By the end of the competition we had around 20 teams that wanted judging. This is about par for the course for the November Three Thing Game, as people discover to their cost what happens if they ignore my "Keep it Simple" advice and end up with not a lot at the end (although I would strongly advise teams to always submit something for judging - you may not win, but you'll get a lot of good feedback and very likely some respect to).
By the end of the judging pass we had the top finalists, and they got to present their games. Here they are in no particular order:
First up was first year team TBC with an astonishingly rich text based adventure game written "because we don't know enough XNA just yet". They'd managed to fashion a compelling narrative from the things "shoe, horn and cream". Very nice work.
Next we had the "Ice Team Cones" who had created "Bereavement Bonanza", a fast paced shoot-em-up where you have to fight for your inheritance, from the things "Inheritance, property and goods". Some nice gameplay twists around what happens when you die (other players get your goods) and "retro-cheese" graphics in this one.
This is team "Penetration Innovation" with their zombie game created from "dread, dead, grave". It's a bit hard to see the zombie hordes chasing the player around a scary village, but they all use some very clever algorithms to get an effective chasing action.
Team Baeshaw are a bunch of Three Thing Game old hands, and they brought some lovely polish to the competition with a musical line following game inspired by "Equation, crescent and curve". Players control the waveform type (sine or square) and the amplitude with the aim of following the target line and hitting all the notes. Get it right and the music goes up a gear. Miss a few and the tune reflects your lack of skills. Very nice work, one that should go for sale I reckon.
This is team "Just One Guy" got the words "hot, cold and bear". He was showing off a lovely puzzle platformer built with a bear that could heat to steam to fly, wander round as cold and then turn to ice to freeze over the watery barriers. The artwork fitted the theme perfectly and the gameplay was beautifully thought out and with great progression as the various "states of the bear" are used to solve puzzles.
If there was a prize for the sharpest dressed team in the competition it would have to go to the "Black Godzillas" who still managed to look freshly pressed after a night of development. There game, inspired by the things "Why, are and you" had a fighting knight forced to re-examine his choice for a peace-full life when his quiet village is razed to the ground by invaders. The animation was jaw droppingly good and the storyline intriguing.
I didn't envy the judges their task when they went out to pick the winners, but they managed somehow to come up with four teams who were announced, as is the fashion, in reverse order.
Team TBC came away with fourth place, the judges praising their story telling and how much content they'd managed to create and fit together in the time they had.
Team Baeshaw were third, being singled out for the polish of their creation and its "just one more go" appeal.
Team "Penetration Innovation" were second. The judges were hugely impressed with their algorithms to give the Zombies a life-like (or should that be death like) behaviour as they hunt down their prey.
Which left "Just One Guy" to pick up the First Place. Judges were full of praise for the way that the artwork and the gameplay complemented the things and the overall thought and design that went into the finished product. A stunning piece of work from just one developer.
After the main prizes had been given out the judges wanted to specially commend a few teams. Here's Lee (on the left) giving awards to "Twitch Plays TTG", the one man next to Lee and "Spooky Elephant", Warren and David on the right, for their technical innovation in gameplay.
Final award of the night went to team Alex² + 2AlexDan + Dan² who produced something really special with an adherence to theme that was above and beyond the call of Three Thing Game. You have to see the video to find out more.
Thanks go to Lee and Lilian from Microsoft for their support, to Derek for judging, for the team from BetaJester who not only helped with judging, but also served the pizza, Louis for judging assistance and the 3D viewers given to each team and Lindsay from Platform Expo for helping to judge and also producing some much appreciated alcoholic prizes for the winning teams.
Three Thing Game will be back in March next year, but keep your eyes open for Global GameJam Hull, coming at the end of January.
I'll post links to the videos later.