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Brier Dudley's blog

Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

June 23, 2009 at 11:48 AM

Confirmed: Microsoft “Kodu” for Xbox launch, plus the two-minute shooter

Microsoft’s finally releasing it’s very cool new “Kodu” game-building tool. for the Xbox on June 30.

It’s going to be sold for $5 or 400 MS Points on the Xbox Live Community Games channel.

Kodu is set of tools that kids or anyone else can use to quickly and easily build games that play on the Xbox 360.

Microsoft’s began showing the technology, an advanced research project initially called Boku, last fall and highlighted at the Consumer Electronics Show in January but withheld release details. The company’s planning to announce pricing and specifics about its release later this week.

Lots of games nowadays let players customize and build new levels. Kodu feels like a game but it’s much more powerful. It lets you create games using just an Xbox controller, manipulating icons and customizing characters, play and terrain. A screenshot of a carousel for selecting actions:

kodu.jpg

Kodu’s actually a new visual programming language that introduces programming concepts to kids, while making it easy for them to build their own Xbox games. I wouldn’t be surprised if older players get into Kodu as well, especially if Microsoft adds ways for people to share and perhaps even sell their Kodu games.

Inspiration came from tools such as the HyperCard program that Apple released in the late 1980s, according to Matthew MacLaurin, a Microsoft researcher behind Kodu. He worked at Apple from 1988 to 1994.

After MacLaurin demonstrated the system recently in Seattle, showing how easy it was to build and customize a racing game, I challenged him to build a shooting game in two minutes or less.

He did, producing a flying saucer shooting game with a balloon boss and rockets that leave realistic smoke trails:

[do action=”brightcove-video” videoid=”24579684001″][/do]

Comments | Topics: boku, Education, Games & entertainment

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