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? 😛
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.
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.
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.
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 😉
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. 🙂
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. 🙂 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 🙂