Sonic the Hedgehog Hacking Contest 2017

Discussion in 'Discussion & Q&A' started by Ayla, Dec 16, 2016.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Mr. Cat

    Mr. Cat The Holy Cat Jr. Member

    Joined:
    May 31, 2014
    Messages:
    369
    Well if that's the case, then i'm agreeing with you...
     
  2. Clownacy

    Clownacy UP - ON - CPU Staff

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2014
    Messages:
    826
    I'm just a judge, but I suppose I'll give my two cents.

    Of course not.

    Still no.

    Are you being serious?

    How are any of these comparable to Vladikcomper's gig? The line may be blurry but it's not that blurry, come on. To use one of your own projects, does the S1 CD Special Stage hack count as homebrew, since the new Special Stage engine is mostly original? No, because it has the entire S1 attached to it, and the two's engines are intertwined. Personally, I thought the distinction between hack and homebrew is the component of reverse-engineering - learning to use, and modify, someone else's engine, even if that means just finding out how to make it switch to your code when it needs to (you still gotta be mindful of respecting its RAM, so there's still merit to it as a hack).

    As for enforcing the rule... well, you're not complaining about the 'stolen content' rule. You're right, we can't disassemble every hack, and track down if bits of the code were taken from leaks. Sometimes we just gotta go by honour rules. Better than not having the rule at all.

    And why have the rule? Well because it's the hacking contest. We saw how barren the homebrew contest was last time - I don't think people want to branch out. I wouldn't be surprised, especially since hacking is the focus of this site. If we take away our little niche, what do we become? A lesser Sega-16? We've let in non-MD mods for a while now, and look where that's gone. We encourage them, we give people the means, and still nothing topples the MD-hack giant. And if you wanna have a contest between Sonic-themed homebrew (read: fangames), there're already other contests for that, ones that actually have entries.

    EDIT: Managed to forget to talk about Vladikcomper's game.

    The story I was told about Vladikcomper's game was that it was homebrew, but used the Sonic engine's object system. In that case, yes, the distinction becomes tricky. If the game started off being written from the ground up, and then had part of the Sonic engine added as a feature, almost like a software library... I think that still makes it a hack. Say you apply GPL rules, and that having Sonic engine code in there at all automatically makes it a Sonic engine modification - that's where I think I'm mostly coming from. Even if it isn't exactly an 'engine', you're still working with the rules and limitations of Sonic engine software, hence I believe it's still hacking. Admittedly, where is the line drawn between copying code, and copying facts implemented as code, like porting some basic palette cycle code, so you can recreate GHZ? I wouldn't know about that.

    Bleh, this really is a murky topic.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2016
    FохConED and FireRat like this.
  3. redhotsonic

    redhotsonic Also known as RHS Retired Staff

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2007
    Messages:
    2,966
    Location:
    England
    What MJ is trying to get at, is if he hacked Sonic 1 (for instancee) and changed the compression engine, the music engine, the object manager, etc, etc.....

    ...then made a homebrew from scratch and inserted the same modified engines, both ROMs would be practically identical; except the Sonic 1 version is allowed but the homebrew version isn't according to the rules. That's why he is asking "is it now a homebrew?" because comparing both ROMs side by side, it practically has turned into a homebrew.

    So if he submitted a homebrew with his compression and music drivers, and it's Sonic related, how would you know it's a hack or homebrew? He could say "it's a hack of Sonic 1" and we would be none of the wiser. Unless you try to decompile the ROM, which we all found out is a terrible idea after 2013.
     
    MarkeyJester likes this.
  4. Clownacy

    Clownacy UP - ON - CPU Staff

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2014
    Messages:
    826
    I think I already made my point on that in my post.

    EDIT: I was referring to a different part of my post, but okay.
     
  5. redhotsonic

    redhotsonic Also known as RHS Retired Staff

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2007
    Messages:
    2,966
    Location:
    England
    You editing ninja! =P
     
  6. Misinko

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

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2013
    Messages:
    638
    Location:
    Ohio
    I'd think that if there's any assets in there that were in an original game that you did not physically import yourself, it'd qualify as a hack. The distinction should be clear enough based on intent alone. I mean, if you want to change an engine so much that's it's practically indistinguishable from the original game's then you might as well make your own from scratch. And if you're going to the extent of removing all the telltale signs of the original game, then again, you might as well make your own from scratch. What madman would go through the process of basically creating a homebrew from a ROM just so he could enter it into a contest? It'd most likely be more time-consuming to rip everything out than to just build something from the ground up.

