2012 Contest

⌘-R in Chief
Posts: 1,253
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Post: #1
I have no plans to run uDG this year, but if someone else wants to contact sponsors and do the promo, handle rules, we can run another one. I can easily reuse the site from last year (with some tweaks) so that's already done, but I just don't have the time to put everything into that. (I can assist though.) My plan was to run one next year.


The Great iOS Game Experiment

However, personally I'd like to see effort put into a different kind of contest. Instead of 3-month uDG, I'd like to try a shorter (6 weeks max?) themed contest. I'm also really interesting in experimenting with iOS entries.

For iOS, the big challenge is obviously distributing the games. There are three main paths for this:
  1. Ship a buildable project. Build in order to play it.
  2. The dev does ad hoc distribution as much as they can.
  3. The dev submits a finished game to the App Store in time for the end of the contest.


#1) Since the contests are always about open source code, #1 isn't a problem there, but it does require the "player" have the same tools as the developer. That could be a wee bit of a pickle.

#2) Ad hoc is for 100 devices. (Per app?) That isn't as much as we'd like, but the dev could make them valid for only 1 day or something, then delete and reprovision for someone else?

#3) If the contest has voting, then say the dev period is 6 weeks, and then there's a week of voting like uDG, the dev could submit their game to Apple during week 5 to get approval around voting time, assuming iOS waiting period is still about a week. Certainly, if the dev can get the game into the store, then more people can play it.

By using a combination of 1, 2, and 3, anybody should be able to build an iOS game to any level of completion, and anyone can play it.


Hidden option #4) I think "requiring" the game be in the store is also an option. I previously thought it'd be terrible, but now I'm thinking it wouldn't be.

Here, we could make it a two month contest, where at the end of the two months on a specific day your game has to be in the store and available. I think we would limit it so that your game isn't available in the store before that date (ad hoc for testing is ok), so that the promo part of it is "X New Free Games Coming to the App Store on ?/?/? thanks to the Blah Blah Contest".

While it would mean having to have a longer period between the start and availability of the games, and involves Apple's rejection process, it does have have some interesting upsides.
  • I don't have have to handle bandwidth or submissions. Wink
  • Simple distribution. Anybody with an iOS device gets to play the game, which is what we all want.
  • Apple would sort out which games are done enough to be shippable, which means any of the entries which make it through their process are "high quality." This means that Joe Average finding out about the contest can look at the list of "official" entries and they're all actually good games. That's good for 1) Joe, 2) the contest (he'll tell others they're good games), 3) developers of other entries because Joe is more likely to play them all if they're all high quality. Compare that to 7dfps, LD, or even uDG where the quality of final entries can vary a lot.
  • Because the game in the store is store-worthy, after the "contest period" ends (a week?), developers would be allowed to start selling their game and hopefully make some money back.

Downsides:
  • It does require entrants have an iOS account, or be buddies with someone who has an iOS account, so the game can be submitted. I know at least here, we're all friends, so if someone didn't have an account it wouldn't be hard to find some to submit it to the store for them.
  • If an entrant makes a game, but Apple decides it's not good enough, they semi-get screwed. If there are no prizes, then the only thing they lose out on is the promotion. They can still finish the game and resubmit it later.
  • ...?


                                                                   


So, if we did an iOS contest, we could:

  1. Let distribution be handled through code, ad hoc, and the optionally the store.
  2. Require everything be in the store at the end of the contest to all launch on the same day.

  1. Have only developers vote.
  2. Have the public vote.
  3. Have no voting at all. (Other successful contests don't have voting.)



Voting implies there is something to win though, and that means someone has to do work to acquire things for entrants to win. But it's not much of a contest without a winner, so there kinda needs to be voting if it's aiming to be a public affair.

My thoughts are 1/3 or 2/2, and I'm leaning toward 2/2 now.
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Sage
Posts: 1,482
Joined: 2002.09
Post: #2
Hmm. I kind of like this idea. It would give me an excuse to work on more Chipmunk example code at the same time. Wink Howling Moon Software could throw in a Chipmunk Pro license as a prize.

