Passion MSX2 contest - 1st edition

van wolf_ op 01-07-2008, 00:51
Onderwerp: MRC
Labels: Challenges
Talen:

And suddenly, out of the blue, there is a new contest, organized by the French/English website Passion MSX. In a way, there are quite a few similarities with the popular MSXdev contests, the biggest difference will be the target platform: MSX2. Maybe this is simply the answer to the ongoing discussions surrounding MSXdev, no matter how easy (and fun) it may be to create MSX1 games, many people feel the MSX2 is a bit neglected. This is especially true when you keep in mind that the people who are working on an MSX1 entry for MSXdev are probably going to spend all their time on this MSX1 entry, which leaves them with little to no time for MSX2. In a way it's remarkable: years ago MSXdev provided a platform to boost MSX1 activity after this system seemed completely neglected, and now this new contest may do the same for MSX2. The interesting question of course could be whether two contests could coexist at the same time, if you consider that for bigger projects a team of developers may need to make a choice between the two contests. Time will tell.

The contest in general:

  • Deadline: 30 June 2009
  • Jury: SuperCobra, Mars2000you and Daniel Vik
  • Quite a whopping amount of prize money: €433 for the winner, €333 for the runner-up and €233 for the third place!

A summary of the specifications of game submissions:

  • Format: ROM, up to 512KB (4-MegaROM)
  • Allowed mappers for Megaroms: Konami without SCC, konami with SCC, ASCII 8KB and ASCII 16KB
  • Any programming language is allowed, but assembly is prefered for obvious reasons.
  • Strict MSX2 compatibility, a submitted game needs to be fully compatible with the following MSX2 configuration:
    - CPU : Zilog Z80A (or clone) running at 3,579 MHz inside the MSX Engine
    - VDP : Yamaha V9938
    - PSG : AY-3-8912 or compatible sound chip (Yamaha YM2149)
    - Cassette interface: 1200/2400 baud
    - Memory Mapper system
    - RAM : 64 KB (memory-mapped)
    - VRAM : 128 KB
  • A game entry should be able to run on MSX2+ and MSX turbo R as well. If not: Penalty points will be applied.
  • For sound and music, PSG is the De Facto chip to use
  • Outside and after the contest you are free to release an enhanced version with for example support for MSX-MUSIC, SCC, Moonsound, V9958, Graphics9000 etc. These bonuses will not be taken into account for the actual contest though.
  • Just like MSXdev, original games are preferred, but non-original concept games will be also accepted. In all cases however, the game should be original work. Recompiled, previously released or hacked games are not allowed. Obviously, ripping music, graphics or other material without permission of the original authors is also not allowed.
  • In the submitted package, the following elements need to be present: the ROM file, an English manual, a sticker for the ROM cartridge. Only the game itself will be judged however.
  • All submitted games will become freeware. This also applies to any enhanced versions released after the contest and outside the contest.
  • The developers are not allowed to distribute unfinished or finished versions of the game before the end of the contest.

More details can be read on the Passion MSX website. If you decide to enter this contest: may the force be with you!

Relevant link: Passion MSX - Passion MSX2 contest 1

Reacties (35)

Van JohnHassink

Ambassador (5413)

afbeelding van JohnHassink

01-07-2008, 02:27

Very nice initiative!

May I ask what's the reason for allowing .ROM's only?

Van Huey

Prophet (2644)

afbeelding van Huey

01-07-2008, 09:52

Interesting. Its a reasonable amount of money.

But this line does make me hesistate:
'All submitted games are freeware. It concerns also the eventually enhanced versions released after the contest and outside the contest.'

This would mean no (enhanced version) release on a cartridge after the contest? Right?

Van wolf_

Ambassador_ (9769)

afbeelding van wolf_

01-07-2008, 10:00

I've been thinking the same thing here, I doubt the organization can actually demand this for versions released after/outside the contest.

