OMG Contest Scores & Feedback

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Posts: 1,139
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Post: #1
STATS

Escort Wing MacBornes N-Ball Pakimono Pawns Tracktor Beam Avg
7 6 8 6 7 8 7.00
8 5 6 6 6 7 6.17
7 1 6 8 9 6 6.17
6 2 7 8 5 5 5.5
7 5 6 8 6 7 6.50
7 5 5 2 6 7 5.33
9 5 7 5 8 6 6.67
Total 51 29 45 43 47 46 43.3
Score 7.2 4.1 6.4 6.2 6.7 6.5 6.2

As you can see, the race was very close.

JUDGES

Kit Pierce
Kit has been a Mac user since the beginning. Outside of his day job as a programmer, he splits most of his free time between being a dad and writing for MacGamer.com.

George Warner
George describes himself as a "Schizophrenic Optimization Scientist" and works for the Apple Developer Technical Support (DTS) Group. He can usually be found on the Mac-Game-Dev list answering questions about Mac game development.

Aaron Fothergill
MD / Lead Coder
Strange Flavour Ltd
Aaron has worked on numerous games that include the hits Base Jumpers, Croc 2, and Jetstrike. He has extensive experience on the Amiga/CD32, Jaguar, PC and PSX platforms. Adam’s sound and graphic skills were used on the titles Buck Bumble, Red Dog, Alien Resurection (which recently won an Edge award for best sound), Croc 2 and Aladdin, Nasira’s Revenge.

Daniel Labriet
MD / Lead Coder / Lead Designer
DanlabG
Dan's picture is in the dictionary next to the word "Lone-Wolf" developer. Based in France, he spends 23 hours a day creating graphics, code, which turn into some of the most well-polished games in our community. (His other hour is spent riding through the French country-side in a custom built sports car.)

William Miller
William is a freelance artist and game developer currently working for Freeverse Software, and is a student at the Savannah College of Art and Design. He is also a co-host on the Inside Mac Games podcast. William enjoys all things Macintosh, and feels very fortunate to be a part of the thriving Mac game development community

Doug Whitmore
Doug is a software engineer that spends his days working at a fruit themed company and his evenings playing hockey or wishing he had more time to write games. Having gotten into gaming early, he finds it difficult to decide which is more fullfilling: writing games or playing them.

Carlos Camacho
Carlos is Janitor-in-Chief of a withering website devoted to avoiding the opposite sex. While not purposely destroying Mac gaming, he enjoys playing with his two cats, Ana and Buki. Carlos lives in Japan, a gamer's haven, yet has no time for playing games.

THE FEEDBACK

Aaron's comments...

Escort Wing:
Rather fun game. a bit difficult by the 2nd level, but still fun. While gameplay is excellent and the game could easiliy be made into a pretty successful shareware game, it’s a little limited outside of that realm in that it wouldn’t really be able to be made into a retail game. For the purposes of OMG though, it’s not the most original game (essentially a tuned escort mission from Escape Velocity etc.) but it’s been written with a very good focus on gameplay and it has great potential for later expansion and improvement, especially if work was done on the graphics and sound. I fully expect to be playing this one again Smile

Mac Bornes:
I’m not actually sure how this got into the top 6 and I’m dubious about whether or not it should have been allowed to enter at all as it is a computer version of an old Parker Bros card game Milles Bourne, which would appear to be copyright material. There are quite a few other versions of the game floating around on the net though, so maybe Parker Bros aren’t as protective about this game as they are with say Monopoly. Unfortunately Mac Bornes suffers from several problems. Its instructions are poor and would be a lot better if they were in-game as with N-Ball or Pawns. There are no indications in-game as to how you’re supposed to use the cards. Because the original game is a bit poor in the first place, my first game of Mac Bornes involved me not having *any* cards I could play. In fact the original game designed is so random, it’s possible to play a game where you can’t move at all. Ultimately, Mac Bornes is a poor implementation of a relatively poor card game and has absolutely no originality and weak gameplay. While congratulations are due to the author for actually completing a project (putting him in the top 10% of games writers automatically) I can’t bring myself to give points for Gameplay or originality to this game.

