Prizes and contest participation

Member
Posts: 204
Joined: 2002.09
Post: #16
I believe prizes are a good thing, and many of the reasons were listed above already. Better prizes == more sponsors == more publicity == people teaming up to make better games == valuable experience in game development == winning a few prizes and a good remark for your resumé.

What I don't like about many big prizes is the raising of the bar for the contest. uDG is not for novice programmer any more, and hardly for someone without an artist. While the 21DL and OMG Cups are nice ideas, it would still be nice to have a place for everyone in a uDG (it is, after all, the premiere event).
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⌘-R in Chief
Posts: 1,261
Joined: 2002.05
Post: #17
I think raising the bar with uDG is exactly what this community needs to attract more high end developers. Let 21DL and the other mini contests work for attracting the novice and intermediate guys.
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Post: #18
KittyMac Wrote:uDG is not for novice programmer any more, and hardly for someone without an artist.

I hear what you are saying, however I believe the problem is not the prizes driving up the quality but the community itself. The average skill set of the community has increased over the years. There are many members of this site who enter year after year and improve year on year.

Also the fact that as the amount of source code and postmortems for the entries from previous years increases each year there is a much bigger resource base to start from.

A novice first time entrant to the contest is going up against people with 3 to 4 years experience. Of course there is nothing to say that someone could not produce an entry that leaves everyone else in their dust.

Although highlighting the issue, I cannot offer a workable solution. The obvious option of having a contest for beginners only would not work as there may not be enough entrants and there is no way of telling if someone has entered in the past. Even if they have entered in the past their skill set may be less than someone who enters for the first time.

The issue of needing an artist to enter would only be solved by judging games on game play rather than looks which opens up the old can of worms of style over substance.
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Post: #19
Quote:I think raising the bar with uDG is exactly what this community needs to attract more high end developers. Let 21DL and the other mini contests work for attracting the novice and intermediate guys.

The problems with attracting high end developers has already been noted... it comes down to numbers. If they are high end, then they are making enough money that the prizes do not mean anything to them. It would mean entering for the prestige only, and that is a tricky barrel to ride.

As for the smaller contests, the goal of iDevGames has always been to educate people to make better Mac games. One part of education is providing a means of putting developmental software in the hands of developer's who might not otherwise be able to afford it. Since 21DL and others do not provide those kind of prizes, then they never have a decent shot at it.

[edit]
I can attest that it takes a lot of work to attract and keep sponsors for uDG (I played at being the uDG Prize Manager in the past). Having those kind of prizes for more than one contest a year is completely infeasible.
[/edit]

Andrew Sage Wrote:The issue of needing an artist to enter would only be solved by judging games on game play rather than looks which opens up the old can of worms of style over substance.

Of course, that only works well if it is submitted to a panel of judges, and no open voting. For instance, the idea behind OMG was nice, but I believe was a little hampered by the public voting phase.



One simple solution would be to have a dual-tiered uDG. The first tier would include all of the past uDG winners (people who have won actual prizes from uDG in the past). The second tier would be everyone who hasn't. In the end, they all get to pick from the same pool of prizes (they get put in the "winners circle"), but at least "everyone else" gets a chance to win. The voting system wouldn't even need to change with a system like this, only the final comparisons are different.
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Post: #20
KittyMac Wrote:One part of education is providing a means of putting developmental software in the hands of developer's who might not otherwise be able to afford it. Since 21DL and others do not provide those kind of prizes, then they never have a decent shot at it.

These days there are free development tools (Xcode etc.) so not being able to afford the tools is no longer a barrier to entering development.

If the likes of 21DL offered the 'beginner friendly' tools as prizes then they would go to waste if won by someone using Xcode or whatever. If the tool was the actual main prize then it may even put more skilled developers off entering.
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Post: #21
Andrew Sage Wrote:These days there are free development tools (Xcode etc.) so not being able to afford the tools is no longer a barrier to entering development.

You are implying that the only prize worth winning in past uDGs was CodeWarrior? Blink

I consider prizes like Vue, Poser, Carrara Studio, BBEdit, ZBrush, OmniGraffle, Unity, Torque license and more all fine steps to improving the novice/intermediate developer's toolset. Not to mention the many, many, many programming and design books which have been a part of past prize pools.

Quote: If the likes of 21DL offered the 'beginner friendly' tools as prizes then they would go to waste if won by someone using Xcode or whatever. If the tool was the actual main prize then it may even put more skilled developers off entering.

Agreed. This is exactly why there needs to be a place for new people in the standard uDevGames contest.
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Post: #22
KittyMac Wrote:You are implying that the only prize worth winning in past uDGs was CodeWarrior? Blink

No, what I am implying is that there is no Catch 22 of needing to win development tools (be they coding, graphical, audio, project planning or whatever) before you can write winning entries due to there being free tools to do everything these days.
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Post: #23
Andrew Sage Wrote:No, what I am implying is that there is no Catch 22 of needing to win development tools...

