The 2013 Sonic the Hedgehog Hacking Contest

Discussion in 'Discussion and Q&A Archive' started by Ayla, Jan 6, 2013.

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  1. Ayla

    Ayla Sonic Hacking Contest Founder & Commentator Member

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    [​IMG]

    (logo by Cinossu)

    It's that time of year again!!

    ...And what time is that you might ask? Why it's time for the 2013 Sonic the Hedgehog Hacking Contest!! As usual, we're changing a few things about how the contest is run this year and those changes are major.

    First of all, that annoying text file that you have to include with your submissions is finally being done away with! We're replacing this with an online submission form with which you'll be able to more easily submit your entries. While this feature will make life easier for everyone submitting a hack, we have not yet implemented it. We'll post something in this thread when we have the script up and running for your use =)

    The only other major changes is we've gotten rid of any trophies that were silly or pointless. Every trophy is now competitive and non-humourous to match the apparently serious and mature nature of reverse engineering a video game about an anthropomorphic, blue hedgehog.

    JUDGES
    This year's judges will consist of Ayla, Cinossu, D.A Garden, Shadow Fire, MegaGWolf, Mercury, SOTI (Spanner) and this year's new judge, SuperEgg. 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). Please note that the final decisions are subjected to the Judging Team, and may not reflect your own opinion. Judges may change at any time.

    TROPHIES
    Allow me to show you the list =):

    First are the normal trophies. Please note that any level specific trophies are now hack specific meaning they no longer go by individual levels in a hack.

    Hidden Palace Trophy
    Grand prize / 1st place. This is given to the overall best hack in the contest. No cash prize but instead we have this.

    Wood Zone Trophy
    2nd place.

    Dust Hill Trophy
    3rd place.

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

    Windy Valley Trophy
    Best art in a hack submitted.

    D.A. Garden Trophy
    Best music in a hack submitted.

    Lava Reef Trophy
    Best level layout in a hack submitted.

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

    Generations Trophy
    Best Sonic Generations mod.

    11000101 Trophy
    Best technical / proof of concept hack submitted.

    Fang Trophy
    Best new enemy/badnik in a hack submitted.

    Eggman Trophy
    Best new boss or miniboss in a hack submitted.

    Spin Dash Trophy
    Best new ability in a hack submitted.

    Carnival Night Trophy
    Most innovative game play feature in a hack submitted.

    Emerald Trophy
    Best Special Stage in a hack submitted.

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

    Casinopolis Trophy
    Most entertaining / fun hack submitted.

    Polygon Jim Trophy (previously WTF?! Trophy)
    Most unique hack submitted.

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

    Now we move on to the Community Trophies!! =) These trophies are trophies that are awarded by those following the contest.

    Hidden Palace Community Trophy
    Best hack submitted overall.

    Big Community Trophy
    Worst hack submitted overall.

    Windy Valley Community Trophy
    Best art hack submitted.

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

    Lava Reef Community Trophy
    Best level layout hack submitted.

    11000101 Community Trophy
    Best technical hack submitted.

    Polygon Jim Community Trophy
    Most unique hack submitted.

    ...And there you have it!! The only other incredibly important thing to mention at this point in time would be the rules of this hacking contest. This could, quite possibly, be one of the most major changes of all and was eventually brought on as a result of the contest a few years back where Sonic Boom won the HPZ trophy.

    RULES
    1) No palette hacks
    2) No simple level layout hacks with nothing else changed
    3) No joke hacks. Sonic is srsbizness guyz >=(
    4) No private hacks. This is the major change I was referring to. Sonic Boom winning caused a huge shitstorm until people could actually play that hack and see why I gave it the HPZ trophy. Entries are either Public (Hack can be downloaded) or Partial (media such as screenshots, videos and music only available to the public).
    5) You must include media such as screenshots (absolutely mandatory, must include a title screen image), videos (YouTube links are fine) and music (MP3 and VGM preferred). The judges will no longer waste time making screenshots for you.
    6) E-mailed submissions will not be accepted. All submissions must be through the online script.
    7) These rules can change at any time. Check back often (or at least before you submit something) to make sure they haven't.


