All 11 entries tagged VGDSoc

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May 16, 2008


April 24: Today I completed my project report.
April 25: Today I helped write and record a short audiodrama.
April 26: Today I went round David’s with James W and played Worms.
April 27: Today Hennell told me how he accidentally got the internet to send someone thousands of dollars worth of flowers.
April 28: Today I learnt how to write games in Flash.
April 29: Today I mocked Tanya for playing Minesweeper for hours, and then even more when she displayed a total lack of understanding of the basic game mechanics.
April 30: Today I spent hours looking for one stupid little bug.
May 1: Today I watched Once Upon a Time in Mexico with Tanya and she loved it.
May 2: Today Jon and Ellie came round for a games night.
May 3: Today I started making a very simple Flash game.
May 4: Today our house was invaded by Christians.
May 5: Today I did not much of anything.
May 6: Today I juggled in the beautiful weather.
May 7: Today I was busy with revision lectures, discussing fourth year project ideas, a strange film and a console social. But none of it was memorable enough to mention here.
May 8: Today I went to the IGDA meeting in Leamington, where there was cheap alcohol.
May 9: Today I began making yet another physics-based game.
May 10: Today the game began to vaguely look like a game.
May 11: Today the WGD library conspired against us in every way imaginable, and Jen had her birthday party.
May 12: Today Leigh and I decided that we needed to just pick a project idea for our fourth year group project, and that as we were the ones doing the picking, we should do an awesome 3D physics engine with pluggable components.
May 13: Today we found some more people for our group, who unsurprisingly weren’t that keen on the idea of doing a hardcore physics engine.
May 14: Today the internet went down and it made everything sad.
May 15: Today I began revision.
May 16: Today I updated this for the first time in almost 5 months.

Vaguely inspired by a scene from Into the Wild, which I found to be an amazing and beautiful film.

December 12, 2007

One month of good, bad and ugly

The Good: (all programming stuff, apparently)

  • Me and Sam made a buggy game called Clockspider for the 48 Hour Game Making Competition. And then Sam rewrote it to be way less buggy (zip file with exe).
  • I made another game that’s still a work-in-progress, but that I think has loads of potential. It’ll bend your mind! (Java applet). Mostly, it just needs more levels and more stuff to go in the levels.

The Bad:

  • I had to do a progress report for my third year project, which at that point was behind schedule and still seemed hopelessly ambitious. It took ages and was generally demotivating.
  • My student card (used to access the Computer Science building) and my bank card (used to access my money) were, for different reasons, cancelled. Both are now sorted out, however.
  • I still haven’t gotten my loan, although hopefully it’s now working its way slowly through the system towards me.
  • There was an essay that I found myself totally incapable of doing. That made me feel useless and pathetic, and I’m choosing not to think about the fact that since I didn’t do it, there are two others to do for the start of next term, instead of one.

The Ugly:

  • I got some poi for Christmas. Poi, as we all know, are girly and rubbish unless set on fire and spinning very quickly. The problem is that they’re also kinda fun.
  • I played Singstar at a Game Design social.
  • I’ve been asked to be a flowergirl at Jon and Ellie’s wedding.

October 05, 2007

Extreme Busyness

I am far too busy to write this entry, since I really should be in bed sleeping, so that tomorrow I can be up at/before 8:00 in the morning for the third day in a row.

But the world needs to know of my horrific struggles (and apparently I need to further avoid being productive and/or refuse to get sensible amounts of sleep):

