LittleBigPlanet and LBP2 enabled PS3 players to play, create and share custom-made levels and game modes online for all to enjoy. Now, with the upcoming PS Vita game harnessing the handheld’s plethora of inputs and sensors for playing and creating, Sackboy’s new adventure will be the most accessible – and empowering – LittleBigPlanet yet.
We’ve seen glimpses of what PS Vita adds to Play starting at E3, when SCEE’s Pete Smith demonstrated how the touch screen, gyroscopes, and rear touch panel helped Sackboy navigate levels in all-new ways. At gamescom, Smith was joined by Tarsier Studios designer Richard Meredith to show us some more Play possibilities and tools you’ll use to Create new types of games.
Even the “Super Oval” shape of PS Vita is giving the development team novel new possibilities. Smith turned the Vita vertically to demonstrate a gravity-based game where players rapidly sort colored balls into the right chute – reminiscent of a touch-enabled version of PSN game Droplitz.
Next, the duo demonstrated an air hockey game where two people can play at once by each grabbing one side of the PS Vita. The demonstration made clear that, much like in LBP2, Vita’s LittleBigPlanet will allow for games far outside of simple side-scrolling platformers. Add in PS Vita’s tilt sensors, front and real touchscreen, cameras, and microphone and you’ve got a powerful but intuitive suite of control options for playing and creating levels.
Of course, if you see it in the world of LittleBigPlanet, you can also create it yourself.
Meredith took the controls here, showing how the most basic functions of creation can now be mapped to the intuitive touch screen. He first painted a simple stickman with his finger. As he dragged the completed scarecrow around the screen, the game automatically recorded the movement path. When he let go, and the little man danced along the path all on his own. Sorcery!
Smith then shared an anecdote about how development team members were tasked with making a complete game in about three minutes. Meredith re-created the experience by selecting a Swiss cheese texture and drawing a maze with his finger, dropping in a few pitfalls to make things interesting. Then he snapped a photo of someone’s mouth with the PS Vita camera, which he placed as the end goal of the maze. Drop in a ball, assign tilt controls to steer, and you’ve got yourself a game! Meredith also showed a more advanced version of that level, which took him a couple of hours to create. Though it packed far more detail and polish, it was essentially the same game he created in just a few minutes.
When it comes to the third element of LittleBigPlanet, Share, the team is working on a seamless connection between the PS Vita and PS3 community, including LBP.me compatibility. It seems clear that finding new levels to play will be as easy on PS Vita as it is on PS3. Perhaps most importantly, the simplicity of the new Create interface should entice countless new players to contribute to the millions of levels already living in the LBP ecosystem.