3DU Contest Rules? What for?

Apprentice
Posts: 15
Joined: 2006.11
Post: #1
In response to Starmant's other thread, I could be wrong, but I think we're not supposed to update after the contest. They gave us rules & a timeline for a reason. It brings up an important point... what are the rules for if not to be followed?

It's sort of like I Hate Clowns... sure it's new on Unity, but Matthew, the game is a port (with new models) from your 3 year old game of the same name (http://www.fun-motion.com/physics-games/i-hate-clowns/). If that doesn't count as "publicly distributed" i don't know what does.

Had I known we can flex the rules as such, I would have also saved much time tweaking and tuning and just ported a previous game that I have access to with some new models and gained an easy advantage.

Every game maker knows that good games take time and it's not just coding features but tweaking / tuning / balancing. If you've got a strong and tested base to work from (i.e. a previously released game) then you're already ahead.

In the spirit of contest, any game started before the contest has a clear advantage, which is why I believe we were given the "Entries must not have been publicly distributed before the start of the Contest" rule. Similar for Megapixel, which was started a month or more before the contest, but Yoggy you kept a low-profile with it, and the timing was just right, so it slips in =)

The result is that Clowns & Megapixel end up feeling a lot more evolved than the rules allow for. Sure it's not a big deal, and this is a "just for fun" contest, but it's also 1500 smackers worth of booty and as such, I believe the rules should be enforced.

Else, allowing such bending of the rules just makes the contest unfair to everyone involved. I can say today that I will have nothing more to do with iDevGames in the future if the rules are not enforced on this "for fun" contest (else why have them?). It's all just too unprofessional to me.

Maybe this post is just "sour grapes" that I worked hard and to the last minute to try to get in features (and half succeeded) for my entry, and that I wished I'd thought to bend the rules to my advantage too. But allowing myself to go down that road just makes me feel "dirty".
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Moderator
Posts: 1,560
Joined: 2003.10
Post: #2
All of the code and art for I Hate Clowns were created during the contest period. It's not a port; it's a new implementation of a previous game concept. There was some investigation, and it was deemed to be a legitimate entry.

I don't know the story on Megapixel, though.

Casemon Wrote:Every game maker knows that good games take time and it's not just coding features but tweaking / tuning / balancing. If you've got a strong and tested base to work from (i.e. a previously released game) then you're already ahead.
It's not possible to provide a level playing field. There are many different variables which can put one developer ahead of another, most of which we can't control. If you've released a game before, of course you're going to draw on your experience, concepts, and probably code as well - being required to implement everything from scratch is neither a practical nor enforceable rule.
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Apprentice
Posts: 15
Joined: 2006.11
Post: #3
It's not about level playing field, it's about following the given rules. Certainly each entrant has a level of previous skills to draw upon (strong or not) and that is the advantage experience brings, and there's no fun in trying to rule that out. But in the case where it is the same game, and the rules state the game shouldn't be released before, in this case, I call foul.

But apparently this is water under the bridge as it has been checked and passed, that's fine, you say it isn't a port. I disagree is all.

It is as much a port as any code is ported from one platform to the next is a port. I've worked on console game ports where the difference is the same; new assets put in, code re-written to suit the platform, some strings changed, objectives moved, but such work is never enough to call it a new game.

The point isn't that the art and some code was re-written to fit into Unity, it is more the tweaks and tuning and variations have all previously been worked on and as a result, very little time is put towards discovery and actually "making" the game. The result is essentially putting a new face on a previous tuned game and calling it "new".

Like all contests, there requires some degree of fairness on behalf of the participants. In a world where we tend to reward those who get around the rules for an advantage, perhaps this is acceptable. Such it remains a minor point, but I guess it just comes down to sportsmanship. Looks like I'm alone on this.
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Member
Posts: 204
Joined: 2002.09
Post: #4
As in any of the previous iDG hosted contests, Carlos is the final mitigater on any issues which arise. When issues do arise, Carlos normally asks for the opinions of the moderators before making his decision. I'm not sure if Carlos has made an official decision or not, but I can tell you that IMHO Carlos is a remarkable person and an excellent leader for this community. If in the end you disagree with his ruling and decide never to enter another iDG contest, then I'm sorry for you but that was your call.


