i think paring down the submissions is the most realistic way to go about it, since the manpower isn’t there. Because if it isn’t there, it just isn’t there
It is worth noting that there is a separate conversation worth having about logistics (e.g., if I announce that I’m personally doing the big produced thing, you can no longer tell me you want to take charge); nothing said in this thread is a commitment to anything yet, especially since I don’t know what my schedule for this summer looks like yet.
If we do end up going for a more selective submissions process, I recommend that we consider an invitation and/or application process. It feels bad to waste time making a video that gets rejected, so it would be less bad to have an application declined. Invitations could go out to select projects / users based on some criteria of what we want to showcase.
How about both options 2 (not specifically cam running the event but moreso higher emphasis on quality of showcase) and 3? Historically FEE3 has been an annual event, but maybe it would be best to begin a biannual showcase tradition. That way there’s more time to prepare for a quality event, and burnout (current year-to-year burnout is strong) would be less of a factor.
Making the format biennial (biannual means twice a year, which I don’t think is what you meant) makes little sense to me. FEE3 has been, especially in recent years, as much a showcase of projects that finished in that calendar year as upcoming ones. Although projects do take time to do, many start and finish in a timescale that’d make this an awkwardly long deadline to wait for if you happen to finish at the wrong time.
Thanks for starting the discussion. If anyone is interested in running the event in a state similar to the past few years, you can read the documentation here. Relic used this last year and it seemed to work well.
The big question is: "Who is FEE3 for?". My view is that it’s by the community, for the community. With that in mind, I think the event should be inclusive, even if that means a longer run of videos, especially if all we are doing is “showcasing hacks”. To me, the level of effort in showing 80 creator made videos is not significantly more than 20, and it’ll certainly be worth not making 60 people feel bad for not getting in.
The event, in its current state, is more for people submitting than people watching, and I think that is fine, since without people making stuff, there isn’t a community of people to play it or watch the videos at all.
That said, I know there’s been complaints about the viewability of FEE3, which are fair. While I liken current FEE3 more to a tradeshow or conference than a Nintendo Direct, I get that making the event a better viewing experience is important, too, since people want to be able to see it all without it feeling like a chore.
Thus, if we moved forward with a plan to curate the event more, I strongly recommend we move away from focusing only on hack showcases and instead planning the event with distinct themes and video formats to educate and entertain.
For example, let’s say we want to make a series on the latest hack innovations and tech. Maybe we start with a buildfile tutorial showing off someone’s CHAX from this year – we can have a video talking about that, doing the setup, and then a video highlighting a few different hacks that use the tech well. High end projects get their time in the sun, and everyone gets to learn something and improve their craft.
This would make being selective feel less arbitrary, but also make the event more educational and have a consistent thread through it. In my mind, if we are limiting participation, I think making the event more educational and using projects to highlight what people can do in their own work will be both 1) timely and fitting of an annual show (newest stuff) and 2) have lasting power (people will go back to watch a tutorial). Of course, anything like that requires more effort and planning.
This idea is half-baked and I edited my post a few time as it came to me, but I think that’d be the best way to soften the blow of limiting participation. Also, selfishly, I’d like us to produce more tutorial content. If the event isn’t going to be for all creators to show off their work, FEE3 should be a vehicle to grow the community, so making tutorials mixed with showcases and trailers would likely land better and help more people get started both with hacking and playing what’s new.
However, given that having a dedicated leader for FEE3 is a consistent challenge, I prefer we lean towards inclusivity as much as possible and stick with the current approach. The current model works well enough in ensuring people are involved.
Curious to see where we land.
Honestly, I would love to have this sort of content in general, if people capable of making them were willing to cede them to us rather than their grow their own channels. FEU Direct was a thing for one glorious year, but I honestly think that’s a way more sustainable model than the current FEE3 setup.
“Make a tutorial and you can show off your hack” feels like a good incentive, but I agree that it’ll take a more civic-minded individual to do it for the FEU channel versus their own.
I’ve been submitting to FEE3 since 2016, and the event’s changed greatly since then (and even from 2011, the very beginning.) Speaking from my own experience, the submission quantity has gone up drastically, and the willingness of the hosts to repeat the next year has basically completely run out - managing 80 entries is a heavy burden.
I’ve always supported the idea of some quality requirement to get into the show: nothing especially taxing for the hacker, and anything with decent quality or potential would be allowed in. Hour-long let’s plays of mediocre chapters simply aren’t interesting: I typically put such entries on as background noise instead of actually watching them.
