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Norbert
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General Discussion

Post by Norbert » June 29th, 2012, 12:10 am

As I mentioned here, I've e-mailed some people about a new PoP-related project/idea.
Below is my e-mail and the subsequent correspondence (so far). This was only a day or two ago, so very recent.
I e-mailed them (starwindz, Jalal, poirot, htamas) because they rarely/never visit this forum.
Anyways, I'm quite curious to know what you forum folks think of this project/idea. :D

- - - - - - - - - -
E-mail from me:
- - - - - - - - - -
Hi starwindz and Jalal,

Thank you for your e-mail, starwindz. Yes, it should be possible for us
to provide you with (the files of) mods that have what it takes to be
included in your next Total Pack. That should make it easier for you to
update your pack(s). Since January 2008, several new mods have been
created. I've added five of them to my website (and gave them numbers
64-68, since the last mod in your Total Pack has number 63). You can
download their ZIP files here:
http://www.popot.org/custom_levels.php?mod=0000064
http://www.popot.org/custom_levels.php?mod=0000065
http://www.popot.org/custom_levels.php?mod=0000066
http://www.popot.org/custom_levels.php?mod=0000067
http://www.popot.org/custom_levels.php?mod=0000068

There are more than five new mods though. I'm e-mailing you and Jalal,
and CC'ing Enrique and Tamas, because I'm curious to know what you think
about the idea I'm describing below. By the way, I hope Jalal is no
longer angry at me. ;)

Prince of Persia fans make mods now and then. However, unfortunately,
not a lot of people are playing these mods, so their creators receive
little feedback. I played the new mod by yaqxsw yesterday and some of
its levels are actually remarkably entertaining, but I doubt that he'll
get much substantive feedback. Maybe mk1995 will give the mod a try.
viewtopic.php?f=73&t=3139

Anyways, I think it would be nice if we could revitalize the community a
bit. What I have in mind: what if we started a seasonal (4x per year) or
semi-yearly (2x per year) modding contest. The princed forum could be
used to publish about the contest (announcements, results, discussions).
As for the prices: all mods that score above a certain threshold would
make it into the Total Pack, and the first three would mentioned and be
downloadable from the front pages of popuw.com and popot.org until the
winning entries of the next competition are known.

On these front pages, each winner could be accompanied by a text like
'Comment on this mod here.', with a link to the mod's forum thread, so
the winners receive some additional feedback. The front pages could also
contain a text like 'Your mod could win the next competition and be
featured here. Click here to read how you can create your own levels and
participate.', with a link to a forum thread that contains information
about the currently running contest.

The competitions' results could be scores that are made up of a jury and
a community scores. A small group of veterans could be the jury. The
jury could consist of people who've created mods themselves (like
programmer or mk1995) and/or who have a certain status in the modding
community (like Tamas/Enrique/starwindz/Jalal). The jury vote could
account for 50% of the mod's final score, the community average for the
other 50%.

All this would get more people interested in popuw.com, popot.org,
princed.org, the editors and other tools, in playing mods, in creating
their own mods, and so on. Plus, people like giving their opinions about
stuff, and it means their votes actually count. All the votes, including
the community votes should probably be private until the competition
results are in, and then published, maybe. Maybe it would be best to
tell the voters that 'Note that your forum nick and your votes will be
published when the results are being announced.'

What I like about the idea is that a seasonal or semi-yearly contest
would mean there is always something happening "now". Currently, the
princed forum is semi-deserted, which is a shame. It would be nice if
there would be a contest now and/or if someone just won a contest and
three folks will have their mods featured on our websites for three or
six months. We could allow participants to create mods for the SNES
version and for PoP2, if they wish to do so. Some princed forum members
may be willing to translate the contest's rules and such into other
languages.

So, what do you think?

Best regards,
Norbert

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E-mail from poirot:
- - - - - - - - - -
Wow, I love the idea. I've once created a contest to find a developer
who was able to create the LZG compressor algorithm and we had a
winner, that's why PR exists right now :)

Here are some ideas

Could be something like:

March: GFX modding contest (best graphics editing)

June: Level modding contest (most creative levels and tramps)

September: Best story mod contest (with the best writing storyline)

December: best overall contest (evaluating if the .exe was modified,
how entertaining are the levels, etc)

or something like that.

