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LittleBigPlanet

Preview: Massive hands-on with Sony's creative masterpiece

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That done, you'll be wanting to make something. So enter the Creation menu and heading to Objects. You can now create an item of your own, or use one of the many pre-created items - these range from trees to wildlife to signposts and beyond. But it's more fun to design your own masterwork.

To do so, you'll be asked to choose a material to make your new object from - metal, sponge, wood, polystyrene, etc. You can then hold down r and use the left stick to draw, while the triggers allow you to specify your object's depth and which 'layer' of the screen (there are three layers of depth - objects can be placed in any, and your character can run in and out of all three) they'll be placed in.

Zoom

A quick word on materials - it does make a difference which one you choose. Metals, for instance, are obviously heavier than wood - so if you're expecting your sack-people to be able to pull a big metal object (u grabs onto things) from one place to another, think again. They're only tiny little mites, after all. Best to make it from another material - or just stick some wheels on it so it can roll.

So you've got your object. Now you'll want to decorate it. You'll be given a choice of colour scheme straight after you've chosen your material, but if you want to make a proper work of art (or a total mess), you'll need to use the Stickers menu.

Stick 'em up
The stickers are where LBP's creativity really lies. Within the Creation menu is the Stickers option, and there are, again, a million and one to choose from. Burgers, kebab shop signs, lizards, hearts, graffiti... you name it, it's there. Once you've got your sticker chosen, you can push 4 and 6 on the right stick to rotate it, and 8 and 2 to make it smaller or larger. Then you can guide your new sticker to the right place on your object with the left stick, and paste it with q.

But that's not what we mean by creativity. No, to really make a world-beating level, you're going to need a PlayStation Eye. You can use the Eye to take snapshots of yourself - or anything else you fancy - and paste them into your level. This opens up whole new vistas of possibilities - you could photograph your best mate and stick him on a Wanted poster in a cop chase themed level.

You could photograph your cat and your dog, put them on skateboards and place bets with your mates about which one makes it down a hill first. And there's nothing stopping you and a mate slapping your faces on a couple of sackboys (well, actually, you'd have to put your face stickers on a box, and then the boxes on their heads), creating some goals and a football and having a kickabout.

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The ability to bring yourself into the game really takes the excitement up another level, and the sheer volume of possibilities is mind-boggling. By the way, there's an easy-to-use tool to allow you to cut around the edges of your photographed subject, so you won't have to have lots of Polaroid-shaped blocks littering your creation. If there's any game that can finally make the Eye - or indeed EyeToy - truly essential, it's this.

Move any mountain
Now, then - static items aren't very interesting, are they? Fortunately, you can make them move via a simple series of sliders akin to the face morphing bars in Smackdown. You can alter speed, direction and rotation and, if you've used the bolt icon to connect two items together, you can adjust its level of tightness - which will affect how quickly and smoothly your objects move as a unit. Of course, where you position the bolt is critical, especially when you're trying to make one thing rotate around another - place it wrongly and the rotating object might, for instance, be too top-heavy and end up crashing into the floor.

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