“Shadow of the LittleBigColossus” Proves The Only Thing “Little” About LittleBigPlanet Is Its Name

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Hello everyone, my name is Kunal D. Patel and I am a graduate student in the MFA Design + Technology program at Parsons The New School for Design. I was also a member of “Team Good Sportsmanship,” which won the top prize in Parson’s LittleBigPlanet 24-Hour Game Jam. All of us – Zach Gage, Meejin Hong, Caiti McDaid-Kelly, and Subalekha Udayasankar have been humbled by all the positive press our level, “Shadow of the LittleBigColossus” (thanks to PS3 Fanboy for the name), has been receiving. When Sony asked us to write a post for PlayStation.Blog detailing our time with LittleBigPlanet, I jumped at the opportunity.

Our concept was to create a “living level” – a giant, walking beast that was always in motion, requiring players to move through different game environments and mechanics both inside and outside the beast. Imagine Shadow of Colossus, but taken to the next level through LittleBigPlanet. We knew it was an ambitious goal that would likely test our time limit of 24 hours and the capabilities of the game (or so we thought). In order to bring our concept to life, our team operated as a mini game design studio. We matched people’s backgrounds and talents to their task, and everyone had a role to fill in our production pipeline. Zach (New Media Art) and I (Architecture) worked on Level Design & Development, Meejin (Fine Art) and Caiti (Textiles) worked on all of the Drawing & Textures, and Subalekha (IT/Engineering) worked on prototyping the Gameplay Mechanics for all the different sections of the beast. What I want to make clear here is that we are not a professional game design studio, yet in 24 hours we were able to create a level that we are extremely proud of.

At the start of the Game Jam, Zach and I drew up a rough sketch of the beast on a giant whiteboard (image below) to help lay out the level. As soon as we stepped back to take a look at it, we started to worry, “Will the game even be able to handle all this?!” We intended to push LittleBigPlanet’s level creator to the limit, and surprisingly, even with all of our custom textures, we did not get close to using up our available memory. We thought we knew what the game was capable of, but once we dove into it, we realized we had only scratched the surface. Probably the best thing about LittleBigPlanet is that even if there isn’t a tool or feature for exactly what you want to do, with a little creativity you can find a way to make it yourself. This was a huge part of our concept – creating custom elements that were not in the game to showcase its potential, and create a unique and personal level we could call our own.

Team Good Sportsmanship's whiteboard

The PlayStation Eye was an integral part of our process, because it allowed us to photograph and capture all of the amazing drawings and textures Meejin and Caiti came up with, and to apply them to our beast. One of my favorite parts of our level is the animation that plays in the brain of the beast. While the Level Creator doesn’t have a way to directly import animations, we used the Eye to photograph Meejin’s hand-drawn frames and then pasted them around the edge of a circle. Add a motor bolt, a viewing plane, and viola! – a custom zoetrope. Another example is the heartbeat sound we created that players can hear as they run inside the beast’s heart. While there is no “heartbeat” in the game’s sound library, all we did to achieve the effect was stagger two switches with the built-in tom-drum sound. Using this principle, you could create your own beats or even complete songs if you are ambitious enough. The sky is literally the limit for what you can do in LittleBigPlanet (well, the sky in the game is infinite, so I guess there is no limit!).

For 24 hours of work, from 5 graduate students who never designed a level for a video game before, we are ecstatic with how our level turned out. Everything that we set out to accomplish in that first whiteboard sketch, we were able to complete, which is a testament to LittleBigPlanet’s incredible level creator. As I hinted at earlier, a lot of the details and gameplay ended up being designed on the fly as we learned more and more about what the game could do. Ever since the jam ended, all our group has wanted to do is get back to editing our level and playing LittleBigPlanet.

Personally, I see LittleBigPlanet as “Legos for a new generation.” When I was growing up, I could build anything I imagined out of Legos, and I see that same creative freedom raised to another level in this game. If 150 students could create what we all did in 24 hours, I am excited to see what the PS3 community will create once LittleBigPlanet is released. I’d like to thank Media Molecule for making such an incredible game. Kareem and Kenny’s advice, encouragement, and enthusiasm really kept us going in the final hours. I’d also like to thank Sony for sponsoring the entire event, PlayStation.Blog for giving us this opportunity, and to all the press and fellow gamers who have left us supportive feedback about “Shadow of the LittleBigColossus”. Please know that we are following and appreciate all the coverage we have received. I know I speak for ‘Team Good Sportsmanship’ when I say we are thrilled that you all will be able to download and play not only our level, but all the levels created during the Parsons Game Jam! We hope they inspire you to create bigger, better, and even more amazing levels!

