Kodu Game Lab

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Developer(s)Microsoft Research
Initial releaseJune 30, 2009; 10 years ago (2009-06-30)[1]
Operating systemWindows
TypeVisual programming

Kodu, originally named Boku, is a programming integrated development environment (IDE) by Microsoft's FUSE Labs. It runs on Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 10. It was released on the Xbox Live Marketplace on June 30, 2009.[2] A Windows version is available to the general public for download from Microsoft's FUSE web portal.[3]


Kodu is a visual programming tool which builds on ideas begun with Logo in the 1960s and other current projects such as AgentSheets, Squeak and Alice. It is designed to be accessible by anyone.

Kodu is available to download as an Xbox 1 Indie Game. There is also a PC version in an open beta which is available to anyone at their website.

Kodu is different from those other projects in several key ways:

  • It avoids typing code by having users construct programs using visual elements via a game controller
  • Rather than a bitmapped or 2D display, programs are executed in a 3D simulation environment, similar to Alice

Kodu Game Lab has also been used as an educational learning tool in selected schools and learning centers. Y8 have been set a task to do a 1-week project on their consoles. Students have to have over 20 marks to pass the test overall marks are 25.

Language design[edit]

Kodu's programming model is simplified and can be programmed using a gaming controller or a combination of the keyboard and mouse. It dispenses with most "serious" programming conventions, including symbolic variables, branching, loops, number and string manipulation, subroutines, polymorphism, and so on.

This simplicity is achieved by situating the programming task in a largely complete simulation environment. The user programs the behaviors of characters in a 3d world, and programs are expressed in a high-level, sensory paradigm consisting of a rule-based system or language, based on conditions and actions similarly to AgentSheets.

The typical "hello world" of Kodu is:

see - fruit - move - towards

The grammar, as it were, of this expression is:

<condition> <action>

Where <condition> is:

<sensor> [<filter> ...]

And <action> is:

<verb> [<modifier> ...]

An illustrative variant of the above program is:

see - red - fruit - move - towards - quickly

Many different types of games can be made in Kodu, such as racing, strategy, RPGs, adventure, platform, puzzle, 1st person shooters, and others.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]