Van viejo_archivero

Paragon (1372)

afbeelding van viejo_archivero

01-07-2008, 11:57

Yeah, that's something to precise. If I submit a game, can I make a cartidge and distribute it on my own once the contest is over? (being the .rom image freely downloadable from the net, of course)

Van wolf_

Ambassador_ (9769)

afbeelding van wolf_

01-07-2008, 12:54

Well, how about selling such an enhanced rom through regular channels like bitwise, sunrise etc. I assume the creators keep their copyrights, and should thus be entitled to do whatever with their enhanced ROM.

Van Huey

Prophet (2644)

afbeelding van Huey

01-07-2008, 13:43

Exactly! Feels like forcing copyrights on the freeware status.

Van ARTRAG

Enlighted (6243)

afbeelding van ARTRAG

01-07-2008, 13:55

"All submitted games will become freeware. This also applies to any enhanced versions released after the contest and outside the contest."
hum....
This will disrupt my plans to become rich....
Tongue

Van pitpan

Prophet (3131)

afbeelding van pitpan

01-07-2008, 14:05

Well, it is freeware as far as it can be obtained without paying a price. Look at the Linux distros: they are free to download, but it you want to buy a pressed DVD or CD, you pay for it, including profits and margins for the publisher.

Therefore, assuming that the previous consideration is true, you can join the contest, let the organization put the ROM file on-line for free and also sell physicall copies of the game with a profit margin.

Freeware doesn't mean public domain.

Van wolf_

Ambassador_ (9769)

afbeelding van wolf_

01-07-2008, 14:30

pitpan: who would be selling the ROMs with a margin? The organization or the creators?

Van RobertVroemisse

Paragon (1235)

afbeelding van RobertVroemisse

01-07-2008, 14:46

I think the organization will sell the cartridges and thus, make the profit. They have bought the game from the makers (the prizemoney). Right?

Van hap

Paragon (2021)

afbeelding van hap

01-07-2008, 14:50

I doubt that yum Smile
I'm with pitpan, the organization probably wants to prevent post-contest cartridge versions with small improvements/bugfixes not being released for free to the public too.

Van wolf_

Ambassador_ (9769)

afbeelding van wolf_

01-07-2008, 14:51

@yum: That's nowhere stated in their rules, and in fact I don't think anyone should agree with such a rule in any case. What if this is the case, and the organizers do a total screw-up on those sales, then you lost your game or what as you can't sell it yourself?

Van wolf_

Ambassador_ (9769)

afbeelding van wolf_

01-07-2008, 14:52

hap: they may wish such, but they shouldn't force such.

Van pitpan

Prophet (3131)

afbeelding van pitpan

01-07-2008, 15:02

And if you publish your own game what will they do: sue you? Don't think so.

About letting the organization make some profit, I would agree with that as far as the monkey is reinvested in the contest or the following editions. It was considered once for MSXdev, but discarded soon.

Van wolf_

Ambassador_ (9769)

afbeelding van wolf_

01-07-2008, 15:18

Another unclear bit in their rules: "on musical area, only PSG sounds are allowed."

Does this mean that -like MSXdev08- only the PSG version will be judged while there is optional scc/fm music using some key? (like Nerlaska's games)

or

Does this mean that the game may under no circumstance contain any music for other chips, not as a bonus, not under a key, not automatically when the music hardware is present, just never?

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

How about "- in all cases, you need to avoid the specific MSX2+ or MSXturboR tricks or features;"

This would rule out Space Manbow, which runs on MSX2, but uses the border masking of the V9958 when present.

Van Grauw

Ascended (8451)

afbeelding van Grauw

01-07-2008, 16:18

Very nice! I love MSX2 ^_^.

I think these rules should be scrapped though:

# (All submitted games will become freeware.) This also applies to any enhanced versions released after the contest and outside the contest. ← this part

Not the “All submitted games will become freeware.” bit, but the part after it. Because of concerns raised in the comments here (particularly, a real-ROM version), and the fact that in the end, you, the developer, are the copyright holder. The contest rules should only apply to the submission.

