Kodu Puts Children In The Driver’s Seat – Stories

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MicrosoftEntertainmentandDevicesDivisionPresidentRobbieBachwatchesas12-year-oldSparrowshowsoffherprogrammingskillsonthenewXboxLiveCommunitygameKodu。

Jan。

7,2009,LasVegas。

Koduisbuiltaroundagame-friendlyprogramminglanguagethatissimpleandicon-based。

Playerscanchoosefrom20differentgamecharactersincludingflyingsaucers,submarines,andaPacMan-likeKodumaincharacterthenuseaninteractiveterraineditor,abridgeandpathbuilder,andothertoolstocreatetheirowngameworld。

Playersalsohavetheoptionofusingpre-loadedworlds。

KoduisaproductofMicrosoftResearch,whereitwasdevelopedoverthepasttwoyearsbyprincipalprogrammangerdesignerMattMacLaurin。

Hisgoal:Createagamehisfour-year-olddaughtercouldusetobothhavefunandlearnsomethingaboutprogramming。

MacLaurinsaidheandothersontheprojectwerefansoftheLogoprogramminglanguage,whichwascreatedforeducationaluse,andbelievedtherewassomethingtobeaccomplishedwithitintheareaofprogrammingandgaming。

In2006,MicrosoftResearchteamedupwithGirlsInc。

andtheUniversityofSantaBarbaratocreateanafter-schoolKoduprogramtoaccuratelymeasuretheinfluenceeducationalgameshaveinthefieldsofmath,science,andcomprehension。

TheteamloggedhundredsofhoursofKoduresearchwithcreatorsfromagesfiveto45toensurethatitiseasyforbeginners,butmaintainsadepthofcontentforthosewhoaremoreadvanced。

Playersbeginbychoosingfromasetofalmost200visualbuildingblocksandthenuseanimage-basedcreatormenutobuildaworldbasedonphysicalactionandreactionwhenacharacterperformsanaction,thegameworldreactstoit。

Gamershavetheabilitytousehearing,visionandtimetocontroltheircharactersbehavior。

Thoughthegameisaimedatayoungerdemographic,peopleofallageshaveplayedandenjoyedKodu,MacLaurinsaid。

Wewantedtosharewithkidsthewaysinwhichprogrammingisfun,hesays。

Weconsideritagameandacreativetool,andIthinkoneofthethingsthatmakesitmagicalisthatitisboth。

KoducanbeusedandplayedoneitheraPCoranXbox360。

OnstageatCES,Bachhadhelpdemonstratingthegamefrom12-year-oldSparrow,whotestedthegameduringitsdevelopmentandisnowawhizatKodu。

ShebrieflyshowedabemusedBachhowtoprogramaspectsofagameshemadeup,andthentheyplayedittogether。

WhatIloveaboutKoduisthatIcandoeverythingmyself,saidSparrowassherapidlyandexpertlyprogrammedthegame,makingthekeynotecrowdchuckleatherspeedandproficiency。

ItsfasttobuildanddifferentfromtheothergamesIplay。

Icandocool,sillythingsinit!

SheandBachthencompetedinthesimplegameshecreated,whichinvolvedgatheringshinyrocksandtakingthemtoalittlehouse。

She,asthekidssay,pwndBach,beatinghimathergameinminutes。

MacLaurinsaidworkinginMicrosoftResearch,andtheentireKodu-creatingexperience,wasawesome。

Itsgreat。

Ivespentalotofmycareerinresearch,incubations,andcommercialprojects,hesays。

Somuchofthetimeyouhavetochoose(between)thethingthatsreallycuttingedge,orthethingthatsgoingtoship。

Thiscrossesoverboth。