“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

  • i understand sony wants to create a hype or demand for this game but the way they have done all this beta thing is really embarrassing , why you give 2,000 keys to a lot of websites when you can do it in the OFFICIAL little big planet news site? heck they could have done it even here, theres a lot of people that sent in emails and they dont even have a ps3 , nonsense if you ask me, i have never complaint before but i had to do it this time, heck lamespot was supposed to sent out the email last friday and today is wednesday and guess what ? yea no emails yet , i hope sony doesnt to the same with killzone2 beta or GOW3 demo, this is ridiculous

  • I’m astonished more and more each day! I have my Nariko pre-order and cannot wait. I wish my new shedule would start a week early as it will allow me to have every Tuesday and Wednesday off. Perfect, two days off for every new release. Too bad the PS store isn’t updated on Tues instead of Thursday.

  • @51: I’m fairly disappointed myself. I’ve pre-ordered the game, but I can’t get into the beta.

  • Good job guys. You are an inspiration to many.

  • this is great

  • “What I want to make clear here is that none of us are video game designers” Well you are now cause you created a fantastic level with tight limitations using Little Big Planet’s level creater tools. Good job.

  • Thanks for the great post and letting us all know more about the experience of creating a level for LittleBigPlanet. I’m looking forward to playing it one day.

    Any thought of your team creating more levels down the road?

  • Great looking level. I’m looking forward to trying it out!

    Its so amazing what can be done with LittleBigPlanet. I think we’re going to see some really cool things. I truly believe that LittleBigPlanet will be the game that keeps on giving. :)

    DF2506

  • I was wondering if you guys would publish this level, I wanna have a go at it!

  • I love the BETA, i got mine from a German site days late. If you read the original posts from the Beta announcment, you could follow my way of getting one. Of course that was a week ago… Any way the Demo is awesome. I have been waking up at night with ideas to finish out my Indiana Jones Level (The Hutus are close)

  • I already think about that… but ..
    need a creation more simple to pratice.. and all things of the game… xD

    My level.. WWE- Sackstars.. (because i was watching WWE when i create the level….)

  • I can’t wait to play this! You guys keep up the awesome work!

  • HEY EVERYONE!

    My first LBP level is almost done!

    check it out!

    psn id FritoZ

    :)

  • Now g4tv is giving away 2000 keys! Yeah! Too bad it’s if you submit your email and they pick you. And the site is slowing to a screeching stop atm.

    Man, I hate LBP more and more with all this stupid beta crap. Just release a damned demo. Stop leaving people out.

    I’m just pissed atm. But I still won’t buy this game EVER! Because of this beta crap.

  • @53 EvoAnubis, i’ve preordered socom(which i was supposed to get access to the beta through Qore and guess what!!!!! never got my email code), motorstorm pr, lbp and R2 collectors edition( which i doubt im gonna have premier access to the beta as i was told) but the thing i dont understand is why they handled lbp beta keys the way they did, is beyond me man, the proper way to do it is trough the official lbp news site or even qore but its done already , the only thing i ask sony dont mess up GOW3 plz

  • @21 Kunal Patel

    lol, tripple posting!

  • I want Lara Croft Sackgirl

    :D

  • I don’t know, but it just dawned on me. “Legos for a new generation” just fit perfectly in my mind as a characterization for LBP, like finding that one damn lego piece you’ve been rummaging for in the masses of all those lego pieces.

  • I hope this level is available a long time and not only the first weeks like the spacesuit sackboy.

    Can you (or anyone who has played LBP) tell us if there’s a rating system for the user created levels? And is Media Molecule going to develop more levels after releasing the game?

  • How about EUROPE? We never got the PJ Monsters soundtrack..

  • oups sorry wrong thread

  • BRILLIANT! I love your team’s creative use of sound! And the whole moving monster thing… I TOTALLY posted a suggestion on that one! (lol SCORE FOR ME!) But, from what I’ve seen on various videos and things, you guys did an AMAZING job!!!! I can’t wait until me and my buddies get our hands on the game… (ooh… I can only imagine the possibilities!)

  • Great post! I loved reading it. I would read articles written by everyone who was involved in the 24-Hour Game Jam if they were available.

  • I’ve been searching for an answer to this question everywhere and can’t seem to find one: will it be possible to play online and offline multiplayer simultaneously? (2 or 3 people on one local console playing online with someone else?)

    If anyone knows, please tell me!
    Thanks

  • well i dont know about the others here but i can wait for the full game when it come out. i dont care if i get the bata or not , i know this is a great game i dont need to play a bata to tell me that. i been waiting for this game for over a year and i can wait for a few weeks who care about the bata.

  • what happen to the video I came back to look at it again???

  • I Don’t care for this game but shadow of the colossus 2 ?

  • Pretty amazing level!!! The only issue I’ve found thus far, is that you have to completely restart the level if you don’t jump off of the horse soon enough & fall down to the spikes below. If that happens it puts you back at the last checkpoint, but the lift never comes back down & you’re stuck.

  • man…a shadow of collosus 2 on the PS3 would be EPIC. long overdue.

    or just another team Ico game period.

  • Hey dude.. did you go to Clifton High School in Clifton, NJ? I think I know you..lmao!

  • the6one……

    PS4 needs to be just like be PS2! It doesn’t need to be a carbon copy of PS2 but rather it should incorporate everything that made the PS2 a hit and the best selling console with over 140 million plus in sales. Secondly, PS4 needs to scream fun and adventure as opposed to being superior and technologically advanced. PS3 is a great console and should do well over its 10-year life-cyle but PS4 will and should serve mainly and at this point only as a games console with our brand of computer entertainment. Playstation brand controls have proven the test of time but now it is time for something new, different, and innovative from SCEI. I believe in PS4 and that the system should strategically launch sometime in late 2010. If not 2010, definetly in Spring 2011. Let’s beat the beast Microsoft to market. As for as current plans, continue to produce both 1st party and third party on the PS3 as well progressing through our online strategy for HOme, LBP, and other MMO’s. PS4 should not be an evolution but rather a separation from PS3. It should be more user-frienldy and less tech savvy. Hope everything goes well with the development of the new platform of Playstation brand of the future Signing off…..

    the6one……

  • The game allows mapping to controllers!!!!!!!! why doesn’t every multiplayer game do this? Good job on the levels, major props to you!

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