QuickBlend contest (Time frame to be determined) - a PyWeek/Ludum Dare rip-off!

Hi all,

Has anyone ever heard of the PyWeek contest? Over the years I’ve been following the PyWeek contest because the quality of entries in terms of game design and ingenuity is so high. I think this is a contest that could easily be transferred to the BGE. This is not an original idea of mine, but one I think works well.

The concept is simple: The competitors vote on a selection of themes (chosen by someone not participating), then the winning theme is announced and from that point contestants have a week to complete a game based on the chosen theme. Competitors are free to interpret the theme in any way they see fit, so long as games connection to the theme is clear.

The aims of the PyWeek contest cover exactly why I think it would be a good idea to try with the BGE, so I’ll reproduce them!

  • Invites entrants to write a game in one week from scratch either as an individual or in a team
  • Is intended to be challenging and fun
  • Will hopefully increase the public body of games, game tools, code and expertise
  • Will let a lot of people actually finish a game, and
  • May inspire new projects (with ready made teams!)
    The goal is not to create some overly complex/ambitious next-gen looking games. But to create short simple games focused on gameplay, creativity, artistic flare and showing off one or two features/mechanics.

If you look at the entries, particularly the winners, you’ll notice that they’re not the best looking games but the most fun and ingenious in their design. Furthermore, you’ll see the large number of complete games built over a few years.

I believe a contest like this can help generate some more interest in the BGE by building a good number of short pick-up-and-play games people can get into, while providing something fun and challenging for developers. Furthermore PyWeek demonstrates that the concept works and provides a workable set of rules that could easily be applied to a BGE setting. Finally, given the success of the summer game competition why not try something a little smaller in scale and a little more regular (PyWeek is roughly every quater)?

What do others think?

I totally support this whole idea, coz only competetion can bring innovation. Also i hope there will be a separate section in the forum like “Game Engine Weekly Contest” or something, if possible or someone else can put up a separate site or something if the former is not possible. All i have to say now is “Bring on the Competition!! Yeah.”:smiley:

I am at no level atm to participate in this kind of thing but i would defs support it, i am currently studying game design at university and would love to participate in something like this in the future. :slight_smile:

There was a week long challenge every other week quite a while ago. I think it lasted three weeks before people stopped competing, hope this pasts longer. I won’t be able to compete until school ends, but then I’m in, so make sure it lives that long.

Thank you all for you support! :smiley:

I agree! I think the one of the reasons the PyWeek entries are so creative is due to the competition element. A forum section to it would be awesome, but would probably not exist until the competition becomes more established. But to organise the votes and projects properly a dedicated site would probably be needed - I’ll most likely need a bit of help with that part, but we’ll get to that part in time.

Due to the short time limit games will be smaller in scale, so will hopefully allow for BGE users of a wider range of abilities to enter. Remember, it’s not necessarily about complexity but creativity, gameplay and design. Have a look through the finished projects forum and you’ll see a good number of simple games made with nothing more than a few logic bricks and an inventive concept that are incredibly addictive and fun to play. Also, the competition is meant to help people learn by encouraging them to focus on just one or two elements/game mechanics/features for a short period of time rather than a large game that tries to include everything.

I didn’t know that, I’ll have to dig through the forums and see what they did. Every other week is probably a bit too often to maintain peoples interest. But having it every couple of months or so will allow more people to enter throughout the year rather than having to wait a whole year for the competition to come around, without getting bored of entering too frequently.

Anyway, keep your thoughts, questions and suggestions coming. Be good to know how many people are interested to see if it’s worth setting up.

I really like the idea, but a week’s kind of a long time (some people don’t have a full week). What do you think of a 48-hour contest, a la Ludum Dare?

@SolarLune: Ludum Dare certainly has a high turnout. Cheers for sharing that, another source of ideas to help make this comp work!

