Monday, March 5, 2012

Green Connect Steampunk Circus

The title is a mash-up of the project titles I'm currently working on. This semester is a busy one, but with lots of excitement, creativity and productivity. I was meant to write more on our Nordic Game Jam game, but I'll probably skip that. Instead, I go through quick look at my current projects:

Green Time - Microsoft Imagine Cup Game Challenge
Figure 1 - Early prototype of "Green Time"
Yes, the screenshot does not show much. This is an entry to the Microsoft Imagine Cup competition  by our team, AVANTgarde, with very harsh deadlines, so it falls under top priority currently.

Round 1 of the competition had ended on the 14th of February, where game ideas were reviewed, and around 350 from 500 entries were selected. The end of round 2 - the 13th of March - approaches quickly. 

This game, called Green Time, is an environmental awareness and persuasive game, and in a fun way attempts to increase consciousness of global warming and improve attitudes of people. 

The game revolves around you having the unique power to reverse the clock, explore causes of environmental issues and alter the course of time to improve the present world. The player notices some irregularities however, which eventually become clearer with a surprising ending.

Connect 4 - Can you beat me?
Figure 2 - Connect 4
This other smaller project, together with another team mate, involves creating a computer-controlled player for the Connect 4 game.

Simply exploring all possibilities in the game is a huge problem, that could take weeks, months or even years. Therefore we are challenged to create an artificial intelligence that is reasonably challenging.

I was surprised to realize that the 7x6 game was solved back in 1988, by James D. Allen ( (such that starting player can theoretically force a win). The referenced website provides some interesting statistics too, such as that such a sized game board contains 4531985219092 possible positions.

When this is finalized, I dare you to challenge the AI.

Welcome into a Steampunk Circus
You are welcome into the circus, but meanwhile, our wooden friend Marcel is courageously looking to free his companions and avoiding the seek revenge against the abusive puppet master. This is a project with a team of 8, consisting of a 3D game built in Unity.

You play Marcel, a wooden puppet; and without any direct combat in the game, you need to combine wit and timing to make the most out of the environment and overcome the challenges. 

More on this later on.

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