Good day to everyone, with the WoA IV wrapping up i'd like to create another yearly post-mortem from my perspective on things, and what i have learned this year for next year.
First of all i'd like to apologize for the initial announcement coming the way it did, I tried to silently skip out on the responsibility's for this years event, and that was in poor form, and i'm quite sorry for doing so. This year moving forward I'm going to work with khawk to try to move this contest into a more official capacity, this well likely mean some changes to the way things are handled, but for the most part i'm fairly certain this will result in a better contest in years to come. Unfortunately we are in the early stages so their's not much i can say in this regard. As for the contest itself, I feel we have begun to form a solid smaller community around it, as numerous entrants were returning contestants! I hope most of you can return for next years as well.
What went right? This is really the first year that i had several volunteer judges, for the most part finding a suitable judging team is quite the challenge, and it was pretty great to have most of that burden disappear almost immediately. I also liked the idea of only taking the top 3 scores in each category, Sometimes one judge just doesn't see the game the same way the others did, so I think this helps very much in those cases where a game is being brought down by one judge, but it also doesn't necessarily dismiss that's judge's opinions as well as they might have still given it a higher score in some of the category's. This helped yield a very tight scoring regime this year, in which most final scores ended up in the upper 70's/80's. I also think the more spread out prize pool was a nice thing as well, i know the lower prize pools were fairly small, but It's still something nice to look forward to. Going forward I'd like to keep a similar prize pool, my only worry with this is handling ties. This year i decided to duplicate the prize and give it to both in that prize, but if it happens on the top 3, well my wallet wouldn't be as friendly to doing so. I may have to consider in the future how to handle such situations(split that pool, or duplicate it if it's one of the smaller prizes). This year was probably the smoothest ran so far, I've learned quite a bit on the do's and don't's of operating this event now, and It's getting a fair bit easier to manage.
I also quite enjoyed competing this year, It's probably my only regret of running the contest is that i generally don't have the time/energy to throw something together. I competed the first year when cornstalk's handled things, and my performance then was hampered, and it showed in the end result unfortunately. This year i feel a bit redeemed in that regard, and am very pleased with my entry(even if i can't win any prizes ). Still it was enjoyable and demanding to be a contestant, and I know how orymus3 felt when having to switch gears after the contest and throw on that judge's hat.
What went wrong? Competing was a bit of a double edge sword, once the weekend started I about dropped most of my responsibility's to stay on top of participation, which lead to a fair bit more work after the contest to backtrack several days and get everything caught back up. I also made an absolutely terrible mistake with DKoding's game in that i initially packaged an older build, and still feel pretty bad about that one slipping through . Lastly SotL turned me onto using google spreadsheets, and while i made it work this year. It was not nearly as nicely formatted as the work he did last year, the only thing i felt i did better is that i added auto detection for finding which games the judge's have judged(which actually wasn't necessary this year).
what changes to expect for next year? I actually have pretty much nothing i want to change right now, and until me and khawk figure out exactly what needs to be done to make it an official competition their may be a number of changes that need to happen in that regard. Riuthamus has offered to help me construct a sort-of starter asset pack that can be used by contestants that don't have an artist, as well it seems that helper system was not used at all, so it might be a fairer compromise if instead of offering helpers, we provide some asset package that can be used.
Overall this year was again a pretty solid year, and i want to say thank you to all the contestants that competed, sponsors that helped with the prizes(stormynature, and iedoc). as well as our judge's that took time out of their schedule to give each entry some great feedback(JoshP, bacterius, and NightCreature). Also one last thanks to Thaumaturge who once again goes above and beyond in participation, I don't think their was a dev journal you didn't comment on(well maybe a couple). Till next year!
P.S: I'm open to any idea, so toss anything out you think might be worth changing, and I'll keep it in mind for next year.