Game Development Contest

Hi reader :slight_smile:

Four years ago, a game development contest for BGE users (BGMC) got its first two contestants, first finished game and the first winner. Over time the number of contestants, games and winners increased, the biggest contest had over 35 games. Winners sometimes got nothing except congrats, sometimes they got games and once even a trophy (sponsored by Wallmaster). But over time, people lost interest, the contest got delayed, canceled and forgotten.

Time has passed, Blender gained lots of new features, developers gained new skills, organizers gained some weight :slight_smile: and motivation to bring the contest back.

There are some plans about the next contest already, but we need your help, so please tell us what you think.
First of all, what do you think about the name we used so far BGMC, its short for Blender Game Making Challenge and before that it was BWGMC or Blender Weekend Game Making Challenge. We know its long and generic, but it was good enough for a long time.
What are your ideas or suggestions for the new name ?

For the first 4 years we used a blog to keep track of contests, themes, developers and games, and it worked good enough.
Should we make a website or continue using the blog format ?

We had contests that lasted 2 days, 5 days and 7 days. Sometimes they where months apart, sometimes weeks and sometimes just days.
What do you think the best length of a contest is ?

Most games made during the contest where judged by other developers so it was easy to pick the best one, sometimes we had judges and sometimes the voting was open to everyone.
What is the way you prefer your game to be judged, how do you want to pick the winner ?

Winners should get something for winning, most of the time it was the right to pick the theme for the next contest. Sometimes it was keys for games on Steam and Origin, and once it was an awesome trophy made by Wallmaster.
Rewards however cost money, and we always invested our own, but that is not a very good long-term plan.
Would you consider donating something to the winner, and in return you become a official judge of the contest ?

We can’t wait to hear what you have to say, don’t be afraid to speak your mind.

Hi,
The reason why I love the BGMC was not because of the fact that if you win you will get something but it was because it makes people be creative and create amazing finished or unfinished games which can inspire and increase the moral of other users for example the last BGMC for me by far was the most exciting one,the kind of projects that were made were truly brilliant.

1- BGMC sounds better in my opinions

2-The blog was ok it’s not too bad but it would be good if there is a website entirely dedicated to BGE contests because its easier for people to see past contests and also the new contests.

3-Most of the BGMC projects I’ve seen were not fully completed because of the short time they had what it could be cool is to make the contest 2 weeks long so that in the first week concept art,models,mechanics are planned and in the second week fixes and improvements are made.
While during Holyday times you could do a big BGMC contest which gives 3-4 weeks to work on

4-For the winners what it can be done is to simply give them the rights to choose the next theme for the contest since this contest are supposed to be contest which people participate for fun and learning/experience purposes.

  1. Has to be BGMC in my opinion. Good length and nice ring to it although I might be biased :slight_smile:
  2. The blog had it’s downs. When all submitted games couldn’t fit on one page you could say not all of the got the same attention which I think was a bit bad. It’s nothing that is dictated by the fact of using blog format, just make sure the projects are presented in equal visibility.
  3. I don’t think increasing the time frame increases the finishing quota. Some people either overestimate things and lose interest with the project, that’s normal. It’s always nice to see a playable game but there’s value in the unfinished games as well. People can have different motivation to take part in such competition, some do it just for fun and experience even if they think they can’t finish anything.
  4. As much difficulty as it has proved, I like the idea of pre-decided “judges”. I dislike public voting because the results are prone to even quite harmless abuse. Someone might give their own game a couple of 10’s thinking there will be hundreds of votes and suddenly win when voting wasn’t too popular after all and not many did vote his game especially for some reason.

I also prefer to keep the competition free and volunteer-powered as long as there is volunteer power to support it. I think monetary award could draw some more seasoned game developers into the competition and yield quality results but if it got too serious then the beginners could feel like there’s no point to enter against experienced users which would be completely against the BGMC spirit IMO. Some arrangers seem to handle things well such as Price’s christmas competitions. It’s a matter of how you handle it and it’s hard to tell beforehand.

I like the bgmc’s, but here’s my suggestions:

  • Make the consistent. Eg run for a week starting the first weekend each month
  • Many people don’t have much time during the week, so it would be great if it were either a weekend contest or from one Saturday to the following Sunday (two weekends with the week inbetween). This means people witn uni and work can still participate meaningfully.
  • Not all topics work. Generic ones like ‘flight’ and ‘bugs’ worked better than ‘circus’

I like that the BGMC is free, I don’t do it for the prize. If you want a website, you could ask retroworld, he was looking to do some portfolio work recently, offering his services for free. I would also be willing to do a little web development, but it probably won’t be that great. (And would have to wait for my holidays)

Good luck trying to satisfy everyone. In the end, it’s your call, and people will participate.

