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4E5: Questions and comments

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Now that the Official Site is up, I welcome you all to go and take a look at the rules, specs, judging, etc. Doubtless some of you will have questions or comments about the structure of the contest; I'd love to hear them, as I'm still open to tweaking/tuning things in the next couple of days if people notice loopholes or border cases that I've not covered. So, if you've got feedback on the structure of the contest itself, stick it in this thread and I'll do what I can to answer everything...

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1)Can you add that .CHM is supported as a manual format?
2)The score categories are clearly stated (good) but it's not stated if we'll be told our breakdown, or any part of our score. Will every entry get e full review or will there be a first pass like last time? Please can it be explicitly stated the minimum and expected level of feedback each entry should get - if the answer is "not much" then knowing before-hand would at least be better.
3)That FastPopCap thing we get a license to - what is it?! You miss a chance to promote your sponsor by not saying this on the contest page at all.

Thanks.

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Original post by d000hg
1)Can you add that .CHM is supported as a manual format?
Done.

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2)The score categories are clearly stated (good) but it's not stated if we'll be told our breakdown, or any part of our score. Will every entry get e full review or will there be a first pass like last time? Please can it be explicitly stated the minimum and expected level of feedback each entry should get - if the answer is "not much" then knowing before-hand would at least be better.
Sorry, but no. I'm not going to commit my judges to some particular level of feedback before we even know a ballpark figure for the number of entries we'll be having to get through. You'll have to make do, for now, with my word that I'll try and get things done better than last year.

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3)That FastPopCap thing we get a license to - what is it?! You miss a chance to promote your sponsor by not saying this on the contest page at all.
You mean you never clicked on the link, or looked at the Sponsor page, where it clearly says "Use FastCap game recorder to capture game video/audio."?

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This is the deal breaker for me, I would look at this as more of a spit and polish learning expiriance, but there is no learning if you dont at least know what to do better next time, or what you did right the first time. It would really be benificial if a small pro/con type system was listed for all entrees, if the entrees were even looked at, that should not be a problem should it?

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7. Entrants are both allowed and encouraged to use 3rd party libraries, engines, and middleware to develop their entry, provided that whatever they use permits unrestricted distribution of the resulting entry executable per the Legal requirements of this contest.


Would this include the use of DXUT?

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Original post by PaulCesar
This is the deal breaker for me, I would look at this as more of a spit and polish learning expiriance, but there is no learning if you dont at least know what to do better next time, or what you did right the first time. It would really be benificial if a small pro/con type system was listed for all entrees, if the entrees were even looked at, that should not be a problem should it?


As I've said before, I know that feedback is important to people and I am looking to get as much feedback as possible for people. I just don't know, at the moment, how much that's going to be. You guys have made me very much aware that if I don't up the level of feedback significantly from that presented after 4E4, you'll lynch me. I don't wanna be lynched. I wanna make you guys happy - that's why I run these, after all - so I'll see what I can do.

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Original post by AdamWebb
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7. Entrants are both allowed and encouraged to use 3rd party libraries, engines, and middleware to develop their entry, provided that whatever they use permits unrestricted distribution of the resulting entry executable per the Legal requirements of this contest.


Would this include the use of DXUT?


Let me get in touch with MS and check; based on the language in the SDK ("Its goal is to make Direct3D samples, prototypes, and tools as well as professional games more robust and easier to build.") I'm guessing that it'll be fine to use.

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The rules page specifies that .NET 2.0 will be supported, but only mentions MDX 1.1. Are we really limited to 1.1, when we could use 2.0?

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Original post by acid2
The rules page specifies that .NET 2.0 will be supported, but only mentions MDX 1.1. Are we really limited to 1.1, when we could use 2.0?


MDX 2.0 is in beta, and will never be coming out of it (as it's being superceded by the XNA Framework). It's not been released outside of the DXSDK, so I'm not supporting it,as the target scenario is supposed to reflect end-user setups.

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You can create a 2.0 installer out of the DX SDK -- it's messy, but it can be done.

Chances are, if you make a slick installer, nobody will notice if you're using MDX 2.0 :-) However, the work of creating the installer will take away from the work of polishing the game.

Also: this should be a rule if it isn't already: If your game or installer messes up a judge's computer, you are automatically sent to the bottom of the list (even though judges are likely to re-image their systems after judging).

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Ive always wanted to compete in one of these, but Ive never been quite good enough. I guess I'll give it a try this time, just make the judges promise not to laugh.

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Original post by hplus0603
You can create a 2.0 installer out of the DX SDK -- it's messy, but it can be done.

Chances are, if you make a slick installer, nobody will notice if you're using MDX 2.0 :-) However, the work of creating the installer will take away from the work of polishing the game.
Are you sure that's acceptable under the terms of the DXSDK EULA? I'm not sure whether the MDX 2.0 is covered in the redist license.

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Also: this should be a rule if it isn't already: If your game or installer messes up a judge's computer, you are automatically sent to the bottom of the list (even though judges are likely to re-image their systems after judging).
Aye, a clean uninstall is necessary for a high Best Practices score.

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Original post by superpig
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Original post by acid2
The rules page specifies that .NET 2.0 will be supported, but only mentions MDX 1.1. Are we really limited to 1.1, when we could use 2.0?


MDX 2.0 is in beta, and will never be coming out of it (as it's being superceded by the XNA Framework). It's not been released outside of the DXSDK, so I'm not supporting it,as the target scenario is supposed to reflect end-user setups.


