Howdy Folks, this is SuperEgg, Judge #4 and Media Manager for the Sonic Hacking Contest.
For years, the staff has been trying to find a meaningful and great way to include homebrew into the contest. Unfortunately, an answer for integrating homebrew into the contest just wasn't meant to be. There's just far too many issues to contend with to be able to shoehorn homebrew into the contest, and we didn't want to turn the contest into another SAGE by just letting in everything. But, we've also had to come to terms with trying to lump together homebrewers with guys who just make fan games is completely unfair and an utter disrespect towards these hardworking individuals and their work. Homebrewers have to ensure their games work with console systems, and as such, it is unfair to pit them against people who can just use C, C++, Game Maker, Multimedia Flash, etc. to make games and not have to worry about the limitations of home consoles.
In order to keep the Sonic Hacking Contest in line with what it says on print, "Sonic Hacking", and to ensure we respect these individuals, we've come up with a much better solution, the Sega Homebrew Competition!
"What is the Sega Homebrew Competition, SuperEgg?"
I'm so glad you asked Matt, sit down in that computer chair and I'll tell you, you little idiot.
The Sega Homebrew Competition is a week long celebration and competition to showcase and promote users who work with making games outside of the Sonic Series as well as provide a laid-back competitive venue.
The qualifications are simple.
1. The entry must be written and built to run on a relatively unmodified Sega console. No ridiculous hardware mods that extend native capabilities, please. That's just ruining the spirit of the competition.
2. The judges must be able to run the entry. If special conditions are needed to run it, contact the judging staff, and we'll see if we can work something out.
There you have it folks, that's the only real qualifications we have. Homebrew entries do not have to be Sonic related or even Sonic themed, though a few wouldn't hurt due to it's joint function with the SHC, it isn't even necessary and isn't even being asked. We want people from all walks of Sega life to come together and have a good time. Sonic is great, but there is so much more to SEGA and it's time that we see what all of you are capable of.
"Wow, I'm excited DuperSegg, but how does the Competition work?"
This time Josh, you have an excellent question, sit back down and I'll tell you.
For starters, entries will be set up in a similar manner to the Sonic Hacking Contest. There will be public entries, entries where the general public can play them, and Partial Private entries, entries where the contestant has opted to allow public access to their creation, but is willing to showcase their work via various media outlets.
Importantly, Entrants who opt to submit their hack under Partial Private must provide at least one video. Showing only still screenshots to the general public is just counterintuitive and not to mention incapable of showcasing your work.
For the contest, we have three main categories: Music, Art, and general game flow.
Music- Which homebrew game has the best soundtrack overall. Originally, this was going to be just one song, but the amount of people who can make at least one good song for a game on any of the listed hardware is a bit....easy. We have decided to change this up slightly to make it fair amongst the competitors, and to make our jobs easier.
Art- Which homebrew game has the best game art overall. In this case, one level can be considered enough.
Flow- Well, this is a weirdly titled category, ain't it? Trust me, it sounds weird, but flow in a game is important. After years of playing bad Sonic hacks, one of the biggest things that stick out is that the game doesn't flow, or it isn't natural. When you go and play a game and you fall in love with it, art and music are important factors, but the biggest is how fluid the game is. If the game is a bothersome and tiring exercise, why would you bother playing it? Remember, these entries must not only look and sound nice, but they must play nice. In this case, the console is irrelevant, we want to play a game that will begging us for more.
Now that we have the categories outta the way, it's time to discuss how the contest works.
For each of the three categories, we have a completely different system.
Each judge will pick the piece of work as our "Best in _" per category. From there, the final entries chosen for that category are then reviewed by all the judges, then the official "Best in _" for said category.
Judge 1: TomasJester's Steak Adventure (Game Gear)
Judge 2: DrupaSage's Country Music Race (Saturn)
Judge 3: SawnukBam's Tetrsex Party (MD/CD)
Overall Best in Music: DrupaSage's Country Music Race (Saturn)
Now, why is this kind of system being used in comparison to something more like the Sonic Hacking Contest's trophies?
Put simply, this competition is meant to be far more laid-back than the Sonic Hacking Contest. We're not here to rigidly compare and pit such a large palette of designs and approaches against each other. We want to provide a platform for homebrew so that, rather than being relegated to dark corners of the Internet, these projects are noticed by larger audiences. In addition, unlike the Sonic Hacking Contest, judging should be quicker.
There you have it folks, the Sega Homebrew Competition...
"Wait, wait, wait, who are going to be the judges, besides you?"
Thanks for interrupting me Donnie, I was about to get to that.
For now, the official judges for the contest are myself (SuperEgg), and LazloPsylus. We are still scouting for more judges. Stay tuned. And before anybody asks, no, I am not holding tryouts for judges. The magnitude and scale of this contest is one that is unlike any I've seen. We are currently screening for judges to ensure we pick people who are not only qualified, but are also unbiased and are open-minded to things beyond Sonic.
The deadline for the contest is Sunday, August 2nd (though there will be a grace period until August 9th to provide updates to entries), and will share the Sonic Hacking Contest's Contest Week: Monday, August 24th to Sunday, August 29th. The Sonic Hacking Contest Media Panel will also be covering this competition, so stay tuned.
All in all, let's get to work people. I want everybody to show the internet gaming culture that Sega truly does what Nintendon't.