T27 Puzzle Game

A simple puzzle game with retro graphics

I don’t remember why I titled it T27, although it might have taken 27 minutes to make the very first version. All in all, I spent about a day playing around with the concept and here you have it. The main idea was to do something fun and fast with ASCII graphics so I didn’t get bogged down making it pretty.

T27 Gameplay

You play an owlish character (it’s hard to portray fine details in a 4×4 ASCII grid) who must defend himself from evil invading cubes. Your owl has the ability to grab cubes from the sky or throw them back, although he can only carry cubes of one color at a time.

These cubes come in a variety of colors and ones of the same color don’t get along well. If three or more cubes of the same color come into contact, they get into an argument and explode. Use this to your advantage and save the world!

After a number of grabs or throws, the screen will start to vibrate, indicating that another wave is approaching. Your owl can do two more things before the next wave comes, but he is fighting a losing battle, as the cubes never stop coming.

aMaze – A game for visually-impaired children

I took the Enabling Technology class and worked in a group on the aMaze project, which provided a maze game to children with visual-impairments.  A 2D maze is simulated, and the child can walk around inside the maze using a keyboard, joystick, or Sensable haptic-feedback device.  Footsteps, simulated cane taps, and environmental sound sources are modelled in 3D, allowing the child to navigate by sound.  There is also a visual display of the maze and current position, which can be used for debugging or disabled if a child has partial vision and wishes to try it by audio alone.

The EVE group at UNC has a bunch of foam cubes that they use to construct interesting virtual environments, and we thought of asking a few children to come in and try walking a real maze and the virtual maze.  Some children would do the virtual maze first, and others would do the real maze first, and we could find out if they felt more prepared for the real maze after doing the virtual one.

The experience ended up snowballing (with the help of many) into a Maze Day with 51 visually impaired students and 55 adults visiting the UNC Computer Science department to view all of the class projects and previous research, instead of just aMaze.  Maze Day has since become an annual event, and will be held again towards the end of April.

Pictures from preliminary testing

Our aMaze team had a station with 3 computers, one with a keyboard, one with the joystick, and one with the Sensable Phantom.  We also made a real maze (complete with wolf and elephant sound sources played back at the bends of the maze) constructed in a room that matched one of the virtual mazes that were being shown.  By navigating the maze using the computer beforehand, the general consensus was that it was much easier to navigate the real maze.  Maze Day was a lot of fun, and we were proud to be a part of it.

Capstone project (Arcade Game System)

All CS students at the University of Missouri – Columbia are required to do a capstone project in their senior year.  My group decided to make a game console for an arcade cabinet and a game to demonstrate it.

The capstone project is broken into two semesters, with the first semester spent on the design process and various state educational requirements they couldn’t fit into any other class like IP law and ethics.  The class doesn’t meet during the second semester, with the time instead allocated to group meetings.

Our team (EONGames / Arkanerdz) consisted of:

  • Adam Crume
  • Dustin Culbertson
  • Michael Noland
  • Remy Nsengiyumva
  • Tim Vette

The console was based around a BlueStreak ARM SOC running at 77 MHz, with a 512×384 framebuffer (visible display region is smaller), and plugged into any standard arcade cabinet with a JAMMA connector.

The game we made for our system was ‘Super Magical Happy Fun Kill Time II’, which is a Leprechaun themed 2D shmup written in C.

I have placed the project presentation from semester 1 online, but the prototype hardware ate itself after the semester 2 final presentation when someone plugged the JAMMA connector in backwards.  The polarity key in the JAMMA connector of my old cabinet fell out at some point, and no-one noticed, but thankfully it happened after we had presented for the class!  When I get around to it, I was thinking about making an emulator for it to show off the game, or just buying a new SOC board.

Cactus Jack: The Adventures of the Deranged Space Monkeys

A 3-D shooting game where you will have to work hard to figure out how all of the objects can be tied together! The camera hovers above and behind the player, allowing you to have the best control over him as you blast away at chocolate bunnies and surplus space telescopes.

Cactus Jack was my final project for CECS 361 (now CS4610) Computer Graphics I, along with Mike Reall and Mike Sullivan.

The gameplay is constrained to 2D and is a bit like asteroids, but the graphics are 3D.

Absolute Terror

Absolute Terror is a 3D PC game published by Crystal Interactive in 2001 and developed by SymbioSys Software (now Neko Technologies).

From the manual (i.e. from Ben’s twisted sense of humor):

In Absolute Terror, you venture into space, the last best hope for Earth in their war against rebelling colonies on distant worlds.  Or maybe they’re aliens; hideous space-monsters who threaten all mankind. No, no, actually, they’re definitely rebelling colonies – not that it really matters.  What really matters, of course, is that you get a state-of-the-art spacecraft (with big guns), a sarcastic co-pilot (with big… uhhh, nevermind!) and a license to blow things up in a spectacular and over-the-top fashion!

I wrote the scripting engine and many of the special effects used in the game while working for SymbioSys.

Munchies game and editor


Munchies is an implementation of the classic nibbles game with a built in level editor. The concept is dead simple, you play a snake that has to eat all of the apples in the level while avoiding your own tail and the barriers. After you eat all of the apples, your snake will proceed to the next level, and the cycle begins anew.


Continue reading “Munchies game and editor”