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soul_assassin

The unOfficial ArmA 2 modding competition

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Everyone, I would like to propose an idea borrowed from all major computer art communities and start organising a monthly competition in all modding areas to stimulate the community in this regard.

The idea is:

1. Every month a competition theme and rules are announced (eg. whacky helicopter under 7000 polies with 2 texture sheets). Anyone can enter, multiple entries are allowed etc.

2. On deadline day all entries are gathered and then voting resumes either publicly or by a panel or whatever.

3. After a bit winners are announced and perhaps can be awarded some sort of honor badge or something on these forums. The addons they create should also receive some kind of honor badge.

If there are enough people interested to participate I think it should be fun. What do you guys think?

First draft of rules and regulations:

#1. The work submitted as part of the competition has to be completely done by the submitter(s). Use of outside sources i.e. texture layers, sounds etc, has to conform with the respective owner license agreements and terms of use. Any work suspected of being fraudulent will be dismissed without hesitation.

#2. No ports. This is not the point.

#3. The addon has to be purpose built for the competition at hand. Any previously published work will not be accepted. It is however no problem to reuse your own resources to a certain extent. Again, the point of the competition is fun.

#4. This is an "open-source" project. Models, configs and model files should be binarized, however source files should be provided in the package (no psd's). and by entering the competition, the creator explicitly agrees to allow others to download and study their work. The creator, however still retains all intellectual property rights to the artwork and any case of reproduction of someone else's work should be addressed to them.

#5. Every competition will have its own subset of regulations and challenges. Failure to comply will result in penalty with the judges.

#6. Contestants are encourage to post about their progress as often as possible in the proper contest thread. This will keep the competition more lively and enjoyable.

#7. CONSTRUCTIVE criticism is welcome. Don't push it though, wherever possible offer help instead of just bashing.

Edited by Soul_Assassin
Adding rules

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If you are bored, you are welcome to come help me in my projects. Would be much appreciated and time well spent.

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The isue is not boredom, the issue is that there are not enough people for everyone who want help, for every mod maker there is 10 non-makers with bright ideas crying for help. A small monthly competition could inspire people to pick up the software and actually learn though fun on their own rather then under pressure of a team deadline. There are no uber-skills required to enter, just willpower. Imagine that in the end of every month a lot of small fun independent addons come out for everyone to enjoy.

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Yes, making an Addon is totally different from making a Mod

Lots of people don't nessisary want to join in or start a Mod (me for 1) for many different reasons so little creative bursts like this idea from SA is more suited.

I'd be in it (once I get ArmA2).

As a suggestion (not fully thought through yet), how about "levels" to the challenge

Level 1 (or maybe call it "3D" or "Appearance") - A forklift

Level 2 (or call it "Function")- A forklift with real working forks and lights etc

Level 3 (or call it "Tricked Out!") - A working forklift with a whole bunch of pickup items also

Thinking that this may get more people involved, some people who dont know any Uber config and script tricks can just aim for the coolest looking forklift and get an "3D" award. Others who can't 3D model if their life depended on it but can Config and Script, could do some quick and dirt forklift impression but make it do 100 tricks.

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Do you mean as 3 seperate awards in the same category? A set up like this would work:

1. Overall best choice award - has to have the overall outstanding quality.

2. Presentation award

3. Script award - for functionality

4. Innovation award - for something out of the ordinary

Submission: a working .pbo by deadline.

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What are the benefits/positive in the long run?

What are the downsides/damage done?

What are the alternatives.

You may want to discuss this first.

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If you truly would like to stimulate this area and push an increase in addons and such, you should first hold a competition as to who can create the most well written and complete tutorial on addon making. There is an abundant of hidden talent out here with innovative ideas, the will to perservere and the pride to ensure quality, not to mention those of us who get sick of seeing folks remake similar models over again or seeing folks change a texture to a unit rather than produce a whole new model. Help the community out by helping it help itself rather than horde the knowledge up behind barriers.

Thats my 2 cents.

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What are the benefits/positive in the long run?

What are the downsides/damage done?

What are the alternatives.

You may want to discuss this first.

Thats abit overanalyzing it imho. Just addonmakers having fun :)

If you truly would like to stimulate this area and push an increase in addons and such, you should first hold a competition as to who can create the most well written and complete tutorial on addon making. There is an abundant of hidden talent out here with innovative ideas, the will to perservere and the pride to ensure quality, not to mention those of us who get sick of seeing folks remake similar models over again or seeing folks change a texture to a unit rather than produce a whole new model. Help the community out by helping it help itself rather than horde the knowledge up behind barriers.

Thats my 2 cents.

There are more then enough tutorials and explanations around.

