Revisiting the old idea of instating crafting competitions, I’ve dug old and finished up an old draft I started writing up a couple years ago when we last talked about the idea.
With the EE, it mightn’t be a half bad time to try to get something like this working. Could maybe point newbies at some of the tutorials we’ve got, incentivize trying new skills, as well as benefit the personal projects of the winners by getting them resources they’ve got a use for.
The concept probably has holes in it. I didn’t complete writing the draft at the time, and just filled in the blanks I spotted right off the bat.
If it lands in the “::crickets chirp::” bin again, no biggie. Not really expecting it not to.
The “Mad Modder Match”
Custom Content Competition
- There’s lots and lots of time.
When a contest begins, participants have two months time to send in their submissions.
After those two months, the organizer has one week to upload the files and start the voting.
The voting period lasts two weeks. During this time, participants are required to review eachothers’ submissions.
Each competition has a specific theme from within a NWN-related category, such as:
- a wooden chair (3d model)
- a dog (3d model)
- a single new tile for a specific tileset (3d model)
- a damage-dealing spell (script)
- an activatable feat (script)
- a puzzle (script)
- a metal texture (texture)
- a reskin of a Bioware dragon model (texture)
- a seamless stone wall texture (texture)
- a scream (sound)
- a short shopping jingle (sound)
- a looping beat (sound)
- a NPC banter conversation (writing)
- an item description for a legendary weapon (writing)
- a character backstory (writing)
- a smithy (area prefab*)
- a forest with a hidden treasure (area prefab*)
- a single bossfight (module*)
- an undead creature (creature prefab/3d model/texture/script)
*Area prefab or module themes should specify up to three permitted tilesets.
- It’s acceptable to use standard game content as a base.
When crafting a wooden chair, it’s just as acceptable to reskin one of the stone chairs as it is to make a new model fully from scratch. Or, when scripting a damage-dealing spell, it’s fine to heavily reference or modify the Bioware spell scripts.
It’s okay to cross over into different categories so long as the main objective is being met. Examples:
- a puzzle script could include placeable or item prefabs.
- a NPC banter dialogue could come with NPC creature prefabs and scripts to make the conversation fire once the PC is in range.
- a stone wall texture could come along with a set of stone wall placeables.
This gives us more reason to participate in contests outside of our own field, to acquire basic skills that may increase our chances of winning future bouts, as well as make it more possible for effort and cross-specialization experience to affect one’s chances of winning.
- All submissions should include a demo module where the new content is set up and working.
People need to make it as easy as possible for others to evaluate the content.
- Participants review eachothers’ submissions.
Since we’re all doing the same kind of task, but looking at it from different perspectives, we’re likely to have insights we can share with eachother, and especially complete beginners stand to benefit from review by the people who’re already experienced in that field. It also means that content creators have reason to want to participate in general, just because it’s certain that there will be some sort of feedback in return for the effort.
The Holy Rule here is Try Not To Be A Jerk, and keep in mind that there might be a nervous newbie behind any submission by an unfamiliar face. Kindness doesn’t cost anything. But we also want to help eachother improve, so don’t suppress the criticism and improvement suggestions you’ve got to offer!
- Submissions are sent in per E-Mail, as with the CCC.
- When the deadline ends, all submissions that were handed in on time are put up on the Vault, and a voting thread with polls for the individual entries is created.
The voting phase lasts two weeks. Votes are public, and anybody may vote, competitor or not. In this phase, participants must comment on eachothers’ entries. If the first place winner by voting did not review the other entries, the prize goes to the next person in line who did review.
- The winner gets to decide the theme of the next competition.
This is supposed to give people a practical reason to compete, as well as to keep changing the category frequently. A skilled scripter might be in need of sounds, a skilled sound artist might be in need of a model, a skilled modeler might be in need of textures. Nobody is an island, and skillgrinding in one category usually prevents us from skillgrinding in another.
- A contest may be either NWN1, NWN2, or Both.
Since public vote determines the winner, if either game’s active voters outnumber that of the other, mixing the votes could create an unfair disadvantage for participants submitting content for the game with the overall bigger fandom.
One solution to that problem I could see having three different instances of the contest running at a time - and since that means having different winners who may want to declare different future themes, so at that point, we’d have a NWN1 and a NWN2 contest with people doing different stuff. But some potential themes (creative writing, crafting stock textures, crafting sound effects) may well be suitable for both games… so maybe there’d even need to be a third, assuming there would ever be enough people participating to make that work.
Maybe having a NWN1 and a NWN2 themed contest running simultaneously, either of which can become a NWN1/Both contest or a NWN2/Both contest for a round depending on the theme, might work, too.
1.) Try Not To Be A Jerk.
Competetiveness all too easily becomes personal. Be mindful of human nature. We appreciate our fellow contestants for giving us reason to push ourselves to gain new (or improve existing) skills, and for allowing us to benefit from their insights. We want to give people a shoe-in on new crafting skills and hone existing ones, not discourage one another.
2.) One submission per person.
Teamwork is most welcome, but if people team up, they may not submit something else on their own, and they must decide on the next theme together. Settle this before you win.
3.) All submissions must be custom work (unless the contest theme explicitly states otherwise).
No ports from elsewhere unless porting stuff from other games is expressly part of the theme. Submitting something that wasn’t crafted by you is grounds for disqualification; very few people here stand a chance of competing with professional-level work, it’d completely wonk up the contest.
An example of an exception to this rule is a reskinning competition, where an original model is presented, and participants are told to modify it. Think “Take this basic horse model I made, and bring me different variants of it, so that I may get ten different mount appearances when I personally just had to make the one! :-D”.
4.) Submissions must be fully functional for use in either NWN1 or NWN2.
A demo module where the content is set up and working should be included in every submission (where applicable; obviously this doesn’t really go for texture or writing submissions).
5.) Submitted content will be put up on the Vault with the following permissions: Allow Distribution in others work, Redistribute as is, Redistribute with edits/modifications.
The Madmoddermatch is about learning from and benefiting eachother. In that spirit, the content we produce here is distributed for all of us to take apart and modify to best serve our purposes.
6.) Participants are required to review other participant’s submissions.
Submitters of NWN1 content must review NWN1 submissions, NWN2 submitters must review NWN2 submissions. Cross-game reviews are appreciated, but not mandatory. If a submitter does not possess a game, we cannot reasonably expect them to review content that requires it.
If the first place winner of a contest did not review the other submissions from their section, their prize will be considered forfeit, and go to the next person in line who did review.
7.) When a winner is submitting the next theme, they must ensure that a tutorial that teaches the basic skills necessary to compete must exist on the Vault, or else the winner must be able to provide one themselves.
8.) When a winner is submitting the next theme, it must be reasonable and proportionate.
Try not to go overboard. When possible, try to stick to individual items (a willow tree, a scream, a song script for a bard NPC), or !extremely! small groups of items that are semantically linked (boat with an oar, a success and a fail jingle, a bard NPC with a song script).
Examples of what not to do: “a pack of hyperrealistic willow trees”, “a full voiceset”, “a fully-scripted theater performance”. The basic requirement for entry should be as low as possible.
9.) A theme’s skill category (3d models, textures, sounds, scripts, etc) may not be repeated more than twice in a row.
Do pass the ball to others when you can. The entire community should be able to play, not just the folks working in the most in-demand sections.
10.) The new theme must have the same game category (NWN1, NWN2, Both) as it’s predecessor.
Win a NWN2-themed contest, you get to declare the theme of the next NWN2-themed contest. Win a cross-game contest, you get to decide the theme of the next cross-game contest, and so on.