Tag Archive | Shane Gravestock

Three Thing Game October 2012 – TOAST – Debreifing

This weekend was host to the Three Thing Game final 24 hour sprint, and boy was it good fun! What more could a computer scientist want that 24 hour access to a computer lab, free dominos pizza and a shed load of soft drinks? ūüėõ

What Did You Mean "Uncle Mike's Recursive Prolog Party?" look like after 26 hours with no sleep

What Did You Mean “Uncle Mike’s Recursive Prolog Party?” look like after 26 hours with no sleep

Using the words “Toast”, “Fighting” and “Party” my team “Uncle Mike’s Recursive Prolog Party” developed a game called “TOAST: Total Obliteration¬†and Space Travel”, a space shooter in which you play as the Toastorians, an ancient race of toast people who want to take back their home planet of Toaster from the evil breakfast food empire — comprised of Eggmen, Baconites, Porrigians and Cerealians.

Flying the only ship the Toast¬†Confederacy¬†has left you have to take out swarms of enemies patrolling the skies of outer space whilst trying to search for — and then destroy — their strongholds. The Baconite people¬†vigorously¬†defend planet bacon using a defensive formation of dozens of space craft, and once you’ve finished destroying their home planet you have 3 other food planets to conquer who are defended to the death by their space air forces.

Development started almost as soon as we had got our words. The team came back to my house where we thought of all the possible ways we could use our words. Below you can see my¬†initial¬†concept “drawings” of a space shooter in which your main aim is to destroy planets — the game we now know as TOAST.

TOAST Concept Drawing on my Whiteboard

TOAST Concept Drawing on my Whiteboard

For the first 2 days of development TOAST was a Windows Phone game which used the¬†accelerometer¬†to¬†control the direction and speed of the toast crafts movement, but we found that these controls just didn’t feel as good as those of the XBOX 360 controller, and besides, we hadn’t developed for a controller before and we were eager to. So, just a few days into development we changed scope slightly and made the game a Windows Desktop game with Controller and Keyboard inputs — because we were using the XNA API to develop the game this was a really easy swap to make and took very little development time away from the functional areas of the game.

TOAST as a Windows Phone Game

TOAST as a Windows Phone Game

Over the week we developed an almost finished game, so by the time the 24 hour sprint rolled around we were in a much better position than we had been in previous years. You could control the spaceship using the left analogue stick and control the direction of lazer fire using the right analogue stick. You could also zoom in and out to aid with navigation using the left and right triggers.

24 hours and several take-away’s later we had finished the game and¬†judging¬†began. After a judge had looked over our work we were told we got into the final 8. In a competition of over 40 teams I think that’s pretty good going!

Each team in the final had to present their game to the entire panel of judges, which included people from Microsoft and Monogame. In the image at the top of this post and the following image you can see me presenting, whilst nick played the game being displayed on the projecter.

Game Demonstration

Game Demonstration

When the final judges decisions came back unfortunately we didn’t come in the top 3, so unfortunately we didn’t win any Windows Phones, XBOX Kinects or Lego. In fact, in the end we were never told exactly where we finished — so we could have been anything from 4th to 8th — I like to think fourth ūüėČ


I want to say a huge well done to the three winning teams — particularly our “friendly” rivals Sheerware Games who came in first place with a fantastic r-type clone called Hypermorth, which you can read about here.¬†I also want to say a massive thank you to Shane Gravestock for producing the music for our game, which you can¬†listen to here. And last by certainly by no means least I want to say a huge thank-you to Rob Miles and the Department of Computer Science at The University of Hull for hosting yet another amazing Three Thing Game.

You will be able to download Toast from this website as soon as its ready for release, so keep checking back. ūüôā


An Update on Sweepy Cleaner

This morning I handed in ACW 2 for programming 2, A.K.A Sweepy Cleaner. I’m quite happy with the design of the game, particularly the fact I built it so that adding a new level requires only 4 additional lines of code and the relevant graphics. Below you can see some screen shots showing how it turned out:

My time to present my code to my programmer lecturer is midday Friday, so I’ll update the blog then letting you know what grade I get. Friday is also the day the game should go live on the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace, subject to being approved by Microsoft, so that’s something to look forward to! ūüôā

Once its up expect an update within a few weeks adding in some features which I’m working on now, including more realistic cleaner movement and additional levels.

I’d like to thank Shane Gravestock for producing all the music and sound effects for the game and Shaun Rhodes for making the game logo and the¬†vacuum¬†cleaner sprite ūüėÄ

Thats all for now,


Easter Projects Update

Finally users can see Scottish Lighthouses

Worldwide Lighthouses

Earlier in the holidays I posted a blog post about what I was intending to get up to. One of the things I needed to get round to doing was fixing my brothers website, Worldwide Lighthouses. After a data loss last year and a loss of back-ups we had to start from scratch, many of the features that users — and my brother — loved on the site we’re lost as was most of the actual content.

Now, things are back on track. I’ve spent a portion of the last week or so fixing issues with the Custom-built content¬†management¬†system and now, finally Michael can upload information about Lighthouses outside of England and users can view them. I’ve also stopped most of the deadlinks returning 404’s and instead they now show a coming soon message, which is slightly better for SEO in the long run. I’m currently working on the module of the CMS which works on Lightships, after that will come fog signals, daymarks and finally the glossary.


Another project I wrote about was 5Hives, a website for a local bee keeper who wants to start his online presence in an affordable manner, but be able to update his website with new products and information without the need to constantly refer back to his webmaster. This is therefore the second Custom Content¬†Management¬†System I’ve created this week.

5 Hives Progress

5 Hives Progress

It’s not the best-looking website in the world at the moment, but the basic Database input and output works. I’m gonna put all my effort ¬†into making it pretty over the next week whilst we wait for the http://www.5hives.co.uk domain to transfer from 123-reg to Fatcow hosting.

Sweepy Cleaner

Over the holidays I’ve been rewriting sweepy cleaner, its been going well and my code is now much more tidy, more managable and easier to understand, all of which are good things! Today, thanks to Mr Shane Gravestock, I added in a game sound track — to accompany the menu sound track — as well as a new sound effect for when the hoover dies — i.e. when you hit some furniture or the sides of the screen.

I’m going to upload a pre-release version of Sweepy Cleaner to the marketplace tonight, come back here to get the URL to be able to download and play it later.

Meta blogger App

I’ve been working hard on my other projects, but I’ve still made time for the metablogger app. I now have a fairly solid user-interface. I hope to have the app complete and submitted to the Windows Phone Marketplace sometime next week.

Thats all for now,

Sweepy Cleaner Theme Tune and Social Network Integration

Today I uploaded this video showcasing the new Sweepy Cleaner theme tune, lovingly created by Shane Gravestock, as well as the addition of named highscores and score-posting to Social Networks including Facebook, Twitter and Windows Live.

If you want to use Social Networking in your own applications then my good friend Rob Crocombe has a guide on adding it here.

I hope you enjoy watching the video as much as I did making it.


An update on the Progress of Sweepy Cleaner

I posted this video to Youtube today which details the advancements made with my Sweepy Cleaner XNA game project for my Assessed coursework 2 for the Programming 2 Module. As I state in the video its mainly for the benefit of my friend Shane, who has very kindly agreed to make some banging 8 bit tunes for the Marketplace release of the game, but it does give an overview of the game as a whole for anyone who is interested (you also get to hear my very weird voice).