Monthly Challenge

edited in General
Hi guys

I am trying to get members of this community, as a whole, to participate more, specifically when it comes to the monthly meetups. I've noticed with the Johannesburg meetups that it is generally the same people that present month-after-month and would like to see other members of the community contributing, even if in some small way. Hence, I would like to resurrect the Monthly Challenge... To try get people, who otherwise wouldn't participate, to participate. I know I'm not really one to talk since my level of activity has been quite low lately, so I pledge to commit an hour a month to make something for these challenges. I think I should also mention that these challenges don't require full games to be created but rather game elements: hence I extended my invitation of participation to all the disciplines involved in game dev. I'd love to see artists bringing in concept art, 3d models and even cut-scenes (depending on your available time). I think it would be awesome to have writers discussing their backstories based on the theme. I think it would be amazing to hear the sonic creations of the sound-composer-guys. And of course see basic prototype games and fully fledged games for those of us with time. So that is my rant on the topic. WHO WANTS THIS TO COME TO LIFE? I'll start them again at September's session. In the meantime feel free to suggest themes

Peace out


  • Yeah, I'm all for this. It's so easy for me to say I don't have the time, but it doesn't need to be super special or amazing or anything, so long as I give it a try. :)

    How hard can it be to invest a minimum of 1 hour a month? :P
  • I think this is an awesome idea.. I'll also try contribute.
  • edited
    Sounds awesome, I think it's a great idea :)
  • Sounds great! Did this idea come out of our conversation last night? We were all like "LET'S DO THIS THING!"... But yeah an hour a month seems more than reasonable. I do wonder how much I can contribute in an hour but I'll definitely go for it :)
  • @Tuism: If you can do more than an hour, then go for it. :P The concept of "only an hour" is to kill the excuse of not having time.
  • If you can do more than an hour, then go for it.
    i.e. spend an hour, discover you actually want to do this, then spend the rest of the evening/day doing it ;)

    Is this JHB initiative? If so, bring it down here to CPT :p I would love to spend an hour (read: "until 3am") creating new and existing shaders or trying out a new v basic mechanic (is that the idea?)
  • Definitely moar dubstep :D I'm all for this. Just a suggestion for the topics...can we try to make them as broad and as little related to games as possible? Makes for more interesting things to spawn from them...imho of course.
  • I definitely vote for a decentralized challenge.

    Having it focused on a singular location would detract from helping motivate people to make games.
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    @Rigormortis: Yeah, I agree. I loved the AMAZE theme (which was "Chop Shopper"). Very broad, very open to interpretation. :)
  • I may be wrong, but I don't think the intention was for it to be JHB exclusive at all. At the last dubstep challenge, people from CPT joined in (iirc, but I stand to be corrected)..

    Would be awesome if as many people as possible joined in.
  • @mikegeyser I know that the intention was not for it to be location based, but having a deadline as a meeting date does make it feel location based.
  • @Karuji what would you suggest for the deadline then? I just think that the deadline of a meeting date is practical so that we can actually show the stuff that we've done. The CT guys can show their stuff and our stuff at their meetings and we can do the same. But there has to be a deadline.
  • Perhaps a few days before the meetup then, so we can add final tweaks(read: commit more time than we thought we had) and swap files beforehand?
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    @ProjectX last day of the month as a deadline. First day of the month new theme.

    I would not believe that there is any hard an fast rule about when you should stop working on a game. If one likes their project they should continue to work on it.
  • I your idea @damousey. Maybe here's how we can do it...

    Game development is an iterative process. And as far as I know the CT meets are usually after the JHB meets, chronologically speaking :). So why not have it that you can submit iterations for both deadlines as part of the challenge. I'd be happy to show off the CT guys games at our meets and I'm sure someone in CT can do the same for us... I think this would also be an awesome way of inspiring groups, because they get to see what the other groups are doing.

    Onto theme suggestions:
    * FINISH HIM! - may be to limiting as people might only envision Mortal Kombat
    * Communication
    * Coma

    Please use this thread to suggest themes...
  • Paint it Black
    Organ Donor
    Search Engine
    Girl Gaze
  • Spontaneously combustible <insert item here>
  • edited
    (in)Difference Engine
    Sign Language
    Duct Tape
    The Final Countdown
    Mutually Assured Destruction
  • Reversible
    "Who needs a shirt when you're Thorsten"
    इस बीच, भारत में...
    Thanked by 1someone_else
  • "Who needs a shirt when you're Thorsten"

    Did Mr Wiedermann do something during Amaze to spark this meme-like line? :)
    Thanked by 1Bensonance
  • Jump n run partay :D
  • Seconding the following:
    (in)Difference Engine
    Spontaneously combustible
    Search Engine

    (non-digital games welcome?)
  • hanli said:
    (non-digital games welcome?)
    Can't think of a reason why not? There should be no excuses to make games :P
  • My thoughts exactly :)
  • Reversible
    (in)Difference Engine
    Spontaneously Combustible
    Search Engine
  • My Ideas :

    Night Knight
    Time, the leading cause of death

    How are we going to choose a topic for the month?
  • @Rigormortis

    Either we take all the topics that have been seconded and put them in a poll, or randomly select one.

