Sonic Hacking Contest 2018

Discussion in 'Engineering & Reverse Engineering' started by Spanner, Jan 22, 2018.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Selbi

    Selbi

    Impaled with Extreme Prejudice Member
    1,482
    0
    0
    Northern Germany
    Sonic ERaZor
    If the same problem occurs next year, I'll just step down entirely. I know the increase in 3D mods won't stop, and I'm not trying to doom-monger everything. My priority interest in any of this is to keep the contest fair for everyone, and if a judge like me isn't able to do so out of personal disinterest, why try to band-aid the situation with a "counterpart judge"?

    This is only me, but my dream solution would be to split the contest for 2D and 3D mods, as we're really comparing apples to oranges when trying to judge equally for every entry. However, that'd require so much work we will likely not see it anytime soon.
     
  2. Spanner

    Spanner

    The Tool Member
    3,206
    0
    16
    United Kingdom
    Sonic Hacking Contest
    I think it is right and only makes sense that more 3D mods are coming to be submitted. When you look at things over the last few years, especially on Retro, the activity on this forum has generally been directed towards the likes of modding for Generations, Mania and Forces. And there's nothing wrong with that, there's still so much untapped potential with a lot of these 3D games, so much still to do, whilst a lot of the 16-bit games have essentially "been there and done that" for the most part. There's still stuff that can still be done however.

    That's not to say that people should stop hacking the 16-bit games. We still got plenty of them submitted this year and they generally are good submissions. All I'm saying is that this was gradually going to happen. I don't blame Selbi for stepping aside this year, all judges should be looking at every entry where possible (if you own the game or can get access to it, you should play it), and if you can't look at 3D entries because you just don't like the games itself, that is somewhat of a problem. We are at the stage where the majority of judges should be able to look at every single entry but exceptions do of course apply - if you don't own Forces or your computer can't handle it, it's just not going to happen. We did have an entry this year that was from Sonic 06 for Xbox 360 and we had to move that to the expo (and the submitter is fine with that) because only two judges who had modded consoles were going to be able to take a look at it and it really isn't that fair compared to others. Yes, an emulator does exist (Xenia) but obviously most could not run that.

    It was only right to bring in Melpontro and to be honest the idea of looking for another judge had been floating around before Selbi took his own decision. There's just so many 3D mods this year and we could do with more than two judges who have experience with that side of things. As stated in the first post of this thread, judges can change at any time. I would really like to bring in a judge next year who has experience with Mania mods, but we'll see what happens.

    I don't think we should split the contest but instead we should continue to look at the trophy categories - is there a trophy that does not have a 3D variant that should next year? All that and more can be discussed in the evaluation form following the end of this contest.
     
  3. Clownacy

    Clownacy

    Tech Members Tech Member
    775
    0
    16
    Just a reminder that there are under 24 hours left to submit your final updates before the deadline.
     
  4. Spanner

    Spanner

    The Tool Member
    3,206
    0
    16
    United Kingdom
    Sonic Hacking Contest
    Less than three hours left. Updating your contest entry is not guaranteed after 12am GMT / 7pm EST.

    Judging commences after this deadline. What's in the Contest? Find out tomorrow with the list of entries.
     
  5. Clownacy

    Clownacy

    Tech Members Tech Member
    775
    0
    16
    The window for contest entry updates is now closed. Expo entrants still have until the end of the 11th to refine their entries.
     
  6. Spanner

    Spanner

    The Tool Member
    3,206
    0
    16
    United Kingdom
    Sonic Hacking Contest
    If you never saw the early preview posted on the SHC Twitter, here is the list of entries for the Hacking Contest. Plenty of 3D entries this year but there's still many 2D submissions as well so there's something for everyone to play.

    Please note that I mostly followed the username on the site page, unfortunately teams were not implemented in time this year due to a bug in the software which stalled things. Hopefully things get sorted next time.

