Microsoft fancies a bit of that LBP Action with Boku (now Kodu)


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peej
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As covered on a front page near you

Looks like Microsoft fancy the idea of their own massive games-creative community. So far this looks blimmin' good from the footage. Not really as LBP like as I expected, but you can see where the idea came from.

Could be a goodie...

#1 at 09:15:45 - 04/11/2008
Trip SkyWay
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There's an interview with XNA community manager on this weeks 1up FM podcast where she talks briefly about this. Sounds like an interesting idea for a learning tool.
#2 at 01:59:41 - 06/11/2008
Trip SkyWay
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Bit more on the Microsoft research site. I think it looks like a great idea. Not 100% on the 3D art style but could be a fun toy.
#3 at 05:51:40 - 15/01/2009
peej
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I think it needs to have a quirky art style. I think that's largely what "sells" (or rather, doesn't sell) LBP. It's got a style of its own that successfully seeps through and merges nicely with Sony's other top brands (whether we want them to or not. Still not exactly sure why you need a MGS LBP jobby, or for that matter a Kratos sackboy).

I will be keeping an eye on this though. If I can make some sort of pervy Zaxxon clone I'll probably be happy for a week or two.
#4 at 08:54:08 - 15/01/2009
JimJam
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peej said:I think it needs to have a quirky art style. I think that's largely what "sells" (or rather, doesn't sell) LBP.


The one problem I have with Microsoft is that generally when they decide to 'borrow' something like this it ends up getting designed by commitee. It'll end up looking very slick I'm sure, but stuff they do like this often ends up with very little soul.

I'm sure LBP's style was probably designed more like that than I realise, but that 'home crafts' style has genuine charm.
#5 at 08:59:56 - 15/01/2009
peej
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One thing it will absolutely positively need to do is be absolutely positively piss easy to use. I know people whine and moan about LBP's fiddly creative tools but with a few minutes of mucking around you can make something that does something, even if you just diddle around with a pre-made template and stick your own bits in it.

My concerns with Kodu is that it sounds a bit too code-intensive. There looks like a LOT of menus to wade through, and it's all got this horrible PC-Game-Devkit look about it, no quirkiness or character at all.

I could be wrong. We could all end up loving it to bits. But I don't think it'll end up being compared with LBP fairly.
#6 at 09:11:44 - 15/01/2009
Trip SkyWay
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I think its bland looking 3d backs up the research project label it was given. It's been positioned along side community games as a learning tool isn't it?

Sounds to me a to be a bit more free in actual gameplay control than LBP which could be cool.
#7 at 09:15:29 - 15/01/2009
Trip SkyWay
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peej said:
My concerns with Kodu is that it sounds a bit too code-intensive. There looks like a LOT of menus to wade through, and it's all got this horrible PC-Game-Devkit look about it, no quirkiness or character at all.

I think I read that that's the point of it though, a tool to teach people about logic in games, another tool in the XNA program. It really hasn't come across to me as a LBP competitor.
#8 at 09:20:24 - 15/01/2009
peej
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Yeah one of the things that LBP is seriously missing is a little more flexibility.

F'r instance I wanted to make a nasty thing that follows a set path, not a linear "along a platform between two lights" type of thing but doing some proper pathfinding.

Knowing that LBP uses "physics" (or at least does a fair job of pretending to) I came up with the idea of making a small rubber circle that runs between two flat tracks, mounted on a wall so that - given a steady hand - I could make a "train track" style path, slap an object attached to that rubber circle with a motor bolt, and have it motor its way round the track.

On paper - fine, great idea. In practice, the motor bolt just sat there spinning despite being put together correctly, and did nothing. So there you go, no pathfinding in LBP.

Pity really - there are times when it's perfect for unleashing your imagination, but only within its limitations. You have to learn to work with what you're given. Kodu at least looks like there's a lot more freedom and perhaps more options to produce proper "gamey" style games rather than platformy type stuff.
#9 at 09:23:57 - 15/01/2009
nekotcha
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I've not spent much time with LBP but as TripSW suggests, it seems like this is aimed at a slightly different (more technical) market. I think you could probably make a wider variety of game types with this but it would likely have a steeper learning curve. Hard to know more though because there's so little information at present.

As for whether it could be popular, don't underestimate the fact that MS can distribute this to the PC userbase as well as the 360 market.
#10 at 10:50:08 - 15/01/2009
peej
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I think what would make it a runaway success would be to allow people to instantly share content they've made in it with their friends AT NO COST. Like LBP's community, have it moderated and include some clever user feedback stuff. A lot of work but it's pretty much going to be the only way this gets broad acceptance.
#11 at 12:30:33 - 15/01/2009
duncan
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If they make it truly cross platform ( PC and 360 ) as well.

So you can design and play levels on both then that could drive a huge community.
#12 at 16:31:31 - 15/01/2009
peej
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Yes indeed.

Regardless, I can't wait to see what people do with it. Same as with LBP, the actual in-box product and examples might not be great but people who are into the more creative side of gaming can produce some stunning results with stuff like this, so let's hope somewhere out there someone'll manage to come up with something that puts half of the XBLA to shame.
#13 at 16:39:00 - 15/01/2009
Syrok
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Out today. Anyone care to tell me what it is like? :)
#14 at 12:41:46 - 01/07/2009
peej
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Syrok said:Out today. Anyone care to tell me what it is like? :)
Would if I had it! I'm genuinely interested in doing a bit for here on it but I take it that it's just a download and not a boxed product
#15 at 13:08:29 - 01/07/2009
peej
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Alrighty then, had a quick look at Kodu last night.

First off, comparisons with LBP are entirely unjustified and any reviewer / feature writer who mentions them in the same sentence is basically being a lazy bastard.

It's wholly reminiscent of an old Spectrum / C64 game creation suite by Melbourne House called H.U.R.G (always had a giggle about that name). A limited set of logic instructions can be applied to gameworld objects (stuff like "if you see this, go towards it, if you see that, run away from it")

The demo is time limited (DOH! Imagine if the LBP beta had been limited to 20 mins of creation!). The user interface is horrible and the way the creation tools work is pretty haphazard and inaccurate. It's just such a faff to get from one part of the system to another.

Making a game world is a bit like raising / lowering the terrain in Populous. You can create high / low areas, bodies of water, air, walls etc.

Given the constraints of the trial version I'd be surprised if anyone manages to make anything with it. In fact for 400 points it's one of those "leaps of faith" jobs that you will either fancy taking or not, depending on how creative you are.

But it really isn't LBP-like. Not even a tiny bit.
#16 at 10:14:53 - 02/07/2009
Syrok
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Aha, thanks peej.
The interface looked very complicated in the presentation. Not sure why they said it could be used easily by kids.
Still I would like to give it a try myself.
#17 at 11:55:12 - 02/07/2009
peej
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I can't see how kids would be able to cope with it, though it does a nice job of leading you by the nose with a tutorial that sort of points you in the direction of your first few instructional bits. It's like a mini game in itself.

Annoyingly though, you just get that figured out and the thing times out.

It's about 3.49 and I'm tempted to just grab it on a whim but I think I need to know a lot more about what it's capable of and what its limits are. It already seems to have a bit of an object cap (probably to stop the instruction menu choices turning into a nightmare of multiple-clashing objects).

If you can custom-drag in your own textures and make your own models in it, it might save itself. Just.
#18 at 12:43:06 - 02/07/2009

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