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Kodu for Kids: The Official Guide to Creating Your Own Video Games

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Kodu for Kids: The Official Guide to Creating Your Own Video Games


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  • Copyright 2013
  • Edition: 1st
  • Book
  • ISBN-10: 0-7897-5076-7
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-7897-5076-1

Ever wanted to create your own video game? With Microsoft’s Kodu, you can.  It’s fun! And while you’re having fun, you’ll learn incredible problem-solving,  programming, and game design skills as well.

Kodu is a simple visual language that’s just for games, and you’ll be  amazed at just how much you can do with it. Yes, you! It’s perfect for people  who’ve never programmed before—whether they’re 8, 18, or 80. Kodu for  Kids teaches you all you need to know to create great Kodu games that you  can share with the world!

Don’t just read it! See it! New online videos show you what to do!


  • 1-Player Shooter
  • 2-Player Competition
  • Mission Quest
  • Side-Scroller Experience
  • Learn how games really work
  • Master Kodu’s easy tools, controls, and programming
  • Imagine your quest and plan your game
  • Script a great story
  • Create your characters and make them move and talk
  • Invent and build new worlds
  • Design weapons, targets, and objects
  • Build enemies and make them fight
  • Add amazing sound, music, and special effects
  • Set up multiple players, levels, and points
  • Discover expert tips and tricks for better games
  • Make everything work together
  • Share your games with players all over the world

Sample Content

Online Sample Chapter

Build Your Own World with Kodu: Moving Mountains and Painting Terrain

Sample Pages

Download the sample pages (includes Chapter 6 and Index)

