PDC 2008 Keynote Demo: Boku

Date Published: 30 October 2008

PDC 2008 Keynote Demo: Boku

At Wednesday’s keynote by Microsoft Research VP Rick Rashid, one of the demos showed of Boku, a project designed to bring programming and logic to children in game form. The coolest part about it is that everything is graphical and the UI is a game controller – no keyboard. The gist of the “language” is something like this:

When – Saw – Tree => Do – Move – Toward +

When – Bumped – Fruit => Do – Eat – Fruit

This would send a character toward the nearest tree, eating any fruit encountered along the way. All of the verbs and nouns are chosen from icons via the UI, which simply uses a game controller.

In the course of the demo at PDC (which you can watch here), Microsoft showed how complex games and virtual environments could easily be created in Boku, and how they had successfully used the software to help get children interested in designing games and writing software.

It looks very cool – I’m betting my 6-year-old daughter would have a lot of fun with it (she really likes Viva Pinata which is vaguely similar but lacks the actual programming aspects). I’m looking forward to seeing Boku made available to the general public.

Steve Smith

About Ardalis

Software Architect

Steve is an experienced software architect and trainer, focusing on code quality and Domain-Driven Design with .NET.