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FreeBASIC Game Development => Competitions => Topic started by: Lachie Dazdarian on March 24, 2013, 08:30:53 AM

Title: Seasons of the Year Competition Results!
Post by: Lachie Dazdarian on March 24, 2013, 08:30:53 AM
The final results are:

Odysseasons (71/91) - 1st place - 350 $ award (paid)
Paradox Girl (61/91) - 2nd place - 100 $ award (paid)
Pyromax Dax (58/91) - 3rd place - 50 $ award (paid)
Spring Forward (45/91) - 4th place

Congratulations to Landeel for winning another FBGD competition!

All scores in details.

Paradox Girl

Game design (23/35 points)
A bit confused how to score Paradox Girl in this very category. Thematically, it deals relatively interesting with the theme, but primarily on the level of graphical design. It pits the player against 4 different, seasons-themed worlds, which you need to explore while fighting enemies and collecting objects. Objects to combine later into items which are again used in various seasons to progress further and finally to fight bosses inside them. It's important to note that the entry expresses the theme not only through the concept of weather, but also culturally, with Summer placed on the beach, Winter featuring Christmas nods, or Autumn Halloween, which is a praiseworthy approach. The story is a bit nonsensical and lazy, and this relates to my biggest complaint on the game. You don't feel you are placed in some living stimulating setting. On the contrary, you feel like you are on some half-finished movie stage, filled with incoherent elements and clunky features, with objects conveniently dropped or placed that help you progress further. This of course is not negative in essence. I personally prefer this sort of "rough around the edges, low budget" look, but combined with equally clunky gameplay if fails to fully form into something recognizable, something you can fall in love with. Gameplay-wise Paradox Girl deals with the competition theme very superficially, brushing over it with stuff like necessity to possess objects in order to progress further in various season because of specific season's elements (ice, sun, ...).

Gameplay (9/15 points)
Hrm. Not sure this game shines terribly well in this department. The game is sort of an action platformer, with a bit unconventional, but charming mechanics. I enjoyed them. They add a specific uncommon feel to the game I dig. But the developer handled quite poor the whole items collecting part which was developed rather lazy and would leave most players frustrated without the aid of included walkthrough. While I understand that there are players out there who appreciate this type of tricky gameplays (and take pride in handling unintentionally obscure gameplays and puzzles), this does not change the fact that they are the result of insufficient brain-storming and developing and will remain frustrating for most players. Where the game wins points is the altering gameplay mechanics and boss battles that for the most part work well and are exciting to play. Finally, minus points for gameplay related to bugs present in the competition entry.

Progression (6/6 Points)
Excellent. The game content is well organized. It's not a completely linear game, and allows you to unlock new parts slowly and in different order, while holding several cool surprises through its course.

Replay Value (3/6 points)
Solid, but not terribly impressive. It is a game very interesting to explore for the first time, but the gameplay's clunky feel and a bit slow pace doesn't make it very attractive to play all over again.

Graphics (5/7 points)
Very good. They are sort of a mix of everything. Really, a whole range from poor to excellent, stock graphics, original stuff, often not well married with one another, but overall contains an admirable amount of original work, great deal of which is definitely reusable in some better and more coherent-looking project.

Sound/music (6/7 points)
Excellent selection of non-original sound effects and music, but perfect score is reserved for excellent original work.

Personal likeness (3/6 points)
Paradox Girl is a quite interesting and curious game and I enjoyed playing it. Sadly, I was also put off by the fact it was unfinished for the competition and contained a considerable amount of gameplay effective bugs. Without it, I probably would have enjoyed the game much more and an increase in this category and gameplay would follow, although I don't think this would change my opinion in the game design category. I definitely prefer this sort of off-beat games (it reminded me of some under-produced obscure Amiga games), and would love to see it finished, so it can be judged by a wider audience in the form the developer intended it to be.

Community vote (6/9 points - 2nd place tie)

Total: 61
Download: (115 MB)


Game design (27/35 points)
Odysseasons is platformer that deals with the competition theme quite solidly, but it doesn't exploit it terribly deeply. It is a story of a lonely worm on an alien planet with a mission to save its species by traveling through the perils of 4 seasons (levels). Landeel does take care of two key elements with his entry, expression of the theme through both gameplay and setting. It also connects the concept of seasons with passage of time and growth (something I wanted and expected to see more present in the entries). As the main character goes through the seasons, so it grows and gains new abilities, and levels are designed in that way to challenge the player to exploit these new abilities. Conceptually, I can't complain much, and all of this is also executed very nice. It's not an impressive execution, but these gameplay elements are also not just placed in to comply with the competition theme. The gameplay is really relevant to the theme. This can't be denied. I only wish the floating cannon was replaced with something less nonsensical, like some bullet spewing beetle or whatever. A guarding drone bug. Anything less artificial would be better.