My thoughts:

1 - What are your ideas or suggestions for the new name ?
I’d almost like to see “Blender Game Challenge” instead. Much shorter / easier to say.
The acronym “BGC” does seem inferior to BGMC, but that’s probably because I’m so used to the latter.
An outsiders opinion would be valuable.

2 - Should we make a website or continue using the blog format ?
My mind is set on developing a django-powered site for future BGMC’s, possibly to be finished around September.
But if someone else wants to do it instead, I can still provide reliable hosting with ad-free downloads.
I would sometimes go weeks without checking BA, usually only knowing about the BGMC through friends. So anything with email notifications would be awesome.

3 - What do you think the best length of a contest is ?
I’m the oddball that has 0 time on weekends. So something that includes both weekends and weekdays would be ideal.
Having them occur at regular intervals would also be nice as sdfgeoff noted. If not, then maybe an announcement several weeks in advance.

4 - What is the way you prefer your game to be judged, how do you want to pick the winner ?
Predetermined judges and a just-for-fun community vote.

5 - Would you consider donating something to the winner, and in return you become a official judge of the contest ?
Maybe if the competition gains more traction, but I wouldn’t judge. Too busy trying to win my $50 back :RocknRoll:

I love contests, but I rarely finish them. A weekend is too short. 9 or 10 days would be better, or two weeks with three weekends would be ideal = 20 days. I agree that themes need to be loose. If I see a boring theme I wouldn’t take part that time round. Things like winter, sports, the ancient greeks, soccer, travel, dragons etc… all make interesting themes.

The winner should get to pick the next theme.

@Fenice
Its good to see that you like the core idea of BGMC, maybe we should take it back to basics and avoid dealing with money.
Thanks for the feedback.

@Kheetor
There where some issues with the blog but most of them where my mistakes. After each BGMC I had to download all games, test them, re-upload them, make posts for each one with download links and screenshots and then take care of the voting process. In that process mistakes happen and if nobody reports them to me they stay like that.
I will try to take better care of that in the future, but please report any mistakes you find and don’t be affraid to send your suggestions on how to improve the experience. Thanks for the feedback.

@sdfgeoff
One challenge each month is a bit too much for us to handle, I think we will have something like one challenge each season (Winter Challenge, Spring Challenge…). But that is something we can decide later. I agree that some themes are better then others, but if someone wins the right to choose a theme there is very little I can do. Thanks for the feedback.

@pqftgs
Nicely formated post :slight_smile:
Maybe the name should stay but we will have to come up with a mascot or something less generic to represent us.
I have some website ideas to share with you, we will talk about that on FB or Skype. Downloads with ads are fine if the ad money goes to you, atleast you get something for hosting the stuff.
Email notifications is something I tried using google groups but we have to find a better solution.
Thanks for the feedback.

@Smoking_mirror
Thanks for the feedback, I agree with you.

First of all, what do you think about the name we used so far BGMC, its short for Blender Game Making Challenge and before that it was BWGMC or Blender Weekend Game Making Challenge.

BGMC sounded fine.

For the first 4 years we used a blog to keep track of contests, themes, developers and games, and it worked good enough.
Should we make a website or continue using the blog format ?

A website could be cool, though a simple blog format might be nice as well. I don’t really see this being Ludum Dare-level huge, so I’m not sure if an entire website dedicated to it is a good idea. However, there usually are quite a few entries.

What do you think the best length of a contest is ?

Probably somewhere around a weekend to a week. I know some people think it’s too short, but people can do Ludum Dare in a single weekend - there’s no reason we can’t scale back and finish something rather than over-planning and ending up cancelling our project (like so many of us have done).

What is the way you prefer your game to be judged, how do you want to pick the winner ?

I don’t really mind - letting the community vote could be fine if there’s enough people to do it. It also takes the pressure off of people who want to just participate.

Winners should get something for winning, most of the time it was the right to pick the theme for the next contest. Sometimes it was keys for games on Steam and Origin, and once it was an awesome trophy made by Wallmaster.
Rewards however cost money, and we always invested our own, but that is not a very good long-term plan.
Would you consider donating something to the winner, and in return you become a official judge of the contest ?