N-Ball:
N-Ball is a pretty impressive physics demo and has *potential* to be a great game. As it stands at the moment though, the gameplay is somewhat limited to “don’t fall off the platforms” and avoiding building up too much momentum. A good core gameplay basis though and I suspect N-Ball could easily be worked on and turned into a great game. I’d add checkpoints mid level, put the tutorial level back to its original size, seriously go to town on the graphics and add collectibles, other puzzle elements etc. The rope physics is great, but it’s a bit of a one trick pony at the moment. Not my highest scorer of the competition, but definitely a game with a serious future and one that is playable out of the box (even if it’s a bit frustrating).

Pakimono:
This is definitely the most original game of the competition and well deserving of being a finalist. It’s fun to play and quite novel and I can see it being expanded to a more full scale project and because the basic gameplay is based around straightforward gameplay elements I can see new levels being fairly easy to design as long as the team stays innovative and creative. If I was going to change one thing, I’d change the photo jump procedure. The game would be better if it was simply a jump button with the player trying to get the character in the centre of the photo (maybe with bonus points for carrying items picked up in the level ?) rather than the fancy ragdoll physics gimmick of pulling the character about once in shot. I think that feature is more of a case of showing off the engine features than actually being a benefit to gameplay. Another one of the finalists I’d like to see on a shelf in the Apple Store Smile

Pawns:
Best entry of the lot Smile While Pawns looks pretty simple on the surface, it’s got rock solid gameplay for its style of puzzle. There’s even room for expansion of the gameplay as the author has noted and with some work on the graphics I could easily see Pawns being turned into a commercial release.

Tracktor Beam:
Nicely done Thrust clone that’s very well polished. The controls work as advertised although the tractor beam being on the mouse is an over-complication that doesn't add any real gamepla. If the tractor beam control was on the keyboard (without bothering with direction on the beam) the game would be more playable on iBooks and Powerbooks). The only downside though is that Tracktor Beam is about as finished as it can get. There’s not much more that can be done with the game and its gameplay isn’t exactly original.

Kit's comments...
Escort Wing
(Not my favorite kind of game, but a good execution.)

MacBornes
(One of my favorite card games hobbled in this incarnation by
interface issues.)

n-ballmac
(Highly original, an excellent execution, great physics, and nice to
look at. Splendid casual game.)

Pakimono
(Extremely original, extremely lacking in polish.)

Pawns
(Matt makes great puzzle games. This one could use a graphical
makeover.)

Tracktor Beam
(Hard as heck, but of the finalists, the most refined conceptually
and with the addition of several levels and a difficulty slider,
probably the most commercially viable, in my opinion.)

Carlos' comments...

Pakimono
Living in Japan, it was interesting to see the concept of this game. As I played the game though, it felt a bit like a tech demo. That said, the concept was good and like El Ballo, the developers thought outside of the norm. Control wise, I found myself doing pretty poorly in this game. It might have been due to the demands of the 3D engine.

Escourt Wing
Having grown up with 8-bit gaming, I have a soft sport for shooters. However even the best of them can get repetitious after awhile. This game kept me playing far longer than most shooters, which was good. I enjoyed watching the particle effects -- I sometimes wished I could just sit back and not play, just watching. The movement of the ships and missions reminded me a lot of my recent favorite TV show -- Battle Star Galattica (new series.) I would love to see the developer someone grab a license and re-do the game in that direction! One feature I would be very like to ask for is an option for ship control. Dating back to Asteriods, I've never been good at trust and rotate player control... in fact I hate it. It does give you a feeling of realism, but my brain just isn't good at quick thinking and player movement. I would love to see an option to switch to simple "point and move" controls. Anyways, a very nice game with a good commercial potential!

NBall
Visually, I loved this game. I don't recall any sound though, nor music. I stayed away from all reviews so not to be tainted, so perhaps I missed something? (or perhaps a tech glitch?) The concept was original (to me) and had an old-school feel.. kudos! I see this developer as an up and coming member and look forward to his uDG 2006 entry!

Pawns
I jumped into this game... and hated it. Puzzles? I have no time for stink'n puzzles! Finally, I tried the tutorial. "Ah, that's the way it works." Brilliant! I envy people who can create a game that I've never played. In some ways, I was reminded of Lemmings. In fact, I loved the concept once it grew on me... though I thought the whole time that the game needed more polish and a different "theme." How about Pengiuns, or some critter from "down-under?" Perhaps different boards? In the end, it is a solid game, and one with also good commercial aspects -- better than this developer's last contest entry (uDG)

MacBornes
I've never played the card game so I came to this game with no expectations. I read the directions and thought I understood. I didn't. I was fustrated and wondering why I decided to judge the games for OMG. Wink Lucky for me (and the developer) I saw him online!! With two answers, he was able to make me completely understand what to do. (Sometimes it truly takes a human guide.) I think I played this game the longest, and I was even tempted to ask my wife to play, since I think it would appeal to her non-violent nature. Although I know Freeverse are always keen to publish good card games, I didn't rate this game with that mind. Overall, a fun game, though after reading comments, I'm unclear of the IP issue.

