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1  Games Center / 4K Game Competition - 2010 / Re: Fewer games due to... on: 2010-01-23 19:17:14
I haven't entered this contest for the last couple years, but I've just recently decided to give it another try and haven't submitted anything yet. Smiley

- HC
2  Games Center / 4K Game Competition - 2007 / Re: FINALLY! 4K public vote is OPEN! on: 2007-04-23 20:39:18
As you know, I'd rather see ordinary approval-voting where you can vote on as many games as you like (each vote gives that game +1), but this is fine. I'm only worried a lot of games will score 0 points and thus end up in the same place.

I predict that the results of the voting will essentially be that a handful of games get massive numbers of votes, half the remaining games get one or two votes each, and the rest get none.

- HC
3  Games Center / 4K Game Competition - 2007 / Re: 4K Judging -or- "All the Cool People were doing it" on: 2007-04-19 02:47:36
Missing TankZone.

No, it was there; it was just labeled "NetWalk" for some reason. In my defense, uhm, I suck. X_X

Both entries are now described in my last post.

- HC
4  Games Center / 4K Game Competition - 2007 / Re: 4K Judging -or- "All the Cool People were doing it" on: 2007-04-19 01:02:46
To confirm that SubPar is less than 4k, simply download the jnlp file, open it up in a text file and then create a url to the jar file it uses and download that to see how many bytes it is. I believe the url is: http://javaunlimited.net/games/archive/4K07/SubPar/subpar.jar.BEST_OPT_COMPRESSED.jar

I belive you- it just seemed like it was worth noting. Smiley

Also I have noticed that the total score does not add up Smiley 4+3+3=10 instead of 9 Smiley   I will check the other entries to see if some of the others do not add up.

Whoops- sorry. ^^;  It should have been 10...  I must have gone back and edited the score after I wrote it up. If you see any others, assume that the 'scores' are right and the total is wrong.

- HC
5  Games Center / 4K Game Competition - 2007 / Re: 4K Judging -or- "All the Cool People were doing it" on: 2007-04-18 18:02:01
I'll give it a try on my Windows laptop tonight. Until then you can just think of me as that one jackass judge who rates your game low for no apparent reason.  Wink

- HC
6  Games Center / 4K Game Competition - 2007 / Re: 4K Judging -or- "All the Cool People were doing it" on: 2007-04-18 16:15:24
I felt that Goop was very impressive on a technical level and while I didn't have any specific gripes with the gameplay, it didn't really click with me the way some of my other favorites did. You'll note there were a couple other games- Squarius is the one that comes to mind- where I said in my comments that I liked the game a lot more than my score indicates. Goop is the inverse of that.

If I could do it again and was making up my own scoring system, I'd add a "tilt" score to even out that sort of oddity. Smiley


As far as MacOS goes: I know that there have been similar problems in the past with running games under MacOS... IIRC, in 2005, a bunch of games got awful scores because fullscreen mode didn't work properly on the macs at the time. Unfortunately, you don't know what setup the judges are going to be using, so it may be better to err on the side of compatibility. Assuming that there's a contest next year, my Mac and I will attempt to be more active in the comments threads beforehand.

- HC
7  Games Center / 4K Game Competition - 2007 / Re: 4K Judging -or- "All the Cool People were doing it" on: 2007-04-18 13:28:51
jNetWalk4k
Graphics:  3
Technical: 3
Gameplay:  3
Total:     9

A fun puzzle game in the vein of Pipe Dream. I enjoyed this one quite a bit- it's one of the better 'puzzle' games this year. The graphics appear to be sprite-based and the look is unified and clean. The randomly-generated levels are another plus.


Tank Zone
Graphics:  4
Technical: 4
Gameplay:  2
Total:     10

Like Starship Invaders (above), this game is controlled by both the keyboard and mouse. This is a technically impressive entry, but the gameplay didn't do much for me- the enemy tanks seem to be incredibly difficult to take out without being destroyed yourself. There are a lot of nice graphical touches- both your tank and the enemy tanks are well-drawn, and there's a minimap of sorts as well.


Elven Hunt
Graphics:  3
Technical: 2
Gameplay:  2
Other: +1 Title Screen
Total:     10

The well-animated enemies are the highlight of this game. The gameplay is passable, and the random enemy name generator is pretty good (at least after you get used to some of the 'weird' constructs that it uses). A solid entry all-around.


Vector
Graphics:  2
Technical: 3
Gameplay:  2
Total:     7

This game's procedural graphics are nice, but it seems a little slow-paced. Technically speaking, the enemy ships have a simple but workable AI, and the radar is a nice addition.


RoundWorld
Graphics:  3
Technical: 2
Gameplay:  1
Total:     6

This game had the opposite problem that I've mentioned earlier- the game runs way too fast to be playable on my computer. Having said that, the procedural graphics are attractive and the game supports four players.


Pitfall: Scorpion Island
Graphics:  ?
Technical: ?
Gameplay:  ?
Total:     0

Unfortunately, this wouldn't run on my computer, in either the webstart or jar version.