I see what you mean about a week being a long time! Perhaps something shorter would be better. However I think 48 hours could be too short! With only 48 hours I feel it would make it harder for those who are less experienced in the BGE to enter as they would not have the time to research and overcome problems that someone more experienced wouldn’t have to waste time with. For example if you’re new to python and you get stuck it can be 24 hours before you get a solution on the forums, whereas someone like yourself probably wouldn’t need to ask for much (if any!) help and so could work at a quicker pace getting a lot more out of the limited time.

Also many people can’t spare a whole weekend. A slightly longer time span would allow people to find time around their days to work on it. Using myself as an example: If I enter, my work schedule would mean that in a whole week I wouldn’t have much more than 48 hours to work on a game and I very rarely get two consecutive days off!

I think it’s important to have a balanced time limit that enables as many as possible to get involved by providing enough opportunity within the time frame for people to work on the game around their life as well as over come problems and research. As well there needs to be enough time to focus on the game design: part of the competitions aim is to help build a body of creative and fun games using the BGE to help get more people interested in it.

How about 4 or 5 days? What do others think about the time limit?

I see what you mean. 4 or 5 days sounds pretty good - that’s not too long (where games can get out of hand), but it’s also flexible for different people with their schedules. I like that idea, but I just want to throw out another idea - What about 24 game development hours?

Someone who works quickly could do it in one day, but others who need more time may take as long as they wish, and can even get help on the forums, as long as they only limit themselves to actually working on the project in Blender to only 24 hours. Ludum Dare had timeline videos up on Youtube so that people could watch the progress and check and see how long they took.

However, I think a consistent number of days is probably the better method.

EDIT: Also, the open nature of the contest will result in people, knowing how to use Python, who will make a better game than those who don’t.

Perhaps you should separate the contest into two categories - one for logic brick users / scripts (not Python coding the whole game, just scripts), and the other for more or less pure Python users. I don’t think it would be fair for newer / less coding-articulate users to always lose the contest because they can’t do as much. Sure, the better game would win, regardless of whether Python is used or not, but certain games are simply impossible to do without Python, and so any outputted game will most likely be of higher quality with Python.

24 game development hours would make it open to a lot more people, but I think it could also result in the competition going on too long and would be harder to ensure no one’s cheating. I think part of why it works is because of the time pressure. Having a consistent set of days would make managing the contest a lot easier too.

The idea of having two categories is a good idea. The logic brick/scripts category would open it up to more users and could be a more even playing field if the scripts where restricted to what is freely available on the web to all users. What do people think of making the other category open? So that while it is geared towards users that want to use a lot of their own python code, those that feel their game made with logic bricks/scripts is just as good as anything done in python are also free to enter.

wow sounds great I would be interested in participating. A weeks sounds like a good amount of time and keeps everything nice and neat. I also agree with the idea of 2 categories, logic brick only and open, if you make too many categories you will seriously limit participants per contest.

I personally feel like 4 or 5 days is a good game development time limit, so that contestants don’t have time to make a huge game, but also have enough time to plan things out (or they could do it beforehand - whichever).

Also, Siegel makes a good point. It’s best not to limit things too much because having less participants per contest makes it harder for people to really win. Was there going to be a prize for this contest? Or was it just a ‘participate and have fun’ kind of thing? Either way, I think I’d like to participate.

I was going to ask how often this was going to be, but after seeing on the first post that it’s (hopefully) going to be more often than once every 3 months, that sounds like a good idea, battery.

Sounds good. Maybe to have weekend challanges like modelers have.

Sounds interesting enough, set a date!

This is a very good idea… i would definitely participate… and also we should probably have a different site for this or we could just have a thread poll for theme and upload the blends on blend swap at the end of the contest. With a specific tag(so its easier for people to see what all are in there). We could ask the blend swap mods to not allow blends to have the particular tag if they are submitted outside the contest timeline.

I am as always for a multi-author blog, or google group.
Can we get this started as soon as possible. I mean, this is an awesome idea. Imagine all the people … (John Lennon)

Thanks everyone for your input, suggestions, support and interest :smiley: Hopefully this competition will be up and running soon and built from what the community wants to see in speed development contest.