Gameplay (11/15 points)
Maybe we can criticize Landeel for recycling his engine used in a previous FBGD competition, but also nobody can't deny the engine's smooth and responsive nature that makes playing any well designed game in it a very enjoyable and exciting experience. The game is fun, challenging, it doesn't stagger or crawl, while slowly expanding its scope as your progress. Valid complaints include some repetitiveness and quite harmless bosses.

Progression (5/6 points)
While I can compliment the game introducing new gameplay elements with each season, most of other content lacks more variety to be exciting and surprising as perhaps Paradox Girl is. Nevertheless, it is quite solid because of the things mentioned in the first category.

Replay Value (4/6 Points)
While not terribly varied, I do believe the game's smooth pace and dynamic nature is a guarantee for at least one more replay.

Graphics (5/7 points)
Very good. Overall they achieve to deliver a coherent and thought-out style, but fail in providing more variety.

Sound/music (6/7 points)
Excellent work on sound effects and excellent choice of original music. I really think the selected music tracks add a lot to the experience and succeed on several places to pull you into the imagined world of Zetta, more than repetitive graphics alone would be able to.

Personal likeness (4/6 points)
I dig this entry the most and I'm glad majority of voters agree with me. Despite the obvious complaints, engine recycling and repetitive parts of the gameplay, I do think the overall package contains the most and in the very end deliver fun and challenging, but not frustrating gameplay. I can't be unhappy with this. And even outside the frame of this competition, it stands very well as a freeware indie platformer. I'll be happy to show it around. Another element I forgot to compliment earlier is the writing in the game, which I found surprisingly well done (even more having in mind English is not Landeel's mother language) and is, together with music, a valuable part of making Odysseasons' world feel real.

Community vote (9/9 points - 1st place)

Total: 71
Download: (13.3 MB)

Spring Forward

Game Design (22/35 points)
Spring Forward is a single screen platform-puzzle game that bases its gameplay on switching seasons to enable the player to collect all the rings in the level. While this idea is probably the best and most original of all the official entries in the competition, if staggers on the first step and fails to develop into anything challenging and terribly clever. I think the very idea has a lot of potential, but sadly with Spring Forward in only ends up in 12 relatively easy levels to complete. Also, most of the gameplay features appear underdeveloped (visually and engine-wise), resulting in clunky flow of the game. It is also an entry that does not provide any background story to it.

Gameplay (8/15 points)
Most points here go to the excellent idea and some clever gameplay features, like water filling up the basins in autumn and freezing in winter. Still, almost all levels present in the game lack real challenge, with 1 or 2 providing minimum challenge, but still not transferring any solid sense of fun, or just being rewarding to beat. Also, the engine feels rather clunky.

Progression (4/6 Points)
It's good. New puzzles are introduced as you progress in the game, but then again, most of them too soon, leaving only repetition for the second half of the game. It definitely lacks more puzzles (including levels) and graphic elements for a higher score.

Replay Value (2/6 points)
The clunky and unchallenging feel of the game doesn't make it very interesting to replay.

Graphics (4/7 points)
The game graphics are solid and get the job done. Nothing impressive here, but well compiled and coherent.

Sound/music (3/7 points)
Average non-original (?) sound effects and music, not enhancing nor diminishing the rest of game's average content.

Personal likeness (2/6 points)
I was really looking forward to see this entry developed after playing the first demos, but was disappointed to see ssjx failing (or not finding interest/inspiration) to build on its great starts, producing once more a forgettable competition entry. Still, it's a valuable source for any future remake, by the very author or someone else. Thanks for your effort ssjx, but hope to see you more determined next time.

Community vote (0/9 points - last place)

Total: 45
Download: (0.4 MB)

Pyromax Dax

Game Design (20/35 points)
The game deals with the theme quite superficially. It is an action platform game where you control a cartoon alien sort of creature who has 4 weapons at its disposal, and battles through seasons-themed levels, at the end of which a boss enemy awaits. Sadly, the theme is only dealt with visually and through some hazards/features, based on the season the player is in. Since the game relies heavily on stock graphics, seasons lack distinctive atmosphere and the game feels more like an engine showcase, than being consisted of different worlds with a life of their own. Also, the level design mixes graphics and hazards from various seasons, so the overall design appear very stagey, making it difficult to immerse into the game.

Gameplay (12/15 points)
Well, maybe of all the entries Pyromax Dax does the best in the gameplay department, but this is a tricky judgment. The game provides a lot of solid challenge other entries fail to deliver, but it is also a result of tricky game physics and intimidating level design, full of static and moving platforms, dangerous hazards and merciless foes. It's challenging game, rewarding when beaten, but it is often too frustrating, and also feels very artificial.

Progression (4/6 points)
It's good. New seasons introduce new hazards, each season has its own unique boss, and it all culminates slowly to more challenging levels. The game is saved after each completed season (but only for that session), but the high difficulty would maybe marry better with game being saved before the boss battles and also permanently.

Replay Value (2/6 Points)
Mainly because of the frustrating difficulty, I don't see this game being very rewarding to play again.