    DEADLINE
    The deadline for entries will be 31.07.2013 and any questions can be asked in this thread where-in a judge will be able to provide some sort of answer. We do not need any other judges at this time.

    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. Unlike before, we will not be doing this as part of SAGE. We will hopefully have some additional events during the week including live streaming of hacks, IRC workshops lead by experienced hackers and quick time-limited contests that could last from one week, one day or even one hour! What can you do in terms of a hack from scratch in such limited time?

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

    Ready, Set, Procrastinate!! As long as you don't procrastinate as long as I did making the thread for this to begin with =P

    ~Julia / Ayla, Spanner, and the SHC2013 judges
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 10, 2013
  2. SuperEgg

    SuperEgg I'm a guy that knows that you know that I know Member

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    Welp, you already know I'm in =P.
     
  3. redhotsonic

    redhotsonic Also known as RHS Member

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    I might enter this year, but will enter S2TA instead; it could win the Casinopolis trophy, but can't imagine anymore.. Truth be told, except for some minor unoticable tweaks, I haven't touched S2R. And I am losing interest in hacking again.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 6, 2013
  4. MarkeyJester

    MarkeyJester ♡ ! Member

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    Question, define "private", i.e. does the hack itself have to be downloadable, or could there be at least a video playthrough to preview it to define it as public?

    Second question, what are your views on actual games built from scratch being submitted? I don't mean like PC executables, something of which would be considered easy given the existing resources, but I mean like actual Mega Drive games? The reason I ask is that I have no plans on making any hacks because my attention is directed towards a game, but I'd still like to contribute something...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 6, 2013
  5. SpirituInsanum

    SpirituInsanum Well-Known Member Member

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    Oh no, I don't know how to make a vid, I guess I'll stay out again.  :ph34r:
     
  6. Ayla

    Ayla Sonic Hacking Contest Founder & Commentator Member

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    If it's sonic related, that should be fine.  I've considered starting a contest for just megadrive hacking / homebrew in general, but I don't have the knowledge base to accurately rate that personally.

    Okay, do we REALLY need a video to enter a fucking hack?  That's slightly excessive, imo.  I don't know how to make a fucking video, either, really.

    Can't say i know much about hacking sonic, either, though ;) lol
     
  7. MarkeyJester

    MarkeyJester ♡ ! Member

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    Ah right, in that case it looks like I'll drop out.
     
  8. Blazer

    Blazer Lurker Member

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    welp, yet another contest to look foward to this year. I would enter again, but ever since the last one, I haven't thought of any new ideas on what to make and I second what RHS said about losing interest into hacking.
     
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  9. MrSpade

    MrSpade It's meant to be Mr_Spad3 but y'know... Member

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    I'd love to enter for once... but if I am, I'm gonna have to seriously brush up on my skills. :S

    Though I am looking forward to the awesome hacks at the end of the contest.
     
  10. Spanner

    Spanner The Tool Member

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    To clear up a few things, videos and music are not mandatory, only screenshots are. One screenshot that is required is the title screen, regardless if it has been edited or not.

    The difference between Partial and Public is that you show everything in Public, but in Partial the public don't get access to your hack.
     
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  11. nineko

    nineko I am the Holy Cat Member

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    I reply to this specific post, but you can read this as a generic reply for everyone in the same situation.

