Distribution of boxes begins: May 1
Deadline: June 1. If you ask for an extension, be prepared to show us proof that you’ve been working on something.
It’s been a while!
Make a fun chapter!
Now with BOXES!
(i stole them too)
Slow down, you animal! What’s all this cardboard doing here?! It’s only April and my house is already full of silverfish!
Now that FEBuilder’s been around for a long time and I’ve played several games created with it, I’ve been thinking about hosting a chapter creation contest for the first time in a long time. I still wasn’t completely sure about it, but after mentioning it on Discord I’ve gotten good vibes and have decided to go through with it. Don’t let me down!
So here’s how this contest is going to work: if you’re interested in participation, make a post in this thread expressing your interest (if you don’t have an FEU forum account, you can also let me or one of the judges know on Discord). I (or another judge) will send you a message containing a “box” or list of various resources. These resources can be anything, from animations to tilesets to songs to simple gameplay concepts. Here is an example box:
Animation/map sprite: Wyvern Rider w/ axe
Song: Der Langrisser - Ein Fahrender Ritter
Tileset: FE6 Western Isles
Portrait: [a random portrait from one of the free-to-use threads]
Item icon: Blue candle
Gameplay concept: 2-3 range
Animation/map sprite: Dark Knight
Tileset: FE7 Town
Gameplay concept: Weapon that targets Resistance
Song: Act Raiser - Fillmore
It’s up to you to incorporate at least four of these things into your chapter. This number might change while I hash out the details and get a good feel for what’s reasonable. Feel free to tweak any of your box assets as needed (for example, if you want to add a Shop tile to your tileset or you want to recolour a portrait and change its clothes a little); what matters is that their soul is intact.
The tentative date when we will begin sending entrants their boxes is May 1 or whenever you sign up, if you sign up after that date (Make a Good Level X3 is currently going on and the entry period ends on May 1; out of respect for the people whose contest I’ve blatantly ripped off I’m going to refrain from overlapping entry periods). The tentative deadline is June 1. You can sign up at any time during the submission period, but keep in mind that we’re not liable if you sign up on the 29th, it takes us a day to send you your box, and then you only have the 31st to slap together your entry, or any similar situation.
1. One chapter, and one chapter only. Your entry must be only one chapter in length. You can do whatever with other chapter slots: use them for cutscenes, leave the rest of the vanilla game right after if you want, but the only thing being judged is whatever chapter I play when I select “New Game” and choose an empty file. I’m going to trust all entrants to be responsible adults with the LOMA (load map) event by not disallowing it, but please try to just use it for cutscenes unless you have a very good reason for your chapter to take place on multiple maps. Additionally, feel free to collaborate with others in a team effort if you want, but only one entry per entrant, please.
2. Assume Normal difficulty. You can design Easy and Difficult modes for your chapter if you want, but Normal is the only one that will be judged.
3. Respect the box. You don’t have to keep the contents of your box a secret, but all of this is going to be a lot more fun if you do. What came from the box and what didn’t? Keep us guessing! If you’re having trouble thinking of ways to use the stuff in your box, you can request a new one at the cost of a 3-point penalty to your total score. My goal is for all of the boxes to be composed of stuff that’s free to use and downloadable from somewhere on this site, but if for some reason you have a hard time finding the resources let me know and we can work something out.
4. Your entry must be original. By this, I mean you shouldn’t just pull a chapter from your already-ongoing Fire Emblem project and call it a day. Feel free to make something that takes place in the same world, is a prelude/side-story, etc, but fire_emblem_hack_the_final_oath_ch_7.event is a no-go. Doing a remix or re-imagining of an already-existing chapter is fine, but make sure it’s self-contained.
