Join Lynn Langit for an in-depth discussion in this video Using the Make Land tool, part of Learning Visual Programming with Kodu.
-Now that we've installed Kodu and played our first game, you're probably really excited to create your own world. And to do that, we're going to go to the main menu, and click on New World, and we're going to be presented with a blank new world for us to work on. Now, there's a lot going on on this screen, so let's take a minute to kind of look at what we see. You'll notice on the upper left, we have a view of the mouse controls that show us when we do various things with our mouse what will happen to the screen. It's really important that you direct your kids to read these, because they'll get really confused if they just randomly click things on the mouse, because when we're in different parts of the Kodu program, different actions on the mouse do different things.
And you'll notice on the bottom, we have a menu of choices. So we're going to start just by understanding these commands over here. So if I click and hold on the left mouse button, you can see I'm dragging my one square of terrain around. If I click and hold on the right button, I'm orbiting the camera, cause this is a 3D program. And if I click and hold in the center button, I'm scrolling in as I roll the button in and out. So these are three core commands in working with your Kodu world that you're going to be reminding your kids over and over and over.
So left button is move it around. Right button is rotate the camera. And click and hold the center mouse button and roll it, if your mouse has that, is zoom. You notice there is a tab Find Next Character, but we don't have any characters at this point. Now, you can proceed with Kodu a couple of different ways. And it's interesting, in the various Kodu resources, some of them are written very much, I think, for an audience that wants to only make adventure games, and you can do that with Kodu, and I'll show you how to do that, but one of the other things you can do is just create a fantasy world.
And I find in working with students that it gives a broader variety if we start with working with the land, rather than getting characters and having them fight with each other and that kind of stuff. So we're going to start by working with the land, and in order to do that, you'll see right now, we are on the hand, which allows us to move the land around. And I'm going to click on the button, on the paintbrush. And you'll see when I click on the paintbrush, it tells me what it's going to do, paint, add, or delete, and there's some sub-items up on the top to the left and to the right, and there's a whole bunch of menu items up over here.
So, again, kids don't want to read this, so you just want to point this out to them when you're working with them and teaching them how to make land. The most basic command is the left mouse button, paint and add material, but you can augment that with the Shift or Control buttons. You do have a delete, you have a change brush size, you can pick materials from terrain, you can snap to grid, move the camera around, and go home. So the first thing that you're going to want to do is you're going to want to pick a brush. So you click on the brushes, and the default is a square brush, so we're going to use that.
And then you select the type of land that you want to add. So you click on the types of land, and you have a whole variety of lands. Now, you'll notice, if you arrow back and forth through them, they have different colors, and they have numbers. The reason they have numbers is there is over 100 of these, I think there's 120, 140. And you can actually refer to them by number, programmatically, as the kids get more advanced. When they first start, they usually just pick on their favorite color, so I'm going to pick this blue. And so now, if I want to add land, I just click and hold, and that draws big squares of land.
So when kids are first getting started, you just want to get them used to the controls. But what I have done successfully with kids is once they get real comfortable with this, you can give them themes, or let them pick themes, like Spongebob world, racing world, hamburger world, and it's pretty amazing what even the youngest kids can come up with, if you give them a little bit of a theme, in terms of building their world. So I'm just adding land by clicking and dragging.
- Installing and starting Kodu
- Using the Make Land, Water, and Mountain tools
- Exporting and sharing files in Kodu
- Downloading and playing a game
- Adding objects to your game
- Programming object behavior
- Building paths
- Adding emotions and sounds to a character
- Creating advanced two-player controls
- Using the health meter
- Controlling sound