So, plenty of people are breaking the rules. Using pre-made content, not releasing sources, doing a team effort.
When LD started, originally, the rules were really loose – not set in stone at all. It was more about the feeling – if you feel like you’re cheating, you’re cheating, that sort of thing. Later, when things progressed, and LD grew bigger, the rules became more defined (and in some cases, unfortunately, slightly conflicting).
The more rules, the less likely it is for people to actually read them. As an example, here you can read the final ruleset of the TMDC contest I organized for about a decade. Lots of rules. Strict rules. Rules that define things exactly. Rules most people didn’t bother reading. Rules someone always complained about.
Which leads to this LD – and folks not releasing sources. The rule is there for several reasons. Primary reason is for people to check what you’ve done, maybe learn something. I don’t know how many people do, but that’s it anyway.
If you fear someone is going to steal the code you made in a rush in a weekend, you’re simply delusional. You’d be surprised how difficult it is to get people to use your GOOD code =)
Free code isn’t free. Just take any random third party library; you’ll find it takes time to figure out what it does, how to use it, and what the limitations are. And this is for code that’s designed to be used by third parties. Code, that’s not designed to be looked at ever again, written by you, in a weekend? Please.
So anyway, I’d propose we design a very small set of simple rules that are easy to understand, and then have a bunch of clarifying rules based on those. For instance:
- 48 hours, clearly defined start and end in a certain timezone
- Solo competition – everything must be done by you.
- All graphics and audio must be done from scratch. Fonts are ok, but only for text.
- All source code and content must be released, along with binaries.
- Pre-existing code is ok, as long as:
- it’s available for everyone
- it’s available well in advance (say, 2 weeks?)
- it doesn’t contain any gameplay code
Now, we could debate forever about just about any rule there:
- Is it fair that the 48 hours fit some timezones better than others?
- Is everything done by you if you record sounds by some other person (with or without them knowing)?
- Is the graphics done by you if you take photos?
- Why can’t we use font ‘A’ character as the spaceship? (seriously, what’s the harm?)
- If you record your synthesizer that you bought with big bucks, is the sound “from scratch”?
- <insert any other edge you might get by buying fancy toys to do content with>
- What, exactly, is gameplay code and what isn’t? Is menu code ok? Is my level-data-specific A* ok? Is state machine code ok?
And if we go back to “if it feels like you’re cheating, you are”, well.. different folks’ threshold for feeling guilty about these things are different, and the bigger LD grows, the more varied it becomes.
Someone suggested LD should have different categories for different things, like team efforts etc. I’d say no. If you want to, set up another event – it’s not rocket science! And if you don’t like the rules, nobody is forcing you to enter.. or if they are, please do tell us about it!
For transparency, I’ll mention that I did not do an entry this time. No time, sorry.