The screen on a micro:bit only has 25 pixels in a grid of 5×5 so it can only display one character at a time. There are two main ways to display text on a micro:bit in python: you can scroll the characters from right to left or display a whole character one after the other:
Follow this step by step guide to turn a BBC micro:bit into a musical quiz buzzer: use it in class or at home whenever you feel the urge to work out who’s ready to answer a question first out of two teams / individuals.
This tutorial is designed for beginners with little or no programming experience in python but it’ll cover:
- Loops: repeating code with a while loop
- Lists: storing more than one piece of data in order
- Conditional logic: using IF statements to let your code make decisions.
- How to display text and images on a micro:bit screen
- How to detect if a button has been pressed on a micro:bit
- How to play music on a micro:bit with a speaker
Follow these simple steps to code your own version of flappy bird on the BBC micro:bit. This tutorial is designed for someone with little or no programming experience who wants to get started writing python code. You don’t need a micro:bit to follow this tutorial, but it’s more fun if you’ve got one.
The BBC micro:bit only has a 5×5 LED screen so the graphics on our version of flappy bird are going to be predictably poor. But that means that it’s not too difficult to write (my version has 82 lines of code including comments and blank lines)
Before we start:
Why Flappy Bird?
The original Flappy Bird is a really simple idea for a game that’s fun to play. By going through this tutorial you’ll learn how to understand / use the following in python:
- How to display text on the micro:bit screen
- How to use variables to keep track of score
- How to display images on the micro:bit screen
- How to scroll images on the micro:bit screen
- How to detect if the user presses a button
- How to keep part of your code looping
Python is a text-based programming language that’s designed to let you write as little code as possible that gets as much done as possible. There are other languages you can code a micro:bit with which are perhaps easier for beginners but once you’ve mastered the basics in python it’s much easier to create whatever you like – there’s no faffing around dragging hundreds of blocks together and using your keyboard to write code ends up being much faster than using your mouse / tapping your screen. The skills you learn in this tutorial will also help you with other python programming projects – not just those for the micro:bit.
Why the micro:bit simulator?
Testing your code on an actual BBC micro:bit is much more fun than running in in a simulator. You can use the BBC micro:bit site or the offline python editor mu to write code and send it to your micro:bit. Sometimes though, a simulator can be really useful:
- It lets you test the code without having to download the .hex file and wait for it to copy to the device
- It’s easier to find and fix errors
- It lets you run the code one line at a time