PacMinia
Graphics:  2
Technical: 2
Gameplay:  3
Other: +1 Title Screen
Total:     8

This implementation of PacMan features pseudo-3D graphics and the ability to jump. The graphics were nice, but the flat walls kind of clash with the spherical Pac-Man and gumdrop-shaped ghosts. The ability to jump was an interesting touch, but nothing terribly new. The game does keep track of your high score per 'sitting', which is a nice addition.


aichess4k
Graphics:  3
Technical: 3
Gameplay:  3
Total:     9

This chess game offers simple but workable graphics and a remarkably good AI.


Cubis
Graphics:  3
Technical: 2
Gameplay:  2
Total:     7

The procedural graphics of this game are its' high point; the control is tight and the game runs well. While it's a good implementation, the game that it's a port of is not one that I've ever been particularly fond of.


Goop
Graphics:  4
Technical: 4
Gameplay:  3
Other: +1 title screen
Total:     12

This very cool game has excellent procedural graphics and physics. There a number of nice small touches, such as the goop's mouth opening when it's near a spike, and the way the goop slips and squishes through tight spaces is amazing. The gameplay itself can be a little disorienting at times, but is otherwise solid. I, just, wow.


ON THE BALL
Graphics:  3
Technical: 3
Gameplay:  2
Total:     8

This is very similar to goop, but not as well-done across the board. The graphics are tile-based, and aren't as attractive as a unified package- the pseudo-3D ball is fine, but I found the background tiles to be a little ugly and was indifferent to the swirly backgrounds. I found that the physics model in this game- particularly the amount of 'bounce' that the ball has when it strikes any surface- made it harder than Goop to control. As a mark in this game's favor, the addition of a timer gives the game a sense of urgency that I felt that Goop did not have.


4K V-Ball
Graphics:  3
Technical: 3
Gameplay:  2
Total:     8

The graphics work in this game is quite impressive- the backdrop is excellent, and the sprites, although low-res, look good. The AI was good as well. On the downside, I had a very had time getting the hang of the controls- the enemy's spikes in particular seemed nearly impossible to catch and I found the 'targeting' system to be counter-intuitive.


Squarius
Graphics:  1
Technical: 3
Gameplay:  4
Other: +1 Intro
Total:     9

I was very impressed with the number of- and difference between- stages in this game. The control and collision detection are tight if unforgiving. While the graphics are (probably by necessity) fairly poor, I have to say that I had a lot of fun playing this game. The intro was a very nice addition as well. Like Mega, I enjoyed this game more than the score indicates.


Section4k
Graphics:  3
Technical: 2
Gameplay:  2
Total:     7

This was the most fun 'falling-block' type puzzle this year, I think. I though it looked very nice; the gameplay was a lot of fun too, although I believe it's possible for the game to generate 'unsolvable' drops (where it's impossible to place a drop such that you won't take damage).


Buggaroo
Graphics:  2
Technical: 2
Gameplay:  3
Total:     7

While the ability to drain energy from enemies is a deviation from the normal Robotron 'formula', this is still a Robotron clone at its' core. I felt that the graphics weren't particularly impressive, and the game as a whole wasn't terribly remarkable. My big complaint about the graphics was the way that it's very clear where the 'edges' of tiles are- I generally think that doesn't look particularly good unless they're 'supposed' to be there. Beyond that, I didn't feel that the ability to absorb enemies added a whole lot to gameplay- perhaps it would have been better to include multiple varieties or some such instead.
8  Games Center / 4K Game Competition - 2007 / Re: 4K Judging -or- "All the Cool People were doing it" on: 2007-04-18 13:28:20
Mega
Graphics:  2
Technical: 2
Gameplay:  3
Total:     7

I should say up-front that I actually liked this game more than the scores indicate. The physics work and the collision detection and gameplay are good. It can be a bit hard to aim, and a 'brake' key might have been a nice touch. On the downside, the game's pacing isn't terribly good- and some of the graphics are a bit on the cheesy side (especially the player's explosion).


BlackJack
Graphics:  1
Technical: 2
Gameplay:  2
Total:     5

A weak entry. Graphically, even given that it's a card game, the graphics are ugly- the blue-text-on-bright-green background simply doesn't work, and the cards and backgrounds aren't anything to write home about either. There are a number of technical issues- you can re-deal at any time, even when in the middle of a game, and if you have a hand of more than five cards, it will run over the end of the window. The lack of a persistent 'money' supply also hurts the game.


4kWormDiet
Graphics:  3
Technical: 2
Gameplay: 2
Other: -1 Incredibly low framerate
Total:     6

Although this entry is graphically attractive, it was hurt a lot for its' low speed. This isn't something that I'd normally knock an entry for, but it got getting a consistent 6-8 FPS on my computer. Given the worm's glacial pace, it took me something like 5 minutes to even figure out if it had a 'game over' screen.


Sn4Ke
Graphics:  ?
Technical: ?
Gameplay:  ?
Total:     0*  (Would not run)

This didn't run on my computer, from either the JAR or webstart.


