New 'playground'-creation tool aims to bring game design to all ages

Microsoft unveils Kodu

Microsoft has unveiled Kodu, a new game creation tool for Xbox 360 and PC set for launch on the Xbox Live Community Games channel.

Kodu, originally called Boku, was developed by Microsoft research as a game building tool for kids, and allows people to create ‘playgrounds’ with programmed actors using just the Xbox 360 controller.

The visual, event-based programming system is based on real-world primitives such as vision, hearing and time to control behaviours. Programs are broken down into pages, which are further broken down into simultaneously-evaluated condition and action pairs.

According to Microsoft, the tool has been evaluated ‘for hundreds of hours by people from ages five to 45,’ to ensure that it remains accessible while providing enough flexibility for extended use.

“We’ve done everything possible to make sure that creating a Kodu playground is not only easy, but that it is also fun and engaging for people of all ages and backgrounds,” said Matt MacLaurin, principal program manager for Microsoft Research and lead Kodu designer.

“Since Kodu’s interface is intuitive and prevents common programming mistakes, we’re making it easy for everyone to enjoy the magic of game creation.”

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