I’m unsure on this. I like the idea of games on Steam and/or Origin; games are something nice and tangible that usually don’t cost a lot. But it’s not like there has to be any gift or anything at all - it could just the acknowledgement that you did well. (Does there even have to be a “winner”?)

  1. Name is fine
  2. Web site good idea, a sub-forum can do the trick too.
  3. Length? Well, I’d prefer 3 weeks or 1 contest per month, with 1 week for judging. Stylized game remakes could be fun!? Like, the hundreds games made for the Nintendo Snes, Megadrive, N64, Playstation, you know? The oldies? Or even simpler games like Tetris. Going a scale higher every month?
  4. Either way is fine for me, as far as votes go. It’s an open community after all.
  5. Rewards? The learning experience and fun should be enough. A fee per participant, can be done on the last contest, winner take it all or part of it!

A notion of the length/interval:

The time frame needs to be limited. Bigger time frame => bigger and more ambitious projects => more things to go wrong => more unfinished stuff. Even if some people (like myself) have very limited time frame in a day or week they can work on the project that should affect the complexity of the game project you’re making, not if you can make one or not. It’s a lesson in scaling the idea properly and that ability is vital to finishing any project. You could make a game in 2 hours if you must.

Time frames like one month lead to people first thinking “maybe later”, “I don’t need to start yet.” and then “only 9 days left, I missed it” “everyone else has been developing for 30 days”. It’s often too early or late for them to start even though it really isn’t. It’s also long enough to people to forget about the competition altogether.

This is also about interval. If there’s a constant contest going on it will actually get less attention and participation than something that’s only arranged twice a year for example. I also know that arranging this type of contest with file submitting, voting, status posts, judging, results isn’t light work. BGMC as we know it needs to be a cycle for both arrangers and participants.

“Less is more.”

I’d actually like if we saw a little more of light casual type contests for BGE over a weekend for example to suit different tastes in “game jamming”. Nothing prevents people from coming up with a theme or other competition idea and announcing such on the Member Contests forum without making things too heavy or official.

I think that there should be an external website similar to Ludum Dare with a countdown timer as the main focus of the page. All submissions are to be posted on that site which is integrated with blenderartists.org (final submissions should be added to a thread as a post from the external website) and the blog/game devlogs should be integrated with the WIP threads (optional to have a log or not). This way a large community can be an overlooking voting factor and audience for the games developed while still having an external page for an easier, more focused interface and status of the competition and its contestants.

Pros:
-Easier to use (plausibly?)
-Entirely focused on the competition (doesn’t become buried under hundreds of forum threads)
-Easier to follow the status of the competition (deadlines, next competition dates, etc.)
-Easier to follow the games being developed (dedicated to displaying what’s hot in the competition dependent on the amount of views and “likes” – serves as motivation for the contestants to try beat each other)
-Same system could easily be used globally for blenderartists competitions.

Cons:
-You need hosting with quite a bit of storage for the submitted games? (again could easily be solved with tight blenderartists integration)
-Not on the forum itself (though all of the posted content is hosted on the forums)
-Might be a bit confusing at first.

I would be glad to help with developing this. I know HTML, PHP and CSS – though I am a bit rusty.

TL;DR I think that a website should be made which essentially pulls data from blenderartists.org and visually represents it in an understandable and clean manner while still allowing the blenderartists community to be the centre focus of the competition due to is magnitude.

BGC or BGMC are both fine.

Having the contest at the start of each season sounds like a good idea as far as spacing out the events.

About rewards - I really liked the way Wallmaster did it last time. A trophy is a nice thing to have and to show off, but it also makes the competition look like it’s got prestige. The showcasing of the games being played on the BGMC’s youtube channel is also a nice thing for the participants. If you do get a website (and I think you should) you should try to have a very nice looking hall of fame/winners page, I think that would also spur more people to compete if they know there’s a nice space for their achievement.

How about having a short time limit for the challenge at spring time with no prizes or something very small and then having the challenges longer and longer as the year goes by, with the longest challenge and the biggest prize being somewhere around Christmas (people have a lot of free time around then and are indoors a lot)?

For Picking the winner I think it would be cool to have the blenderartist community vote for the top 10 games and then those get showcased on the youtube channel. Last time wallmaster did the youtube thing it seemed like there was too many videos on there and it would be a chore to watch them all. After that I don’t know, judge vote + blender community vote + wider community vote all averaged together?

