VNMaker Community Review of IGMC 2017 Contest

Discussion in 'Indie Game Maker (IGMC 2017)' started by watermark, Dec 21, 2017.

  1. Ennacrima

    Ennacrima Artist Member

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    To force the popular vote to a 20 games choosed by judges, is the opposite of "popular". In that case it's just wiser to remove the popular vote.

    The judge choices are following certain criteria that doesn't always match with user's criteria. If judges criteria are usefull for certain aspect of the game, the user's criteria are usefull for other aspects; How much shiny is my game? Do people enjoy it? But mostly, did I managed to climb the wall of people and get to the top of the renown games? If so, there are chances that this game can be sold / that I can do this job.

    These things can't be told by judges as they are in charge to play your game. You can't evaluate your "marketing skills".

    There is no way, for what I can think, to have a honest popular vote. You need the users to play 240 entries before name a game.
    Or you pay them, or is inhumane to achieve.

    The winner is the most popular game.
    It does make sense, put in the rigt point of view.

    To be popular means that everybody knows you, somewhat. You also need a decent game (or a decent chest :p). Fact are that you're not dealing against 240 entries. You're dealing with those entries that fight to get spreadly known, like you. To know how many "rivals" one's have, it's possible to check the project topic in this section. Not 240.

    In some extend, the popular vote is more indicative of the $value$ of the game. You can guess the chances to sell it after, or the chances to get it renown anyway.
    The one that managed to get on the top is the one that managed to use the tricks he could think of in an efficient way.

    The whole thing is disputable. Part of me really dislike that people vote without play 240 games. In the end, I didn't voted, because I can't suffer to give a partial vote. But if everybody were that much fair, we would have no votes at all. I did what i felt right, but I didn't did something usefull for the score.

    Since impossible otherwise, people vote for the ones that they managed to know better.
    To clear it out: The quality of the game have his role in all of this. Try to spam an horrible game, it would not work. What I think, though, is that the popular game doesn't need to be "the best one". What really gives the final boosts is the dev effort to spread it.

    I'm a woman, so there's no way I can like the popular winner. It's uninteresting to me, so no need to defend or attack it. (Joking about it? OBV! I'm definitly doing it, elsewere. XD)

    My speak here is a rational speaking.

    To sum it up:
    To have a clean, perfect, honest popular vote, people have to play all the games. That's not possible.
    On the other hand, though, you have the most famous vote, and that's really indicative of certain aspect of the IndieGame development. It's not useless. Sometimes despicable.
    Almost always, a real matter.

    The popular vote is definitly usefull for the developers. To deal with it in a contest is very informative, imho.
    Said so, I think compromise to "fix" it aren't viable, nor useful.

    If you've read through all of this and survived my broken english, this is for you! :kaoluv:
     
    #41
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  2. Leon Kennedy

    Leon Kennedy Restaff Novice Restaff

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    I don't see how the popular vote winner is such a big deal. Unless I'm mistaken the popular vote winner comes even below 3rd place so it's not like they won 1st place in the contest. Every vote even president of USA has a popular vote, all that's really important for it is that it doesn't effect who ultimately wins 1st-3rd place. Just as people put in work to win 1st-3rd so did the person to win the popular vote they didn't just join up as a noob and suddenly became most popular for no reason.
     
    #42
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  3. watermark

    watermark Veteran Veteran

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    Actually, I am all for a longer jam session precisely because most of us aren’t professional devs and have full time jobs/classes plus family or other obligations.