Brain Burning 4k
Graphics:  1
Technical: 2
Gameplay:  2
Other:  +1 Ranking and High Score
            +1 Multiple Games w/ title screen and menu
Total:     7

This unique entry emulates the 'brain training' series of games for the Nintendo DS. While it contains three small games, none of them are particularly good in and of themselves. There are a handful of other issues which jump out at me- the timer and current question, for example, in the 'calculate' section are not completely erased after each question. There is no indicator whether you've gotten a wrong answer or not in the 'type as quick as you can' and 'find the odd one out' sections- the former simply ignores wrong answers with no feedback where the latter unceremoniously dumps you back to the title screen. Displaying each individual score on the title screen in addition to the combined total would be an improvement, as well. On the plus side, the game has a working menu to select from the various games and a persistent high score and ranking.

Note: Oddly, when I was testing this game, I got a "jar could not be opened" error after I closed it. I assume this is my browser and haven't marked the game down for it; likewise, it's probably not worth a whole point deduction anyway, but if it happens across OSes and browsers, pretend I mentioned that above too.


FallDown
Graphics:  2
Technical: 2
Gameplay:  2
Other: +1 Title Screen
Total:     7

The gameplay to this game is very similar to that of ApoFall (above), although its' slightly less impressive graphically and the pacing isn't as good. The control, however, is a little better and it has a couple of touches that ApoFall lacks, such as a fullscreen mode. I had a little trouble getting it to take keyboard input at first.


Pipe Extreme
Graphics:  4
Technical: 4
Gameplay:  3
Total:     11

A very impressive 3D version of Trailblazer based on a tube. It features a curving, 3D tube, 5 different levels, a solid physics model, and an interesting variety of obstacles. The keyboard control is very player-friendly and the game is solid and challenging. An excellent entry and one of my favorites. The one thing that kinda wierds me out is that your ball casts a shadow on the bottom of the tube at all times but also sees to cast one on whatever surface it's rolling on.


Metro4k
Graphics:  3
Technical: 4
Gameplay:  3
Other: +1 Randomly-Generated Maps
Total:     11

An excellent stripped-down version of SimCity. The procedural graphics are simplistic, but are well-done all-around; using the height of a building as a way to indicate its' size is a very nice effect. It turned me off a bit at first that there weren't any displays for pollution or emergency services, but eventually I got the hang of it. The blinking 'no power' sign can be a bit hard to see, but beyond that I have no complains. Another excellent entry.

I have spent more time playing this than any of the others I've played so far. It also prompted my associate Karrde to dig out the Super Nintendo version of SimCity.


4k - Billiard
Graphics:  2
Technical: 2
Gameplay:  2
Total:     6

A basic pool game with a decent physics model and play control. While the graphics are workable, they're kind of rough around the edges; on my computer, the 'inner' coloring of balls sometimes goes beyond their outlines, and they're all the same color. The crawling-ants graphic used for the shot indicator is a nice touch, too.


Space Evaders
Graphics:  4
Technical: 2
Gameplay:  3
Other: +1 Title and Game Over screen.
Total:     10

A fast-paced, fun Space Invaders variant. The procedural graphics are very nice- in fact, some of the finest I've seen in these entries- the little pieces of ship that fly apart look particularly good. The gameplay is solid, too, although the auto-fire is perhaps a little too powerful- even in later stages, I found it was pretty easy to whip the crosshair back and forth pretty quickly in the beginning of the stage and clear out a large chunk of the enemies.


Sub4k
Graphics:  3
Technical: 2
Gameplay:  2
Total:     7

The well-done procedural graphics are the highlight of this entry. The gameplay offers the ability to submerge and render yourself temporarily invincible, which is a plus. However, the game is rather slow-paced and the visible area is fairly small.


Space Inversion
Graphics: 3
Technical: 2
Gameplay: 2
Total: 7

This game certainly has the vintage look down, but I felt that the gameplay fell somewhat flat. The AI for the tank is good, but possibly a little too good- I found that I spent a lot of time watching it nail the leading edge of my formation one invader at a time.


Tile Style
Graphics:  2
Technical: 2
Gameplay:  2
Other: +1 High Score
Total:     7

Graphically, I found that it was hard to determine at a glance which tiles were part of which in this game- thicker/more visible barriers between tiles may have helped, or a different palette for the triangles. The ability to resize the screen and have the graphics scale appropriately was a nice addition. Control could be kind of awkward.


Scorcher
Graphics:  1
Technical: 2
Gameplay:  3
Total:     6

An unimpressive Scorched Earth clone. While the AI and physics is decent, the graphics are minimal. It can be hard to tell how much life each opposing tank has if you're not watching during their turns, and even so it can be difficult to tell whose turn it is at any given time.


Starship Invaders
Graphics:  4
Technical: 3
Gameplay:  4
Total:     11

This entry features excellent graphics; the Enterprise and Romulan Ships both look good and rotate smoothly, and the parallaxing stars in the background are a good addition too. The lack of an explosion graphic of any kind when a ship is destroyed is a bit odd, however. The gameplay is impressive as well, using both keyboard and mouse control and giving you quite a few abilities.


