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14.09.2014 - Check the results of our latest game dev competition here: http://games.freebasic.net/forum/index.php?topic=606.0
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Author Topic: FBGD Retro 2008 Competition - The Results  (Read 5432 times)
Lachie Dazdarian
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« on: September 23, 2008, 04:39:52 PM »

FBGD Retro 2008 Competition was held in the FB community from 28th of August till 21st of September.

The goal of the competition was to create a game in FB, in 640x480 graphic resolution, using 8x8 pixels sized blocks, in order to emulate low resolution. Also, only the colors from the default 16-colors EGA palette were allowed.

For the full list of rules and to see how the competition progressed, read the official competition thread: http://games.freebasic.net/forum/index.php?topic=246.0

After the final deadline, 4 games were submitted into the official competition. They were scored in 9 categories (Game design 20 points, Gameplay - 15 Points, Presentation - 10 Points, Originality - 10 Points, Controls - 10 Points, Progression - 10 Points, Replay Value - 10 Points, Sound/music 8 points, Personal likeness 4 points), with the maximum of 122 points.

The official entries:

T Tanks by Mentat - http://www.ftpisland.com/lachie13/t_tanks.zip
Racer by ssjx - http://www.ftpisland.com/lachie13/racer06.zip
Uminva FB by ChangeV - http://www.ftpisland.com/lachie13/uminva_fb.zip
Curse of the Midnight Wobble-Butt Attack Squad (unfinished) by Dr_D - http://www.ftpisland.com/lachie13/curse_of_the_midnight_wobble-butt_attack_squad.zip


The results:

T Tanks

T Tanks is a simple turn-based strategy game with tanks where you play against a computer opponent in 10 scenarios to choose from. The gameplay is based on picking one of 4 options in each turn (attack opponent tanks, attack opponent forces, repair your tanks, build your forces - repair units), and the goal is to obliterate the opponent's tanks.

Graphical design 12/25
There are some interesting solutions in random map terrain design with the game featuring different settings. Still, some mistakes or choices I didn't quite like here, like tanks featuring black background for no reason which damages the look of the game on few maps quite a bit. The lack of a title screen and more imaginative solutions for win/lose screen, or continue/quit also result in my overall lover impression.

Game design 8/20
I didn't like the fact I can chose any map (scenario) in T Tanks from the beginning. No new scenarios are unlocked, and the game doesn't, for example, save the information about scenarios you finished, like with a red dot or whatever. The user is simply thrown on the scenario choosing menu and that's it. Play one scenario, lose or win, back to the scenario menu. I don't know. As I player, I want more. Also, there are many choices in the very game that didn't appeal to me, like the lack of coherent or unified way to track the status of your tanks and forces. Yes, it's a part of the gameplay, but I didn't work for me at all.

Gameplay - 6/15
Well, to be honest, I didn't enjoy in this game much. It just doesn't seem that this concept was well transferred into a computer game. During most games I was left clicking between two options and observing if it works. On some scenarios simple repeated taps on the attack option work every time, while others are a complete mystery to me. The fact I can't track properly in most scenarios the status of mine and opponent's forces reduces the gameplay to a game of guessing. Also, the gameplay allows weird situations, like both forces being so damaged they can't inflict any more damage on enemy forces, leaving you to restart the round. The game is simply missing features that draw the player into the game.

Presentation - 5/10
Well, the lack of better menu design and a title screen are quite notable flaws. T Tanks does come with detailed instructions, so this is where most points went to in this category.

Originality - 6/10
Not sure how much points I should give T Tanke here, but it should be noted that this is an original concept and a worthy attempt to create a simple yet addictive turn-based strategy attempt. A failed attempt by my opinion, but a worthy one.

Controls - 7/10
Well, the controls seem rather functional here, partially a result of the simple gameplay. I can only complain on the fact that the mouse wasn't used for alternative to keyboard controls, but only to scroll the map.