    Think about it. If you work 8 hours a day in your day job, that only leaves you 2-3 hours a night on average in a tired state. That’s also assuming you don’t have overtime work to handle and/or family obligations, which let’s be honest, is not likely. Then, you must be prepared to sacrifice nearly all your weekends. That still seem like a lot of hours? Ah, but see, here’s the thing: unless you are a genius, designing the general concept of the game takes 1 to 2 weeks, which leaves only 2-3 weeks of actual development. This is also assuming you find out about the contest from Day 1. Quite a number of people didn't know about this till a week or two later. As a result, it leaves very little time for testing, editing, and tweaking. The result is you may end up with games with great concepts but less than ideal execution. So, @Ksi, bugs, bugs, and more bugs. :kaoblush:

    I'm definitely not complaining because I didn't work hard this contest. This time around I regularly worked till 2-3 in the morning and even took a few days off from work in order to get the game to where it was. I'm sure my other team members worked just as hard. Our game made it to the finals so it's worth it, but I still believe 2 months is a more reasonable pace.

    Discord? What? What's this Discord thing?! I can't believe I missed the whole party! XD
     
    #43
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  4. SinのAria

    SinのAria The Chaotic One Veteran

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    The issue with a longer jam sessions is that from several experiences, you tend to get higher falloff rates and it puts more pressure on those with less time because it means that those with more experience have THAT MUCH extra time to work. What would be better would be an earlier announcement period. Still gives people the chance to organize their teams and plan out their schedules, but as long as people follow the rules, they still only have a month to actually do the work. Even then, there would need to be a balance.

    Think of it this way.

    1 day jam: No matter how experienced you are, you at most have 24 hours. No matter how much time you have, you have at most 24 hours. If you have a full time job, you still likely have 8 hours to spare. At most, the other contestants will have a 16 hour advantage, time-wise. This is also where you will likely see the highest RSVP to Entry ratio where many, if not most, people who start will end up submitting something.
    7 day jam. That 16 hours is now effectively an extra 40 hours to 96 hours.
    30 day jam. We are now up to basically 240~480 hour difference. - One of the higher scoring entries already claimed that they spent 240 hours on two weeks, so you can imagine what that can entail. You already are having a low RSVP to Entry ratio here.
    60 day jam. We are not only up to what is basically a 480~960 hour difference, you will see a lot of people who will lose motivation simply due to the quality of other submissions, who will forget about the contest due to procrastination, and so on.
     
    #44
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  5. Frogboy

    Frogboy I'm not weak to fire Veteran

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    True but there's also the law of diminishing returns. The game can only be a max of 1 hour of playtime. There's only so much stuff you can squeeze into that hour. And if POLISH is the only measurable criteria, extra time to QA and squash bugs should, in theory, minimalize that gap as opposed to widen it. The biggest complaint from the judges was bugs and POLISH. A month isn't enough time for a single developer with a full time job to compete at the expected standards. You'd basically have to have a rough version of your game done before the contest started which is against the rules.
     
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  6. Marian Hurricane

    Marian Hurricane orz Veteran

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    This is usually where I tend to find issues with it being solely "how many votes can you get?". I'm not speaking specifically about this year's winner, to be clear, just across the other IGMCs in general. For example, when people have done things like merch giveaways for votes (low value of the merchandise notwithstanding), it does make things tend to taste bitter.

    Honestly, I don't think any previous winner wouldn't have been ranking highly anyway (as far as I remember). It would just be a way to say "yeah, but you can't market the hell out of an absolutely garbage game and win" before it became an issue. I don't expect it to be changed or anything, honestly. I was just being my usual pessimistic self, lol.

    As for the one month deadline, I think most people would definitely be burned out if it went longer. And from my experience, if it isn't done in a month, it probably isn't going to be done in two.:kaosigh:
     
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  7. SeaPhoenix

    SeaPhoenix Veteran Veteran

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    This was my first game jam (and my first game released to non-friends and family) and I wanted to say thanks to the staff, judges, contestants and reviewers for organizing and participating in it! I entered it without any expectations, but I found it to be a very useful learning experience.

    Pros:
    - Feedback from judges and other players was very useful, and the itch.io website made that easy.
    - I liked the one-month deadline. Given that the judges' playtime was an hour, I felt that it wasn't too short or too long.
    - Though I didn't check out Discord, the forum community was very supportive and helpful in general.