4kimon
Graphics:  2
Technical: 2
Gameplay:  2
Other: +1 Sound
Total:     7

This 4k implementation of the old Simon game is one of the few 4k games to feature sound. The online high score table is another cool addition. Beyond that, there's nothing much to say about it- the graphics get the job done but are otherwise unremarkable and the gameplay is the same Simon game that's existed since the 80s.
9  Games Center / 4K Game Competition - 2007 / Re: 4K Judging -or- "All the Cool People were doing it" on: 2007-04-18 13:26:17
Vector Racer 4k
Graphics:  3
Technical: 2
Gameplay:  3
Other: -1 Bugs running AI racers
            +1 Randomly Generated Tracks
Total:     8

This game is a lot niftier than I expected it to be from reading the description. The graphics are actually very nice, including some cool texturing effects. The gameplay is unique and pretty good as well once you get the hang of steering your racer (although I admit that I crashed into the walls a few times out of the gate). My big issue with the game is something that appears to be a bug after you crash or finish the race- time continues to advance but the game itself does not end. Likewise, the AIs didn't run for me. The game is otherwise a solid entrant, and a lot of fun even with what are debatably fairly serious bugs.


ApoFall 4k
Graphics:  2
Technical: 2
Gameplay:  2
Total:     6

As an overall package, the graphics are nice, although the "help" text is cut off on my computer. Your ball moves kinda slowly and seems to be prone to 'sticking' on the sides of narrower holes in the clouds. The gameplay is serviceable but not particularly compelling.

NOTE: For some reason, the download link on the ApoFall page actually links to the jar for ApoFun (see below). The WebStart starts the correct game, however.


ApoFun 4k
Graphics: 1
Technical: 2
Gameplay: 2
Total: 5

Although the gameplay is servicable, this game isn't very interesting graphically or technically. It's worth noting that it will remember high scores for as long as it's open.


Rottweiler 4k
Graphics:  ?
Technical: ?
Gameplay:  ?
Total:     0 *  (Couldn't run)

This game wouldn't run on my computer, in either the webstart or jar form.


VOTA
Graphics:  2
Technical: 3
Gameplay:  2
Other: +1 Music and Sound
Total:     8

VOTA's gameplay is novel, but in practice I found that it was very difficult to manage my ships. The number of waypoints, however, does earn it a technical mark. On the plus side, it's one of the few entries this year that included sound at all. I should be noted that I'm using a laptop's trackpad, which may color my opinion.


Tank War
Graphics:  3
Technical: 4
Gameplay:  3
Other: +1 Title Screen
Total:     11

An excellent entry, all-arround. Tank War features two different types of enemies, randomly-generated mazes, two types of weapons, and a detailed HUD. The graphics, although procedural, show a lot of attention to detail, particularly in the HUD at the top of the screen. The collision detection and control are both good. All around, the game shows a lot of polish.


RoadFourk
Graphics:  3
Technical: 2
Gameplay:  3
Total:     9

RoadFourk is an overhead racing game. It is fairly well-done; highlights include a 'textured' ground (similar to the one seen in Vector Racing, above), well-drawn cars, and 'tire track' marks left by individual cars. The gameplay is also solid, including AI-controlled cars. One somewhat marring bug is that the bottom of the window contains a fairly large "hall of mirrors" section where un-redrawn images of the other cars gather.


Ball Catcher
Graphics:  2
Technical: 3
Gameplay:  2
Other: +1 Pause Feature
Total:     8

A fair entry that reminds me a bit of the standard Windows game JezzBall. While the graphics are basic, they got the job done- my only complaint there is that some of the traps can be very difficult to see against the background, particularly those with light colors. The physics model is decent and the gameplay is passable, but since there's no limitation to how long you have to complete every given stage, there's no real challenge save beating your old times. Also, levels aren't 'capped' in any way; after a certain point, the number of balls initially appearing in the stage simply rolls over to 1 again.


jumpi4k
Graphics:  2
Technical: 2
Gameplay: 2
Total:     6

This two-player variant of the classic Lightcycle game is drawn entirely in procedural graphics- they get the job done, but they aren't particularly standout. It features a number of different maps, which are selected randomly. The addition of the different maps and the splitscreen multiplayer are a good idea. Unfortunately, the game is two-player-only.


OH MUMMY!!!
Graphics:  3
Technical: 3
Gameplay:  3
Total:     9

A fair pac-man-ish entry. It uses a combination of sprites and procedural graphics. The mummy AI and gameplay work, and the pacing is good.

NOTE: I couldn't run this game from the downloadable .jar file- the webstart version, however, worked without any problems.


4k Pacman
Graphics:  2
Technical: 2
Gameplay:  2
Total:     6

For something that has 'pacman' in the name, this didn't seem much like the arcade game.  All in all, a fairly weak entry-  the graphics were unimpressive and the ghosts are bounded by large black boxes that are clearly visible when two (or more) are on top of each other. Your hitbox is gigantic, and the ghosts' positions aren't reset when you die- meaning that if you happen to be in the upper-left corner, you're essentially trapped and it's game over. Keyboard input also wasn't quite up to snuff; after you press and hold a direction, you take one step and then there's a long pause before you move any further.


