21 May 2010

LittleBigPlanet 2, a platform for games

Developers Media Molecule says it best; LittleBigPlanet 2 isn't just a platform game, it's a platform FOR games. Taking the original LittleBigPlanet and giving you even more freedom, the sequel is set to bring out the mods in us. It's also a great replacement for Logisim.

From the trailer, and some information glossed from various sites, it seems that the camera can be changed to a top-down perspective. This really changes a lot of things as the prequel has only 3 planes of depth. I suppose this perspective must be set when creating the level and cannot be changed in-between. So side-scrolling levels will still have 3 planes of depth, while the top-down levels might have 3 planes of verticality.

You will also be able to build AI bots, with a tool they are calling Digital Puppetry. These bots will be programmable, and can even be controlled directly by jumping into them, like in Metal Slug. The potential is almost limitless. Think of all the different types of enemy or friendly AI bots you can program! Or all the ride-able objects you can create! Tanks, planes, helicopters, horses, dinosaurs, cars, Megan Fox!

Some hardcore programmers are going to scoff at the limited options for customizable AI. There's never enough! So Media Molecule decided to include circuit boards in this game. And I do mean circuit boards in the literal sense. Using logic gates and complex wiring, you can create your own multi-core processor that rivals Intel's and AMD's current lineup. OK, I kid. This thing probably can't do cache. Basically, these circuit boards in LBP2 are gonna allow you to shrink those giant logic monstrosities into tiny packages. Now your little Sackbots can calculate the probability of dying with an in-built calculator and decide to commit seppuku before you jump on them.

The feature that I'm most interested in however, is the Direct Control Seat. This allows you to completely remap the controls. For example, you could create a real time strategy game where pressing triangle selects all units. X for movement. Circle for attack. Square to stop. L1 and R1 to cycle through units. L2 and R2 to cycle through buildings. Directional pad to select groups of units. You can see that I've been thinking a lot about it. Really, the possibilities here are endless. RTS, RPG, shooter, racing, sports; you can create anything because now you can dictate how the game controls.

Other notable points include the ability to play everything that was created (or bought) in LBP1, movie mode (record with a movable camera, changing angles, zoom, pan, sweep, fade-in, etc.. and possibly do some simple editing, before adding it to your level), custom voice acting (record your own voice for the movie mode or for the AI bots and various sounds in your level), and keyboard and mouse support. Check out the announcement video below~

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