    Mixed feelings:
    - Though I definitely think the developer should get the judges' feedback, I'm not too sure about making it publicly available. On the one hand, the transparency is nice, and seeing constructive criticism on other games is useful in figuring out what makes something fun or not fun. But seeing people's reactions to the judging and based on my experience grading and reviewing papers, I feel like some confidential comments could be left to the developer to learn from, rather than posted for everyone to see. If it were me, I would have two sections for the judges' feedback: (1) a condensed review for the public, highlighting the major pros and cons, and (2) specific, private comments to the developer. Unfortunately, this does mean more work for the judges!

    Cons:
    - Someone else mentioned an award for reviewers: I think this would be great idea, given how much effort a number of people made in reviewing as many games as they could.
     
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  8. watermark

    watermark Veteran Veteran

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    I always thought the popular vote is a reflection of the marketing and networking power of the dev, which is a very important skill too.

    Let’s disregard whether @Dezue ‘s Quidget (which I liked btw) was a good game for a moment and just focus on how his team marketed it. From its promotion graphics, presentation, and social interactions, they did a top job. I do believe that if it went up on Steam today it would probably get more initial hits and sales than the other entries in the contest, including the finalists. This is another skill that is relevant to game development. Of course after the reviews come in it will be more up to the quality of the game.

    So we should still keep the popular vote despite its shortcomings.
     
    #48
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  9. SinのAria

    SinのAria The Chaotic One Veteran

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    I think it should be renamed though to something like Marketing Vote.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2017
    #49
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  10. Rhino

    Rhino ~Inactive~ Veteran

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    I found the IGMC really quite stressful and I’m in no rush to join the next one, but the actual experience and feedback from everyone has been really invaluable and I don’t regret getting involved. Thanks to everyone who made this possible!

    ---
    Pros:

    -The one month deadline was an exciting challenge and motivation to actually make a complete game.

    -I loved the IGMC goals and progress thread. Although I was occasionally feeling left behind, it was great fun and really inspirational to make something alongside so many amazing and talented devs.

    -The community response was awesome! I tentatively left quite a few honest reviews, but the replies I got were always gracious and in fact I think there was only one person who actually rebuked my comment and seemed uninterested in making any improvements or bug fixes.

    -*Raises hand* I like the public vote. It made me feel like I had a voice and able to support my favourite games. Perhaps I would have liked to see something more complex than a tick box. I think a rating system might help the devs understand why those people thought their game was enough to win, and it might discourage spam votes if you have to put effort in.


    Cons:

    -It seems like there was a lot of info to be missed for those of us not on the Discord. I’m quite shocked to hear that there’s exclusive reviews over there. I would have thought it was easier to organise and access over here, and I would like to be able to read through them, but I don’t want to have to join up just for that.

    -I think there are a few mistakes in the way judging was done. I can’t begin to imagine the difficult task of organising, playing and getting feedback to so many games and I don’t want to bash them since I think the IGMC was a great opportunity and overall they did do a great job but I did have some concerns that I wanted to share.

    As already mentioned, I think the feedback was harsher than it needed to be. A lot of people entered just for the fun of completing something, and some of the responses were quite discouraging. Of course, it’s a skill all devs need to have to be able to take criticism, but there’s more than one way to say something to avoid causing unnecessary upset.

    I felt that it was wrong that judges seemed to publicly talk about their favourite games before the results were announced.

    There were some mistakes in games that were/(not) disqualified. Although I’m sure they wouldn’t want to pick up bias from public comments, but having read those the judges may have realised they allowed some games to pass that didn’t include the rtp, or called others unplayable despite reviews from people who had finished them. Since they had extra time left over after playing all of the games, it might have been good to look over those decisions.

    I’m cautious to say this as I have yet to 100% confirm and so may still be proved to be the arrogant a-hole who refused to admit that their game was flawed, but I do think my game was wrongly disqualified. Having briefly spoken to the judge, I do believe they were too quick to call it broken instead of giving me the benefit of the doubt and having tried to proceed, would have been able to make it to the end of the game.

