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Regarding the dates/plan below
Yes, that sounds good, I'd like to register an entry 62%  62%  [ 8 ]
Yes, that sounds good, I'm here for the games and support 38%  38%  [ 5 ]
Yes, I'd like to submit an entry if it were arranged differently (make your own proposition). 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
No, this is bad because... 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Total votes : 13
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 Post subject: NESDev Compo Poll
PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2013 2:07 pm 
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Formerly WhatULive4
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Compo announced with basic plan (not in stone): Nov 1st
Official compo details announced set in stone: Dec 1st
Compo officially starts, registration opens: Jan 1st
Compo ends, all entries due: April 1st
Winners announced, prizes paid out: May 1st
Final rom/menu/hardware/label of cart ironed out: June 1st
Carts open for sale: July 1st

I'm going to run with infiniteneslives suggestions (thank-you btw). I've talked with Dain (nintendoage) and he has given full permission to use http://nesdevcompo.nintendoage.com to host the entries and rules if that is ok with everyone. We have a lot of decisions to make regarding submissions and voting since those were two things that will be improved this round. I plan on investigating how other larger competitions are run to keep things fair. Also, since there is a lot more cash in the pot (+3k if all the remaining carts sell) we will need to run things more seriously. No changing the rules/dates/etc after the competition starts. Discuss....

Also, it sounds like there might be some interest in small 4k sized "apps" with the possible homebrewOS idea that I tossed out. Check out this thread for that discussion.


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 Post subject: Re: NESDev Compo Poll
PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2013 2:37 pm 
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Now that we know we have a multicart mapper that supports it, we can do a second division for CNROM/UNROM/BNROM/AOROM, but let's limit them to 128K so that the multicart doesn't get too big. I guess there might end up being a "value for size" criterion in the judging.

The 4K apps idea is interesting, but 4K is small enough that it might become useful for multiple apps to share "library" resources such as a sound driver, controller driver, tiles, tile decompression, and possibly even VRAM update code. What useful resources about optimizing 6502 code for size has the Atari 2600 community produced?


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 Post subject: Re: NESDev Compo Poll
PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2013 6:11 pm 
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Maybe the 4k apps can be more of a community collaboration instead of part of the competition. Makes sense to use a common library for something that small.


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 Post subject: Re: NESDev Compo Poll
PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 12:20 am 
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If we want to do some small stuff, I'd suggest that a format like this be considered:
http://slack.net/~ant/old/nes-code/romless/


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 Post subject: Re: NESDev Compo Poll
PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 6:59 am 
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WhatULive4 wrote:
Also, since there is a lot more cash in the pot (+3k if all the remaining carts sell) we will need to run things more seriously. No changing the rules/dates/etc after the competition starts. Discuss....

I don't think we necessarily need to spend all of the money on a single competition (= some buffer for future competitions would be nice to have). Also I'm not too hot on the "apps" idea, just because I think the NES input options would limit them too much. I'd rather see some new games.

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 Post subject: Re: NESDev Compo Poll
PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 1:29 pm 
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Top 5 getting powerpaks or $125 cash would be a hell of prize, and would be nowhere near 3K. :)


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 Post subject: Re: NESDev Compo Poll
PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 3:59 pm 
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3gengames wrote:
Top 5 getting powerpaks or $125 cash would be a hell of prize, and would be nowhere near 3K. :)

Unless they don't want a powerpak or already have one. Especially since there has been talk of a new one on the way.


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 Post subject: Re: NESDev Compo Poll
PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 6:40 pm 
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WhatULive4 wrote:
Unless they don't want a powerpak or already have one.

3gengames wrote:
or $125 cash

Anyway, I do agree that the money shouldn't all go to a single compo.


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 Post subject: Re: NESDev Compo Poll
PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 7:12 pm 
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I agree we don't want to make plans to spend all our money. Also, I don't think it was ever the intent to use all the money for prizes.

There are other things we need to consider for the money as well. Here's an quote of myself from the streemerz bundle thread. It's not 100% inline with the current situation as I was speaking after the release of the first 50 carts, and prior to the second release of 100 more. But it's food for thought on the money issue. I think spending in it a way that attracts more people and games to the community is the best way to spend it personally. Saving some is always a good idea and shouldn't be neglected.

I'm working through some things on cases right now. Hopefully things will work out and we won't need such a large investment just for cases. I'll share those details once I have solid info.

Quote:
The bigger question is what would we like to do with this money, and how much money do we think we NEED? The $1150 we have right now is great, but we will spend it quickly on another compo and limited number cart release.

Compo prizes: $100-25 last time, I think we can do better than that next time. Doing this would resolve some of the issue of reimbursing the contributors for their long/hard/great work on games. Something like $500/250/100 sounds better to me, maybe even higher. That would be $850 in prizes, and I think we should pay those out immediately upon posting winners. I think this would get a lot of people to pick up the keyboard and start making great homebrew games, it's easy to pass off $100 prize. But $500+ is very enticing I think.

