LittleBigPlanet: Build an old-school game Pt. 1

Part 1 - Create the original scrolling platformer, Pitfall

Finally PlayStation 3 has an iconic character that can proudly snuggle up to fat plumbers and ink-dipped hedgehogs and ask, 'Is that all you are?'

Oh, he can afford to be a smug bastard alright, because Sackboy doesn't just have one identity - he can be anything you choose to make him. And more than that, he doesn't represent the rigidity of a platformer that will be farmed out, again and again, for decades.

Sackboy isn't about his game, he's about yours and when we saw what he could do on Little Big Planet our first thought was 'Well that's the end for Mario and Sonic.' Our second was, 'Hang on one moment there, doesn't this mean that we can re-create some classic games using virtual craft shop materials and digital glue?' Yes we can. Kind of.

The father of the genre gets cut from fresher cloth

Game: Pitfall Year: 1982
Format: Atari 2600
Info: Designed around a graphics routine that could make a group of pixels look as if they were a running man, Pitfall was the grand-daddy of all platformers. Now it's Sackboy's bitch.


1. Know your limits
Create a new blank level, press and set the Grid to 'Medium', and add the Temple theme. Make Sackboy jump and measure how many blocks he jumped. Bring up
the Goodies tools, select a material and make a large rectangle out of stone.

Now expand it into all available three planes, that are around four screens in length. Cut a rectangular hole that's slightly smaller than Sackboy's largest jump, and you've got a Pitfall staple - a pit. Well done, we're getting there. Kind of.


2. Learn the ropes
Select Dark Matter from the Materials menu and stick a lump of it above your pit. Dark Matter isn't affected by gravity and will hang in the air. Place some Sponge below the Dark Matter. Select Tools and scroll right until you find String. Link the Dark Matter and Sponge and you have a rope that Sackboy can swing on!


3. Dig Tunnels like charles bronson
Pause the level and cut downward and across to create a shaft and along to dig a tunnel, then cut upward to create an exit. If you were to press Play then the unsupported stonework would simply fall to the ground, so cut a small rectangle in the middle of the unsupported stone and fill it with a rectangle of Dark Matter so it hangs in space.

Add some treasure, so the adventurous player is rewarded with points, and make an exit that can be leaped up as Little Big Planet doesn't cater for ladders. Come on LBP2 - give us ladders!


4. Why did it have to be snakes?
Add a Snake in all three planes and electrify it so the player is given a choice - leap the snakes or take the tunnel. We almost feel sorry for Sackboy, but then that would defeat the point of it all.


5. Moving earth
Now move left and dig another hole. This should be around twice as big as the first one you made - your original stonework rectangle. Then cut away a slot just below the surface of one side.

This slot needs to be just over half the length of your pit, so make sure you've noted the dimensions of your pit in squares using the Grid. Fill this slot with a thin rectangle of stone that fits it perfectly, and leave some space on its left side for a Piston.

What we're trying to do is make a door that opens and closes. Select Tools, and scroll left until you find Pistons. Connect the Piston to the edge of the door and the earthwork, and press Play.

  1 2