My personal opinion on the matter is that I hate clowns is not in violation of the rules. Since all of the art and code were new, it is simply a new game based on an older game. If we disallowed this, then every Pong clone would need to be disallowed. My own Bocce game and the Curling game should not be allowed. Any sch-mup entered would not be allowed.

The "U" in 3DU is for "unique". The judges will be taking this into account when they rate the games.
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Apprentice
Posts: 15
Joined: 2006.11
Post: #5
I have no doubt things will be decided as is seen appropriate by those involved. I am only one person with an opinion.

re; pong & schmup clones
I'd agree with you if the case were as you convey it, but it is not. If the game maker who would enter a pong clone (or schmup or anything) were not the author of the first pong or schmup, it's easy to agree.

However, being the author (and having the source code) of a previously released game then entering an ported version of it "as new" is totally different from a game maker seeing and enjoying another game maker's game and trying to re-create it's magic (as would be the case with any pong clones, unless Nolan Bushnell has an entry heh!).

If contest moderators cannot see the difference between the two, well... my views remain unchanged =)
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Member
Posts: 204
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Post: #6
Casemon Wrote:However, being the author (and having the source code) of a previously released game then entering an ported version

There are opensource/free versions of Pong and numerous sch-mups available on the web, hence anyone can take their source code and "port" it for the contest. Learning from source code is not against the contest rules, no matter who the original author was.

If I told you I had written a bocce game in BASIC 8 years ago, would you want to disqualify my entry?

I might agree with you if the game were something more complicated than throwing rag-dolls in the air and firing projectiles at them. For instance, if I had remade Solace (a complex turn-based strategy) in only two weeks for this contest then I would call foul on myself Wink
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Nibbie
Posts: 3
Joined: 2006.12
Post: #7
I think "I Hate Clowns" is kind of grey area. It obviously has been previously published (several times in several iterations it looks like). So this is them porting it to Unity with updated graphics. I will admit my opinion of this entry went from, "hey cool, these guys came up with a wacky concept and finished it in 3 weeks" to , "hey, these guys keep making the same damn clown game and entering it into different contests."

Whatever, these contests should be kept light and fun. It's impossible to keep a level playing field with so many variables going into the entries.
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Apprentice
Posts: 15
Joined: 2006.11
Post: #8
KittyMac Wrote:If I told you I had written a bocce game in BASIC 8 years ago, would you want to disqualify my entry?

Me: "apples meet oranges" =)

I'm not trying to disqualify anyone, only to point out obvious issues of impropriety. And yes, I would raise issue if you had written Bocce in 3D less than 3 years ago, released it publically, and submitted an updated version for 3DU, yeah.
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Member
Posts: 204
Joined: 2002.09
Post: #9
Quote:would you want to disqualify my entry?
Casemon Wrote:I'm not trying to disqualify anyone

My apologies, my wording was unintentionally harsh :-)


My final point is this: Having used Unity for this entry and never before, I can say without a doubt that given the nature of the Unity development environment no source code goes easily to or from it (it being highly GUI driven). Since the sponsor's intent for the contest was to get people to use Unity, and the entry is not a glaring violation of the rule, then I'm still ok with it. The rule is meant to disallow people from taking previously released games and entering it into the contest unaltered. Since it has all new graphics and, being a Unity game, all new "code" then fine. If the entry is not UNIQUE, then I think everyone has made the judges aware of that fact, and hopefully it will be reflected in the judges scoring.
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Nibbie
Posts: 1
Joined: 2010.11
Post: #10
Well, my game involved a space ship shooting asteroids. I suppose I don't get too many points for "unique" Wink but I've written many many games/demos involving space ships flying around (StarKnight and MadTak being two that some people might have seen on the forums at one point or another).