    I'd disagree with that. Compare it something you've created that uses code that's from an open source project. Would you consider a painting program a branch of an open source if I used the code for the dropper tool from it in my program? Most likely not. Now, I know ROM hacking isn't exactly "open source" (unless of course you've released your code to the public) but at this point it's close enough. We've ripped the game open and have shared our findings with the rest of the community. If someone takes an aspect of that knowledge and modifies it so it works within their own creation, then it should be considered a part of their creation.

    Edit: Forgot about this, and I wanted to address it:
    That's just blatant whining on their ends. We went through the same process last year when it came to your entry. Megamix played by the rules and therefore it didn't matter who complained where. The same goes for you entry and the trophies it won.

    As for the "contest" bit, I'd argue that those making homebrew titles would have somewhat of an unfair advantage over their competitors who make hacks. With a homebrew title, you still have to work within the limits of the Genesis, but you also have free rein to make your engine do whatever you want it to do within those limitations. When it comes to hacks, you have to physically modify various aspects of the engine to make it play by your rules. Homebrew removes that restraint by allowing you to set the terms of your engine in the processes of writing it, and would (arguably) cut down on on the time it takes to complete the end product. Likewise, a hacking contest that allows homebrew could favor the hackers, as there'd already be an established game for them to play around with and modify, which could cut down on the time needed to complete it. In the end, this is a bit of a moot point, as creating your own engine does not guarantee a good game, nor does it mean the creator of a hack can't make a better game than someone who makes a homebrew, but the edge could still be present. If we keep it to two separate contests, everyone's on a level playing field, and the only determining factor at the end of the day would be individual skill.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2016
    JoenickROS and FireRat like this.
  7. Clownacy

    Clownacy UP - ON - CPU Staff

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2014
    Messages:
    826
    Well... yes? Isn't that how most open source licences work? You derive your program from part of another, and that makes them related. And if deriving your game from a Sonic game makes it a Sonic hack, then I think the same concept applies. Look at Internet Explorer: it used to be a derivative of Mosaic, requiring royalties, and other such things. Eventually, Microsoft outright removed all Mosaic source from IE, making it independent. In that sense, removing all Sonic engine components from your hack will make it homebrew instead.
     
  8. Misinko

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

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2013
    Messages:
    638
    Location:
    Ohio
    Not particularly. Usually open source projects allow you to take aspects from the project (from say, Github or whatnot) and use them in whichever way you'd like without any real restraints (at least from what I've seen). You can commit stuff back to the project and further it, but you don't have to. Using another example, Opera is now derived from Chromimum, but it's not quite the same browser experience, and I personally wouldn't consider the two related. Heck, you don't even need a license to use it, and I'm positive Opera's team doesn't pay fees on it. Mossic is a bit of a different story, as it wasn't open-source to begin with. Microsoft had to pay the NCSA to use their code to begin with, so IE could be considered a spin-off of the browser. The same (I feel) for code that is fully available to the public.
     
  9. Natsumi

    Natsumi Markey's Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2011
    Messages:
    643
    Location:
    Otter's lap
    I wouldn't be so hasty to assume such things, especially when this is wrong. Now surely many people aren't willing to branch out because it requires a lot of time and technical knowledge, but even given that, I know many people who would like to. Furthermore, I've been working with something on and off that is completely original codebase. It's not Sonic related though. The point is, there are a surprising amount of people with the will but not the knowledge. Having that homebrew option in the contest would allow for people to plan ahead and some day release something. The fact they aren't now, is probably because it just takes long to produce original code and some expertise as well.
     
  10. MainMemory

    MainMemory Well-Known Member Member

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2011
    Messages:
    818
    I'd argue the contest is already a horribly unlevel playing field, because different games have different possibilities, and different difficulties. An SADX mod could win the contest by virtue of having more stuff in it than any MD hack could ever have, but we know so little about the game that making it do anything is a time consuming process, and nobody really likes SADX much anyway.
     
  11. Misinko

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

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2013
    Messages:
    638
    Location:
    Ohio
    I'd argue that's more of a self-imposed difficulty spike than anything else. In both cases, you're taking an existing source and modifying it to suit a different need, one's just better documented than the other. Homebrew vs hacking is a bit of a different beast as both will most likely be on the same platform, but either could contain various benefits depending on what one goes for in each category. You could argue that the difficulty there would ALSO be self-imposed, but outside factors also play a role in the development processes besides a lack of research. Besides, the judges already partially circumvent the issue you described with each individual trophy. If an SADX hack comes in that blows away the rest of the competition and wins the Hidden Palace Trophy, then they've done it fair and square. But if an SADX mod comes in and does something technically impressive, but doesn't try to push the limits of the engine like a MD hack does, then the MD hack will win the technical trophy over it.
     
