Saturday, August 29, 2009

Build it first, then you can play

Another Kodu article found! GO GO Kodu!

"Whether you've had a lifelong ambition or recent passion to try your hand at making a video game, don't be put off by the multimillion-dollar budgets and legion of skilled minions most game projects require."

Read more at the link,
Build it first, then you can play.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Kodu or Die - Gameplay Footage

Here ya go - Spoiler Alert - if you wanna enjoy this game on the Zones, only watch enough to get a taste so that there are a few surprises in store for you.



Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Teaser Trailer

A fresh new video from yours truly! Enjoy.

Announcing ... Kodu or Die

Now playing on KoduZones #1 and #2 (#3 is being a pain right now) -- It's "Kodu or Die." 

More of an "experience" than a game, truthfully ... it's what happens when you spend waaaay too much time working on a complicated game mechanic and need a break.  So, instead, you create a new game centered on a very simple concept ... destroying your Kodu.  Flame throwers, Land Mines, Spinning Blades of Doom, Piranhas.  It's 20 levels of senseless violence committed upon a poor little Kodu.

It's actually a lot of fun - and definitely unlike anything else you'll presently find on Kodu.  I'll post some gameplay footage later on in the week, but until then keep an eye out for it on the KoduZones and let me know what you think!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Another Kodu review!

Another great Kodu review spotted over at Gamespotting.

Need I repeat! Magic I say!!!

More Tavishhill2003 goodness!

When Tavishhill2003 touches Kodu it's magic!

Check out this video montage 1 of 2 of Kodu worlds created by Tavishhill2003!!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Really Huge News (or really tiny news, depending on your POV)

Want big boss battles?  Want tiny cute little toy racers?  Guess what?  You can have it all!

In September, Kodu will be getting scalable characters!  Awesome!

Whoah - check out Boku (Kodu before it was Kodu) in 2007

Look at that ground texture ... look at that draw distance ... look at that real tree.

Hmmm ... does that mean some of that power is still under the hood?

Edge Online on Kodu

Great article, fascinating read.  Take a look.

From the first paragraph:
Microsoft’s Kodu Game Lab has been designed to make many things, the least of which appears to be money. Unless you were paying very close attention on July 1, or have since browsed the midsection of the Community Games channel, you probably didn’t know it was out, and might not even know it exists. If you did, and went one further by actually buying it, you’d have parted with a meagre 400 points (about £3.50, or half the price of the Rocky And Bullwinkle game). This must be one of the most muted firstparty launches in the history of Xbox.
Added bonus:  Tavish gets a shout-out.  Read the rest here:

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Awesome tutorials from Cracked Rabbit Gaming

If you need some koding assistance, check out the vids at CrackedRabbitGaming.

Here's just part 1 (of 4, plus he's got some other stuff up there) for you to check out.

Kodu Podcast

Community Kodu programmer Phrasz created his own podcast site. Swing by to check it out at

Seriously, I have no idea how he does this...

You know that game Mastermind that you played as a kid?  Board game, random colors, guess the right combination and you win?  It was hard as heck to beat it?

Now ... imagine programming it.  In Kodu.  With completely RANDOM gameplay that changes every time.  XX99 has somehow created a game that knows the colors you are choosing, knows if you have the colors in the right pegs (and wrong pegs), knows if you've completed the task or failed.

Sick koding skills.

Keep an eye out for STICK MASTERMIND on the koduzones.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Everything but the Stinky Shoes (Let's Bowl)

Phrasz made a pretty cool bowling alley -- an homage to a crazy-ass bowling show.  Definitely worth a look.

Some German Site Talks About Kodu Portal

So, if you know German, feel free to take a looksie:

According to Google Translate, the text that pertains to Portal translates into:

The project of 1halox is not entirely altruistic portal baptized, and has actually a similar mechanism as the model to offer. It is by far the both visually and playful with Kodu created interesting project to me so far has come.

I couldn't have said it better myself.

What if Kodu Games were retail games?

They would probably look a little something ... like this.

Portal and Polarity World get a coupla shout outs!

Pretty cool, pretty cool.

Cool Kodu Videos

The Kodu Blog posted these cool Kodu videos that you can find on youtube.  Lotsa talented designers out there (and I'm not just saying that 'cause Portal is one of the vids).

GlaDOS in koDU

So, Tavish made a GlaDOS the other day ... it's completely sick.