    The very best thing you can do is to download Gens Rerecording. I can prevent your objection, "but I don't need to TAS", I know you don't, but Gens Rerecording comes with built-in AVI capabilities which surpass Fusion's, in my opinion, because it doesn't constrain you to a specific video codec, you can use pretty much any video codec you want (given that you have it installed on your computer, of course). If you take the lazy path, this is the only thing you have to do: given that you pick a popular codec, the resulting AVI can be uploaded as-is on Youtube. The video will be probably quite big in size, because the audio codec will always be raw pcm (1536kbps for that alone), but given that you have enough upload bandwidth at your disposal, I won't introduce you to the world of audio processing, even though it's fairly trivial to do so. In fact, guess what, I lied. Here is another lazy suggestion: download Pazera's MOV to AVI converter. Despite its name, you can "cheat" and use it to convert from... AVI to AVI, just "copy original video stream" and reencode the audio by using MP3 as audio codec. Please note that I don't recommend you to take this step, because Youtube will reencode the audio anyway, so doing this will make your video sound like shit in most cases. I mentioned this step only in case your upload speed wouldn't allow you to comfortably upload a file which might be in the order of hundreds of megabytes, but you should still try to use a MP3 bitrate as high as you can, ideally 320kbps. I often use 500kbps OGGs instead, but you can't put OGGs into an AVI container, and introducing you to mkvtoolnix might really be too much for this time.

    Please note that the above paragraph doesn't want to be an omnicomprehensive tutorial to video recording and editing, on the contrary, those are the simplest steps to take if you want to do things lazily, but still succeed. At least, if you follow those, you won't be doing that crime against mankind which is using a screen recorder (such as Camtasia or Fraps) on a maximised emulator window (maybe stretched on a 16:9 screen, even).


    Another upside of Gens Rerecording is that you can, indeed, TAS. Which doesn't mean you *have to* use the TAS features to their full extent, no need to frame advance and rerecord over 8999 times looking for perfection, but you can record a simple gameplay video and use a few savestates whenever to take out unnecessary deaths, or make sure to show the best path you can take in a specific level section, dodge enemies, whatever. I often slightly TAS the playthroughs I upload on my channel, not because I want to make speedruns, but because I think the viewers would prefer to see some cleaner gameplay.


    If all else fails, I'm up to record videos for everyone who asks; I'd prefer to send the resulting video files to the requesters to keep my own Youtube channel as uncluttered as possible, but I'd also be willing to keep the videos as unlisted on my channel for a limited amount of time (after which I will delete them).


    I'm available to answer further questions on the recording / TASing / uploading topics, but since I don't want to go too off-topic in this thread, feel free to contact me via Private Message.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 11, 2013
  12. Mike B Berry

    Mike B Berry A grandiose return Member

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    Through a freak accident with one of my flash-drives... the S1RP hack that I have been working on finally crashed to an ending today. I will have to start over; which unfortunately means that I will no longer be considering to enter it in the SHC. Welp, best to get started over again, am I right?
     
  13. SuperEgg

    SuperEgg I'm a guy that knows that you know that I know Member

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    You don't need to release a finished product. As long as you can produce a hack that showcases your skills as a hacker, it will do. Also, you can submit an unfinished hack by deadline, but you can also send in updated versions until you get a build that you deem acceptable for release. Bear in mind you have a week to do said action, so ensure you have a product near what you deem acceptable by deadline time.
     
  14. Spanner

    Spanner The Tool Member

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    Since Ayla hasn't had time to update the thread, there will be the usual week after the submissions deadline to update your hack, which will be Wednesday 7th August.
     
  15. Suler

    Suler Experimentator Member

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    I want to try, and I will realease my first normal hack. I mean It.
     
  16. SuperEgg

    SuperEgg I'm a guy that knows that you know that I know Member

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    Cool beans. Just be sure it is ready for judging when you submit it.
     
  17. EMK-20218

    EMK-20218 The Fuss Maker Exiled

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    My hack is promised to this year. I hope to finish it in time for the contest. Anyway, if I can participate with my hack, Da. Garden and Genocide City are still in my aim.
     
  18. Suler

    Suler Experimentator Member

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    Cool beans. Just be sure it is ready for judging when you submit it.

    Oh, after 5 month, of course=) It`s more than I need to do it.
     
  19. Suler

    Suler Experimentator Member

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    ADDED: How many hacks can submit one romhacker or team?
     
  20. Ayla

    Ayla Sonic Hacking Contest Founder & Commentator Member

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    there is no limit
     
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