Army of two take Kodu Kup

  • TECH
  • Thursday, 14 Oct 2010

KUALA LUMPUR: A team of two secondary school students from the Klang Valley won Microsoft Corp’s inaugural Kodu Kup game design competition here.

Khong Yee Juan, 13, and Darryl Tan, 14, both from SMK USJ 12 in Subang Jaya, won a trophy, an Xbox 360 game console each, two HP 5102 notebook PCs and Office 2010 Home & Student software.

Their winning entry was Kudo and the Army of Darkness, a story-driven game centred on a character named Bruce who must help a magician save his world, in another dimension, from monsters.

“It only took us about two weeks to familiarise ourselves with Kodu Game Lab — the programming platform on which the game is built,” Tan said.

Kodu Game Lab is Microsoft’s game creation tool that uses simple words and visual cues to help users develop games. The users do not need to learn a programming language.

Once the user finishes creating a game, he or she can upload it to the Xbox Live Marketplace for others to play. However, this Xbox Live service is not available in this country because the Xbox 360 is not officially sold in Malaysia.

Tan and Khong, who are cousins, said that it was through trial and error that they learned to use the Kodu Game Lab interface.

“The ideas for our game comes from playing many other computer games, although DotA (Defense of the Ancients) is our main inspiration,” said Khong.

“Our game is currently limited to single-player mode, and we intend to add a multiplayer component to it.”

Both aspire to be game developers in the future and intend to sell their products in the mass market.

Other schools that competed were Tunku Kurshiah College in Seremban; SK Taman Putra Perdana in Puchong; SMK Taman Bukit Maluri in Kuala Lumpur; SJK (C) Ladang Harcroft in Puchong; and SJF (C) Chiao Nan in Penang. All in all, 120 students took part.

Several teachers also competed by showing how Kodu Game Lab can be used as a teaching tool.

Zainuddin Zakaria, 44, and Nurul Aishah Hassan, in her late 20s, from SMK Taman Bukit Maluri, won in this category and went home with a HP 5102 notebook PC, as well as a copy of Office 2010 Home & Student, each.

“We conducted an English lesson with a group of students, and had the students play a game created with Kodu Game Labs. We found that they better understood the lesson after playing the game,” said Zainuddin.

Nurul Aishah said the game helped make the lesson easier to remember for the students.

She said Kodu Game Labs has helped change the perception among teachers that videogames are time wasters, and that they now see the potential of such games to be an educational tool.

SMK Taman Bukit Maluri plans to go on using Kodu Game Labs to develop classroom lessons, she added.

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