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Claxon 11-01-2008 01:46 AM

Game Programming Challenge 1: Pong
Welcome to the first Game Programming Challenge. This challenge is currently an experiment to see how well this system works. Therefore future challenges may have a different format or different rules.

The Challenge
The first challenge is a simple one: make a game based on the classic, Pong. You can make a straight clone, or you can adapt the gameplay to add new features.

Classic Pong

A popular 3D version of pong

The Deadline
The deadline for this challenge is Saturday the 15th of November (submissions should be made on or before this date). You may find it useful to submit your game early to make sure that the judges can run it on their computers. Source code does not need to be submitted, only the executable file and any assets it needs to run.

To submit your game you can upload it to your own web space and provide the link in this thread, or we can set up an e-mail to send it to (PM me for the e-mail address). We may also create a website the allows you to upload projects at a later date.

Additional Information
You may use any language you desire, providing the end result can be played by the judges easily. You may reuse code that you have already written in the past. Projects can be submitted by a lone programmer or by a team. Please try to keep the file size down when submitting a game. Also if you are taking part it would be good to know, so we can judge the success of the challenge. If you need any help, or advice on any aspect of your game, feel free to ask. Finally why not make a post/thread to tell us about your project?

Things you could include
  • Bats and ball (Essential for pong, but they can look good)
  • Scores for each player
  • Sound effects
  • A Menu System
  • AI players
  • Obstructions

Judging on this competition will begin on the 16th November and will be done by the following judges:

Keep watching this post, as any updated information will be added here. Any feedback is also welcome. Go get coding!

The Entries / Results
Assassin Pong by Martin Bilello

Originally Posted by TG1
Nice solid game, the shooting aspect adds some challenge becuase you have to avoid the shots while still trying to catch the ball. The 2 things that were missing were some sound and an end condition (I got to 12 points and the game just went on).


Originally Posted by GShonk
The Good
Sweet menu, and I am glad you had escape button functionality. A lot of fun to play I loved having to make the tactical decision as to go after the ball or be hit. There was a great since of urgency which I liked.
Things to keep in mind and fix
You should probably have named the Options menu Controls or something more intuitive. In all great job, my biggest complaint is the audio.
Iím not sure if the tool set you built the game on did this or if you implemented it. But alt+f4 maximizes/minimizes the screen. Alt+F4 is a standard windows command to exit the window. Having it still be able to do that is a good idea


Originally Posted by Dmcclure
Assassin Pong is a fun game characterised by simple, enjoyable action. Indeed, the game's simplicity - it is pong with the ability to shoot the opponent -is one of it's major strengths. Of the three titles entered into the competition it is the one I enjoyed by far the most, albeit in two player mode. The graphics are very basic but remain functional and the game runs smoothly. The controls do feel a little slow at times, although this is perhaps more of an issue regarding paddle speed, but this is made up for by their simplicity - one button for each action and no combinations of buttons required. Controls are explained clearly but could perhaps be displayed somewhere around the main menu so as to ensure players see them. There is also the odd problem with continuity where a player has to use the space bar to close a screen of information when a mouse click has been used to access it. It would also be nice if the game had a number of points required to win. Overall, Assassin Pong is an enjoyable game which functions as it should and would have scored much higher had it featured sound.

Pongtrix by Protector one

Originally Posted by TG1
The idea is pretty cool and I loved the quircky sound effects, although the background music can get annoying after a while, the gameplay is not very clear so some explanations would have been nice (I'm still not not sure which paddle is mine or how the tetris aspect works).


Originally Posted by GShonk
The Good
The game was a lot of fun. Once I got the hang of it I really enjoyed strategically placing my bricks to nock back the ball to score.
Things to keep in mind and fix
The game needed some sort of instruction menu, when combining so many different classic games and having different elements of their gameplay, you should at least explain which elements are being used.
The game needs a pause or menu screen, generally games have the ability to pause or exit when pressing the escape button. This is functionality that is in all windows apps and should be included in every game.


Originally Posted by Dmcclure
Pongtrix is an original game which can be a little difficult to get into. The game's central conceit of combining two classic games, Tetris and Pong, into one is interesting but I am not sure how well it works in practice. Although the graphics of the game are a little plain they work fine for everything they have to do. For my tastes, the audio is generally annoying but thankfully there is an option to mute it. The game controls fine although the movements of the Teris blocks could be a little sharper. Generally speaking I found that I ignored the manner it seemed you are 'meant' to play and just used my blocks as surrogate paddles. I'm sure with some work it would be possible to make a game where this would not occur or would not be possible. The game could also perhaps include a list of the controls and a brief explanation at the start as many impatient people will close the window before the Tetris board has time to appear. Overall, Pongtrix is an interesting experiment which has been competently made but still needs a little work on its mechanics.

