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Three Thing Game – The Birth of Buddy

I recently joined with 2 other students to make a team for the Three Thing Game event, and we called ourselves The Brogrammers. The Three Thing Game event is an overnight coding game jam, where we must create a game based on 3 words given to us. There were 47 teams who entered, so it was a large event.

All of the teams
All of the teams showing their 3 words.

We received the words CottonThread and Spinning to make a game with. We gave it a lot of thought and decided to stick with the words we had (despite being able to exchange them). A friend of ours had an idea for the game and we were instantly in love with it.

You were to play as a ball of cotton (called Buddy), who was to traverse a level and make it to the end. Your player rolls… or rather spins along, and you can use a grappling hook that fires thread to help you get up high walls. You’d come across enemies such as dust bunnies and dust mites, that you can battle off with your cotton bud RPG.

Unfortunately we didn’t win, however we are proud of ourselves for different reasons.

  1. We coded the game in XNA using C# in contrast to many using the Unity Engine. Ultimately this lead to our downfall, as the judges were focused on what gameplay we had, rather than what it was built on. We made our own engine on top of XNA and we’re proud of that.
  2. We finished the contest and had a working game. Out of 47 teams who entered, only 18 finished (2 of the winners didn’t actually turn up to the presentation either). Despite the problems and issues we had with the game, we managed to persist until the end.
  3. We worked as a team. The three of us came from different backgrounds and had varying skills in coding. We had never worked together before, and we pulled together and made a game. We know each others’ strengths and weaknesses, and what we will each focus on at the next game dev event.
The Brogrammers - (Left to right: Matthew Slater, Jacob Morris (me) and Joshua Morley-Stone)
The Brogrammers – (Left to right: Matthew Slater, Jacob Morris (me) and Joshua Morley-Stone)

Over the period of 20 hours we managed to create a game with the basic screens (menu, game, game over, win) with a couple of splash screens too. Our game was to be used with an XBOX 360 controller, and only supports full control with one.

xboxThe event was amazing fun, and despite not winning we feel we did pretty well. The game was undeniably bare, as 90% of development went into the engine. The idea is still glowing, and we’d honestly liked to have made something better with it gameplay wise.

We intend on recreating the game in the Unity engine, so we can focus on making the game fun, and not having to worry about physics or collisions, and have the game ‘as it should have been’. The benefit of Unity is also that Josh (the level designer) can create levels more easily, rather than having to hardcode platforms in and then run the game to see if it’s in the correct position…

The code will be available soon on my portfolio, and further down the line so will Buddy v2!