Tag Archive | Three Thing Game

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

Danny

Three Words for TTG October 2012

A lovely blurry photo of Rob Miles Auctioning off words for TTG October 2012

Today was the word auction for Three Thing Game October 2012. ūüôā My Team, Did You Mean “Uncle Mike’s Recursive Prolog Party?”, bid for the word fighting and, because nobody else wanted it enough to bid for it, were assigned the word toast.

At this point we were understandably wondering what in the world could link these two words in a way that wasn’t totally weird, we decided to hold off on making any rash weird game play ideas before getting our third and final word. Unfortunately we ran out of time and so Rob put off auctioning out the final words until¬†Wednesday¬†lunch time. Because some teams — including ourselves — were¬†eager¬†to get started Rob said that if we didn’t want to wait to bit on items on Wednesday we could he said we could be assigned a random word by email if we would prefer.

We did and got ourselves Party, which ties in surprisingly well with our idea. Which of course I wont be telling you anything about until Saturday at the earliest. Remember to check back for a livesteam/liveblog of the final 24 hour sprint to the Three Thing Game finish ūüôā

Danny

Three Things, 24 Hours, 1 Game – Three Thing Game is Approaching

Well, it’s safe to say that I’m pretty excited for Monday morning — and anyone who knows me will be shocked that those words just appeared on my blog. The reason is that on Monday Rob Miles will be the auctioneer in the most important auction of the year, The Thing Auction, in which all the teams involved in Three Thing Game will be able to purchase the rights to use three things in their game.

Said teams will then spend the next 5 days writing their game before a 24 hour programming marathon to finish it off — starting Saturday at midday. On¬†Sunday¬†the games will all be judged by Rob & Co. and some winners will be chosen.

Having learnt a lot from our last Three Thing Game¬†we’ve reformed “Uncle Mikes Recursive Prolog Party” under the slightly altered name “Did you mean Uncle Mikes Recursive Prolog Party?” This a play on the word recursion, which means¬†the process of repeating items in a¬†self-similar¬†way. It also takes inspiration from googles¬†‚Äėdid you mean recursion?‚Äė joke.

Did You Mean Uncle Mikes Recursive Prolog Party? -- Image Lovingly Produced by Rob Crocombe

Did You Mean Uncle Mikes Recursive Prolog Party? — Image Lovingly Produced by Rob Crocombe

Unfortunately¬†Sean¬†wasn’t up for the competition this year but¬†Rob Crocombe, Nick Case and I are fairly confident of our chances after another few months of programming experiance, and more importantly project management¬†experience. We were also the first team to sign up this year, which for some reason I have convinced myself means that we’ll win ūüėČ

I’ll keep the blog updated when we have our three things and start development. We’re also thinking about live streaming the entire 24 hours, so keep your eyes open for that ūüôā

Finally, good luck to everyone involved. I wish you all the best of luck!

Danny

Granddad Invasion: Battle of The Gas Works – A Quick Peek

Nick stayed for the judging Saturday night for three thing game. Here is a video of him explaining the game to the judges. As he explains this is a mere husk of what was a much better game due to an issue with a file loss just an hour previous, which took all of the good parts of the game with it.

Danny

Lessons learnt from Three Thing Game

Uncle Mikes Recursive Prolog Party Team Photo

We made some Mike Brayshaw masks during the night and took a team photo showing off our three things.

Well, the competition is over now, congratulations to the winners. The Infamous Two Sirs came in first place with their PS Vita game, and my good friends John and Russels team came in second place with their Sheep Killing Windows Phone Game, Shear Carnage. That’s a huge success for some first years. ūüôā

Our project didn’t go quite so well, but I still feel it was a great experiance due to having so much fun over the night as well as learning many lessons which have changed my ideas about coding and development in general, as well as teamwork.

The team we had was good, Rob is amazing at Graphic Design, and I think Sean, Nick and I are pretty good programmers, but none of us had ever worked in a development team before and its so much different to single-programmer programming, much more different than we had realised previous to this competition.

Collaborating on one code base is difficult, we essentially all had to have an identicle copy of every part of the code even though all of us were constantly making changes, emailing stuff to each other and using memory sticks simply doesn’t cut it.