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I agree with savedbygrace. For ArmA we didn't have any clear cut tutorials on how to go from nothing to a fully functioning addon. Common responses were "It's like making an addon for OFP, so go read Brsseb's tutorials and the Biki." and we didn't really see an influx of new addon makers into the game. I think that if we had tutorials for ARMA2 in the way that Brsseb had made his, we would be seeing a lot more people making the effort to create addons.

I like [APS]Gnat's idea, but how do we get people who are not modellers to create a working script, etc, without a model to make functional?

Abs

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horde the knowledge

Careful with that statement.

I for 1, like many other Addon makers here;

- Have contributed detailed answers to 10's of questions (if not 100's) both in these forums, the OFPEC forums and the OGN forums.

- I have written tuts, but they are VERY HARD to do, and there is a CONSTANT problem of where do you limit your tut. detail to, because its become VERY complex with ArmA1. The days of the simple OFP type tut. is gone, there are layers upon layers of detail and at this moment I'd suggest there very few people expert enough to do a full tut. anyway.

Karma

All that said, I feel ALL addon makers, even if they are working for a Mod, owe the community some of their knowledge becasue NONE of them can ever say they got it all by themselves. If they do, its total bullshit

Do you mean as 3 seperate awards in the same category?

No, more like 3 awards for 3 categories.

Addon maker could decide to submit to either category, the "Beautiful Addon", "Funtional addon" or "Total tricked addon" category.

Maybe its just 2 categories; "Beautiful Addon" & "Total tricked addon"

Example, I myself will never get close to making a "beautiful" addon, but I could probably make a fairly ugly look-a-like of a forklift, but make it do (in ArmA) just about everything a real forklift could do via Config wizardry and Scripts.

What the community could benefit from this is some uber bits of brilliance coming through.

The winner of the "Beautiful" could then get together with the "Trick" wizard to make a PERFECT forklift.

Then comes an avalance of similar, bulldozer, Bobcat, Backhoe etc

This is very different from the community waiting around for some addon maker to pull ALL these features together just on the random off-chance they might feel like doing such an addon themselves.

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This will make things a bit more complicated, but how about;

- 1 August: Add-on Guru-X get's asked to organise the 1st contest.

- Guru-X thinks of a theme

- and writes a simple step-by-step tutorial how to make an object in that category

- 1 September: Contest starts, Add-on Guru-Y starts on 2nd contest

1st Contest could be the forklift, so the tutorial would be about making a vehicle for example.

The rules for entries should be rather open, so you allow for easy entries for starters. Making it open for suggestions from others and second entries and enhancements only adds to the learning part of the idea behind this.

I really would like to see this getting started as this might get me trying to get into add-on making once again. :)

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How about the winner(s) choose the next theme?

===edit===

Also, how about each entry gets released under the BIS license from ArmA, so that people could take the entries and make them into a nice, complete addon pack?

Thinking more along the lines of buildings, etc, here...

===/edit===

Abs

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I would be in, in case groups of max 2 people are allowed, and also 1 month is a too short period of time (for example I wouldn't have the time to get an addon done in 1 month if I do it proper because modding is a hobby but nothing more, so I cannot set it (as priority) above my normal life beings)

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Groups of 2 should be fine, Takko, but also a month is ok it will keep the wheel rolling. The competitions should be small and fun and not the regular full-blown project like. Themes should also more general, for example not forklift but utility vehicles. That would make the choice for the addon bigger and variation (and creativity as people are also allowed to invent they're own crazy contraptions). Themes can be discussed publicly and voted on by the last months winners. Then a rep, someone like Placebo for example can post the new comp sticky thread with the rules of engagement.

Some off-the-top ofmy head theme ideas:

- Fav cartoon vehicles (cartma's trike, flinstones car, etc.)

- RemoteControl (small scale (+no interiors) RC cars, planes etc. should be possible with new UAV class)

- Camouflage design (for texturers to pit their design skills to make a camo design for a new made up faction)

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I think that the contest idea is a very good one. I'd like to also throw in the suggestion to open-source the submissions (or only the winner) once the voting is over. I think this could serve as a good resource to learn from existing addons.

Additionally, I'd like to propose that the technical quality of the addon should influence the voting. This could stimulate participants to improve their technical skills and raise discussions about best practices etc.

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Heeey hardrock :) is been a long-time my friend :)

Yep open-source sounds like a way to go, but it shouldnt be mandatory. People have the right to keep their trade secrets if they so wish.

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You shouldn't do it monthly, as this will limit the quality and the number of people contributing. Better make it every third month or something like that.

And I -- as always -- totally agree with hardrock that the techincal side definitely should be an important point, in all categories: Config writing, script style, texturing (how many, fitting size, ...) and of course modelling (LODs, quality, ...). If you're doing this you of course need guidelines to make sure that the "technical side" can be judged from a neutral POV. Like 50% less polys for each res LOD until you're < 200, use of base classes (macros?) in configs, ...

