Hi, my name is John and I'm the lead programmer at Tall Studios.
I've been working on the Shoot ‘Em Up Kit since its conception and have been responsible for a lot of the design.
I have worked in the games industry full-time since 1997, working as a Lead Gameplay programmer and, later, specialising in Artificial Intelligence. A few of the games I've worked on include Rainbow Six Vegas for Ubisoft, Hydrophobia for Microsoft, and the little known but award winning Pac-man: Adventures in Time for Atari, which is still probably the game I am most proud of.
The concept for the Shoot ‘Em Up Kit dates back way before Little Big Planet and other games with user generated content. The Shoot ‘Em Up Kit was created in response to some friends whose kids enjoyed designing games on paper but had no way of making those games. There was plenty of software which allowed you to program your own game, but that's no good to a 9 year old. When I was a teenager there was the Shoot ‘Em Up Construction Kit, created by Sensible Software for the Commodore 64 and Amiga computers, but there had not really been anything since.
User generated content has since become quite a popular feature within games. We extend the simple level building by allowing anyone to create their own artwork, music, sound effects or shader effects to give an unprecedented amount of possibilities for creating games without programming. People can use the same tools as the professionals, their cheaper or freeware equivalents, or a pen, paper and scanner.
It was great to see the ideas my friends kids had drawn on paper, but I can't wait to see them playing on-screen.