- - - - - - - - - -
E-mail from starwindz:
- - - - - - - - - -
Hi Norbert

That is good idea.

I think that the most important thing you have to consider to be successful are PROMOTION.
Many people should participate in the contests. More ideas are needed for this I think.

Regards,
starwindz
- - - - - - - - - -

[Edit: Changed the thread's title. --Norbert]

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mk1995
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Re: project/idea: modding competition

Post by mk1995 » June 29th, 2012, 5:45 am

Would you look at that... Last time I saw you, you ran off to sulk on your own. Now you're back, apparently completely refreshed (I kid you not - I see parallels between the two of us), and then you're coming up with this idea of contests. Geez, how do you even come up with things like that? No, no, I don't ridicule you for that idea. Quite on the contrary. Seeing as the recent activity on this forum has merely consisted of people uploading their edited levels, and how modding is pretty much the name of the game nowadays (I mean, "Princed" is a portmanneau of "Prince" and "edit", isn't it?), it is a mighty fine idea, if only as a last-ditch effort to shock the community back to life.

However, one thing wasn't quite clear to me: In the case that I'll be part of the jury, am I still allowed to submit modifications by contest time?
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Just to make something clear: I will not reply to daft PMs like "Where can I find X?" or "Can you give me a link to Y?". Most of your questions are likely answerable if only you took your bloody time to look through these forums and use Google if all else fails. Sheesh...

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Re: project/idea: modding competition

Post by Norbert » June 29th, 2012, 8:53 am

mk1995 wrote:In the case that I'll be part of the jury, am I still allowed to submit modifications by contest time?
Hey mk1995. :) Interesting question.
I don't know what would be the best solution for that.
I'm trying to think of how other contests deal with that situation.
Maybe it would mean the participant couldn't be a juror during that particular contest.
Or maybe jurors should be allowed to create mods; just not judge their own work.
Not sure what other possible solutions there are...
Any ideas on what would be best?

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Re: project/idea: modding competition

Post by mk1995 » June 29th, 2012, 9:00 am

Mmh, probably let the jury members do their mods, but forbid self-judging (i.e. if I were to bring out a mod when I'm part of the jury, I wouldn't be allowed to rate my own piece of work). It's likely the only way to go that wouldn't be so utterly restrictive to some.
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Just to make something clear: I will not reply to daft PMs like "Where can I find X?" or "Can you give me a link to Y?". Most of your questions are likely answerable if only you took your bloody time to look through these forums and use Google if all else fails. Sheesh...

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Norbert
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Re: project/idea: modding competition

Post by Norbert » June 30th, 2012, 2:25 am

There's something else that would need some kind of solution.
Let's say that 10 people partake in a contest, which isn't that many; theoretically there could be 20 or even more mods in a contest.
If each mod has 14 changed levels, that would be 14 x 10 = 140 levels to playtest.
It wouldn't be necessary to play all levels to get a fairly good impression of the mods, but still...
It's relatively easy to play through the original PoP1, because the levels aren't that difficult and replaying is easier than a first run.
How long would it take to playtest a single mod; maybe certain things should be split up in some ways or across judges.
Maybe a long judging period, like two weeks (or even a month), would be desirable.

Also, what if one of the participants decides to give all other mods the lowest score possible, to get a better chance of winning.
It's extremely unlikely that someone would do this, but it may be preferable to not give trolls a chance by coming up with an elegant solution to this problem in the contest's rules.
How should people vote... a scale (1-5 stars, 1-10 grades) or maybe a top 5.
I think that a rating instead of a top list would be better to get a more useful impression of the mods, because a mod may be good enough for the Total Pack even when it didn't happen to be in anyone's top 5.

Any thoughts on this whole contest thing are more than welcome.

