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For Your Eyes Only

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Trapper Zoid


...well not really; it's open to pretty much anyone to read; I just wanted another lame Bond quip as a title. But it's the long delayed result of the Totally Pointless Competition #2!

The object was to convince me why you should be make Emperor (or Empress) of Earth. I wasn't that convinced by threats of violence; it isn't much fun being a lackey to an emperor prone to destructive temper-tantrums. And while I do like goats and cheese, I'm trying to cut back on the dairy products right now, sorry.

In the end I was tied between Driv3MeFar and John Hattan. Driv3MeFar's cross between Zen and Douglas Adams that he should become Emperor because he doesn't want to be Emperor is strangely convincing. And John Hattan's timely reminder that I shouldn't employ grammar used above the checkouts at the supermarket would ensure that his Declaration of Dominance wouldn't contain any typos.

Given I was undecided, I used the traditional techinque of deciding a World Leader - flipping a coin. Lyre bird for Driv3MeFar, Queen Liz for John. Result: Queen Liz for John Hattan! May your superior grasp of the English language inspire us all, Emperor John the First!

I think I'll put the Totally Pointless Competition on hiatus for a while, as it's getting a bit distracting from regular posting. I'll put a link up for John Hattan for the next fortnight.

While we're on the topic of competitions, as mentioned in this thread on improving GDNet I'm thinking of running my own GDNet game development competition some time this year. I really like the competitions run here; many people (mnyself included) seem to just need the restrictions of a fixed deadline and rules that a competition provides to crank out a finished game. The Four Elements competition brings the forums alive when its own, and the Three Hour and One Week One Button competitions are great events when they occur. I'd like to add to that with another competition of my own.

At the moment, I'm thinking of running the competition some time in March or more likely April, just after Easter. I can rustle up a few prizes in that time, even if I have to provide them myself, setup a webpage, draft in a few judges and get some sort of a submission process organised, even if I have to rely on email.

The main dampener at the moment is my lack of dedicated web space; all I have to go on for now is my GDNet account. That mightn't be an issue by April as I plan on setting up my own web space somehow sometime soon, but even if it is I'm sure I can figure out a way around that little problem.

What I am unsure of is exactly what rules I should give this competition. I don't want to double up on the existing traditions of the current competitions; I'd prefer to do something a bit different to give them some variety. But what exactly, I'm not sure of.

Here's my current thoughts on the flavour of the competition:
  • Duration:
    Most likely one or two weeks, leaning towards one. A full week is good in that it helps people fit the competition to their schedule. Anything more than two weeks and the competition may drag out too long for the level of sophistication involved.

    I'm presently thinking of giving people an official notice of the competition three weeks out to know the rules, ask questions and get prepared, then launch the competition proper for a week with a secret theme topic.

  • Emphasis:
    I'm not 100 percent sure on this one. I'd prefer to emphasis the game as a whole package rather than merely the programming. I'm thinking of splitting the emphasis to two areas: innovative game design, and execution and polish. I'd prefer good games made with GameMaker than half-completed hacks done from scratch.

  • Theme:
    This is the big one I'm not sure about. The One Week One Button competition has a great theme in forcing simple game play, and the Three Hour competition has the brevity of the duration combined with ASCII graphics as a good limiting factor. One idea I've been considering is to restrict the game to non-violent gameplay, as hopefully that would spark some new game ideas. But I'm still open to new ideas on this one

    What I do like is the "secret theme element" used in all the competitions here. I'd like to be able to release most of the information about the competition weeks in advance to allow people to do basic preparation, but then release a secret theme element when the competition officially starts to stop people getting too far ahead. I could even use more than one element like the Four Elements competition, although that might make things too complex for a one week competition

I'm open to any ideas about what kinds of competition you'd like to see, or methods for how you'd like to see it run.
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