Kareem and I just got back from New York City where we had been taking part in a really cool event at Parsons New School for Design last weekend. We gave 150 students, split into 19 teams, a PS3 with a copy of LittleBigPlanet, a truck-load of pizzas, an industrial sized vat of Red Bull and 24 hours to create whatever they liked using the game. One thousand bucks was up for grabs for the winning team, with five runners up prizes of $500.
We kicked things off at around noon on the Saturday, giving the students a presentation on how to create impressive stuff in the game with the minimum of effort. The emphasis was on SIMPLE, with Kareem and I encouraging the students to play to their strengths – they didn’t have to create a traditional game ‘level’, they could tell a story by building characters, animating them and making them speak with the magic mouth tool, or perhaps try and create a kind of visual blog post using images imported with the PlayStationEye camera. All very doable projects within the allotted time span of just 24 hours.
But did the students listen to us? Pfff, yeah right! Everyone wanted to create an epic playground level for the Sackfolk to explore, including those teams entirely made up of people who hadn’t so much as sniffed at a console before. So, when we left the students at 10:30pm I was unsure of what to expect on our return the following morning. Sure, there were a few levels showing promise, so I wasn’t concerned about the success of the event, but most of the teams were still getting to grips with how to make best use of the tools never mind getting down to the nitty-gritty of actually realising their level ideas…
Find out how things turned in part 2! <—————cliffhanger!