Three Thing Game

Bit late posting this! Back in October myself and three others spent a week developing a video game for the Three Thing Game competition, which includes a 24 hour long crunch time session at the end of the week. Because we wanted to gain some experience with a new technology so that we had something to take away from the competition, the team opted to build a game that made use of the Xbox Kinect.

The three things we were given to base the game around were Grunting, Spring and Light Cycles. After a long discussion about how best to approach the words, we came up with an idea that the whole team agreed on: manipulating the environment around a moving pig to help it reach its destination.

Above is a short gameplay clip. You may notice some small glitches such as the fruit not being collected early on. This is a collision detection glitch that didn’t happen on the lab computers at university, so we missed it.

The idea of the game is to use the Kinect to manipulate objects in the environment. The player could punch to shatter boulders, jump to loosen springs the pig was standing on, and swipe away rain clouds to scare away house cats (it was supposed to be redrawn to look like a bear, but we ran out of time and therefore had to stick with my rushed programmer art).

The time of day changes as the game goes on. At night, the pig gets frightened and speeds up, increasing the difficulty of the game for the player. Because the number of obstacles increases as the level progresses, the game has a rising but varying difficulty curve.

The competition was fierce this time around. Out of 40 teams you needed to make the top 8 to progress to the second round, but we only made the top 12. Despite this we are very proud of what we made as it turned out to be very fun to play.

Although the Kinect briefly let us down during the demonstration it was very well behaved for the most part. Even though we didn’t have access to a Kinect until the weekend, the SDK was friendly enough that I could write the majority of the code we needed the night before, and all we had to do at the weekend was tweak numbers until it recognised our actions in the way we wanted.

All of my fellow team members were absolutely fantastic, giving it their all and focusing smartly on the things that needed doing the most so that we ended up with a playable game that had a start and finish. Even being the victim of a midnight home invasion during the 24 hour session wasn’t enough to stop one of our team members from coming in to work on the game!

Although it was a shame not to make the top eight the three winners were very deserving of their awards. All three teams showed a mix of ambition, innovation and polish. You can read more about the top eight at http://www.robmiles.com/three-thing-game/2012/10/28/three-thing-game-judging.html

And just for fun… before and after the 24 hour crunch time session:

beforeAfter

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Three Thing Game

I added a projects page where people can see my handiwork. It just has one thing on it at the moment though.

The Three Thing Game competition is rapidly approaching. It’s a 24 hour game development session where the game you create is centred around three things chosen by the organisers. In March our team was called For One Night Only, as we (jokingly) expected the night to be so horrendous that we’d fall to infighting and never do it again. As it turned out we had great fun.

Our three things were Juggling, Birds and Mayhem. Because a team member and I had been playing too much Advance Wars/Fire Emblem recently, we decided to go for a turn-based strategy RPG game that incorporated our three words. We weren’t completely crazy; we knew that strategy RPGs do not get developed overnight, we just wanted to get a basic grid fighting system in place.

Unfortunately our idea was still too ambitious. We encountered a gameplay-breaking bug with the character movement system around 1AM which we couldn’t fix, tired as we were. We started implementing as many other features as we could, but as 6AM approached we realised we were running too far behind to catch up for the 9AM deadline, and threw in the towel.

Despite the failure I’m happy to report that every team member was still smiling at the end, and no arguments had taken place. Part of the reason I think was that we went in with two intentions.

1) Have fun.
2) It isn’t about winning. It’s about learning how to use the PlayStation Suite SDK (now known as PlayStation Mobile).

As we gear up for the next TTG, it’s important to keep these intentions in mind. Our new team name, The Runners Up, reflects this. This time around we would like to finish our game, and so we’ve chosen an idea that is scalable while still giving us plenty of experience with our chosen technology, the Kinect.