# The developers are not allowed to distribute unfinished or finished versions of the game before the end of the contest.

Why this? I don’t see a good reason for it. If a game is finished in the first month of the contest, people have to wait a year before they can play it?

~Grauw

Van wolf_

Ambassador_ (9769)

afbeelding van wolf_

01-07-2008, 16:29

@grauw @ point 2

I think it's fair to assume that an early release of a game is available on passionmsx, just like early msxdev entries are available on the msxdev website, just like early mrc entries are available on mrc.. ;P

Van pitpan

Prophet (3131)

afbeelding van pitpan

01-07-2008, 17:20

The rule of distributing just the final version was also included, although not applied in MSXdev. There is a good reason for such a rule to exist: a first version is published, a bug found, a new version released, a new bug and so on. Finally you don't know which version you have, if it is bugfixed or not, if it is the correct one or just another discarded beta. I totally agree with this one. Bug hunting should be done with a closed circuit of beta-testers, not on the mainstream downloads Wink

Van wolf_

Ambassador_ (9769)

afbeelding van wolf_

01-07-2008, 17:27

That would apply to bugfixes, which are fundamental. How about additional features? Take for instance MSXdev'08, MSX2 palette and additional soundchips won't be taken into account this year. In a way, one can choose to fill the whole 128KB of a ROM with the game and the PSG music, later on one can release a 2MB ROM with SCC/FM music as a bonus and an MSX2 palette, and maybe screen 5 intro pictures instead of screen 2 pictures. One should be entitled to sell such an updated version of the game on a fair, make a nice box for it, etc. (while the original bugfree version is still freely available as a download)

Van Manuel

Ascended (15750)

afbeelding van Manuel

01-07-2008, 18:34

About these rules: why discuss here? Just ask the organization what they mean.

About the MSX2 specs: they are wrong. MSX2 does not need to have a memory mapper, nor does it need to have an MSX-ENGINE, nor does it need 128kB VRAM (64kB VRAM is minimum). So, the rules are not what they claim (strict MSX2 compatibility)!

The 128kB VRAM would be reasonable, but the rest should be relaxed, IMHO.

Van GhostwriterP

Champion (511)

afbeelding van GhostwriterP

01-07-2008, 18:40

Is it wise to overlap two contests? msx vs msx2? Now people have to choose... or can both be entered with the same game (per example one in screen2 the other in screen5)?

Van Huey

Prophet (2644)

afbeelding van Huey

02-07-2008, 10:10

I guess both can enter if you submit them at the SAME time. Both the same game but one with default MSX1 palette and one with a manual MSX2 palette.Hannibal

Van msxgamesbox

Champion (397)

afbeelding van msxgamesbox

02-07-2008, 13:49

Further to your constructive comments, we have made some clarifications in the rules.

Van wolf_

Ambassador_ (9769)

afbeelding van wolf_

02-07-2008, 14:10

Can you clarify some more plz? Tongue

Here are still some plotholes:

All submitted games are freeware, even after the contest closes. Enhanced versions that are released after and outside the contest will also have to be Freeware.

That bold section is something you can't seriously mean, no? You could declare that the submitted entries remain freeware, just like MSXdev, but any enhanced versions (additional gfx, music, music chip support, levels, polish, etc.) will remain to be property of the developers, and if they wish to sell the enhanced version without a freeware version available, then the developers should be able to wish so. In short, you can't tell the developers that an enhanced version should remain freeware because this enhanced version was never part of the contest, so it's out of your hands!

- in all cases, you need to avoid the specific MSX2+ or MSXturboR tricks or features;

So, is Space Manbow a valid entry? It works on MSX2, but when running on an MSX2+ it uses border masking.

- on musical area, only PSG sounds are allowed.

Is it allowed to have dual configs in 1 game? So that without any external soundchip, PSG will be used, and when an SCC, FM-PAC or something else is present it'll use those? A 512KB ROM has plenty o' room for alternative tunes for PSG-only, PSGSCC, PSGFM, FM, Moonsound (not with too many RAM samples Tongue) etc.

