I wanted to bring up a subject that has been nagging at the back of my head lately. There is no right or wrong answer to this question my opening post addresses here; I find myself at a personal crossroads when pertaining to this particular subject.
The community has churned out some amazing missions as a result of the challenges from some of the contests, and they certainly are challenging to make. But for me personally, I think I am going to be more shall we say "picky" about "which" contests I enter in the future.
When I entered the Gates of Stovokor contest for the Ferengi ship contest, I had a clear vision of a story I had planned "The Last Centurion", and how I could modify that story to fit the contest parameters.
I am left feeling a sense of pride in the outcome of that mission as part of my "portfolio" of works. But this most recent attempt for Pwe_Branflake's contest, is the reason for this post.
I was close to finishing "Avatars", my entry, when a last minute map adjustment goofed up and I ended up having such a mess on my hands that there was no way I could finish in time for the deadline. But I finished it and published it anyways.
I withdrew the mission a little while ago, it isn't that it's a "bad" mission, but even one of my most loyal, diehard fans had to give it a poor review because even he could tell it was just not "chooch quality".
I plan to take the maps and npc's I customized and piece kitbashing and splicing it together with another story concept later on and publishing a more worthy finished product.
Lesson learned, if a final publish doesn't feel right to you, the author? It probably isn't up to snuff.
The contests have to be accepted with a little more thought in mind, IMO make sure you "know" you can produce a mission worth your time, otherwise you may regret it on a level that goes beyond the ratings the players give it.
Well, it seems to me most contests are following the rule of no missions longer than 45 minutes, I guess based on the fact that Cryptic's contests have that limitation. So, I'm pretty much excluded from the contests anyway. While, I suppose I could make shorter missions, the fact is I don't enjoy making that sort of mission, and I don't want to be involved in something where I'm going to constantly have to worry about whether my mission will be too long. It's just not worth it. Since the contests don't appear to want what I produce, it's not really a difficult decision not to take part.
But outside of that, I've sort of decided that I probably won't be taking part in (m)any more contests in any case. I have at least half a dozen ideas for Foundry missions, and it takes me a long time to make each mission. If I'm ever going to get those missions done, then I can't afford to get side tracked making missions for various contests. So, the only way I can see myself taking part in a contest again is if I just so happen to be making a mission that fits the contest's criteria, and the contest doesn't limit the length, which appears to be a pretty unlikely combination.
In any case, I definitely agree with your sentiments. It's important to keep in mind what you want to get out of the Foundry. Taking part in contests may not fit those goals, and if not, then you shouldn't get distracted by them.
In addition to that, forcing out a mission to meet a contest deadline is probably a trap you should avoid. Not only will you not be satisfied with the result, but it might also end up doing damage to your "brand" to release a half baked mission.
You guys have touched on something that has been nagging at me as well. Anyone reading the discussion thread will know that I finished my mission only a HAIR under the deadline. I did not enjoy that at all. I would ordinarily have spent another month on that mission at least. Don't get me wrong, I am proud of that mission and it is good work, but it is not my BEST work.
Now it is possible to do that mission in five minutes or so...but to REALLY enjoy it, and do the optionals, and all of the dialogues would probably take about two hours. Like "Grazorak City", it's really up to the player. In short, I think that the short build times bring the quality down.
I hope that Branflakes gives us two contests next time. One with a one-month build, and one with a two month build, after that he will be able to offer us a two month build all the time, and still have regular contests.
Let me make clear, I would be an amazing hypocrite if i did not disclaim I am in no way saying I am "against" the contests, after all, SubSpace-Radio, my bosses, are holding one we simply are in a delay due to a lot of requests for more time and trying to decide a new guideline for the contest we are holding.
But that being said, my only concern is mostly the wasting of project slots on "quickies".