Three Thing Game Judging

I got back into the university around 7:15 this morning. I always feel terribly guilty about not staying the night but I did try it once and it really did not end well. All of the teams still there (we had lost a few by now) had stuff that worked and things to play. All the teams had made massive amounts of progress overnight, particularly some of the ones from the first year who only started with XNA this week. I’m just so impressed by what you have done from that starting point. Kudos.

I formed the judges into four teams who went around scoring. We also had four camera operators who captured the presentations on video. I’ll be cutting these presentations into a show reel later. I’m going to use some of the game music from the competition as a soundtrack. There was some ace stuff.

Each team of judges then picked their top two entries, who went forward into the final rounds. These lucky folks got to present their solutions to the audience.


Lee shows one of the T shirts, in front you can seen the prizes that we have this year. All good stuff, although I'm not sure about that shade of green to be honest...


The survivors….


This is ‘Three Game’O’Holics’, the first presenters, preparing to show off their game inspired by “Fighting, Desk, in a Dress”. This was an impressive take on the bouncy platform style game with a killer two player mode.


This is ‘No Method, No Class’. I got emails from these guys a week ago asking if I could hook them up with a team. They picked a name much better than the one I suggested and then went on to make a top eight game from “Caffeine, Monkey, under attack”. The gameplay and sound-effects were top notch, as waves of monkeys came in for the kill. The Caffeine High mode was just excellent.


If you want to get ahead, get a hat. Seemed to work for “Did you mean ‘Uncle Mikes Recursive Prolog Party?’” who had built a frantic space shooter game from “Fighting Toast Party”.  They had random levels, fantastic zooming viewpoints, swarms of enemies and a real “just one one more try” style of gameplay.


Next up was ‘Sheerware Games’ showing off their Hyper Morph Windows Phone game, made from "Flying, Bombs, Tank". This had lashings of retro style, frantic shooting action and swarms of baddies to be despatched.


The Honeybadger crew took Ninja, mountains, defence and crafted an atmospheric game with invaders storming your castle and you letting loose with ninja inspired weaponry to see them off. With sunset powered game progression and lovely artwork this was a smashing phone game.


I reckon ‘Michael Jacksons Indian Takeaway’ is the best team name, although I have no idea what it really means. Their pun heavy title, “Spray of Duty Modern Warbear” was built on “Poptart, deodorant, teddy bear” and had a lone Teddy soldier using his deodorant to save off increasing numbers of invading poptarts of various flavours. With lovely shader powered plasma effects this looked superb.


Its rare to see all of the Battle Brothers looking happy at the same time, but they certainly were pleased to make top eight. They had created an astonishing looking space warfare game from the starting point of “Pirate, ship, spoon”. This had great 3D graphics and a space opera plot involving spoon based pirate contraband . Of course.


I could think of around twenty reasons why the game from ‘The Infamous Two Sirs’ would just not work. This had the most ambitious setup I've ever seen in a Three Thing Game. From the words “Goldfish, Plughole and Invasion” the team crafted a multi-player game experience involving a battle between Kinect controlled angler fish and Windows Phone powered goldfish. Everything worked. Wave your arms to move your angler fish and they dance around the phone screen. Marshal your goldfish on the phone and the player on the Kinect sees tasty goldfish coming into range....

As the judges left for their deliberations I thought to myself just how happy I was to not be in their shoes. But, after a lot of deliberation they managed to come up with a top three. Here they are in reverse order.


Third place went to Battle Brothers. Well done folks. And to think that the textures were designed by someone who had never done them before this competition. Amazing.


Honeybadger Productions clutching their Kinect sensor prizes. Well deserved and a game with great potential.


Sheerware get the big prize. Richly deserved and hard earned. The sheer (sorry) attention to detail in the game and the way it looked Marketplace Ready was very impressive.


Final prize of the day was the Peoples Choice Award. It was great to see the teams showing off their entries to each other. We got the scores off Survey Monkey and the voice of the people agreed with our judges, awarding Sheerware the prize.

Three Thing Game serves as a reminder to me why I love my job so much. The whole thing was just splendid. Special shout outs to Dave G. for fantastic lab support, Peter, David P, Martin, Simon, Mark, Kevin, Warren and Adam for all playing their parts in making this the best TTG we have ever had. Thanks also to Lee and David from Microsoft and Dean and Dominique from MonoGame for judging and giving the competition industry chops. And thanks to the students for turning up and being so gosh darned awesome. I hope you all got as much out of the occasion as I did. And we now all look forward to the next event…