Greasepole Achievement List

Congratulations to Sci ’11 for their one-hour, 47-minute conquering of this year’s greasepole!

Can we all just take a moment to reflect on the academic year called “Sci ’11”?  Man, I feel old all of a sudden.

Just for giggles, here’s the current list of achievements for Legend of the Greasepole.  I wonder how the crowd around this year’s greasepole would have done.

Pole in Ten (Years!) – (100) –  Stall the frosh for at least 10 minutes
Show Some Discipline – (10) – Proudly display the Discipline bar on your Engineering jacket.
Desperate Times, Desperate Measures – (10) – Wind up your arm fully, completely before you toss a road apple.
It’s The Jam, It’s All Good For You – (20) – Offer ‘za or a drink to the Engineering Society President.
You’re a Hoser – (20) – Cool down the frosh with water from the firehose.
Golden Soda – (50) – Offer a drink to hard-working Al ‘Pop Boy’ Burchell.
Like Homecoming, But With Lanolin – (50) – Quench the crowd’s thirst ’til they slam their leather jackets.
Dizzying Heights – (50) – Send a frosh flying all the way from tam to pit-water.
Iron Ring Ceremony – (100) – Unleash the power of the mighty Iron Ring.
Double Fisting – (150) – Wear two Iron Rings at the same time!
Exam Avoidance – (50) – Stall the frosh for five minutes without lobbing a physics ‘smart bomb’.
Fully Loaded Fun Fur – (70) – Stuff your pockets with 99 apples, 99 slices of ‘za, or 99 Clark mugs.
Secret Achievement – (??) – Keep stalling the frosh to discover this achievement!
Secret Achievement – (??) – Keep stalling the frosh to discover this achievement!
Secret Achievement – (??) – Keep stalling the frosh to discover this achievement!
Secret Achievement – (??) – Keep stalling the frosh to discover this achievement!

Greasepole 2007 is today…

… in fact it’s probably happening as I type, but I’m three-and-a-half hours down the 401 in Toronto. Sigh.

PCorey's great Greasepole shot

A huge thanks to the folks who have beta tested the re-release of the game.  I had hoped to have it ready for today, but I’ve received some great feedback about a few things to tweak, and particularly in light of the new XBox control mechanism, I need to hold off a few days to find time to finish it up.  Also, my partner-in-crime Craig Calvert, who was Legend’s Artistic Director, still hasn’t weighed in… I hope he’ll have a chance to look at the game soon.

A particularly huge thanks to McKay Savage, principal author of the LegendWeb, whose history of the Greasepole (and even poetry about the Greasepole!) was an integral part of the original CD release, and now can be found online.  He’s really been enjoying the beta testing and wrote about it in his blog, which has the great name The Wind on My Face.  I remember receiving the most amazingly thoughtful and detailed e-mails from McKay back in the day — and now he’s living in India.  I think the blogging medium was made for folks like him.

Odd Greasepole shot

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.)