Would it be that expensive to 3d print a small trophy that has the winners name on it? Each time around you could add a little variation to it by changing the texture on the surface so every winner has a unique trophy. I know it still costs money and you don’t have much of a budget, so I think my main point is that showcasing is also a prize that can be even better than a physical trophy if done right… and in the long run a lot cheaper.

What are your ideas or suggestions for the new name?
Blender Game Competition sounds good to me. I suggest not to use acronyms. They’d be hard to remember and nobody would know what that’s about (BGC sounds memorable, though).

Should we make a website or continue using the blog format?
A blog does its job. You could use Wordpress for both articles and some pages about the previous competitions and rules.

What do you think the best length of a contest is?
Most people don’t really have much time, I guess. It’s not rare that urgent appointments pop up on the competition’s weekend. I’d go with 2 weeks or one week with two weekends.

What is the way you prefer your game to be judged, how do you want to pick the winner?
Let judges, devs and the audience vote and then calculate it in some reasonable way.

Would you consider donating something to the winner, and in return you become a official judge of the contest?
That is a very good idea, I would do that. Game keys and picking the topic is also nice.

I support this idea. Would be fun to have like 6 monthly competitions, each representing a milestone-year of computer gaming.

I’ve been into BGE since 2010 and I’d be glad to take part in one of those competitions.

It should be addressed that not everyone lives in North America. What that means is that for me in South Korea it’s now 7:38PM on Saturday the second of August. But for people on the west Coast of America it’s only 3:38 AM. I’m nearly a day ahead of people in the USA, inevitably I lose part of the first day (the announcement about themes is usually posted while I’m sleeping) and then on the last day when I finish working on the project and go to bed, there is still most of a day left for everyone else.

This makes it pretty much impossible for me to do a weekend competition, as it’s a real headache to work out how much time I’ve got, and if the competition is still running or not or if it’s already finished. Also it often means trying to do work on a Monday when I’m most busy, while I couldn’t work on Saturday (when I have loads of free time) because the theme hadn’t been announced.

When I took part in the Seven Day Roguelike (7DRL) competition earlier this year the organizers got around this by earmarking a 2 week time slot and saying that you could choose any seven days within that time frame. It works pretty well and means that people can actually organize themselves so that they can do the work during the time which is most convenient for them. People don’t cheat, because, well, who would? We’re all adults aren’t we?

For voting I don’t see anything wrong with a community vote. It works well where I’ve seen it used before, as with flexible time frames I think you have to trust people not to abuse the system. 7DRL uses a community vote and requires that everyone who enters a game in the contest try to play and review at least 3 or more games made by other people. This gives a nice range of reviews and votes, and makes people feel more involved in the contest.

What are your ideas or suggestions for the new name ?
I do not really like the BGMC as acronym. It feels like stones in my mouth. But I do not have a nicer and short name either. Finally I do not really care.

Should we make a website or continue using the blog format ?
The blog format feels not really good for a forum. It might be good for certain aspects, but not for the complete contest.

I also think that a forum is not a good place to run a contest. Beside submitting threads and posting comments there is really not much support. A forum is not even a good place to act as repository.

Currently I do not know of a software that provides good contest features:

  • submitting entries
  • time management
  • judge support (e.g. valueless/randomly presenting un-judged entries, survey style point entry, result analysis)
  • public voting on categories
  • result presentation

As usual someone needs to run the contest. Even if we use BA.

What do you think the best length of a contest is ?
I do not think there is a real limit towards the length of individual challenges. There can be short, medium and long challenges are the same time.
For me I would say weekend + a week + weekend would be a good time. This is short enough to be reserved ahead. Dependent if you can spend time on weekend (like me) or during week (like other) it is a pretty balanced time frame.

The time zone is a valid argument. How about that?
A) There is a 24/48 hour registration period. The individual timer starts with the registration.

B) The topic gets announced after the registration period finished.
This way nobody can start earlier. If someone does not like the topic, he can withdraw its registration at any time.

C) The entry freezes after timeout (e.g exactly 9 days after registration) and counts as it is at this time.

D) The judging phase can start at latest registration + duration time

What is the way you prefer your game to be judged, how do you want to pick the winner ?
There are many ways to do that. I really do not know the best method.
public vote -> leads to winners with lots of friends
judge vote -> requires judges
participants vote each other -> should be pretty fair.

Maybe a mix of both:
25% public vote
50% participants
25% judges (without entry)