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  4K 2012 contest preliminaries  (Read 5405 times)
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Offline appel

JGO Wizard


Medals: 50
Projects: 4


I always win!


« Posted 2011-11-11 12:49:56 »

Looks like we're going for another roll  Grin

I have a feeling last years format was pretty good, applets only, community voting + judging panel, so I think we'll stick with that.

Any comments? What should be improved, especially with regards of the site?

Anything new to shake things up or make things more interesting?


Looks like Java 7 isn't official yet, so I guess we'll stick with Java 6 (latest) as target JRE.

Check out the 4K competition @ www.java4k.com
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Offline steveyO
« Reply #1 - Posted 2011-11-11 14:26:00 »

+1 applets only.   I would like to see more encouragement given for originality.  Last year the standard was exceptionally high as ever but what kinda spoilt it was the number of remakes.

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Offline appel

JGO Wizard


Medals: 50
Projects: 4


I always win!


« Reply #2 - Posted 2011-11-11 14:41:21 »

+1 applets only.   I would like to see more encouragement given for originality.  Last year the standard was exceptionally high as ever but what kinda spoilt it was the number of remakes.
I don't think remakes have ever won the contest. While remakes are cool, they're not winning material, only original good games are. I mean, there's only so much you can enjoy playing tetris or pacman for the billionth time.

Check out the 4K competition @ www.java4k.com
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Offline Groboclown
« Reply #3 - Posted 2011-11-11 15:33:25 »

I think 2011 hit a good balance.  Some people may want some tweaks to the voting system (more points per user?), but the big items worked really well: applets only, community + judge voting, and allowing for posting the source and when.

Offline steveyO
« Reply #4 - Posted 2011-11-11 15:59:25 »

Quote
I don't think remakes have ever won the contest. While remakes are cool, they're not winning material, only original good games are. I mean, there's only so much you can enjoy playing tetris or pacman for the billionth time.
Nearly every game in last years top 5 looks like a remake to me.
Quite a few other ppl on other sites commented on this too.  Check out some of the links on this thread and the comments in them:
http://www.java-gaming.org/topics/judging-panel-results/24012/view.html
One of comments sums it up perfectly "Great programmers, but zero imagination and creativity".

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www.bullsquared.com   Play java (applet) games! www.chessclockpro.com Free Online Chess Clock
Offline Groboclown
« Reply #5 - Posted 2011-11-11 16:32:25 »

Quote
I don't think remakes have ever won the contest. While remakes are cool, they're not winning material, only original good games are. I mean, there's only so much you can enjoy playing tetris or pacman for the billionth time.
Nearly every game in last years top 5 looks like a remake to me.
Quite a few other ppl on other sites commented on this too.  Check out some of the links on this thread and the comments in them:
http://www.java-gaming.org/topics/judging-panel-results/24012/view.html
One of comments sums it up perfectly "Great programmers, but zero imagination and creativity".
I agree that original games like Burning Man are really terrific gems that rightfully should stand out, but it's hard to put some kind of artificial cap on remakes.  I think this is made even more difficult when we see great "demakes" like Left4kDead that become their own game when fit to the 4k limit.

Offline kappa
« League of Dukes »

JGO Kernel


Medals: 74
Projects: 15


★★★★★


« Reply #6 - Posted 2011-11-11 16:46:31 »

I think remakes are pretty cool, the nostalgia can be as rewarding if not more so than innovation.

Besides most of the current and next generation of game players probably haven't played or even seen some of the classic C64, Atari, Nes, Snes, etc games that are usually remade for 4k, so it'll probably be innovating and new to them Smiley.

Even though no remake has won a Java4k contest yet, they have come pretty close (2nd place) and make up the majority of the top 10 each year.

Sure innovation should be rewarded but so should a good and well done remake (especially if it adds a twist like demakes do).
Offline pitbuller
« Reply #7 - Posted 2011-11-11 19:17:52 »

Remakes have really good advantage. Player know allready how it should be played. There is not much of room to tutorials, in game hints etc. Many ppl don't understand that if you make totally new and original idea but you can't tell to player how it work players don't learn before they are bored.
Offline Damocles
« Reply #8 - Posted 2011-11-11 19:38:40 »

Presentation:

Maybe it should be allowed to have 1 or 2 screens with a Quicktutorial displayed under the applet.
Since a lot of players browse though these games, they might not want to read any text, and just skip the instructions.
Some visual Help-Screen (Picture beats Text) can avoid getting the player annoyed after not figuring out how to play the game,
and just skip it after 10 seconds.
The Overview picture can also show the types of levels that are in the game / screenshots.