Progression - 2/10
Hrm, this game really lacks some clear sense of progression or the way for the user to track his progress. The levels, at least to me, don't seem to be aligned in any difficulty order, and I can access all of them from the beginning. Which in the sense of progression is really bad.

Replay Value - 3/10
The game does feature some replay value, mostly when trying to figure out the gameplay and how to solve certain scenarios. But I personally got bored fast with the gameplay being hidden from me and with trying to guess how to complete a specific scenario.

Sound/music 0/8
No sound or music.

Personal likeness 1/4
I think I covered most of the gripes I had with this game in earlier categories. I'm a bit saddened with the final impression, because I expected more and generally don't like giving negative reviews. I expected Mentat to have some cool and simple turn-based strategy concept in his sleeve. Nothing of this came true.

Total T Tanks: 50/122

***

Racer

Racer is dodge sort of game, made in the vein of those hand-held games. You control a bike (or another vehicle you can unlock) and drive it in back view port, dodging cars (skip position-based movement) or obstacles that keep moving toward you. As the game progresses, it gets faster and obstacles become denser.

Graphical design 20/25
Excellent. I think ssjx managed himself in the color limits quite well, and the way movement is presented is really cool. Day and night changes are a cool feature too. I did not like some of the ideas in the design, like snowmen in the ice stage. Maybe something else could have been used there. Also, some of the extra "vehicles" you unlock are really silly.

Game design 14/20
Quite good. The game is simple and straightforward, easy to learn and play. My biggest complain relates to the lack of better difficulty balancing and smarted obstacle randomizing. You see, when the player reaches the maximum speed (which by my opinion should be slightly higher), how long he will continue to survive depends too much on the way new obstacles will be randomized in front of him, often trapping him in inescapable positions. I just think something had to be done here to prevent these situations and to leave it all to reflexes on the highest speed. Right now it depends on luck to some extent weather you'll have 300 or 700 points in a certain round. Extra points in this category go to the high score save feature.

Gameplay - 10/15
Very good. Position skipping type of movement might not be a popular choice, but works very nice in this game. Maybe Racer is missing some bonus items the player can pick up or something. But then again, a new feature might have ruined the simplicity of this game. Some of the problems I have with the gameplay relate to the obstacle randomization I mentioned earlier. I just feel the game should play better and more rewarding once you reach the maximum speed. Maybe an even higher speed on scores > 500 should be triggered, new scenery unlocked, and some vehicles not unlocked before that score. I think vehicles are unlocked too fast.

Presentation - 7/10
Solid. Nothing was done incorrectly here, but the game does feel a bit wooden (too static). Nothing was attempted to make the title screen or screen transitions more vibrant and interesting. Also, I wish the score was displayed always with a unique number of digits (like 0007, 0245, 2213, ...).

Originality - 5/10
Hard to say. This concept was used quite often on several hand-held games I used to own as a boy, but I'm not sure how much in computer games. It doesn't seem very original, but the implementation is original, and I appreciate someone creating this type of retro game.

Controls - 9/10
Nothing to complain here. Although, perfection would be a redefine keys option.

Progression - 6/10
Perhaps this is the category where this game should have shine, but it doesn't. I already covered some of the reasons for a lover score in categories above. I should also mention that I didn't like the choice of scenery changing randomly with each time of the day change. I think it would be much better if sceneries exchanged in a preset order, each full day, and would, for example, make a full circle with score 200. Also, it would be cool if a completely new one was unlocked on scores above 500. Right now, most of the game is revealed in the first 30 seconds, while I think it should have been done differently.

Replay Value - 7/10
Very good, as this is the game's objective. It's a score driven game, and you'll spend some time beating your scores. But once you reach a quite high score, you won't feel motivated to try again many more times, as it will depend on luck a lot how long you will survive on scores above 300 points. You might reach a score of 700 (like me), but on the several next attempts die on scores like 350 and 400, all that leaving a bitter aftertaste.

Sound/music 1/8
Only two sound effects are used, and none appearing during driving. It more feels like a start of a sound support, than an actual one.

