Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Imagine Cup 2012 - End of Round 2
The second round for the Microsoft Imagine Cup competition ended 1 week ago. It was a very stressing deadline, causing pressure and tension in our team, especially during the last night of constant work. Despite other commitments, the team managed to complete the game up to the desired level for this stage, and I personally am fond of the direction the game is taking.

In around a week, we will be notified on whether we passed round 2, with our game Green Time. In the meantime, you can watch our game video in which we describe the game and show some game play footage.

You can also have a laugh at our "behind the scenes" in making this video. We were all very exhausted, and at least speaking for myself, I was very stressed in the video (quite visible probably). I also just couldn't pronounce 'consequences' correctly, which explains my impatience later on.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Everyday I'm Shufflin'

Round 2 for the Imagine Cup competition is very near, and our team is stepping up the effort and development. Below is a screenshot of the progress so game so far:

Figure 1 - Green Time Prototype (08.03.2012)
The graphics are looking delicious and gameplay is starting to take shape.

Oh, and if you are wondering about the title, just take a look at this:

Monday, March 5, 2012

Green Connect Steampunk Circus

The title is a mash-up of the project titles I'm currently working on. This semester is a busy one, but with lots of excitement, creativity and productivity. I was meant to write more on our Nordic Game Jam game, but I'll probably skip that. Instead, I go through quick look at my current projects:

Green Time - Microsoft Imagine Cup Game Challenge
Figure 1 - Early prototype of "Green Time"
Yes, the screenshot does not show much. This is an entry to the Microsoft Imagine Cup competition  by our team, AVANTgarde, with very harsh deadlines, so it falls under top priority currently.

Round 1 of the competition had ended on the 14th of February, where game ideas were reviewed, and around 350 from 500 entries were selected. The end of round 2 - the 13th of March - approaches quickly. 

This game, called Green Time, is an environmental awareness and persuasive game, and in a fun way attempts to increase consciousness of global warming and improve attitudes of people. 

The game revolves around you having the unique power to reverse the clock, explore causes of environmental issues and alter the course of time to improve the present world. The player notices some irregularities however, which eventually become clearer with a surprising ending.

Connect 4 - Can you beat me?
Figure 2 - Connect 4
This other smaller project, together with another team mate, involves creating a computer-controlled player for the Connect 4 game.

Simply exploring all possibilities in the game is a huge problem, that could take weeks, months or even years. Therefore we are challenged to create an artificial intelligence that is reasonably challenging.

I was surprised to realize that the 7x6 game was solved back in 1988, by James D. Allen (http://homepages.cwi.nl/~tromp/c4/c4.html) (such that starting player can theoretically force a win). The referenced website provides some interesting statistics too, such as that such a sized game board contains 4531985219092 possible positions.

When this is finalized, I dare you to challenge the AI.

Welcome into a Steampunk Circus
You are welcome into the circus, but meanwhile, our wooden friend Marcel is courageously looking to free his companions and avoiding the seek revenge against the abusive puppet master. This is a project with a team of 8, consisting of a 3D game built in Unity.

You play Marcel, a wooden puppet; and without any direct combat in the game, you need to combine wit and timing to make the most out of the environment and overcome the challenges. 

More on this later on.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Nordic Game Jam #9 - We Fucked Up

So after revealing to us an entirely new, experimental, online way of voting for the winner of the finalist entries, they fucked up. The online system failed miserably, with lots of unpredicted behavior such as random votes going to unchosen entries.

Following a wasted waiting time, we went back to the so called traditional voting, where each person is given one lego piece (of course, in Denmark) to use it as a single vote

Voting the "traditional" way
The winners are being announced right now.

First place in the board games section is the astounding Mussades, that of magic carpets and robberies. It's truly an honor to win this prize, which gets their game sponsored and published professionally. Kudos to its designers.

The event progressed with the different juries expressing their personal favorite games and giving general feedback on the competition.

Finally, the grand prize of the Nordic Game Jam competition goes to, against my expectations, the "game" "Simon Gustafsson Two And A Fjers Men [Haha]". This is a very weird and freaky game, if it can be called a game after all, and perhaps it's this immense originality of the game that awarded the team the prize.

Winners of the Nordic Game Jam Competition 2012
Now, despite heavy lack of sleep and high consumption of caffeine, we go to party...because we only live once.

Nordic Game Jam #8 - Finals

It's been a very long and exhausting day after a sleepless night, with barely any time or strength to blog on the ongoing Nordic Game Jam. The experience to develop the game within 48 hours is simply amazing, especially when using unfamiliar tools and requiring an extremely quick learning effort.

Once again, I will write more about my team's game later on. Currently I am sitting through the finalists, in which sadly we did not qualify. Nevertheless, it is really an outstanding feeling to see crazy ideas and out-of-the-box innovation.

Some games that have struck me:

  • A game for iPad between 2 participants. Taking turns, one has to imitate one or more sounds heard through an earphone. The other player must choose one of several pictures on the screen which represents the sound. The mapping is not immediately clear between sounds and pictures, but a pattern soon becomes recognizable.
  • Another very simple yet hilarious open-for-everyone game. There are 4 colors on screen, and one or more people belong to each color. When the color lights up, the people in the team must shout as loud as they can to race ahead. 

Other games were particularly noteworthy, but might be a little harder to explain in words. I should have, in fact, recorded a video of the action, but my energy is running very low.

At this moment, I'm watching another finalist entry game that involves flying carpets and robberies.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Nordic Game Jam #7 - Work, work, work

Much work has been done today, and more still needs to be done until tomorrow. The game is progressing well, but many different parts of the game needs to be assembled and concretized.

A prototype to test sample 3D level and overlay map - right player watching left player from a top-down map
More on the game will be revealed later on.

A prototype to test gameplay
Unfortunately there are no more food waiting for us, except for the brunch tomorrow but that's a long time from now.

Edit: Great news! Just got to know there's a midnight snack awaiting.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Nordic Game Jam #6 - Dawn

The second day has started after a few hours of sleep. The serious coding begins today, possibly with no more sleep until the end of the competition.

All I can say currently is that the game involves cooperative play between 2 players, and probably a mix of suspense and humor. The first very simplified prototype was produced yesterday, with 2 players playing in the same game:
2 players connected to the game