LittleBigPlanet 2 beta community levels: Creators talk to CG

Following on from yesterday’s article we bring you more of our interview with the creator of Vietnam FPS, PPp_Killer. In today’s article however, we are lucky enough to be able to welcome a second LittleBigPlanet community creator to the discussion. You’ll also be hearing from dadrester, creator of Little Big Retro Arcade. First of all, however; PPp_Killer reveals how he was able to create an FPS in LBP 1 without the benefit of LBP 2 tools.

“The thing about the LBP 1 version was that it was not powered by the controlinator and movers. It was powered by rockets, and what I like to call a jetpack powered movement ball that your sackboy was in. Whenever you moved it would trigger rockets; but the movement was just too slow, and the frame would tend to go off on an angle. Those were my problems in LBP 1 and no matter what I tried I could not fix them. On top of that the gun was prone to jamming, and you could even accidentally flip the frame onto its side.”

But the LBP 2 beta allowed him to fix these problems?

“Movers fix the responsiveness issue, a gyroscope fixes the frame going off on an angle, and the new microchips without the possibility of breaking were used to fix the jamming problem. When I say jam, I mean the piston that was responsible for shooting would break. I couldn’t help that.”

The man known to PSN as dadrester made what is currently his most popular level, Little Big Retro Arcade, entirely from scratch in the LittleBigPlanet 2 beta. He tells us:

“To begin with I made a standalone single player pong clone, where the player used the sixaxis motion controls to “rotate” the paddle around the centre and keep the ball in play. It sucked pretty bad so it never got published; but I just kind of carried on from there, adding more and more (half) games. It’s kind of an odd level because most of the games are just little experiments with new techniques I’m discovering, rather than final polished quality levels. I’d like to do a single level with just one standalone game and polish it, but I keep returning to the arcade for some reason.”

When asked how long it took him to make Little Big Retro Arcade his first word is ‘Ooft’, which says it all, really.

“I’m not sure really. Probably more time than I should admit. I’m actually a game designer by profession, just putting the finishing touches to ‘The Shoot’ ( go buy it ;D ), so I’m working lots of hours, and then getting home and spending a good few hours a night on the beta. A little less now than to begin with, but I’m finding it much quicker to do stuff as I get used to the tools.”

“People think it took a long time to make the Vietnam level but it really didn’t.” says PPp_Killer. “Reloading logic with an on screen display in LBP 1 was probably the most time consuming thing to do right (easily fixed with hologram materials and a counter or selector microchip). You can easily figure out the ammo logic, but how do you get it to re-emit again, and to work with the other logic if you can’t connect them by wire? It’s tricky. But doable. It took me two weeks, but I hardly worked on it most days. How long did it take me to improve it in LBP2? A day, simply a day.”

The reason this article is being written, of course, is that these two levels have been played and watched by hundreds of thousands of people; perhaps millions. Were they surprised that their levels became so popular, so quickly?

“I expected it to get attention, but how fast it got onto the cool levels list was unreal, nine hours and it was second place behind Audial Visuals.” says PPp_Killer. “Then after a day it was on the top spot. I didn’t expect it to be leaked onto Youtube though, or be the most watched Beta level.”

Dadrester wasn’t expecting that level of popularity, “Not to begin with. I played quite a bit of LBP 1 and made a quiz level I was pretty proud of, “Quizness Business”, but it never really got any plays (I’ve still not platinumed that game) so I wasn’t hopeful of getting many plays for this one. But as time went on and I added more stuff, it was clear people were really digging the level. Thanks to everyone who’s played it.”

He was ‘in two minds’ about Little Big Retro Arcade being leaked onto YouTube before the NDA was lifted. “In the first instance I thought, ‘what a dope! Doesn’t he realise he’s going to be booted from the beta?’, but I was also incredibly proud that my level was getting all this attention. I actually forwarded it to a couple of colleagues.”

