For this first contest, the theme will be "Grimm's Fairy Tales." The final day to submit modules will be Monday, April 30th at noon Pacific Time.I'm really excited about this. We've talked about how the builder community hasn't been very productive thus far, and this contest could be just what we needed. It offers a chance to get a lot of good modules pushed out in just one month's time...and even if some of the entries aren't very good, it might help a lot of people get their feet wet with the toolset, who might then go on to do great things in our little community.
You can remake one of Grimm's Fairy Tales or do anything else as long as your mod has something to do with the theme.
The immediate comparison one might make for this event is the Bioware Writing Contest of February/March 2006. In that module, conditions were extremely cramped: one 4x4 area, a maximum of three NPC's, no combat at all, and a cap on word count. Most modules took about 5 minutes to play through, though some of the clever ones, including the eventual winner, Myranni's Magic by Mat Jobe, might have taken 15 min. The result was 300+ modules being submitted. Unfortunately, due to the severe constraints, many of them weren't terribly fun or engaging. Still, in my role as one of the nominated community judges, I played through around 90 of them, and saw a lot of really good ideas out there (as an aside, Mat Jobe's module was luckily in my initial batch of modules to review as a judge, so I felt some level of pride to see it win it all...not that it wouldn't have won had it gone to anyone else's batch!).
This new contest has much more open-ended rules, though the expected product must be larger in scope: between 30 minutes and two hours long, two to five areas (one must be an exterior), and must follow (on some level) the Grimm's Fairy Tales theme. It also doesn't carry with it the opportunity to gain potential employment in the gaming industry like the Bioware writing contest did. Therefore, I think the result is going to be that there will be far fewer modules that are submitted, but the ones we get are almost certainly going to be more enjoyable than those of the writing contest.
I can't wait to see the entries start to pour in. I briefly (like...for about 3 seconds) toyed with the idea of trying to come up with a submission of my own, but with the start of the baseball season and everything going on at work, I have too many distractions. :) Instead, I'm going to try to play and give comments on as many as I can, as I think this could be a cool feature for the blog. Stay tuned to this space...
Update: Maerduin is apparently planning to put in a contest submission. Great news!
Update2: It looks like a lot of folks in the NWN2 Mods forum around going to give it a whirl.