Now, if someone had a 3D game engine written in C for a FPS and then merely added new assets and changed the game a bit and entered it, I would cry foul. This however is different. Remaking a game is quite a bit of work, and generally porting code from one language to another vastly different one (in this case a game engine scripting language) gives no real time advantage. If programmers were disqualified from using any code that they had used before, how would the programmer improve. A programmer has two technical things going for him: (or her, every now an again)
1. Problem Solving Skills
2. Code repertoire/experience
in addition to creativity and other general artistic impetus.
If we were to not draw on our past, we would simply repeat earlier failures.
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Apprentice
Posts: 9
Joined: 2006.11
Post: #11
ThemsAllTook Wrote:I don't know the story on Megapixel, though.

I started the game from scratch at least 4 months ago (don't remember exactly when) and I worked on it on and off along with other projects for quite a while. It had about half the guns, half the levels, no menus and no sound at all. It was about half done when I learned about the contest. So then I brought it out and worked on it feverishly for the month allowed.

It is a completely original concept and I have never done anything like it before. I had never publicly released it before the contest started.
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Matthew
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Post: #12
I don't have much time to write, due the holidays, but let me quick chime in here. First of all, this is the complete letter I emailed back to Carlos in response to I Hate Clowns:

Matthew Wrote:Hey Carlos,

I was aware of the rule going into the contest—I suppose I should’ve consulted someone beforehand to make sure sequels were kosher. We’re considering the new version of I Hate Clowns to be a sequel (hence the subtitle). The original “game” was a one-day prototype I created in 2003 and released for Windows only.

The new game shares a title, but that’s it—all of the art and code were created in the last two weeks. Just compare screenshots:

http://www.fun-motion.com/images/i-hate-clowns-1.jpg (old)

http://img67.imageshack.us/img67/1589/newui2yz6.jpg (new)

The way I look at it, an implementation of this concept was released before the start of the contest, sure, but that’s true of many of the entries (for example arcade remakes). I feel if it’s okay to remake someone else’s idea it should be okay to remake your own. The entry itself—the actual data—was never distributed before the start of the contest simply because it didn’t exist.

Of course, it’s your contest and I’ll certainly respect any decision you make. I just thought I’d make that case that we didn’t just drop a bunch of already-made assets into Unity and crank out a contest entry. Everything we made here was from scratch and specifically for the 3DU contest.

Best Regards,

Matthew Wegner

Also, in response to:

aNTeNNa trEE Wrote:I think "I Hate Clowns" is kind of grey area. It obviously has been previously published (several times in several iterations it looks like). So this is them porting it to Unity with updated graphics. I will admit my opinion of this entry went from, "hey cool, these guys came up with a wacky concept and finished it in 3 weeks" to , "hey, these guys keep making the same damn clown game and entering it into different contests."

Whatever, these contests should be kept light and fun. It's impossible to keep a level playing field with so many variables going into the entries.

IHC has seen only two versions--the previous version, a two day prototype, and this verison, a two week production. I'm not sure where you got the idea it's a constantly-remade project?

To add on to my previous email: I feel we were within the spirit on the contest. Maybe I misread the goals, but I viewed this as a game development contest (not a game design contest). For us the challenge was how we could create all-new assets for an all-new engine on an all-new OS (new to us, that is). That's a pretty significant production challenge, which is why I decided to implement such a basic game design to offset that risk.

In particular, I didn't feel like I was "cheating" because I was using a two-day prototype as the basis for the design. As someone else mentioned, it's not like I took a complicated turn-based design that had weeks of balancing invested in it and slapped new art on it. There wasn't much that was implemented in the first prototype beyond "throw metal pies at ragdoll clowns". That's not much of a headstart. And, in fact, the tuning that makes a physics game "feel" right doesn't transfer well from engine to engine. This version has completely different tuning than the previous--watch the flash video on Fun-Motion if you don't believe me (the old version was very floaty).

By the way--Casemon is familiar with Virtools, but those that aren't: Virtools uses a visual scripting system. This is the "code" for the previous prototype: http://img409.imageshack.us/img409/2901/...olsag5.gif . We weren't able to use a single line of code from the old version because there aren't any lines of code. When I say all of the code is new, I really mean it.

Casemon Wrote:Maybe this post is just "sour grapes" that I worked hard and to the last minute to try to get in features (and half succeeded) for my entry, and that I wished I'd thought to bend the rules to my advantage too. But allowing myself to go down that road just makes me feel "dirty".