At present there are no ideas for a prize, though it would encourage more people to enter (if anyones got any please suggest them). So really it is as you say: ‘participate and have fun’. I think with it being run regularly having prizes could be difficult to keep up. But winners could gain from extra exposure, such as being announced on Blender Nation and other sites.

3 months was just an idea; it can be as regular as people want. So I think it depends on how interested people are in entering and how frequently they can be bothered to participate. Obviously not too often otherwise people will get bored of entering. Perhaps every 6-12 weeks based on the competitions popularity.

Provisionally, June? probably mid June? But the sooner the better really. Anyone got any thoughts around the best time to run the contest to enure that the most people possible can enter (like months to avoid)? At present, if say the contest lasts 5 days, it would start on Wednesday morning and go through to Sunday night. That way the last couple of days - crunch time! - will fall on the weekend when participants should hopefully have a bit more time when it matters most. What do others think?

I’ve got unlimited webspace and no bandwidth limits so I’m looking into hosting it off the backend of my site to begin with and then finding somewhere dedicated (that way .blends wont get lost after a certain time and won’t get burried under a ton of posts). I’ll be putting together some simple designs/ideas over the next couple of weeks for a space to organise, host and vote. (suggestions/thoughts on the competition title, or even a simple logo are needed!).

Managing something like this on the BA forums would be difficult. I’ll also have a look at multi-author blogs and google groups based on Josip’s suggestion. I’ll also look at wiki’s. Any other hosting suggestions/organisation?

My current thoughts for voting are to have 3 categories for each game: fun, production (graphics, sound, overall polish etc.) and inventiveness. Each game would be rated out of 5 in each category, then the highest scoring game for each category would win that category. Or what about the scores being totalled across the three categories then the highest scorer is the overall winner. Or would you rather just have a vote for overall the best? What do people think? Any thoughts on how to handle ties?

Finally, should teams be considered the same as individuals? Given that teams can produce more content by having more available man-hours, however due to the short time space organising and communicating in a team will be harder while those working individually can just crack on.

  1. It could be prized contests (or maybe just a big one) - each participant could give, say, $5 to enter. If you get 20 participants, that’s $100 pot prize (or less, if you, the organizer, want to take a bit, which would be fine, to me).
  2. Every 1.5-2 months or so sounds good - that would be 6 sets of games a year, which is a nice amount.
  3. I would recommend summer, since a lot of people are out of school around that time, and more people could apply. Oh, and the timing sounds good - the weekend is a good time to finish up your game if you’re working on it.
  4. As to the logo, how about a blueprint with the Blender logo? Or maybe a TV screen with a pixelated Blender logo? Either way, I may offer an image showing it.
  5. The categories sound pretty balanced. Fun is a major part, and inventiveness is something that is needed nowadays. Obviously, production is a good idea, as well.

I have mid-year exams in June, I’m sure other people are the same. Hows July?

July probably would be better, actually…

July it is then! Most people studying will be done by July, I imagine that academic years are pretty similar across the world?! This will give plenty of time to get everything ready and promote the contest as well.

For the prize rather than have people pay to participate what about donations instead. That way anyone (not just limited to participants) can help encourage people to get involved and people can pay whatever they’re prepared to (all donated money would go to the winner). Donations need not be money, but anything people want to bestow upon the winner (could be quite entertaining if people are donating odd items as prizes!). Also, I was thinking about using google ads on the site to drum up a bit more cash to contribute to the prize money.

@solarLune: I really like the idea of the TV the pixelated logo on it. I was playing with it ealier today. But I’d really like to see what you come up with if you wanted to put something together.

I’m currently thinking of calling the contest: BLitz: Rapid Game Development. Any thoughts?

For the theme selection I was thinking of asking someone prominent in the Blender/indie game developer scene to select 20 themes (hopefully this will help generate a bit more excitment and exposure around the contest), then participants would place a perference against 5 of the themes. Votes would be tallied using instant-runoff rules (yeah, we didn’t get AV in the UK, so this will have to do!). The results will be hidden until the theme is revealed signifying the beginning of the contest. How do people feel about this?