    1. 2P Shadow the Hedgehog by dreamsyntax
    2. Among the Others by Unlimited Trees
    3. Aquarium Park by Skyth_
    4. Camelot Castle Generatiosn by Melpontro
    5. Classic Sonic Improvement Mod by Showin
    6. Cthulu's Island by PineappleArse
    7. Dreamcast Chao Gardens by Exant64
    8. Emerald Coast in SA2 by MainMemory
    9. Hellfire Saga by Narcologer
    10. Hidden Palace Adventure by SuperEgg
    11. Knuckles in Sonic 3 PC by MainMemory
    12. Lost Valley Overclocked by Infinite_Force
    13. Megaman X in Sonic 2 by Pacca
    14. Mortar Canyon Remastered 2 by Infinite_Force
    15. Network Terminal Overclocked by Infinite_Force
    16. Prototype Windy Valley by ItsEasyActually
    17. Radical Highway for Sonic Heroes by Shadowth117
    18. SADX - Sonic, Shadow and Metal Sonic mod, Gameplay Overhaul by Benji23245
    19. Sonic 1 Almost Remastered by BonesBurger
    20. Sonic 2 CD Remix by Pacca
    21. Sonic 3 & Knuckles Battle Race by Natsumi & MarkeyJester
    22. Sonic Cronos (demo) by Timaeus
    23. Sonic Eclipse Demo by Mr_Cat
    24. Sonic Forces - Glyphic Canyon by Knuxfan24
    25. Sonic Forces - Lava Shelter by Knuxfan24
    26. Sonic Heroes 2P Co-Op by DonutStopGaming
    27. Sonic Limbo by lordxernom
    28. Sonic Mania: The Misfits Pack SHC2018 by jubbalub
    29. Sonic the Hackable by CHRdutch
    30. Sonic The Hedgehog - Neo Quest by MrHooman
    31. Sonic the Hedgehog Frenzy (Demo) by Yoshister
    32. STH2006 Project Demo 4 by brianuuu
    33. Sweet Mountain Act 2 by JoeyLaw
    34. Team Dark - SA2 Edition by Shadowth117
    35. Tropical Resort ReBoosted by SKmaric
    36. Weapons Bed...for Sonic Forces by DeaTHProj

    If your entry is not on this list then it was moved to the Expo, those that were have been emailed earlier in the week as to why. Remember that we do quality check Expo entries too however we can be a little more lenient however anything that is outright awful will not be shown, this is not a free for all. Furthermore, if you are submitting entries that consist of using a disassembly with features you can enable with the flick of a switch (cough, ReadySonic) followed by piling in tons of guides made by other people with minimum effort from yourself, then it is not being judged. We got two of these this year and needless to say they are no longer in the Contest, a few more from the 3D side also were moved. Last year people commented that the quality control should have made certain Contest entries into Expo ones instead, and we have done exactly that this year. We may not be perfect, so if we get something wrong again in relation to the quality checks do let us know, we can refine it further for next year.

    All of these entries and much more will be playable from Monday 26th November. Remember that we are still taking Expo entries so it's not too late to get involved. Also remember to get your clips submitted for the trailer - the details of which are in this thread. Judging of the above entries starts now and will last up to the end of the Contest Week. As per last time, feedback will be given. There's still plenty more announcements to come...
     
  7. Knucklez

    Knucklez

    PC Engine Enthusiast Member
    Pretty pathetic that it was misunderstood that my hack was built on ReadySonic when it was built on the S1 GitHub disasm and ReadySonic's fixes were a guiding LIST I referenced to fix numerous issues myself so that I could fix as many things as possible which I thought I stated clearly. I understand why my hack wasn't contest worthy enough for YOU but maybe I failed to mention just how much I put into resolving numerous issues. A third of it was guide-based while the rest required my own personal tweaking and working around with. Doesn't matter anymore anyway. I deleted it from the expo.

    I wholeheartedly put together something to the best of my ability as a thank you to this community for all of the resources and hacks it has made available to myself and everyone alike. Clownacy did the same exact hack for Sonic 2 last year and it made the contest. Honestly, I don't know why I even bother. Thanks.

    As for everyone whose hack made it into the contest, congratulations and good luck.
     
  8. Spanner

    Spanner

    The Tool Member
    3,206
    0
    16
    United Kingdom
    Sonic Hacking Contest
    We're trying to set a standard in the Hacking Contest. Even last year, when we introduced quality control, the public made it clear that they felt some Contest entries should have been moved to the Expo. This is what we are doing this year. There's not much to write about in bug fix hacks nowadays in terms of evaluation from judges and it certainly would not win anything. Moving it to the Expo was the right move.

    There was another entry that was moved to the Expo (similar to yours in some aspects) and they replied back to the email in a very professional manner after being explained why it was moved in a follow-up, it's a shame you couldn't have done the same by airing your concerns in email before complaining on a public forum. We could have addressed things further and sorted things out in an ideal way.

    As for Sonic 2 Fine2uned, actually it was in the Expo and not the Contest, Clownacy will tell you that himself when he replies to this thread.

    If you change your mind after reading this, feel free to submit again. You can also post your work in this thread as well.

