Author Topic: How to improve next year's awards?  (Read 716 times)

How to improve next year's awards?
« on: 25 Jan 2020, 21:53 »
There's so many options, I feel completely overwhelmed.

And you're dead right in this, too:

This year, we have a whooping 78 games to evaluate. If we try to play all of them and only use one hour on average for each and can dedicate on average four hours to the task each day in the evenings after work, then this will take around 20 evenings. And then we'll have to make up our minds about what to nominate in 15 categories. If there are only some games among them where the puzzles are any good, then “twenty evenings plus” will be a very conservative estimate.

Let's face it: This really is objectively overwhelming. We've bitten off much more than we can realistically chew. The more so if we want to do this conscientiously.

Perhaps we've staved off to much work to the end of the year? Perhaps we can learn something from the crowd over at the Maggies awards: They only need to make up their minds aboud 12 adventures. And the reason is that only the monthly winners are in the race.

So for the AGS Awards of next year, I'd like to suggest  something similar as the Maggies crowd does:

Let's do Quarterly Nominations in April, July, October, and January about the games of the preceding quarter. For each category, anybody can nominate any game(s) that has been entered in the Games database in that quarter. Everyone gets one ballot, and on that ballot, they may nominate as many games as they like per category. The nomination votes are counted, and the games with the highest three votes are nominated for the AGS Award of the respective category of the whole year.

So when February rolls around, the nominations are in and the field has been narrowed to just twelve games in each category.  Additionally there's bound to be some overlap, some games are bound to be nominated for several categories -- so in effect, the overall number of the games that we need to vote on will become manageable. We will then do our usual procedures, starting with the phase after the nomination phase and ending with the grand award ceremony.

  • Advantage: The "mountain of work" at the end of the year is decimated.
  • Disadvantage: If at least _four_ hot contenders for some category are released in the same quarter, then some of them will drop through the cracks.
  • Disadvantage: More work throughout the years, might feel like “eternal nomination time“.

What do you think?

In response to fernewelten's idea, what if the awards are held not in the beginning of next year, but 6 months from year's end, or even next year?

This also will give all games better opportunity, because now the game released in the beginning of the year will have more players and playthroughs than the game released in the end of the year.

There was a similar change to MAGS organization, for similar reasons: because people were creating more games, it was hard to play them all in few days after deadline, so they changed it to have a prolonged voting period in parallel to the next MAGS month.
« Last Edit: 27 Jan 2020, 19:38 by cat »

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How to improve next year's awards?
« Reply #1 on: 27 Jan 2020, 19:34 »
I started a new thread for this.

-------------------

I think people should play the games as soon as they come out and not wait until the next year and then panic.
What about having nominations open the whole year? When you play a game and like it, just nominate it for a few categories.
« Last Edit: 27 Jan 2020, 19:40 by cat »

Re: How to improve next year's awards?
« Reply #2 on: 27 Jan 2020, 20:08 »
Quote from: cat
What about having nominations open the whole year? When you play a game and like it, just nominate it for a few categories.
This could help take the sting out of it. Another idea could be to have the For Your Consideration thread open, maybe stickied, all year round. That way it's could help keep noms in the back of everyone's mind as people add to it.

That said, I'm not sure how many of us (with all the best will in the world) would actually remember/bother to nominate in the off season. We hardly ever rate and comment as it is.

Re: How to improve next year's awards?
« Reply #3 on: 27 Jan 2020, 20:20 »
I think people should play the games as soon as they come out and not wait until the next year and then panic.

Yes, well, I did not mean something like keeping games in secret until nominations start, but making sure there was enough time to play every game, even those that were released 31th December.

But that's merely a suggestion from technical perspective. Unfortunately, I am not very much involved there, barely have time and patience to play adventure games nowadays...

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Re: How to improve next year's awards?
« Reply #4 on: 23 Feb 2020, 18:18 »
This year, we have a whooping 78 games to evaluate. If we try to play all of them and only use one hour on average for each and can dedicate on average four hours to the task each day in the evenings after work, then this will take around 20 evenings. And then we'll have to make up our minds about what to nominate in 15 categories. If there are only some games among them where the puzzles are any good, then “twenty evenings plus” will be a very conservative estimate.

The assumption that you're supposed to play through all AGS games within the month seems really weird to me. First, won't most people who nominate have played quite a few of the games already during the year? And second, I really don't think you have to play every game, or even most games, in order to nominate. If a game doesn't interest you, then you have no obligation to play it, and if a game can't attract enough players who'll give it a shot, then it has ruled itself out of consideration.

But we really ought to do something about this. It is bound to become worse year by year. What is barely tenable now will become quite untenable very shortly.

Actually, there were 105 games in 2017 and 84 in 2018, so the number of entries per year is steadily dropping.

As for improvements, I would again suggest combining Puzzles and Gameplay into a single category: "Best Gameplay (including Puzzles)"
Instead, I would add a new category "Best Interaction," which would award games that are particularly pleasant to interact with because of great UI design or interaction density.
« Last Edit: 23 Feb 2020, 18:23 by Snarky »

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Re: How to improve next year's awards?
« Reply #5 on: 23 Feb 2020, 19:12 »
I think "Best Interaction" is even more generic and hard to grasp. I would instead rename "Best Gameplay" to "Best Game Mechanic". This would reward innovative game design. Examples for good and innovative game mechanics would be
  • Loom: Playing music spells on a staff
  • Day of the tentacle: switching between characters in different times and exchanging items between them
  • Life is strange: Winding back time
  • Obra Dinn: Basically the whole game

Puzzles, on the other hand, would only make use of those mechanics. Dott did very well in this aspect, LiS did not, IMHO.