Earlier in the week this hadn’t been an issue as we all had totally seperate jobs to work on; Myself on the menu, Nick on the invasion game, and Sean on some classes related to weapon management, rob of course didn’t touch any code. However, in the competition when we needed to get all of these modules to work together and then needed to tweak each we came undone, Nick or I would make a change to our section of the code and it would totally break any progress sean had made one the weapon management or visa versa.

This constant anhillation of each others progress understandably upset people, I feel especially sorry for sean who had his code broken at least 10 times by changes either Nick or myself had implemented.

The teams who did well used a system called “Subversion Visual SVN”, which the university provides for projects like this. The system basically allows you to back-up your code to one central repository and¬†“commit” changes to a code base the whole¬†team use. This means every memeber of the team always has the most up to date files. Earlier in the week I had looked at SVN, but I must admit I didn’t really realise its potential, especially having taken 20 odd minutes to initially set it up and using it on my own rather than in a team. Now I understand its use… Its a great idea! ūüėõ

So, I’ve learnt to use Subversioning in team projects, and possibly my own in order to have constant back-ups. I also learnt how to modulate code, and why this is a good idea.

In sweepy cleaner at the moment I have code like:

protected override void Update()
{
           if(gameState == GameState.Menu)
           {
                 if(finger.Intersects(playButton))
                 {
                         DoSomething();
                 }
                 if(finger.Intersects(highscoreButton))
                 {
                         DoSomething();
                         DoSomethingElse(playButton)
                 }
                 //More ifs, elses, method calls
           }
           if(gameState == GameState.Game)
           {
               //More ifs, elses, method calls
               //More ifs, elses, method calls
               //More ifs, elses, method calls
           }
}

Over the course of the week I’ve found that having code like

protected override void Update()
{
           if(gameState == GameState.Menu)
           {
                   MenuClass.Update();
           }
           else
           {
                   if(gameState == GameState.Game)
                   {
                           GameClass.Update();
                   }
           }
}

Is better. Rather than having all my program logic within a huge method, I have classes for each state with their own Initialize, LoadContent, Update & Draw methods which get called when required.

One of the learning objectives of my Module 08120, Programming 2, is to learn how to effectively use classes. I’ve certainly got that one covered over the last week.

In conclusion I feel Three Thing Game was a success, its made me a better programmer and has made me realise how fundementally different programming in a team is to working alone. I think next time we will be much better prepared to produce a genuinly good game. Having said that, this weekends game, Granddad Invasion: Battle of the Gas Works, wasn’t as much of a failure as I think our team felt it was in the last few hours of the 24-hour development time. We did actually have a genuinly fun, humorous game with setting and highscore and a kick-ass menu and story behind it. We also had great fun making it over the course of the week previous and the 24 hours.

Thanks to everyone who took part and/or took part in the Live Blog for making it so much fun :). I think next year I will do a live video stream.

Danny

Three Thing Game – Thursday and Friday

In about 10 hours we’ll be starting our 24-hour straight game¬†development¬†weekend.

I’m really excited, this is partly because its my first Three Thing Game competition, and everyone who’s done it previously raves about it being a great¬†experience, and partlybecause I’m so proud of what my comrades (I’m bringing that word back) and I have achieved together over the past week.

I think we have a Solid game idea and a wicked implementation, which of course I’m not going to talk about just yet,¬†competitive¬†advantage and all that.

What I am going to talk about is my Live blog, which will be¬†on-line¬†from about 11am tomorrow until we finish at 11am on Sunday. It’ll¬†be hosted on dantonybrown.com, but I will post the link to view it here on this blog, so check back tomorrow!

I’ll be using the “Cover It Live” platform, much like Engadget does for its live blogs, so expect to be able to comment and to see pictures of the event in real time! How exciting!

So, its probably time for a good night of rest before the long stay-up,
Danny

Three Thing Game – Tuesday and Wednesday

Its been two days since we got our three “Things” and brainstormed our ideas on Monday¬†and things are going swimmingly.

The team has been divided up so that I am working on Menu Design, Highscores and settings (as well as random bits and bobs as required), Nick and Sean are working on the bulk of the game mechanics and Rob is producing all the graphic assets for the game, which he is damn good at.

In the video above you can see a collaboration between Rob and I, in the form of the main menu which has animated text and gas.

I don’t want to give too much away to our competitors, whom I’m sure will read this. So thats all for now.

Danny