One day, I'll actually have to design a boss battle to this level, but I haven't had the time to put it together.

Until then ... enjoy the pretty visuals.

My Rules of Kodu Design

1. Write it down on paper first
    I always write down all of the gameplay mechanics on paper – and I write down the progression of learning those mechanics down as well. This way, I know if the game progresses at an even pace, and when to introduce new gameplay mechanics.

2. Build your basic game play first, THEN embellish
    (This does not hold true if you are like Tavish or OoOoMonkey – half of the fun of their games is exploring the awesome artwork). I always make my environments SUPER stripped down first, then embellish later. This will make sure you have all your core gameplay elements in place BEFORE you start dragging down your resource meter. Plus, when you’ve just sketched out the levels, it doesn’t feel as disastrous when you realize that it’s not working and you need to throw an element away. 

    In Portal, the original boss fight was going to take place over a giant COMPUTER SCREEN on the ground. I spent a whole night writing text commands on it in Pixel Art, adding the boss into the center of the room, throwing a bunch of turrets in … and then I realized that I HATED the gameplay. I deleted the whole thing, rethought the concept, sketched it out on paper, and then re-created it with much more focus.

    Now, to be perfectly fair, I design my games to feel minimalistic, so this advice won’t hold true for everyone. Sometimes you need to create the environment around you to see what gameplay emerges.

3. Pick a Perspective
    For me, the “free” camera option is the least desirable. I know, some people love it – however, it makes the gameplay overly complicated when you have to worry about the camera and the bot independently. The camera just doesn’t respond as well as it needs to. I would rather a fixed perspective or a fixed offset camera – this way, I just have to worry about controlling the character and not about whether or not the camera is going to get hung up on a wall.

4. No instant death scenario
    If the player can instantly die and see a GAME OVER message within the first 10 seconds of play, there really is very little motivation to continue exploring the world. Very few games benefit from the 3 lives and then it's over scenario. The game has to be extraordinarily well-crafted for the player to fight death repeatedly to find the end.

5. Spend time on a robust SPAWN system
    The toughest part of designing any game for me is usually the spawn system. I spend a lot of time making sure everything plays the way it should. In Portal, it was easy – a cloud was listening for the player – when it didn’t hear them for a few seconds, it would score a point that a ROCK down below would register and respond to. In Dual, it was a little tougher – I had 2 characters to keep track of, as well as a KEY object. More “What ifs?” What if one dies while holding the key? What if one dies while the other one has already passed through the door? What if both die at the same time?

    At the end of the day, the respawn system is without a doubt the most important gameplay mechanic I work on – it enables the player to roam, explore, and keep trying even when the going gets tough.

6. Limit the amount of buttons to control
    Kodu games are meant to be pick up and play. If someone doesn’t understand the controls in a few seconds, they will never make it through the game. You can, however, have more complicated controls if you:

7. Introduce new control elements and gameplay over time.
    In Portal’s progression, the gamer first learns to press A to teleport. Then, in the next stage, they learn how to fire their own portals. Then soon after, they learn how to make their portals launch further. Then, in a subsequent stage, they learn how to teleport WHILE the portal is in the air. Then they learn how to use the SAUCERS to transport wisps. Then they learn that BOMBS can travel through the portals.

    So … Gameplay mechanics:
    1 – teleport
    2 – launch wisps
    3 – launch wisps further
    4 – teleport through wisps
    5 - use saucers to transport wisps.
    6 – use bombs to fire through portals

    That’s 6 gameplay mechanics … imagine if you started the game with all of those abilities. No one would be able to comprehend them all and would quit out before they got to the fun stuff.

    The important thing here is that by slowly introducing elements, you are building trust with the player. They get to see that you have thought it all out for them, so that they will not get stuck on a huge bug or an unpassable task.

8. Don’t sit on it forever
    So, finally – get the game to a place you like it … and then get it out there. You can always post new revisions, expansions, etc. But to help the community grow (and to allow people to help you refine the gameplay) you need to release it and get ready to deal with the feedback. If you can get a crappy youtube video of your game up, even better. It’ll encourage people to spend the extra time to grab your game.

Kodu : Dual Gameplay

Not quite the latest version you'll find up on the KoduZones, but this one should give you an idea on how the game plays.  Pretty fun - you control both bots with the same thumbstick.

Kodu Portal V10 Gameplay

Here's the latest version of Kodu Portal gameplay.  Spoiler alert - this one features the boss battle and the ending.