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Thread: Tossing around a contest idea

  1. #1
    Member
    Registered: Dec 2001
    Location: Dromed Detention Room

    Tossing around a contest idea

    "CLASSIC THIEF EXPERIENCE CONTEST"

    Parts would resemble the SSR contest.

    The idea would be to make a mission that makes people feel like they are playing a mission that was like the first time they played thief. Each contestant would pick a style for a mission from an OM from T1 or T2 and make it their own. They might almost be considered "tribute" missions, sort of like I paid homage to the rooftop style of "Life of The Party" in "Thieves' Highway".

    The readme file would openly name the mission style you were trying to emulate, and each voter would cast only one vote- for their favourite mission. They would however be able to start threads here on the forums and comment wildly on the missions all they wanted.

    Each voter would be on their honour to have at least tried their best to play every mission to completion before voting. Voters would have to be registered members of TTLG forums and hotmail their vote to me listing their TTLG name. Of course I wouldn't reveal their votes publicly.
    I'd leave the voting up to the vine at The Circle, but I checked votes a few days apart on one of my missions once, and I figured that all 21 votes (come on...21 votes in a few days?) were "1"s to drop it from where it was to the score it ended up at. (Also coincidentally there have been no votes for it since then. 21 "1"s in a few days....no votes since......hmmmm.)

    Pulling this off would require a host for the missions (Komag or The Circle?). I would supply the winners' prizes.

    1) Use only regular Dromed. Only the original textures and objects would be allowed, to make it seem most like the OM's. In Darkloader, it might say custom object, but that may just be because someone resized and object for a different application (eg. gargoyles made tiny for handrail fasteners in a staircase like I did in Two Fathers).

    2) No custom schemas, but new sounds would be OK. For example, you could make a conversation by recording them and using the names from OM conversations. If you played a victrola, you could have your own music on it or message instead of Karras' message.

    3) Everyone who wanted to enter would have to let me know by e-mail before the start of the contest. Then, when the contest started, I would e-mail a "base mission" file simultaneously to all contestants so they all started at the same time. The base mission would contain three slightly overlapping area brushes of certain sizes and position, and the contestants would have to build within those spaces.

    4) There would be ten months building time from start to finish. There would either be absolutely no extensions, or point penalties for each day past the due date for tardy contestants.

    Prizes would be shipped to the first five winners. First place gets first choice, second place gets to choose from the prizes left , third place gets to choose from what's left after that, etc.
    Prizes would include things like a 320 Gb external plug and play hard drive, a 4Gb thumb drive, a 2Gb thumb drive, movie DVD, music CD, and certificates (I know... whoopee doo....) of your place in the contest.
    The packages will have been opened on the electronics but only to check them. There's no way I'm paying for shipping on a hard drive without knowing it works first. I once had to stand in line at Future Shop for an hour because of a bad hard drive.

    I'd like to have this contest. If the suggestions or put-downs get too overwhelming, I'll just forget about it. I am open to modifications, it's just, well, you know how it gets sometimes on the forums.

    ANYWAY, LET ME HEAR IT. (I said let me hear it, not let me have it.)

  2. #2
    The Architect
    Registered: Dec 1998
    Location: Lyon
    Quote Originally Posted by uncadonego View Post
    I'd leave the voting up to the vine at The Circle, but I checked votes a few days apart on one of my missions once, and I figured that all 21 votes (come on...21 votes in a few days?) were "1"s to drop it from where it was to the score it ended up at. (Also coincidentally there have been no votes for it since then. 21 "1"s in a few days....no votes since......hmmmm.)
    That's a real shame. I can try to get that counter reset if there's evidence of foul play. My Access 2007 doesn't work with the old database files unfortunately, otherwise I'd do it myself right now.

  3. #3
    Classical Master 2008
    Registered: Jun 2002
    Location: Civitas Quinque Ecclesiae HU
    Quote Originally Posted by uncadonego View Post
    I'd leave the voting up to the vine at The Circle, but I checked votes a few days apart on one of my missions once, and I figured that all 21 votes (come on...21 votes in a few days?) were "1"s to drop it from where it was to the score it ended up at. (Also coincidentally there have been no votes for it since then. 21 "1"s in a few days....no votes since......hmmmm.)
    That, right there, is seriously scummy behaviour, and so much against the (high) standards of our community that I am rather surprised someone would have the audacity...