Graphics (5/7 points)
Very good usage of stock graphics, but it does make the game appear incoherent. Most points in this category I award because of excellent presentation the game features, from menus to screen transitions. The most professional-looking entry of all 4.

Sound/music (5/7 points)
Very good work with the sound effects, but the selected music did not rub that well with me as the music in Odysseasons and Paradox Girl.

Personal likeness (4/6 points)
This is an entry I enjoyed playing almost equally as I enjoyed playing Oddyseasons. It succeeds in the gameplay department quite a lot, but it lacks atmosphere, consistent content and more rewarding level design. It was too often too frustrating and often appeared more incoherent than well designed.

Community vote (6/9 points - 2nd place tie)

Total: 58
Download: (2.3 MB)


Once more, thanks to all who participated, commented and voted. It is another successful competition, but perhaps not as I expected it to be, having in mind the highest cash prize and longest time for development ever. Maybe I need to consider shifting the competition to another time period.
I think the final results represent the quality and theme-relevance quite well, with maybe 2nd place being open for debate and personal taste (since they are quite different games). But when it comes to taste, not much can be done about that.
Once again, I hope to see Jonge, Dr_D and BadMrBox’s unfinished entries, or hopefully, finished in the near future. I hate seeing competition after competition people giving up on their WIP developed for the competition.
Until next project or competition, happy coding.

Title: Re: Seasons of the Year Competition Results!
Post by: ssjx on March 24, 2013, 09:44:00 AM
Congrats to Landeel!

Thanks for the fair review Lachie and for running these comps!

Yeah, after having the idea for the game i did kinda struggle on how to expand / develop it! The music was randomly generated using cgMusic ( ) , I've still not gained any musical talent since the last comp! :)

I also skipped on any kind of story because i could not come up with anything that would really add to the game.

I still very much like the game idea and am currently (and slowly) porting it to Flex/Flash  , if I do expand on it I will be sure to update the FB version!

Thanks again to everyone who played my entry! :)
Title: Re: Seasons of the Year Competition Results!
Post by: BadMrBox on March 24, 2013, 10:08:36 AM
Congrats to you all :)
Title: Re: Seasons of the Year Competition Results!
Post by: landeel on March 24, 2013, 01:44:48 PM
Oh yeahhhhhhhhhhh, first place again!!!!!  ;D

Congratulations to all participants, I really like all the games.

I just expected more finished games, and more people voting...

Spring Forward has a brilliant concept, the best concept in the 4, in my opinion. But I feel it didn't explore all its potential. Graphics, physics and level design could be better.

Paradox Girl is a good looking, great platformer with fighting elements which I enjoy. That's the most original entry in my oppinion. Looks great, and I like the facts it's not linear like the other entries. But I think gameplay could be improved, fighting enemies is sometimes frustrating, because it's pretty hard to hit them without being hit back. Maybe you should make the enemies stunned for a few hundred miliseconds when they get hit.

Pyromax Dax has the best presentation between the 4 games, and a very fast and solid engine. I just feel that it didn't embrace the competition theme like the other ones did, but still, great game.

Well, about Odysseasons, it's clearly a spin from the YAGAC engine. I have started from that engine up, because honestly, I didn't have the time to start something from scratch. But still it came out very different from YAGAC. I had a hard time (and a lot of fun) changing the engine to fit my needs, and drawing all that stuff. It took much more time than I expected, but It was worth it. I was a great experience.

To Lachie, thank you so much again for your dedication, your time, and your effort. I really hope you're not terribly frustrated, and you want to do it again. Ah, it would be great if you could send a part of my prize directly to the guy who made the music, because he really deserves it.

Title: Re: Seasons of the Year Competition Results!
Post by: Jonge on March 24, 2013, 02:07:39 PM
Congratulations Landeel, and to all the entries!

I hope to finish my game entry to, I've just got abit stuck in making a tool right now.

Edit: Yeah I to wondered about the few votes that was given, strange  ???
Title: Re: Seasons of the Year Competition Results!
Post by: Lachie Dazdarian on March 25, 2013, 03:45:49 PM
I definitely want to keep running these competitions. I need to shift some of my attention and free time back to FBGD and FreeBASIC game dev in general. Trying to negotiate that with myself and my personal relationship with my real work, which is a bit strenuous lately. Lost too much time giving extra at work for the last 1.5 year, only for it to blow in my face. Which is frustrating.

But, maybe it's a temporary bump.

BTW, I've ran somewhat short with the money for awards and had to invest more of my own cash than I expected to payout everyone. Maybe I mixed up my numbers, but I would appreciate if people who promised to donated could confirm they donated. That would be awesome. I think I didn't get all the promised donations.
Title: Re: Seasons of the Year Competition Results!
Post by: landeel on May 12, 2013, 07:05:20 AM
I just wanted to confirm I have received my prize, and say a big "THANK YOU" to Lachie again!   ;)