Cage Match?

RekNepZ

GMC Historian
So if anyone remembers, the Cage Match was a weekly event run by Ablach Blackrat. He would have two recent GM games go "head-to-head" with people voting for which one they liked best and with the winner going against a new game the next week. For more info see here (topic includes a cameo from 12-year-old me!)

I really liked this and I'd be very interested in organizing its return, but I'd like to know if people would actually participate. What do you all think?
 
A

Aura

Guest
If it's about voting: Yes. If it's about participating: Not sure. A poll would have been better for that IMO.
 

BLang

Member
I'd be down to both vote and participate, provided that I actually get a game far enough to warrant uploading it here.
 
S

Snail Man

Guest
I'm interested.

Have you contacted the staff about this, or did you make this topic first?
 
R

Rusty

Guest
Not the greatest event the GMC ever had. I think it would be more fun as a developer's arena type thing. Pick two developers who have signed up from a list, give them each a week or so then put their two creations to a week long vote from the community to see whose is best.
 

Nocturne

Friendly Tyrant
Forum Staff
Admin
Pick two developers who have signed up from a list, give them each a week or so then put their two creations to a week long vote from the community to see whose is best.
Rusty, that is a genius idea. Let me think about it and we'll maybe get something drafted out... if we (the staff) think it's viable, we'll post a topic here to explain and discuss.

:)
 
R

Rusty

Guest
Rusty, that is a genius idea. Let me think about it and we'll maybe get something drafted out... if we (the staff) think it's viable, we'll post a topic here to explain and discuss.
It shouldn't be too hard to moderate. If you hold them monthly (taking a month off to make space to build hype for GMC Jams) then it shouldn't really conflict with any other interests on the forum either.
 
G

Guest User

Guest
If you plan to get it done before the Jam starts you'd better start it ASAP.

...which reminds me, @Nocturne, when are the topics going up/being unlocked? They're usually up about a month before it begins. It's about 3 weeks away.

Edit: *30 seconds later, a 'GMC Jam News Feed' topic is up*
:potato:
 
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FrostyCat

Member
And why limit yourselves to games? Staff members can take advantage of this to help generate documentation, tutorials, extensions and examples targeting typically under-served subjects.
  • You want D&D to get a little life? Make a D&D tutorial cage match and add the winner to the Beginner tutorial feed.
  • You want people to do smarter, non-stock things with HTML5? Make "hacking HTML5" cage match and add a link to the winner.
  • You want people to explore Android extensions more extensively and creatively (especially the new Gradle pipeline)? Make an Android extension cage match and pin up the winner for a month.
  • You want to publicize a new feature in GMS? Make a themed match for the most creative use of it and publish an article on the tech blog.
The old GMC had a number of "cold zones" and subjects with a lack of skilled commentators, the cage match could be the solution this time around.
 

hippyman

Member
And why limit yourselves to games? Staff members can take advantage of this to help generate documentation, tutorials, extensions and examples targeting typically under-served subjects.
I think this could actually be really helpful so I second this.
 

BLang

Member
I like Rusty's idea a lot, it sounds super brutal and super personal. Not in a bad way, though. It's a good way to get people out of their comfort zones!
 

Nocturne

Friendly Tyrant
Forum Staff
Admin
And why limit yourselves to games? Staff members can take advantage of this to help generate documentation, tutorials, extensions and examples targeting typically under-served subjects.
  • You want D&D to get a little life? Make a D&D tutorial cage match and add the winner to the Beginner tutorial feed.
  • You want people to do smarter, non-stock things with HTML5? Make "hacking HTML5" cage match and add a link to the winner.
  • You want people to explore Android extensions more extensively and creatively (especially the new Gradle pipeline)? Make an Android extension cage match and pin up the winner for a month.
  • You want to publicize a new feature in GMS? Make a themed match for the most creative use of it and publish an article on the tech blog.
The old GMC had a number of "cold zones" and subjects with a lack of skilled commentators, the cage match could be the solution this time around.
Excellent ideas! Definitely something we'll do if we go ahead with this.