FEE3’s a long-running institution in this community, and I believe it must continue in some form. Naturally, compromises must be made. As a hacker, I preferred the older model of submitting a patch and someone plays your hack, but I appreciate that is unsustainable from a production standpoint. Hence the modern self-service approach.
The oldest FEE3s were composed of largely one let’s player (up until about 2018) playing every entry. Needless to say one person playing eighty hacks is completely unsustainable. The largest of those older FEE3s was at about twenty entries. That is a reasonable entry count, and would, assuming current video scheduling persists, result in an event of about five days - this could be lengthened to about a week by releasing three videos a day instead of four, or the current length retained via daily uploads - I’d say that would be too long and would recommend capping the event at two weeks.
Naturally, the question of what do we showcase is of critical importance. Current regulations ban GBAFE reskins, and that should remain. Beyond that, things get fuzzy - Cam isn’t defining any criteria for a reason. Were I in charge, I’d look for a mix of…
- Some of the most popular COMPLETE hacks finished since the last FEE3 - these would be the headliners and should have their unique selling points front and centre.
- An amount of slots for new hacks, especially unique ones with high potential. These are not going to be complete hacks - this is meant to give new hackers some spotlight.
- An entry or two outside of GBAFE, to give a bit of variety in the presentations - we do more than hack FE8.
- Hacks previously in FEE3 with significant progress made, to provide continuity - a popular hack from last year is going to have people remember it, and they’d want to see progress.
- A graphical showcase - these have always done well, and people always appreciate fancy animations.
I wouldn’t have any hard slot limits, but I’d want some balance of these categories: this isn’t meant to show off 20 COMPLETE hacks. At the same time, showing off zero COMPLETE hacks also would not make for a particularly interesting event.
@TheColorRed If you put a ton of effort into your showcase, you should be able to make it. It’s low-effort showcases that I support pruning.
@Vesly Handing out golden tickets doesn’t particularly sit well with me: those without them would inevitably complain. Having an application process is fine, though.
@Snakey1 I don’t think switching to one event per two years is the way to go: we don’t plan for the event all year round, so halving the event frequency will just add dead time. I also agree with Epicer here.
@Pandan I don’t agree with going “quantity over quality” and letting everyone in: juggling 80 entries is still four times more than juggling 20, and generic hacks aren’t going to interest the viewers.
Converting the event’s focus to be more educational isn’t a bad idea on principle, but creation of tutorials in of itself is still a lot of effort. Personally I think FEE3 is a showcase first and foremost, and should show off the best of the best. There’s merit in your idea, though perhaps as a separate series on the FEU channel at some point, not tied to FEE3.
Ah, FEU Direct. Good times. It’s a shame we only got one video (and recorded, but never finished, a second).
Speaking as someone who submitted a rambling 40-minute showcase to FEE3 last year, I feel we could use fewer rambling 40+ minute showcases. I did enjoy a lot of the chapter showcases, and some were memorable and engaging, but I definitely got too fatigued to get through more than like half of them.
I do feel that if not all submissions are to be accepted (beyond just ‘the video doesn’t work / the audio is inaudible’), it should be something clear and set in stone. Something where you can clearly point to the rules and say, ‘look, you made Y and that’s great, but we aren’t looking for that kind of content’. I’d hate for someone to put a lot of work into a showcase and have it come to nothing just for not clearing a moderate quality bar; but if the decision is made that, for instance, we’re only accepting trailers, then people who don’t feel confident in their ability to make a trailer at least won’t waste their time.
That in mind, I’d be in favour of a 30-minute time limit, and possibly some kind of need for a showcase to be more robust than ‘playing a particular chapter blind’. I feel like having a playthrough run in the background while the player interviews the hack creator in the foreground about their experience with that chapter, where to from there, et cetera., could be a more robust and engaging formula… but it’s also more work.
The issue is that you’d make the 60 people who don’t get in feel bad and wouldn’t get anything for it if all we did was have a better LPer show off the top 20. Seems like a losing scenario, especially when we already have challenges finding an organizer.
Again, in its current state, FEE3 isn’t about viewers. It’s for project creators.
I didn’t watch all of FEE3 last year, and I don’t expect everyone to do so, but the importance is in being able to show up and have your work alongside the rest of the community.
If more effort goes into how the event is structured beyond just curating the best looking projects, then limiting participation is a conversation worth having IMO
Yeah this is on presenters to do a better job of preparing. Asking people to self-serve will continue to lead to quality gaps (not everyone is a good LPer), but every year we get more feedback and I think the average self-produced showcase improves.
