Looney Labs Icehouse Mailing list Archive

RE: [Icehouse] Spurring the Spawing of Single-Stash Staples

  • From"Christopher Hickman" <tophu@xxxxxxx>
  • DateTue, 7 Feb 2006 14:27:28 -0500
I guess I seriously underestimated the demand here.  No one else has any
comment on a contest to design quality single-stash games as entry level
Icehouse games? 

-----Original Message-----
From: icehouse-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:icehouse-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Christopher
Sent: Thursday, January 26, 2006 2:10 PM
To: 'Icehouse Discussion List'
Subject: [Icehouse] Spurring the Spawing of Single-Stash Staples

Was: [Icehouse] Multiple Colors vs. Monochrome Treehouse

>One of the things I have always thought would be good for the  
>Icehouse game design competition is to have theme or mechanics  
>restrictions for each competition. Having a competition for single- 
>stash games specifically was one that I always thought would be good,  
>because single stash games are just so convenient. Another one would  
>be to have a competition for one stash per player, non-stackable,  
>which would work well for people's custom stashes. I think it would  
>be great to have a competition for one-two treehouse stashes, to see  
>what people can come up with.

This is a good idea.  As Mark Rosewater (of Magic: the Gathering designer
fame) frequently mentions, restrictions breed creativity.  In his words:

"A quick aside about restrictions and the creative process. I've had
numerous emails worrying that our many rules will limit R&D's creativity. I
actualy believe the opposite to be true. I feel restrictions fuel
creativity. As an example, let's go to my former stomping ground, Hollywood.
A number of years ago, film director David Lynch was asked to create a
television show. Now, Lynch is well known for his love of sex and violence.
His films do not shy away from the more graphic elements, instead he
embraces them. This proved to be a problem for television as TV (American,
at least) shies away from sex, and, to a lesser extent, violence.
(Backwards, I know.)
"In the pilot (the first show), Lynch wanted to open the series with the
body of a naked woman washing ashore. But this was network television. You
can't show a naked woman. So Lynch came up with the idea of wrapping the
body in plastic. Now, let's assume Lynch had no restrictions. He would
simply have had the naked woman. But which is more interesting, creatively
speaking: a naked woman washes ashore or a naked woman washes ashore wrapped
in plastic? The latter, obviously. The show was called 'Twin Peaks' and is
believed by many to be Lynch's best work. Forced to deal with restrictions,
'Twin Peaks' made Lynch get creative." (Quoted from

Another added benefit of forced creativity, there's the obvious: Restricting
to single-stash games gives us more of what we need--single-stash games. :)

I'd also like to bring up something else I recently read.  According to Wil
Shipley (http://wilshipley.com/blog/2006/01/os-x-prize.html), Larry Page of
X-Prize fame believes that prize-incentive research is the wave of the
future.  Since the horizontal growth of the Icehouse market is more
important than the vertical growth, and elegant and compelling single-stash
games allow for an easier introduction to the world of Icehouse, perhaps a
prize to spur developers would be good.  The bounty discussed in the above
linked article began with a $100 prize and has grown to over $6000 in mere
days.  If some such similar bounty were made for compelling single-stash
games, with the Icehouse community at large adding their own donations to
support the effort, I think we'd generate some good stuff.

Obviously the rules would need to be lawyer-approved.  My initial suggestion
is for the initial rankings to be determined by community vote and for the
final ranking to be determined by Looney Labs in any manner they see fit.
Payouts should be based on the final rankings.  Only worthy entries would
need to be ranked.  My suggestion for the payout would be this:

Where Pr is the payout for rank r;
b is the total value of the bounty;
and n is the number of ranked entries;

That may look complex, but it's really very simple.  Assuming five ranked
entries with a $1000 bounty, the breakdown is like this:
1st place: 5/15 of the bounty ($333.33)
2nd place: 4/15 of the bounty ($266.66)
3rd place: 3/15 of the bounty ($200.00)
4th place: 2/15 of the bounty ($133.33)
5th place: 1/15 of the bounty ($ 66.66)
(Yes, that leaves $0.02 because of rounding, but those can go to the
Leave-A-Penny-Take-A-Penny tray at the local Quickie-Mart)

This distribution means that placing high gets you a nice slice of the pie,
but all decent entries get *something* for a good faith effort (not all
entries have to be ranked, so obviously sucky entries just get dropped).



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