Mr. Boo is really into making games. While he occasionally makes board games out of Lego, or by drawing on paper, his favourite medium is video games. We’ve recently started this amazing course by Youth Digital called 3D Game Design, but before that Mr. Boo used to satisfy himself by designing new levels in Little Big Planet 2, a sandbox game with beautiful graphics, played on the Playstation console (other favourite sandbox games include Minecraft and Garry’s Mod).
This past week, Mr. Boo gave me a tutorial on how to create levels in LBP2. He made a rudimentary level that involved getting past a sackbot (the LBP2 version of a minion) and then battling a giant robot by shooting it with a paint gun.
I was really impressed by the degree of programming knowledge he has picked up by working with this platform. The “controllinator” function looks a bit like a circuit diagram, and there are definite logic functions involved in assigning movement, features, and other aspects to your game.
For example, to create the giant robot shown in the photo above, he first sculpted the figure. Then he added a “health meter” and attached it to a counter that registered a decrease in the meter with each hit by the paint gun. To do this, he had to add a function that detected each hit with the paint gun and conveyed that information to the meter. Finally, he had to program the robot to dissolve (destroy) when the health meter ran out. I was amazed to see how easily he accomplished this. While the tools in LBP2 are wonderful and easy to use, the fact that he understood all the steps involved, and without having to run through the scenario several times to determine what was missing, really stood out to me. He’s clearly had a lot of practice with this platform, and his level of knowledge was impressive.
I think he is off to a great start as a future game designer!
Here is a very short video demo of his robot boss being defeated by the paint gun.