Category Archives: Video Games

Three Thing Game rides again!

So, it’s that time of year again, Three Thing time.

The last competition was our first entry, we did what most first years do and missed the competition in semester 1 because we thought we weren’t good enough, My advice, which has also been said by James Croft, is to just go for it in the first year because it’s a brilliant experience.

I will also advise a few more things:


1. Maintain backups

This is extremely important, if you don’t have any experience with SVN try and learn it, if not you could use shared cloud storage like Dropbox, it is always vital to have backups when the time comes to it and it’s early in the morning and you’ve been coding for hours, accidents happen and you need to be able to recover from it, This happened to a few people last year and set them back a few hours work, which was awful for them, and their project was looking really good.


2. Keep it simple/Don’t go off course

You should try and get the core of your game as simple as possible, get that functioning well and then maybe if you have time build a little on top of that, but try not to have too many features as this will be more work, have a small amount and make sure they work.


3. Release your game

When it’s all over you should try and release your game to the world, we did and it’s had over 10k downloads on the Windows Phone Marketplace, things like that are really good for your CV.


4. Have fun

The atmosphere is a rather crazy and chaotic during the event, but try and keep it light hearted and don’t stress out, there will be a lot of other stuff going on, I remember last time seemingly constant volleys of Nerf darts flying around the room and a faux desk chair canoe down the centre of the room.


So if you are competing, enjoy it and see you there!




Quickfire Game Reviews

Right so in this post I’m going to attempt to review the games I’ve played recently in a sentence or less, let’s get crackin’!

(F) = Finished

(U) = Unfinished

Batman: Arkham City (F)

Great game, expands upon Arkham Asylum whilst adding more of a proper free roam setting and keeps the basics the same.

Portal 2 (F)

Much like Batman manages to build upon it’s predecessor brilliantly, some terrific voice acting.

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (Replay on PC) (U) 

A brilliant game in its day, looking back at it and realising how bad the graphics are was startling, hasn’t aged too well, have to say that the controls are poorly ported to PC making some missions unplayable.

Diablo 3 (Starter Edition) (F)

Great game, great atmosphere and Blizz definitely seem to be sticking to what they know, at points it does render down to thoughtless button clicking though.

Dirt 3 (U)

Awesome game, Beautiful Landscapes, comfortable controls, great fun and glad to see that the Rally mode is a large chunk of the game, Gymkhana is a nice addition but I’m awful at it.

Torchlight (U) 

(Intentionally) Plays much like Diablo, lovely graphic style and so far hasn’t fallen into the mindless clicking trap of it’s inspiration.

Blocks That Matter(U) 

Lovely game, solid platformer controls, interesting mixture of play styles, beautiful styled graphics and great shout outs to the Swedish Indie game community.

Saints Row: The Third (U) 

The game that was all about comedy definitely delivers in its latest iteration with a much needed new map, same great play style and characters.

Tomb Raider: Anniversary (U) 

Having not played the originals (gasp!?!?) I’m enjoying this game immensely, but at points it does scream re textured remake (which it is), not sure whether or not that is a bad thing though.


Beautifully styled and equaled with its atmosphere, LIMBO is a game that everyone should play, I’d like to think of it as the “Inception” of games.

Jonah Lomu’s Rugby Challenge (F)

Greatly needed new Rugby sim, Graphically adequate, the game play is pretty good, does a good job against a AAA opposition with a shoestring budget, many hours of fun for me and any Rugby (Union) fan i’m sure.

Total War: Shogun 2 (U) 

Another entry into the brilliant Total War saga, having played every iteration since Rome I can’t help but feel that something is lacking in this game, it’s a great game and technically an improvement on Napoleon Total War, but it just doesn’t give me that kick that all of the others have.

Warhammer 40k: Dawn of War II – Retribution (U) 

Only played the Last Stand game mode so far and from the little I know about RTS games I’m having quite a lot of fun from it, I assume that as soon as I play any other game mode I’m going to get my ass handed to me though, Good graphics and the aesthetic seems to fit.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution (U) 

Beautiful aesthetically, that same play style that the Deus Ex fans love and yet still very enjoyable for the Deus Ex noob (me) loving the game so far,   as many have said before me though, the boss fights ruin it (a case study on why you probably shouldn’t out source parts of the game).

Now I know that it may be unfair to review games in a sentence especially when I haven’t actually completed them, I find it provokes a much more honest reaction from me though, It invokes my feelings rather than my analysis for the most part. All of these are just my opinions on games I’ve played recently, I’m interested in feedback in comments.

Russ out!

Batman: Technical Difficulties

So the other day I bought the game Batman: Arkham City, and I was thoroughly looking forward to playing it.

Arkham City

Ordering it was an event in itself, I ordered the physical version of  it from Amazon and not 2 hours later Steam had put the Digital version of it on sale for £5 less than what I had just paid, so I was slightly annoyed as I could not only have bought it for less, but I could have got it much sooner too.

When the game came a few days later I was rather pleased but still somewhat disgruntled by the previous events, so I go to install it, take disc from case, open disc drive, place disc into the drive, close disc drive, disc begins to read, computer blue screens, wait, what?

Yep, every time I inserted any data disc (I know it was just data discs because I have watched plenty of movies and ripped many CD’s and there was no problem) into my PC the computer would blue screen and die. This was annoying as hell, interestingly you could run the setup once it rebooted, but then there is another problem, Arkham City is on two discs, yup, fun times for me.

So after thinking about the problem and little bit of Google searching I determined it was something to do with any software that checks to see if a disc has been inserted into the PC, the problem seems to have been that too many programs where doing this check and the OS wasn’t reacting well to this, and the main culprit I found out was a particularly unhelpful little program called Nero InCD. This came with the driver package for the disc drive and has been on my warhorse of a PC since I built it a few years ago, never really thought/cared too much about it. Thankfully this made it easier to uninstall as it was by no means integral to the system.

