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    Thoughts on categories

    Posted by (twitter: @DusteDdk)
    November 17th, 2013 8:39 am

    We were discussing the difficulties in judging games without taking into account the premise on which they were build. It somehow does not seem completely fair to judge a game made ground-up in the same category as one that builds on top of an existing engine. Three categories may be in order, “Scratch” – For those crazies who start with a blank text-file, and make a game from there, no pre-existing engine or anything.. “BYOE” or “Bring Your Own Engine” for those who’re building their game on top of an engine of which they are the sole author, and “NIH” or “Not Invented Here”,for those who choose to focus their efforts on content creation.
    None of these categories should be considered superior to another, however, comparing unity and assembler games is like comparing apples and oranges, no, more like comparing apples and hybrid-cars.

    7 Responses to “Thoughts on categories”

    1. Gaspard_ says:

      I’m totally for this!
      But wouldn’t categories make it even harder to vote and submit?

    2. PockeTiger says:

      I’m not sure. It would lead to discrimination and break the community apart and on my opinion that’s one of the best aspects of Ludum Dare.

      However once someone throws in an “I’m better than you cause I wrote my absolute own engine while you can’t do it and have to use that mainstream engine…” comment then hell will break loose.

      I don’t think that would do any good for this event. LD shouldn’t be only for the hardcore coders who write their a program even for flushing the toilet (jk, sorry – don’t be offended ) but it’s an event where people passionate about making games can jump in and do their 5cents.

      My point is ~ it’s not only coders participating, but artists and all bunch of people. I think LD is good the way it is right now and we should keep it friendly enough to attract new people to come in and try out themselves if they wish in an awesome community free from any other bonds than making their game.

      Once you start categorizing the submissions there will be always people declaring themselves the king of everything on existance and generate a toxic environment which on my opinion should be avoided.

      • DST says:

        I absolutely agree, that the greatest part of LD is that it’s about making games, and that everything under the sun is welcome! :)

        We were mostly discussing the difficulty of judging fairly and honestly three games if those 3 games represented the 3 suggested categories.

        I don’t think it’d be an overstatement to say that there can be several orders of magnitude between a “Scratch” and a “NIH” game in the amount of effort the author can devote to content creation and polish and the overall quality of the end-result.

        What we miss is some way to also show appreciation to the amount of “under the hood” work which is currently not allowed to be appreciated by any of the possible scores.

        I’m sure people sometimes look at good-looking games, and score them lower on graphics, relative to “scratch” games because they know the rendering part was out-of-the-box, or that they score “scratch” games a bit higher on graphics because they want to show their appreciation of the fact that the author simply would not have time to both make the extra code and put the same amount of hard work into modeling.
        This is not fair to unity users or to the geeks who roll their own.

        I don’t have the solution, I don’t know the consequences of having something like a “Tech” or “G33kiness” score, or if it is even a good idea, I suggest it of cause because I believe it is, but I’d love to have the discussion, and to hear other opinions and thoughts on this.

        So please, anyone, share what you think of my rant and what your own thoughts are about this ^_^

        • Rose says:

          I don’t think categories should be used for judging. Like you said, there are a lot of levels between writing your own engine and “focusing on content creation”. I’ve never written an engine from scratch, but I spend a lot of time programming the gameplay and often working with the details like sprite animation, etc. as necessary; and I wouldn’t appreciate a system that overlooks that part of my work.

          Frankly, I think categories like these promote starting from scratch, when in the real world it’s often better to build on existing tools (especially when you want to get a game out with a short deadline!)

          I think that having a tech rating could work, although it would require a lot of effort for the voters to investigate the source code. And there are always going to be various interpretations of a category – like should the tech score be higher for a “from scratch” game with some big bugs or a game which uses an engine but runs perfectly?

    3. Will Edwards says:

      This topic recurs quite often :)

      The entries seem to fit into two broad groups – those that seem to be written by the inexperienced and those that seem to be written by the experienced. And the voting favours the inexperienced.

      • DST says:

        I’m not sure I entirely agree, experience is not simply experience,
        2D graphics, 3D graphics, gameplay, storytelling, concept creation, programming, audio creation, physics, humor, all of these are experience, and they are can all be expressed in a game.
        When judging, the score of the game should somehow be the sum of these different areas, but it can only be that if the person judging is allowed to place points in all the categories.

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