Part of the Beginner Game Programming in .Net series.
Kodu is a “new visual programming language made specifically for creating games”. I heard about Kodu back in 2009 but back then I didn’t have time to explore it. Kodu is game design engine designed like a game it self.
The advantages of using Kodu are:
- Really easy
- Fun: treat as a puzzle
- Can be played on XBox
- Doesn’t need Visual Studios
- Can be exported (and thus played on another PC)
The disadvantages of using Kodu are:
- Cannot be converted into a standalone application
- Not really .Net – implemented in .Net since it needs the XNA Framework but implementing games without a .Net language such as C# (disadvantage just because it’s part of the requirements)
Download and install Microsoft XNA Framework Redistributable 3.1
Download and install Kodu Game Lab
Open: Desktop –> Kodu Game Lab
Or: Start –> Programs –> Microsoft Research –> Kodu Game Lab
The best way to get started is to go over the tutorials, on the main menu click on Load World and start the First Tutorial:
and select Play.
This tutorial is just for making the Kodu move by your input. The controls are very easy and just made me remember a game I played as a kid: TIM (The Incredible Machine) but if in TIM the task to perform was predefined here you can just choose it.
Kodu is a game platform for interactions, it is fairly easy to program the Kodu into a shooter or a race. But add in logic and it starts to become tough.
There are no ifs, the objects are interacted by: Event => Action
So how do a Programmer programs Kodu?
Well… The first insight is that we have variables: the score boards! (we have 11 colors and 26 letters of scores)
Another insight is that there is a GOTO mechanism: switching the pages
There is even a compare of the score in the score boards – though it is of a const value…
I was actually not sure if a Tic-Tac-Toe game can be created in Kodu (since it is a game platform for interactions) but then I saw this video… And I was starting to think of implementing a Wacky Wheels instead…
How to create a turn based game?
The easiest way I found was using the Score Boards and pages:
Player 1 is with score 0 in the white score board
Player 2 is with score 1 in the white score board
Player 1: Plays and when his turn ends changes the score to +1
Player 2: Waits for a score of 1 all the while complaining about how slow the other player is:
When it’s Player 2 turn: He plays and in his end of turn subtracts 1
The player’s pages are complete opposites, player 1 will wait in page 2 and play in page 1 while player 2 will wait in page 1 and play in page 2.
How to create a winning logic?
If we had a matrix it would have been easy, just check for the winning conditions.
But we don’t have a matrix – we do have integers and can use them as score boards:
Each letter is a score board.
When player 1 plays he adds 1 to the variables he effects.
When player 2 plays he adds 10 to the variables he effects (I started out with subtracting 1 but then found out you just can’t check for a score of –3).
For example: Player 1 colors the spot in the top left corner. So he adds 1 to A, D, G.
We shall know that a player won when a variable has either 3 or 30, and from that we shall know which player won…
Checking for a winner is done by inanimate object like a tree:
And setting the winner:
To make it more interesting I made the players are moving really fast:
Classic winning move by the red player:
And the winner is:
Now I don’t consider Kodu a real programming Framework. This tutorial was done both because I wanted to try Kodu out for some time and to help my cousin. But it made me think because there were so many things that I have grown used to in programming like loops, variables and even real debugging (I had a bug while programming of switching to a non existing page and the program simply went back to the first page and that just caused an infinite loop).
It got me thinking of old games which is definitely a plus (and I might just come back to it just give a rebirth to Wacky Wheels).
So even if you are a programmer do give it a try because it will get you thinking in some strange ways. If you have kids (or cousins) try it out with them – it does make the brain work while having fun…
Keywords: Kodu, Game programming