Its hard to catch initial interest in the game from just a small 128x128 thumbnail.

--------------

Format:

How about other kinds of archive formats are allowed, with the server unpacking and streaming the jar from the original archive.
Like 7z etc.
The user can download the archive, and unpack it locally as proove.
Would be an idea for the future, to give the 4 kilobyte idea even more space to fill with gameplay.



Offline pjt33
« Reply #9 - Posted 2011-11-11 22:35:41 »

One of comments sums it up perfectly "Great programmers, but zero imagination and creativity".

I think bysse's reply to that was spot on:

Making a 4k submission requires a lot of both imagination and creativity, even if the concept is from another game.

Leaving aside that fact that there are only a handful of original games made in any format in a given year. But anyway...

I think remakes are pretty cool, the nostalgia can be as rewarding if not more so than innovation.

Besides most of the current and next generation of game players probably haven't played or even seen some of the classic C64, Atari, Nes, Snes, etc games that are usually remade for 4k, so it'll probably be innovating and new to them Smiley.

And, at least some years, there seemed to be a definite scoring bias in favour of Nintendo remakes, so the ambitious may want to take that into account. I personally am thinking of remaking a game I played on an OS 8 Mac in the late 90s and haven't seen remade since.
Games published by our own members! Check 'em out!
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Offline ra4king

JGO Kernel


Medals: 336
Projects: 2
Exp: 5 years


I'm the King!


« Reply #10 - Posted 2011-11-11 22:55:08 »

Everything is a remake: Nothing is new under the sun.

Offline appel

JGO Wizard


Medals: 50
Projects: 4


I always win!


« Reply #11 - Posted 2011-11-11 22:55:26 »

I think the point I was trying to make was... originality is indeed rewarded, there may be no special category for it, but I believe judges and people participating in community voting do factor it in.

There is a rule: "Must not be identical to a game submitted into previous 4k competitions." I do wonder what effect this has on remake games, when someone submits an identical remake of the original. Maybe this should be changed into "Must be an original game, or an original (not an identical) remake/demake." It has happened once or twice that I've been contacted about removing a game from the contest because it was copyright infringement.. bla bla, I don't have lawyers so I complied.

Check out the 4K competition @ www.java4k.com
Check out GAMADU (my own site) @ http://gamadu.com/
Offline Groboclown
« Reply #12 - Posted 2011-11-12 04:49:34 »

Maybe it should be allowed to have 1 or 2 screens with a Quicktutorial displayed under the applet.
Since a lot of players browse though these games, they might not want to read any text, and just skip the instructions.
Some visual Help-Screen (Picture beats Text) can avoid getting the player annoyed after not figuring out how to play the game,
and just skip it after 10 seconds.
The Overview picture can also show the types of levels that are in the game / screenshots.
I like this idea.  We may need to throw it around a bit to see about image sizes and such, but it might help.  Although, one thing I learned from a previous game entry was to consider making games that lend themselves to easy pick-up-and-play, without lots of instructions.

How about other kinds of archive formats are allowed, with the server unpacking and streaming the jar from the original archive.
Like 7z etc.
The user can download the archive, and unpack it locally as proove.
Would be an idea for the future, to give the 4 kilobyte idea even more space to fill with gameplay.
I don't agree here.  Adding extra layers like this prevents the games from being hosted on other servers.  We already allow Pack200, which adds a whole bunch of space beyond the normal jar.

Offline steveyO
« Reply #13 - Posted 2011-11-12 11:09:06 »

Okey dokey. I can see I am in the minority here, fair enough!   I may go for a remake myself at risk of being accused of hypocrisy  Wink

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Offline Damocles
« Reply #14 - Posted 2011-11-12 13:00:49 »

Actually any game can be referenced to some previous games or gamestyles. There are no blank slates, just like in music.
Its more a question of how close of a predecessor it has.
Sometimes its actually a unique game but referencing another game, thus making it look like a remake.

One exiting part of the contest is also the "Wow how can they make XXX that I know in 4Kb"

Its often a simple tradeoff between gamemechanics and Graphic Rendering/Effects.
Too much bytes spend on gameplaymechanics can leave the presentation look boring and revoke players to play try the game and actually experiencing the gameplay.
Too much bytes spend on rendering can make it look like a beautiful GFXdemo with dull or stiff gameplay.