Table of Contents

Forewords     xi

Acknowledgments     xiii

Introduction     xvii

1  Get Kodu: Download and Installation     1

Downloading Kodu     1

Installing Kodu      4

Checking Whether Kodu Installed Properly     7

Adding a Game Controller     8

Moving On     10

2  Explore Kodu Game Lab: Basic User Controls and Tools     11

Opening the Kodu Game Lab     11

Navigating a New World     14

   The Tools     15

Objects     22

   Placing Objects on the Terrain     22

   Changing an Object’s Characteristics     25

   Rotating an Object     29

Moving On     31

3  Take a Test Drive: Controlling Objects and Terrain     33

Programming an Object to Move and Jump     33

Taking Rover for a Spin     45

Adding More Terrain     47

   Changing the Terrain Color/Material     51

Save Your Progress     54

Moving On     55

4  Missiles Locked and Loaded: Adding Targets and Firing Controls     57

Adding Nonmoving Obstacles     58

Making Objects Disappear     60

Here Come the Missiles     67

Changing a Game Setting     70

Having Fun with Settings    73

Save Your Progress     75

Moving On     76

5  Player 1 Versus Player 2: Adding Players and Awarding Points     79

Basic Game Elements     79

Keeping Score     80

   Configuring the Scorekeeping     81

   Awarding Points     85

   Testing the Scorekeeping     88

Creating Different Point Awards     89

Adding a Second Player     95

Moving On     101

6  Build Your Own World: Moving Mountains and Painting Terrain     103

It’s Not All About the Objects     103

The Ground Brush     105

   Changing the Brush Shape     107

   The Magic Brush     113

Mountains and Molehills     115

   Brush Shape Options     117

   Smoothing or Roughing Terrain     120

Much More World Building to Come     122

Moving On     122

7  Difficult Targets to Hit: Increasing Game Difficulty and Path Following     125

Increasing the Difficulty Level     125

Where Did That Target Go?     126

   Random Movement     130

   Path Following     133

   Run Away!     142

Score Programming     146

Moving On     150

8  Dangerous Targets: Programming Enemies That Fire Back     151

Targets That Fight Back     151

Saucers Go Boom     152

Game Over?     161

Return Fire     171

Moving On     173

9  Grab That Power Up: Using Pages for More Complex Programs     175

Changing the Game Conditions     175

Game Changer 1: Put Time Back on Clock     177

Turn the Page     179

Game Changer 2: Decrease Smart Saucer Speed     181

Game Changer 3: Heal with Health Trees     191

Moving On     196

10  The Cameras Are Rolling: Camera Controls for Solo and Multiplayer Games     197

It’s All About Your Point of View     197

Strange World     198

Camera Modes     200

   Fixed Position     200

   Fixed Offset     206

   Free     210

In-Game Camera Changes     213

Moving On     219

11  Good Game Design, Part 1: Tips and Tricks for Better Game Programming     221

World Design: Tips and Tricks     222

Game Management: Tips and Tricks     231

Object Programming: Tips and Tricks     235

Moving On     244

12  Adding Conversations and In-Game Instructions     245

Add Fun Sounds to an Object     245

Chit-Chat Between Objects     248

Nontimed Conversations     263

Adding In-Game Instructions     266

Moving On     269

13  World Design: Creating Environmental Special Effects     271

Your World’s Terrain and Sky Color Effects     271

Do You Need a Breeze or a Hurricane?     277

Lakes and Rivers     280

Objects and Water     289

Moving On     291

14  Games Should Be Heard: Programming Music and Sound Effects     293

Adding a Game Music Soundtrack     294

Programming Background Noise for Your World     300

Adding Sound Effects     303

Using Sound Effects for Player Conditions     309

Moving On     314

15  Good Game Design, Part 2: More Tips and Tricks for Great Games     315

Better Game Programming     315

More World Design Tips and Tricks     316

The Maze     316

   The Stadium     320

More Game Management Tips and Tricks     322

More Object Programming Tips and Tricks     327

Moving On     334

16  The Role of the Storyteller: Scripting Cut-Scenes Between Game Action     337

Scripting a Cut-Scene     338

Adding a Camera     339

Scripted Conversation     344

Scripted Movement     348

The Second Conversation     352

Game Cleanup     356

   Hiding Scoreboards     356

   Making Sticks Invisible     357

Moving On     358

17  The Big Bag of Tricks     361

Programming Features You Might Not Have Discovered     361

Modifying Terrain Edit Speed     362

Controlling Score Visibility     363

The Great and Powerful Rock     365

Using Description to Hold Comments     366

Using Say Tiles to Hold Comments     370

Using the Inline Tile to Save Time     372

Using Multiple Game Controllers     374

Configuring Missile Control     378

Moving On     380

18  Join the Community: Online Help and Sharing Games     381

The Kodu Game Lab Website     381

   Home     382

   Worlds     383

   About     385

   Discussion     388

The Kodu Community Forum     389

   Creating a LiveID Account     390

   Posting Comments, Questions, and Answers     391

Sharing Your Games     397

Moving On     401

19  Good Game Design, Part 3: Giving Players a Great Experience     403

Giving Players a Great Experience     404

Game Design     404

Game World Planning     406

Game Rules and Objectives     409

Balancing Fun and Difficulty     414

Moving On     416

20  Sample Game 1: A One-Player Shooter     417

Game 1 Overview     417

Creating The Amazing Maze Chase     418

Programming the Game     423

   Programming Cycle     423

   Adding a Trap     427

   Adding an Enemy     429

   Ending the Game     429

Improving the Game     431

   Time Limit     431

   Enemy Chasers     431

   Keys/Quest Items     431

   Scoring     431

   A Cheat Button     431

   Two Players     432

   Devious Maze     432

   The Invisible Hunter     432

Moving On     432

21  Sample Game 2: Two-Player Competition     433

Game 2 Overview     433

Creating Blip Bam Boom     434

Programming the Game     437

   Programming the Rovers and Coin Creatable     437

   Programming the Saucers     438

   Programming the Kodus     440

Improving the Game     446

   Enlarging the Game World     446

   Imposing a Time Limit     446

   Adding a Super Recharger     447

   Using Power-Ups     447

   Encouraging Duels     447

   Providing Missiles     447

   Deploying Decoys     447

   A Game of Chase     448

Moving On     448

22  Sample Game 3: On a Mission     449

Game 3 Overview     449

Creating The Dune Treasure     450

Programming the Game     456

   How Power-Ups Work     456

   Program a Power-Up     458

Improving the Game     461

   Including a Wandering Boss     461

   Adding Healing Water     461

   Defeating an Unfriendly Saucer     462

   Using Mystery Power-Ups     462

   Creating Boss Minions     462

   Introducing a Super Boss     462

   Changing Terrain     462

   Adding Scoring     462

Moving On     463

23  Sample Game 4: The Side-Scroller Experience     465

Sample Game 4 Overview     465

Creating Octo’s Aquarium     467

Programming the Game     471

   Programming Octo     473

   Programming the Creatables     477

   Programming the Fans     478

Improving the Game     480

   Including Underwater Weapons     480

   Enabling Ink Clouds     480

   Introducing Healing Starfish     480

   Don’t Forget Music     481

   Getting There and Back     481

   You Sank My Ship!.     481

   Creating an Invisible Maze     481

   Using Depth Charges     481

Moving On     482

24  Closing Thoughts and Challenges     483

Consider All You’ve Learned      483

Where to Go from Here     484

A Challenge for You     486

Moving On     486

A  The Kodu Developers     489

Stephen Coy     489

Matt MacLaurin     490

Mark Finch     492

Michael Miller     493

Index     495

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