Interlude [UPDATE:All CEs claimed;stop emailing:) ]

Note:First two emails get Spaff/Johnee signed editions,the third gets a plain LBP2 North American Collector’s Edition.


Before They Were Stars:The Negativitron

Negativitron,then and now

The year was 1979,and a young Negativitron was looking for his “big break”.  He answered a classified ad seeking “a slightly deranged vacuum cleaner”for a new children’s book.  Showing up at Random House,he was immediately cast in the role of “hungry vacuum cleaner”in Richard Scarry‘s Best First Book Ever!.

After a lengthy but less-than-stellar career,and the eventual shutdown of the original Hoover factory,Negativitron found himself in London.  Another classified ad,now calling for a “thoroughly deranged vacuum cleaner”,and he was on the first train to Guildford.  The rest,as they say,is history.

Scarry Best First Book Ever coverBest First Book Ever - housework

Mystery Microchip 1 Reveal

[We're still waiting to hear back from one of our winners,but want to thank again all who participated.  It was a lot of fun and also a learning experience.  We look forward to doing more things like this in the future,after [REDACTED].]

Here’s a short video showing the chip itself:

As some of you figured out,it implements an individual cell in Dr. John Conway’s well-known Game of Life. Countless students have implemented it countless times in countless programming languages,so we thought we’d give it a go in LBP2. I’m sure there’s a more efficient implementation possible,but this one (our second try) seems pretty good.

As the weekend progressed,we added a lot of clues to the contest level. Here’s what it looked like at the end (note the working “blinker”on the scoreboard):

Although we have a couple of winners,we never received the kind of chip demonstration level that we were expecting. Here’s one of ours,showing a couple of “gliders”(with apologies for how slow it loads,we assume due to the Beta servers being offline):

(We coloured the “initially alive”cells with green chips to make them clearly visible in create mode. In reality,the only difference is a single toggle as shown in the video.)

If there’s any interest,we could detail the workings of the chip;is there any interest?

Quick Contest Note

The contest (and the Beta) are now over.  Look for an update here tonight,and thanks to all who participated!

Weekend Contest:The Mystery Microchip [extended]

Wow,time flies,doesn’t it? It’s 2011 already,and on Monday the LittleBigPlanet 2 Beta will be over.

LittleBigPlanet 2 North American Collector's Edition

In honor of the occasion,we here at have come up with a little contest to run over the weekend.  You see,we accidentally ordered two extra (North American) Collector’s Editions of LBP2,and want to make sure they each find a good home.

Mystery Chip Screenshot

So we’ve published a level on the LBP2 Beta servers called “Mystery Microchip”(,containing a microchip we spent a little time putting together.  Your task is to figure out what the microchip does,publish a locked level using it appropriately,and send the level key a message to PSN ID LiBiPlNetContest before the beta servers go off-line midnight GMT (7pm EST) Sunday night.  The first two levels received will each win one LBP2 Collector’s Edition.

Important Notes:

  • This is not an official Media Molecule or Sony sanctioned contest.  I am not receiving the game early,so the prizes will be shipped to the winners on January 18th at the earliest.
  • Although I cannot promise overnight or expedited shipping,I am willing to send these to the winners wherever they are in the world;this contest is not limited to North America.  However,any customs issues are purely the responsibility of the winner.
  • Obviously this is limited to current LBP2 Beta participants;no,we do not have any Beta keys.
  • Employees of Media Molecule and Sony are discouraged from entering,although I’d love to hear if any took a look (and how quickly they figured it out).

Saturday Update:

  • Sorry for any delay in responding to friend requests so that keys can be sent;unfortunately it’s a manual process.
  • So far we’ve had a couple interesting entries,but no definitively correct ones.  A few hints:
    • Although there’s likely a simpler solution,there isn’t a bunch of “extra logic”in the chip.  I.e.,it’s not a simple circuit made deliberately complex.
    • There are eight “inputs”,one “output”,and a binary “state”.  The one I shared has an initial state of “off”,but that needn’t be the case.
    • One versed in the appropriate sciences may recognize the implementation quickly;what it’s implementing is old and frequently published.
    • What the microchip is attached to may be a clue itself.

Sunday Update 1:

  • Some clues have been added to the level itself!  A randomizer and some keys reveal some of the chip’s behaviour in an artificial setting.

Sunday Update 2:

  • Clues will be added to the level throughout the day up to the deadline.

Afternoon Tea

Media Molecule just introduced a potential series they call “Afternoon Tea with the Molecules”. Interesting reading while we wait for the next podcast,I suppose. Lots of interesting bits from Technical Director Dave Smith (of “plagachef”fame). Having been tangentially involved with QA for a lot of my career,I especially like Dave’s take:

“QA is a cool place to go,they’re a very different type of person,on average than on the development side. They’re kind of… much more brutally honest,I think thats why they’re in QA. So its funny that I can spend ages worrying about all these tiny details of something,and they’ll just happily laugh at how horrible it is. So that’s a good place to learn humility,which I think I might need from time to time. Because I’m Amazing.”

Mm Encouragement:Valve Thinks You’re Awesome

In a recent interview with PC Gamer:

Gabe Newell:I can’t say. I can tell you there are people out there that we would love to work with that we aren’t working with yet. The guys at Media Molecule. We think those guys are awesome. There are a bunch of guys at RAD Game Tools that we think are awesome. Who else?

Beatville [old]

Still blown away by Toby Toast’s “Beatville”level/music video. Here’s hoping he picks up a copy of LBP2 in January.

BTW,we love the credit “World Composed by”.

Kratos Beats Up Sackboy in Popularity Contest [old]

Sackboy at 7 percent

In Sony’s recent survey of “3,000 North American PlayStation users”,it looks like Sackboy came in fourth in the “favorite first-party character”category (or fifth,if you separate Ratchet and Clank). Looking at the other winners,however,they are all very well-defined (and in some cases one-dimensional) characters;Sackboy’s essentially a blank slate for the player,so it’s quite impressive that he charted at all.

No Mouse-and-Keyboard at LBP2 Launch

Here’s Spaff’s clarification on the LittleBigWorkshop forum:

Heya –this feature won’t be in the game at launch,we’ve pulled it back so we can make sure it works really well –we had it working,but it needed a lot of tweaking and testing,and because we have a lot of other stuff to do it’s gone tothe bottom of the list –it will get some attention though some time…

all of our designers prefer using the dualshock,and there are lots of awesome enhancements to create mode that make it a lot easier and faster now