    A few questions:
    1) Use only regular Dromed. Only the original textures and objects would be allowed, to make it seem most like the OM's. In Darkloader, it might say custom object, but that may just be because someone resized and object for a different application (eg. gargoyles made tiny for handrail fasteners in a staircase like I did in Two Fathers).
    This is problematic from the get-go. Original textures, objects and meshes from where? Only TMA resources allowed, or can TDP also play? Or pick one or the other, no mixing allowed? I would love to make a mission looking like one of the OMs, but my favourite OMs are almost exclusively TDP ones... and T2's stock resources are rather different in style. Of course, I can manage, but it would seriously compromise my goals from the outset. What if I wanna have craymen?

    Discuss.

    Also, I am not sure (never entered a contest before), is gamesys customisation allowed? Editing objects?

    3) Everyone who wanted to enter would have to let me know by e-mail before the start of the contest. Then, when the contest started, I would e-mail a "base mission" file simultaneously to all contestants so they all started at the same time. The base mission would contain three slightly overlapping area brushes of certain sizes and position, and the contestants would have to build within those spaces.
    Is all content to be contained within the area brushes, or only accessible gameplay space (as in some recent contests)?

    4) There would be ten months building time from start to finish. There would either be absolutely no extensions, or point penalties for each day past the due date for tardy contestants.
    Which ten months would you shoot for?

    I'd like to have this contest. If the suggestions or put-downs get too overwhelming, I'll just forget about it. I am open to modifications, it's just, well, you know how it gets sometimes on the forums.

    ANYWAY, LET ME HEAR IT. (I said let me hear it, not let me have it.)
    I sure think it is one fantabulous idea, and I can't wait to play the results. Definitely interested in participation.

  4. #4
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2006
    Location: On the tip of your tongue.
    This does sound like a good idea. I especially like the idea of e-mailing the base mission to each contestant to ensure size and fairness. However, please don't make the Area brushes too large! The main problem with the horror contest was that there was no size limit. It meant that lots of people had to pull out, and the missions that were submitted ended up a little rushed because the size slowed people down (I definitely speak for my own mission Island of Madness here, not 100% sure on the other entries).

    About the custom object limitation - perhaps if you wanted to pay tribute to a Thief 1 OM, you could use Thief 1 resources, but if it's a Thief 2 OM, Thief 1 resources would not be useable?

    I'd also consider allowing custom schemas, especially if you're allowing custom sounds. Even if you don't allow custom sounds, there are so great, inventive things that clever authors could do to remix existing sounds into new schemas.

    Overall though, I think it sounds like a great, focussed theme for a contest, and one that might, like the SSR contest, encourage some newbies to have a go without feeling overwhelmed by the need for custom resources.

  5. #5
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2001
    Location: Formby, NW England
    The problem with T1 resources is that they look grimy not just because of their style, but because of their palette limitiation. I think some flexibility should be allowed with custom resources. Modified T2 textures (terrain and object) should be allowed if (and only if) they make the original ones look a bit grimy.

  6. #6
    Member
    Registered: Nov 2006
    Location: A little here, a little there
    I am interested.Sounds like a great idea!

  7. #7
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2001
    Location: 210x200x64
    2) No custom schemas, but new sounds would be OK. For example, you could make a conversation by recording them and using the names from OM conversations. If you played a victrola, you could have your own music on it or message instead of Karras' message.
    If you were to allow new sounds not allowing custom schemas makes little sense. It's not like the schemas need to be shipped with the mission or that players would know the difference anyway.

  8. #8
    Southquarter.com/fms
    Registered: Apr 2000
    Location: The Akkala Highlands
    I love the "tribute" idea. It would be very cool to see focused missions with classic Thief plots similar to Assassins, Undercover, Escape, Ambush, Trace the Courier, etc. Awesome idea. I'm not crazy about disallowing custom material however. We've already had an SSR, let's keep this one wide open. Allowing custom content shouldn't take away from the theme of the contest (imo).

    Size & Time - Size has to be manageable. Look at all of Komag's contests that have been successful, they all had reasonable sizes. People get too ambitious, and the contest organizer often needs to reel them in. This relates to time. 10 months is a long period, I think people will slough off with this much time. If the size of the levels is reasonable, I would think no more than 6 months is necessary. Think if we started the contest today, with a 10 month limit the entries wouldn't be due until January 1st, 2009!

