Mea Culpa: Content sources for LD48

Posted by
August 28th, 2013 10:23 am

I was playing a 48-hour compo game called Ghost Voice, which is a game about frequency analysis that plays this haunting ghosty 60 second sound for you to analyze. On the entry page, the author credits for the audio track, and in the comments someone clearly and correctly points out that this is against the rules to use pre-made content. I thought to myself,  yeah man, you can’t use pre-made content whole sale, unless you modify it first… wait, what? What was I saying? Modify it? Where did I get such a notion?

I went over the rules page and it’s fairly clear there too. “All game code and content must be created within the 48 hours.” Base code and content generators are allowed, but that’s it. And I thought back to my own game, Offspring, and realized I have had this persistent fallacy in my head for months. For some reason I had the idea in my brain that it was okay to use other content as a base if you modify it. For example, shrinking, outlining, pixel fixing, cropping, distorting, and normalizing audio levels. It finally hit me that this is plainly incorrect. Ah, damn. Regardless of how anyone else interprets or follows the rules, I don’t like to feel like I’m cheating, so this is my full disclosure.

For graphics, I extensively used Filter Forge – an art content generator I really like – to produce some sprites and fill in backgrounds and shapes I drew. I believe this to be in the rules, however I used modified free clip art sources I found to make 9 out of the 30 sprites in the game. I shrunk them to tiny size, did some heavy pixel editing, color shifting, and applied a number of stroke and shadow options in Photoshop to get the effect I wanted. This was against the rules.

For sound, I had 15 files. 7 of the effect sounds were sourced from Free Sound. Using Audacity, I trimmed out the most relevant snippet from the sources, applied some audio filters, normalized the sound levels (poorly), and adjusted some peaks to get the final result I wanted. This was also against the rules. I gave attribution to these sounds in the readme on GitHub. Of the remaining sound effects, I recorded one of them, used bfxr for another two, and modified that output as well. The music was made using Renoise to lay down some notes and a couple of  plugins I own to provide the instruments. I believe this to be okay as well, although I know some folks balk at this because it makes it easy to create great sounds with little effort. I used the Microtonic synth plugin for one track of the end game screen, and the others used Z3TA+2. I also applied some DSPs to the tracks.

The font I used with the game came from 1001 free fonts, with a free license. The base code was pre-declared on GitHub and then later I used that same repository to share my source code. The base code is a framework I put together for integrating HaxePunk (a game library) with Ash (an entity component system) , and also adds some additional game support tools. I know some folks don’t like base code either but this is the sandbox I want to play in, and you can see what I’m using on GitHub, so I feel perfectly okay with this stuff too.

I apologize if this irks folks, I didn’t mean to cheat. It won’t happen again. If anyone wants to make a stink about it to the admins, feel free, and I submit to having my game moved from the compo to the jam or being disqualified outright, if that’s their ruling. It seems unlikely I’ll get in the top 100 let alone the top 10, so maybe wait to make a stink until then? :)

To read more about Offspring, you can play the game here or read my postmortem.

5 Responses to “Mea Culpa: Content sources for LD48”

  1. AdricZero says:

    These content rules are important for ensuring everyone in the 48-hour competition is competing with the same time and resource constraints. If I spend hours creating all my content, and someone else goes out and pulls in (and modifies with filters) their content, people who are judging a 48-hour entry will think one person was way more productive than another person who spent all the time creating their content from scratch. The essence of the 48-hour competition is what can the solo developer create with the time constraint given limited resources. The Jam is the alternative.

    Now I admit I also use sound generators and free fonts, so maybe I’m also not a purist either. But, I struggled with my programmer graphics just like a lot of other people.

    I appreciate your disclosure. I attended a LD meetup when the contest started and several people also did not understand the content rules for the 48-hour competition.

    I suggest the next Keynote point out these rules in as clear a way as possible.

    Another suggestion is to have the entry submission form for the 48-hour compo have checkbox attesting to the content rules. Such as “[x] I created all the graphics content from scratch by myself”. “[x] I did not use any existing code that was not declared”, etc…

  2. Yeah, nice of you to tell on yourself. :)

    Maybe you should go and have your submission moved to the jam, that would be more fair to the other contestants. I’m not sure if this has anything to do with how high your game is ranking in the final results, it’s just about fairness from my point of view… But I guess that’s up to you and not for me to decide.

    That’s some tricky situation you got yourself into, now deal with it!!! 😛

    @AdricZero: The rule about using existing base code says is SHOULD be declared before the compo, not that it MUST BE declared… 😉

  3. scriptorum says:

    @Martin: If you feel it’s unfair, please petition the admins to have me moved to the jam. I’ve already said I’d accept that consequence if anyone wanted it. But I’m not going to flagellate myself further, I’ve already dealt with it: I messed up a little bit, I didn’t mean to cheat, I disclosed everything and apologized.

    @AdricZero: That’s an interesting idea and could help.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

[cache: storing page]