Entries for tag "competitions", ordered from most recent. Entry count: 38.
# Hack3city 2014 - Review
5-11 May 2014 there was first edition of Hack3city - a hackathon in Gdańsk, Poland. It was interesting and unusual in many ways. First of all, there were 4 different tracks, so each developer could choose what is interesting to him.
Teams could have up to 3 people. Of course I was in the Playsoft track. We made a game together with Arek Duchnowski and Marcin Szymczak, who work in aideMMedia.
On Monday evening there was an official beginning (and free beer :) That's when themes of each track were announced. During the week we could work on our projects from home. On Saturday and Sunday (including the night) we were invited to work all together in an open space in Starter.
Also on Saturday organizers announced additional "diversifiers" (like on Global Game Jam). Fulfilling them was additional plus. For games, they were like "graphics is black and white", "game is controlled with one button" or... "game includes Playsoft logo". You could imagine how such logo might be used in a game themed "fear of the dark" :)
On Saturday and Sunday we have 3 meals - all for free (and free beer at the end :) There were mentors representing the sponsoring companies available in place so we could ask them for help.
There were totally 19 teams participating in all tracks. Most of them were in the gamedev track. Projects were evaluated by a jury based on a 5-minute presentation and there were winners selected in each track. Some teams just presented their applications, while others focused on delivering a PowerPoint presentation. Finally we took 3rd place. See also more about Our game from Hack3city 2014.
But the event was not only about programming. Maybe because it was organized by and in the Starter, it had a "startup feeling". For me it looked like many people, while being programmers, were more focused on money and business than technology. Maybe the culmination of it was presentation of an application that helps with first aid - shows information about how to help injured person, helps measuring rate of artifical respiration etc. Someone from the audience asked a question: "Do you have business model?" Someone else from the audience answered jokingly: "If you want to save someone's life, please first watch this ad".
Overall I think the event was well organized. Rules and general feeling was somehow similar to Global Game Jam, still quite unique and different in many details. I don't know if it's a good idea to announce the theme on Monday and allow working during whole week. Developers with lots of free time have advantage over these who study, have family or a full-time job. I also didn't like the idea of presenting each project 3 times instead of only at the end. It took lots of precious time that we could spend on coding and also made the final presentation less of a suprise. Everything else was great (did I mention free beer?), so I recommend attending this event when it will be organized next time!
# Hack3city 2014 - Our Game
I just came back from Hack3city - a programming competition. Participants had to develop their applications over this week - Monday to Friday working from home, while Saturday and Sunday working in Starter, Gdańsk. There were 4 tracks. We participated in track organized by Playsoft, where we had to create a game. The theme of this competition was "fear of the dark". We took 3rd place.
As I promised to some of you, I publish playable version of our game today. The game is created in Unity and can be run in web browser if you have Unity Player installed.
Our game is called "Jason McBrady Dark Adventure". It's a 2D platform game. It's about an adventure seeker exploring ancient tombs full of dangers like zombies, who want to kill you, but run away from from the light. It's quite difficult :)
We called our team NOQA. Credits are:
In the next post, I will write more about Hack3city. See: Hack3city 2014 - Review
# Global Game Jam 2014
Last time I wrote about our game Ball-B, and today I'd like to say few words about the Global Game Jam in general. For those of you who don't know: It is a worldwide one-weekend event about making games. But it's not just a virtual event where people stay at home and communicate via the Internet. Different organizations around the world share their place so people come to meet and work together as teams. There were 6 sites in Poland. In Warsaw for example, PolyJam 2014 was organized by Poloygon interest group in Warsaw University of Technology. Our site in Gdańsk, called 3city Game Jam (see homepage, entry on globalgamejam.org, Facebook page), was in the office of gamedev studio Playsoft. It was the biggest site in Poland and - according to page Jam Sites by Size - 38th in the world our of 488 with 111 participants. And there was also a waitlist of those who didn't register on time because of limited capacity of the office!