Update:
Hey everyone, I just wanted to clarify a question that I’ve seen pop up in multiple comments. You will be able to download *all* of the levels created during the Parsons Game Jam when LittleBigPlanet gets released. There will be a special Parsons “world” online where you will able to view and download our levels, and Team Good Sportsmanship is already at work editing our level before the release! People are concerned that if our levels were built in the beta release, they would not be available at launch. However, we built our levels in the retail version of the game, which Sony was kind enough to provide us with for the Game Jam only. If you’re having fun with the beta, you will be blown away by the improvements and capabilities of the retail version, I know we certainly were!”

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80 Comments

2 Author Replies

  • Any news/post about LBP is always awesome to read.

  • coool, testing out the beta right now and loving every part of this game so far!

  • But beta codes would be better ;)

  • I really wish you’d stop making contests and registration processing to get beta codes. Just give me one ALREADY!

    I never get into betas, and i’m ALWAYS playing PS3!

  • cool are you create anymore levels based on games

    • We\’d love to develop more levels for LittleBigPlanet, regardless of whether or not they\’re based on games. We never thought of our level as a \”rip-off\” of Shadow of the Colossus, but thought about it more as an inspiration. People have already started making some incredible levels based on games, like Super Mario and Tetris, and it just goes to show you how limitless the possibilities are for LittleBigPlanet.

  • This is so sweet.. I’m really looking forward the playing the levels from the Parsons Game Jam…

    Anytime I think of what kind of level I could create on LBP, stuff like this blows me away and shows me how I could go so much more.

  • i was impress with the level you guys did.will we see able to ply the level when lil big planet launches.i heard all level that was made using the beta are going to be wipe clean and i would hate not to be able to play it.

  • nice job guys and girls cant wait to it come out so i can start havin fun

  • OUTSTANDING!!!!!! is what I have to say to “Team Good Sportsmanship”

    Sadly, your award winning LBP level wont make it into the next and release phase of the game [smile empty soul] If any level should make it is this one. I want to experience it because I’m a gamer, a LBP fan [for years now and the game hasn’t even come out yet] and a SoTC fan as well. I didn’t get a beta key for LBP, bit surely hope we get to play “The Shadow of the LittleBigColossus ^_^

  • Now thats really neat! Cant wait to get my hands on a copy of the game.

  • In the concept art:
    “Not Trogdor” lol

  • This level is amazing…..the fact that it was done in only 24 hours makes it even more amazing. Can’t wait to play it!!

  • I have seen that video like 5 times now and it looks better every time. Can’t wait for this game, I hope when the full game is release we can download this level.

  • This game is really starting to turn out to be everything I hoped it would. A few weeks ago I was actually worrying that the game wouldn’t deliver what was expected. It seemed like every game that had been overly hyped never truly delivered. I think this game will finally be everything the hype has made it out to be and more.

    The 21st can’t come soon enough.

  • i dont know which to pick: socom or LBP, ill probably get both but 1 i have to wait til christmas

  • I can’t wait for LittleBigPlanet! The possibilities are endless

  • grats. good work on your level. cant wait for this game to come out.

  • this is great stuff. When I years about the event I knew great levels where going to me created. I can’t wait to play the level greated by suck talented students. Great job guys!

  • @SevenFactors and @erico316

    Just want to clarify that this post (and, truthfully, every single article I have seen about the Parsons LBP Jam) states with clarity and certainty that you will be able to play this (and all of the Parsons Jam levels) via download when the game ships. Read thoroughly.

  • Amazing Job! Drool worthy even. I can’t wait to see al the amazing things that come pouring out of peoples brains.

  • Awesome level, how did you get to zoom the camera so far out during play, or was that in create mode?

    • The camera views that we showed during the presentation where it was really zoomed out were done in Create Mode just to give people a greater sense of the size of our creature. The game does have some great camera tools built in that allow you to adjust the size of your viewing window which you can incorporate into your levels.

