Thursday, June 14, 2007

Obsidian Contest Wrap-Up - Updated

Today, following the announcement of the winner on Monday, Rob McGinnis his list of the top three Contest Modules, as ranked by Obsidian's internal voting. They are:
  1. Grimm Brigade by Jason S. Roy (jclef)
  2. The Birthday by Maerduin
  3. The Rampion Champion by Death Quaker
The latter has to be considered a surprise winner, as it currently has the lowest popular vote score among contest modules with at least 5 votes. Comments on it generally indicate that it was well done, but extremely short. All of these contest modules were quite short, but in this case, it seems shorter than most. I'm going to put it at the top of my to-play list so I can see for myself, right after I finish Subtlety of Thay (currently about 3 hours into that mod). As always, I'll post my feedback in this space.

I posted this in my previous update, but for posterity, here are the rankings, by popular vote, of all contest modules (scores as of Tuesday):
  1. The Birthday - 8.92
  2. Grimm Brigade - 8.50
  3. Cry Wolf - 8.33
  4. Daark Twins - 7.69
  5. Being Good - 7.68
  6. Witch in the Wood - 7.25
  7. A Walk in the Woods 7.21
  8. Ebha - 7.00
  9. Happily Never After - 6.90s
  10. Once Upon a Time - 6.67
  11. Grimm's Patchworld - 6.56
  12. Queen of Lies - 6.50
  13. Prince of Light, or Shadow - 6.48
  14. The Rampion Champion - 6.10
Final Thoughts On the Contest - UPDATED

I have decided to remove/revise this part of my post. Originally it highlighted some of what I felt were problems with how the contest was run, and questioned whether any prizes at all were awarded (this was not clear at all initially--and from my perspective even doubtful--but Rob has since verified that Jason Roy is receiving prizes as the winning author).

This afternoon I contacted Rob McGinnis via PM, once again mentioning Lorft's thoughtful post on the contest, and addressing the issue of the prizes. It was a very polite and civil e-mail, and it had a constructive tone (to my eye, anyway), but I did state my case. Shortly afterward, I received a response from Rob indicating that prizes are indeed being awarded to the winner. Then, perhaps in response to my PM, or to others he has received, he made this post in the forums a few minutes later, which addressed some of my (and others) additional concerns:
As with everything we do, we received some criticism as to how the contest was run.

Let me first say that the winner is going to receive some prizes. It won't be anything along the lines of a new computer or a job or anything, but the winner will receive prizes, the least of which is an Obsidian T-Shirt.

Second, some people feel there should have been more publicity. I am not sure if the feeling was that we should have publicized the contest, the entries, or both. I do not know what more to do in these forums except bump the thread.

Third, there was criticism that the contest was unclear. I tried to clarify it as much as possible and, as was stated, if there were any questions, I was available through PM or forum post. If something was unclear, I could have cleared it up, if asked. I don't see every post on these forums, so a PM would have been useful.

I have said many times before, the NWN2 community is only possible if we work together. If you hold your questions and concerns and wait to only criticize at the end (this goes for anything), we may find that the contests are more trouble than they are worth.
The latter rebuff is perfectly fair. The problem, in my case at least, is that the pieces didn't come together about what was troubling me about how this contest was run until the short winner announcement post was made in the forums. As I continued to reflect on it, and read the posts of others, I realized that there were some issues that really troubled me about how the contestants in this contest were dealt with. Some of my concerns were admittedly based on misconceptions (primarily the issue of prizes), but most are still valid. And so, I've made a few comments about it both here and elsewhere. If this had all crystallized earlier, I would have written earlier.

Lorft also sent a PM to Rob that expanded upon his earlier comments. Rob's response to him was extremely positive and receptive--which is very good. I'm encouraged by this and hope we'll see improvements in future contests--and that we will see future contests. Lorft is right when he says that this contest has been a great thing for the community.

Apparently there have been a large number of attack e-mails sent to Rob over this issue. Our correspondance was friendly, which I appreciate. But I hope that my postings here and elsewhere didn't result in rude messages being sent to Obsidian. That was never my intent, and it is never productive. I know I don't get all that many readers, but I have been pulling ~150-200 readers a day over the last few days because of this contest stuff.

Anyway, I'll just close by reiterating that this contest has been an excellent thing for our community and for Obsidian. It is true that more could have been done to recognize those that invested so much into their entries, and Obsidian caught some flak for that.

But in the end, more went right than wrong. There were 16 entries, many of which have been very well received by the community. And these modules helped showcase many new authors in our community, which is always a good thing. And, ultimately, the winning module is a fine example of a fun and polished module, even if it's not my personal favorite.

So...back to gaming!


  1. Heh, you know I just assumed that the prize was going to be a graphics card that I never bothered to check if it was true or not.

    But for real, that's messed up. I didn't enter, but them cats that did have a right to be a little upset.


  2. We'll see. Maybe they do have something in the works and just can't say anything yet. I sent Rob McGinnis a PM about the issue, so we'll see what he says. -B

  3. Quick response from Rob (see update in main post)

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Well, consider my position on the topic a load of BS. Good for them and I'm glad it wasn't that way.

    So, anyone taking bets on the prize being a graphics card?