I think 2/2 or 2/3 are both pretty decent options. Realistically I don't think that people will have issues getting their games into the app store. Rejections for games are pretty rare (even if the game is utter crap), and it's not like it's taken longer than 2 weeks in recent memory. Then it's just a matter of if it's a contest for the sake of writing a game or if it's a contest for winning. I'd be okay with either really.

Scott Lembcke - Howling Moon Software
Author of Chipmunk Physics - A fast and simple rigid body physics library in C.
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Moderator
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Post: #3
What would be the odds of getting an official uDG dev account for publishing games? Could be good marketing for the contest if the store was overtaken with a ton of uDG published games...

- Lincoln Green
http://www.binkworks.com/
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Moderator
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Post: #4
First of all, forget ad hoc. Just forget it. [edit] Obviously if an entrant wanted to distribute to some people as such, that'd be perfectly acceptable, but I wouldn't bother mentioning it in the contest rules. It's just such a pain in the ass that I think it'd be unreasonable punishment to expect entrants to offer it to just any person who wants to play. [/edit]

Voting on stuff that makes it to the store seems reasonable. Obviously the game would need to be free during the voting period at least.

If you have the proper dev tools then that's good enough for building pre-release. If you just want to play and aren't a dev or don't have up to date dev tools then wait for the App Store release to play the game, I'd say.

For prizes, I'd offer nothing at all except exposure. iOS developers are *struggling* for exposure. A contest involving iOS is free exposure, and that is far more valuable than any "traditional" uDG prize. When it comes to an iOS contest, you'd win real money just by entering. Remember, open-source software doesn't mean the content is open-source, only the code is. Whoever makes the game gets the exposure and rights to making the royalties on it.
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Moderator
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Post: #5
(Jun 17, 2012 12:29 PM)SethWillits Wrote:  #2) Ad hoc is for 100 devices. (Per app?) That isn't as much as we'd like, but the dev could make them valid for only 1 day or something, then delete and reprovision for someone else?

I don't think this works, unfortunately...as I recall, once you've entered a device ID, it uses up one of your 100 slots per year even if you delete it afterward.
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Moderator
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Post: #6
Voting and awards are kind of just troublesome, so I think option 2 and 3 would be a good combination. I'd submit something.

I think the big advantage of making something in a contest for end users is having a big list where they can all play it. As long as people are playing the contest games, I'm happy. That's motivating to me, but I don't necessarily care about people voting for the game.

Howling Moon Software - CrayonBall for Mac and iPhone, Contract Game Dev Work
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⌘-R in Chief
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Post: #7
(Jun 17, 2012 08:14 PM)FlamingHairball Wrote:  What would be the odds of getting an official uDG dev account for publishing games? Could be good marketing for the contest if the store was overtaken with a ton of uDG published games...

It'd be easy, but then the original developers couldn't submit their games later with the same names.




(Jun 18, 2012 09:11 AM)ThemsAllTook Wrote:  as I recall, once you've entered a device ID, it uses up one of your 100 slots per year even if you delete it afterward.

Eek. I didn't know it sucked that much. Does the provision as least let you use any app from the dev, or is it still only a single app? If the latter, I think in a year a big dev would slam into that limit pretty easily.



(Jun 17, 2012 10:59 PM)AnotherJake Wrote:  A contest involving iOS is free exposure, and that is far more valuable than any "traditional" uDG prize.

I'd hope that'd turn out to be exactly the case. Though, I do think that for news places to pick it up "free games" isn't enough. There are already zillions of free games. But a contest with free games would be different and hopefully newsworthy. But to be a contest, you need a winner, and how much of a contest can it be if there's no prize? I think just a press release "Bobbing for Apples Wins!" isn't enough.

One of my thoughts for uDG was to accept cash donations to use for prizes, but I thought it was a bit too much then. I think we could try that for this contest. Throw up a donation meter/progressbar with some arbitrary goal number, and seed the pool with some money to get it started.

(Ok, now the thought of "pay whatever you want in order to play the games later when they're finished" jumps to mind, but that's not possible with the iOS store. It'd be like a Kickstarter contest where the best entries split the money. That'd be an interesting experiment.)
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Post: #8
(Jun 18, 2012 11:47 AM)SethWillits Wrote:  Eek. I didn't know it sucked that much. Does the provision as least let you use any app from the dev, or is it still only a single app? If the latter, I think in a year a big dev would slam into that limit pretty easily.