Trailblazer
Graphics:  3
Technical: 2
Gameplay:  2
Total:     7

A clone of the Commodore 64 game. This game features multiple levels and 3D graphics- the shadow under your ball when you jump is a nice touch.  On the other hand, I found the larger jumps in particular to be very difficult to judge and time correctly; likewise, the mouse control was very awkward.
10  Games Center / 4K Game Competition - 2007 / Re: 4K Judging -or- "All the Cool People were doing it" on: 2007-04-18 13:25:47
Jumping Jack
Graphics:  2
Technical: 2
Gameplay:  2
Other:  +1 Pause feature
Total:     7

On the most part, Jumping Jack is an unimpressive entry. The procedural graphics were workable, and the addition of an 'idle' animation for the player was a nice touch. On the other hand, the way that the level 'jerks' up when you reach a new floor is kind of cheesy. Gameplay-wise, the game is fairly straightforward; the two things that bother me about it are that the game doesn't seem to get any harder as you go on and that your lives never seem to decrement. The pause feature is a nice touch and does earn it a bonus point.


SubPar
Graphics:  4
Technical: 3
Gameplay:  3
Total:     10

An impressive entry. This shooter features a wide variety of sprites for enemies with different weapons and behaviors. It starts out a little on the slow side, but picks up quickly. The game is technically well-built; the controls and collision detection are both solid. The seemingly arbitrary nature of the additional weapons kind of bothered me.

The jarfile downloaded is 4.3k. In the thread about subpar, Moogie claims that the webstart version is less than 4096 bytes- I'm not sure how to confirm this for a webstart.


Pixelmins
Graphics:  1
Technical: 4
Gameplay:  3
Other:  -1 No restart button
Total:     7

Pixelmins does some interesting things. The lemmings-style gameplay is something I haven't often seen in this contest. While the game is- on the most part- technically solid, I find that the apparent lack of a 'restart level' button is a problem (especially considering that if you don't immediately make the 'correct' moves, your pixelmins usually end up trapped or dead) and the game doesn't automatically restart if all of your pixelmins die. I am impressed by the variety of obstacles used even in the small level available. The procedural graphics are workable but unimpressive.

This has potential for a good 4k game (if it's possible to optimize the code any more) and could definitely be a very cool 5k game, but falters a bit in this contest.


Abyssal Cave 4k
Graphics:  3
Technical: 3
Gameplay:  1
Other:  -1 Odd crash when swimming too deep
Total:     6

Abyssal Cave has very impressive procedural graphics- the drifting seaweed is really the highlight of these.  Beyond that, the gameplay isn't particularly impressive or innovative; you swim downward and collect donuts. I found that when I swam past a certain point, the image rendered to the screen began to stretch rather than scrolling further (while collision detection apparently did not, since I almost immediately ran into something I couldn't see and died).

There's no real challenge to it, since you can move at your own pace and have infinite lives. While it features impressive procedural graphics work, Abyssal Cave feels more like a tech demo than a completed game to me.


Blackhawk 4k
Graphics:  4
Technical: 3
Gameplay:  2
Total:     9

Blackhawk4k's primary draw is some very impressive fading and blurring effects. These are quite impressive, although I found that the game lagged pretty badly when even one enemy was onscreen (I realize that this contest is about size and not memory or processor efficiency, so I haven't penalized the game for this). Beyond that, it seems to be a pretty standard stage-organized shooter; I played through the first handful of stages and saw a few times of enemies (based mostly on two graphics). Control and collision detection are both pretty good, although I've never been a big fan of auto-fire.


Road Fighter
Graphics:  2
Technical: 2
Gameplay:  3
Other: +1 Title Screen (of sorts)
Total:     8

Road Fighter is a fun variant on the "fly a helicopter through the cave"-style web game. The procedural graphics are unremarkable but get the job done (as a side-note, I like how your car stays in the center of the screen and everything else moves relative to you when you drive back and forth). Collision detection is pretty good, although it really sucks to get hit from behind. All in all, the gameplay is solid and the game's pacing is good. The title screen (basic as it is) was a nice touch. The addition of a high-score indicator would have been nice, even if it was just the highest score this sitting.

As a side-note, I used to really enjoy a game very similar to this on my Commodore 64 when I was a kid.


vBall4k
Graphics:  3
Technical: 2
Gameplay:  2
Total:     7

vBall4k's pseudo-3d graphics employ a lot of gradients, and are enough to make it stand out from the other games I've played so far. Gameplay-wise, it's pretty much 3d pong, with the addition of a penalty for shooting 'out of bounds'. The game doesn't seem to get any more difficult as you continue to play and missing only decrements your score by 1 while each successful volley awards you a point- the scoring would have made a lot more sense to me if you were only awarded points when your opponent missed (or your score was reset to 0 if you missed, turning the game into a variant of the flash "bounce up" game). The description claims missing penalizes you by five points, but this doesn't seem to be accurate.


