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Allegro SpeedHack 2005 - 38 Games

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The Allegro Speedhack 2005 competition was held last weekend. It is a yearly Internet competition that began in 1999 that challenges programmers to create a game within 72 hours that satisfies a randomly picked ruleset. In addition to the time limit, there is a 250KB size limit on the ZIPs, so don't expect anything fancy! To see what can get done in a dedicated 72 hours should serve as motivation to coders! The site contains development blogs that show how the programmers were able to make progress through the 72 hours. It's filled with both frustration and success. On the site, you can download both the source to every game and binary versions ready to go for Windows.

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Some of those look really impressive! I downloaded the entire archive and will hopefully get the chance to play through them later (hope they don't require hardware acceleration; this machine has none).

It'd be nice if I could participate in at least one of these competitions next year: SpeedHack, Ludum Dare, the various GDNet compos...

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Original post by Oluseyi
Some of those look really impressive!

Seconded! Heck, I would be lucky to get tic-tac-toe working in 72 hours...[embarrass]

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Because of compatibility concerns, most of the programmers stick with vanilla Allegro. This year was even moreso, as the rules (almost) required that the games be low resolution and/or color. A few people decided to skip that rule by limiting input to a console style joystick and went with AllegroGL for graphics.

You'll find a variety of quality, as the experience level of the programmers varies widely. Many times people just make silly things just to fit the rules. Regardless, it's a lot of fun and things really get tense near the end. With one day competitions, people tend to realize that there is no time for much of anything. But in the three day SpeedHack, people are prone to think, "I've still got two more days..." All it takes is one unexpected struggle, and half your feature list is out the window.

In most of the games, the gameplay is unbalanced. This is to be expected, as the programmer only has time to get things working. If you find a game that looks like it has potential, check the author's web site out later. There will probably be a post-competition version with bug fixes and gameplay problems fixed.

As a programmer, if you see something that interests you, all the source code is available. Be warned, though, that due to the frantic nature of the competition, the code gets ugly fast. ;)

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As a programmer, if you see something that interests you, all the source code is available. Be warned, though, that due to the frantic nature of the competition, the code gets ugly fast. ;)

I would be interested to see the comments (if any) and get a sense of the panic they had at that point :) I bet it would be funny!

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And now, I offer some light entertainment: the progress log from "World Defender", an incredibly difficult take-off on asteroid command. Here you go (maybe this should go in the humor section, instead [smile]:

Time is Mountain Standard. (Six hours behind UTC, I think.)

-8:04 PM 8/12/2005
Home from work. (11 hour shift today.)
On bus I had some time to think of general game idea and plans for implementation.
I will 'attempt' to adopt a K.I.S.S. standard, as I consider myself an amatatuer programmer.
Not yet sure how game will turn out.

-8:40 PM 8/12/2005
A shot of Gin later... (Friday is GIN day)
I plan on abiding by "Four button joystick with no mouse or keyboard" rule.
I also plan on making game at 320x200 resolution with maximum of 16 colors.

-8:56 PM 8/12/2005
Okay, no more Gin.
Brewing coffee.

-9:54 PM 8/12/2005
Progress update:
I've decided to use code from the book "Game Programming All In One - 2nd edition".
Written by Jonathon Harbour.
This is essentially where most of my knowledge of Allegro stems from.
Big thanks to the writer and publisher of the book. (I'd be stuck without it.)

-10:25 PM 8/12/2005
Progress update:
I'm basicly re-hashing code found in chapter 13 of the book.
Game from the book is called Warbirds.
I will grab screens of my progress soon.

-10:37 PM 8/12/2005
Pizza is now ordered and will arrive in 35 minutes.
More coffee brewing.

-10:52 PM 8/12/2005
Progress report:
Lousy minor setback, game crashed on exit due to garbage collection / for loop issue.
Upon reboot, corrected error and progress continues.
Still waiting for pizza...

-10:57 PM 8/12/2005
Pizza has arrived. (Good timing.)
Will now eat.

-11:33 PM 8/12/2005
Progress update:
Completed general game engine whilst partaking of the pizza.
Game runs 320x200 with only 16 colors on screen.
It's not much, but progress continues.
I will take screenshot of progress.

-11:42 PM 8/12/2005
I'm experiencing some timing situations. (Runs too fast or too slow.)
Will address timing and proceed with progress.

-12:06 AM 8/13/2005
Timing concerns have been addressed. (Thank you chapter 11)
I've learned more about timing in the last 30 minutes than I have in the last three years.

-12:45 AM 8/13/2005
Game randomly decides between 3 enemy images to choose from.
It's a little weak, but hey I'm having fun.
New screenshot taken.

-12:51 AM 8/13/2005
Collision detection is fair.
I'm a little tired of code.
Think I'll work on a little background music. (Using DUMB lib, music will be created with I.T. [Impulse Tracker])

-1:53 AM 8/13/2005
Wow! I've wasted an incredible amount of time making a VERY irritating tune in which to play in the background. (Not very familiar with I.T. or tracking music BTW....)
I may end up using some public domain audio.
Game will have some audio, regardless of irritating factor.
I will take a break now, head to the corner store and resume once I return home.

-2:12 AM 8/13/2005
I've been distracted watching Joseph Campbell on PBS. (Never made it to store.)
Realized I should focus a little more attention to creating game that satisfies rules.
However, I've been awake for a long time now and decide I need sleep to continue.
I tend to think better during the daytime. Next entry when slumber is complete.

-9:19 AM 8/13/2005
Sleep and a shower later, feeling 100% better and ready to proceed.
Decided that game needs more randomness, I'll do some random scenery in addition to my random enemy color scheme.
I'll be thinking of dichotomy that will be crucial part of game...
Also add joystick support / WorldMap.
I'll update log every other hour, unless I feel like updating it sooner.

-11:01 AM 8/13/2005
Due to the simplicity of the game, I have decided to use six colors with single hue and
six different combinations of saturation and brightness.
I'm progressing steadily. Next little while, will focus on creating random landscape
Screenshot taken.

-12:32 PM 8/13/2005
After fumbling around with generating a random landscape for the last hour, I've come up with something
that should satisfy this rule, it is not completely done, yet.
I may move on to another rule if I hit a mental block on the random landscape thing.
Screenshot taken.

-1:26 PM 8/13/2005
Blast! Power went out with loud bang of transformer. Back on now.
Gave me a chance to brew some coffee.

-1:54 PM 8/13/2005
Just took a sweet screenshot of our randomly generated city. (And we're under attack!)
I admit it's not groundbreaking super FX, but I'm having fun, none-the-less. :P
I have also thought of a plan to implement my world map and tie it into game.
Still thinking of dichotomy to tie into game.
Will enable joystick support

-2:48 PM 8/13/2005
Making steady progress, polishing gameplay. Still trying to tie the other rules into game.

-3:32 PM 8/13/2005
Game is coming right along. Hope to have completed prototype or final game by tonight. (Today is really the only
day I will have some peace and apartment to myself.)
New screenshot taken about 7 minutes ago.

-5:05 PM 8/13/2005
I've made some good progress. I have the game to the point I want it, without going overboard and taking too much time getting nothing accomplished!
It's very nice to have some peace and quiet -> New screenshot coming soon.

-5:52 PM 8/13/2005
Ability to "save" city with regeneration of random new city completed.
I plan on adding the world map before entering the city that needs to be saved, then randomly picking spot on map that
will represent location of city player is saving.
I don't plan on any network support, as I have no experience writing sockets and such!
It's time for a little break though. I'll update with new screenshot soon.

-6:50 PM 8/13/2005
World map is now complete. City location is randomly generated.
Next step is joystick support and then I'll move to a little audio.
I've decided against using the DUMB lib for competition, as I would like to avoid others having problems compiling the source. So as it is right now, I plan on having some sound FX, no background music.
I may compile a non-competition binary that has background music.
New screenshot.

-7:47 PM 8/13/2005
Woot! Prototype is complete and functions as a playable game with plot.
I've yet to install joystick support.
In final there will be joystick support, sound FX and -maybe- high score list.
I'll take new screenshot once joystick support implemented.

-8:09 PM 8/13/2005
Major road block encountered, I am unable to get my gamepad working. I'm not sure if it's due to being USB.
The program will crash with it connected, but doesn't crash without it connected.
I'll keep trying. I might have to 'nix joystick support.

-8:37 PM 8/13/2005
Ok, Joystick axis working correct, having issues getting buttons recognized.
Perhaps some more coffee will do the trick.

-9:36 PM 8/13/2005
Sweet update. What I perceived to be a major road block, turned out to be a minor speed bump.
Joystick support is now functional with directional pad and four button support. (Currently select button does nothing.)
The only rule left is the dichotomy thing, I might just call good vs. evil the game dichotomy. (Hehehehehehehe)
I'll start work on some soundFX for game and perhaps I should implement error checking, to prevent crashes. (Probably not though, everything seems to be running smooth. I'll test it on another box for errors.)
Screenshot taken showing joystick debug.
Thanks to Grzegorz Adam Hankiewicz for joystick info!

-11:46 PM 8/13/2005
Took a break to watch TV and document declarations within Readme.txt.
I plan on polishing and balancing gameplay to allow progressive challenge to player.
Also I will put a few sound FX just for fun. Any changes from this point will be updated
in Readme.txt. (Of course this progress log, too. Until feel I have a "finished" game.)

-12:52 AM 8/14/2005
Cheesy soundFX are now working. Some tweaking to balance game and prevent an issue encountered with polling joystick.
Will spend a little more time tweaking, then we'll call it "finished".
I'll add some error protection to audio detection, to prevent playing sample if you are lacking sound card.

-1:47 AM 8/14/2005
Doing some final cleanup, ran into a problem displaying game at full screen, maybe I'll leave it windowed.
FYI: I will be submitting tomorrow, due to vacation starting tomorrow night. :)

-2:06 AM 8/14/2005
Unable to display correct using full screen, I'm not to sure if it's my monitor or a problem with the code.
Regardless, the game is functioning just fine in a windowed mode and that is what the submission will have by default.
I may or may not put everything into a data file, before packing it in a zip.

This will be my last entry, it's been really fun making this game and certainly a learning experience.

EDIT: Put it in source tags instead, since the post is so damn long.

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What a fantastic contest! I would love to get in on something like this, but I haven't
been able to finish anything with infinite time, so 72 hours seems unlikely :P

I'm not through them all yet, but maybe people could post which game(s) they liked the best.

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