Pong Blast by Claxon

Originally Posted by TG1
Looks great and runs pretty smoothly, but too often I lost site of the ball which made things a bit hard. for some reason every time the ball reached the other side it just stopped, making it impossible for me to win. I found the fact that you need to control both the paddle and the direciotn of the gun, while shooting it and trying to catch the ball a bit too complex.


Originally Posted by GShonk
The Good
The game was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed trying to hit the ball to really speed up the game. Also hitting the other guy and making him move was awesome. Very well done, good use of particles and effects.
Things to keep in mind and fix
I did notice that you are able to drive the paddle off of the platform, I understand that this was probably on purpose but try to think of a way to show that this is ok and not a bug. Maybe have a second texture that the ball canít go onto but you can move on.
There were times where I would be spamming the shoot button and the gun would just stop firing. I also noticed right after this the AI stopped firing and the game just began to play very boringly because the ball was not speeding up. Not sure if this was a bug or a design decision. If it was a design decision you need to give a warning that you are running out of ammo and how to get more.
The game needs a pause or menu screen, generally games have the ability to pause or exit when pressing the escape button. This is functionality that is in all windows apps and should be included in every game.


Originally Posted by Dmcclure
Pong Blast works rather like Assassin Pong, with the major differences being that the paddles' weapons can not destroy their opponent indefinately, the weapons can be aimed and the weapons influence the movement of the ball. The game is presented extremely well, using 3D graphics which tend to place the camera roughly behind the paddle, rotating with the aim of its gun turret. The sound effects used also work extremely well and definately add to the fun of the game. As well as this the game runs very, very smoothly and with a reasonable amount of pace. However, the controls do not really do the game justice as it is hard to aim accurately while moving to intercept the ball. This could perhaps be corrected by moving the camera back a little or giving some indicatoras to where the player is aiming. Having said that, I did enjoy the feel of the single player controls quite a lot. Two player mode was a lot harder to get into with the controls being bunched much closer together - perhaps it would be best to drop this mode and concentrate on taking the singleplayer mode further. Overall Pong Blast is nice to look at and hear and fun to play but could just do with a few minor adjustments.

1st Pongtrix by Protector one
2nd Assassin Pong by Martin Billelo
3rd Pong Blast by Claxon

Protector one 11-01-2008 07:42 AM


Who is going to judge the results?

TG1 11-01-2008 08:20 AM

Hmmm, I'm currently in the middle of another project and sadly time is not my friend lately, so I will probably have to skip this one :(

Adrir 11-01-2008 11:03 AM

Do the judges have access to XNA GSE?

Claxon 11-01-2008 03:47 PM

I'm open to volunteers to judge the entries (I will probably be one, so looking for about 2 others). That could be programmers who aren't taking part who want to give their opinions, or even people from the Writing/Design area of the forum. I think for each entry the judges should assign scores, and also write a little review pointing out what they liked, what they didn't and what could be improved.

As for XNA, I have it on my PC, and anyone with a windows system should be able to install the XNA framework to run the games. I do not have the XNA Creators Club though, so cannot test anything on an actual Xbox 360 (I do have a 360 controller that I can use for Windows XNA games, but I wouldn't rely on all judges having that).

Gshonk 11-01-2008 04:50 PM

I can help judge. Though personally I would like to review peoples code and design. Maybe we can have people post code here that they would like reviewed. Then we get into all of those problems again so maybe not. But yea I can help judge this one.

Chalupa 11-01-2008 08:19 PM

As far as sound goes, would we be allowed to have copyrighted background music and effects, or do they have to be self developed/public domain?

TG1 11-01-2008 10:40 PM

Well, since I won't have the time to do the challenge, maybe I can vulenteer to be a judge. PM me if that's ok with you (or if it's not)

dracul01 11-02-2008 10:14 AM

I am up for the challenge. Are there any libraries we are not allowed to use?

Claxon 11-02-2008 01:51 PM

About sound, home made or public domain is best. There are no lib restrictions I can think of. Just as long as your game will easily run on judges machines as easily as possible.

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