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

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

by James F. Kelly


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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

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780789750761
Publisher: Que
Publication date: 05/09/2013
Pages: 504
Product dimensions: 6.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 13 - 17 Years

About the Author

James Floyd Kelly is a technology writer with degrees in English and Industrial Engineering. James has written on a wide variety of topics, including LEGO robotics, open-source software, and building 3D printers. James is a DIYer—a tinkerer and a maker who enjoys learning new skills whenever possible. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with his wife and two young boys.

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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Kodu for Kids: The Official Guide to Creating Your Own Video Games 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
And i am the 2nd person to rate it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Second the best.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
First to write a review.