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Competition

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Trapper Zoid

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I've noticed that there's been a call for a contest on the forums. I was meaning to run a contest myself this year as I feel they're a great way to get the community together and make games. Given the Four Elements competition will be starting up soon I should probably get the competition underway pretty soon.

The only snag so far is I haven't yet thought of a cute theme for the competition to run on. The three hour and One Week One Button comps all have a great simple premise that I'd like to emulate. However I'd like to pick one that appeals to as many people as possible to get the maximum benefit. Already my ideal idea of having a "no violence" theme (to force people to think of new gameplay mechanics) has been rejected by one poster. Obviously I can't appeal to everyone, but I'd like to open the idea of the competition up for contributions, first to those of you bothered enough to read my journal and perhaps once the seed of an idea has been planted I'll move it to the general forums for further contributions.

Here's my idea for the competition thus far:

Competition - Name Undecided

I'll need a cute title, but that will wait until the theme has been decided.

Objective

My prefered objective is for people to make a well crafted very short game, much in the line of the Experimental Gameplay Project. Competitors have to complete a game with an interesting gameplay dynamic and with a fair of aesthetic flair.

Duration

The competition will run for one week. I think at least a week is required for everyone who wants to join in to be able to make the time. Anything more than a week will make the competition more involved than I think it should be.

Date of Competition

The competition will run sometime in mid to late May, possibly early June. If there's a particularly good or bad time in those months to run a competition please inform me; note that since I'm in the southern hemisphere I haven't a clue what type of summer school holidays are about to hit up north.

I'm thinking of making an official announcement next week. I'll give people some time to debate the rules of the competition and to get prepared if they need to.

I'm not sure which day of the week would be the best to start the competition on. Any ideas?

Rules for the competition

I'd like to go with the secret theme approach as it seems to work well. I'm happy for people to prepare as much as they like beforehand, but I'd start the competition by randomly choosing a theme for the games to be based on, revealed at the start time of the competition.

Absolutely any technology can be used provided it meets the other rules and in can run on my computer running Windows XP (I suppose I could support Mac OS X too, but I'd like to keep to open to the max number of people to play the games).

I'll put a limit on the game size to something like 5 megabytes. Partly this is to stop people going overboard with fancy graphics and music, but it's mainly because I get charged through the nose for bandwidth and I don't want to go broke downloading someone's mammoth entry.

Judging

If need be I'll do all the judging myself, although I'd appreciate help if I can get it.

Entries will be assessed on two criteria, gameplay and aesthetics, each worth five marks. Gameplay involves the suitability of the chosen idea, its originality and how well it was implemented in the constraints of the competition. Aesthetics involves the combination of visual and aural appeal from the game and the amount of polish.

Prizes

At the moment I've got one prize lined up - a copy of "Game Development with Lua" by Paul Schuytema and Mark Manyen. I might see if I can find some more if there's a great deal of interest in the competition.

Theme of the Competition

This is where I'm stuck [smile]. I need a good theme like One Week One Button to give the competition a unique slant. I'm open to ideas on this front. I'd really like something that captures the minds of the community in order to make the competition work well.

Here's a few ideas I've had that I'm willing to work on:

No Violence: The secret theme will be a staple commonly found in video games (example: ninjas), but the gameplay itself cannot involve any violence or destruction. The emphasis is coming up with something new.

A downside is I've already had one poster express their dismay at that restriction, so I'm not sure how popular that would be.

Duality: The secret theme would be a pair of opposites, such as hot and cold. The game would need to involve both these elements.

A downside is this might end up with a lot of similar games about the conflict between the two opposites.

Disparate Elements: There are a number of secret themes that are extremely different from each other. Example would be ninjas, cold and the number 5.

The main downside of this is it might be a bit too weird and many elements would just be window dressing. It also might be too much for a one week competition, and it's a bit too similar to the Four Elements competition.

I'm not sure exactly what the theme should be, so I'm happy for further suggestions

Other Issues

I'll need some web space to host the game entries. If there's only a few I can store them here at GameDev, but if there's many I'll need some external web hosting. I was meaning to get web hosting myself soon, but if I don't set that up soon then I might be begging for a kind soul to loan me some space for a while.

I need to do a bit more planning sometime in the next week before I officially get this competition underway. Any questions, comments or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
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