Cemetech Contest #13 Results and Winners
Published by KermMartian 5 years, 10 months ago (2014-12-28T20:37:40+00:00) | Discuss this article

Almost exactly one week ago, Cemetech Contest #13 drew to an exciting conclusion, garnering nineteen attempted entries and eleven competitive completed entries. For this contest, we allowed TI-83 Plus/TI-84 Plus and TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition entries in BASIC, Hybrid BASIC, Axe, and Assembly, TI-Nspire and TI-Nspire CX entries in Lua, Casio Prizm entries in C/C++/ASM and BASIC, and HP Prime entries in HPPL. In a first for a Cemetech contest, nearly all of the Cemetechians who attempted to write an entry succeeded in submitting their work by the deadline, giving us just shy of a dozen programs to enjoy and grade. We received one HP Prime game, one Casio Prizm game, two TI-Nspire games, four TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition games, and three TI-83 Plus/TI-84 Plus games.

If the variety of platforms that our contestants chose was broad, the range of languages they wielded was equally large. Of the entries, two were Lua, one was C, one was HPPL, one was Axe, one was z80 Assembly, and five were TI-BASIC. All eleven games show the ingenuity and inventiveness we expect from Cemetech members, especially with the challenge of the apparently-specific "cats + space + games" topic. Every entry included cats or space in some way, but we were sufficiently impressed with the different direction our contestants took. Several made games where you needed to collect (or avoid) stars, asteroids, or other objects in space. Two envisioned the player as a cat defending a space-based cat society. One intrepid programmer even launched a real calculator into (near-)space using a balloon.

I'll first introduce the entries that were well-written and showed admirable effort, but unfortunately didn't fit in the top three places.
  • CalcToSpace: Hooloovoo actually launched an HP Prime calculator into near-space on a balloon; unfortunately, the calculator has not yet been recovered. He combined (actual) space with an HP Prime program that displays a cat to fulfill the requirements of the contest theme.
  • AstroCat: This TI-Nspire game by noted Lua developer ldstudios followed the cats + space theme carefully, judging by the screenshots. Unfortunately, the judges were not able to get past the main menu on their physical TI-Nspire calculators, so we look forward to a fixed version post-contest.
  • Supreme Allied Commander of the Feline Forces: Cemetech newcomer SirLagsalot created this monochrome TI-BASIC game, in which you command of a group of soldiers, agents, and other cats. You must allocate funds to build an army, then fight off invading forces. The variety of dialog and encounters programmed into the game was particularly impressive.
  • Cat Nipper: Unicorn's TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition entry, written in TI-BASIC, puts you (a cat) in charge of collecting catnip leaking from a damaged mothership. You must collect enough of the catnip within a time limit, or you lose. Unicorn's entry showed his progress as a programmer in exploring the homescreen and the graphscreen.
  • Catastrophy: 123outerme's TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition entry, also in TI-BASIC, has you controlling a cat that must shoot down endless waves of enemies trying to attack you. Conceptually similar to Feline Forces, it focuses on the fighting rather than the strategy, and makes good use of the color calculator's screen.
  • Star Catcher: Although Chauronslilsis is new to TI-BASIC, she showed her grasp of TI-BASIC with this TI-84 Plus entry. In it, you (a cat, of course), must collect as many points as possible within a time limit by grabbing stars. Some stars are worth more points, but you might have to spend more time moving to those stars, so you must use careful strategy in choosing the stars you want to collect.
  • Rocket Cat: You must collect money to buy better cats, jetpacks, and fuel in Ivoah's Lua game for the TI-Nspire. Unlike many other scrolling games where you must avoid some objects and collect others, each death is merely an interlude in which you can buy upgrades before you return to playing. We were excited that Ivoah shared the progress of his entry on our weekly Have Calc, Will Program (HCWP) teleconference.
  • Jet Pack Cat Attack: CalcGuy's TI-BASIC entry for the TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition was a strong contender, challenging you (a cat!) to collect items and avoid obstacles in space. It added some humorous dialog that spiced up the game, and showed a good grasp of Doors CSE's hybrid BASIC libraries.

And now, our third, second, and first place winners, in that order. Our prizes include two calculators: a TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition and a TI-Nspire CX. We again thank our anonymous donor for these two new color-screen calculators.
  • In third place, Nacanis by long-time Cemetechian Iambian shows extreme technical command of the TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition and z80 assembly. You are a Nyan cat, in space, collecting candy and sweets while avoiding vegetables. The judges were particularly impressed by the speed of this game on what many feel is a platform ill-suited to full-screen, scrolling games.
  • Second place went to Haobo for Space Cat: Invasion, a grayscale Axe game for the TI-84 Plus series. Cats are trying to conquer Planet 323, but are being stymied by an asteroid belt. You need to avoid the asteroids while collecting (conquering) planets. The grayscale looks great, thanks to Runer112's library, the game is fun and fast-paced, and the game fits the theme perfectly.
  • Spenceboy98 wins first place for CATylizm for the Casio Prizm. Although Spenceboy98 says he "wasn't going to enter the contest due to lack of creative ideas", he started playing with sprites and found inspiration; we're glad he did! You, a cat, must collect space-mice, fuel tanks, and coins as you fly through space avoiding asteroids. The game is polished, fast, and fun, and all of the judges enjoyed playing it.

To all our contestants and winners, congratulations! Please PM me your mailing address, and we'll get your prizes to you soon. If you feel like eventually posting up photos of your prizes and/or what you plan to do with them, we certainly won't complain. Since all contestants have uploaded their entries to the Cemetech Archives, we ask that you notify us within four days if you don't want us to accept the upload (otherwise, we will accept the entries to the Archives on January 1, 2015). Most importantly, if your entry is unfinished, please finish it as soon as possible and publish it to help underscore the value of programming for creating educational calculator programs! If you didn't win, then keep your eyes open for Cemetech Contest #14 starting this spring, which will have more TI-84+CSEs and TI-Nspire CXs as prizes.

Left to right: "CATylizm" (Casio Prizm), "Star Cat: Invasion" (TI-84 Plus), and "Nacanis" (TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition)