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Socoder -> On Topic -> The Wednesday Workshops

Sun, 28 Jun 2009, 16:08
Have a look here: list of all Wednesday Workshops.

Looks nice, doesn't it? The first competition had a whopping nine entrants and the following had eight of them, which is also impressive. Relatively, at least. Browse away to the pages more close to today, and you'll be lucky if you spot a week which had two entries. I talked to Jay in the MudChat today, asking why weeks 201-207 hadn't been added yet, to which he responded "Nobody entered, so I didn't bother adding them yet."

There's simply no interest in these competitions anymore. I remember when they began, in the days of Coder's Workshop, and everyone was excited. It even earned Jay his position as moderator over there. Two-hundred and six WWs later, the buzz has stopped. Which is quite understandable. You don't want to watch the same movie 207 times. The WWs have become too much routine, and too un-enthralling.

It is important to note that this is not criticism directed towards Jay. He's taken the time to think up these ideas, which becomes immensely hard after a while (I've tried!), and is also the only one who enters regularly. But it is not criticism towards the community either, who hasn't really been interested. You can't be blamed for that. My point is that the WWs are a concept which has grown out-dated.

Week #200 had four entries, because it was a "special" occasion. This leads me to believe that the Wednesday Workshop needs to be more special, or in fact not even be a Wednesday Workshop, but rather a more special, less frequent competition.

Over at DBF, a site I visit about once every six months, they have a pretty good competition system. There's a challenge every few months, the latest ones being held in June and February this year, and there are prizes. This is in the form of money ($25 dollars in the latest one, for first price), a special little banner to indicate competition placement, and some "karma", ie rating. I'm certainly not expecting/asking/requesting Jay to fork out some money here for holding competitions, but what I'm after here is palpable prizes! These do not have to be money.

We had badges before, they never really took off. What do you award people badges for? Posting an interesting YouTube video? Having a cool avatar? No, that would be silly. Competitions however, that's not silly. People love shiny badges, permanent burn-marks on their profiles showing "I r0x teh s0x!". I know I'd want one.

In addition, I also think we should have one of those karma systems, although I know there are very mixed opinions about this.

In short:
  • No one enters Wednesday Workshops
  • So let's make them less frequent...
  • ...and add some virtual prizes for winning

Sun, 28 Jun 2009, 16:30
Additional note, the monthly workshop no longer exists, because nobody entered that one either!

I don't want to get rid of WW, because it's kind of the reason this site even existed in the first place.

I started WW at CW, THEN I became a mod, and then I felt like I had to do something when it all vanished..

To be fair, I don't think the idea's gone, it's just that nobody's as much of a frantic coder as I am!

You've all gotten old, and I, in a bizarre Peter Pan style, am still pissing about making silly little games!

''Load, Next List!''
Sun, 28 Jun 2009, 17:26
# flying_cucco: Poor Wednesday Workshop!
# Phoenix: Yup, I'm a cold-blooded bastard who dares to poke at it
# Jayenkai: WW's fine. It's bobbing along until people bother with it..
# flying_cucco: Not at all, it is deathly sick, and has been ill a long time
# Jayenkai: I entered, this week! That's not dead!
# flying_cucco: hey, maybe some prize money might bring people back
# flying_cucco: I remember when there was at least half a douzen entries each week
# flying_cucco: I would donate a little
# flying_cucco:
# Jayenkai: I really hate that that's a possibility. Folk are just lazy if they can't take a couple of hours to make a little game, without it having to be about money.
# Phoenix: True, but it's not about money.
# flying_cucco: a weekly challenge, every week...
# Phoenix: It's not as if people want to enter the WWs to get paid, and I don't think we should have physical money as prizes either
# flying_cucco: how much longer can that be sustained
# flying_cucco: there are only so many versions of pong!
# Jayenkai: We've had a 0 pong rule since way way back! (albeit not actually a written rule anymore!)
# Phoenix: Let's hear what the members say. Why don't you add your 2 cents in the topic, cuccp?
# flying_cucco: Jnk: I know, and thats when the enties dropped!
# Jayenkai: ;0
# flying_cucco: jk
# Jayenkai: Best week, imo, was that original 3-hour challenge.. Loads of people entered thinking "WOW! A game in 3 hours!!", and then they all seemed to completely forget that, thinking "Weekly challenge" meant "TAKE ALL FUCKING WEEK!!"
# Phoenix: It's amazing how much you can actually do in a week if you're really dedicated.
# flying_cucco: Interesting... so one week is not too short to produce anything interesting, but too long a commitment to motivate people to enter
# Jayenkai: One day's not too short to produce something interesting..
# Jayenkai: I did Microbes in a day, give or take the few hours I've been tweaking it today..
# Phoenix: No, I don't think that's it. Most entries are made within the scope of a day, I'd guess.
# flying_cucco: no. 200 got four entrie
# flying_cucco: and that forced you to make something very short
# Jayenkai: As I've said before, the WW is there if you're bored. If you finish a large project and can't think of something, or if you've got bored of a project, or if you're in need of something fresh.. Just give it a go.
# Jayenkai: If you need an idea, flick through the archives, plenty to see.
# Phoenix: My "Joe" game was made in three days, and I'm fairly slow compared to Jay A week is enough time to make a really kick-ass game, and I don't think people are struggling to stay comitted.
# Jayenkai: It's not important, it's just something that's always there.

