Competition Results!

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ciw1973
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Joined: Jun 12, 2007 15:03
Location: Isle of Man (United Kingdom)

Competition Results!

Postby ciw1973 » Aug 25, 2007 9:45

For some reason I couldn't get on the forum last night, it just kept timing out (which has happened to me a few times lately, although I don't have trouble with any other websites) but it seems fine now, so here we go....

Right, it's finally time to announce the results of my competition.

But before I announce the results, I'd like to say how much I enjoyed the games which were submitted, and I'd like to thank you all for taking part.

I'd also like to announce that I plan to run further competitions with similar prizes in the very near future, and I'll be making sure that the rules are much more clearly defined for these. I'll be posting up a poll to find out when you'd like the next competition to begin, as I already have the idea for it, but worry that people might want a break and may already be busy with other projects/competitions.

I said from the outset that there would be one cash prize for the outright winner of the competition, but once all of the games had been submitted, it was apparent that the standard of entries was very high, and so I decided that as well as the grand prize of £100/$200/EUR150, I'd be awarding two runners up prizes of £25/$50/EUR35 each.

Below you'll find a quick review of each of the games as well as the final scores. If you have any questions as to why I have given out the scores I have then please ask, although I would hope that when you look at the scores all together, they will seem fair relative to one another.

I’ll go through games in alphabetical order:


"Catloaf 2600" by radicoon
This is actually the style of game I expected most people to submit, but far from being ordinary this was a superb example of a clever, fun game, which was both immediately understandable, whilst still being challenging, and didn’t rely on the graphics side of things to make it work.

There was a proper sense of discovery as you wandered around the level, and I really hope that radicoon expands it to include further levels. This had by far the highest replay value of all of the games, and even after completing it for the first time (it took me too long) I still wanted to go back and play again, find the treasure I’d missed, see if there were hidden areas which opened up etc.

There was a story, and even once you had completed it, there were still additional challenges to be found in another game. The level design was clever and challenging but it was easy to get started.

Despite being entirely ASCII based, the graphics were very effective, and the main character decidedly cute. I loved things like the lights begin turned out and you just being left with a little face in the dark. I couldn’t really award too many points for the graphics in terms of cleverness of code or visuals when compared to games with pre-drawn graphics, but it deserved to score well in terms of effectiveness.

On top of all this, the source code was nice and simple and efficient, and very easy to follow and understand. A magnificent game by pretty much any criteria you could use for judging.

The scores:

Graphics (Effectiveness) : 10
Graphics (Visuals) : 6
Graphics (Code) : 5
Presentation : 8
Game Design : 10
Originality : 7
Depth : 9
Gameplay : 9
Controls : 9
Progression : 9
Replay Value : 10
Effective Use of Random Elements : 0
Source (As Code) : 5
Source (As A Learning Aid) : 4
CIW1973's Personal Fun Factor : 5

Giving a grand total of: 106



"Crane" by ChangeV
I really liked this game, and it held a lot more replay value for me than I expected. Unfortunately, due to the random elements in the game, at times the levels were too easy and at times too hard, and after a few relatively straightforward games I soon started getting frustrated and the game quickly lost its appeal. I really liked the style and presentation, and having seen the development screenshots I was really looking forward to playing it.

It’s nicely presented, has in-game instructions and the controls are simple to pick up. The fact that you couldn’t move unless you were at the top of the screen was an integral part of the game for me, and the levels sometimes required more planning as a result.

A good, simple, fun game, with reasonable source code to look through.

The scores:

Graphics (Effectiveness) : 8
Graphics (Visuals) : 6
Graphics (Code) : 5
Presentation : 7
Game Design : 7
Originality : 5
Depth : 6
Gameplay : 6
Controls : 6
Progression : 8
Replay Value : 7
Effective Use of Random Elements : 4
Source (As Code) : 4
Source (As A Learning Aid) : 3
CIW1973's Personal Fun Factor : 3

Giving a grand total of: 85




"Laser Pipes" by Mlok
I was very impressed by the presentation here. It was the first game that my girlfriend wanted to look through the sourse code for, as she wanted to understand how to create the graphics without actually using an art package.

The presentation was excellent, and the gameplay fun initially, but unfortunately things get very samey after a few minutes of play, and my enthusiasm started to drop off after only the second game. Maybe I was just lucky in the first game, but after probably around 10 minutes of the second game I had to quit to answer the phone, and had no real urge to play again.

I liked the concept, and it was a little different from the normal drop & line-up type games, but I’m not sure the differences ultimately made for a better game.