    Got a few days left before the Expo deadline, if anyone else wants in, please submit. If you need verification for not having a full member account on Retro or SSRG all you need to do is follow the instructions on the website.
     
  9. Fred

    Fred

    Formerly known as 'Neo' Oldbie
    1,431
    0
    16
    Portugal
    Sonic 3 Unlocked
    You make it sound like what he did was unprofessional, when given its nature nothing about the hacking contest is professional.


    Never work your ass off for someone else. Always do it for yourself first and foremost, and then if other people like it, the better.
     
  10. Clownacy

    Clownacy

    Tech Members Tech Member
    775
    0
    16
    Spanner's right: I never submitted Fine2uned to the contest. From the beginning I knew it was expo material.

    I was actually the one that objected to your hack in the first place. One of my main factors in deciding if an entry is valid or not is if it's eligible for any trophies: some entries are technical feats very clearly gunning for the 11000101 trophy, while others are well-rounded hacks that seem to be trying for a whole bunch at once, even if unintentionally.

    But a bugfix hack? Considering most changes were just lifted from guides written by other people (myself included), I can't say the hack's very technically-impressive at all. And if it's not going for the 11000101 trophy, then what is it?

    I think it'd just be a waste for each judge to have to write an entire review for something that doesn't have anything to write about. I know I'd probably just point out the bugs you missed and call it a day. I can't imagine you fixed many of the sound driver bugs, for instance.

    Anyhow, earlier I said that most of the changes came from guides. What's the story with that anyway? In your post you say only 30% of fixes came from guides, yet on your contest page, you only note two changes you made yourself, and you mention them repeatedly. Even Fine2uned is mostly other people's guides.

    ...I can't think of how to work this into the rest of the post, so I'll just put it here. I don't get this idea of 'but I worked really hard on it, so it shouldn't be moved to the expo'. It's called 'quality-control', not 'effort-control'. I'm sure the guys that made Sonic XE back in 2016 tried their best too. That didn't stop it from being one of the most slated entries in the contest that year.

    As shallow as it sounds, we care about results, not how much effort you put in behind-the-scenes. If you can't take being told your work isn't good enough, then a contest clearly isn't the place for you.
     
  11. TheInvisibleSun

    TheInvisibleSun

    OVER THE TOP TECHNO-BLAST Member
    1,409
    0
    16
    Buffalo, NY, USA
    Sonic 1 Color Contrast
    Are you still taking completely new expo submissions? Or is Sunday's deadline only for refinements?
     
  12. Spanner

    Spanner

    The Tool Member
    3,206
    0
    16
    United Kingdom
    Sonic Hacking Contest
    Completely new submissions are still being accepted. There's no update deadline for Expo entries, once the deadline has passed, that's it, considering that the Expo has a longer deadline than the Contest.
     
  13. Novedicus

    Novedicus

    Peace is better than chicken and rice Tech Member
    338
    2
    18
    Assville, Shittucky
    Dr. Yundong
    I'm going to play devil's advocate and say if that guy's entry isn't allowed in the contest, then why are Drop Dash in Sonic 2/3K allowed when that's just a single move added into the vanilla games. I don't really see it much as a technical feat myself and overall just seems underwhelming for a contest entry compared to other entries. Seems more like it belongs in the expo.
     
  14. MainMemory

    MainMemory

    Every day's the same old thing... Same place, diff Tech Member
    4,273
    0
    16
    SonLVL
    We just had this exact discussion in both the SHC and SSRG Discords. Apparently it has to do with how I reverse engineered the code from Sonic Mania. I submitted everything that wasn't a joke mod to the contest, and from there it was up to the judges whether it met the criteria or got moved to the expo. If I'd known it was going to be this problematic, I would have moved everything but Emerald Coast in SA2 to the expo.
     
  15. Novedicus

    Novedicus

    Peace is better than chicken and rice Tech Member
    338
    2
    18
    Assville, Shittucky
    Dr. Yundong
    In the last page, Clownacy said that they don't care about how much effort one goes into a hack, if the RESULTS are underwhelming, then it doesn't qualify to compete against other hacks, and I do honestly think the result of just an extra move put in to Sonic 2 and 3K are underwhelming. It's not really pushing any technical boundaries in the game.

    Then again, these are my standards and not theirs, so take it as you will.
     
  16. Clownacy

    Clownacy

    Tech Members Tech Member
    775
    0
    16
    I probably could have worded it differently, but 'effort' to me is spending a long time on something. The specifics of what was done in that time is something else entirely. If one entry was a bugfixed SA1, where the hacker had to reverse-engineer the game themself to produce those fixes, I think it would fit in the contest just fine.