5. Don’t abuse the Skill System and other pre-made hacks. Although I was originally going to ban the Skill System from use entirely, it’s got so many potential interesting uses I couldn’t even justify a ban to myself. However, this doesn’t mean you should go hog-wild with it and put a gazillion skills in your game just because it’s there. Feel free also to use stuff like battle stats with animations off, modular mini box, etc, however you want; just make sure everything you put in the game has a purpose. If I play a chapter that feels like it just had the Skill System tacked on without any thought except “skills are cool”, I’m going to be harsh on it. Sometimes less is more.
6. If you’re using an engine other than GBA Fire Emblem, let me know and we can figure something out. While the boxes are obviously going to be tailored for FE8 users by default, don’t count yourself out if you prefer SRPG Studio/FEXP/Lex Talionis/something else entirely!
7. Your chapter should not require use of an arena. You can include arenas in your map, but if I have to arena abuse to beat your chapter, that’s a no-go.
8. Avoid excessively luck-based elements. Since Fire Emblem has a lot of RNG stuff going on, I’m not asking you to be perfect about this. However, if you have, for example, a boss with a killer weapon at the end of your chapter, there should be a way for me to beat it that isn’t “be lucky and don’t get critted”. This might be in the form of a unit who has high enough HP to survive a crit, one that has enough of a luck stat to nullify the crit chance, one that can attack at a range or force the boss to switch to another weapon through weapon triangle advantages, etc. Another example of something that is excessively luck-based is a sage with a Bolting tome who has a low hit chance, e.g. 20, on all of your units, but if the magic hits it’s a death sentence. If there’s no special solution to take care of the sage aside from “go through his range and hope you don’t get hit”, that’s unacceptable.
More guidelines will come as needed.
There will be three judges for this contest: myself (Alusq), A_Reliable_Chair, and SgtSmilies.
After playing all of the entries, each judge will choose a personal favourite. Judges can enter the contest too, but cannot judge their own entries or win.
Game feel: --/10
“Game feel” refers to how well-put-together your chapter feels in general. Units that are satisfying to use and enemies that are satisfying to take down, how well all of the things in your game meld together to create a theme, and just how fun it is in general, really. Overloading your game with custom assets doesn’t necessarily guarantee good game feel. This is nebulously defined on purpose: fun is subjective and it’s why I’m shooting to have multiple judges this time around. Previously, I wouldn’t’ve bothered given how involved creating a Fire Emblem chapter is, but now that FEBuilder exists, I’m optimistic.
Map flow: --/10
This category refers to how well everything flows when your chapter plays out. Does it spur the player to move along or does it encourage turtling? Is it a tight series of well-executed concepts or a sprawling mess full of unexplored ideas? Does it leave us wanting more or does it overstay its welcome? Start small and don’t make your map huge unless it really needs to be. Everything in your chapter should exist for a reason.
“Narrative” being a scored category does not necessarily mean that your game needs to be Shakespeare, or that it even needs a story at all. In fact, if you’re skilled enough cinematographer, you could pull off a compelling narrative without any dialogue whatsoever. I thought about making this purely a gameplay-oriented contest at first, since you can’t fit the usual Fire Emblem story into a single chapter, but Fire Emblem and story are pretty inseparable. Your chapter needs a “how” and “why”; a reason for our characters to be fighting the bad guys. Comedic or serious, concise or wordy, the pithiest narratives with the fewest holes in their logic will do best in this category.
Use of resources in box: --/10
That’s right, you can completely ignore the box gimmick if you want. However, it’s going to cost you a good chunk of your potential score. This score is based on how well you’ve incorporated at least four of the items in your box. Using more, or even all of them, won’t net you bonus points in any way; feel free to do that if you want, but this score is based on how well the resources are used in the game. If we suspect you just tacked them on at the end, or there’s a lot of potential but you never really went anywhere with them, your score in this category will suffer.
Your total score is a composite of the above four categories. With three judges, the maximum score is a 40/40/40. In the case of a tie, we’ll figure something out. There will be additional accolades for each entry that was a judge’s favourite.
Good luck and have fun!