Wait, are we talking about 2008 cage match, or Rusty's idea?
Rusty's idea. ;)
 

Toni

Member
I think Rusty's idea is lame. It's like "Let's have a GMC Jam but only invite two people".
 

Nocturne

Friendly Tyrant
Forum Staff
Admin
I think Rusty's idea is lame. It's like "Let's have a GMC Jam but only invite two people".
Ummm.... not really. First of all, the Jam participants frequently ask me (and the other mods that have run it) if we can't do it more frequently or have some other jam/compo between main Jam events. This would fill that niche nicely. Second, the community probably won't be picking a theme (the staff will or maybe we'll choose a selection and put it to the vote... need to think about it first), and there also won't be any community prizes etc... And third, it'll be a 1 on 1 challenge between two people that have been chosen randomly from a list of those that wish to participate.

So, no, not really like the Jam at all. :p


PS: IU think I'll make a topic to discuss this in more depth later, so stay tuned. There is a lot of fun to be had here I think. ;)
 

True Valhalla

Full-Time Developer
GMC Elder
Top tier GameMaker content is a lot harder to discover these days...all we've got is the GM Player and these forums. The original cage match entries were sourced from a pool of 100,000+ GameMaker projects on the YoYo Games sandbox, which no longer exists.

I support some of the innovative ideas here, but the days of the classic cage matches are over and not coming back.
 

chance

predictably random
Forum Staff
Moderator
...[snip]...Jam participants frequently ask me (and the other mods that have run it) if we can't do it more frequently or have some other jam/compo between main Jam events. This would fill that niche nicely.
If cage matches are kept short and held more frequently so more people can participate, then I agree they could help fill that niche. And for that reason, I'd prefer having two new competitors for each match. And a new theme each match.

I realize some people like the traditional approach where the winner stays to compete again. But that limits participation. And realistically, winners might not have time to participate in (potentially) match after match.
 

RekNepZ

GMC Historian
The main reason I wanted to bring the cage match back in its original form is to bring attention to the smaller games posted on this site through a fun weekly event.

I like Rusty's idea too, but I was really hoping to bring back some of the charm from the days the Game Maker community wasn't so focused on making commercial games and more focused on just making fun stuff.
 

Yal

🐧 *penguin noises*
GMC Elder
I think the past is gone, and even if we brought up fun stuff we did in the past, it won't change the rest of the world back. With the new focus on commercial games, a lot more GM games actually get FINISHED, and I've seen more very cool projects since the New GMC got online than I did over several years of the old.
With that said, I never got to experience the Cage Match's full glory, so having that rebooted sounds like a fun concept. I really like the idea of non-game cage matches as well, it could help getting attention to subjects that need it without the month-long preparation a full jam would need.
 

chance

predictably random
Forum Staff
Moderator
The main reason I wanted to bring the cage match back in its original form is to bring attention to the smaller games posted on this site through a fun weekly event.
Trouble is... smaller, less well-known games weren't typically selected for the cage match. They were generally games that already had plenty of attention and were fairly well-known. Those games don't need more attention.

Either way, I never saw the point of the old cage match. Members just voted, and hyped their favorite with posts. The outcomes were fairly predictable, based on the existing popularity of the games. Not much fun IMO.

That's why I like Rusty's idea for short (and frequent) competitions between developers. There's more opportunity to participate -- rather than just vote.
 
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Going to second jas' idea. I'd love to see a GM tournament kind of thing. I'm not too sure how many people would join without flaking out, though. It would still be interesting to try, though.

I like rusty's Thunderdome idea too, haha. =D
 

Ninety

Member
I really like the idea of non-game cage matches as well, it could help getting attention to subjects that need it without the month-long preparation a full jam would need.
Not sure if it's been mentioned previously but I love this idea. The GMC can be very focused on one or two disciplines, something like this might encourage developing skills outside those.
 

chance

predictably random
Forum Staff
Moderator
By "non-game", are we talking about coding challenges, like Jas suggested? Just want to be sure I understand. Either way, I also like Jas' idea of an "open tournament" where anybody can enter. That gets more people participating.

However, are multi-round elimination tournaments really practical? That means each round, every pairing must be judged and winners determined. Then again the next round... and the next... and the next. I mean, the GMC doesn't have a good track record for fast voting.

My second concern is the wide range of skill levels on the GMC -- from beginner to expert. Random pairings could eliminate beginners (and even very good entries) in the first round, based solely on the luck of the pairing.

For these reasons, maybe a single-round open tournament is more practical. Otherwise, this becomes more complicated than the Jams themselves. Just a thought...
 
R

Rusty

Guest
An open-tournament sounds like a cool idea at first glance but Game Maker isn't really something you can tournament with in that regard. It's not like football were you just play football until football wins. A tournament here would basically be a game of Russian Roulette, just hoping that you keep hitting the right competitors and the right themes at the right times. As soon as you get hit in your weak spot you're just left hoping that the person you're facing off with is weaker at it than you are. We could ultimately end up with the worst competitor taking the top spot purely out of being semi-average at the themes their rounds were given.

Not to mention anything with more than two rounds would take over a month in terms of play and voting rotation. Which means anything with more than 4 competitors would be too much for a traditional competition like this to be run more than once a quarter. It's probably best to leave a tournament as more of a member challenge and see who happens to be interested but holding interest for that long is going to be tough and I think you'll see that interest drop far sooner than you can conclude the event.

If including more competitors is the goal here, you could simply run three or so "duels" in a single go. You'd risk overshadowing some of the developers that you're trying to highlight with this kind of event but you'd ultimately get more done with it. Having a week long vote after that could be counted more traditionally too. Most votes per round decides first round winners, first round winners get recounted to decided 1st, 2nd and 3rd. Again, sort of defeats the point of the event but it will add a little more depth to it I suppose.
 

RekNepZ

GMC Historian
Here's a random thought. What if instead of having themes, the participants are given a set of sprites and sounds? This could be helpful for those of us who aren't great at graphics and even-out the playing-field a bit (eg: Yal won't always win because she can do better pixel-art)
 

Yal

🐧 *penguin noises*
GMC Elder
I like that, and it even gave me an unrelated idea - we could build up a "community resource collection" of resources anyone can use for the jam; composers and graphics artists could submit things they're OK with being used this way to that collection, and then they get filed under a resource category so that jammers can look for stuff easily. Sounds like something doable? Sounds like something you'd submit stuff to? I know I'd do it. :)
 
Here's a random thought. What if instead of having themes, the participants are given a set of sprites and sounds? This could be helpful for those of us who aren't great at graphics and even-out the playing-field a bit (eg: Yal won't always win because she can do better pixel-art)
"Helping those of us who aren't good at art" is the same thing as "handicapping those who are good at art." Game creation is A LOT more than just code. =P
Instead of worrying about losing to people who are better artists, why not take the competitions as a chance to strengthen your own weak points? That's what these competitions should be about anyway, I think.
 
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Ninety

Member
Absolutely. I can see where Rek is coming from but frankly games are much more than just code and planning. Art/music/design/story are all integral parts of the experience and to ignore them all in the name of "levelling the playing field" would serve only to unbalance it further.

People have mentioned Yal a few times. In my opinion, Yal is a frequent winner of jams not because her graphics are somehow better than everyone else's but because she is good at making a well-rounded, fleshed-out concept in a short amount of time. Maybe her jam games aren't the most complex mechanically, or have the most amazing music or art, but she has enough of each that the finished product will consistently rank highly. Many of the programmers who feel disadvantaged in competitions are being let down (I would speculate) by their desire to create something which is complex and has a lot of mechanical depth, but which has a lacklustre aesthetic or design.
 