Personal likeness 3/4
I like this game. It's interesting, looks cool, and addictive for a limited amount of time. Only, it's not good as I expected it to be the first time I tried an early version. It just didn't develop enough from the original form.

Total Racer: 82/122

***

Curse of the Midnight Wobble-Butt Attack Squad

Curse of the Midnight Wobble-Butt Attack Squad is unfortunately an unfinished arcade FPS, a competition entry I was very looking forward to. It was hard to imagine that a true 3D game could work with such large pseudo-pixels and color limits, but Dr_D proved how it could be done. He dug out some old raycasting engine of his and altered it to work with pseudo-pixels and limited colors. He was making fine progress to a high score driven arcade game where you would shoot at these Wobble-Butt creatures and progress to levels with more enemies to fight against. The style was comical but promising. I'm just sad Dr_D didn't have time and energy to implement player's death, because that is the last thing that was missing to make this entry playable. In this state, it's an engine showcase. It's also sad not to see yet some of the ideas Dr_D had with maps (like archways, halls, etc.), and flying saucers dropping Wobble-Butts. I hope he'll find will and motivation to complete this. Any retro community would love it.

Graphical design 16/25
It is very good, but I'm rather curious where this was really going to. The wobbles do look somewhat silly, but their appearance in the latest version is quite freakish. Blood and wall chip particles are a rather cool feature, together with the bouncing bomb. I also like the night sky background with the huge rotating planet. It's quite obvious that this engine was made by a person very competent in 3D programming. While I was testing previous versions my constant complaint was to change the walls from those tombstone looking things into something different. Unfortunately, that didn't happen yet.

Game design 12/20
It was going somewhere, but when can only speculate how much this game would be fun to play in its final form. The controls, AI, and player's abilities seem to be a very good start. Rather drab map design is still a huge flaw, and I never saw a hint of anything more interesting.

Gameplay - 1/15
This demo has zero challenge value since the player can't get killed. It's fun until you explore all the engine mechanics.

Presentation - 1/10
Quite poor, as the game is still in WIP stage, or at least, was left in that stage upon submitting.

Originality - 7/10
Well, a first person shooter is nothing new, but to create a true 3D game in these restrictions I find rather bold and novel.

Controls - 9/10
Close to perfect. It's a similar control set Nek used in Two Lords and I love it. WASD to move, mouse to look around, mouse clicks to shoot, space to jump. What more can you ask for? Redefine keys feature. Tongue

Progression - 1/10
Hrm, we see here hints of level progression, but it's pointless so far as the player can't die.

Replay Value - 0/10
None in this incomplete form.

Sound/music 0/8
None implemented.

Personal likeness 2/4
I can only express my disappointment once more that this game didn't make for the competition in playable form.

Total Curse of the Midnight Wobble-Butt Attack Squad: 49/122

***

Uminva FB

Uminva is a pesudo-3D shooter, something in the line of Space Harrier. You control a flying vehicle of some sort and shoot at the approaching squids, preventing them to get behind you. Each one that passes you reduces your energy. It's a score driven game with two settings (water and forest) exchanging, plus the bonus stages.

Graphical design 23/25
Great. ChangeV illustrates very well how in these limits cool graphics can be compiled. The illusion of 3D movement is intelligently constructed, the squids are skillfully scaled as they travel toward you, and the explosions are nicely animated. Two settings and a bonus stage each feature different colors, which is a smart decision. Cool intro/game over screen might not be necessary, but add a lot charm to this game and show effort. I liked the small references to ChangeV's other games in the entire design. My only gripe is somewhat unattractive look of the title screen and the game text looking clumsy, but it seems that all had problems writing text in this low pseudo-resolution.

Game design 18/20
Excellent. The game was well constructed, plays smooth, is easy to get into and enjoyable to play. The chain combo is a very clever feature and makes trying to reaching high scores a rewarding experience. The small scrolling space is also a very nice feature. The difficulty seems to grow quite well, allowing you to get better in each new attempt and doesn't overwhelm you in the first try. The default top score is really challenging to beat and will keep me trying to beat it for a while. Very smart to ship the game with it.