    I tested my game thoroughly and everyone else who reviewed was able to make it to the end, so I think that my concern is justified. I am heartbroken, though I know there’s nothing to be done about it now. I don’t think I would have made top marks anyway, but I wanted to mention it in the hope that it can be prevented from ever happening to anyone again.
    ---

    So I am one of those people who came out quite sad, and I’m still feeling a bit too burnt out to appreciate it, but I think that just having made a game is a great achievement, so I hope everyone who entered the contest is able to feel proud of themselves! I played some really awesome games and am excited to see where they and their developers will go next! :kaoluv:
     
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  11. SinのAria

    SinのAria The Chaotic One Veteran

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    Another thing to add:

    CON:
    Game names were shown. I think it would have been more fair if everyone had used the same name for their game (then changed it after). Granted, a few games relied on their title or dev name to be played (even if the dev name was only flashed for a second in a completely different area with no easy way to see the name again).

    Basically, I think removal of potential bias due to name or cover image would fix a lot. (Though there would be other issues)


    Well, there were some exclusive reviews here too. Either way, if you didn't use every resource possible, you were left out in some way.

    I apologize if I sounded harsh with my reviews (I've had a lot of people mention that, though I seem to have more people prefer me to be harsh), but my initial goal was to provide as much information as I could so that the devs could fix their games. My later reviews were a lot more neutral, but I have a lot of complaints about those as well (only one person was happy about my more neutral reviews).

    I honestly didn't talk much about my favorite games. I don't think any of the other judges really talked much about their favorite games either. I did mentioned a few games that I felt needed major improvements and talked about a few others jokingly, but that was about it. Instead of favorites, I mainly mentioned games I had high hopes for. Generally all heavily flawed in ways, but could be fixed if the devs were willing to make the effort. At least one of which I had actually fixed myself just to play because I had hopes for the story.

    Even if the RTP wasn't included, as long as the game was playable, it passed. In some cases, the missing files were a very specific case or after the one hour period. As for games that were 'playable', I played almost all the games and quite a few were indeed unplayable even if hundreds of beta testers had tried the game. The game MAY have been playable at some point before the submission period ended, but we only play the version given when the submission period ends. Plus, what one player finds is not necessarily what another player finds.

    For example, if you had a playable game, then uploaded an empty zip right before the deadline, all we see is the empty zip. A few people had multiple versions of the game and even switched between versions (since you can disable downloads) and some versions were unplayable while others were playable. Those that kept switching their version may have found themselves DQed because they don't know when the judge will download and they might have switched to an unplayable version when the judge went to download, then switched to a playable version later.

    (Note, I'm saying in general, not yours specifically. Yours, I was confused since there are two options in the beginning that I can never seem to use. Also, I mentioned the issue that caused the DQ in your game's page in the same thread as the other judge. If you need an exact event order, I can give that to you as well).
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2017
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  12. Rhino

    Rhino ~Inactive~ Veteran

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    @SinのAria That is true. I enjoyed following updates on twitter and tumblr, but I guess I didn't quite know that so much was being missed on Discord. I think I will perhaps join it to snoop around later even if it's late to the party!

    Since people got feedback from judges at the end of the judging period anyway, I just think it might have been better that there was no official voice during this time. A quote from the offical blog mentioned;
    Though I definitely did see judges recommending games for people to play. (Will not be pointing fingers to who/where, but it was something I thought was unfair so brought it up.)

    As far as I know, games without rtp don't run on computers that haven't already installed the rtp. I think it would be quite easy to forget if you had the rtp installed, which would allow a game to bypass the "does not include all files" rule. Though this probably sounds horribly like "I want this game to be disqualified!!" it wasn't my intention, but I have seen some games pass that had missing rtp and wouldn't play for me/other commentors, but must have played for the judges. I didn't know about being able to switch file versions (is this an itch.io thing or something that could have been prevented?) which could be a cause, but it might still be worth looking into making sure the judges don't already have the rtp on their computers.