The scores:

Graphics (Effectiveness) : 8
Graphics (Visuals) : 7
Graphics (Code) : 7
Presentation : 8
Game Design : 7
Originality : 6
Depth : 4
Gameplay : 5
Controls : 6
Progression : 6
Replay Value : 5
Effective Use of Random Elements : 3
Source (As Code) : 5
Source (As A Learning Aid) : 4
CIW1973's Personal Fun Factor : 2

Giving a grand total of: 83




"Mighty Line" by Lachie Dalzarian
This is a superbly presented game and certainly the most polished looking of the entries, with very colourful interesting graphics. It could have been a fairly standard shooter in the Asteroids mould, but by adding a few nice twists and actual distinct levels, it made for a compelling game and plenty of replay value.

About the only negative things I could say about the game are that having all of the objects all starting from the perimeter of the playing area and moving towards you at once at the beginning of the level made things a little too chaotic, and the fact that the title screen is a little dull, but that was only in comparison to the slick and colourful game itself.

I liked this one a lot, and it’s probably the one which ticks the most boxes in terms of what I like in a game.

The scores:

Graphics (Effectiveness) : 9
Graphics (Visuals) : 9
Graphics (Code) : 9
Presentation : 8
Game Design : 8
Originality : 8
Depth : 6
Gameplay : 7
Controls : 9
Progression : 8
Replay Value : 8
Effective Use of Random Elements : 3
Source (As Code) : 3
Source (As A Learning Aid) : 3
CIW1973's Personal Fun Factor : 4

Giving a grand total of: 102



"Path of Revolution" by Pritchard
OK, so this wasn’t exactly a game (and Pritchard himself basically says this on the title screen) more of a concept demo, but what it did graphically, it did well.

It was confusing at times, with shots firing seemingly at random, and once there were a lot of shots on the screen whizzing around the sun it got quite pointless, although it did look pretty.

The scores:

Graphics (Effectiveness) : 6
Graphics (Visuals) : 6
Graphics (Code) : 5
Presentation : 3
Game Design : 3
Originality : 7
Depth : 1
Gameplay : 2
Controls : 3
Progression : 0
Replay Value : 2
Effective Use of Random Elements : 0
Source (As Code) : 4
Source (As A Learning Aid) : 1
CIW1973's Personal Fun Factor : 1

Giving a grand total of: 44




"Space Arena" by barok
I always used to enjoy games like this, and so this one had a lot of potential, but it just needed more polish and tweaking to bring that out.

The graphics were simple but effective, although I did think the particles coming out the back of the ship looked more like blood than fire, but my main issue with this game is that it lacked any real depth.

There was no title screen or instructions, you were just straight into the game, and although the controls were pretty obvious, it would have been nice to have everything explained before starting.

I found control of the ship to be a little clumsy, and it made for a frustrating game at times. There were levels, but aside from having to deal with more enemy ships, there wasn’t any real feel of progression. I know barok has already fixed issues with the enemies just hanging around the edge of the playing area, but in the version which was submitted for the competition, this really did spoil things.

The scores:

Graphics (Effectiveness) : 6
Graphics (Visuals) : 5
Graphics (Code) : 5
Presentation : 3
Game Design : 4
Originality : 4
Depth : 2
Gameplay : 4
Controls : 5
Progression : 3
Replay Value : 4
Effective Use of Random Elements : 2
Source (As Code) : 4
Source (As A Learning Aid) : 3
CIW1973's Personal Fun Factor : 1

Giving a grand total of: 55




"TxtFighter Alpha Ex" by sir_mud
Erm, not sure what to say about this one really. I played it a handful of times, but once you realize all you have to do is stand next to the other player and hold down a key until you win, there’s not going to be too much replay value.

The screen layout was quite nice though, and as far as examples of code go, it was pretty good mainly because it was so simple.

The scores:

Graphics (Effectiveness) : 4
Graphics (Visuals) : 2
Graphics (Code) : 2
Presentation : 3
Game Design : 2
Originality : 3
Depth : 1
Gameplay : 3
Controls : 3
Progression : 0
Replay Value : 2
Effective Use of Random Elements : 1
Source (As Code) : 2
Source (As A Learning Aid) : 4
CIW1973's Personal Fun Factor : 1

Giving a grand total of: 33



"Zonaxtic" by Kristopher Windsor
Wow! This game is a phenomenal achievement. It has everything, from real-time scaling of the graphics to zoom in on the action to involving gameplay - trading, fighting, upgrading etc. This reminded me of playing Elite back in the 80s, and whilst it’s not the sort of game I’d normally go for now, I did find myself going back to play again and again.

There is so much packed into this game both in terms of presentation and effects and gameplay that it’s quite remarkable how Kris managed to achieve this in the time he had.