Gameplay - 14/15
Close to perfect. Like I said earlier, the game plays really smooth and aiming at the passing squids is really enjoyable. It requires from you to learn the speed of your main weapon projectile and adapt to faster squids as the stages progress. This allows you to acquire skill that will become crucial in your next attempt. You will feel that you are getting better and that playing this game just once more makes sense. What I miss is maybe more random and surprise features, but maybe they wouldn't work. Also, bonus stages last too short for my taste.

Presentation - 8/10
Very good. The title screen is in place here, the game comes with an intro animation and text, everything is clear, and quitting the game is easy. Uminva FB does lack more vibrant screen transitions and some cool effects like scrolling text. Yes, Mysoft Soccer really spoiled me in this.

Originality - 5/10
Uminva FB is a remake, so I can't score the game highly in this category. Still, the idea to add different stages, original story and design, and especially the brilliant chain feature are really commendable.

Controls - 9/10
Hrm. It's a mouse controlled game. Not really something challenging to code, but it gets the job done.

Progression - 8/10
Excellent. I complimented earlier how the game difficulty was so well balanced, making it a rewarding learning experience. What maybe the game lacks is one more setting. I feel the 3 present (water, forest, bonus stage) exchange too fast. But it's just a subjective impression.

Replay Value - 9/10
The game is really good in making you feel getting better in each new attempt and not overwhelming you right away. This, together with a very challenging default high score to beat, result in high replay value.

Sound/music 6/8
Very solid and appropriate sounds effects accompany the game, enhancing the play experience. Still, no attempts to implement some retro music. Also, the game does feel somewhat silent on some places (like in the bonus stages).

Personal likeness 4/4
What to say here? Thank you ChangeV for yet another excellent competition game. You outdid everyone here and shown how it should be done. On the top of that, this game is really excellent in every aspect, not just in graphical design.

Total Uminva FB: 104/122

***

Summary:

T Tanks by Mentat - 50/122
Racer by ssjx - 82/122
Curse of the Midnight Wobble-Butt Attack Squad (unfinished) by Dr_D - 49/122
Uminva FB by ChangeV - 104/122

Congratulation ChangeV for winning the competition with Uminva FB!

The game will be listed on the FBGD main page as soon as possible. I also plan to create a FBGD competition webpage to archive it for the future (maybe with some ribbons and medals), together with possible new FBGD competitions. Also, it will be used to track entries that didn't make it for the deadline, that is, if they get completed.

***

Final comments:

This was a relatively successful competition I quite enjoyed running. It started really cool, with some very interesting and great looking entries being developed. Sadly, toward the end, two major entries run into problems, that being Dr_D's Curse of the Midnight Wobble-Butt and Mysoft's soccer game, diminishing the great start we had. Luckily, ChangeV made us all happy with his entry, which practically saved the competition as it is a really cool game and the only other entry that could run against ssjx's Racer. You could say it was an easy win for ChangeV, but none of us knew what he had in the works. It was a wonderful last minute surprise. Thank you once more for a great game ChangeV.

For the next competition I'll consider trying to find a sponsor (someone willing to send a small amount of money to the winner via PayPal or buy him a book/movie online), as it seems that this petty material thing has that small motivational value.

Once more, thanks to all who participated in the competition and commented the entries.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2008, 05:09:09 PM by Lachie Dazdarian » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2008, 04:45:18 PM »

Thanks for this.  I unfortunately arrived here in the middle of the competition's run and so couldn't participate if I wanted to, but it's great to see that at least one game turned up good.
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Lachie Dazdarian
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« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2008, 05:01:49 PM »

You mean two?
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« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2008, 05:50:01 AM »

I got a bad score  Angry ...
jk  Grin

I was worried I'd do worse. This is my first completed FB game.

Congrats to Chang_V. My personal favorite is Curse.
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« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2008, 12:32:32 PM »

Curse is probably the coolest if it's finished (and I hope it is), but I had to admit, Change_V's entry won hands down.
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