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Re: How to improve next year's awards?
« Reply #6 on: 24 Feb 2020, 13:21 »
I think "Best Debut" could be a cool way to help some of the talented newcomers on the scene get noticed and try to mitigate the issue with AGS veterans sweeping the awards, making things a bit one sided at times.

We could have a generous interpretation of the category, so if a developer isn't competing with the literal first AGS project they have made, it could still be applicable to their first full length game, their first commercial game, etc.

Making some kind of distinction between "Comedy" vs "Drama" and "Traditional Adventure" vs "Innovative/Experimental Adventure" could also be a way to get more diverse awards. In this year's lineup for example, it seems a bit like apples and oranges to compare a game like Whispers of a Machine to a game like Guard Duty. The two games are trying to do fundementally different things, and I wish that aspect could be expressed in the awards somehow.

Re: How to improve next year's awards?
« Reply #7 on: 24 Feb 2020, 20:55 »
"Best Debut" is a charming idea, but it might be tricky to execute. The candidate list would probably need to be fully moderated - I don't suppose the voters would want to check each game author's portfolio before they nominate so the category would probably end up either underpopulated or full of non-debut games.

Snarky's vote to combine Best Puzzles and Best Gameplay sounds like a reasonable thing to do. Decent puzzles contribute to good gameplay, and Best Gameplay is fully inclusive of non-adventure games.

Re: How to improve next year's awards?
« Reply #8 on: 24 Feb 2020, 22:32 »
The candidate list would probably need to be fully moderated
I think this is a good idea for all categories anyway. It would require some effort on someone’s part to trawl the list and select the games that are valid in each category. But it would be worth it for the voter not to have to face that same block of 100+ titles for every category knowing that most of them aren’t valid.

For future AGS Rewards
« Reply #9 on: 18 Apr 2020, 23:50 »
For further AGS rewards and to be fair, I hope to see the followings:

  • Two rewards for best games created for:
    • Freewares
    • commercials

Why?
not everyone has funds playing commercial ones

In term of nomination, in order doing what I hope, I think it's important dividing categories towards game type as explained above
Now I wonder if "demos" should be excluded as such?

Usually those types are applicable towards commercial ones and meant to get a feel of game.
On average, we hardly see those type for freewares.
What if games having those type get cancelled?

Overall "demos" aren't consider game being completely created and released

Any comments
« Last Edit: 18 Apr 2020, 23:52 by splat44 »

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Re: For future AGS Rewards
« Reply #10 on: 19 Apr 2020, 08:57 »
There's already an award for best free game. And commercial games tend to receive the majority of the rewards anyway.
Are you saying to divide all awards between free and commercial games to make it more fair?

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Re: For future AGS Rewards
« Reply #11 on: 19 Apr 2020, 09:25 »
I also find it very rewarding working with AGS.  (nod)
But never gotten an AGS Award...  :P

This is the second time I've seen someone referring to the Awards as Rewards. Has the english language changed?  (wtf)
« Last Edit: 19 Apr 2020, 09:28 by Cassiebsg »
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Re: How to improve next year's awards?
« Reply #12 on: 20 Apr 2020, 05:08 »
I know commercial ones tends getting most rewards and that's why I suggest having two rewards for best game one for freewares and other one for commercial to be fair.
To answers your question, I wasn't talking dividing rewards between those games type!
Clearly mentioned diving category to each game types like:

  • freewares
    • Best animation
    • best coding
      ect...

The same for commercial
Again I think "demos" should excluded as category as most apply to commercial and not freeware. They don't consider as game being completed/released but just to get a feel!

There's already an award for best free game. And commercial games tend to receive the majority of the rewards anyway.
Are you saying to divide all awards between free and commercial games to make it more fair?
« Last Edit: 20 Apr 2020, 05:11 by splat44 »

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Re: How to improve next year's awards?
« Reply #13 on: 20 Apr 2020, 07:16 »
Awards, not rewards.

Frankly, commercial games get most of the nominations and awards because they are, in general, better. At least by the metrics the awards focus on, which are strongly correlated with effort. I'm not convinced this is a "problem" that needs to be solved.

This proposal would mean about twice as much work for voters (and would also double the length of the awards ceremony).

And you'd still end up with professional games like Unavowed competing against "$1 on itch.io" indie titles. And would "pay what you want" releases count as commercial?

There were only 78 games submitted to the AGS database last year (about half of them MAGS games, if I correctly remember what was said during the ceremony), and I believe only some thirty people actually voting. Dividing things up any further will mean a bunch of categories where there are more nominee slots than eligible games, and where a game might win with only five or six votes in total.

At least the first part of that is pretty much already the case for "Best Demo", so I actually agree it might make sense to cut that category, though for different reasons than you argue.

And finally, with more ambitious/commercially minded developers like Wadjet Eye or even Andail increasingly abandoning AGS as an engine, much of the "problem" is going to solve itself without intervention. Yay?

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Re: How to improve next year's awards?
« Reply #14 on: 20 Apr 2020, 15:20 »
There were only 78 games submitted to the AGS database last year (about half of them MAGS games, if I correctly remember what was said during the ceremony), and I believe only some thirty people actually voting. Dividing things up any further will mean a bunch of categories where there are more nominee slots than eligible games, and where a game might win with only five or six votes in total.
Wait, I remember it being said there were 78 games nominated last year. Are you saying there were actually only 78 games submitted to the AGS DB?!  :shocked:
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Re: How to improve next year's awards?
« Reply #15 on: 20 Apr 2020, 15:24 »
Yes, 78 games submitted in the database.