However, there were also some pretty major performance issues with the game, and whilst that’s not surprising considering what’s actually happening on screen, I did feel it spoilt things somewhat. After reading a number of comments and replies about this on the forum I did try the game on three other machines, all of which had 3Ghz+ processors, plenty of memory and most had at least half decent graphics cards, but I was still finding things frequently slowing down.

I’ve already explained this to Kris in my email, but this is the reason why his score for the controls is lower than may have been expected. It’s not that the controls were bad, in fact they were intuitive and just right for the game, but I had no other category in which I could reflect my issues with the game’s overall performance, so I reduced this score slightly. I had already created the “Depth” category (something which I hadn’t planned originally) because I felt that Zonaxtic deserved credit in this area, so creating another category for performance which would have only served to penalise this game (there were no performance issues with any of the other games) wouldn’t have been right.

I also thought the title screen and scrolling storyline were a bit over the top, and whilst the effects were good, they got in the way of actually reading the text.

The scores:

Graphics (Effectiveness) : 8
Graphics (Visuals) : 8
Graphics (Code) : 9
Presentation : 9
Game Design : 10
Originality : 7
Depth : 10
Gameplay : 7
Controls : 6
Progression : 7
Replay Value : 8
Effective Use of Random Elements : 4
Source (As Code) : 4
Source (As A Learning Aid) : 2
CIW1973's Personal Fun Factor : 3

Giving a grand total of: 102



So, now you've read this far you'll know that the overall winner of this competition, by a margin of 4 points is radicoon's Catloaf 2600, so if Mr King can let me know via email how he'd like me to pay him the £100/$200/EUR150, I'll get that organised immediately.

The runners up prizes of £25/$50/EUR35 each go to Lachie Dalzarian for “The Mighty Line” and Kristoper Windsor for “Zonaxtic”. Again, if you could both get in touch via email to let me know how I should get this money to you, I'll do that immediately.

I said from the outset that the winner was going to be the game which I enjoyed the most, but once I saw all of the entries, I realised that the only fair way to do things was to judge this as objectively as possible. In the end my three favourite games came out on top anyway, and actually in the order I liked them, so in this case the objective and subjective approaches gave the same outcome which was encouraging.

I worked carefully on the individual scores before totaling everything up, and can promise you that there was no massaging of the points to give a particular result.

I don't expect everyone will agree with my scoring or the final results, but there's not really anything I can do about that. I'm happy with the way the results turned out, and I'm also happy that this was judged properly.

I hope those of you who took part enjoyed this competition, and that you’ll enter the next one which I'll be announcing fairly soon.
vanleth
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Joined: Aug 03, 2005 1:07

Postby vanleth » Aug 25, 2007 10:48

Congrats to all the winners :)

Also impressed by ciw1973 solid work into this competition. This is really a joy to follow.

Cheers
SSC
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Joined: May 29, 2005 4:47
Location: Around
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Postby SSC » Aug 25, 2007 10:55

I agree, this was a good idea. The community would benefit from more of these compos. If you don’t mind I would actually like to donate a little money toward the next competition, help keep it going and whatnot.

**Edit**
Btw just my 2c, I thought Lachie had the best game ^^ but thats just my personal opinion.
Lachie Dazdarian
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Joined: May 31, 2005 9:59
Location: Croatia
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Postby Lachie Dazdarian » Aug 25, 2007 14:37

Heh, I was sure I was going to be beaten by Kris’ Zonaxtic, as it is a game that provided most depth and replay value by my opinion, and was the one I enjoyed the most.

I did like Catloaf too, as it was a very fun game to play. But the more I played Zonaxtic, my impression with Catloaf diminished. There are few categories I would score differently with Catloaf, like Graphics (Effectiveness), Game Design and Depth, but then again I wouldn’t give my game 3 for Source (As A Learning Aid) or 8 for Progression, but something much lower.

I just don't feel that Catloaf 2600 represents the best the idea of the compo. At least the idea of the compo how I imagined it in my head. When the compo started I thought most people will try to do something in the manner of “code generated graphics”, and display their coding skills (or the skills of those from whom they mooched the code :P) to generate pretty looking objects/backgrounds. That was the path I went with my game, and I think I was most successful there. Well, according to ciw1973’s scores he is with me on this. And even if Catloaf 2600 is an ASCII game, I think Joe didn’t do the best possible job there.

I guess I was hoped to be beaten by a “better Mighty Line”, which didn’t happen. Still, the fact is – Catloaf 2600 is a much more fun game than Mighty Line so on the end gameplay decided the winner.

Thanks for providing awards for the runner ups, as there are some things I want to buy on the net or some people to donate. I’m sure I already emailed you my PayPal account, but I guess I can do it again.