Organizers encouraged us to use Chronolapse to record a time-lapse video from screenshots taken from our desktops in the background. That's an interesting program - I didn't know it before. Unfortunately it didn't work after I connected external monitor to my laptop (despite it claims it supports dual monitor), so finally I didn't use it. They also recorded a time-lapse video from all 48 hours in the office, but I guess it isn't posted on the Internet yet.
The theme this year was a sentence "We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are." It's so general it could be interpreted quite freely, but many games were about changing a point of view by e.g. switching between different types of characters or some references to psychology. In our site the event had a form of a competition. Voting was using the system just as it's usually done on Warsztat compos and IGK conference - everyone had to choose 3 games (except his own) and give one of them 3 points, one - 2 one - 1. My favourite games were:
While the winners were:
# Ball-B - Our Game at Global Game Jam 2014
Here is the game we made during this year's Global Game Jam. It's called Ball-B. The goal is to defend the base at the center of the arena. You are rolling a physically simulated ball (using arrow keys or WSAD) of one of 5 kinds, each one (except the green one) having a special ability activated with Space. ESC key shows menu.
The game is made in Unity, so it works on the web page (if you have Unity Web Player installed) and can be build for multiple desktop as well as mobile platforms.
Windows Binary: Ball_B_Windows.zip (8.78 MB)
Source Code: Ball_B_Source.zip (20.4 MB)
See also Ball-B at globalgamejam.org
One week before the jam I decided to learn Unity a little bit instead of make a game using custom C++ technology, as I always did before. Arek, who is doing 2D graphics at work, also a week ago decided to learn making 3D graphics. So it was a new and interesting experience for both of us. We made our game in same team as last year, only without Klamacz (who now lives in Czech Rapublic and works in Bohemia Inteactive). Our roles were:
I was the only programmer in the team and I didn't try to be the leader of the team or a designer, so I could say the game was artist-driven - most of the time developed considering how things should look like. Which is a good approach. Of course not everything went right and there are many things we could have done better. But it was fun to participate. In the competition at our site we scored 3rd place.
# Global Game Jam 2014 - Next Weekend
Next weekend - 24-26 January 2014 - there will be next edition of Global Game Jam - probably the biggest game development competition in the world. Well, it's not actually a competition. But it's about creating games with given theme, in teams, in 48 hours. Any technology can be used - programming languages like C++, game engines like Unity. You can even make a board game!
May sites around the world host this event. Sites registered in Poland this year will be in: Łódź, Poznań, Cieszyn, Warszawa, Kraków and Gdańsk. The one in my city - Gdańsk - is called 3City Game Jam and it's organized by Playsoft Games in their office, just like the year before.
It's always fun to do something creative together, so I really encourage to leave the work earlier next Friday (or skip some lessons) and go spend that weekend programming/drawing/modelling/designing/drinking coffee and participating in this event. Last year we created a game called Octovirus :)
# DirectX 11.1 Game Programming - Contest Winners
Congratulations to lightning, WhiteLightning and Francis.C for winning digital copies of "DirectX 11.1 Game Programming", the book I had recently reviewed.
# After WeCan 2013
Last weekend I've been in Łódź at WeCan - multiplatform demoparty. It was great! - well organized, full of interesting stuff to watch and participate, as well as many nice people and of course a lot of beer :) Here is my small photo gallery from the event. On the first, as well as second day in the evening there were some concerts with various music (metal, drum'n'bass). ARM - one of the sponsors, delivered a talk about their mobile processors and GPU-s. They talked about tools they provide for game developers on their platform, like the one for performance profiling or offline shader compiler. On Saturday there were competitions in different categories: music (chip, tracker, streaming), game, wild/anim, gfx (oldschool, newschool), game, intro (256B, 1k/4k/64k any platform) and of course demo (any platform - there were demos for PC, Android, but the winning one was for Amiga!) I think the full compo results and prods will soon be published on WeCan 2013 :: pouet.net.
