Sonic Hacking Contest 2018

Discussion in 'Discussion & Q&A' started by Spanner, Jan 22, 2018.

  1. Spanner

    Spanner The Tool Administrator

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    The 2017 Contest was seen as a great success and a massive improvement to what took place in 2016. We will be building on that success for the 2018 Contest, which is now announced in this thread. Just like last year, there will be a Hacking Contest for those who wish their entries to be judged and a Hack Expo which allows exposure without any judging.


    JUDGES
    This year's judges will consist of myself, Cinossu, Clownacy, Dandaman955, Dario FF, OrdosAlpha Selbi, SuperEgg, SSF1991 (Donnie) and Twilightzoney. 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.


    This team will be reliable and will be able to deal with contest judging as soon as possible in order for us to progress through the contest and get the results out as soon as possible. Judges will be able to submit their own hacks but will not be able to judge it themselves, nor will they be able to judge submissions that they have been involved with (such as team hacks). Judges will provide more detailed evaluations of the entries at the end of the contest to give opinion, thoughts, and advice they feel is deserved.


    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.




    TROPHIES

    First are the normal trophies. Please note that any level specific trophies are hack specific, meaning they no longer go by individual levels in a hack. Judges will allocate a winner to each trophy and if a particular entry that missed out has enough support as a runner-up an Honourable Mention will be added as well. For the top three, Judges will give three points to their 1st place, two points to their 2nd and one point to the 3rd with the intention of making this more fairer. The same as last year, judges again reserve the right not to award a trophy at all via a Null Vote.


    Hidden Palace Trophy
    Grand prize / 1st place. This is given to the overall best entry in the contest.


    Wood Zone Trophy
    2nd place entry overall in the contest.


    Dust Hill Trophy
    3rd place entry overall in the contest.


    Generations Trophy
    Best 3D Sonic game modification submitted overall.


    Crystal Egg Trophy
    Best 8-bit Sonic hack submitted overall.


    Green Hill Trophy
    Hack (or specific level of a hack if non-applicable) that plays most like a Sonic game.


    Botanic Base Trophy
    Best art in a Mega Drive / Genesis hack submitted.


    Windy Valley Trophy
    Best art in a 3D modification submitted.


    Jungle Trophy
    Best art in an 8-bit hack submitted.


    D.A. Garden Trophy
    Best music in an entry submitted.


    Lava Reef Trophy
    Best level layout in a Mega Drive / Genesis hack submitted.


    Speed Highway Trophy
    Best level layout in a 3D modification submitted.


    Gimmick Mountain Trophy
    Best level layout in an 8-bit hack submitted.


    Genocide City Trophy
    Most difficult entry (or specific level of an entry if non-applicable) submitted.


    Azure Lake Trophy
    Best multiplayer entry submitted.


    Advance Trophy
    Best handheld game entry overall.


    11000101 Trophy
    Best technical / proof of concept entry submitted.


    Fang Trophy
    Best new enemy/badnik in an entry submitted.


    Eggman Trophy
    Best new boss or mini-boss in an entry submitted.


    Spin Dash Trophy
    Best new ability in an entry submitted.


    Carnival Night Trophy
    Most innovative game play feature in an entry submitted.


    Emerald Trophy
    Best Special Stage in an entry submitted.


    Wing Fortress Trophy
    Best cutscene in an entry submitted.


    Robotnik's Revenge Trophy
    Best fresh concept using existing concepts as the backbone in an entry submitted.


    Casinopolis Trophy
    Most entertaining / fun entry submitted.


    Polygon Jim Trophy
    Most unique entry submitted.


    Tails Trophy
    Most improved entry from last year's contest.


    Blaze Trophy
    Entry from this year's contest that is felt to have the most potential.


    Newtrogic High Trophy
    Voted best entry of the contest by the Media Panel.




    COMMUNITY TROPHIES

    These trophies are trophies that are awarded by the community during the Contest Week. This year we are adding the 2nd and 3rd Place trophies. For the top three, voters will give three points to their 1st place, two points to their 2nd and one point to the 3rd with the intention of making this more fairer.Unlike previous years, ongoing results will not be displayed to the public and voters will be blind as to what others have voted for.


    Hidden Palace Community Trophy
    Best entry submitted overall.


    Wood Zone Community Trophy
    2nd place entry overall in the contest.


    Dust Hill Community Trophy
    3rd place entry overall in the contest.


    Generations Community Trophy
    Best 3D Sonic game modification submitted overall.


