A while back, I created a new contest called the Cartridge Classic. The challenge was to make an 8K game, with certain libraries allowed. Unlike a 4K challenge this allowed for many more features and broader gameplay possibilities. The first challenge produced quite a few interesting games, in several different genres.
The goal of the Cartridge Classic is to recapture the spirit of '80s gaming, in which games had to be written to fit within an 8K cartridge and work with the system hardware to produce the best bang for the buck that they could. The first contest largely succeeded in that regard; several of the entries had a pleasing retro feel, though that was by no means a requirement; the winner in fact was the most highly polished game of the bunch.
The original contest was in the era of BYOND 3.0, and much has changed since then. We now have 32-bit graphics, module-format music, custom interfaces, and even isometric graphics. So much more is possible now, it's high time to run this contest again and see what great games people can come up with.
Here are the ground rules:
The 8K limit, which means 8,192 bytes, applies to the total of all .dm files used by the project with exceptions listed in other rules below. All other files can be used without contributing to the limit, including (but not limited to):
- .dme files
- .dms script files
- Other resources
- Help files and documentation
- Savefiles, text files, etc. distributed with the game
The use of external .dll files is not allowed. (This is because too much code can be offloaded to the .dll, and it also opens up security concerns.)
Use of a MySQL database is not allowed. Anyone should be able to run the game without requiring additional programs to be installed.
Entries may be single-player and/or multiplayer games. Demos are not allowed. You must create a full, working game.
A hub entry is not required.
The source code for all qualifying entries will be released at the end of the competition. The value of world.hub_password, if present, will be removed prior to release.
You may list world.hub and world.hub_password in a separate .dm file. This file will not be counted against the project's total size as long as it does not include any other information. When the source for the game is released, this file will not be included. You may change the hub password after judging is finished, but for the duration of judging the hub_password provided should remain valid.
The .dm font files generated by DmiFontsPlus are not counted against the total. The font inside may have its vars modified to alter the font characteristics only. Use of these files to store additional information or code will result in the entire file being counted against the total size limit.
The following libraries may be used without size penalty but in accordance with all other rules. Libraries on this list may be updated during the competition, but insertion of game-specific code will result in disqualification. Additional libraries may be added to the list per sponsor's discretion.
Other libraries may be used, under the following conditions:
- The library must be available for download by anyone.
- The .dm files used in the library will count toward the 8K total in accordance with the rules above.
- The version of the library downloaded by the sponsor at time of submission will be considered official.
- The library must not violate any of the other rules.
Judges or the sponsor may submit their own entries but will be recused from their own reviews. Entries submitted by the sponsor are ineligible for prize money; any such entry earning a prize-winning place will bump the entries beneath it further up in prize contention.
Participants may submit multiple entries if desired, but must submit them separately.
Entries may be authored by an individual person or a team. If prizes are awarded, the submitter must specify the BYOND keys that will receive any winnings and how the winnings will be split. In the event that winnings cannot be split evenly among contestants sharing their prize, the remainder will be allocated in the order preferred by the submitter, or otherwise arbitrarily at the sponsor's discretion.
Entries submitted to the original Cartridge Classic are ineligible for competition again.
Entries that cannot be compiled will not be judged. If a problem is discovered, the author will be informed of the problem and may resubmit before the submission deadline.
Entries must be received by 12 AM BST,
December 1, 2010February 1, 2011. Any entry submitted may be resubmitted with changes up to the deadline. All submissions should be sent via e-mail to [email protected], with the subject line "Cartridge Classic submission". The submission should be in a .zip file attached to the e-mail, but if attachments are not working you may include a link to a .zip on a webserver or download service (except mediafire, because they suck).
All entries will be judged on the following criteria:
- Gameplay: How fun the game is to play
- Presentation: Quality of graphics, sound effects, etc.
- User-friendliness: Ease of play, control scheme, interface
- Replayability: Game's staying power
- Overall: Judge's overall impression of the game, may be independent from the other factors
Replayability is a new criterion for this contest. Games that have fixed levels without a means of adding more will receive a lower score than those that are extensible, random, or procedurally generated for potentially infinite play.
In addition, sound effects are required for a full presentation score. Games that omit sound will receive a lower presentation score, exact penalty percentage to be determined at a later date but applied to all silent entries equally. Judges may deduct for poor or extremely limited use of sound effects at their own discretion. This may vary with the type of game, since board games for instance do not need many sounds to seem complete. Music is not a requirement.
A help file is not required for user-friendliness, but the game controls and interface should be as intuitive as possible.
The top five entries will receive prizes in the following amounts:
1st place $50.00 2nd place $40.00 3rd place $30.00 4th place $25.00 5th place $20.00
Entries that qualify for honorable mention may be awarded additional prizes per sponsor's discretion. Prize amounts may be increased per sponsor's discretion for exceptional entries.
Prize payouts will be made via BYOND wallet.