CANYON DASH

Canyon Dash is a fast paced action game focusing on the player getting a high score by surviving as long as possible.

Using tilt controls the player must steer a minecart through a never ending maze of track while avoiding dead ends and deadly rock piles that have blocked the path. Along the way, gold and gem pickups can be collected to boost the players' score while a dynamite pickup can be used to blast your way through rock piles that are in the way; clearing the track for safe travel.

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Toxic Nexus

Back in my university days there was one class that I didn't hate with a passion and that was Computer Graphics. I'll be the first to admit that I'm not the best student in the world. In fact, I'm an outright terrible student, but because I could use it to make games I thought it could be quite interesting nonetheless.

The class was pretty basic and primarily consisted of learning OpenGL and the fixed-function pipeline. Specifically JOGL, the Java version of OpenGL. Looking back at the few notes I did write from the course (I'm a terrible student remember) I think the most advanced topic covered was texture mapping. No shaders or fancy particles effects*. Just the real basics.

The one and only piece of coursework we had for the entire course was the final project. The assignment was to create "an animated scene rendered in JOGL". Simple as that! As was usually the case back then I found myself with two days until the deadline, with no completed assignment, and no idea how JOGL worked. Which is obviously a great start. So I set to work learning JOGL and creating my masterpiece with two days to go.

The result of that two day rush was Toxic Nexus. A little demo-esqe piece that put the viewer in the middle of a biological chamber type scene with tentacle creatures floating about. Doesn't make any sense but it looked nice and fitted to the requirements of the assignment. And most importantly, it was finished on time. So off I walked to university, with Toxic Nexus on a USB stick in my pocket.

The last requirement for the assignment was that it had to run on the machines in the university's computer labs. My personal computer back in my dorm was pretty fancy at the time and the application ran great. As soon as I ran it on the university computers.... 3 FPS! If that! So as was usually the case back then, panic set in on the morning of the deadline. I had about two hours before I had to hand it in and it wasn't ready. So again, I set frantically to work to speed it up a bit. Thankfully the problem turned out to be the type of panel/window I was using as my render surface. I can't remember specifics but as soon as I switched to the one I was suppose to be using everything went back to running smoothly and I could finally relax. The assignment was handed in on time and I got a pretty good mark for it. 96% good!

Fast forward... too many years to acknowledge... and I've just finished updating the code to work on modern machines. I haven't done any Java in years so I thought it would be a quick exercise to bring the old project back to life. I downloaded Eclipse and the JOGL libraries and in all it took about three hours to get it running again. It seems JOGL has changed hands since the program was first written so the biggest amount of work went into importing the new classes and renaming some of the objects I'd used back then.

So here I present to you, the ever-patient reader, Toxic Nexus! To run, just extract the nexus.zip file and double click the resulting nexus.jar file.

Download Toxic Nexus

* This was about 2006 so GLSL had only formally been out about two years at this point.