Preserved, like a fine jam.
Sun, 28 Jun 2009, 19:28
Add some real prizes!
Sun, 28 Jun 2009, 20:18
Time for my 2 cents: For me the WW are just too short. I don't have a lot of free time, certainly not enough to try a WW. I was more interested in the Monthly workshops becuase of this. Unfortunately, many of the ideas for those were ones that I wasn't interested in, which was my problem with them, so I'd have to wait a month to see what the next one was about.

Idea: What if you started a one month workshop every half a month, so that two would be going at the same time. This would increase the odds of someone like me getting involved because of a theme I'd be interested in would be more likely to show up. It'd also require Jay to only have to come up with half as many ideas as would be required for a WW.

With regards to the ideas Jay has been coming up with ( I respect the effort and how long he has been doing it), but for me some of them are either so vague or make little sense, that it doesn't catch my interest. Engrish for example: I don't have a freaking clue what it is. Others here do, but I don't, which pretty much alienates me from doing anything with it. I'd personally like workshops that are more specific without being limiting. Something along the lines of "make a breakout like game. Try to seperate it from breakout clones with unique feature(s)." That statement gives focus for someone like me, and at the same time gives me the freedom to try interesting things. I could probably come up with a half dozen ideas for this that would be fun for me. This idea could be applied to several other types of games: pong, space invaders, tetris, chess, tic-tac-toe, tower defense, etc... Giving the name of a game like breakout gives me a place to start. This weeks description of "Allow the player to enter bullet time" doesn't even really make that much sense for me, let alone give me any idea of where to start. Maybe that is Jay's intention: to give us almost total freedom over the idea, but I like more specific ideas.

A final thought: it is probably best to avoid WWs that focus on anything other than gameplay. I don't have the means to do anything with music, I'm sure others can't do anything with networking. My point is to try and avoid ideas like these which require special abilities. Gameplay is about the only thing that all of us can be guaranteed to be able to do.

Again, no disrespect intended, just giving my opinion as it pertains to why I don't participate, even though there are times I want to.
Sun, 28 Jun 2009, 21:43
A week just isn't enough for me, either. And prizes would provide much motivation.

Tue, 30 Jun 2009, 16:40
Seems to be fairly little interest in changing the WWs. I'm slightly disappointed, actually. How about a real competition then? Not a reoccuring one; a one-off event, an actual competition with prizes, judging and rock n' roll? We have never had one.

This could also attract greedy game developers to our site too. I'd donate a small sum and, considering the chat log above, I believe that Cucco would too. Good/bad idea?
Wed, 01 Jul 2009, 19:08
Its a shame that the Wednesday Workshops aren't doing so well. I thought I was one of the few regulars who didn't do WW's often. I have been interested in some of the WW challenges from time to time, but feel like I don't have enough time in my life to devote quality time into doing a WW entry. Perhaps I'm not thinking short-term enough to do a decent one.

Besides, with my programming I am usually working on much larger projects, which span several months (if not years). I don't think we should have competitions like that, though. I think it would be neat to incorporate some more long-term project development into the world wonder, but I just don't know how.

But here's an idea I just got to pondering. What if, whenever someone is stuck on their own long-term projects, we created some kind of competition for it? It could be as simple as the design of a game's menu system, or graphics for a main character, or even just some general ideas on how to put something together (something I sometimes need help with too). It would be a way of people contributing to another person's project. The person asking for the help could then pick out the winner (if we wanna do that), or we could have someone else judge. Anyone like this idea?

Vesuvius web game
Wed, 01 Jul 2009, 19:55
Evil Roy Ferguso
A lot of times, I'll start a WW entry without finishing it -- there are tons of little half-finished games all over my HD. They're not particularly presentable, but there are some fun (and occasionally lame) ideas there that could later be expanded into full games. Just because there are no finished entries does not mean that a WW was not enjoyed. I have participated in at least eight more WW's than I entered, and I definitely thought it was fun. So entry / post counts may not be the best indicators of whether or not a WW was 'successful.'

I think Jay summed it up nicely -- "As I've said before, the WW is there if you're bored. If you finish a large project and can't think of something, or if you've got bored of a project, or if you're in need of something fresh.. Just give it a go."

What I like about the WW is that if I miss one, there's really no pressure. There are no prizes and if you miss a deadline the worst thing that'll happen is that you won't have a number next to your name in the poll and you'll have to wait for next week. I would love to enter more often, and there were quite a few that piqued my interest. I guess my excuse is that I apparently hate myself and am working two jobs while preparing for a move/marriage (both mine).

I would also love to see a way of "entering" lapsed WW's -- whether that way were a "The Best of WW" recycling during JNK-Sabbaticals, or a "Me Too! I'm only X months late!" button on the workshop, it could be pretty spiffy.
Wed, 01 Jul 2009, 23:28
I'm just far too lazy i'm afraid . Some of the ww ideas interest me from time to time, but hell, I don't think I have ever actually finished a project ever, never mind a ww

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Thu, 02 Jul 2009, 02:34
I see your reasoning with the Wednesday Workshops. I'll admit that I've had a good time making entries (of varying quality!), and I have a couple of unfinished ones too. So, WWs stay put.

But what about the competition? Anyone interested in a SoCoder competition? Doesn't have to last for longer than one/two months.