    Crystal Egg Community Trophy
    Best 8-bit Sonic hack submitted overall.


    Windy Valley Community Trophy
    Best art entry submitted.


    D.A. Garden Community Trophy
    Best music entry submitted.


    Lava Reef Community Trophy
    Best level layout entry submitted.


    11000101 Community Trophy
    Best technical entry submitted.


    Polygon Jim Community Trophy
    Most unique entry submitted.


    Tails Community Trophy
    Most improved entry from last year's contest.


    Blaze Community Trophy
    Entry from this year's contest that is felt to have the most potential.




    RULES
    • Your entry must be based on an existing Sonic the Hedgehog ROM or game. No homebrew submissions will be accepted in the Sonic Hacking Contest. As seen with a previous entry last year, original console conversions to PC or another console would also be acceptable as they were based from the existing ROM and disassembly.

    • A entry may ONLY be submitted to either the Hacking Contest or Hack Expo - you cannot have the same entry in both categories. Nothing stops you from having one entry in the Contest and a different entry in the Expo however.

    • Please take a look at the Quality Control criteria below these rules for what is and what is not allowed in an entry to both the Contest and the Expo below these rules. We're being serious over this stuff this year. If you can't meet the criteria then you need more time before you can take part in the Contest. Take some time to look at what you are missing or need to work on and come back in 2019 with an even better entry than your current one. While the Expo will also be subject to the Quality Control criteria, it won't be as stringent as that for the Contest.

    • No Joke or Meme entries are allowed in the Contest this year. The evaluations from the public have clearly shown that they did not like the abundance of them in previous contests, so once again we will not be allowing them this year. However, they will be allowed in the Expo provided that they meet the Quality Control criteria.

    • No Private entries. If you want to submit to the Contest your entry must be made available completely to the Public.

    • Submissions must either inform of what has been changed or explicitly what has not - zone and act breakdowns to a full change log, if need be - to avoid people playing stock vanilla levels and gameplay that has been left completely untouched. Submissions can also 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.

    • You must include media such as screenshots (absolutely mandatory, and must include a title screen image), videos (YouTube links are fine), and music (MP3, OGG, and VGM preferred). The judges will not waste time making screenshots or other media for you.

    • E-mailed or direct-messaged entries will not be accepted. All submissions must be completed through the online site.

    • 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.

    • Hacks found with stolen content will not be tolerated and anyone caught will be dealt with severely, the least of which will be their entry being made null and void. If anyone suspects an entry to have stolen content either flag the entry or contact a judge immediately. If you have used things such as music packs from the Internet in your entry please be wary of this and be sure to double-check on their origins, as they are known to contain content illegitimately ripped from other hacks.

    • 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.

    • Please be aware that not all judges can judge certain games - Sonic Generations, Lost World, and other console based entries, for example - as they do not have the capability to do so. If you submit an entry which is not a standard 8-bit or 16-bit entry please have this in mind.

    • Judges have the right to remove your entry from the Contest at any time if it does not meet the criteria or if your hack is disqualified for whatever reason.

    • While these entries apply to both the Contest and the Expo, they will be more stringently enforced for the Contest than the Expo.

    • These rules can be changed, added to, or removed from at any time. Check back often (or at least once before you submit something) to make sure they haven't since you last looked.


    QUALITY CONTROL CRITERIA FOR SUBMISSIONS
    Pick at least one item from, at minimum, three of the four bullet points:

    • Palette changes, physics changes, SEGA sound changes, and other various small things.

    • Art changes, layout changes, special stage layout changes, and mapping changes.

    • Engine changes, sound driver changes, and special stage functionality changes.

    • Music and sound effect changes.
    Or at least one of the following:

    • A complete change to the rules of a Sonic game. For example: Sonic Bash v2, boss rush hacks, Knuckles Emerald Hunt, etc.

    • A (near-)complete overhaul into a whole new game. For example, Sonic Scorched Quest, Sonic Virtual Adventure, etc.

    • A technical feat. For example, MarkeyJester's Mode 7 Mega Drive experiments, Sonic 4 in 1, etc.

    • A 3D modification that changes features in the playable game itself. Just menu or simple texture modifications alone are not acceptable.
    Your entry will be disqualified if it contains:

    • NSFW content that is accessed through normal means or just playing the game. Easter eggs are okay, however, as they aren't immediately accessible without prior knowledge to their existence. Adding the method of access through your entry description, however, will be considered as accessed through normal means. Please share the method of access through other mediums such as forums or discord. Offensive content without context is also frowned upon and should be avoided to prevent issues.