    @hanli if they are uploaded as .pdf and can be easily printed and cut out then it would be great!
  • Sure. Print-and-play model will then be encouraged for those who want to join but can't make digital games.
  • When is the plan for this to start?
  • Soon(tm)
    Alec will discuss it at the next Jozi meetup I think...
  • @aodendaal I'm discussing this next meetup.

    @Karuji and @Rigormortis i'll probably randomly pick one.
  • Hi Guys

    I am new here. I have looked around but I could not find when/where the september CT meeting will take place?

    My team has been working very hard for the last 4 months on a puzzle/action game. If you like, I can demo it at the meeting?
  • Hey @Marco007, it's usually at: Microsoft offices, Engen building 2nd floor, Golf Park, Mowbray. But someone from CT should probably confirm. If I'm not mistaken there is usually an open floor at the end of the "official" agenda where you can demo anything you want. Otherwise just drop @dislekcia a message. I think he organizes things that side.
  • Hi @Rigormortis, thx I will do just that
  • Hmm. I'm usually a fan of constraints instead of themes for challenges/competitions, as was so awesomely demonstrated at AMAZE during Mario's workshop (so much win being on the other end of the challenge for a change).

    I'm super keen to get regular competitions running again, which is something that I'll be raising during the coming committee meeting - in the mean time, I think these challenges are sweet :)
  • edited
    I missed that talk, could you give us an outline of the idea to work with here?

    and... would that isolate artists away from the challenge? I'm struggling to see how one would offer constraints without subdividing the challenge.
  • Come to think of it I would actually way prefer constraints instead of theme. Constraints are way more fun to design with/for.
  • Where a theme or title provides possible inspiration for ideas (and often people spend more time manhandling an existing game idea they already have so that it "fits" the theme), a constraint provides a set of problems to solve.

    Constraints help to focus design.
  • I'd be very keen to try constraints instead of a theme for a change!
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    Some other suggestions (that have been suggested before):

    That these challenges could encourage artist participation as well. (I don't mean to say artists can't make games, or can't work as a team to make games, just that those artists who are primarily artists and aren't part of a team or want more exposure could participate.)

    It could be done that artists are challenged to do art for the challenge entrants they like. So one month the programmer / game designers produce something and then the month after artists submit art assets to make these games look better.

    It could also work that artists first create art assets, or even animations or frames of gameplay, and submit it for the challenge in one month. And then in the second month programmer / game designers are challenged to turn those assets into a game. (Which is something like community TIGSource competitions work).

    It'd be great if musicians and writers get to do the same.

    Of course there are a lot of difficulties in coordinating this. This community doesn't have many active artists (which is both a problem for this system and the problem such a system is meant to help solve). Maybe something like this could be tried and we iterate on it.

    I am totally for monthly challenges in any case. I'm pretty keen for them to be tied to other competitions (like Ludum Dare) when suitable. Just because its great to do things locally and get our communities feedback and network... but it's also great to be competing on an international stage sometimes.

    Also. I don't want to undermine ProjectX (if it seems that way). I'd really like for this community to have official competitions / challenges. I think there are opportunities for sponsorship and prizes even. I would ideally like for the competitions to be consolidated, I know Dislekcia has been talking for a while about starting competitions and may have even organized some potential deals for sponsorship. I guess I'm saying I'd like for all of us to work together and drive maximum participation.

    Also I hope I'm not stepping on anyone's toes or throwing spanners in the works. It does seem like Make Games as a community needs to decide what it wants from competitions / challenges and make a plan that best achieves that that especially involves those that are keen to offer their time and rewards them with the responsibility and honour of achieving those goals.

    We do need things like art challenges, maybe music or writing challenges (if not now eventually), maybe more. Art sketchgroups should probably be resumed. Other art challenges perhaps. It would be nice if it was all semi-coordinated.

