Looney Labs Icehouse Mailing list Archive

Re: [Icehouse] Icehouse Game Design Competitions and Icehouse Awards

  • FromDavid Artman <david.artman@xxxxxxxxx>
  • DateThu, 5 Nov 2009 14:44:36 -0500
On Thu, Nov 5, 2009 at 1:27 PM, Bryan Stout <stoutwb@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
Neophytes who understand the nature of the competition -- new designs,
not best of the year -- should have little problem with dashed

Hopefully, their expectations will fuel feedback, right? :)

And I really don't expect (from past experience) to see a whole lot of total newbies--folks have to at least have 'mids, right; and who goes out to spend $20+ just to try this stuff? Better if involvement of total neophytes be done by a Rabbit, at the FLGS, where expectations can be managed and the IGDC can be represented as a design comp, primarily.
I am not in favor of the merit-badge approach, if it means thinking up
something nice to say about every entry.

Not at all, in fact one entry could get all the Special Awards (forget badges as a metaphor). As I wrote, it's basically the idea of not only scoring games 1 to 10 to find a winner, it's also nominating a game for each Special Award or multiple ones (if you so believe). Ties in nominations are broken by average game score in the main comp, I figure.

But a dual comp could also work. I just suspect that it will be easier to get a nomination of one game for each Special Award than a-whole-nother set of scores based on a design restriction. And note, also, that the Special Awards can address a lot more than just a theme:
* Most Beautiful To Play is basically also saying "this game will get folks to stop and look."
* Best Brain Buster also points the harder-core players to the really tough games (i.e. gives evidence that, nope, not all 'mid games are simple).
* Best Introductory Game is the opposite: this game is great for demoing 'mids or playing with kids.
* Best Use of Theme still provides an award for conforming to some comp-specific theme or what-not (if we even decide to come up with one every time).
* Most Innovative Mechanics is my personal love, because it will push designs (hopefully) away from existing mechanics... and a new base mechanic can influence another whole wave of derivative games (viz what Martian Coasters did).

The field might be too small--hard to say at this juncture, I think. But with (say) those five awards, and an average number of submissions of about seven, I don't see much overlap--no mere "awards for participating." Plus, I am hoping that an annual comp will mean more attention, more focus, and thus more submission than a biannual one. I think "comp exhaustion" was creeping into the IGDC by last comp. Now it's a Special Annual Event!

The judging would be quite simple -- the judges give just one
score/rank/whatever for each game, they are tallied, and the
highest-scoring themed game, and the highest overall, get the two

Ah, OK, that MIGHT work... but doesn't that basically setup a themed game to have an advantage, vis a vis the dual comp? That is, a themed game will have a shot at both Golds, while an unthemed game can only hope to win Best Game. I don't want to over-influence the base comp with theming (which is why it used to alternate each IGDC).
If there are to be to be two awards (themed and general) at a single
annual IGDC, I propose that people be allowed to enter 2 games -- one
themed, one general.

Sure... but I still want to dig in my heel on one overall comp, with Special Awards. If for no other reason than it's a new approach which might stimulate additional submission (I, for one, would try to shoot for ALL of 'em!) or attract more judges.

I also don't, generally, like opening submission up to more than one per designer. We don't want to get submissions by being "spammed" by (say) a handful of prolific designers. I also wonder how much attention a designer would really pay to multiple entries, versus a single entry on which the whole year's comp rides. I'd rather have seven very tuned and tested games from seven designers than fifteen games slapped together by five designers.
I am willing to help coordinate such an event, though
I wouldn't want to be the only one.

Are you a Origins regular? At this junction, that's probably the main qualification for Coordinator. That and a couple of hours here and there, during the run-up, to promote and do some math once votes come in. (IGDC Coordination takes longer than writing tthese past two long emails has taken me, typically.)

I wish we could get a Loony opinion, here. It changes a lot of the concept of the Best Of Award, if it is not a Looney event or is not at least somewhat addressed or acknowledged at The Big Experiment. And I'd really like Andy to be involved in nomination or or both, both for the "cache" and because he's a damned smart designer (even if he like randomness more than I do). ;)
As far as names go, Apex Awards seems an obvious choice.

Pyramid Pinnacle Prize or just Pinnacle Prize is kind of catchy, too. :)
If such a thing does happen, who is the sponsoring organization?
Icehousegames.org?  Looney Labs? Both? Someone/thing else?

Ah, THAT... is the question.

I'd like the Looneys to at least sanction it and make time for it during Origins, even if only a fifteen minute announcement and presentation. Beyond that, I suspect it will have to be Coordinated by some fan(s). Association with the wiki is unavoidable, as that's the principle publication channel for 'mid games, these days--where else will folks look for rules?

And now I am thinking of some cool ideas for a trophy made out of 'mids, to present to the winner (or mail to him or her, if he or she can't attend Origins). Hmmm.... would that mean we have to figure out the Winner (or a SMALL handful of Finalists) well before Origins, in order for that person to make arrangements to be present? Heck--maybe that would be the REAL prize: a ticket to Origins! And folks who wanted to be in the running would have to pony up (say) $10 to help cover it.

Nah... now THAT's getting to be problematic, to say the least. (For example, what good is an Origins pass to someone in Britain?) Best just to mail the trophy, if the winner is not present. If it's made of 'mids, it can be mailed for almost nothing, in one of those flat-rate USPS boxes. And just MAYBE the Looneys could donate some of the weird, blem (or just overstocked) 'mids to (say) Eeyore, to make into a cool trophy. (The sign of a good leader is delegating responsibility, I hear. ;)  )

I am liking the sound of this more and more....