    • Obscure jokes and/or memes that most people will not understand. If the entry focuses on in-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.

    • A joke entry whose sole purpose is to game the rules and exploit any loopholes, if any are found.
    If you are unsure whether or not your hack would pass the criteria, contact a judge for clarification. This year we are accepting Sonic Mania and Sonic Forces mods to the Contest providing they meet the criteria above, if not then Expo entries may be accepted.



    DEADLINES
    The primary submissions deadline for entries will be the end of Sunday 28th October. You must have submitted a playable build by then to the contest site on your entry in order for it to be accepted past this point.


    You then have a week to refine your entry, fix any issues, and upload your final build. This final deadline will be the end of Sunday 4th November.


    If you are submitting to the Expo rather than the Contest you have until the end of Sunday 11th November to refine your entry and upload your final build.


    Any questions can be asked in this thread wherein a judge will be able to provide some sort of answer.



    Monday 26th November to Sunday 2nd December is the Contest Week.
    Like the last few years, the public will have a chance to view this year's entries, download the public hacks and vote for Community Trophies. If you're planning to debut your submission to the public you can do it then, however nobody can be stopped from releasing earlier. If you want to show it off to the biggest audience around the Contest Week is your best time for it.


    We hope to have live streams, mini contests and much more similar to previous Contests - these will be announced closer to the time of the Contest when they have been finalised. We'll also have news coverage this time much like last year. And of course, don’t forget about the streamers.


    We'll let you know when the website is updated for the 2018 Contest so you can begin submitting as some changes to the site will be carried out to improve it. Once again, in order to freely submit you'll currently need either a Sonic Retro or SSRG full member account, although exceptions may be given by contacting a judge for verification.


    As the website will be based on the new site used in 2017, we do not expect any delays that would cause deadlines being changed, so use your time wisely and produce something worthy of exposure with the ample time given this year. DON’T GIVE US ANY HALF-ASSED ENTRIES!


    Feel free to like our Twitter and Facebook pages, subscribe to our Twitch Channel and join our very own Discord Server which can be accessed through our website. We also have an IRC Channel which relays from the main Discord channel available at irc.badnik.zone #SHContest.


    The contest rules and features can change at any time - further announcements will be posted in due time.


    So with that, I'll leave you to your hacking.

    Ready, Set, Procrastinate!!
     
  2. Ashuro

    Ashuro Well-Known Member Member

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    I am ready.
     
  3. Novedicus

    Novedicus Well-Known Member Member

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    I'll be sure to come up with some shitty idea 2 weeks before the deadline and actually submit it, as per this latest tradition of mine, I guess.

    Or... maybe this year, I'll give enough of a damn to actually put effort into something real nice, depending on how life goes this year.

    We'll just have to wait and see then~
     
  4. Narcologer

    Narcologer Hell angel Member

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    I hope, I will finish at least three zones of my new hack and it will win a lot more trophies than last time!

    It'll do it, you'll see...
     
  5. CaveQuest

    CaveQuest Creator and moderator for the telephone projects Member

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    I am looking forwards to this year. Hopefully we see some Mania entries.
     
  6. ProjectFM

    ProjectFM Optimistic and self-dependent Member

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    I've been taking a break from hacking for a while and my laptop is possibly broken, though I won't find out until tomorrow. However, I plan on getting back into hacking and delivering the first actually playable version of my hack Sonic Next Genesis and maybe a demo of another hack if I get around to it.

    I noticed that the contest week is moved back every year. Is it going to get to the point where it is moved to January and nobody is going to know what year to use in the title?
     
  7. redhotsonic

    redhotsonic Also known as RHS Retired Staff

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    It'll soon turn into a business and will use the financial year system instead.
     
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  8. TruffledToad

    TruffledToad stupid fighting robot Member

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    So that means we can finally make money off of ROM hacks? Shweet!

    Also I hope to be able to be more involved this year, last year I barely scratched the surface of the hacks.
     
  9. Misinko

    Misinko If you need to shoot me, I won't complain! Staff

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    No, it means we can finally make money off of ROM hacks.
     
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  10. Natsumi

    Natsumi Markey's Member

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    Only the most elitist people in the community get a share of the cake. This, unfortunately means, that most of you are going to be dirt poor at the end of the day anyways.
     