To clear up something, this isn’t the case. I think last year was fine, I just think that a few more helping hands are needed, maybe 5-10 people more helping out in minor positions. The reason I am not coming back to run it is that I don’t really have a strong drive or interest to right now and if I tried it would probably not end up well.
Let me know if you have any questions though.
Although i’ve been around as a lurker for a good 10 years or so in this community, i don’t recall ever watching many of the FEE3 videos because they were simply too long. The last FEE3 though was pretty enjoyable for me personally. Lots of short/informative presentations instead of unscripted let’s plays of some random chapter. The more entries we have, the shorter they should be, to a reasonable degree of course.
Generally the best entries are either trailers (see Genesis by Melledoneus & Blade & Claw by kdports) or quick, informative videos explaining the core ideas and features behind your project (see FE10 Daybreak by Vicious Sal
An idea i had would be to just generally try and keep submissions shorter, maybe make a template of sorts and have the videos be kind of like an elevator pitch. Sell me on why i should spend my time with your project in 5 minutes or less.
The template could look something like this:
World Setting: (medieval fantasy, dystopian world, civil war, low fantasy)
Main inspirations: (Lovecraftian, a specific game or media, ancient china, etc)
Most akin to these fe games: (fe11, fates, thracia, fe7)
Difficulty: (easy, normal, hard, very hard)
Main gameplay features: (skills, custom mechanic, lots of characters,
Main gameplay style: (ironmanning, ltc, save states, puzzle, story based)
Level of completion: (low, partially, halfway done, fully finished)
You’d then write a small script and voice it or have somebody voice it for you over some gameplay footage. For example:
[Project name] is an febuilder project about a band of pirates sailing across a broken world falling apart from within, inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft, and the Risen game series. You can expect a huge cast of characters with an emphasis on naval themed classes, a low amount of skills, ironmanability, and custom sailing mechanics. The game is rather hard, mostly akin to fe11 h5, and halfway finished.
After that, you can obviously elaborate on things, but the viewer immediately knows what he’s getting himself into within the first minute of watching, and can decide whether he likes what he perceives or not.
Hell you can probably just enter the template into ChatGPT and have it make a script for you.
Point i’m trying to make is that not everyone knows how to make a video like that, and the easier we make that part for them, the easier and sooner we’ll have good short presentations that people will actually watch, and get information from.
My problem is that someone could put a lot of effort into their video and still not end up with a good result. Poor editing skills or a bad recording setup could drag a very high-effort submission down to being mediocre.
After reading the replies here, here’s my thoughts and ideas - bear in mind that I’ve only been 'round the FE hacking community for a year or two now, so take as you will.
Why not do some dividing or grouping for the show? Instead of just dumping out random videos one by one, maybe have one video for all the 1-5 minute trailers, one video for 5-ish minute samples of Let’s Plays, and one video for tutorials, etc.? A length limit I think would do well with FEE3. You could have something where long multi-hour playthrough videos have to be stored as seperate videos that are linked in the showcase video.
I don’t personally have experience with managing a project of this scale so while I don’t feel confident on giving my input on how it should be run, I am confident in explaining my point of view of FEE3 and how it has helped me as a creator.
I have been in two FEE3s so far, both showcases being for the same project. At the time of the 2021 recording my hack was still very primitive and lackluster to say the least and it didn’t get a lot of views and it didn’t even drive up downloads a lot. What it did provide me with, however was satisfaction and a video of someone playing something that I created.
I think it’s difficult to put into words just how much that first video motivated me to keep going as a project creator, the time it was released was a huge slump for me as I had to basically rework my whole project but something about seeing my work being played for the first time really inspired me to keep going to where I am now, in the endgame of my hack, working on the final chapter.
The second FEE3 video was showing off a much more refined build of the hack although it was still far from what it is now. This video was just really cool and inspirational to see pop up on the FEU channel, this time I did gain a small surge in downloads because of the video but that didn’t really matter to me as much as just seeing it being posted, almost like I was making up for my lackluster showing the last year. The person I asked to help out was great for the video too, Epholo did an amazing job on it.
Overall this was just my experiences with FEE3 as someone who has participated in it twice, once as a novice hacker just starting out, and once as a more intermediate hacker being able to make something decently playable.
FEE3 is a great event for people to show off their stuff and I do think that there is value in highlighting the hacks that flew under the radar especially.