    Yeah, I appreciate that there are other things to take into consideration with bugs. I know that some games were passed between judges to make sure it wasn't a hardware issue. It is a hard line to draw. But I feel so incredibly sorry for everyone who got disqualified though their game was able to reach the end. I don't think any were entirely free of bugs, even the popular vote winner had a game ending one, it just depends how many people out of your judging pool found the error. That's why I think perhaps a review to give some of these games a second chance might help. I know it's not my time to waste to call for this but I wanted to put it out there.

    Oh! I didn't know you'd played my game. Thanks for giving Lost Boy a try!! :kaojoy: (Something I missed from the discord I guess.) The choices at the start were greyed out to show that they were restricted. They're things Yuu thought about saying, but was unable to due to his social anxiety. After lying, the next set of choices all say the same thing- you're no longer even given the option to be honest about your feelings and start to build up a wall of defence and denial. I did learn a lot about considering the players thoughts and footsteps from the feedback I received, so I can see there was a lot that I mistakenly assumed people would get or do. In the end, I think the people who'd get the most out of my game are those who have experience of anxiety, it was probably not explained well enough for a general audience, but that's ok, I figured it would be quite niche from the start.

    Thank you for taking the time to look into the issue that I've been having! But, this is so frustrating! I can't seem to find whats going wrong. The bookshelf event is probably a lot more complicated than it needs to be, but it's isolated from the cheat sheet. I could see there being an error with the cheat sheet and the door (though I can still leave after taking it,) and the cheat sheet is connected to Kat (the girl walking around the corridor.) All it should do is make her disappear as if she's gone to revision club once you've exhausted all of her choices which is an entirely optional scene. So if you have the time, yes, could you please tell me what you've done and where the block is that's stopping you from being able to play? (Itch.io page, PM or via discord when I join, perhaps I should brace myself for some honest words first? :hswt:)
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2017
    #52
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  13. SinのAria

    SinのAria The Chaotic One Veteran

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    I was playing without RTP installed (as evidenced by the entries the failed due to lack of RTP), but there were some games that ran (though a few crashed later).

    Basically, what I did to cause the bug (I don't think all the steps are necessary), is walked to the stairwell, grabbed the bracelet, walked downstairs, did the vending machine and bathroom events, came back up the other side, attempted to go upstairs, then entered the storeroom and immediately grabbed the cheat sheet. Once I did, I tried to leave and the exit event had disappeared and the books became un-intractable. I believe this happened before moving the chair.

    It is likely that you can break it with less, but that is how I did it the first time. I also had dizzy on and fullscreen off (which don't save if you close the game).
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2017
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  14. Stoic

    Stoic Game Producer Degica

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    Thanks for all the valuable feedback everyone! We've taken note of what you liked and didn't like about the 2017 IGMC and will work on improving the next event. Even though this was the smallest IGMC event in terms of turnout, it's definitely had the highest engagement from the community which has been really awesome to see and be a part of!

    I'll admit I didn't expect the discord to blow up in the way it did. We'll try to coordinate a better balance between our channels to make sure everyone is getting the same information next time. Apologies to all forum users.
     
    #54
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  15. Dezue

    Dezue Love Ninja! Veteran

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    Late to the party, but here's my 69 cents:

    We really LOVED the IGMC! So much actually that we're afraid to enter other game jams because they might disappoint us now [​IMG]
    Organisation was great, Mark was always approachable and the community was awesome [​IMG], here in the forums (I particularly liked the progress thread) as well as in the discord (I particularly liked the gam mak channel, bring it back!).
    Thanks everybody for making it such a pleasant experience!
    Also, we've never used itch.io before and it was a pleasant surprise, it was easy to use and brought the games in front of a lot of people. Please keep that for the next IGMC (unless there's an even better alternative, of course).
    Discord was [​IMG], I'd love to see even more devs in there next time!