  • By the weekend of the 13th, I need to have a complete Java game framework and an absolute beginner’s guide to programming (with games) written. If I don’t, then I let Warwick Game Design down and our first event is a terrible flop and it will all be my fault. P.S. join Warwick Game Design! We’re going to have an introduction to game making event and other cool stuff very soon, and it definitely won’t be a flop.
  • Within a week, the project specification for my horribly ambitious third year project needs to have been started, finished, and shown to my supervisor who is quite nice but I think already has a bad (but probably fair) impression of my work ethic.
  • I have an Assassins’ Guild website to make but the old webmaster let the site stop working completely and has now disappeared off the face of the earth. P.S. join the Assassins’ Guild—it’s great fun and I have so many stories from it. The idea is that you get assigned a target and are given their name, their course and where they live. Then you track them down and kill them with a water pistol or some more creative weaponry if you so choose. Of course, you have someone targeting you at the same time, so watch out for anyone looking suspicious.
  • I have a house full of people which means that I’m incapable of being remotely productive while I’m there.
  • I’ve bought a bike, which my leg muscles are already attempting to kill me for.
  • There’s no nearby supermarket and I have yet to even have the time to go shopping anyway.
  • I have been among the many caught out by the incompetence of the student loans company, by which I mean that I realised yesterday that I never applied for mine. I’m also very close to my overdraft limit, which temporarily reduced itself for no good reason at all.
  • I haven’t even had time to do any juggling other than at the juggling society meeting. And I’ve already lost one of my new juggling balls. P.S. join the Juggling Society! We can teach you many very cool tricks.
  • My laptop arrived, which you’d expect to be a good thing, but when I first booted into Windows, I got this screen. Of course, that wasn’t really so surprising. Ubuntu got hit by a particularly nasty bug, but thankfully someone else had found and posted a solution for me, so it didn’t require hours of work to fix.

March 02, 2007

I want a laptop

A laptop would make going home/coming back easier. It would also be useful for VGDSoc stuff like competitions and coding sessions. I’d probably install Windows on it for game-making, but since it would probably become my main computer, I’d have to have another OS for general use.

If that were Linux, I’d have to make sure I got a laptop that was mostly compatible. Wireless is meant to be especially problematic.

Or I could get a Mac, which would mean I wouldn’t have to worry about compatibility. But I haven’t really used OS X at all, so it would be a bit annoying if I didn’t like it. And I’d have to find and install Windows myself.

I think I’m leaning towards getting a Mac at the moment. But even if I do decide to do that, do I buy one soonish or wait until a new version of OS X comes out?

February 23, 2007


Writing about web page

The 48 Hour Game Making Competition could have gone better. I hadn’t gotten enough sleep before it, and definitely didn’t get enough during it. The result was horribly buggy (note that this is the version that I tweaked to appear less buggy than it actually is).

To fix this, I borrowed a big book on collision detection. It concentrates on 3D stuff, so it may not turn out to be very helpful, but it’s still quite interesting.

I’ve also got my teammate Sam’s game Beer compiling under Linux, but for some reason it doesn’t want to do static linking so you need to download Allegro.

February 14, 2007


Why do we have the expression “brain like a sieve”? Sieves are highly useful kitchen utensils and make an excellent analogy for the brain – you should sift through large amounts of information, breaking it into smaller piece of information that can be processed separately. The only reason you could possibly have a problem with a sieve is if you were to somehow mistake it for a strangely flimsy wok. So the next time you catch yourself using that phrase, qualify it by appending “but not like a good sieve, like a bad wok-sieve hybrid that leaves your food in a gooey mess on the floor”.

There’s another 48 hour game making competition this weekend. Should be good, especially since I have some experience of making games this time. I’m hoping to get Operation Meltdown to a vaguely-complete state before then, so I can spend the next 3 months finishing whatever we start at the weekend. It should just be a case of ending the game if you destroy all the regulators.

I got asked some questions by some people with a big camera. But I went with my usual plan of just saying the first thing that sounds vaguely philosophical. The witty thoughts didn’t appear until afterwards. And since the new, witty thoughts are much better answers, I have to wonder if my non-witty answers mean these people now look down on me like scum. Not to worry though, it’s not as though they knew me. Oh, wait…

Apparently, I have demonstrated outstanding achievement in my degree course. I think that before congratulating me on that, they should give me some kind of short questionnaire. “Did you do any work for your outstanding achievement? Yes/No (pick one)”. And then I could say no, and then they could go bother someone else.

February 07, 2007

Programming stuffs

Worked some more on Operation Meltdown. Apparently, last time I did that, I was rewriting the input handling. I left it after removing the old code but before adding the new code, so you had a totally non-interactive view of people wandering around a power station. Fixed that, and also added the code to do something when you die. It won’t be very much work now to re-add the introduction text and the explosion drawing.