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Re: project/idea: modding competition

Post by poirot » June 30th, 2012, 4:00 am

I think a good solution to this is an evaluation process like that (just a starting point so we can start changing things):
1) Mod authors subscribe a mod in a webpage for, let's say, the contest A. The users vote on that webpage. The mod author can't vote on contest A in this round, not even on other projects. We only let subscribe as users and voters people we know they are only one person.
1.5) Users can impugn a mod that does not fulfil the conditions for the contest (let's say a gfx mod was presented in a best game contest).
2) The best, say, 7 mods will pass this round. Now a jury will play the mod and give a score evaluating exactly what it is expected to be evaluating depending on what contest the user applied to.
3) The first, say, three mod authors will get extra points for the round 1 on the next contest. The winner will get something interesting we should think of. Winners will also be invited to integrate the next jury.

When a jury member wishes to participate, he must give his place away to a substitute jury member. If you want to be even more formal, we can create a kind of organization committee with people who can propose users as jury but should avoid presenting mods and being jury members.

The contest process could take up to 3 months if we want to have four contest a year, but we can overlap contests and do other things.

If there aren't 7 mods we can suspend the contest to the next year or, if there are about 5 mods, we can add two more from the total pack database.

Opinions?

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Norbert
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Re: project/idea: modding competition

Post by Norbert » June 30th, 2012, 4:06 pm

I like the idea of having some permanent judges and some spots that previous winners can temporarily take.
In the process you describe, the judges eventually decide who are the winners.
Why do you suggest giving the winners extra points in the next contest?

I'm not sure how formal the jury selection needs to be.
We could first try to ask around who wants to be in the jury and see if we can simply agree on who'll be in it.
Maybe I'm wrong, but I think they would mostly be people that nobody would object to.
Should they be skilled players or mod creators?
We may want to mention in the 'judging section' what we think makes a good mod (nothing too specific, but things like 'it's not the harder the better').

I don't think that, currently, there would be enough participants to have separate graphics and story contests.
Not that many people know how to (properly) alter graphics, for example.
In the last year or so, how many new mods were made... maybe twenty?
Maybe it would be suffice to state in the rules that participants may want to consider using alternate graphics and an interesting story.

Theoretically, we could have a first contest by just asking the authors of existing mods if they want to partake with their work.
It would mean the winners could be mentioned on our websites, which could draw the attention of potential entrants.
The rules could also state that each mod can be submitted only once. Stating the obvious, but still.

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Re: project/idea: modding competition

Post by Norbert » July 1st, 2012, 9:31 am

What would be the point of the contests?

Here are some thoughts of mine on that subject:
- I think contests could be fun, in particular for the contestants and judging members. Contests can be inspiring, motivating, memorable and exciting. It may be interesting for onlookers to watch the process and the results.
- It could liven up things; revitalize the community. Contests can encourage participation; engage people. A contest would mean there is always something happening "now". Currently, the princed forum is semi-deserted, which is a shame. It would be nice if there would be a contest now and/or if someone just won a contest and three folks will have their mods featured on our websites for three or six months. There would always be activities that are taking place.
- It could get more people interested in popuw.com, popot.org, princed.org, the editors and other tools, in playing mods, in creating their own mods, and so on.
- It would provide starwindz with (the files of) mods that have what it takes to be included in his next Total Pack. That should make it easier for him to update his pack(s). Almost every mod will probably be good enough to be added to the Total Pack. Mods that turn out to have serious problems, for example several unfinishable levels, could be fixed by their authors and still be added.
- Contests have the potential to attract outsiders; to get more PoP fans to join the community.
- It can be a great motivation for mod makers to improve. It can have educational value, because mod creators may want to learn new things, look into what can be done beyond using editors to make their mods stand out from the crowd.
- Maybe more mods will be created, which would mean more mods to play.
- Creating a mod would be more rewarding for some authors, especially for the contest winners. More generally speaking, mod makers would probably get more feedback. More people would be playing the mods that are being created.
- Creators may playtest their mods more thoroughly.
- People like giving their opinions about stuff, and their votes would actually count.
- A contest is easy to run. Why not try it out and see if we like it.

Should there be additional prices besides 'honor' and being featured for several months on the front pages?
Does anyone have any ideas?

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Re: project/idea: modding competition

Post by Norbert » July 7th, 2012, 6:08 pm

Should we allow teams to partake?
I think it would be nice if people were allowed to collaborate if they wish to do so.
Maybe there should be a team limit though. Three people maybe, or four?