  12. MainMemory

    MainMemory Well-Known Member Member

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2011
    Messages:
    818
    This is a completely different topic than what we were talking about, but I'd like to know how you can "push the limits of the engine" when the engine is running on vastly superior hardware than when it was released 12 years ago and can be easily modded to take advantage of those resources. Furthermore, how will the judges know when something is pushing the limits, if they don't know anything about how SADX works internally?

    Edit: Really, the way things work in SADX is completely different than MD, when we find limits in SADX, we don't push them, we break them.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2016
  13. Trinitronity

    Trinitronity Well-Known Member Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2016
    Messages:
    93
    Can I please say that I am disappointed that there is no Shadow Trophy again? Because I am disappointed.
     
  14. Mr. Cat

    Mr. Cat The Holy Cat Jr. Member

    Joined:
    May 31, 2014
    Messages:
    369
    Well, this trophy won't be there because there's a certain rule in place. This would be like puting a "most meme hack" trophy.
     
  15. Shannon_MD

    Shannon_MD That Discord/IRC Staff person. Member

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2014
    Messages:
    11
    Location:
    Behind a screen. Watching everyone.
    So I got permission from Spanner earlier in the day to address something that was initially added as more of a scathing bit towards and infamous and godawful entry from this last SHC(2016). But if you are going to add content that involves IRL people, such as photographs and references to them, make sure to have their consent, as in actual, irrefutable consent. This mainly pertains to photographs, since if you're using online people for permission, especially on places such as Facebook, etc. you often run the risk of finding catfish using pictures of others without their consent in the first place.

    I know this could also apply to Natsumi and her infamous easter eggs in the last two hacking contests ( which if I'm ever your neck of the woods, you still totally owe me a drink for that reading ( but not really. )) However, it's easy to tell that not only were the people "fine" with it, even if the content was rather... uh... anyways. But they had a good chuckle over this as well in some instances, even streaming readings of it. So it's not as much of a concern with her work...

    Finally and I know this is something that I know will probably make some of the kiddos giggle a bit, but... just be fucking careful of how you give yourself an ego blowjob in your own work. Like. Putting yourself as star in the center of a work doesn't make yourself look cool, it makes you look laughable, creepy, and silly... and possibly a bit wrong in the head. This applies to anyone who does something like this wrong. It would very much be a confusing thing if I suddenly released something that focused on me and my tits, I would probably make people confused and worried, and have a loooooot of questions to answer.

    Anyways, this is that bit of bullshit addressed, so I hope I see a lot of nice entries for the SHC2017.~
    Get back to fucking work, everyone. <3 ~
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2016
  16. Lil-G

    Lil-G Friendly Local Noob Maintenance

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2014
    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    olathe, KS
    I think when it says "Push the limits of the engine" it simply means "do something that the engine wasn't supposed to do". Like having a second player in single player, or having any character in any stage. I'm sure the rules for it are a lot looser than MD games since a lot less people actually attempt to mod SADX.
     
  17. MainMemory

    MainMemory Well-Known Member Member

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2011
    Messages:
    818
    I don't call that "pushing the limits of the engine", I call that "hacking". It seems to me that pushing the engine is linked to pushing the hardware, because the engine could do whatever you want it to, if the hardware wasn't holding it to certain limits of RAM and execution time. Those kinds of limits don't exist on PC, because what could strain my computer could be a breeze for someone else's. Sure, there are limits within SADX, but saying you've made a level that maxes out the game's geometry count is a lot less impressive when the next guy comes along and has expanded the array to hold 5x as much data with a couple lines of code.
     
  18. Spanner

    Spanner The Tool Administrator

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2007
    Messages:
    2,280
    Let's continue this discussion regarding homebrew in or not in the contest. After all, we can change the rules at any time.

    Whether you support or oppose it, put your case forward in this thread and the judges will make a final decision as to what to do.
     
  19. CaveQuest

    CaveQuest Creator and moderator for the telephone projects Member

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2015
    Messages:
    779
    Location:
    Sweden
    I don't generally oppose it but I do not see why that would not concider a Rom Hack or not? I generally support MarkeyJester's case not because of that rule but also because it would open up more for everyone.
     
  20. Spanner

    Spanner The Tool Administrator

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2007
    Messages:
    2,280
    I want to remind people of something I said in the 2016 Results thread:
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.