Van NYYRIKKI

Enlighted (5382)

afbeelding van NYYRIKKI

02-07-2008, 16:52

- Memory Mapper system
- RAM : 64 KB (memory-mapped)

I find this a bit weird... I don't remember any MSX2 model that would have 64KB memorymapped RAM... If you have 64KB RAM it is not memorymapped or then you have bigger size memory mapper. AFAIK this kind of configuration can be found only from MSX2+ models.

(This is not a complaint, I just find this weird)

Van Manuel

Ascended (15750)

afbeelding van Manuel

02-07-2008, 22:15

/me hi5s with NYYRIKKI

Van sjoerd

Hero (593)

afbeelding van sjoerd

02-07-2008, 22:24

The Philips NMS8220 has a memory mapper with 64KB RAM. Anyway, wasn't the memory mapper part of the MSX2 standard?

Van dvik

Prophet (2200)

afbeelding van dvik

02-07-2008, 22:35

Are there any MSX2 machines without a memory mapper?

Van Maggoo

Paragon (1195)

afbeelding van Maggoo

03-07-2008, 02:59

I think some early SONY model (HB500 or something) didnt have a mapper but that's about it.

Van Manuel

Ascended (15750)

afbeelding van Manuel

03-07-2008, 08:58

Also the Sony HB-G900P doesn't have a memory mapper and e.g. the Sanyo PHC-23J(B) (a Japanese machine) doesn't have a mapper either. The mapper is standardized, but it doesn't mean that each MSX2 should have a mapper. So, it's standardized, but not mandatory in the MSX2 standard.
Most Japanese MSX2 machines have only 64k, and I"m pretty sure most of those do not have a memory mapper. See also this: http://fms.komkon.org/MSX/Handbook/th-1.txt

Van DamageX

Master (214)

afbeelding van DamageX

03-07-2008, 09:30

on some 64KB machines (probably most of them) with a mapper built into the MSX engine smd chip, the mapper address lines are not connected on the board. Writing to the mapper i/o ports has no effect.

Van wolf_

Ambassador_ (9769)

afbeelding van wolf_

03-07-2008, 10:26

some updates I just read in the rules:

- the rom submitted to the contest can contain bonuses on an hidden and de-activated way such as other sounds than PSG or specific MSX2+ or MSXturboR tricks (the activation will need to press on a specific key with as result the detection of the required hardware).

Ok, clear, by default msx2/psg, but for example a small menu is allowed prior to starting the game where one can choose e.g. fm-pac, 2+, etc.

And (in a nutshell) : Enhanced versions that are released after and outside the contest will also have to be freeware, if the concerned improvements were already present on a hidden and de-activated way in the version submitted to the contest. In the contrary case, the developper decides in full freedom the status of the enhanced version.

Also clear, tho it's a bit of an odd rule. If one wants the initially planned bonuses *not* to be freeware, then just don't "hide" them but simply don't compile them for the contest version. By doing so, this whole rule becomes void (and thus I fail to see the importance of this rule for the organization), but alas.. for the moment I think everyone can have peace with this.. Tongue

Van ARTRAG

Enlighted (6243)

afbeelding van ARTRAG

03-07-2008, 13:01

Very strange and cryptic rule...
I cannot neither fully understand it
Assume I use an SCC mapper for the rom
Should I disregard SCC music in the competition release ?

What if I do an SCC rom that has SCC music ? Am I disqualified ?

If I add SCC music in a successive release, this latter can be even sold, can it?

Van wolf_

Ambassador_ (9769)

afbeelding van wolf_

03-07-2008, 13:16

Heh, that sccmapper vs sccmusic contradiction slipped my eyes Smile

For some reason I have the impression that the contest could be very simple, but that the rules make it very complex.

Van GhostwriterP

Champion (511)

afbeelding van GhostwriterP

03-07-2008, 18:48

Let us just make some nice games! Smile