I know the rule has always been that all content must be created during the 48 hour period, but I wonder if there’s been any consideration to allow content to be used that is clearly 100% public domain?
There are a number of sites where this kind of material is available, and it is clear that it is safe to use this stuff in projects now. There is much more organization and demand for public domain content on the Internet than there was a few years ago, so many sites specialize in providing it.
The reason I think it would be beneficial for the compo is that sometimes people like focus more on one aspect of their game entry. This would allow for someone to focus more enegy on the technical aspects of his game engine than on content while still being able to provide adequate graphics and sounds in his game. Yes, he could just enter the jam, the competition of the compo is compelling for many people and gives you the fix you just can’t necessarily get in the jam.
My thinking is it wouldn’t really give a leg up, because 1) 48 hours is 48 hours. Spend it as you please, cause every second is precious and 2) public domain content will always be inferior to a degree to specific content generated in the compo by an artist. Artists already have a huge advantage in this compo the way I see it with the use of high level game IDEs such as Unity and Game Maker. This would be a way I guess of throwing low-level programmers (C++/asm/etc) a bone.
To a degree we already allow this in allowing the use of sample libraries for music created for the competition. These libraries are allowed because they are provided by defacto to be incorporated into higher level compositions (songs). I would argue in just the same way, these public domain sites provide content to be used in higher level compositions as well.
Let me expand on this idea a little. You are actually encouraged to build off of public domain works. Most works have a shelf life and then disappear for eternity. It is a honor for it to be utilized in another work and go on existing. In the US, public domain law has existed since the Constitution to encourage the public to derive more works from it. It is there to help up unlock our creativity and build upon.
So I don’t really see this as simply adding a couple images or sounds to your entry from a public domain site, although that might end up being the primary use of the rule change. I could see more interesting works being created. Imagine for example a game based on HG Wells “War of the World” which used some of the original characters, plot and dialogue to create a more immersive and interesting entry then otherwise there would be time for. Or a rhythm game which had a dozen or so public domain children’s songs rather than the one weak song the contestant would actually have time to create. Perhaps these entries would not be created at all because the contestant did not have the necessary skill in writing or skill in song making. Seems like this rule might expand the quality of the entries by leveraging existing works. We might find much richer and more interesting entries than ever before.
Here’s a site with a list of just a few such public domain sites to give you an idea of what’s available out there.
My proposed rule change would be to allow public domain content as long as it was declared as such and cited with a reference to the site providing the public domain content.
What do you think? Good idea? Or just keep it the way it is?