Ah! I see your point now.

I agree that owning "professional grade" software is not a prerequisite for creating a winning entry. However, owning said tools must be desirable for some reason, else why would people purchase them instead of using a free alternative? And by that token, why have anything but a cash prize if the software/books are pointless?

Which ties back into the theme of this thread: Would you be more likely to participate in a contest if the prizes were cash only? Or more pointedly, what prizes would interest a "pro" versus a "novice"?
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Post: #24
KittyMac Wrote:Would you be more likely to participate in a contest if the prizes were cash only? Or more pointedly, what prizes would interest a "pro" versus a "novice"?

I think the aim should be for prizes money cannot buy.

The big problem with cash prizes is, unless it is a really large sum of money, getting the money to the winner(s) when they use different currencies - a problem that eats into the winnings.

Smaller cash prices are not really worth the hassle for the wage earners. What is the point spending all your spare time for a month just for a 1 in 20 chance of winning what you earn in a week or a day?
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Post: #25
Andrew Sage Wrote:I think the aim should be for prizes money cannot buy.

Could you brainstorm some examples please? The only one which I can think of would be what Freeverse provided for the OMG Cup... but that can hardly be used as motivation for all contests.


Quote:The big problem with cash prizes is, unless it is a really large sum of money, getting the money to the winner(s) when they use different currencies - a problem that eats into the winnings.

We hit that problem whether it is a cash prize or not. Physical prizes need to be shipped, and the cost of that to other countries can be prohibitive. In fact, cash would be preferable since the money transfer would eat out of the developer's winning, instead of iDG's non-existant budget.
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Luminary
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Post: #26
From my perspective, the publication prize for OMG was the best prize ever offered in a contest here. That's the kind of thing that I'll enter and work hard to win. In the past, I've entered uDG on the offchance of winning a video card, but these days I have an iMac, so that's kinda irrelevant Smile

I've never found any of the software offered as prizes even remotely tempting.

I found the focus of the OMG competition to be good -- you knew exactly what was up for grabs; what you were aiming for. uDG tends to be more than a little fuzzy in that respect -- take a random selection of prizes from a random pool of offerings.

As far as the bar to entry is concerned, I think having two pools (previous winners and not) would work well. For a uDG-like contest, they could then be interleaved (first-first, second-second, third-third). For an OMG-like contest, they could be ranked in absolute order of score.
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Post: #27
KittyMac Wrote:Could you brainstorm some examples please? The only one which I can think of would be what Freeverse provided for the OMG Cup... but that can hardly be used as motivation for all contests.

Publicity at one of the computer shows
Pros: not many here can afford a presence at a show
Cons: how does someone in the US get to a Paris show?

Donation of art work - art work provided to meet winners requirements
Pros: the perfect solution to the art problem
Cons: would need judges to vote on games unless public can see past graphics

Donation of soundtrack - same as above but music

Publishing deal as in the OMG Cup

Inclusion of game on a complication CD
Pros: could get the game seen by a wider audience
Cons: not such a draw in the internet age

Proper implementation of the game with assistance of a team
Pros: turns the entry from a demo into a full game with support of a team
Cons: probably the most expensive prize as lots of resources required

Okay just some ideas for now. I'm sure others will pop into my head when I'm meant to be working Wink
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Post: #28
Just some feedback:

Publicity at one of the computer shows

iDG has done this with the support of Apple. Unfortunately, the winner has been rarely able to afford to attend (if memory serves correctly). As you noted in the Cons :-)

Publicity at one of the computer shows
Donation of art work
Donation of soundtrack
Proper implementation of the game with assistance of a team

These can all be purchased with a cash prize. A suprisingly small amount of money is needed to hire someone for art, music, or coding.

In the case of a big enough cash prize, you could buy the booth, plane ticket, and hotel for the week.

Proper implementation of the game with assistance of a team

Interesting idea, although might not be appealing to most. Especially if nothing is done to help novice-intermediate level programmers, and a "pro" wins. Would a "pro" want another developer tinkering with their code?
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Nibbie
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Joined: 2010.11
Post: #29
The trouble with teaming up with another developer is that they likely have an entirely difference skill-set. Sure, that's an advantage too, but if you learned BASIC-C-ObjC and they learned HTML-JavaScript-Java-C++, you obviously would have some difficulty working together. That being said, most competent and experienced developers know enough languages to learn a new one relatively quickly, and programming technique does cross over from language to language to a certain degree. It's a nifty idea. Working with someone else in a two programmer project sounds like it could potentially be motivating, enjoyable and rewarding... *returns to programming MadTak by himself Rasp*
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