Now Open for Submissions! Sorry for the later posting this year. As much as we wanted to get SHC2019 announced right after 2018 was done, we had a number of things to look into and deal with before kicking off the show. As much as we believe the 2018 Contest and Expo went well, we noticed a few things that needed to be addressed. Notably, last year was the first year starring more 3D entries compared to their classic 2D counterparts. This in itself is nothing bad, in fact we believed it was eventually going to happen. Knowing this, we felt it was necessary to look at how we handle things going forward. We want to ensure a fair playing field for all entries, which as you may already know effectively means revamping how the entire trophy system was handled from the ground up. This in itself is a rather difficult task, as to both figure out the general format of the trophies and come up with new names is time consuming. Recently, we gave you the exclusive opportunity for the final format to be used for trophy distribution and you decided “Option 2”. This means that starting with SHC2019, we will be employing a new format, which for those who have stuck with us for long still retains close similarities with the original. Entries will be graded top 3 overall in the respective common submission formats/categories: “Retro”, “3D” and “2D PC”. Various “general” categories, subject to different interpretation based on submission format such as “best visually appealing” or “best sounding” will also be split in the following manner. Last of all, “special” trophies such as “most improved since last year” or “most WTF” (Polygon Jim) will remain as is. We understand that there is a possibility that some of the trophies under the format may end up “unnecessary” in the long run with no real “winners”, due to what may or may not be submitted. For such trophies, the “Null Vote Rule” will be applied, with “Null Vote” being a voting option if no entry either satisfies the trophy description or does not meet a given quality standard in the given trophy's department. If “Null Vote” becomes the top vote for a category, no trophy is awarded. The Judges This year's judge set consists of Cinossu, Clownacy, CodenameGamma, Dario FF, Melpontro, OrdosAlpha, Sewer56, SSF1991 (Donnie), Spanner, StephenUK and Twilightzoney. The notable difference this year is we have included more people with both knowledge and reverse engineering of PC titles. This includes both general 3D (Adventure, Boost style) as well 2D (RSDK, e.g. Sonic Mania). We believe it will be to the benefit of judging quality greatly. Judges & Contest Submissions Judges will be allowed to submit their own hacks, however they will not be allowed to judge their own entries (conflict of interest). This includes submissions that they have been involved with, such as team submissions. After the main contest finishes, the Judges will provide more detailed evaluations of the entries to give their opinion, thoughts, and advice they feel is deserved. Disclaimers This judge list is not final and additional judges may be recruited to replace former judges who have left the contest due to retiring or other reasons. Do not ask to be a judge as that just rules you out. If we think you're up to the job, we'll talk to you. Not all judges can judge all games as they may not have have the capability to do so. For example: 360/PS3 based sonic hacks requiring either powerful PC for emulation or hacked console. If you submit a non 8/16-bit entry please have this in mind. The majority of judges however are capable of playing PC-based game entries. Please note that the final decisions are subject to the Judging Team and may not reflect your own opinion. If one hack wins a whole load of trophies that is what the judges thought should win. Judges may change at any time due to unavailability or other reasons. This year we're doing trophies a bit differently. First of all, we're scrapping the names for now to make things easier to understand. Secondly, we're categorising them differently to before. First, we have three main categories that entries can fall under: Retro For any and all retro console hack entries 3D For all entries based on the 3D Sonic games outright 2D PC For those entries based on the 2D ports, rereleases, and remasters on PC, as well as Mania. All three of these categories will have a Top 3 result and individual trophies of the following: Best Visual Best Audio Best Technical Best Level Design Best Voted by Media Panel As well as these we have a set of misc. trophies that can be attributed to any entry from any category. Most Entertaining Most WTF (Polygon Jim) Best Team Entry Best Multiplayer Entry Best Fresh Concept Using Existing Concepts As A Backbone Most Potential Most Improved Since Last Year Of course we also have the overall Top 3 that can again be attributed to any entry from any category. And what of community trophies, you ask? Well, you're all in luck this year. Apart from the obvious exception of "Best Voted by Media Panel", the community get to vote on each and all of these categories and trophies as well. Please note that these rules can be changed, added to, or removed from at any time. In such event, the contest staff will notify you through this thread and send a global announcement using any form of Social Media we have at our disposal. We recommend checking back often to ensure nothing has changed. Everything described in this section applies to both the Contest and the Expo unless otherwise specified. Entry Eligibility 1. Your entry must be based on an existing ROM or game tied to the Sonic The Hedgehog franchise. Homebrew submissions are not accepted. ❌ Hack of Super Mario 64 converting it into a Sonic game. ❌ Custom game engine with imported Sonic game assets. ✅ Hack of a Sonic game turning it into a non-Sonic game. ✅ Hack of a Sonic game introducing new features/content to the game. Tech demos of console to PC/console conversions are acceptable if based on an existing ROM and/or disassembly. 