Three Thing Game Rocked


These are all the survivors, given the HDR treatment. There’s a clean version on Flickr too, along with around 100 pictures taken during the event.

Yesterday was a great day. Everything was wonderful apart from the bit where I found nothing in my camera where a battery should be. However, thanks to a Sony Bloggie that I happened to have with me just in case of such stupidity, we managed to get videos of all the teams and their games. At the moment I’m transcoding them as fast as I can and putting them on YouTube. Search for the tag threethinggamemarch2012 if you want to see them. The rest of the videos will be up tomorrow.

A huge vote of thanks to Dave G, for making the lab available and being there to make it work, Adam for tech support, Martin for night watchman duty, Warren, Derek, Kevin, David M, Simon and Stuart for judging support, Jackie for sorting out the Sony connection, Mark for sorting the food and David P for turning up to provide support.

And kudos to the students for making the best games we’ve ever seen at Three Thing Game. We had some great stuff shown off this time.  And here is the winners roll.


Winners: “The Infamous Two Sirs” Christophe and Rob with “Pocket Starlight” which took “Boy, Contraption and High-Jump” to altogether another level.


Second place: “Run Dead Studios” Russell, Alex and Jon took “Sheep, Fireworks and High dive” and made “Shear Carnage” for Windows Phone. That really should be in the Marketplace by, say, last week.


Third Place: “BRB”, Alexsejs,     Arturs,   Nataloya, and Paul managed to work the Olympics into a snazzy spaceship shooter from the words “Alien, Spaceship and ‘at night’”. Again, that should be on your Windows Phone real soon.

One more prize to go, the “People’s Choice” award that was judged by the teams themselves. I’ll have the results of this tomorrow, when I’ve finished crunching the numbers.

Some tips for next time:

Just about everybody grasped the “simple is good” principle. Lots of teams got something working and then added to it. Others weren’t afraid to drop complication to get things going. After all, if the player doesn’t know that the original gameplay design included rabbits with laser eyes they are not going to miss them if they get dropped. This is the single most important factor in success. Having lots of ideas is great. Feeling you have to make them all work and put them in version 1 is not. Keep a “book of features” and write them all down. Then put them in order of implementation and work your way through.

The next most important thing is to make a proper game. What you make should be like a story. It should have have a beginning, a middle and an end. Don’t just make the middle bit, that’s a tech demo. Figure out how you sent the scene, what the player does in gameplay and how they fail/succeed. And put all this in. It is better to have a game that goes all the way to “Game Over” than adding extra features to the middle bit but never let it end.

Make it social. Some games let the players put their scores on Facebook. Bragging rights are big. And sometimes much easier to add than you might think (step forwards Windows Phone).

When you come to present your results don’t spread the blame. Don’t blame Fred for baling and leaving you with no graphics. The judges don’t want to hear your problems. Never say you ran out of time. It just makes you sound like a bad planner and the judges know that you had just as much time as everyone else.  If you must mention something that isn’t how you wanted it to be, talk about future plans and developments in a positive light.

Whatever you did, get something out there. Blog screenshots, put games in Windows Phone Marketplace or wherever you can. Just about everything I saw over the weekend had potential. Make sure you show your stuff off. It can only do you favours.

And, and this is the most important bit, Have Fun. Lots of people did, and that’s why they’ll be back next time. And do even better.