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Page history last edited by DustinWindsor 11 years, 3 months ago

We Love Kodu!

Students at West Ridge and Hill Country Middle Schools are finishing up their Individual Kodu projects. 


What is Kodu?

Kodu Game Lab is for building games! Kodu is a programming environment designed by Microsoft for Windows and the Xbox 360. Kodu enables you to build games using a series of visual elements in a rich 3D environment, without having to learn a single line of code.


The core of Kodu Game Lab is its intuitive user interface.

From the interface, you choose visual commands to determine the actions of the characters and environment, rather than having to type lines of code to build your games. Think of the commands as rules that the game characters and objects must follow.

In the example above, whenever the character sees an apple, they will move toward it. At the same time, whenever the character bumps into an apple, they will eat it.


What isn’t it?

While what you can build with Kodu is significant, there are limits to what you can achieve. Building games of expansive size with countless characters will tax the Kodu Game Engine. Luckily, Kodu has a built in indicator to let you know when you’re stretching the game engine beyond it’s capacity. A thermometer to the right of the screen indicates clearly whether your game is becoming too big to manage. If it is, it’s a simple matter of reducing the size of the game space, or removing peripheral characters from the game. That’s not to say that Kodu can’t be used for building games of surprising complexity! What you can achieve with Kodu can be surprising.


Where do I start?

  • Start simple

    There are a number of ways of approaching building a game, but our suggestion initially is to keep it simple. Our suggestion for your first attempt at building a game is to create a simple environment, and then program a bot (one of the characters you can place within the game) to perform some simple actions.

  • GDC 2009 review of Kodu

    In this review by GDC, make shortly after the release of Kodu in 2009, the compares discuss the basic principles behind the game.  

  • Get some inspiration!

    Watching what other users have created is always a great way to get ideas, and see how they have approached the game. There are many samples included with Kodu itself, plus there are many more available online. RPG Example and Space Dungeons are two examples to take a look at.

  • Download and edit

    Download some of the games already created on the Planet Kodu website. You’ll also want to try the dozens of games that come preloaded with the Kodu Game Lab software. Play the games, look at the way the characters have been programmed, and then try to replicate it in your own game.

Final Note: Kodu Game Lab for PC is still in Beta, but the most recent version has removed the majority of bugs, and is now considered to be a far more stable release.


Where can I download Kodu?

It is available for free at http://fuse.microsoft.com/projects/kodu. The download link is on the upper right side.

Depending on your system, you may also need DirectX 9Microsoft .Net Framework v3, and the Microsoft Game Studio XNA Framework. The Kodu installer will tell you if you need one of these additional downloads.


Our Class Assignments

Kodu Student Packet - The exercises that we go through in class

Kodu Final Project and Game Design Document - Both are due at the end of the unit


Code Examples, Demos, and Resources

Kodu Code Examples and Demos - Lots of basic examples and our in-class demos. You can also download the Kodu Cheat Sheet.

Planet Kodu Code Questions Forum - Great place to look for ideas on how to solve code common problems - countdown timers, etc


Links and Other Resources

Planet Kodu - Great resource for example games, programming challenges, and much more

Primary Kodu page at Microsoft Research

Kodu blog at Microsoft Research

Online Kodu Game Creation course (very in depth - a great place to learn more about not only Kodu, but good game design in general)

Kodu tutorials and help


Want to know more?

There are lots of other tutorials available on the Internet including:

Full Game Video Tutorial with Narration! – Generic Wars

Several Kodu video tutorials

There are also many, many video tutorials available on YouTube. Several are shown below (but there are lots of others). 

To view a tutorial, select one from the list and press Play (or simply click the video). To view the tutorials full screen, click the full screen button at the buttom of the video.


In order to view these tutorials, you must first download the Flash Player.


Kodu provides an end-to-end creative environment for designing, building, and playing your own new games. The core of the Kodu project is the programming user interface. The language is simple and entirely icon-based. Programs are composed of pages, which are broken down into rules, which are further divided into conditions and actions. Conditions are evaluated simultaneously.


The Kodu language is designed specifically for game development and provides specialized primitives derived from gaming scenarios. Programs are expressed in physical terms, using concepts like vision, hearing, and time to control character behavior. While not as general-purpose as classical programming languages, Kodu can express advanced game design concepts in a simple, direct, and intuitive manner.



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