  • CONGRATS on your win :-)

    Do you guys know if MM will update your level for the current build of LBP so we can all play it?

  • I hope that level is available to download when the game come out in 20 more days

  • Very cool, i also plan on using my ps3 eye toy to put many of my sketches and artwork into my levels.

    (airbrushing 15 years,drawing 25+ years)

    Creativity FTW!

  • grats, absolutely brilliant stuff

  • Incredible game.

  • I am very impressed with your level. I am currently enjoying the Beta myself. Hopefully they gave all of you at Parsons beta codes, too. I can’t wait to play the levels that were created during this contest.

    I don’t understand why folks don’t read the post or comments but FYI we will be playing this level and all the other one Parsons created on the 21st.

    Quote from above….”I know I speak for ‘Team Good Sportsmanship’ when I say we are thrilled that you all will be able to download and play not only our level, but all the levels created during the Parsons Game Jam!”

    Also, I heard the levels created during BETA will be available to the public at launch, too

  • I think I’m going to play Shadow of the Colossus again soon. It was such an amazing game- just absolutely detested the last Colossus.

    Thanks! :D

  • Great concept and awesome execution! Glad I’ll be able to DL this level when I get LBP.

    LBP FTW!

  • ————
    “The only thing little about LBP is the name”

    Don’t forgot that those beta keys are little too.

    ——————————-

  • I WANT THIS GAME NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    (via download preferably)

  • Congratulations on your level, it looks real good.

  • Great job on the level guys.

    I can not wait for LBP. Only a few days left.

  • GAMEPRO BETA CONTEST IS NOW LIVE! FLOOD THEIR SERVERS. I got my name in at least. Finally.
    I also hope that future beta giveaways are less stressful. Nice level, hopefully I get to play it. Also is it true that after the beta all the user created levels will be GONE?????
    Why is that?????

  • 24hrs… wow… I bet its really addictive…

    I can’t wait to start creating my own.

    Great job on the level

  • @35 THATPSPGUY

    That giveaway says you have to be a registered GP member. Screw that. Now I have to give my info and have another site to frequent to get a LBP beta invite? Way to go again Sony and your stupid beta ways.

  • Cool, nice job and congratulations. I can’t wait to play this level.

  • Awesome level. I’m also a fan of the Bloody Clowns level.

  • I am very impressed with what is being done now. To think that surface is only being scratched. I am so looking forward to see what else can be made when the game finally releases.

  • simply amazing! I wanted to recreate a shadow of the colossus level when I get LBP but it looks like you guys did all the work for me. Do you know if this level will be downloadable when the game launches? Also please MM bring some kind of LBP integration to the PSP. you already have my money for the PS3 version and you can bet you’ll have another sale if you release anything for the PSP. thanks guys and awesome work!

    peace,
    Lh

  • Nice work guys! Congrats!

    I like the sketches! Brings the engineering geek out of me!

    So can’t wait for this one!

    Are we going to get to DL and play this level?

    :P

  • cant wait to have this game :)

  • This game looks so amazing. Im already addicted. I just hope I win a beta code from gamepro.com, or x-play. I guess I wont know until tomorrow or for x-play friday-monday. And my b-day is tuesday so a beta would make an excellent gift for me. If I dont get in I guess Ill wait until the 21st for the game. WAY TO GO MM. Lets have a GUINESSIS and CHIPS over a game of LBP.

  • This is great. I’d lovev to see Sony release the PS EYE Tech Demo (Tanks) for the PS3.

  • My GOD this game is amazing. I have soo many ideas for levels that I can barely even study for the midterm I have in a few hours! I loved the animation you guys put in, it gives me a ton more ideas now! UGH I hope I get a beta key somehow!!! Great level, I cannot wait to play it myself and with some friends as well!

    And hey Jeff, any chance the blog will be handing out any more keys? :D I had to ask.

  • Nice level, looks challenging too!

  • wish i had game now, NOW i said!!!

  • Weird, I just watched Reign Over Me last night and it kept mentioning and showing SoTC :P

    VEEEEEERY nice level ;)
    Too bad I wont be able to play it :(

  • That was flippin awesome….
    A level in a level I guess….

    Gret work…
    Can’t wait for LBP.

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