Ballz, that renders my current engine out the window, oh well.

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I love everything I see so far. I don't get why people are mostly concerned rather than thrilled.


I think even without feedback you'll learn more than enough if you participate.

A risk that I see is that people might start whining about how the scores are not fair based on comments from judges (if there were any).

I'd prefer feedback from the community.
How about separating judging from commenting and asking for feedback-writing-volunteers?
Sure this would probably happen in some way ...
but an official template for feedback and an idea of how many people would be willing to write comments might be helpful.

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Original post by hplus0603
You can create a 2.0 installer out of the DX SDK -- it's messy, but it can be done.

Chances are, if you make a slick installer, nobody will notice if you're using MDX 2.0 :-) However, the work of creating the installer will take away from the work of polishing the game.

Also: this should be a rule if it isn't already: If your game or installer messes up a judge's computer, you are automatically sent to the bottom of the list (even though judges are likely to re-image their systems after judging).


If you are allowed to redist this, I'd be interested in seeing how you did it. I had troubles redistributing MDX 1 a while ago, never did get that sorted. Any links to definitive guides etc would be great :-)

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Original post by DareDeveloper
I'd prefer feedback from the community.
How about separating judging from commenting and asking for feedback-writing-volunteers?
Sure this would probably happen in some way ...
but an official template for feedback and an idea of how many people would be willing to write comments might be helpful.


Eh, if 4E4 is anything to go by, then it's not really necessary - people do a good enough job of providing feedback via this forum that we don't need any kind of official template. If you want to suggest something then people are free to use it, but they're free to not use it too.

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Ive always wanted to compete in one of these, but Ive never been quite good enough. I guess I'll give it a try this time, just make the judges promise not to laugh.


They didn't laugh at my sad excuse for a game, at least not openly. And they were even friendly enough not to ban me from GD for life, so I guess you can safely join in on the fun [wink]

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Original post by remigius
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Ive always wanted to compete in one of these, but Ive never been quite good enough. I guess I'll give it a try this time, just make the judges promise not to laugh.


They didn't laugh at my sad excuse for a game, at least not openly. And they were even friendly enough not to ban me from GD for life, so I guess you can safely join in on the fun [wink]


Yup. If you want to do it, just do it. I certainly hope you can do as good or better than this submission from 4E4:

The best thing about that game was the EULA that came with it.

And make us laugh. It's fun to laugh.

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Original post by DareDeveloper
I love everything I see so far. I don't get why people are mostly concerned rather than thrilled.

I think even without feedback you'll learn more than enough if you participate.
If you've not done much game-programming before, or never made a complete game, or never worked for 6 months on a single project then definitely yes. But if you're one of the large number of people who have done these things, you will still learn but not as much.

And since GameDev uses the winning entries, comprising multiple man-years of work, to further their reputation then we might expect a minimum level of response.

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Original post by SuperpigAs I've said before, I know that feedback is important to people and I am looking to get as much feedback as possible for people. I just don't know, at the moment, how much that's going to be. You guys have made me very much aware that if I don't up the level of feedback significantly from that presented after 4E4, you'll lynch me. I don't wanna be lynched. I wanna make you guys happy - that's why I run these, after all - so I'll see what I can do.

Good! However can't you commit to a minimum level of feedback - like a score. Every entry should get fully reviewed this time round IMO which means that data should exist. I for one would rather that GD stated "judging may take a long time since we wish to fully test each entry" - waiting a month for the results is fine by me!
And last contest there were ~40 entries. So what can we expect if we get 40 entries this time?

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Original post by paulecoyote
I'm gonna nit pick and say that on the http://www.gamedev.net/community/contest/4e5/ page it says "1 days left" instead of "1 day left" [wink]
Well, not to nitpick, but it actually says "1 days remaining" [grin]

superpig - I understand if the judges aren't able to write essays about each game, but will we at least be able to expect a score for each category, as a sort of mostly-guaranteed minimum?

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Original post by d000hg
Good! However can't you commit to a minimum level of feedback


I've already answered this twice: No, I will not commit to a minimum level of feedback.

The best I can give you is as Avatar God says - a "mostly-guaranteed minimum" of a score for each category.

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Original post by Avatar God
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Original post by paulecoyote
I'm gonna nit pick and say that on the http://www.gamedev.net/community/contest/4e5/ page it says "1 days left" instead of "1 day left" [wink]
Well, not to nitpick, but it actually says "1 days remaining" [grin]

superpig - I understand if the judges aren't able to write essays about each game, but will we at least be able to expect a score for each category, as a sort of mostly-guaranteed minimum?


I deserved that [smile]

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Original post by superpig
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Original post by d000hg
Good! However can't you commit to a minimum level of feedback


I've already answered this twice: No, I will not commit to a minimum level of feedback.

The best I can give you is as Avatar God says - a "mostly-guaranteed minimum" of a score for each category.
I feel sorry for Superpig - all this hassle and it's not even started yet; have you got some good stress relief solutions lined up for the next 6 months?!

Oh, can you state if each game will get viewed by every judge, or if they might get split into groups? I've seen contests (including ones on this site) where a game has got 2/10 from one judge and 9/10 from another; I think it's fairer to get each judge to see every game if possible.

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On the subject of submitting a collection - for instance one game for each element - how will they be judged against a single entry? Will each collection game have to be of similar quality to the single entry, or would they get away with being smaller in scope as long as a good variety of gameplay is present?

I quite like the idea of 4 small games, but splitting the time 4 ways instead of working 4 times as hard!

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