You add authorized devices to your account, so all of those devices are optionally available to any provisioning profile you choose.

Over the last few years, I'm still surprisingly only at around fifty devices. In reality, there are only a couple dozen reviewers out there who will be getting pre-release ad hoc versions for review. It is quite a grind when app release time comes up: "Hey Jake, misterX from sweetApps wants a copy. Can you send another build right away?" You don't want to keep reviewers waiting if you can avoid it. That goes on a few times a day for about a week. Sometimes I'd get to put in a few devices at a time, but more often than not it was just one. Every friggen time I gotta copy the device ID, sign into the account, click this, click that, click again, download the provision, drop it on Xcode, go into the settings, change the active provision, build the friggen app, compress it, mail it... yada yada yada.

Therefore, it's not that 100 devices isn't enough, it's that it's just such a bother to constantly be adding new people and building for every special person who comes along, that ultimately the number of devices you use up is limited by your own unwillingness to be tortured.
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Founder
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Post: #9
If you do a normal uDG, then I would volunteer to contact sponsors.

You need a person to contact sponsors.
You need a person to do PR/contacting sites (to get devs to enter and also to get sites to cover the contest.)
You need a person to manage the entries.

Did you do a postmortem of last year's contest? The system/site is very very good. Sponsors and entrants was off.

cheers

Carlos A. Camacho,
Founder
iDevGames
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⌘-R in Chief
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Post: #10
(Jun 19, 2012 05:03 AM)Carlos Camacho Wrote:  If you do a normal uDG, then I would volunteer to contact sponsors.

Awesome. Thanks.

I didn't write up a postmortem about the contest. I think it went really well except that Alex for some reason couldn't login to my IMAP account to handle email, and nobody on the frickin' planet would post any news about the contest. That was as frustrating as can be.

Which is partly why I'm interested in trying an iOS contest. There are 10x the developers, 100x the players, and thus I assume a much much more interest so the word will actually spread.




More opinions please. Smile
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Moderator
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Post: #11
I definitely think it's time to try to figure out some sort of iOS contest. We have to evolve to stay relevant, and it may bring more interest to future Mac game dev contests as well. It would have to be app-store only (due to the limitations with the device system). I vote however that we still should have prizes, that was always a bit of the spirit of the contest. The Kickstarter esque idea was kind of interesting.
And yeah, that IMAP issue was weird, I could never reply to any of the emails, I just got to compose them Annoyed.
Alex
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Moderator
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Post: #12
I like the idea of an iOS contest.

As others have said, forget about using ad hoc for public voting. The one way it might work is if the judging was done by a panel. But then only the judges would get to play the whole game. The public would have to make do with Lite/Adware versions, videos of gameplay, or other PR.

Speaking of which, I'd like to know what the rules would be for making money off the game. Options might include releasing it for free until judging is over; releasing a subset for free (obviously in my interest to make that part as satisfying as possible) but then later releasing DLC for it. Or submitting a Lite version to the judging, and a Full version later. Or the variation above, with a panel of judges; the developer is then free to do whatever they want with the full game, including releasing it later. But maybe that approach wouldn't engage the public as well as others?

Measure twice, cut once, curse three or four times.
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Post: #13
(Jun 20, 2012 11:27 AM)SethWillits Wrote:  More opinions please. Smile

I love the idea. I've got a ton of ideas that I'd love to try out on iOS. Smile

- Lincoln Green
http://www.binkworks.com/
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⌘-R in Chief
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Post: #14
My thoughts: you can submit whatever game you want for the contest. If that's not the full game you plan to ship and sell, that's fine. The game must be free for the voting period, and probably a couple days after.
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Nibbie
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Joined: 2012.06
Post: #15
This sounds interesting and I found someone to partner on the event. I think there needs to be a "winner" even if there is no prize. (or to say the prize is holding up a winners title) I think the submission via the apple store is reasonable although I have no experience with it. I would hope that the schedule provides adequate time to make sure once the dev part is done, it's pretty guaranteed that if you submit to Apple on day X it will be on the store at the start of the voting period.

Also, what if the app featured in-app purchases but was free? allowed or not?

kevin
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