Uploading Games, Code from Makecode Arcade onto the Kittenbot Meowbit

Uploading Games, Code from Makecode Arcade onto the Kittenbot Meowbit

We have a few different development tracks at KidzCanCode which are focused on getting you started with programming the Kittenbot Meowbit. As part of these development tracks at KidzCanCode.com you will learn to work with the Kittenbot Meowbit board, learn how to create different games and even play those games on the Kittenbot Meowbit. All programming for the Kittenbot Meowbit will be done using Microsoft Makecode Arcade (https://arcade.makecode.com/). Microsoft Makecode Arcade is currently in Beta but has support for a number of different boards including the Kittenbot Meowbit. As part of the development tracks at KidzCanCode.com you will learn how to program games for the Kittenbot Meowbit using Makecode Arcade block based coding and also using Javascript.

What is Makecode Arcade – MakeCode Arcade has been designed by Microsoft as a web based code editor that can be used to create retro style games.  If you’ve worked with Scratch or even the BBC micro:bit you’ll find MakeCode Arcade relatively easy to make use. The games that you can create can be played both on the web browser and also downloaded to your Kittenbot Meowbit allowing you to play the game on the board when not connected to the computer or the internet. Makecode Arcade allows you to program the Kittenbot Meowbit using both blocks and Javascript.

What is the Kittenbot Meowbit – The Kittenbot Meowbit is a card-sized graphical retro game computer with allows you coding with Makecode arcade (Blocks, Javascript) including MicroPython. In other words, it can combines game programming, game design while presenting learners the opportunity to learn mainstream programming languages like MicroPython. The Meowbit is a card-sized graphical programming video game console designed for kids of all ages. You can pick up a Kittenbot Meowbit at the OzToyLib store.

Programming Games for the Kittenbot Meowbit using Makecode Arcade

Downloading Games to the Kittenbot Meowbit – Downloading games to the Kittenbot Meowbit is easy. Let’s walk through the process below.

Step 1 – We now need to make sure that our Kittenbot Meowbit has been booted into the “Bootloader” mode to allow us to upload code onto the Kittenbot Meowbit. Power the Kittenbot Meowbit by connecting a USB cable or a LiPo battery (either, not both) and power on the board using the toggle switch. The toggle switch is item number 3 on the image below.

The “Bootloader” mode is triggered by clicking on the “reset” button once (located on the right hand side of the board, adjacent to the screen). See the image below to identify the location of the reset button on the Kittenbot Meowbit. The Reset button is item number 5 on the image below.

Reset button – Item 5 on the image

Pressing the reset button twice might boot the board into a pre-loaded game. If that happens click on the “reset” button once again and it will bring you back into the “Bootloader” mode. Here’s what the bootloader mode should look like.

Meowbit booted into the bootloader mode

Step 2 – Head over to Makecode Arcade at https://arcade.makecode.com. Make sure you are done with all the programming required. Test your game out on the game simulator provided on the left hand side top of the screen. Make sure everything works as expected before you proceed to copy the code onto the Kittenbot Meowbit. Hit the “Download” button on the right hand side bottom of the Makecode Arcade page (as seen above) to start compiling and downloading the code.

Select the Kittenbot Meowbit

Step 3 – You should now see the a list of boards in front of you as seen above. Choose the “Meowbit” since we own a Kittenbot Meowbit and need Makecode Arcade to provide us a hex file (binary file) for the Meowbit. This should now take you to the next screen as shown below.

Binary Hex file being compiled for the Meowbit
Choose the drive that pops up after the Meowbit has been booted into the bootloader model

Step 4 – You should now see a dialog box asking you to write the binary game file to some disk. If you’ve followed all the steps until now you should now see the Kittenbot Meowbit show up as a new drive on your machine. Confirm the drive by opening up windows explorer and checking out the contents. Once you have confirmed what drive the Meowbit shows up as go ahead, select that drive and let the binary game file get written to the Meowbit.

Step 5 – Reboot the board by clicking on the reset button again and you should now see the game running on the Kittenbot Meowbit. You will need the USB cable connected to the Meowbit to ensure it is powered. You can also purchase a LiPo battery and connect it up to the Meowbit through the JST connector.

You can pick up a Kittenbot Meowbit at the OzToyLib store.

Go ahead and enjoy!!!!!!

So if you are keen on keeping up with the Digital revolution head and helping your kids gain the skills to move from being digital consumers to digital creators head over to KidzCanCode.com and checkout the 70+ learning courses we have on offer. Get yourself and your kids started on their own STEM learning journey right away!!!!!!

At KidzCanCode.com we offer FREE access to various STEM (Science, Engineering, Technology, Math) development courses at KidzCanCode.com . At KidzCanCode.com you will find courses on Scratch, BBC Micro:Bit, Arduino, Raspberry Pi, fundamentals and advanced Robotics, fundamentals and advanced Electronics, Web development, Mobile application development, Python development, 3D modelling, etc.

If you are looking for a BBC micro:bit, Arduino, Raspberry Pi, starter kits, electronics kits, robotics kits including other STEM learning kits we would recommend you drop by our online store here – <OzToyLib>.

Hopefully you have enjoyed the post. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for future tutorials drop us a note at – learning at hack2 dot live.

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