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  11. TruffledToad

    TruffledToad stupid fighting robot Member

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    Yeah, cause I bet people would buy a hack at the quality of Achi!

    Wait, they probably would...

    (I'll stop now)
     
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  12. StephenUK

    StephenUK Working on a Quackshot disassembly Administrator

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    I hope the staff can take a cut as well for promoting it. By the time this switch to XF2 happens, the Staff are going to be poor as fuck as well.
     
  13. Natsumi

    Natsumi Markey's Member

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    I'll be sure to give you a chunk of the profits. You'll be rolling in fivers faster than you can imagine!
     
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  14. StephenUK

    StephenUK Working on a Quackshot disassembly Administrator

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    Alcohol, blackjack and hookers all round then!
     
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  15. Spanner

    Spanner The Tool Administrator

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    It was moved back to avoid conflicts with Thanksgiving and this year's US election mid-terms. So any issues with the Contest Week in 2016 and 2017 are therefore prevented. Also it allows for an extra week for the judges to get stuff done.
     
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  16. Royameadow

    Royameadow Welcome to the modern existence. Member

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    This practice is part of why I had started to identify every contest by a Roman Numeral, in the event that an overlap in year~based timing happens due to scheduling issues or delays (as with Sonic Hacking Contest II not happening until 2004, rather than '03), especially considering that we had four instances where we had two contests begin or take place during the same year, most notably Contests III and IV in 2005; Contests VII to X each had launched a year before but ended in the same year that its successor was launched, with this pattern officially ending after the wrapping up of X, where XI wasn't announced until long after.


    As for what I hope to expect from Contest XVI:

    Wishfully, the matter regarding the assurance that every entry, especially the PC mods, getting at least some major form of video coverage by the media panel, will not be a problem for us: As we know very well by now, thanks to the heated discussion on Retro back in November and December, a lot of the PC modders felt very upset or even insulted with the way that the lack of care, complete testing, and coverage was for their works last year (I was only Semi~Aggressive on the matter, as Sonic the Hedgehog Bania: Gold! Edition did at least end up obtaining some coverage on the official SHC account on Twitter and by French streamers on YouTube post~Contest Week) and I worry very much that they will not hold back if such neglect happens again this time around; I felt very bad that anybody had to complain at all, it's not a fair contest if everybody is not given the same level of public attention, at minimum, they truly do deserve better.
    Far as entries are concerned: I truly do hope that we have a lot of Veteran Entries return, both Misadventure/Dragon Edition returning for the first time since Contest IX and the original Pantufa the Cat showing up for the third time in four contests (I count Gotta go Fast Edition in this statement) was a warm welcome and knowing some other VEs are being updated right now truly gives me hope on what to anticipate if they come out in November; Bania GE will likely have a second Promotional Demo at the Contest or Expo block, there will be more Mashup Mixes and original tracks in the OST made by me and there will probably be at least a handful of zones with full~on art overhauls by the time it's made available; level layouts will remain unchanged from their original Mania sources until the art for all zones is finished, I was never truly a fan of changing layouts before the art was totally ready and it'll make for an ease of mind and better dedication to the project, at least there will be some competition for a (currently) hypothetical Press Garden Trophy (Best Art in a Mania Mod submitted) if a certain other entrant comes into the arena.
     
  17. Spanner

    Spanner The Tool Administrator

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    Hint: Your naming conventions for the contest are nothing but ridiculous, confusing and nobody uses them. Stop using them.

    Remember what I said about you to stop saying Super 032X, Act 09 and the like on here? Oh yeah, that applies on the SHC website too. If you think I'm gonna let you type up that wall of text this year, you got another thing coming.
     
  18. Natsumi

    Natsumi Markey's Member

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    Many people do not play the PC entries because the games are terrible and probably dont even work right after you set up the mod so its too much to bother and the main event on the contests are the hacks. Sure, the contest staff promotes the PC entries as much as they can but they cant exactly force people to give it equivalent coverage. Hell, one of my entries in shc16 got almost no coverage whatsoever because people didn't find it fun to play. Thats life for ya. Stop whining about other people not jerking your ego as hard as you expect.
     
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  19. MainMemory

    MainMemory Well-Known Member Member

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    And sentiments like that are exactly why I'm strongly considering not even bothering to enter anything this year.
     
  20. Spanner

    Spanner The Tool Administrator

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    No, I think we can admit we messed up with PC coverage last year and will certainly be improving on that for this year. Going to make sure everyone is on the same track so we can show off as much as possible.