2. Joke/Meme entries are not allowed in the Contest. Public evaluations clearly shown people did not like the abundance of them in previous contests. Once again we will not be allowing them. They will however be allowed in the Expo provided Quality Control Criteria are met. 3. All entries must be playable and cannot prevent judges from playing them if they have been uploaded. Judges have the right to look at your incomplete work if you have submitted it. However, judges will not allocate trophies based on any incomplete builds, only the last build submitted for the completed entry. Submission Rules/Guidelines 1. Each entry by a participant may only be submitted to either the Contest or Expo - you cannot have the same entry in both categories. That said, nothing stops you from submitting <x> entries to the contest and <y> entries to the expo. ❌ “Sonic Hack R” in Contest AND Expo. ✅ “Sonic Hack R” in Contest. ✅ “Sonic Hack R” in Expo. ✅ “Sonic Hack R” in Contest, “Sonic Hack Z” in Expo. 2. You must include media such as screenshots, videos (YouTube links are fine) and/or music (MP3, OGG, and VGM preferred). The staff will not waste time making these for you. 3. All submissions must be completed through the online site. E-mailed or direct-messaged entries will not be accepted. 4. You must inform what has been changed or explicitly what has not. This can be zone and act breakdowns to a full change log, if need be. We need to ensure stock vanilla levels and completely untouched gameplay is not being judged and/or played by the general public. Submissions can inform of other information such as cheat codes, easter eggs, and other worthwhile information that would benefit your entry when being looked at and judged. Copyright & Intellectual Property 1. All work used from external sources/contributors (sprites, VGM conversions, etc) must be credited. Hacks found with stolen and / or uncredited content will not be tolerated. If anyone suspects an entry to have stolen and / or uncredited content either flag the entry or contact staff immediately. 2. If you have used asset collections such as music packs from the Internet, please be wary that they are known to contain content illegitimately ripped from other hacks. Please always double check your original sources. The general course of action for stolen content is that the participant will have all of their entries removed from the Sonic Hacking Contest. What Not To Do 1. Save the drama. The contest is not an appropriate place to air your grievances with individuals or communities. 2. Obscure jokes/memes that most people will not understand. If the entry focuses on inside jokes with no appeal to anyone other than those in the know, the Contest or Expo is not a valid place for it to be shown. 3. NSFW content accessed through normal means. Easter eggs are okay, provided accessible without prior knowledge of existence. Adding the method of access through your entry description, will be considered as “accessed through normal means”. 4. Submit joke entries with sole purpose of just gaming the rules/exploit any loopholes. Action may or may not be taken depending on the severity if you infringe on any of the above. In the worst possible case the participant may have their entry removed, possibly along with any other entries they have submitted. Other Considerations 1. No private entries. If you want to submit to the Contest your entry must be made available completely to the Public. 2. Offensive content without good context is frowned upon and should be avoided to prevent issues. 3. Give a thought about your target audience. Make sure your entry is not over-complicated to run or unnecessarily bloated. If a mod can be 200MB and easily installed with a mod loader, we don't want to see a 2GB submission that achieves the same thing requiring total file replacement. 4. All entries are viewed equal regardless of who submits them. Do not be put off with people well known in the community potentially submitting that could win trophies - people do not win trophies because of who they are in this community, people win because their entry deserved to win. In the Sonic Hacking Contest we take quality control very seriously, but try to be inclusive enough to potential contest participants by not setting the bar too high. For Contest entries, the quality control is very strict, while for the Expo entries we are a bit more lenient. As a general rule of thumb, we use the following measurements to decide whether an entry is of sufficient quality for the Contest. Retro & 2D PC Entries Pick at least 3 of the following A. Palette changes, physics changes and other various minor modifications. B. Art changes, layout changes and/or mapping changes. C. Engine, sound driver and/or special stage functionality changes. D. Music and sound effect modifications. 3D Entries Modification(s) that change features in the playable game itself. ❌ Simple texture only hacks. ❌ Simple object layout modifications. ❌ Model swaps of existing game models. (UNLESS process is technical) ✅ Collection of custom models, assets, objects. ✅ Custom levels and/or playable stages of acceptable quality. ✅ Custom game logic/code written in assembly or existing game logic hooked using arbitrary programming language (C/C++/C#/D etc.) All Entries Alternatively if your entry meets any of the following criteria (regardless of entry type), it is sufficient to enter the Contest. Pick at least 1 of the following A. Complete change to the rules of a Sonic game. Example(s): Sonic Bash v2, Boss Rush Hacks, Knuckles Emerald Hunt. B. Overhaul into a whole new game. Example(s): Sonic Scorched Quest, Sonic Virtual Adventure. C. Technical feat. Example(s): MarkeyJester's Mode 7 Mega Drive experiments, Lantern Engine, Sonic 4 in 1, etc. Can't meet the criteria? Take some time, look at what you are missing or need to work on and come back in next year with an even better hack than your current one. Unsure if your entry meets the standards? Ask a judge or a member of the Hacking Contest staff. If it happens to be the case you already have submitted your entry, do not be concerned - we will tell you if we believe the entry does meet the given standards. CONTEST SUBMISSIONS DEADLINE: Sunday 3rd November CONTEST UPDATES DEADLINE: Sunday 10th November EXPO SUBMISSIONS DEADLINE: Sunday 17th November CONTEST WEEK FROM: Monday 2nd to Sunday 8th December The Contest Week has been put back due to Thanksgiving, but also allows extra time for judging and quality control. Please see this link regarding submitting for this year's trailer. Ready, Set, Procrastinate!! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Forum Thread also available at SSRG.