    In any case, based on the theme alone, I'm all for this contest.

    Quote Originally Posted by uncadonego View Post
    Pulling this off would require a host for the missions (Komag or The Circle?)
    Or, um, (cough)southquarter.com?(cough)

    Quote Originally Posted by uncadonego View Post
    Prizes would include things like a 320 Gb external plug and play hard drive, a 4Gb thumb drive, a 2Gb thumb drive, movie DVD, music CD, and certificates (I know... whoopee doo....) of your place in the contest.
    Holy crap, those are some nice prizes. Kicks the crap out of a t-shirt or a set of Komag CDs.

  9. #9
    Desperately dodgy geezer
    Registered: Nov 2001
    Location: The Wailing Keep
    Quote Originally Posted by SlyFoxx View Post
    If you were to allow new sounds not allowing custom schemas makes little sense. It's not like the schemas need to be shipped with the mission or that players would know the difference anyway.
    What he said.

    Other than that, I love the idea. I think T1 resources should be allowed, particularly if you can name a T1 OM as the inspiration.

  10. #10
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2001
    Location: 210x200x64
    Actually why not allow missions with dark 1 as well. I imagine most have both games. A base mission file would be identical for either dark 1 or dark 2. I've toyed with the idea of making a T1 mission...this might give me an excuse!

  11. #11
    Member
    Registered: Dec 2001
    Location: Dromed Detention Room
    Quote Originally Posted by Melan View Post

    A few questions:

    This is problematic from the get-go. Original textures, objects and meshes from where? Only TMA resources allowed, or can TDP also play? Or pick one or the other, no mixing allowed? I would love to make a mission looking like one of the OMs, but my favourite OMs are almost exclusively TDP ones... and T2's stock resources are rather different in style. Of course, I can manage, but it would seriously compromise my goals from the outset. What if I wanna have craymen?

    Discuss.

    Also, I am not sure (never entered a contest before), is gamesys customisation allowed? Editing objects?

    Is all content to be contained within the area brushes, or only accessible gameplay space (as in some recent contests)?
    1)I'd like to hear some discussion about whether everyone would like it open to both editors as well. I think if you wanted a T1 style mission, most people have thief gold, and if you wanted a T2 mission, most people have TMA.
    2)In Thieves' Highway, I used the iron chassis as water tower welded supports instead of making a new object. So mushing the resources around, or a custom gamesystem is OK, but stick to the resources available on the normal dromed, to make it look like when you first played the game, in line with the theme. They did that at LGS too. Eg., in the inventor's workshop you find a water crystal stretched out long and skinny in one of his bins.
    3)everything contained within the area brushes. I would use my previous missions as a guide for how many cubic units can be dromeded in someone's spare time in ten months.

    Quote Originally Posted by Slyfoxx
    If you were to allow new sounds not allowing custom schemas makes little sense. It's not like the schemas need to be shipped with the mission or that players would know the difference anyway.
    OK, well, what I meant more specifically is that if you wanted a story driven conversation, you could rename existing files anyway, but I'd like people to stick to the original music and environmental sounds so it feels more like playing Thief in the old days. Even the blackjack sounds different from T1 to T2. Sorry if I worded that part of the rules incorrectly.

  12. #12
    jtr7
    Guest
    Both T1 and T2 should be allowed, since they are both classic Thief. A mission that bridges the differences between the two would be fascinating.

  13. #13
    Desperately dodgy geezer
    Registered: Nov 2001
    Location: The Wailing Keep
    Quote Originally Posted by jtr7 View Post
    Both T1 and T2 should be allowed, since they are both classic Thief. A mission that bridges the differences between the two would be fascinating.
    This is OT, but for the record Death's Cold Embrace will be set between T1 and T2. The Hammers trying to deal with an upstart named Karras leading a splinter group is one of the background stories.

  14. #14
    jtr7
    Guest

  15. #15
    New Member
    Registered: Feb 2008
    I like it. Gives us newbies less things to worry about, and a framework to build off of

    Y'know, instead of trying dozens of ideas and scrapping them

  16. #16
    Vertical Contest Winner 2009
    Registered: Sep 2002
    Location: The Great White North
    10 months is WAY to long to work, contest work well i think because of the time constraints. opening to thief 1 is a mistake, i just won't play thief 1 missions, can't develop good resources for it with the palette restriction and goofy looking ai. and tribute is a tough thing to judge, leads to dull copying i think. if you are going to copy a mission (face it my way of the sword is a copy of undercover) you have to innovate (asian theme in my case) or its just going to look and feel like we've played it before.