Compo entires: Free carts to all entries that are 'greater than pong' It's got to be something more than a demo for us to include it in the action53. This would cost us ~$15/entry = 20-40 entries? = $300-600?. To make this a little better we could have the limited edition carts be the contributor carts. Collectors would have to put in the effort to make a game if they wanted a special edition 'numbered' release of the cart. This motivates people to get involved that don't expect to take 1st,2nd,3rd place, but will put in the effort to create a novel game/tool. It might be helpful to have per-registeration to get a feel for how many entries we'll have, but I don't think we should require it.

Cart release for volume 2: One of the main difficulties right now is cases in large volume. I've worked with Retrozone to get runs of cases in quantities of 500 or more. Best part is we can get ANY color for the most part. It takes awhile to get them though, and price can depend on lead time. Last time they quoted $3.50-$3.75 each for 6week-6month lead time respectively. So ideally we could order a batch of 500 cases for ~$1750-$1875. That would cover us pretty well for release of volume 2 which would include the next compo's entries. If we don't have this money before the compo ends, we'll have difficulty obtaining cases with issues of limited and/or delayed releases like we're dealing with right now.

Cartridge cost for release of volume 2. Things may change a few dollars depending on how we handle things, but $15 is a pretty good estimate. Increasing game data may require more expense, but increasing volume can save us money too. I think it's safe to say we'd easily sell 100-200 carts for volume 2. But if we're biting off 500 cases maybe we just want to go for 500 games. This number gets kind of big, but one thing we may be able to do is pre-sell volume 2 once the compo is nearing or is over and we've got the hardware design nailed down. $15/cart: release 100-$1500, release 200-$3000, release 500-$7500. Maybe we make sure we've got enough for 200 carts, and pre-sale could allow a buffered judgement on more copies. If we have a bunch of left over cases, we can hang on to them for the next release.

Printed material like boxes/manuals? I'm not certain at the moment, but I'd expect if we were interested in doing this we'd have to pay a $100-300 depending on initial print quantity. This could in turn earn us more money though effectively paying for itself.

Other expenses? It'd be nice for income like this to cover our hosting expenses, although I don't know what that currently entails.


TL;DR above summary;
Pending everyone else's thoughts, my estimates for volume 2 with next compo's entries would be:

Prizes: $850-1000
Special edition carts to compo entrants: $300-600
500 cases (min qty): ~$1800
Parts/assembly: 200=$3k 500=7.5k
Others? $500?

That's like $6k for a 'low' estimate.

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 Post subject: Re: NESDev Compo Poll
PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2013 9:46 pm 
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Alright, looks like everyone is in agreement with the dates.

As for the competition categories, Tepples suggested CNROM/UNROM/BNROM/AOROM in addition to NROM.

Does anyone have input on categories? We previously had NROM and Free-for-all categories. Should we again have the 2 categories, but include Tepples suggestion with the NROM category?


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 Post subject: Re: NESDev Compo Poll
PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2013 7:21 am 
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I think Tepple's suggestion is a good idea. It's basically "anything that will work on the Mapper 28 multicart" and "everything else". I think this aligns with the goals and expectations of the competition without artificially limiting projects.


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 Post subject: Re: NESDev Compo Poll
PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2013 7:57 am 
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I'm seeing three contests and one experimental collaboration:
  • NROM contest
  • Discrete mappers (CNROM, UxROM, BxROM, AxROM) contest
  • Everything else contest
  • 4K minigame/app collaboration

I'd also propose a rule that NROM games that don't win a prize, such as multiple entries from one developer or developers who score fourth, fifth, or sixth, will get judged as if entered in the discrete contest as 40+8K CNROM or 32K BNROM games.


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 Post subject: Re: NESDev Compo Poll
PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2013 9:14 am 
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I really don't understand the value in splitting the field between discrete mappers and NROM. It seems to me with such a relatively small community of developers we'd want to not split things up. Can you help me understand your reasons behind this?

Apart from not understanding the motivations it doesn't really matter to me either way. My entry will most likely be NROM anyway. All of my project ideas usually only need ROM space for content, and for a three month development cycle I'm not likely to have enough time to create a crap-ton of content :)


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 Post subject: Re: NESDev Compo Poll
PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2013 9:57 am 
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qbradq wrote:
It seems to me with such a relatively small community of developers we'd want to not split things up. Can you help me understand your reasons behind this?

To encourage space efficiency that allows more entries to fit on the multicart. INL's parallel flash boards work up to 1 MiB. This can fit up to about 25 NROM-256 games or only eight UNROM games. There is a feature in my menu software to stick one game's compressed CHR ROM data in another game's unused areas of PRG ROM, but that can only be pushed so far. Beyond that size, we'd need to switch to a structure that logically resembles an FDS or PowerPak, containing a boot ROM, a 128 KiB PSRAM simulating PRG ROM, and an SPI flash memory (which is more or less a microSD card's guts in a surface-mount package). That would take the multicart's size all the way up to 2 GB, but I'm not sure how far INL is in building it.