    I think it comes down to technical stuff being harder to appreciate than art or music. You make music, your audience hears music. But if you reverse-engineer a game to port its ability to another game, your audience sees the ability and that's it. Yeah, it's just the Drop Dash, but actually porting it instead of taking the easy option and recreating it yourself is technically impressive by itself.
     
  17. Fred

    Fred

    Formerly known as 'Neo' Oldbie
    1,431
    0
    16
    Portugal
    Sonic 3 Unlocked
    What the fuck? How is the act of designing, implementing and testing your own solution to a problem the "easy option"? It takes a different set of skills to reverse-engineer the original code and produce an accurate 1:1 port, but please don't accuse me, or anyone else who has ever written an entire implementation from scratch, of taking the easy path.
     
  18. Knucklez

    Knucklez

    PC Engine Enthusiast Member
    You know what, I didn't mean to stir up shit when I called out my hack not being considered into the contest.

    When I emphasized 2 new personal touches in my hack, it was because they were changes that I have not seen anyone else ever suggest or implement in vanilla Sonic 1 before. That's what I meant by "personal touches". That did not imply or mean that the other 50+ fixes which also included several prominent sound driver bugs were ALL copy pastes of other people's guides. 10-20 how-to guides for just as many bugs is not equivalent to over 50 changes across all contest-required criteria. And I also credited everyone who discovered or resolved the issue prior.

    But I digress. It's just a cleaner version of Sonic 1. I get it. It brings nothing to the table for a competition and I pulled from the expo because of that. And really, who cares about Sonic 1, we've all seen enough of it.

    And Neo, I did do it for myself first and foremost, and for what it's worth I am proud of it. So thanks for that.

    I will also say that I couldn't be any more excited for all of the demo hacks every year that snag a trophy, only to never see the light of day in ever being finished after the contest. I just love those demos, always bringing the promise of something more but never actually keeping that promise. Just wonderful.

    Love you guys, cheers.
     
  19. MainMemory

    MainMemory

    Every day's the same old thing... Same place, diff Tech Member
    4,273
    0
    16
    SonLVL
    If people only submitted things they considered "finished", we'd only have one hack coming out a year, and you'd never even hear about 90% of what people are working on.
     
  20. Clownacy

    Clownacy

    Tech Members Tech Member
    775
    0
    16
    Geez, calm down. I made my own Drop Dash for my Sonic 2 port in half an hour. Porting it myself would take way, way longer. So yes, in my opinion it's the easy option.

    Edit: Bleh, lemme try a more in-depth answer:

    So earlier I said effort just means time. I said a from-scratch Drop Dash can be easy, thus low-effort. I also said I consider the process of making a hack, regardless of time spent, counts towards its technical-impressiveness.

    The Drop Dash I made was not as accurate as possible. Upon looking at MainMemory's notes, I realised just how off the mark I was. I made it in a short time, and without trying very hard. I didn't attempt a port because I can't think of a way to do a port in just as little time, with as little work.

    On the other hand, a hacker could spend tons of time comparing footage and testing behaviour, to get it as accurate as possible. I didn't, and I imagine a number of people who've recreated the Drop Dash before didn't either. Remember that fad, when Mania was just announced, where everyone and their grandma would try to shove the Drop Dash in their hack? Heck, even way after it was announced, we still had stuff like Sonic Double Dash from last year's contest.

    So there's an easy way and a hard way to do a recreation. But the way I see it, there's only a hard way to actually port it from scratch. Now, I could be wrong about this, so MainMemory might want to step in, but the way I see it, MainMemory's port was done blind, with no prior documentation or disassembly/decompilation.

    Anyway, I suppose what I'm trying to say is, the process of reverse-engineering Mania from scratch, and porting one of its moves, is something that can only be done with a lot of technical knowledge of both the Sonic engine and the Mania engine, and takes a large amount of time.

    Recreating the move instead can sometimes take vastly less time, but either way, I don't see it being anywhere near as technically impressive. It's just looking at the two games, and trying to make them do the same thing. It requires Sonic engine knowledge, but not Mania engine knowledge.

    Believe me, you're not alone on that. It bothers me too. I'm just not sure if anything can be done about it. Though last year we did give the Hidden Palace Trophy to Metal Sonic Rebooted on the grounds that it was actually complete, despite it being seen as slighly more mediocre than some entries. At least, that's why I voted for it.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.