Greasepole XNA: Looking for a few beta testers

By my reckoning, it’ll be next Saturday when Queen’s University frosh week will culminate this year for a new batch of fresh-faced Engineering students.  Surrounded by upper-years dyed purple with gentian violet, they’ll struggle to form a pyramid and climb a lanolin-covered pole to liberate a Scottish tam that’s been nailed to its top, and officially be declared a Year.

Ancient Greasepole photo

Back in ’99 I was part of a team that wrote Legend of the Greasepole, a game inspired by this most bizarre (and awesome, and memorable) of the Queen’s Engineering rituals.  Over 50 Queen’s students ended up involved, and in an era before ubiquitous digital recording equipment, we somehow managed to create a game that gave people a chance to re-live the unexplainable.

Anyway, if I may let a cat out of a bag, I am close to re-releasing the game in XNA.  I’ve ported it from C++ to C# (a task that involved exploring Visual Studio’s underbelly rather intimately), and added a couple of new features along the way.

Why would I do such a thing?  Fellow Sci ’99 Brendan Carroll (who happens to be part of the game’s voice talent) quipped on my Facebook stream “So when should we expect The Legend of the Greasepole to be released for the XBox 360?”  And I got to thinking, dude, that sounds like an awesome idea.  You know, if Clark Hall Pub is ever re-opened, maybe they could play it on the big screen like we did for the launch party back in ’98… but with wireless XBox controllers instead of a wired mouse!

So, since XNA is so accommodating, I figured I’d re-release the game fuelled by XNA for both the PC and the XBox 360.  And you thought I was faffing about travelling the globe or something.

I’m looking for a few beta testers who are running different flavours of Windows to give the game a whirl, give some feedback, and make sure it works on your systems.  I’m using some shader techniques that make me keen to test for compatibility as well as framerate.  I have put together an installer that seems to reliably install all the prerequisites, and even integrate into Vista’s Game Explorer if possible, so the process should be easy for anyone who wants to give it a try.

If you’re keen, drop me a line… oh, and by the way…

how high is the pole, frosh?!

The Legend of the Greasepole...

(postscript for the uninitiated: the InstallShield installer for the old 1999 version of Legend doesn’t seem to be working very well on Vista.  It spins its wheels for a very long time.  Give it a few days and I’ll post a new installer for the old version as well.)