The Handelabra "Who will ship first?" contest

Sometimes in life, you have to make your own fun. And sometimes, that fun falls right in your lap. This week, while working out timelines and scope for Handelabra's next two projects under development, we discovered something fun - Couplett and Uncle Slam are scheduled to finish up right around the same time.Now in some circles, that would just be a happy accident and everyone would just move on. Not here. No sooner had this fact been unearthed than John started in with "Uncle Slam will totally beat Couplett's firm buttocks" (I'm paraphrasing). This lead to Aaron making comments about Uncle Slam being more of an auntie. And so, a wager was struck.

The Contenders:

Uncle Slam IconUncle Slam

In brief: Handelabra's Presidential Boxing game shown off at PAX Prime. You play as the Presidents of the United States and battle it out to take up the mantle of "Uncle Slam." Project lead: John Arnold Teammate: Jason Hoyt (development) Teammate: Brittney McIsaac (design) Teammate: Jim Paluf (research)

Couplett IconCouplett

In brief: Your device has two cameras but just one at a time? Isn't it time to correct this crime? Take picture from both and comp them together, pictures of friends or your cat or the weather. Project lead: Aaron London Teammate: Roben Kleene Teammate: designer to be named later

the wager

The Wager:

As I watched this friendly contest develop, I couldn't help but think that a new era was dawning at Handelabra. The era of late nights and empty bottles . But still, who was I to stand in the way? John and Aaron certainly seemed ready to go toe-to-toe, code-to-code, bundle-to-bundle.

But I also realized there was a need for some modicum of civility so the following rules were enacted governing the contest. To be crowned winner, the app must:

  • Be completed within the current scope
  • Be submitted to the App Store first
  • Not pulled back by us due to a bug discovered while awaiting review
  • Rejection by Apple will NOT disqualify the winning app as we have no control over the review process
  • This wager is between Aaron and John, if any other team members choose to make a side-bet, it is a separate wager.

The Stakes


Follow the contest

While it may not be shaping up as the "Bout heard round the world!", there is the potential for an upset here. Both projects are already under development, they are different in scope and have different sized teams. Both are scheduled to submit in early November. If you want to see the whole messy affair play out, you can:

May the best app fall on it's face allowing the fastest one to win!

Uncle Slam: the road to PAX

It's been quite a while since I last posted about Uncle Slam -- the game has a new name and everything now!After we got a good response to our impromptu demos at PAX East, we decided to go full bore on the game. So this summer we've been working hard to get the game built and ready for a real showing at PAX Prime. We're setting up an awesome booth where people can try out Uncle Slam, compete in tournaments, and talk to the developers and artists who put the game together.

Here's what you can look forward to at PAX, by the numbers:

  • 9 Presidents of the United States, including but not limited to: George Washington, Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton, and Abraham Lincoln
  • 5 stages, including the White House, Mount Rushmore, and some other surprises..
  • 7 Handelabra representatives, including developers and artists, to chat with about Uncle Slam and our other projects
  • 3 big screens showing all the action and keeping track of the Presidential Standings

Now this is still a Developer's Corner post, so I'll mention some of the technical bits.. we've come a long way since our prototype we had at PAX East. This is our first game at Handelabra, so it's been a learning experience setting up a pipeline for art process, scripting and packaging game assets, integrating with game engines and other technologies, and so on. I'm hoping to get some posts up after PAX Prime talking in more detail about how the project has been going. Uncle Slam has benefited hugely from open source libraries like cocos2d, Box2D, and RestKit, as well as useful tools like PhysicsEditor, TexturePacker, and Particle Designer.

How about some screen shots?

Uncle Slam is due out later this year, so keep an eye on this space. Better yet, set a RE.minder in GAME.minder! Even better yet, visit us at PAX Prime from August 26-28 -- we'll be in booth #6014.