Saturday, June 26, 2004

Gripes, Grins & Groans

Give the game development competition more love
By CALIANDRIS PENDRAGON

It is sad that the Game Development competition has ended before many inhabitants of Second Life realized it even began. It was very frustrating for the people who worked so hard over two months to put their games together that they would meet people every day who said "Game Dev 1/2/3/4...what's that?"

Despite the fact that the eight (later seven) teams were battling against each other in a dwell war, a certain camaraderie developed between the teams. At least we knew what we were talking about. We didn't have to explain to each other that we had all entered a proposal for the competition, along with the names of a team of up to four people, and had won the first round when we were invited to the Game Development Islands to start putting our games together.

My team, the mysterious journey, had only four official members, but many more people helped to build the game. The rules allowed this, and also allowed us to buy things for the games, but only if they were generally available for sale - anything original had to be made for free.

The weeks spent building the game were exciting ones for all of us: We learned a lot and we learned it fast. Many of the other teams had more experience; some of the most talented and skilled people in Second Life compiled games for the competition.

One irritation for the other teams was the realization that many more people were working on our project and that this was within the rules: Some of the others might have done this earlier if they had realized it was legal.

The rules were a bit flexible in all - we started out with one set and halfway through the build period a whole raft more appeared. Thus it was that I spent a great deal of time on making prizes that became illegal; free to copies to publicize the game, when publicity in world was illegal; and no time at all on an external Website when this was an OK way to publicize the game. We became terminally confused about what was allowable.


A garden in the Game Development islands.


We became terminally confused about what was allowable.


The judgment for the game came from the amount of dwell that the games achieved, as a measure of the games popularity, but of course the nature of dwell being that one person's ten minutes spent in Second Life is worth another's ten hours, it didn't actually reflect the number of people or the amount of time spent in the game - although of course all the games were judged by the same standard.

The result at the end of a month of dwell measurement was:

  • First: Classic games, an addictive Mah Jong game being the central core of that
  • Second: Demolition Derby
  • Third: Deus Via.
  • Fourth: Our game, Mysterious Journey
  • Other games included Pet Trap, Castle Seige and 3D tank combat


The top four games will now proceed to a second competition, where a professional from the games industry will inspect the games and award linden dollar prizes for the content.

Though it was terribly hard work, I would recommend that anyone who is interested should apply if there is another Game Dev competition. It is hard work, but the rewards are also there. Having people play and like the game you have worked on is a great feeling.

Oh - and if you want a quick look at the games, they are still there on their Game Dev islands for a few days more.

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