The 4k concept is successful as it is, so I suggest minimal changes. One area that ought to be bottomed out before next year, is that if we allow Java 1.5, are we going to allow the use of pack200. It's a contraversal area, which ought to be resolved well before the contest, so opinions can settle down.
I mentioned on a post on the judging thread that I think there is room to improve the scoring system. Basically some judges used the full range of the available scoring, while others were more generous, but therefore had a closer grouping of scores. This tended to emphasis the weighting of judges who used the full scoring range. Perhaps there should be a scoring guide for next year, to try to even this out a bit. Or just vote for preferred order of games (like Eurovision song contest). Alternatively carry on as now, but normalise each judges scoring before adding them up.
I don't know if not using the full range of points was really a problem. It was noted in another thread that the relative scoring for each judge would not have changed, even if they used the full range.
I've been toying with the idea of writing games that work in the same virtual world. This would require a common (provided) network layer and a standard way of transmitting object definitions (maybe .obj format). Object definitions could be defined in each client for its avatar & any bullets. They would be transmitted and cached on the other clients on connection. Maybe have a fixed set of textures to avoid running out of bandwidth, although this would be a shame. Maybe also have a generic particle generator, which can be passed parameters to get some individuality. At this point I guess we would need an example renderer, although I would expect participants to be allowed to modify it. It probably run peer-peer with introducer. However this would allow people to write clients with god-like powers (kill all opponents within 50' radius). I'm not sure how to deal this this, apart from provide guidelines on fire rates. I could probably write the necessary library code (not in the next couple of months though - too busy). There would be a basic example client as a starting point. However would there be any interest? Also how would one judge peoples entries. Any ideas on how to even out avatar abilities without being overly prescriptive. Maybe this last issue is too hard. Perhaps this is too much of a pipe dream. I'm almost awake now
You could do something like make the players request everything they want to do from the game API. So if they want to fire, then the call fire(100, CLIENT_ID)
This will fire with a power of 100. Since they used such a high power, they can't fire again while waiting for a long recharge. Conversly, lower power fire gives shorter recharge. The CLIENT_ID could be passed to the client's constructor when it is created. Then the client has to pass this ID into all requests for the game to do. So everything that is done in the game is done via a request to the game API.