New hosts + the future of the Contest

By HazelSpooder @ 2024-01-01 16:15:56

Original posting date: December 23rd, 2023

You heard it here third, the Sonic Hacking Contest now has a new host, as the previous host has stepped down from their position and has passed the torch to me. I would like to clarify ahead of time that this is not a formal announcement for SHC 2024, that will come at a later time. I want to briefly introduce myself and touch upon my goals and motives for the entire contest going forward. I'm HazelSpooder, but you may refer to me as Hazel! I'm a Sonic 3 A.I.R. modder who helped pushed for the game's inclusion in the contest, due to staff previously being unsure of if it should be categorized under Retro or 2DPC due to how it worked internally. One moment I was offered the role of being a 2DPC judge, and the next I'm suddenly leading the entire contest! As someone who is very self-conscious about maintaining a good image and is very passionate about the hacking/modding scene in general, my goal is to help lead the contest in a better direction by not focusing on numbers, but improving its its quality, reputation, and bringing it up to today's standards so it doesn't feel like it's stuck in the past. The staff are already discussing quite a few big changes that will be made for 2024, here are a few we have finalized and have fully agreed on:

  • Removing the Update Deadline and extending the Submission Deadline in its place. This essentially giving entrants a whole extra week to finish their entry instead of being restricted to using it for minor changes. Hopefully this will lead to less entrants requesting to make changes after the Submission Deadline. As a personal suggestion of mine, if you have the time to spare, I highly recommend consistently testing your hacks/mods for any bugs that might have slipped through the cracks. Even if it doesn't seem like much, it's worth it in the end to help your entry feel much more polished and decrease the likelihood of a horribly game-breaking bug. Doesn't stop official titles getting updates that break mods after the deadline though, so like we did with Sonic Frontiers last year, we will allow entrants to submit fixes for their entries or remove their entry if a game gets updated post-deadline and breaks any mods.
  • Adding head judges for each game category to help finalize decisions and break ties in voting. There were a lot of ties in voting during last year's contest, and having head judges will allow someone more experienced with a category to make a final say in breaking the tie reasonably instead of having to rely on the host.
  • Merging the Contest and Expo sections into one, and instead adding an option for entries to opt-in for judging, meaning you can choose if you want your entry to be evaluated by judges and be eligible for being voted for trophies. Doing this will give expo entries the same value as contest entries that otherwise would have been submitted to/put in the Expo and most likely be overlooked by most people.

There are many more changes and ideas we are continuing to throw around and discuss, even as I write this post, but these are the ones that the staff has fully agreed on to change for next year. I have also assigned DeltaWooloo and Giovanni as co-hosts to help with running the contest and making decisions when I am unable to or not around at any given moment to. Both the previous host and I have seen the passion and care they both have for the contest and have helped out a lot even prior to becoming judges, so I have decided to bring them both on board as co-hosts! With that being said, here's to next year being a bigger success! Enjoy the holidays everyone!

MilesWithTails @ 2024-01-05 06:37:06

Best words

NikPi @ 2024-01-06 06:16:45

I think that making a single contest is not so good idea. Like.. why do you need to break the things that already works? Expo is a place where can be little hacks, or mini-demo versions of projects, or hacks that made just for fun (Bad apple in S1, I'm looking at you). Maybe it will get a better realization that im expecting, but I'm not sure.

IMO- it's better to left as it now.

Last modified by NikPi @ 2024-01-06 06:17:01

Sonicthehedgehov44 @ 2024-01-16 08:23:32

I just made a Sonic Forever mod that's called Sonic 1 EX.And I was thinking if I could be one of the contestants for SHC'24 I hope you'll like it here's my youtube link:

PS: My shc username is Sonicthehedgehov44.

RadioTails @ 2024-03-01 12:15:30

The reason the "Expo" came about in the first place was because people were submitting terrible/joke/nazo hacks (remember "Blue Potato?), and the judges were fed up having to evaluate these entries.

giovanni.gen @ 2024-03-04 02:47:48

We're aware of that, but a lot of us in the Staff have collectively agreed that the Unjudged section is in dire need of an increase in standards and change of purpose. Mind you, this is still an experimental measure: we'll evaluate the effectiveness of it once we can receive feedback for it after the SHC2024 is finished.

Last modified by giovanni.gen @ 2024-03-04 03:34:32

RadioTails @ 2024-03-01 12:15:40

The thing is, no one really checks the "Expo" section, because a lot of the terrible/joke/nazo hacks can be found there. This wasn't always the case, and some good hacks could be found there. I also feel that translation hacks shouldn't be allowed (yes, this is coming from someone who submitted the Spanish translations of Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine).

giovanni.gen @ 2024-03-04 02:50:27

We are going to address the issue of lesser entries by upping the standards for Unjudged entries to more closely match those of the Judged entries. As for translation entries, I disagree with that. Since we're pushing for a more international audience with the introduction of the Non-English Media Panel, me personally I feel like a push for those would welcome more people! Naturally, we're not going to accept translation entries as Judged entries, as, well... we can't really judge them :P

Last modified by giovanni.gen @ 2024-03-04 02:57:26

RadioTails @ 2024-03-01 12:15:52

At the end of the day, this is a hacking contest, and we have a Quality Control ( page that confirms what is acceptable to be in the contest (although that page may need updating). I personally think the Expo should go entirely, and just focus on the Contest (where the judges evaluate these entries). Last year we had around 40 entries in the Contest, so it's not like the quantity would suddenly drop. Plenty of entries to check out.