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 Post subject: Re: NESDev Compo Poll
PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2013 1:51 pm 
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What about something like a "48KB ROM or less" category instead of NROM specifically?

That gives some freedom of mapper choice, doesn't split out more categories, while still encouraging space efficency.

Some example options would include:
  • Standard NROM 32KB+8KB=40KB
  • NROM with CHR-RAM = 32KB (aka 32KB BNROM)
  • UNROM with three 16KB banks = 48KB
  • CNROM with 32KB CHR-RAM = 32KB (unsure if supported by most emu's... Could be distributed for judging as standard CHR-ROM CNROM)


So that would give 3 categories:
  • 48KB ROM or less (above) contest
  • Everything else
  • 4K minigame/app collaboration

Quote:
I'd also propose a rule that NROM games that don't win a prize, such as multiple entries from one developer or developers who score fourth, fifth, or sixth, will get judged as if entered in the discrete contest as 40+8K CNROM or 32K BNROM games.
Not sure I follow the logic here, almost like making two contests out of one. Do we really expect many entries for the 'everything else' category? In general this 'everything else' category creates entries that aren't able to be added to our current multi-cart design. To some degree I think we should do away with the category all together. Or if we do allow entries, the prize structure isn't comparable to the main "48KB contest". So people can still make entires if they'd like, but exclude themselves from the main contest. Perhaps we can combine it with the 4K app contest.

What about two 'contests' for the 3 categories:
Main contest "48KB"
Large cash prizes for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place entries.
All entries are included on the multicart, all 'greater than pong' entries earn a "special edition" compo entrant cartridge for submitting an entry.

Alternate contest
Thinking no cash prizes for this category. If we expect to have something like 10 entries or more then smaller cash prizes might make sense.
4K minigame/app collaboration: top three entries get the "special edition" compo entrant cartridge. Maybe other prizes like a SNES mouse with SNES to NES adapter?
"Anything goes"This category is more of a way for people to submit a project that they want to share and possibly gain public interest/praise. Entries are not guaranteed to be placed on multi-cart for multiple reasons. Some reasons may be mapper choice, adult content, game size, or author doesn't desire to release rights to allow their work submitted in the multi-cart. We're not trying to motivate people to make entries in this category, but it does allow people a venue to get their work some recognition.

Perhaps the alternate contest could be a 'people's choice' type of thing where there is open voting to the public to rate the apps/entries. For "anything goes" people could vote on whether it is a 'honorable entry' that grants the submitter a "special edition" compo cartridge.

In the event that someone were to submit something on the level of Streemerz, Battle Kid, Nomlos, etc there could be a vote to make it the 'signature game' of the volume. Kind of like how Streemerz became the signature game of the last compo's cartridge (aka Action53 volume 1). This would of course require a mapper that's supported by the intended hardware. Not really expecting many entries of this nature, but it would be nice to have some sort of guidelines of how someone could create a 'feature game' to follow in thefox's footsteps like he did with streemerz. Or even how to handle games/apps that are included in the multicart which were generated outside of the contest. Perhaps these 'off season' creations could get submitted into the following competition and not be subject to all the rules and time/date submissions of the main contest. The "anything goes" really would be for anything someone wanted to submit. Then we can aknowledge their work and honor them with a special cartridge type of thing. Thinking about it in that way though, makes me think it should be something separate from the compo completely and just a means to get one's work in the next Action53 multicart's next volume if desired. Utilizing the compo for voting and such would help out though. We could ask people to vote by simply asking "If they'd like it to be included in the next volume." Or "Honored with a special edition cartridge" for entries that don't get placed on the cart.

I kind of like the use of a special limited edition contributor's cartridge. The prize is a small investment from our funds, but the prize would probably be pretty valuable/highly coveted to the public. Having a system like that allows us to award and recognize people's work outside of the main competition. Additionally it motivates people to contribute to the communty and not necessarily by means of submitting a compo entry.

tepples wrote:
INL's parallel flash boards work up to 1 MiB. This can fit up to about 25 NROM-256 games or only eight UNROM games. There is a feature in my menu software to stick one game's compressed CHR ROM data in another game's unused areas of PRG ROM, but that can only be pushed so far. Beyond that size, we'd need to switch to a structure that logically resembles an FDS or PowerPak, containing a boot ROM, a 128 KiB PSRAM simulating PRG ROM, and an SPI flash memory (which is more or less a microSD card's guts in a surface-mount package). That would take the multicart's size all the way up to 2 GB, but I'm not sure how far INL is in building it.

I don't think we're safe to rely on my SPI flash 'homebrew FDS' for the next compo right now. I hope to use it in the future, but probably best for it to not be relied upon in it's current state. I'd suggest that volume 2 not necessarily include all of the games/apps from volume 1. That allows us more room for entries of the given compo/recent homebrews without incurring costs and challenges of 1MB and above hardware. Once things are up and running with my SPI setup and a multicart interface has been created to support then we can work on creating carts with all volumes combined since expansion is next to free and allows for relatively easy compression and menu 'multicart file tetris' with SPI flash.

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