I also joined one of the VGDSoc projects. I added water, which currently looks like white squares spawning next to other white squares. Unfortunately, sometimes the water level on one square decides to increase and increase and increase, totally ignoring my clever code to spread to adjacent squares if they have a lower level of water. I never knew that fountains were a natural phenomenon…

Killed the Chief Inquisitor of the current Assassins’ Guild game yesterday, making me Corrupt and a valid target for all ten or so people playing. The turnout for Assassins’ Guild things has been exceptionally poor this term. I think we need to advertise on Facebook – I met one of James’s friends from home recently and he’s taking part in Loughborough’s first Assassins’ Guild game. Apparently it has about 70 people playing, and was mostly advertised through Facebook.

Went to Chocfest, the only juggling convention to combine chocolate cake and juggling. I won the highly prestigious last place prize in the Chocfest Chocolate Cake Competition with my cake that sort of looks like a mutated cookie but inside is fudgey but I was hoping it wouldn’t be. Got some good (and painful) club juggling done as well.

January 22, 2007

Update for the sake of updating

It’s freezing outside, so I decided to warm up by doing some fire juggling.

Took part in the RAG pub quiz with the Assassins’ Guild yesterday, where we tied with VGDSoc, despite having about half as many team members.

Also saw a house with a tiny kitchen that we probably won’t be getting. It’s hard to find a house for six people.

I’ve settled on which modules to take this term, which means I no longer have 6-7 hours of lectures in a day.

November 21, 2006

My impressive game that's no fun to play

Follow-up to 48 hour game making competition from Draknek's Deprecated Devlog

Summary: I made this game.

So I teamed up with Sam, who does Computer Science and knows lots about making games. Expecially compared to me – I have made one game of extremely low complexity, and I can’t even get it to play properly from a webpage.

You can find a large number of games made by him on his website, but some may not work without installing VB libraries. The Tank Attack one should work, though, and is impressive.

The theme of the competition was chosen to be “nuclear”. We decided to make a 2D shooter where you control a terrorist trying to blow up a power station with a variety of exciting weaponry. The aim of the game would be to blow up all the cooling tanks, and then get out of there before the whole building exploded. After a certain point, large amounts of police would turn up, and they’d be better armed than regular guards, making your job much more difficult if you spent too long.

We had decided to work in Java because I run Linux and anything else would be difficult for me. Sam has never done any graphical stuff with Java at all, so I started with the programming while he made images. The LotH game, while graphically unimpressive, provided a good starting point, and it didn’t take long to start drawing images to the screen.

The game required that the images be able to rotate, however, which was substantially more work. It took large amounts of experimentation with the rotate() method before I worked out that this is what you want to do:

1) Get the canvas image you’ll be drawing onto
2) Find the position you want to draw the image at.
3) Rotate the whole canvas around that point.
4) Draw image.
5) Rotate canvas back.

After that, things got simpler again. I basically spent all my time coding, and Sam spent all his time doing pixel art and working on level design.

There was a power cut during Saturday evening which sent the entire room into complete darkness except for the light generated by laptop screens. I should really have gone home and gotten a few hours sleep, but instead I slowly built up a headache from laptop screen glare and generally wasn’t able to do anything for an hour (when the power was restored). A couple of hours later, the headache got to the point where I wasn’t capable of doing anything anyway, so I went home and slept for about 6 hours.

Then there was nothing but the last 12 hours of frantic coding. I desperately tried to add all the features necessary to make it vaguely game-like, most of which took longer than they should have. In the last hour, I tried to support multiple levels, but when we got to the 15 minute mark and it was still giving weird errors, Sam suggested I give up and add a start screen and some kind of death code instead. It was a massively ugly hack, but I got it working.

I spent some of today working out why applets don’t like me when I put them on the web, and found a couple of reasons. I resisted the urge to rewrite the code to make it work there, and instead found workarounds so that the code could be the actual 48 hour version.

I have lots of ideas of improvements I can make, so it will be updated. Probably at the expense of the two courseworks I have due in not long from now.

I also made the LotH game work, but it’s very flickery, so I need to make at least a small change to that.

Summary: I made this game.

Please tell me if it doesn’t work.

November 17, 2006

48 hour game making competition

I’m going to seriously regret this come Monday morning…

New blog location

After a hiatus of several years, I’ve started blogging again at

My website

Looking for more information about Alan Hazelden? Follow me on Twitter or go to my website.

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