ParodyKnaveBob

The Laughing Rogue
It's starting to turn into a Jam discussion, but before that gets squelched (lol), I'd like to add that my reviews/scores for Jam games generally give (in those particular categories which in turn influence the overall score) "okay-to-good" scores to people who chose great audio/video resources vs. "good-to-great" scores to people who created them -- and of course "bad" scores to people who either chose poorly or created terribly and "disqualified" who ripped and used illegally. Just saying, five games using "generic Jam resource #27" in a Jam might get "okay-to-good" scores (for that category) from me instead of "bad-to-okay" if they'd created terribly-to-mediocrely -- but that's my system where I try to score as objectively as possible. Sadly, games might lose a lot of potential points for using "generic Jam resource #27" just b/c multiple reviewers might get tired of seeing/hearing it, calling it "cheap to go that route" or whatever (although the same reviewers might not count against for using others' resources which weren't specifically created for the Jams just because they might not feel as inundated with them).

EDIT: Btw, I'm talking about optional resource packs sitting opportunistically for people who want them -- not required resources that everyone must pick from despite their own desires/abilities/etc.

Blah blah blah, wrote for too long, and this really belongs in the non-existent Jam Discussion topic. $;^ b

Regards,
Bob $:^ J
 
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Alice

Toolmaker of Bucuresti
Forum Staff
Moderator
I agree with the notion that game development is much more complex than just the very mechanics, and generally one should strive to cover as many aspects of that as possible. It doesn't necessarily mean that someone must excel at visuals, audio, storytelling etc., but get at least skilled enough that the game doesn't feel like it has major lacks.

Especially when it comes to art (since in the Jam/competitive conditions audio, especially music, is obtained from free resources), I believe making the game aesthetically pleasing is well within most people's capabilities if they try and learn a bit. Not every art must be "drawn" per se - if one gives it a bit of thought, they can get away with assembling rounds, rectangles and/or triangles together, maybe taking some time to choose different colours than the standard palette. Plus, there's more to visuals than just pictures - one can prettify the game by well-placed particle effects or procedural animation (bouncing, growing, shaking, waddling etc.) which, in fact, is more of an engineering challenge than artistic talents.

I think there's much bigger gap between "ugly" and "acceptable" than between "acceptable" and "visually gorgeous", when it comes to how it affects people's judgment of the game. And the former gap is easier to cover, too. Once you learn to make "acceptable" visuals, you are free to excel at other areas (mechanics design, storytelling etc.) without having them brought down by appalling graphics.

I don't know how about others, but if I were stuck with specific artistic/sound resources, I'd feel way more limited than I'd like to be. If I want to make a spooky game, I just want to crudely draw my own bedsheet-clad individual rather than dig through the preset resources to find out there is none. And even if some resources gave me a game idea, it might turn out it requires other resources, that aren't in the pack.

The resources limitation might work when it comes to non-game (tutorial/engine) challenges, so that people pay attention to the engine rather than placeholders used. But for a game, I'm not quite fond of that.
 

chance

predictably random
Forum Staff
Moderator
Having a challenge where everyone uses the same resource pack would be fun... occasionally. Maybe we should reserve this idea for one of the Jams, or one of the cage matches (if they happen) -- rather than use it all the time.

But we're getting down in the weeds here. We should probably focus our discussion on the primary structure of the cage match, rather than the themes or tool sets.

So... Is it a series of rounds between two competitors at a time? A series of rounds for everyone with pair-wise elimination? A single open competition (like a mini-Jam)? Other?
 
R

Rusty

Guest
More importantly, having a resource library on the GMC has absolutely nothing to do with any specific event. If we have a set of resources on the GMC that are free to use then they're going to appear in everything. I think I'd prefer playing games with programmer graphics rather than seeing the same thing over and over again.

Besides, graphics and audio are as much a part as making a game as the actual GML. Character design, level settings, theme swings, they're jobs a great game developer must figure out. Yal might be slapping you around the courts with her graphical advantage over you but she has every right to, that's a skill she has developed as part of being a game developer. You don't just start handing out handcap cards because somebody is better than you.
 
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