Cosmic Dodgeball
Graphics:  2
Technical: 3
Gameplay:  3
Other: +1 built-in help function
Total:     9

An interesting game where your goal is to touch as many blue walls as possible before your fuel runs out without hitting balls or other red walls. The game can get rather hectic later on as an increasing number of balls spawn onscreen. The pacing is good and the game's physics are accurate. The game's 'reversed controls'- where arrow keys correspond to what thruster will fire rather than what direction you want to go- took some getting used to. The addition of a bulit-in help function was a nice touch, and I like the shadow under the "GAME OVER" text. As in Road Fighter, a 'high score' display would have been a nice addition, even if it was just for that 'sitting'. A solid, interesting entry.


Scorch14_4k
Graphics:  3
Technical: 2
Gameplay:  ?
Other: +1 Map Editor
Total:     6*  (Note: Trouble running)

This game had trouble running on my computer- although the game loaded as far as the title screen without any trouble, when I started the game the tanks didn't appear and it would crash when it came to the enemy's turn. What I saw looked good, however, and the addition of a map editor is a definite plus.


4k Sudoku
Graphics:  2
Technical: 3
Gameplay:  3
Other: +1 Randomly-generated Puzzles
Total:     9

A fun Sudoku game with a number of special features, including randomly-generated puzzles and a 'help' function to indicate the next move. Quite impressive given the size of the executable; I think the puzzle generation in particular is impressive. The method of entering numbers is easy and uses both mouse and keyboard control. About the only thing missing is the ability to 'mark' squares with what numbers are possible to enter in a given square. I feel a little bad rating it so low on graphics given that it's a Sudoku game.


Choppacide
Graphics:  2
Technical: 3
Gameplay:  3
Total:     8

An arcade-style Choplifter clone.  The control scheme- which is based on the tilt of your chopper and the speed of your rotors- is novel, and the speed indicator (which shows the chopper's rotor speed against the speed that they need to be going for you to gain altitude) is a nice touch. The game's procedural graphics are the low point; they don't do much more except get the job done. The sentinels can be very difficult to hit because of their small size. Given that there's plenty of space left in the .jar, differently-sized and distributed buildings would have been a nice addition, as would better AI for the sentinels.


4k Penguins
Graphics:  -
Technical: -
Gameplay:  -
Total:     0 (Note: abstained)

4k Penguins is my entry; I recuse myself from judging it. In general, I was happy with the graphics (although the 'wave' effect needed work) and the AI. The game as a whole, though, I felt was a little lacking.


ApoSheep4k
Graphics:  3
Technical: 2
Gameplay:  2
Other: +1 Title Screen
Total:     8

ApoSheep has a number of nice graphical touches- the sprites are small, but they're well-drawn, and the transparent screen used for the next level/game over/title screen graphic is a nice touch. The randomly-generated levels aren't very uniform in difficulty; I'm pretty sure it's possible for the game to produce unbeatable levels, something that isn't helped by your unforgivingly large hitbox. The one-button control scheme works pretty well.


CubeAtck
Graphics:  2
Technical: 3
Gameplay:  3
Total:     8

This Gyruss-esque shooter pits you against an infinite army of multicolored squares. Although the procedural graphics consist mostly of squares and rings, the overall effect is good and there are a number of nice touches (such as the rings 'shrinking in' from offscreen and the way enemies actually rotate as they approach you). I found that aiming could be a little difficult, but the pacing was good and (perhaps by design) it found that it was nearly impossible to get the number of chained enemies required to be awarded a bonus ring. Also, simply holding in one direction and tapping fire seemed to be a pretty good way to stay alive.


Bullets4k
Graphics: 2
Technical: ?
Gameplay: ?
Total: 2 (Note: Could not run)

This game looked very cool, but I had a lot of trouble running it. I got as far as seeing the level, but beyond that it didn't seem to want to take any input. I also could not run the webstart version at all.
11  Games Center / 4K Game Competition - 2007 / 4K Judging -or- "All the Cool People were doing it" on: 2007-04-18 13:21:10
Having already griped about the lack of judging this year, I've decided to do what a handful of others have done and put my money where my mouth is. I've written up mini-reviews for all of the entries, including some commentary on each game.

For consistency's sake, I've used the same judging scheme that ulfjack and Morre are esung un their similar threads. Games are rated on three primary categories: Graphics, Gameplay, and Technical, each of which is rated on a 1-4 scale. I will also be awarding other bonuses or penalties as I see fit (these probably will not amount to more than a few points difference).

The computer I am using to test these is a MacBook Pro running Mac OS X version 10.4.9; Java identifies itself as version 1.5.0_07. I have generally not read the threads in the form on the games and instead am going by what's available in the game description. If anyone's wondering, judging all the entries took me  about 6 hours total spead across three days.