But in my opinion, most interesting from the whole party was the real-time coding competition. There were 3 stages. In each stage, pairs of programmers had to write a GLSL fragment shader in a special environment similar to Shadertoy. They could use some predefined input - several textures and constants, including data calculated real-time from music played by a DJ during the contest (array with FFT). Time was limited to 10-30 minutes for each stage. The goal was to generate some good looking graphics and animation. Who had louder applause at the end was the winner and advanced to next stage, where he could continue to improve his code. I didn't pass to the second stage, but anyway it was fun to participate in this compo.
Just as one could expect by looking at what is now state-of-the-art in 4k intros, winning strategy was to implement sphere tracing or something like that. Even if someone had just one sphere displayed on the screen after the first stage, from there he could easily make some amazing effects with interesting shapes, lighting, reflections etc. So it's not suprising many participants took this strategy. The winner was w23 from Russia.
I think that this real-time coding compo was an amazing idea. I've never seen anything like this before. Now I think that such competition is much better - more exciting and less time-consuming than any 8-hour long game development compo, which is traditional on Polish gamedev conferences. Of course that's just different thing. Not every game developer is a shader programmer. But on this year's WeCan, even those who don't code at all told me that the compo about real-time shader programming was very fun to watch.
# Book Review: DirectX 11.1 Game Programming
"DirectX 11.1 Game Programming" is a new book published by Packt Publishing, written by Pooya Eimandar. It introduces new features of DirectX 11.1 and some other technologies available for game developers when writing Metro-style apps for Windows 8. The book uses C++/CX - a new language based on C++, with the syntax somewhat similar to C++/CLI (the language is extended by managed pointer operator ^). But while C++/CLI is a .NET language (like C#), C++/CX is compiled to native code and the ^ pointer is just a convenient syntax for reference-counting smart pointer to a COM object. Math is done with DirectXMath library (the successor of XNA Math).
Each of the chapters describes several loosely coupled topics. Their flattened list looks like this:
I have mixed feelings about this book. Contrary to what title suggests and what the author claims inside ("By the end of this chapter, we are going to have a multithreaded game engine"), you obviously cannot learn game programming by reading just 146 pages. Especially as the book covers so many different topics. It looks like the author wanted to include everything what's fresh and sexy in Microsoft Windows 8 API-s. As a result, each example is kind of "Hello World" - the simplest possible application of the described technology.
But at the same time, the book is also not teaching 3D games programming from the start. It explains some selected basic concepts in more details (e.g. describes what vertex shader does, shows how rotation matrices look like, how to use constant, vertex and index buffer or shows a diagram of the graphics pipeline - 3 times actually :) but generally you should already know C++ and preferably DirectX 10/11 to make use of the knowledge from this book. It is more like an overview of "What's New" in Windows 8, DirectX 11-11.1 and new Visual Studio.
I think the biggest value of this book is the attached source code. Each chapter is accompanied by a complete C++/CX project that shows an application of the described technology and the text in the book is an overview of this code. So if you already know some game programming in C++ and DirectX 10/11, this book can be a good tutorial which will help you to start using latest Microsoft technologies and develop Windows 8 Metro-style games. Preface says "This book will help you easily create your own framework and build your first game for Metro Style all by yourself in order to publish it on the Windows Store." and that is true.
But whether this is worth doing, that's another question. Surely you can use DX 11 on 9- or 10-compatible hardware, using Feature Level, but you cannot use most of what this book describes below Windows 8, and many of these things also without buying Visual Studio Professional or higher. According to Steam Hardware & Software Survey: Auguest 2013, while 64.78% of gamers already have DirectX 11 capable system and GPU, only 15.41% of them have Windows 8 installed (and it's already a year since its release).
Now it's time for a contest. Packt has proposed to offer 3 digital copies of the book. All you need to do is head on over to the book page, look through the product description of the book and then drop a line via the comments below this post to let us know what interests you the most about this book. 3 best comments win!!! Deadline: The contest will close in 1 weeks time. Winners will be contacted by email, so be sure to use your real email address when you comment.