For those of you that don’t know, FUSE Labs is also the home of Kodu Game Lab.Kodu is a complete 3D game development environment designed to let kids create their own 3D games.Kodu is built around a custom visual programming language that makes it easy for everyone to learn how to program.
The new version of Kodu includes lots of new features, here’s the highlights:
Touch is now supported as an input method. You can also build games that use touch to control your characters.
We have a bunch of new characters all focused on making water games. Heading the list is Octo. Like a real octopus he can squirt ink and camouflage himself.
Programmable control for some of the world settings: you can now change the sky color and lighting effects via programming. The transitions can either be instant or you can have them happen over time. Whatever works best for your game.
Programmable control of some character settings: you can change a character’s size or max speed on the fly now. Like the world settings you can control how quickly this change happens.
The focus on water characters isn’t by accident. We’re also announcing the Imagine Cup Kodu Challenge where the theme is exploring the relationships between water and people. This is a chance for game developers ages 9 to 18 to compete in a world wide competition. Oh, and the winners get some cash, too.
It feels good to be recognized, especially for something you’ve put your passion and hard work into. So when Arian Coffin of Wired.com wrote such wonderful praise this week about Kodu, we all had to take a moment and smile.
Ariane describes herself as a programmer married to another programmer, raising their 2-year-old daughter. She mentions how Kodu leaves room for a child’s creativity and bridges the gap between video game play and video game programming.
Kodu helps break a complex goal into manageable steps, and iterate on the design process. Our passion is to help children with critical thinking through logic and problem solving. We find these skills applicable to all academic subjects, business and personal relationships.
When we get such great feedback from a parent, we get to see our passion come to life.
Hannah Wyman, 11, who attends St. Anna’s School in Leominster, Mass., won the grand prize in her age group (9-12) for her video game, “Toxic,” in Microsoft’s first-ever U.S. Kodu Cup. In Hannah’s game, which is now available for free on the Kodu Game Lab site, a player must solve puzzles and collect coins in order to remove soot from trees, zap pollution clouds to clean the air, and convince friends to plant more trees, all in an effort to save the environment.
Tim Meek is a UK based educator and one of the founders of the innovative Kodudes program in the UK. One of his students made a remarkable Asteroids game in Kodu, complete with thrusters, shields and even smart bombs!
Not only does he demo his game, but spends time walking through his kode to show how he made it.
Game building tools like Kodu can extend well outside of traditional math and computer science disciplines. Our latest Kodu blog entry highlights some great work being done to promote literacy with young boys.
FUSE Labs works in partnership with product and research teams to ideate, develop, and deliver new social, real-time, and media-rich experiences for home and work.