I was in the Unity IRC channel during the entire length of development. You were there when I posted the first ragdoll test, the untextured new clown model, the environment test geometry, the textured clown, the art content for the new environment, and so on. I was clear from the start that I was planning on entering the 3DU contest with the new game.

So why are we having this discussion now? Why didn't you say something?

You watched as I proudly pasted new screenshots of the game in progress. You even helped me troubleshoot some of the flickering problems (thanks, btw!). It was hard for me to carve out so much time to work on a side project, especially during the holidays, but I was really proud of the result.

But, and only afterwards, you condemn all of the work I put into it? I'm sorry, but yeah--that kinds of stings Sad

I'm curious: Would you have cried foul if I created a game where you throw presents at ragdoll Santas?
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Apprentice
Posts: 15
Joined: 2006.11
Post: #13
Matthew, please understand that I'm not condemning you or anyone (how could I?). This topic was raised in response to other questions about bending the rules, and your project sadly seemed relevant (and remains so i think).

On IRC, I did say something and we had in fact discussed this notion in the channel, but you seemed convinced it wasn't inappropriate. It was as you say (if i may quote your mail)...
Matthew Wagner Wrote:I feel if it’s okay to remake someone else’s idea it should be okay to remake your own.

You are of course free to do as you wish, but the rule is clear and exists for this very reason. I helped you solve technical problems because I enjoy helping people when I can, even when I disagree with their decisions (there are realistic limits).

My only point was by by bending the rules and knowingly using a project that has had a life longer than the contest time-frame, or redefining what "porting" means and remaking your own game, makes for unfair competition for the rest who took on this challenge.

You benefit inappropriately from the primary factor that stands between good games and poor ones... that factor being 'time'. A decade of experience making professional games teaches this and I stand by it.

We, as game makers, are the masters of illusion, but I believe strongly we shouldn't use such skills against each other. Some disagree with this.

For the record, Virtools includes a visual scripting system, but you can also write your own code in VSL. It doesn't matter which I Hate Clowns v1 used, but let's not give the wrong idea here... code is code.
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Moderator
Posts: 434
Joined: 2002.09
Post: #14
Lest anyone misinterpret my silence, let me go on record as saying that I think the Clowns entry is legit. Most people Carlos checked with (i.e. moderators) agreed. And we've allowed similar circumstances in the past.

We have the developer's word that there was only one previous incarnation, built in a totally different environment, in a very short amount of time. It doesn't look like they got lots of advance user feedback and used it to change the gameplay. The work they saved was minimal, compared to (say) the advantages gained by starting months ahead of the contest, which is allowed.

If they had put in a lot of previous effort, and had incorporated people's feedback into this version, then I would feel differently. As it is, I am not interested in disqualifying Clowns on a technicality.

BTW, this kind of question comes up every time Carlos runs a contest. While the concern is understandable, there's just no way to draw the line that makes everyone happy. Carlos checked with the developer, got the opinion of other moderators, and made his ruling. Let's drop it now and have no hard feelings.

Measure twice, cut once, curse three or four times.
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Nibbie
Posts: 1
Joined: 2010.11
Post: #15
Casemon, I would like to point out that as a long time member of these forums, it is distressing to read a post such as this which seems a little sour at best. My first impulse was to lock this thread, but I really have no solid reasons to do so other than "I don't like the tone of this thread," and I'm not a dictator.

I would hope that in the future you would write accusing posts with the assumption of innocence rather than what appears to me to be an assumption of guilt if not a blame. Nobody likes this attitude and it generally generates heated replies. Also, I would point out that ThemsAllTook is a longtime member here, and in the 3+ years that he's been posting here he has contributed positively to this forum, especially with his math programming tutorials, and produced numerous enjoyable games. You (apparently) have been here just over a month, and thus both I and many other forum members have no idea who you are, no matter your own merits.

At this point I would suggest either "I'm sorry for sounding offensive..." or "I was offensive because of _really good excuse_" or "I was not offensive and you've got it all wrong because _extremely convincing argument_"

Sorry if I'm being harsh, I haven't had much sleep lately.
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