    (I know this is a thread about the monthly challenges and I'm hijacking it suggesting something even more complicated, I'm really not trying to discourage monthly challenges, heck, I'll probably be participating)
  • @BlackShipsFilltheSky you're not stepping on anyone's toes - you're offering constructive advice. The whole point of these challenges is to get everyone to do something that (if they want to) could be taken further. I really want to get everyone involved: so I'm basically staying away from the competition (with prizes) aspect as that relies on complete projects being created and for me, that's not the point of these challenges. I want everyone to create game related content for the challenges (art, music, scripts) because that gives people the opportunity to showcase their talents and may eventually lead to collaboration. Many people claim that time is an issue (myself included) but I wanna encourage people to put aside an hour or two a month to participate. So basically the spirit of these monthly challenges, as I envision them, is different to competitions. Competitions = full games and a winner for the best. Monthly challenges = participation, to increase the number of active members :).
    Thanked by 1Bensonance
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    Personally, I like the idea of low-commitment challenges and collaboration. One can learn things from collaborating with other people. And I definitely think that we should use this forum to collaborate on the challenges, I just think people may be hesitant to publish half or poorly formed ideas. I think that's part of what makes it easier discussing it at a meeting, as it's easier to discuss half baked ideas in person (and get buy in from other people).
  • I really like the idea of low pressure challenges as well...

    What might be cool is if people are encouraged to spend an hour or two at the start of the challenge and post something here at MakeGames. That way they get some feedback and then maybe put in another hour or two and post again and get more feedback.

    I mean, in the past the challenges have mostly been people working in secret and then getting feedback once at the meetup and then (maybe) never working on it and using that feedback (which isn't exactly ideal practice for actually developing games).

    Though trying to encourage iterative development in the challenges may be making the challenges more complicated or more work, and I understand the usefulness of a low barrier for entry.
    Thanked by 1Karuji
  • What @BlackShipsFillT said a thousand times! I am sad that I have but one heart to give.

    I've been pondering on the problem. Personally I never really liked the challenge, because the bar felt so low that I wouldn't really gain anything of value from participating.

    The previous challenges haven't yielded much interaction of criticism for developers. If no one is telling me how shit I am, and why, how can I aspire to be less shit?

    I did some digging though Game.Dev I posted an idea, a bunch of people gave me some advice, and from that I went and made a game. I posted the game, and got more feedback. I took the feedback and changed the game. (I really should post another update some time, it's been three years.)

    But to be honest that is just community culture: to encourage people to make games and give feedback so they keep improving the game. The game that I did had no relation to a challenge or competition.

    With challenges and competitions there needs to be an incentive: a boundary to push; a challenge to be beaten; a title to be won. And to do that someone needs to sit down and play through the games at the end of the month and dish out criticism to their creators.


    So how about a call for a volunteer critic committee? I'm up for it. I can invest 2-4 hours a week playing people's games. (I shall miss you DotA2, and TF2 MvM :<)

    Some suggestions:

    1) Keep it on the forums
    2) All downloads should have a link back to the forums.
    3) Keep the games small-ish


    1) Setting things around community meets means people will miss valuable input, also people will feel fulfilled by demoing the game, and we can't play it. Game are interactive without playing it what is there?

    2) Games can end up in weird places @TheFunctastic recently showed it happens. So getting people from all over to give you feedback is really cool!

    3) If you are iterating a lot, and people give you a lot of feedback large files might make it hard for them to continuously download and give feedback.
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    I do like the encouragement to present the challenge at a physical meetup as well. I think the face to face aspect is a great place to get feedback and it adds an extra incentive to try harder.

    But as @Karuji said. It'd be great if we could also get it to use these forums, and for the participants be able to get feedback here and iterate on the idea whilst developing. I imagine this is a lot like ProjectX has in mind (which is why ProjectX suggested it here).

    Would it be crazy to ask participants to do the challenge in milestones? Like week 1 submit idea and 1-2 hours work. Week 2 use the feedback and spend another 1-2 hours work... etc... Once again: I don't want to be idealistic about what we can actually expect people to do or what the organizers are able to manage. Just doing challenges for now is a great start.

    I am happy for @Karuji to be the official volunteer critic committee... So long as he also participates :P
  • @BlackShipsFilltheSky Some great ideas, but I struggle to get people to update me at milestones when their job relies upon it.. :|

    I totally agree with rapid iteration and the quick feedback loop, so I promise I'll *try* to (and hopefully explode some bad ideas in the process - BOOM!).
  • @BlackShipsFillT my criticism shall be far less illusive than your Dev.Mag article(s) ;) I was going to use venus patrol but that just launched >.> ^_^

    The reason why I didn't mention feedback from physical meetings, it that it already happens, and there is no need to encourage it, but I am disconcerted to think that people would think that just that feedback is enough. And given that meetup discussion does not proceed to community discussion I believe that is the case.

    @mikegeyser part of being a game dev is self motivating. Like when posting on a forum, people will only put as much effort into reading your words as you put into writing them. The same is true of game dev, and the community. If you put in the effort you are rewarded, if not then you gain nothing.
  • @Karuji I agree completely, and wish that everyone held themselves to these ideals.
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