ThreeThingGame and the Ricoh2DFramework

Between the 11-12th of June, I went up with a friend and fellow Windows Games Ambassador Aaron Smith, along with a games design student Nathan Holding to the University of Hull for ThreeThingGame, the University’s 24 hour games jam. The premise is that each team was provided three words, and were tasked with making a game that incorporated them. The games would be judged on how well they fit the three things, and the quality of the game overall and the winning teams would get prizes.

This was going to be an interesting event for all three of us, as despite being used to travelling around several campuses for events, Hull was way far out for us. We were also aware that the majority of students there had been at ThreeThingGame before and new how it all worked. However Aaron and I were a bit more confident in what we could pull off together since we went through a games jam one week prior, where we learned to have a proper functioning version control system that the tools can work with, as well as having an actual artist working with us this time. Our three words were Room, Moon and Lune, and from that we made a Lunar Lander style space game where you avoided asteroids and landed on moon bases.

We also had an additional tool to work with, my Ricoh2DFramework. I don’t think I’ve mentioned it before on this site, but the Ricoh2DFramework is a framework for MonoGame. The purpose of the framework is to provide classes to assist with graphics, collision, input and audio among other functions. I was actually quite eager to use Ricoh2D in a game development project to see how well it works practically.

Game Development went rather well, and while there were some small issues found in the Ricoh2DFramework, they were easily fixed and all of those changes have been uploaded to the Ricoh2DFramework’s repository. There were also some performance issues that required some work arounds in order to avoid (slow downs, glitches and crashes galore), but in the end we finished the game.

What went right:

  • Proper source control: Using C# and MonoGame with Github is much better than the last games jam at Stafford, where we tried to use Unity with Git. Overall it was a nightmare back then to merge all the changes and ensure the project work. Using a system that is completely text based and readable made the process much more easier.
  • More prepared: Using the Ricoh2DFramework definitely saved some time in developing the game, and even though the framework had issues they were much quicker to deal with instead of having to build everything up from scratch.
  • Having an artist: Definitely enables the team to work on the game while assets are being created, instead of having to be made during or after development where issues can arise.

What went wrong:

  • Didn’t sleep enough: All three of us, me especially, thought we could spend the entire night working on the game. We didn’t. I could barely stay awake after literally staying awake for 24 hours, even with an abundance of food, drink and snacks to help us keep our energy.
  • Technical issues: While some performance issues were most likely due to some of the original code that was developed for the game, we also had numerous unexplained crashes from Microsoft and SharpDX libraries. This was especially bad when the game crashed unexpectedly with an unhandled exception while judges were looking at our game. This could’ve been one of the reasons why we didn’t get a place in the rankings, but since we were still using the Technical preview, hopefully issues would be ironed out afterwards.

Overall, I rather enjoyed ThreeThingGame. It’s a neat idea for a games jam and everyone at the University of Hull was very enthusiastic and eager to make games, which makes it even more impressive as the University doesn’t have a specialist games course unlike Staffordshire University.

Now it’s back to the Procedural Level Editor and my newest game project Gem Finder, where I’ve already started on new features…

Happy New Years: End of 2013

I hope everyone will be celebrating the new years like I am, 2013 was a huge year with loads of news and events going on within each week. And with the year coming to a close, it’s time for me to look back to see how far Gamepopper has come in this last year. Continue reading

Construct2 Winners Announced

The winners of the Construct2 TouchJam have been announced both on Newgrounds and Scirra!

Unfortunately, I did not win, but I’d like to give my congratulation to the winners, as well as other entries that I enjoyed playing. I also like to say thanks to Tom Fulp for dedicating himself to write opinions for every single entry and organising the competition along with the rest of the Newgrounds Team and Scirra.

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Windows 8 Competitions

So it turns out there isn’t just one, but two Windows 8 Competitions that are running right now.

First there is Scirra’s Construct2 Windows 8 competition (Deadline: Friday June 14th) –https://t.co/x5KFryPiQH

There are prizes for the top SIXTY entries –

“1st: a Windows 8 touch device, a Windows Phone 8 HTC 8X and a Construct 2 Business license

2nd: a Windows 8 touch device and Construct 2 Personal license
3rd: a Windows Phone 8 HTC 8X and Construct 2 Personal license
4th-10th: a Construct 2 Personal license
In addition to the above prizes, the top fifty entries will also receive a $100 voucher that can be redeemed in the Scirra Store! That’s right, there are 50 of these available!”
Also there is YoYo Games’ GameMaker Windows 8 competition (Deadline: Friday June 28th) –http://www.yoyogames.com/promotions/win_big

These have big money prizes!

“Here’s how the prizing breaks down:

$10,000 awarded to best game overall**
$5,000 for 2nd place
The best ’New Game’*** will receive $5,000
$1,000 will be awarded to 5 x 3rd place entries
There are also 50 runners up prizes of $200 plus GameMaker: Studio™ Master Collection (valued at $499)”

 

Even I’m not too sure which one to enter!

 

The Windows Games Ambassadors Website!

If you are interested in developing for Windows 8, make sure to check out www.windowsgamesambassadors.co.uk.

Not only is it the official website for the Windows Games Ambassadors, where you can find updates on what ambassadors like me are up to, but it is also a great starting point for finding all information on what you can use to make Windows 8 games, as well as how to implement Windows 8 Application features and services like Azure!

Stafford Windows Games Jam

Stafford Windows Games Jam

Yes, you heard it. I am running a Games Jam for students at Staffordshire University, taking place on Stafford Campus. Students will be working solo or in teams to make fun and short games made for Windows platforms, and the two best games will win either a Windows Phone 8 or a Microsoft Kinect for Windows! Games will be made using easily available game development tools such as MonoGame, Unity, Construct2 and Game Maker Studio, or for the more tech savvy, can be made using pure code to run on Windows 8/Phone 8 via HTML5 or C#, and can use the free platform starter kit to get them going.

Information on the Jam is on the Official Facebook Events Page.

 

Windows 8 Unity Hackathon!

As of writing I’ve just arrived home from the London. Microsoft’s Lee Scott and Simon Michael organised a two day (15 hour) hackathon, where we have the goal of making a simple and fun game in Unity for Windows 8, all part of the Windows Games Ambassador Scheme.

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All this took place at Modern Jago, one of the Microsoft establishments for app developers to work on titles and get advice for their work. The layout of the place, as well as the design is very artistic and clever, and they have a lot of tech to play around with, including a 9 panel screened Xbox 360!

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After an overview on what all the ambassadors have been up to and what games they’ve made, we also got shown what things Unity have that will make it possible for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 development.

Then it was on with the hackathon, we got into pairs and started building! I worked with fellow games ambassador Ben Beagley for our game.

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