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Some of the issues raedor mentions should be addressed in the comp rules, for example:

Forklift (vehicle):

- maximum polygon count 5000

- maximum texture specs: 2*1k per pass meaning u can have 2 diffuse of 1024^2 + 2 normal maps same size + 2 spec maps + 2 of whatever other passes u choose to have

- must have at least turning wheels (if it has them, i.e. if someone makes a futuristic floating forklift this doesnt apply)

- must work without any additional addons (no XEH or whatever)

Furthermore I think it would be cool to provide a little starter package for example with a base base config which ppl can use and if they want to improve upon.

As for the duration time, i guess it can also vary comp to comp. 3 months for something more broad and creative can be very reasonable. However we run into a few problems:

- people get bored with the same thing pretty fast and a fast approaching deadline can motivate to work faster.

- 4 competitions a year isnt that much

And people shouldn't be deterred from entering, i mean u loose nothing if u participate :)

@raedor

Perhaps you could bring it up with the moderators if they would like to help organise such an event? Maybe even the mighty BI would like to pitch in ideas for themes or such?

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I agree regarding the time issue. In lots of 2D/3D artist sites/forums, these kinds of competitions only run for 1-2-4 weeks tops, but you have to take into account that many of the people on that kind of site/forum are either doing this professionally, or are studying to become professionals, so are much more proficient.

The main issue I see with this idea is that imo established addonmakers would be tempted to enter, but that starting/lesser skilled people (the target audience) would think that they aren't good enough anyway, so why bother (I've also noticed this when recruiting, people saying stuff like "I'm not good enough to join such a high quality mod" quite wrongly). Thinking of the possibility of failure more (or valuing it higher) than the possibilities to learn.

Because of this, it would seem to me more as time spent on things outside of people's main areas of interest (addon projects, mods etc), slowing progress rather than speeding it up (by getting more people good at making addons). People can of course work on whatever they want, but on the point of making people better addonmakers, I don't see it happening.

Also how are you going to minimize the chance of someone entering with stolen content? (after all, you can't track check every 3D forum just to be sure)

Edited by JdB

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It is actualy very surprising how proficient the community is at rooting out frauds :) But on your main point: The main idea of this is to actually get the people that are less experienced but want to experiment on their own time without mod team pressure at the cost of gaining some recognition. I have participated a couple of times in 3dtotal competitions where most of the guys there are waaaaay beyond my reach, the kind of guys who get interviewed but it was still a fun experience and a learning one for sure. If the community is positive about the whole idea then there should be no problem.

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I think the amount of time (ie 1 month or 3 month) need to be judged after the actual competition.

I mean, what kind of quality are you expecting if you say "make the most awesome car you can imagine!" to your average noob modder? Hardly 3 months worth of effort. I'm sure someone will want to make a 30,000 polygon Koenigsegg with 4096x4096 textures, but I really dont see the fun in that if we're looking at just a contest to get people interested into modding. By the time the competition ends people will have forgotten why it started and long since moved on to more interesting things to make.

How about making a multi-stepped competition? For example, lets take the forklift. Set the time to 1 month. Then one have parts as follows:

+10 days - Quick-n-dirty forklifts, light rules.

+20 days - "Advanced" forklifts. Must function, possible quality demands, will be judged more critically. Improved forklifts from the first stage may be submitted if they want.

+30 days - The "Make Something Real" forklifts. Realism, functionality, handling, texture and model quality, etc should be judged with extreme prejudice. As with +20, improved forklifts should be able to be submitted again.

Now, why such a setup? Well mostly because it will get ALL people on board... And it will keep all skill levels interested throughout the competition. Are you a noob that made a quick forklift that ended up top 3 in its class? Well keep working and maybe it'll win in the second stage too! Or are you the type that think you can make turn a forklift into a realistic work of art? You got 30 days to meet the criteria.

At the end, all winners would be presented: Best quickjob, best advanced and best realistic.

What stops a "realistic" class modeller/coder from putting up a cool quickjob and make it unfair for the rest? Well, nothing really. But its about as unfair as a noob trying to compete with veterans that got a month to make the perfect forklift.

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You should add Rule #1: Everything has to be self-made or at least credited properly (we don't want to re-invent the ...).

I don't know if BI has the time to do something here, basically all we need is some artwork and some text for the guidelines, everything else can be done with new threads here + some PR work with the news pages. Of course, if the winner is announced on the BI pages or something like this, it will be more attractive. I'll go and ask.

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We just need something to encourage creativity, otherwise we'll just end up with 5 models of slightly different forklifts based on the same concept.

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