  17. #17
    jtr7
    Guest
    You don't have to copy a mission, just the feel of classic Thief. Make a new mission that feels like LGS made it back then.

  18. #18
    Vertical Contest Winner 2009
    Registered: Sep 2002
    Location: The Great White North
    i just think that a "thief" feel is far too subjective, restricting things to stock resources produces that look on its own without the constraint of building something that is classically "thief". but i really think we need a shorter time frame for a contest.

  19. #19
    Classical Master 2008
    Registered: Jun 2002
    Location: Civitas Quinque Ecclesiae HU
    Uncadonego -- I'd be okay with a parallel Dromed 1 - Dromed 2 contest (gotta try Dromed2's scary older brother), but I am sure Ottoj55 is not the only one who wouldn't like it. So that'd be a divisive decision. The trouble is, most of the archetypal Thief missions are very TDP.

    Being restricted to basic stock yet allowed to creatively shuffle around things a bit, as in your FMs is an excellent idea. Sure, it is a constraint, but that's the point of a contest. Iambic pentameter (or whatever) is constraining too, yet it allowed poets almost unlimited self expression and variation. There is a point about a bit more tightened focus... if it can't be done under 6 or 7 months, it can't be done under 10. Maybe keep the area brushes a bit larger than Komag did, but don't go overboard with freedom. Ideally, the contest should result in more missions than the previous two, and I think they "failed" because they were too open.

  20. #20
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2006
    Location: On the tip of your tongue.
    Definitely agree. People always complain about the tight constraints when a contest is organized, but they will shut up when lots of great, small, focussed missions all turn up on the same day!

  21. #21
    I may not be in a position to have an opinion (still haven't released anything), but I agree with what nicked wrote. I think restrictions are important for a contest's success. Restrictions can be a real boost for creativity and helps people stick to the theme and finishing what they've started. It is also kind of part of a contest to make the best out of what is given.

    People can have all the freedom they want when building outside of contests, but let a contest have its restrictions. I think everyone will benefit from a set of strict rules and restrictions.

    Would it be possible to strictly define what "classic thief experience" is? I really like the idea of honouring the OMs, but it seems a bit vague.

  22. #22
    Desperately dodgy geezer
    Registered: Nov 2001
    Location: The Wailing Keep
    As the host of the last contest which failed in part due to having fewer restrictions, I wholly advocate a size restriction. The size of Komag's Contest 5 and the Water Contest seems reasonsable, I think it was around 500k cubic Dromed units. Ten months is entirely too long in my opinion, for the reasons already mentioned, plus the fact that it also means that for pretty much a whole year, any other contests would be unlikely to get enough interest to succeed. Also, with custom resources out, missions can actually be built faster - the timeline of the SSR Contest, which I think was very successful overall, was only 1 month! But I gave a 2 week extension. I think 3 months is more than adequate for this contest if you enforce a size limit.

    On the sound issue, now that I've thought about it, I think allowing custom voices but not ambients is a great idea, since your goal is to pay homage to the OMs and "classic Thief" play. It encourages good storytelling by allowing conversations (which are much better than telling your story via only books), but insures that the familiar, classic Thief ambients are there to reinforce the LGS feel.

  23. #23
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2001
    Location: Formby, NW England
    Regarding deadlines, if you're going to extend it, make the decision well before the original deadline so that as few people as possible start rushing in order to meet the original deadline.

  24. #24
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2007
    I'm no editor or designer. I just wanted to voice my hope that I get to play many great missions concordant with the atmosphere of the OMs. I hope this becomes a popular contest. And I hope at least some of them include some Lost City slicking / Burrick hunting / Bugbeast whacking / tomb raiding.

    For real. Superb initiative, Uncadonego. Here's to hoping.

    --
    Larris

  25. #25
    d. 30.4.16 Always remembered
    Registered: Apr 2002
    Location: in our hearts
    I think that 10 months are too many for a contest mission too, it should be no more than six. As for the custom stuff I think that a few custom objects should be allowed. What if one needs (i.e.) some custom keys or a special object?

    Also porting objects, textures and AIs from T1/Gold should be allowed in my opinion. Many players just can't install Thief 1, some just don't bother anymore.

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