LittleBigPlanet PSP has just had a huge great chunk of premium DLC, dubbed the Turbo Pack, made available.
But how do you make sure people are getting their money's worth out of DLC for a game that thrives on free, user-created content? How do you approach creating new goodies for a game that's built around constantly-available new goodies? Will we ever see DLC that brings in a multiplayer mode for LittleBigPlanet PSP
? Yes, we had some questions. The sort of questions that itch and niggle like bluebottles in your pants.
We at SPOnG are not the sorts of chaps to sit with bluebottles in our pants. So, off I trotted down to Cambridge to see the good folks of Sony who made LittleBigPlanet PSP
for some answers. Andy Knowles, LittleBigPlanet
designer of such wonders as the Turbo Pack's pogo stick, and Mark Green, Sony senior producer, were the gents to enlighten me.
Read on for more details on the Turbo Pack, the head-twisting problems behind designing it, how LittleBigPlanet has affected the gaming landscape, and phrases such as 'dissolving logic'...
For our readers who don't already know – could you tell us what the Turbo Pack contains?
The Turbo Pack is basically a premium DLC pack that contains five full developer levels and one mini-game. It's themed around a kid's bedroom, so we tried to almost play on the rivalries of the boys and the girls bedrooms. So, we've got fighting in the dolls' house with the tank and this kind of stuff. We tried to get as many different vehicles in as possible, and a nice wide variety.
The most powerful thing, we think, is that every vehicle that you can drive or fly in the pack – you can collect all of the separate pieces of those vehicles, so all of the components are there as separate objects and you can combine them however you like. Of course, there are loads of new stickers, loads of materials, sounds, there's a few music tracks as well.
There's a music track for every level. The idea being, originally, that because everyone seems to like the camel and the racing car from the original pack, those stable vehicles, to give them a whole bunch of stable vehicles that they could use in their own levels. So, we created a whole load of them and I think there are over 100 objects that we're giving away that can be pieced together to make all the different vehicles in the game, from a pogo stick – which is one of Andy's favourites – to tanks and racing cars.
What's the weirdest vehicle you've been able to put together out of the different pieces?
Well, we built the actual vehicles themselves so we haven't taken all of the parts and made different ones. We made specific parts that we needed. The most random of all the vehicles is the pogo stick, because it looks bizarre and it's not something that we've seen in any other LittleBigPlanet
levels (so far, anyway).
It's going to be interesting to see what the community actually takes and uses.
Yeah, there are going to be some great levels with that.
We did see someone actually creating a tank from scratch just using the current parts just using the video we put out.
Yeah, a couple of guys – they built using that using the standard LittleBigPlanet PSP
components. It was a little bit rough around the edges, but they should be able to come up with some quite impressive stuff I think, once they've got all of the components.
Yeah, the stuff that stood out to me was the pogo stick and then the submarine. Did the oddness of those vehicles make designing the levels more difficult?
Well, the pogo stick level was based around getting the pogo stick working. There were probably about 40 different versions of the pogo stick before we got one that felt and handled correctly and had the right buoyancy that would always right itself. That is the mini-game, the pogo stick level.
The submarine was quite a lot more complicated, because it needed to feel like it was underwater, but of course you don't have fluid dynamics or anything like that, so you have to emulate that sort of physics by adjusting the environment and making it sound correct and everything. So it is actually a floating object, just like the harrier is, in a way.