I haven’t been around as long as some others here, but I’ve watched FEE3 2020/2021/2022 and seen the ensuing discussion around the event. Much has been said about the workload placed on the organizer in more recent years, but Relic’s comments in this thread indicate that the “self-serve” model makes this more than manageable, as long as you have other contributors in some capacity. The more relevant argument, then, is that reducing the number of showcases, using some subjective measure of hack quality, will lead to a better event. I could not disagree with this more, for several reasons.
For one, pretty much every criteria trotted out is not only subjective, but vague enough to have a large gray area when it comes to enforcement. What makes a hack “good” enough to make it into the arbitrary number of videos that are allowed into the event? What makes a showcase “good” enough that it’s deemed suitable to be part of an exclusive club? There are some objective measures that you can use, such as video quality or length, but what makes a trailer better than a LP, or a newly [COMPLETE] hack better than an up-and-comer? The obvious response is “whatever the organizer decides,” but I don’t think it’s wise to have FEE3, which frequently has leadership changes, take on these kind of subjective measures. I’ve already seen many claims of bias against FEE3 organizing before, and Cam has mentioned in the past that FEU has reputation issues as it is. As I see it, introducing wholly subjective standards (such as an arbitrary cap to submissions) to exclude hacks that otherwise clear video quality is only asking for this reputation to worsen, which I doubt anyone here wants.
And furthermore, these hypothetical subjective standards being put in place further… what, exactly? Is having 60 less submissions (in this scenario where we reject all but the “worthy” ones) actually going to meaningfully further FEE3 goals? As I see it now, FEE3 is a showcase of the fruits of the hacking community’s efforts over the year. It’s a place to show off the progress of highly regarded hacks that even every casual hack player knows of, and it’s also a way for lesser known up-and-comers to garner interest. Some of the greatest hacks around started as the latter, and FEE3 helped push them into the former. I’ve seen the surge of interest in both of these kinds of hacks during FEE3, and it’s great to see the community coming together to enjoy and appreciate both of them. The extremely selective process described in the OP would throw this in the trash in favor of giving the elite hacks even more spotlight in comparison, and I’m not convinced that there’s any real positive to doing this, as no one’s really ever offered one beyond “all the bad hacks are gone.”
Lastly, there’s a very simple solution for all the people who think FEE3 has hack showcases below par for their standards: don’t watch them. You are under no obligation to do so, and no one should expect for every hack to meet them. Hacks are inherently niche, and it makes more sense to lean into that and allow all hack makers to submit their work the way they would like it to be shown, so long as it doesn’t break FEU’s content policy and meets objective requirements. Anything more than that is a disservice to the hackers who look forward to submitting their hacks to FEE3 each year and showing the community what they’ve accomplished.
I had thoughts about FEE3 a few years back at this point and would once again bring them up as something to think about.
To (hopefully) cut down on the number of submissions at once, split FEE3 into two showcases, one Summer, one Winter. Creators can submit to only one showcase a year. This would ideally make it so that no one would have to have their videos dropped/excluded for any reason and it would hopefully not cause a massive amount of work for the staff if the pool of entrants was smaller per showcase. Maybe set a hard cap on the number of entrants per window if it’s absolutely necessary, and you could have one set of staff for each showcase so that one team isn’t always under the gun the entire year.
If a creator would miss the window due to slots being filled or wanted to showcase things before the other FEE3 season, then they would be free to post it on their own in the meantime but could still submit to the second season and would get priority if they were “bumped out” from the previous showcase?
I dunno, that’s my two cents.
I think this would be a reasonable idea to cut down on the viewer fatigue, but it doesn’t really help the manpower issue, it only spreads the workload out over an entire year (which, if you ask me, is honestly worse). The fact that there are 80 entries per year is a big factor in organizer burnout, and I don’t think that splitting it into two chunks of 40 is going to make things that much easier to stomach.
I think the FEU channel would be good for posting more technical minded videos, but I don’t think that needs to have anything to do with FEE3. It might be an idea to just post regular content rather than exclusively posting videos during FEE3.
As for the actual content of the event, I think maintaining the current status quo is the best option
aside from canning it. If you want your stuff featured, produce the video yourself, and make it meet some basic video quality and forum policy guidelines. The only real work involved there is producing thumbnails (which can 90% be offloaded onto creators by just having an image template) and screening content (which can have the workload reduced by increasing video length restrictions).
As much as I love ragging on bad hacks, enforcing “hack quality” beyond objective measures is obviously going to be an unpopular decision and really a nonsensical one - the goal was never high viewership in the first place, nor was it expected for people to view every single video. It’s not like we screen the forums for hack quality so I don’t see why FEE3 would be different.
I think the greatest issue is finding an organizer which is understandable because I definitely wouldn’t want to do it.