If you've been browsing around the forums today, you've probably noticed that some members now have a little gear icon under their post info box that looks like this: <img src="http://forums.sonicretro.org/uploads/awards/program.png" border="0" class="linked-image" /> These folks have received the first award of Sonic Retro's new achievements program. The <b>Hacking Utility Programmer</b> achievement is for anyone who releases a <b>Sonic hacking utility</b> to the <b>public</b>. I emphasize both of those phrases because they encompass what achievements are all about: something public that helps other people. <b>Oh, great. So this is going to be more lavish praise for technical people, and us non-technical people are going to look like even bigger losers.</b> Far from it. The idea of Achievements came up after a discussion where Tweaker and I realized there was no way to reward people for positive contributions to the site and community aside from giving Tech Member or staff positions out. However, there are a ton of different ways to be a great, valuable member—and this system is meant to reward that. Make a helpful guide? Upload x number of images? Write a really insightful post that sparks Sonic-related discussion? Make a commit to the SVN? Donate to Sonic Retro or Hidden Palace? All are a few examples of things that will be getting achievements rolled out. Additionally, I'll be adding winners of either a general trophy or the overall winner of the past Hacking Contests as achievements (and obviously anyone who wins anything after judging comes back for this year.) It's a little memento that lasts longer than a topic. Hopefully this will encourage you to get more involved with Sonic Retro and create positive change for the Sonic community overall. If nothing else, it gives you more forum cred.