I'm just running off the games currently listed on the webpage. If you're one of the users who's requested that your games be removed and still want to hear from me, link me to your game and I'll write up a blurb on it. Incidentally, Woogley: It might be nice if you posted an archive of all of the entries on your webpage somewhere.

In no particular order, my favortie entries this year were Metro4k, Starship Invaders, Pipe Extreme, Squarius, and Tank War.

- HC
12  Games Center / 4K Game Competition - 2007 / Re: Strange Old Man's Rant: Games and Life on: 2007-04-08 03:03:30
I know I'm late to this party, but I feel that I should throw my two cents into this conversation anyway.

I've done my fair share of the cat-herding that is trying to organize things on the internet, so I'm not entirely unsympathetic to Woogley's situation. On the other hand, to put it bluntly, deciding now- a month after judging supposedly began- that there isn't going to be any judging after all is weak.

I realise that this is a laid-back contest, and I honestly don't have a problem with waiting a long time for judging or having only a handful of judges. I have the same complaints about popular-voting that I did last year, those being that (a) it favors ability to mobilize people to vote for you over quality and (b) it gives very uneven feedback compared to having actual judges- someone like me who never seems to get many downloads gets basically nothing in terms of feedback or responses.

- HC
13  Games Center / 4K Game Competition - 2007 / Re: judging / results TBA on: 2007-03-03 14:41:54
Oh boy, time for the little known, but always fun, annual 4k 'how should judging be conducted' flame war!  Woohoo!  Similar to the annual 'pack200' flame war but flamier!

Oh, just wait until the post-judging flamewar. Smiley

I think there should be a rule that the screen shots on the games list must be actual screenshots from the games.  The picture of the dog is very....  not in the spirit.  I mean really, you see that and your like, WTF?  I thought this was a games contest!

I agree with this one- I think that, if nothing else, using an actual game screenshot as your image should be strongly encouraged.

Lots of games, however I don't believe the qaulity is as high as in years past: only one Kev Glass game, only one Rick game and NOT a Markus Perrson game to found.  Cry

Look at it this way: That means us mere mortals have a chance at winning. Smiley

- HC
14  Games Center / 4K Game Competition - 2007 / Re: 4k Penguins on: 2007-02-27 22:32:21
SuperPackME uses a unique format to store image data... It will produce  a file that you'll need to include in your jar.

As I said before, I used sort of a customized version where I produced a big array of bytes and included that in my source code itself rather than using an external file. Considering I was only using it for two images, the external file didn't seem worth it...

- HC
15  Games Center / 4K Game Competition - 2007 / Re: 4k Penguins on: 2007-02-26 23:44:54
I used a variant of the SuperPackME format linked above to store my images. Beyond the Penguin and Fish sprites, however, everything was actually procedurally drawn. I actually used all-procedural art in my entries in 2005 and 2006; sprites are new to me. Smiley

- HC
16  Games Center / 4K Game Competition - 2007 / 4k Penguins on: 2007-02-26 04:38:09


I was hoping to do more this year, but I found myself initially uninspired and later mired in move stuff and work.

This is, in short, a port of a board game I read a 2-sentence description of on Slashdot once. You are the black penguin; your goal is to collect the most fish. Control is entirely mouse-driven; click one of the tiles adjacent to your penguin to move there. As you move, spaces will crumble behind you, rendering them impassible; the game ends when there are no remaining moves for anyone.

This is a bit of a deviation from the sort of thing I've done before. Personally, I'm only kind of happy with it- I like the way it looks, and I think that the AI is pretty impressive considering the game fits in 4k. On the other hand, the game is okay but isn't as viscerally fun as the games I've made for the contest before.

The penguins were taken from an old NES game that I found sprites for online. The fish were drawn by hand. I do want to tweak the penguin's colors a little so they'll be more neutral- especially that green one. The wave effect needs some work too (that's what those little white things in the background are supposed to be), but I'm not sure if I'm going to have time to redo that.

I don't have time to do a lot of tweaking because of the obvious encroaching deadline... I'd appreciate it if people would download it and let me know if there are any major errors, though. I've also not tried it on any machine but my Mac, so let me know if the graphics need to be tweaked on other OSes.

- HC
17  Games Center / 4K Game Competition - 2006 / Re: A Proposal For A New Rating System on: 2006-03-29 22:02:43
I'm a bit wary of public voting alone; I stand by what I said here.

That being said, public comments would be nifty.

- HC
18  Games Center / 4K Game Competition - 2006 / Re: A Proposal For A New Rating System on: 2006-03-29 18:41:47
As I've said before, I was honestly more-or-less happy with the judging this year. When you've got a setup like this, there are always going to be a couple of people who downvote your game because they "didn't get it" or don't like the genre or didn't play long enough to get the hang of it, but that sort of thing will average out if you have enough judges. Really, what I'd like to see next year are a few tweaks rather than an overhaul.

