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Media Molecule: From Rag Doll Kung Fu To LittleBigPlanet

In an in-depth Gamasutra interview reprinted from Iain Simons' 'Inside Game Design', the co-founders of Media Molecule have been discussing adapting the physics
In an in-depth Gamasutra interview reprinted from Iain Simons' 'Inside Game Design', the co-founders of Media Molecule have been discussing adapting the physics gameplay of the PC-based Rag Doll Kung Fu to a console controller for LittleBigPlanet. As part of the discussion, studio co-founders Mark Healey and Alex Evans discussed the original game pitch made to Sony's Phil Harrison regarding LittleBigPlanet, which is due out on the PlayStation 3 in early 2008: "Alex Evans: The first half of the pitch was the story of Rag Doll, where we built up to showing the demo. An important thing to note is that we always use our own tools to show our work -- we never use PowerPoint. So you can literally have concept art side by side with data side by side with the actual character running around. Mark Healey: I think that was one of the big things that impressed them; that we showed something actual we could make while pitching. AE: One of the things Sony really liked about Rag Doll is that users were able to express themselves so easily. That was something they really wanted to preserve and develop. The other big question was, "how do we translate the mouse-driven physics of something like Rag Doll onto a controller?" Conveniently, that was one of the things we were able to answer first, from Dave's prototype. If someone just asked that question and we showed them a piece of paper explaining it, it wouldn't really make sense. They asked the question, and seconds later we were able to hand them the controller to pass around and they were able to feel it. Obviously, it's a million miles away from anything you'd ever ship, but it allowed them to understand what we were aiming for. Then when they asked what the visual style of the game is, the character was able to walk through the concept painting that Kareem had just done for us. Then, when the discussion was about feature-sets, in our case it's about online features, and although we couldn't plug the demo into the Internet, we could visually show what we were planning. That's something we've always tried to do since -- make: a demo to that level -- which I haven't seen many other people do. We tend to commit early to prototypes rather than go into documents. The prototype is actually about proving the really simple and most important questions. Then we start trying to structure it." The full interview with the Media Molecule founders is now available, including plenty more detail on the founding of the company and the genesis of their current project.

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