TracktorBeam
It is ironic that I run a site devoted to making games, yet I am perhaps the worse gamer in the world. I'm ashamed at how many tries it took me to get past the first level!! At last I did and it felt like a great accomplishment -- this my friends is the key to a good game design!! I felt truly rewarded for my hard efforts. Like Escourt Wing, I wonder if there is a way to make an option for controlling the ship for fools like me. I want to see this game released as shareware, with graphics made by a pro artist.. perhaps add particle effects and other goodies.

Carlos A. Camacho,
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great feed, thanks!

©h€ck øut µy stuƒƒ åt ragdollsoft.com
New game in development Rubber Ninjas - Mac Games Downloads
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Post: #3
Thanks for the info, and for lining up the usual array of impressive judges, Carlos.

And thanks to the judges, of course! Busy time of year for many of them, good of them to take the time.

Measure twice, cut once, curse three or four times.
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Please thank the judges, Freeverse, and Pure Static directly if you can.

Cheers,

Carlos A. Camacho,
Founder
iDevGames
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Carlos Camacho Wrote:I am perhaps the worse gamer in the world.
yep, so am I. the NPCs in escort wing were better at flying around and shooting than I was.

Also, I thought it was interesting that none of the judges mentioned Pit Droids when they were talking about Pawns
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ferum Wrote:yep, so am I. the NPCs in escort wing were better at flying around and shooting than I was.

Also, I thought it was interesting that none of the judges mentioned Pit Droids when they were talking about Pawns

Very nearly Wink I did say it was like Pit Droids when talking about it to someone else Smile
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Post: #7
Pit Droids was a big influence, obviously. In fact I used to submit puzzles to the Pit Droids website, and a puzzle of mine was actually selected as their Puzzle of the Month. But LucasLearning rudely shut down that website with no warning a long time ago. Then I lost my puzzles in a hard drive failure. :-(

So it was natural I would want to design puzzles for my own game, instead of someone elses's. But I didn't want to clone Droids. I sat on that vague idea for years until I came up with the chess theme and mechanics shortly before OMG started. I also *deliberately* avoided using certain aspects of the Pit Droids design so that I would be forced to design entirely new puzzles. There's really only 2 or 3 puzzles out of my 15 that would have been at home in Pit Droids, and all the really good puzzles use the chess mechanic.

And of course Pit Droids itself developed from other games.

So I don't hide the influence. I had to work extra hard to not copy it too closely.

I heartily recommend Pit Droids to anyone who enjoyed Pawns, and vice versa. Droids requires Mac Classic (yet another fine game that will be lost in the move to Intel.) And if there are any Pit Droids old-timers who might have my old puzzles still on their hard drive, I would be most grateful if you would send them to me!

(Hm, this post might be more appropriate as part of a Pawns post-mortem article.)

Measure twice, cut once, curse three or four times.
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I think that's why Pawns worked so well. You were writing a game you wanted to play, but without slavishly copying the games that inspired it.
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Wow, that was close! Congratulations all and thanks for the judges comments Carlos.

Now I have to go off and fix-up Tracktor Beam a bit. Maybe I'll make it easier so the judges can get past level 2. Smile
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Post: #10
What I wonder is, are we really gonna get a free game from freeverse? I mean all qualified entries ofcourse.

"When you dream, there are no rules..."
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Taxxodium Wrote:What I wonder is, are we really gonna get a free game from freeverse? I mean all qualified entries ofcourse.

I believe Freeverse already got the list of names and addresses from Carlos.

But it pays to be patient, as people who have won prizes before know (and not just in iDG contests, either.) Monday was a U.S. holiday for many businesses, and Freeverse may still be recovering from MacWorld last week.

Historically, Freeverse has been one of the more reliable prize-givers over the years.

Measure twice, cut once, curse three or four times.
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