First of all, I think there should be some mechanisim to ensure that your game works on the judges' machines, to avoid suffering the fate that befell Xero this year. I'd suggest two ways to do this:
1. Post the specs for the computers that each judge will be running on (at least as far as operating system and version of Java go). This would at least give entrants a better idea of what platforms to test on; IIRC, in the 2005 contest there was a minor commotion because one of the calls that a lot of people used didn't work under Mac OS X.
2. Have each of the judges go through the list of entrants, like, a week or two before the deadline and then post a list of any games that wouldn't boot up properly. This would take some effort on the judges' parts, so I should make it clear that what I'm suggesting is not a "pre-judging" by any means; just for each person to go through and post the names of any games that crashed on startup.

I'd also like to see some sort of guideline for the judges on feedback- maybe a sentence on each game? Feedback is really useful for the entrants, and I'd like to emphasize that I don't expect a full review, just a brief "the graphics were nifty but the controls were hard" or some such. Pretty much what Jamison said above.

The drawback to all of these requests, of course, is that they put a greater burdeon on the judges- who are, after all, volunteers. The first two would also require judge selection to happen earlier.

- HC
19  Games Center / 4K Game Competition - 2006 / Re: Inofficial proof of concept test poll (please participate) on: 2006-03-15 23:41:46
I dunno; I have to say that I think "public" voting for future runs of Java4k isn't a good idea- I suspect that it will open up the judging processes to a number of abuses (ballet-stuffing, etc) which the current judging system isn't prone to. I worry also that having a voting/rating system would turn Java4k into more of a popularity contest than anything else.

Perhaps both a voting system and a group of independent judges could be used? I certainly wouldn't object to having both a "popular choice" and "judges' choice" category; I'm just wary of putting the contest up to public vote alone.

- HC
20  Games Center / 4K Game Competition - 2006 / Re: How I judged: on: 2006-03-14 16:37:58
I think you guys got a perfectly clear explanation of how I judged.  I was surprised to find all my comments were like 3 times longer than all the rest haha.

For what it's worth, I really appreciate the effort you put into those comments- lots of helpful feedback.

- HC
21  Games Center / 4K Game Competition - 2006 / Re: And the winner is ... on: 2006-03-13 22:36:31
By the way- Woogley, you said in the Judging thread that there were a number of 'techie' judges and a number of 'pure gamer' judges. Out of curiosity, who was who?

- HC
22  Games Center / 4K Game Competition - 2006 / Re: And the winner is ... on: 2006-03-13 20:51:56
Well, my game honestly ended up pretty much where I expected it to; I'd hoped to put together another few entries but didn't quite have the time.

Regardless, congratulations to the winners!

- HC
23  Games Center / 4K Game Competition - 2006 / Re: B4k! on: 2006-02-03 05:09:13
Using KZip, I've built a version where the close box works. Thanks for the advice!

The new version is at http://www.w4jdh.net/~seigfried/j4k/b4kv10.jar.

- HC
24  Games Center / 4K Game Competition - 2006 / Re: B4k! on: 2006-02-02 15:26:50
Yeah, this was mostly finished a couple months ago, but then my life exploded into twelve different brands of chaos and I wasn't able to completley finish it and post it. This is a different version, BTW, from the one you've seen before.

I'm very wary of taking out the manifest, because I was seriously burned in the judging last year for doing exactly that.

- HC
25  Games Center / 4K Game Competition - 2006 / Re: B4k! on: 2006-02-02 05:06:10
It's currently compressed using 7Zip; I'll give KZip a try tomorrow. Smiley

- HC
26  Games Center / 4K Game Competition - 2006 / B4k! on: 2006-02-01 16:24:03


Here's my first entry this year, B4k. It's a Berzerk clone which looks a bit similar to Gridblaster4k, the entry I coded up last year.

The .jar weighs in at 4,088 bytes. It uses procedural graphics (it's obviously all done with polygons) and a particle engine to handle explosion effects.

Your goal is simply to destroy as many robots as you can while avoiding both the robots and the invincible Evil Otto. The arrows control your movement, space fires, and escape quits.

The only issue I really have with the game right now is that I can't find a way to either make the close box work or grey it out that doesn't push the game over the size limit.

The self-executing .jar file is at http://www.w4jdh.net/~seigfried/j4k/b4kv6.jar; it should run on a computer with Java 1.3 or later. Let me know what you think!

- HC
27  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: J4K on: 2005-03-24 22:31:35
If I might make a suggestion, it might help to know what OS each of the judges was using- I notice I lost a lot of points because one of the judges couldn't run my game, so I'd like to figure out if it was because it wasn't a self-executing JAR or if it was an OS incompatibility problem. ^^;

- HC
28  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: J4K on: 2005-03-02 10:24:22
G4k is what I've been using to abbreviate the name of my entry, GridBlaster 4k. It was on the list yesterday.

Sorry for any confusion. Smiley

- HC
29  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: J4K on: 2005-03-02 01:20:37
I've also released the source of G4k, after adding a probably-too-lengthy blurb about some of my thought process while I was designing and programming it.

It's located with the other G4k files:  http://w4jdh.net/~seigfried/g4k/

- HC
30  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: J4K on: 2005-03-01 00:56:38
Hey, great! Thanks. Smiley

- HC
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