Last contest Boing 4K was my favorite, mixing a cool gameplay (wich I played over 1 hour) with a nice presentation.
(It gets much cooler after the first introductory levels)

Offline Riven
« League of Dukes »

JGO Overlord


Medals: 743
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Exp: 16 years


Hand over your head.


« Reply #15 - Posted 2011-11-12 16:14:00 »

Last contest Boing 4K was my favorite, mixing a cool gameplay (wich I played over 1 hour) with a nice presentation.
(It gets much cooler after the first introductory levels)
Which was a real problem for the judges... we had many games to judge, so you can't expect us to put more than 5-10 minutes into each game. Hence my relatively low score for the game, I simply didn't see the game getting better as I stopped too early.

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Offline nonnus29

Senior Member




Giving Java a second chance after ludumdare fiasco


« Reply #16 - Posted 2011-11-12 19:33:00 »

I think the current format is ideal, anything goes so long as it fits in a 4k jar .  Part of the appeal of this contest is there are no restrictions on the type of game.  Many other contests (ludum dare) place restrictions via a theme.  This has been discussed here before; there simply isn't enough room in 4k to add extra requirements regarding content.  The traditional anything goes in 4k seems best to me, and seems to have been great for the contest thus far.
Offline appel

JGO Wizard


Medals: 50
Projects: 4


I always win!


« Reply #17 - Posted 2011-11-12 21:50:56 »

Last contest Boing 4K was my favorite, mixing a cool gameplay (wich I played over 1 hour) with a nice presentation.
(It gets much cooler after the first introductory levels)
Which was a real problem for the judges... we had many games to judge, so you can't expect us to put more than 5-10 minutes into each game. Hence my relatively low score for the game, I simply didn't see the game getting better as I stopped too early.

I admit, some games may be underrated, but that's the nature of judging in any setting.

I recognized that Boing 4k was a good game, and gave it 92% (one of the highest score I gave). I think I played it for 30 minutes or so, not because I wanted to find out if it was any good, it just got me hooked, and that's what good games do, they get you hooked after few minutes. Left4kdead did that, Miners4k, Burning Man, and all the winners in the past.

5-10 minutes should be enough to get playing. Ask yourself, how much time do you yourself give some random flash game a chance you've never played? If you can't get going in 1-2 minutes, you just do something else.

Games should allow new players to comfortably start, with ease, train them up by making the missions more difficult, and it should all feel very natural. Burning Man is a great example of this, easy pie at start, but something new introduced each level which you have to figure out... but not too complex.

If you wish to make a potential winner game, study this aspect of the top games in the 4k contest, design your game so it's easy to start, and increasingly gets more challenging. Not saying that's the silver bullet, but at least one of them in a revolver Smiley

Check out the 4K competition @ www.java4k.com
Check out GAMADU (my own site) @ http://gamadu.com/
Offline moogie

JGO Knight


Medals: 12
Projects: 6
Exp: 10 years


Java games rock!


« Reply #18 - Posted 2011-11-12 22:14:57 »

last years rules, juding the most important, were definitely the best yet in that last year had the least bickering. I recently went though the posts of the previous years competitions looking for 4k programming gems and i could not believe how negative people were to first Woogley and then Appel in regards to rules especially judging. My memory of previous competitions must have skipped over the negativity.
Offline bainit

Junior Member


Medals: 1
Projects: 1



« Reply #19 - Posted 2011-11-13 00:49:20 »

It is challenge to write good remake, especially under 4 kb.
Let's imagine someone who wants to write chess game.
Chess have rigid rules, so there is not much room for creativity, but it is possible to write better engines, improve performance, graphics, reduce bugs, etc.

About the competition.
I like it very much and I have been waiting for another edition. Unfortunately for most part of the year there is nothing happening.
Maybe would be better to allow submit games all the year. From time to time start up a topic for programmers, or something like that, to keep motivation.
By the end of the year there would be judging of all games submitted during passing by year.
Offline Alan_W

JGO Knight


Medals: 8
Projects: 3


Java tames rock!


« Reply #20 - Posted 2011-11-13 09:56:06 »

Remakes have the advantage that the gameplay is known to work, and (as said earlier) the player already has a fair idea how to play.  I suspect the nostalgia factor also helps.  However games with an original twist are the ones that get me excited. Thus a variation on a trusted theme probably is the best.