Once InCD was removed installation of the Caped Crusaders latest escapade went without a hitch and the game itself is absolutely brilliant and a definite must buy for any fan of its predecessor Arkham Asylum. I suppose there was a benefit to buying the disc version, If I hadn’t I would never of found this issue, so I can suppose be somewhat thankful.

Russ out!

Shear Carnage surpasses 2,000 downloads!

I hope Alex doesn't notice the lack of a shadow in this logo...

As the title suggests Shear Carnage, the game made by Me, Alex Rodgers and John van Rij has surpasses 2,000 dowloads and is currently sitting at 2,248 with over 1,000 of those coming solely from the UK, which is awesome.

Thanks again everyone for downloading the game, hope you are enjoying it! =D

Russ out!

Sorry it’s been a while & other big news!


As the title will suggest, I’m sorry it’s been a while, been a very very busy month so lets try and break it down a bit. I’ll do a few blog post’s over the coming days to get back up to speed with the last month. But I will try and space them out a little bit as to not flood you. there may be a few depending on how i’m feeling (read: tired/busy/pre-disposed).

So, yeah, it should be an interesting few weeks to be sure, now on to that big news:

Shear Carnage has just surpassed 1,600 downloads.

Yep, that’s a nice little number and more than I could have hoped for and I thank every single person who has downloaded it, I’m so grateful to you all and hope you have fun with the game.

We have been a bit quiet about it recently and that is mostly because of the amount of work we all have had recently, but we have been discussing where to go now and we are planning a few things for the near future which I think its safe to say we are excited for, so watch this space!

That’s about it for this post, See you soon hopefully!

what I’m planning on covering in the coming blog posts include the teasered Joe Bonamassa gig I went to, a fair amount of university work and an unfortunate convergence of deadlines and finally some of my recent experience with my computer to do with the game of a certain caped crusader which may or may not have been enraging enough for me to want to write a blog post about it.

So there’s all that to look forward too! =D

Russ out!

A sheer awesome weekend that resulted in…. Shear Carnage!

I hope Alex doesn't notice the lack of a shadow in this logo...

It Has a logo and everything!

So this weekend Me, John and Alex took part in “Three Thing Game”. This is a Game Development competition ran at The University of Hull, the competition is held over a week with the main focus being on a 24 hour mammoth development session on Saturday.

Our Three "Things" after the auction.

We started the week with a “Three Thing Auction” in this auction each team had 530 “money” to bid on the “things” that they wanted, we took a somewhat brave course of action and bid all our money on the first “blank” thing that came up, this mean that we  could choose one of the things that our game was based on, In our minds this basically reduced the amount of things we needed to fit to 2, rather luckily we got “firework” and “high dive” as the other two things. Pretty much straight from that point we had the idea for a game based around the old school game “Missile Command” this pretty well fit our things well, our blank turned into “Sheep” pretty soon after and from then on we we just had to worry about implementation.

Actively working to dispel the programming in a darkly lit room myth.

The first Dev session.

The game is about destroying an onslaught of sheep that are trying to eat your grass (the last remaining grass in the post-apocalyptic-sheep ravaged world no less) using fireworks. There will be plenty of blood, I can assure you.

We started development with pretty much a day of work over at John’s house where we worked out what we wanted to do and the best way we should do it, and then we gave out tasks for each of us to do and got busy, The logo above was done that first day. Through out the week work continued and going into the 24 hour session we had (the extremely helpful) Particle Emitter, Firework Control and sheep movement functioning in some capacity within the game, Just needed to finalize the base game and then working on making it feel good.

Then came an awesome 24 hours filled with lots of hilarity provided by Danny, Rob and Nick, lots of Pizza and an awesome atmosphere provided by everyone involved!

That little Netbook is surprisingly powerful

My humble setup.

Much of the final game went in during the final hours including A lot of art assets, sound, Power-ups (a laser that acts as a barrier to protect your grass, and a rapid fire mode that increases firework fire speed for five seconds), Social Network integration and a host of other great stuff.

John's mammoth setup!

At 9:30am on Sunday the contest finished and judging began, after we had been judged we took a chance to go and take a look at a few of the other great entries (Sorry we didn’t get to everyone!). Soon after this we where informed we had made it to the final 9 (of 33), this made me (and the other guys i’m sure) feel ecstatic. We had a lot of the other teams play our game and we had an awful lot of compliments which was brilliant, in the final 9 we made a 5 minute presentation to the judges and (to most) of the rest of the participants about our game. This was incredibly nerve-racking as I’m truly terrible at public speaking and presentations, but thankfully Alex and John took over and pulled off an excellent presentation.

makes mine look like a toy.

Alex's trooper of a machine.

Then came a short (it felt like years) deliberation period by the judges, and after that they came back and the top three were announced,

We came second!

This was brilliant,  I’t was much better than my wildest dreams and is something I can use as motivation for  a long time to come!

Our game came second to a beautiful and imaginative game by an incredible duo of Christophe and Rob or “The Infamous Two Sirs”,

The games were judged by a panel mostly from the University, but there was Stuart Lovegrove of SCE Studio Liverpool . A developer from the industry who has worked on titles such as the Wipeout franchise and some of the FIFA games to mention a few, he (and the other judges) said that they loved our game and just wanted to play it again. To have a seasoned industry professional and members of the Computer Science teaching faculty say they loved your game is a brilliant feeling to say the least.

So a truly awesome weekend I must say, I just can’t wait for the next Three Thing Game now though! also sleep is highly underrated.

We hope to have Shear Carnage up on the Windows Phone Marketplace soon.

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