    As for the People's Choice category, I really liked it! (haha wait, hear me out!). It opened a way for a different, unusual kind of games to be in the spotlight, many of which were enjoyed a lot by the audience at itch.io, judging from their placement in itch's top lists (and we enjoyed many of them as well).
    It's a very good measurement of how one's game might stand its ground when it's out in the wild.
    Also, what @watermark and @Ennacrima said (btw, let me in on the jokes about Quidget [​IMG]).

    My wish for the next IGMC would be for Degica to spread the word about the contest even more. It's a game jam with a respectable prize money, so that's surely worth an article on Kotaku, Polygon and the likes, right? [​IMG]
     
    #55
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  16. Archeia

    Archeia Level 99 Demi-fiend Staff Member Developer

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    If you're talking about my recommendations to Indrah, it's because I am definitely curious to what her reactions are to specific games (especially Sculptor and that one puzzle(?) game that I don't remember which involved rocks.) Hence why I never posted anywhere else. I have definitely not talked about my favorite game(s) in IGMC. But people kept nagging me to post the "top 10" when at that point there wasn't even a top 10 was...:kaoblush:

    However, I did make it a point to post to certain games (e.g. Last Boarding Call) because I was worried I wouldn't have any more time to give it the feedback I wanted to give it and all the in-depth reviews I have to give at the end. Especially since at this point in time I know that it didn't get past screening. I also posted a spoof on Einherjar's topic page because I wanted to show the dev that I can defeat a supposed to be unbeatable boss fight. I don't want the developer to stop making games or feel like their games are ignored and discourage them especially since most don't even have replies.

    This is not in a way me saying "you guys should play that game" but it's me going try this game Indrah since we're friends and I want to see how you would react. And, I better give this dev some words because I legitimately enjoyed their game and I don't want to PM all of it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2018
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  17. bgillisp

    bgillisp Global Moderators Global Mod

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    One thing I'd like to see is more of a way for proof of concepts to be entered and noticed. Almost every other contest out there I've seen or heard of has a lot of proof of concept games that are not finished games on any level, but they still get noticed and do well. Plus there is all those people who start but don't finish that might like to show off something, but would be DQ'd by the current rules.

    So what I would like to propose is maybe next time, add a separate proof of concept entry section. Games here have looser requirements (maybe only 15 minutes playtime or so needed), may crash in places, but are semi-playable. All games there are voted on by the community, with the one with the most votes getting a small prize, say maybe $500 or so? I think that would encourage more people who start late to still try something, even if they cannot win the grand prize.

    I'd also like to see a separate section for team vs solo entries, but I don't know if there is a practical way to enforce that. I know my college did it for all contests we did, but everything was all in person then, so might be harder to do now.
     
    #57
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  18. Indrah

    Indrah Megane Berserker Veteran

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    @Archeia I STAUNCHLY DEFEND THE RIGHT FOR PEOPLE TO OFFER ME GAMES FOR SLAUGHTER! :kaosalute:
    But yeah while I know getting noticed in any level is a big deal in a big contest you really have to just deal with it. Visibility will ALWAYS be a problem with indie games ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
    Hell even when Archeia passed me those games I'm pretty sure I was very negatively mouthy about them so that wasn't necessarily a good thing for the games.
    People will never be fully happy with the contest results, or the judges, or whatever. Too much riding on and some people will just come away bitter (god knows it happened to me for a bug disqualification in the 2014 IGMC). This this time the whinging about the judges seems specially bad. Maybe just have mystery judges next time? I donno :kaophew:
     
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  19. Llareian

    Llareian Jack of All Trades, Master of None Veteran

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    That's actually a really good idea, in my opinion. It would negate any perception (true or false) of judges saying negative things on discord, and it would negate the perception (true or false) of judges influencing the people's choice category or giving away information about the judging. So there's two of the complaints we've read here solved by just keeping the judges' identities secret. They'd still have to have at least one person on the staff be able to speak about any rules questions, but that doesn't necessarily have to be a judge, right?
     
    #59

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