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Kodu – a free game making system

08 Dec

Microsoft have made efforts to introduce an educational game-makingĀ  system into their popular 360 Xbox machine. It is called Kodu. This is their intro paragraph…

Kodu provides an end-to-end creative environment for designing,
building, and playing your own new games. The core of the Kodu
project is the programming user interface. The language is simple
and entirely icon-based. Programs are composed of pages, which are broken down into rules, which are further divided into conditions and actions.
Conditions are evaluated simultaneously..

Initially I thought it was a purely Xbox effort according to this link.

http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/projects/kodu/

It has to be more general than that surely?

Kodu game maker

But on that page there is a link on the right hand side that points to a ‘free PC version’

http://fuse.microsoft.com/project/kodu.aspx

This explains in general terms what is is all about. I wanted to see some real-world examples and at the bottom of that page can be found a link

www.planetkodu.com

This takes you to the personal game-making efforts.

On that page I clicked on the first example of a real game called ‘Kudo Turismo’. It was only a 39kb download, so obviously there must be something else needed to support that code. And indeed there was. On the left hand side is a link called Fuse-Labs download which is a 184Mb msi download. The version I downloaded was 1.0.48.0.

I clicked on the msi file and it said I did not have the XNA Framework installed. It offered a link to download and so I clicked on that. The XNA install started and then it wanted to install Directx 9.0c components as well.

Do you ever get the idea that some software is a virtual Matryoshka doll? Each one requiring their own additional bits of software?

After all that, the KoduSetup.msi did install and played the .kodu game I had downloaded. It did hint heavily about the Xbox controls that would drive the game, although the good old keyboard arrow keys also did the job. The graphics and sounds are very good though.

So all in all – it did the job. But the caveat is that you must have the right environment installed on the PC network to support it… Directx 9 -> XNA ->Kodu setup.

If you want to enthuse your students in computing via game-making then perhaps the effort of setting up the right environment might be worth it.

 
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