pressed, released) can be queried in the game update loop.

Moving the sprites

Similarly to Touch Develop, you can set the position (x, y), velocity (vx, vy) and acceleration of any sprite (ax, ay) and depth (z). The physics engine will move the sprite accordingly. Unlike Touch Develop, sprites in the MakeCode game engine do not rotate.

Life and score

Similarly to Touch Develop, the game engine provides basic support for life and score management. The MakeCode game engine also stores a highscore but no cloud-based leaderboards are supported.


The game.splash block pops a modal dialog