Last year's rules worked well.  Thanks Appel for organising this again.


Time flies like a bird. Fruit flies like a banana.
Offline dishmoth
« Reply #21 - Posted 2011-11-14 11:21:51 »

I've nothing against clones, remakes, or demakes (although it would be nice if developers acknowledged their influences in the game descriptions) but I don't think it's fair for games to use assets (sprites in particular) that are stolen from other games.

It's not the legal issues (if the lawyers aren't bothered then I'm not), it's that I do think a game gains an unfair advantage from trading off the popularity of existing IP.  Would the game still be as good if it used different artwork?  Yes?  Then there's no reason to use stolen sprites.

Simon

Offline Morre

JGO Knight


Medals: 2
Projects: 10


I'm Dragonene on IRC.


« Reply #22 - Posted 2011-11-14 16:47:47 »

Ooh ooh, the 4k! Exciting!

No entry for me last year... first time I didn't enter since 2005. It's on!

(On the remake discussion: I've made a mix of "remakes" and original games, and I think both should be allowed. The remakes I've made have all been often-remade game styles (bridge builder, scorched earth) rather than specific games, though.)

Offline luisoft

JGO Coder


Projects: 6


Java games rock!


« Reply #23 - Posted 2011-11-14 17:15:21 »

what about having categories like: remakes, action, adventure, maze, racing, rpg, fps, etc? And we can choose one winner per category. Not sure how many games we will have this year but I think adding categories would be great.
Offline Morre

JGO Knight


Medals: 2
Projects: 10


I'm Dragonene on IRC.


« Reply #24 - Posted 2011-11-14 17:23:30 »

There's been categories (though of a different sort) earlier years. I think they were along the lines of "Overall, Technical, Graphics" or something like that. It was removed for whatever reason. Adding new categories might just be confusing, though I'm not sure.

Offline Damocles
« Reply #25 - Posted 2011-11-14 17:40:20 »

categories fragment the entries.
If overdone, the contest would starve from too few games per category.

Every contest needs boundaries, but the 4k itself is the interesting boundary here.
Other contests, impose retrictions on themes, dev-time or style. But there pure asset-amount force can push up the grading.

The nice thing about 4k is that there is only so much space in the sandbox to build custom castles.
This really pushes creativity.

Offline appel

JGO Wizard


Medals: 50
Projects: 4


I always win!


« Reply #26 - Posted 2011-11-14 19:00:10 »

There's been categories (though of a different sort) earlier years. I think they were along the lines of "Overall, Technical, Graphics" or something like that. It was removed for whatever reason. Adding new categories might just be confusing, though I'm not sure.
The categories were removed simply because it's difficult for judges to give an appropriate score for each. Difficult enough to decide on one score and write review for 50-60 games, but with multiple scoring for one game it becomes a daunting task to do. Better just to have one overall score where everything is factored in. Having special categories for like graphical look could make people focus more on graphical look than gameplay, so the categories could distort the design of the games.

Check out the 4K competition @ www.java4k.com
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Offline Ranger
« Reply #27 - Posted 2011-11-19 12:34:33 »

Any comments? What should be improved, especially with regards of the site?

First off, the Java4K site is awesome!   Cool

One small thing that could be improved is the user comments.  Publishers should me made to register to submit their game, however, players should not have to just to leave a comment.  If you used a service like http://www.disqus.com/ then I think we would see a lot more comments on the games.
Offline appel

JGO Wizard


Medals: 50
Projects: 4


I always win!


« Reply #28 - Posted 2011-11-19 19:25:49 »

Any comments? What should be improved, especially with regards of the site?

First off, the Java4K site is awesome!   Cool

One small thing that could be improved is the user comments.  Publishers should me made to register to submit their game, however, players should not have to just to leave a comment.  If you used a service like http://www.disqus.com/ then I think we would see a lot more comments on the games.

Yea, need to improve that.

Need to look at social integration, how and if to do it.

Check out the 4K competition @ www.java4k.com
Check out GAMADU (my own site) @ http://gamadu.com/
Offline zeroone
« Reply #29 - Posted 2011-11-27 21:02:54 »

The java4k.com | Getting Started | JavaGaming.org forums link points to last years contest.

There is a display error in the description texts on java4k.com: single and double quotation marks are preceded by backlash (i.e. \' and \").

The Wikipedia article on Java 4K does not mention year 9.
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