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How to make a timer in Scratch using a variable

Sean McManus, author of Scratch Programming in Easy Steps and Cool Scratch Projects in Easy Steps, shows you how to add a timer to your Scratch game

One way to add an element of challenge to even the simplest of games is to add a time limit. A countdown on-screen and a rising sound effect can help to heighten the tension. My 10-block demo below does all of this for you. You can add it to any game to add a 30 second time limit, and can adjust the time limit to any number you want.

You can put this script on any sprite or on the background. If your sprite already has other scripts on it, add the timer script as an additional script on the sprite. Don't try to combine them, otherwise you're likely to slow your game down because of the 1 second wait in the loop here.

when green flag clicked / set variable timer to 30 / repeat 30 / wait 1 secs / play note 60 minus timer for 0.1 beats / change timer by -1 / repeat ends / stop all

How my Scratch timer demo works

  • You create a variable called timer. You need this to be able to show the countdown on the screen. I set the timer value to 30. You can make it shorter or longer.
  • The loop waits one second and subtracts 1 from the timer value. The number of times the loop repeats is decided by the initial value of the timer.
  • Each time around the loop, it plays a sound effect. The note is 60-timer, which means it gets higher each time around the loop.
  • When the time runs out, the stop all block is used to end the game. All the scripts on all the sprites are stopped by this.

See it in action

You can see my Scratch timer demo below. I added a moving cat, just so you can confirm that the script stops when the timer reaches zero.

Find out more...

Find more 10 block Scratch demos here. For more information on my Scratch books and more bonus content, visit the Scratch Programming in Easy Steps and Cool Scratch Projects in Easy Steps homepages.


© Sean McManus. All rights reserved.

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