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Re: project/idea: modding competition

Post by mk1995 » July 9th, 2012, 6:10 am

Considering the (for the current circumstances) low amount of possible participants, we should either lay off from using teams altogether, or put them in groups of only two at most. Otherwise we won't have enough entries. If the amount of participants increases, we can also increase the amount of maximum people allowed in a group. We should keep it variable, though, dependent on the quantity of participants.
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Re: project/idea: modding competition

Post by Norbert » July 9th, 2012, 1:41 pm

Groups of only two at most sounds okay.
Then one person could focus on creating custom graphics, for example, while the other works on the levels.

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Re: project/idea: modding competition

Post by Norbert » July 9th, 2012, 3:33 pm

Should we allow mod creators to post playthroughs of their work a week or so before the voting period ends?
Or maybe even make it a must (and explain in detail how DOSBox can be used to record walkthroughs)?
That way the judges and others first have time to try out the levels themselves, and if they want check out the playthroughs later.
Advantages could be: if forces participants to thoroughly play-test their levels, and allows people with less free time to still check out everything.
Disadvantages I can think of: extra work for the participants, and people may try out less mods themselves (which could unfairly favor extremely difficult mods).

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E-mail from starwindz:
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How about using facebook, twitter and youtube for promotion?

starwindz
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Sounds good, once we've worked out the details of the competition rules and such, we could definitely use social media for promotion purposes.

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Re: project/idea: modding competition

Post by poirot » July 9th, 2012, 7:17 pm

I love the idea of using social networks for promotion!


Assuming there are lots of teams:
I was saying that if there was going to be two rounds (the first is to limit the teams) we could give the other previously winner team the privilege to pass directly to the second round. But never giving them any extra points. If the first round means getting votes from people, the previously winner team could have done that in the contest before, that will save them a lot of time and we know they have chances to win; so the idea is just saving some time to them. But in the second round they will have the same chances as the other teams. This is why I thought we should let the winners pass directly to the second round.

But you are right, probably we won't get that amount of participants so the first round could be avoided (or just exists in the formal contest rules, but everybody will pass it with one vote).

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Re: project/idea: modding competition

Post by Norbert » July 16th, 2012, 2:35 pm

poirot wrote:I love the idea of using social networks for promotion!
Yeah, maybe also a YouTube video that explains the contest and shows some level examples, tools and documentation.
Could get more people interested.

I will try to write down a first draft of the formal contest rules.
Just a first text, so that we have something we can improve until we're happy with it.

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Re: project/idea: modding competition

Post by Norbert » July 19th, 2012, 2:01 am

Norbert wrote:
poirot wrote:I will try to write down a first draft of the formal contest rules.
While working on that draft, I've been thinking about the judging process some more. I think I've come up with a fair and scalable solution, which I'll describe below. It's not the simplest solution possible, but no one would need to playtest more than 10 mods, and every mod would be playtested an equal number of times. I believe that both of these things are important. To make it scalable, we'd need to have 2 rounds, sort-of what poirot suggested. Not only would contestants need to register and judges need to be appointed, but others who would like to have their votes counted as part of the community score would need to publicly say so in a certain forum thread. Then, the rounds could be as follows.

Round 1:
Random groups of people would be created, that do include both the participants and the others, but not the jurors. The number of groups would be: the number of contestants rounded up to the nearest 10, divided by 10. Example: 12 contestants would mean 20 / 10 = 2 groups. The mods of the participants would be randomly distributed over the groups. In this example, both groups would get 6 mods. Every person then plays all mods of their group and puts the mods in a top 10, where the #1 spot gets 10 points and the #10 spot 1 point. The 3 best mods of each group, ranked by the average scores, go to round 2.

Round 2:
Each juror will play the mods that were picked during round 1 and put them in a top x list. The three mods with the highest average scores will win first, second and third place in the contest. Ten or less mods in a contest would mean 3 mods to judge, 11-20 just 6 mods. Even in the unlikely event that there are 21-30 or 31-40 mods, the judges would still only need to playtest respectively 9 or 12 mods. That's doable, especially if we take two weeks or so for the judging period.

What do you think?

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