I am so very new in this place but I hope my thought may still be of some use
Mystery wrote:As I have promised, I am creating a new topic where the AM community can discuss on 3 major topics:
1) On what criteria should the games in future be judged?
I agree with Chromegloss suggestion as well because it is very clearly expressed and give both competitor and judge a manual of the criteria of the contest. I would however suggest that the general criteria to the forum contests are made as a sticky so that newcomers, who would like to enter the contest and has no idea about how the previous ones have been held, can easily get an idea of what is expected out of a game.
Mystery wrote:2) How should the deadline be handled? (especially delays due to health related, job related or technical problems)
This is a much harder one to answer, I think.
First one needs to agree on what one means with a "dead line" because within the framework of a forum it can mean one thing while outside of this forum it might mean something else. If you like the contest to be attractive to guests who may want to try their wings in a contest you have a choice. Either you specify what you mean by "deadline", i e any contribution after the set date is considered "dead" (for example) OR you do NOT call it deadline but an ending date of the competition and explain that the jury reserve the right to change the date if there are valid reasons to do so such as health related, job related or technical problems.
I would think this is a good way to go about it because any contestant would of course like to be aware that the rules of the contest can be changed, thus the contestant cannot protest if such an event occurs. Just a thought.
Second, if a jury believes there is a valid reason for a deadline make sure you understand the dynamics of the parties involved in a contest. Contestants and contest arrangers do not have the same agenda. Contest arrangers would of course want to have as many contestants as possible in a game because then there is more competition for the prize of the contest. Contestants on the other hand would probably prefer less contestants because that means a greater chance of getting a good place or even win.
Suppose you say that you change the deadline for one or two contestants to be able to finish their games and then suggest that during that short extension the other contestants may improve their games. Would this be fair? Not necessarily. It depends if the contestants have the same problems that need to be fixed. Lets say for example that five out of six have serious bugs. That would mean that those five are able to enter totally new entries while the sixth has no real use of this suggestion thus the competition changes greatly on the expense of the sixth contestant. In real life there would be all kinds of debate and protest if such a decision was made because rules of a game is viewed as a contract between the contestant and those that arrange the contest.
In a forum however it's not a valid argument to suggest that the rules of a contest is a contract between the contestant and the contest arrangers because you have to be a member of the forum to enter. That means there is all ready a contract made that the member has to follow. It is like saying "if you want to enter the world series of this sport you have to be become a citizen of this country and follow our rules". So, it's actually up to the leaders of the forum how the rules of the contest are to be viewed. If you like to view it as a contract you can of course do that or you can simply see it as guidelines just like any other thread with guidelines that may be changeable.
I therefor humbly suggest two things:
- Always motivate your decision to change the ending date the way it was done in this last contest. I think that was a really good idea.
- Weigh your decisions on changing rules with the interest of the contestants in mind. Will the change benefit all the contestants or some more than others? Should it effect the judging of the result or not?
Mystery wrote:3) How can we promote the contests better, or what else can we do in order to get more submitted games?
I am not sure if I am able to give good suggestions since I am so new and have so little knowledge about contests in the past. I would think that you have tried some of these ideas all ready buuuuut anyway....
I suppose summertime is slightly better time to hold contests because you might assume that many are having some spare time to do other things. X-mas is not really a good idea even if it is a holiday because somehow it is a stressful rather than relaxing time for many.
Also, if you want newcomers to join a contest it may be preferable to hold a "newcomer" contest, so that ppls who only have the free version or never posted a game before get a the courage to come forward. It may sound silly but I myself and my partner were very nervous at the prospect of competing with Harvester and/or Von Knudenberg for example
Make sure that the contest is advertised in the main page of AM (not forums). The prize might then be smaller (lets say not the full commercial AM, only one full) than a competition in a more advanced level to make sure that once a member enter a beginners competition and maybe get a good place, they'd like to try a more advanced competition later on. Hold the new comers competition more frequently so that even if only two enter it is still two new members to the forum.
This way you'll have more members who at least have tried one competition at an early stage, they'll get more experience in the forums and hopefully will gather courage to try more advanced contests.
Also, have you ever tried to make a game where members join as a group to work on a project? It may be fun to create an idea for a short story and then let members have their own chapter in the story that they create. That way you'll have fun while getting to know each other and your game creating ways together
Also, new games may then be added to the forums that way
I want to add that these are only my thoughts and I hope no one is offended by anything I have said. As I see it most things are only a point of view and there are sooo many point of views.