When I was studying engineering, I took a couple of introductory programming courses (Pascal – yikes!) that were required. For one of them, I have a fond memory of one particular assignment given by the instructor for extra credit — he broke those of us who wanted to try for it into teams of four and gave us 24 hours to complete it. Class ended (around 3 or 4pm in the afternoon if I remember correctly) and we all ran for the computer lab — this was before everyone had their own computer and definitely pre-Web. I don’t remember all the details, but we had to create a program that would take a random set of numbers provided by the instructor (about 1000 or 2000 numbers between 1 and 100) and sort them in numerous ways — low-to-high, evens only, primes, etc… there were about 10 or so sorting patterns we had to run the data through. I remember spending the night in the lab with my team and the rush to finish it prior to class starting. I distinctly remember the panic we felt as we waited for the dot-matrix printers to print out both our code and the results sheet that were required… and running through the hallways to get to class. We got the extra credit and a solid appreciation for coding marathons.
This weekend, the folks over at Humble Bundle are doing a weekend long coding session — 60 hours to create a new game. What’s cool about it is that the money raised in support is being donated to charity and the style and genre of the game they are designing was voted on by the public (voting is now closed). What’s even more fun is that they’re streaming LIVE the video from the coding session and you can watch and listen in. It’s not all in English, and it’s not all that exciting, but there are moments that have been fun as they’ve demo’d early versions of the graphics. I also found it funny to hear some Fleetwood Mac tunes playing in the background — interesting choice of music!
The game that was voted on will be a FPS (First Person Shooter) and Strategy game, and the genre will be steampunk/Egypt. Hilarious! They basically picked the most popular theme and least popular theme as well as the most/least popular genre. So the game produced will definitely be unique!
As I write this the team has raised over $80,000 and the total continues to grow. Contribute whatever amount you wish and you’ll get a copy of the game. And based on what I’ve seen so far (I have it running on a large screen in my office so I can check in here and there), the game is looking very fun. The steampunk characters are cute, and although I can’t understand all the code I’m seeing on screen or much of the team discussion at times, I can tell from the excitement of the group that they’re enjoying themselves and also very happy with the progress.
Check it all out by visiting humblebundle.com and watching the real-time streaming. And please spread the word so the team can generate as much money as possible that will be shared with four different charities. So far over 15,000 folks have donated — I have a feeling we may be seeing the start of a new way to develop games, and I for one am really enjoying it! Right now… an arm wrestling game during a break!