Can’t wait your next compo. Hopefully, I will be in the opportunity to participate again.
Last edited by Lachie Dazdarian on Aug 25, 2007 18:12, edited 1 time in total.
Pritchard
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Location: Ohio, USA

Postby Pritchard » Aug 25, 2007 15:00

I thought Zonaxtic was the best overall, but I figured that Catloaf was more-so related to the competition themes. It's also very fun, even though I don't like text-based games :D
KristopherWindsor
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Postby KristopherWindsor » Aug 25, 2007 17:46

-> Heh, I was sure I was going to be beaten by Kris’ Zonaxtic.

Ha, I thought I might be beaten by you since you had better particle effects. :-P

-> I thought Zonaxtic was the best overall, but I figured that Catloaf was more-so related to the competition themes.

Not necessarily; mine was great with primitive graphics, and "mini-game" was only implied because people had lower expectations for the entries. :-) :-P


For the speed problems, which you mentioned: 750MHz: playable; new laptop with Win Vista: smooth, at least 30FPS; 2-year old desktop (which is faster than my laptop): very smooth (reaches the max 40FPS). On 3GHz, there shouldn't have been any problems. The only thing I can think of was the jerky graphics flaw in some versions of FBC from a few months ago.

Also, I'm not sure how Catloaf got a higher score for progression, since Zonaxtic allows for a lot of upgrades; could you explain that?

Anyway, it's been a fun competition. :-)
Frank Dodd
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Joined: Mar 10, 2006 19:22

Postby Frank Dodd » Aug 25, 2007 18:31

Congratulations and well done to all entrants
Mlok
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Postby Mlok » Aug 25, 2007 18:55

Ciw: Good job, thank you for the competition.

Presonally I thought Mighty line will be the winner, but I can't say that the scoring is inaproppriate, it was just my impression.
My congratulations to the winner and to all other participants as well.
radicoon
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Postby radicoon » Aug 26, 2007 4:51

This came really close. I thought I might have been stomped by Zonaxtic, especially after Ciw said that there "was a clear winner." That one stood out from the crowd, for me anyway. But there seems to be a lot of different opinions on which game should have won, which just goes to show you how close this really was.

Anyway, this was a cool competition, and I'm not just saying that because I won. It was a very active one with many participants and a great variety of games came out of it. I'd definitely like to see more of these in the future.
ciw1973
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Joined: Jun 12, 2007 15:03
Location: Isle of Man (United Kingdom)

Postby ciw1973 » Aug 26, 2007 8:47

Hi everyone.

Thought I'd leave it a day to see what the responses were before I read them and replied.

As far as performance goes, as I said, I've tried Zonaxtic on quite a few different powerful machines and I did find performance issues. I ran the games from the .EXEs provided (except TxtFighter which was source only) rather than compiling the source each time, just in case. If it makes any difference, I only actually marked it down two points, so it wouldn't have changed the outcome anyway.

As far a progression goes, I think all three of the top entries had a good sense of progression and the scores reflected that, but to my mind, progression isn't just about the display showing "Level 02" instead of "Level 01" or things getting faster. It's about getting into new situations as you progress through a game, situations which weren't there at the start. With Catloaf, I'm sure everyone will agree you got into new challenges as you progressed through the level, and whilst the basic movement was the same (until the switch) it was a proper voyage of discovery. In The Mighty Line, there are actually levels. You finish one and move onto the next, and whilst it was generally more of the same, suddenly finding yourself on a level where your weapons were jammed was a new challenge. Now I look at it, I did score Crane one point too high for progression. Whilst the combination of distinct levels and the addition of junk to the later ones did provide a good sense of progression, it doesn't actually warrant a higher score than Zonaxtic.

As far as effectiveness of the graphics goes, I still stand by my scoring in that Catloaf managed to represent things like trees and spikes etc. very effectively, and considering there was no animation as such, the main character was, well, full of character and actually cute. However, in terms of pre-drawn graphics and the cleverness of code, you'll see that it scored quite poorly, whereas The Mighty Line and Zonaxtic scored well across the board.

Both The Mighty Line and Zonaxtic were simply incredible games in terms of presentation and the graphics themselves, and were of a much higher standard that I had expected, but when you strip away those things (and they only accounted for 40 points out of 130) and looked at the core games, then I think Catloaf had the edge, to the extent that is still came out on top even without the additional points for graphics and a zero for the use of random elements.

I can fully understand many people expecting this to come down to which game looked the best, but I did stress at the start that gameplay was going to be the deciding factor, and I came up with categories which reflected this, but also gave plenty of scope to award all areas of a game.

I was very careful to judge this as objectively as possible, and only included 5 points worth of personal preference in the scoring (points which were allocated before I totaled everything up), which as it happened didn't impact the result anyway, it just brought the second and third places to a tie.

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