During a demo led by Media Molecule's James Spafford and Christophe Villedieu, I learned that the studio's ambitions for the expansion are as straightforward as they are lofty. By adding a suite of Move-based controls to the Create tools catalog, Media Molecule hopes to give players the opportunity and the inspiration to use the orb-tipped peripheral in ways that so-called "professional" developers haven't even considered yet.The most accessible of these new tools is the Brain Crane, an equippable item which attaches to Sackboy's head (ala the Creatinator), giving him the ability to manipulate nearby objects using the Move. The Crane emits a cone of light which paints moveable objects, which the player grabs with the Move's trigger in order to solve various puzzles -- lift up a gate, turn a hand-crank to operate a mechanism, pull back a spring-loaded platform to launch Sackboy up in the air and so on.
As much depth as this one item adds to the game's new platforming levels -- a handful of which have been whipped up by MM and bundled in the DLC -- the Brain Crane makes multiplayer an absolute fiasco. Players can lift and toss one another through the air like a pair of quarreling telekinetics. Perhaps more satisfyingly, players can whip objects towards one another, adding an entirely new genre of Versus levels for the community's more competitive developers.
The Brain Crane is interesting, but the real meat of the DLC update is what Media Molecule has added under the hood: There are several new Create tools which give you complete access to the Move controller's different inputs.
The most versatile of these tools is a new version of the Controlinator, which not only lets you bind the different face buttons of the Move remote to in-game responses, but also lets you create responses for changes in the controller's pitch, roll and yaw. These three inputs are clearly labeled on the Controllinator motherboard, making their implementation a process as simple as connecting their wires to whatever movement object you want them to control.
There's also a Puppeteering tool, which lets you record and replay the movement of an object you're manipulating with the Move controller.
There's also a Pointer tool, which lets you control when the Move can be used to point at and influence objects on-screen. The reticle for the pointer can be customized using any of LBP 2's stickers, and will be dyed to match whatever color the player has designated for their Sackboy. To limit confusion, the ball on the end of the Move remote will also change to match each player's color.
There's also a Puppeteering tool, which lets you record and replay the movement of an object you're manipulating with the Move controller. This may sound like it has limited uses, but in creating cutscenes, it's invaluable: Instead of relying on rigid attachments and Movers to bring your characters to life, you can now give them the fluid, natural movement of a marionette.
Players can also gussy up their levels using homemade stickers designed using the Paint tool. Using a set of customizable brushes and hues, players can whip up custom works of art with ease, or modify the game's catalog of prefabricated stickers. These designs can also be used in entirely new ways thanks to the Sticker Panel, an invisible surface which lets creators place stickers in their levels without binding them to physical objects.
To a non-creator, the above paragraphs are likely indecipherable jargon -- but you don't have to have a Master's in level design to appreciate these new tools' applications. In just a few levels I played during my demo, I used the remote to grab and toss bombs at my Sack-foes, push and pull rotating octagonal drawers to match on-screen markers, and, using two Move remotes, dragged two electrical contacts attached by a laser around an arena, destroying all the baddies who dare stand between them.
One particularly engaging level (designed by Villedieu himself) had me drag and drop ramps, conveyor belts and cannons around a wooden box to get a ball from its starting point into a goal. It was an incredibly simple idea for a stage -- which is why I was surprised when I realized I had been playing it for 20 minutes, longer than most entire demos I saw on the E3 show floor.
Once the best of the best gets more than one day (and one sleepless night) with the Move toolset, I can only imagine what kind of things they'll come up with.
Here's the astonishing part: Most of the flabbergastingly clever levels I played during my demo were created during the recent LittleBigPlanet 2 Community Day, which leased a handful of creators the new tools for a little over 24 hours. Once the best of the best gets more than one day (and one sleepless night) with the Move toolset, I can only imagine what kind of things they'll come up with.
Actually, I can't imagine what kind of things they'll come up with -- but that actually makes it a little better, doesn't it?