PPp_Killer made his thoughts on the YouTube level leak of Vietnam FPS clear yesterday. On the subject of levels created by other people, he’s happy to say that “There have been a lot of great levels In LBP1, but I did admire this one level called “Action Shooter: Crazy Agent Sack 6” by polloizarraraz43. That level was action packed craziness, nice visuals, great boss battles and it had an epic Fighter Jet battle at the end of the level to finish it off. It has inspired me to make my own action packed Agent level series. A recent one in LBP 2 would be “The Ancient Caves of New Beh’Ta” by Luos_83. An amazing, good looking level, which the creator put a lot of time and effort into.”

“You can check my hearted levels for that.” says dadrester. “But (like everyone else) I think Fyshokid’s experiments are really professional. I really look forward to seeing what he does going forward. There’s loads of great levels tbh. I’ll name drop some less frequently played ones… BCC01 – Lint’denburg By Slaeden-Bob really made me chuckle! Clock Blocked by jiggles is a really simple, innovative 2 player game, but there’s loads of good ones.”

Is dadrester (who joked about making ‘a game in a game in a game’ when answering questions!) working on any more levels himself? “Only in my head. I have a two year old daughter who absolutely loves ‘boy’ (sackboy), especially when he’s waving at her or pointing ‘up and down, up and down‘ so I’m thinking I’ll do an ABC type thing for her… press any button – music changes, sfx play, fog colour changes and ‘A is for Apple’ appears along with an apple; all with an accomapnying giant sackboy. That sort of thing.”

“I just finished off a new helicopter for my next level.” PPp_Killer tells us. “My next level is going to be the first level in my own sack agent series; it will combine the crazy gameplay in Action Shooter with the awesome visuals of Luos_83’s level. I will spend my time on this one to make it amazing, epic and action packed.”

Dadrester’s tips for other aspiring LBP creators? “Do some simple logic gate tutorials. Have a bit of paper to plan your logic. Get more sleep than I do.”

“Take your time, do not rush.” says PPp_Killer. “Don’t release concepts, that will only slow your process down. But it’s kinda ironic since I did both… anyway, if you want to make good looking objects, look at a photo of it on the internet; it will help you understand its shapes. I don’t know what else to say. But I do believe there is going to be a bunch of new super creators in LBP 2 giving me tips. Maybe it could be somebody reading this?”

And finally: what do they think are the best and worst things about the LittleBigPlanet 2 beta?

Dadrester: “Oh blimey, there’s so much. I think all the new logic and control tools are the biggest, most important changes. They allow you to do pretty much anything. As for least favourite? Hmmm. The fact I’m not playing it right now. :)”

PPp_Killer: “My favourite thing? Pretty much anything that makes it easier or faster. The music sequencer and microchips are great additions.
My least favourite thing? The constant
freezing, I lost my sniper because of it.”

Are you the author of a LittleBigPlanet 2 beta level that’s made it into ‘cool levels’ or ‘MM Picks’? Would you like to share your creating tips and views on LittleBigPlanet in general with the world? Then mail admin@criticalgamer.co.uk. We’ll follow your mail up with a private message on the official PlayStation forums, so don’t bother trying to pretend being somebody you’re not – it won’t work!

The videos used in this article are taken from ChimpanzeePS3’s YouTube channel, as this channel is unofficially approved by Media Molecule. ChimpanzeePS3 is in no way affiliated with Critical Gamer or any of its staff.

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Written by Luke K

Luke plays lots of videogames, now and again stopping to write about them. He’s the editor in chief at Critical Gamer, which fools him into thinking his life has some kind of value. Chances are, if you pick up a copy of the latest Official PlayStation Magazine or GamesMaster, you’ll find something he’s written in there.

Luke doesn’t have a short temper. If you suggest otherwise, he will punch you in the face.

2 comments

  1. KrazyFace /

    NOW I REMEMBER! I have been on the retro arcade level! I guess I’ve been smokin’ too much!!! Great stuff in this article, just leaves me feeling a bit sad that I don’t have the time to put more effort into the game myself though really.

    • Oni-Samurai /

      Same here. I’ve made a few levels on LBP1 and despite being in the beta I just don’t have the time to put in to make a great level, nor do I have the ideas! It took me almost 100 hrs (learning and making as I went) to make my “tactical espionage action” level and that was just a recreation of MGS1.

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