FreeBASIC Games Directory's Game Making Competitions

By Lachie Dazdarian

Hello. I'm Lachie Dazdarian. You may know me as the webmaster of FreeBASIC Games Directory, a site dedicated to reviewing and archiving FreeBASIC games. Some of you may also know that FBGD organized two game making competitions in the past 2 years, the last featuring cash awards, all with the purpose of promoting and encouraging game development in FreeBASIC.

So allow me to reintroduce our past competitions and talk a bit about our future plans, which include new sponsored competitions, thanks to ads revenues from the site and support from Jattenalle, a community member known for his excellent Gods and Idols (APIStudios).

Our first competition was held in August/September of 2008 with a retro theme. It lasted slightly less than a month and it had a simple premise. The objective was to create a FreeBASIC game of any genre in a mock 80x60 resolution, inside a real 640x480 resolution screen. A block of 8x8 pixels emulated a single pixel of the mock resolution. I dare say it was a rather novel idea for a game dev competition, and it resulted in some really cool, retro-looking entries (and attempts), quite well emulating the spirit of early ultra low-res games.

The competition had four (4) entries: Mentat's T Tanks, ssjx's Racer, Dr_D's Curse of the Midnight Wobble-Butt Attack Squad (unfinished 3D FPS) and ChangeV's Uminva FB.

The first game from these four entries I would like to point out is ssjx's Racer, a wonderful score-based driving game which perfectly emulates the sense of playing those old handheld electronic games with LCD screens. Check out this screenshot:

The second game worth being showcased is of course the winner of the competition, ChangeV's insanely fun Uminva FB, a mock first person shooter. This game not only excels in emulating the feel and look of the old MSX games, but is also in the same time a very challenging, rewarding and addictive game to play. Here is a creenshot:

It was a semi-successful competition; it resulted in at least one excellent game and several interesting tries and ideas. I personally found the idea of the forced low-res quite inspiring and I still jumble in my head a few ideas for games made in that style.

To read more about 2008 retro competition, go here (includes game downloads and few interesting unfinished entries).

Slightly more than a year after the first competition, in December of 2009, extending to January 2010, FBGD organized a second game dev competition, this time with a $125 first prize cash award. The theme of this competition was to create a game where the player plays the role of the antagonist of the story/gameplay, with higher points awarded to this aspect being expressed through gameplay. This time community members had almost 2 months to complete their entries.

Again, we had 4 entries: Kristopher Windsor's Revenge of the Bricks, ssjx's Pac-Man: Ghosts, ShawnLG's Bowser's Story and ChangeV's Slime Quest.

The second place was won by ShawnLG and his Bowser's Story, and excellent Super Mario style platform game. While not being innovative in exploiting the theme of the competition, ShanwLG delivered a very balanced, clean, and challenging platform game to play, which rightfully took the place of the best FreeBASIC platform game at that point, calling again to developers that we need more FreeBASIC platform games. Bowser's Story is relatively long, maybe slightly repetitive, but at the very end it features a mandatory battle against Super Mario himself, and that part of the game luckily delivers. Another screenshot:

The first place again went to ChangeV, this time to his Slime Quest, which proves again to be the most focused and inspired in these sort of competitions, delivering a fun spin on JRPG genre. Slime Quest places the player in the role of a slime escaping a city filled with "heroes" eager to kill it and level up. The game features thought-out design, excellent graphics by JawsV, very challenging gameplay with some cool features like the poisonous slime trail, and good replay value. Perhaps not fun as Uminva FB, but equally respectable and appreciated addition to our FreeBASIC games archive.

To read more about 2009 antagonist competition, go here (includes game downloads).

So what more to say about these past competitions? They were definitely successful in delivering at least two full-fledged games per competition...and pulling ChangeV from under his rock. But seriously, the important is that we motivated programmers to start developing, even if they didn't submit anything in the end. The talks of game dev are important. Ideas. Game dev activity. That is all we game developers like to see.

So here we are again, almost another year since the last competition. FBGD competitions unpurposely turned out to be a yearly activity, which feels like a perfect pace to me. But this also reminds me that years sure fly like crazy. I'll be a sleazy guy in mid-life crisis before I can turn around. I'm depressed.

Ah, but I digress. FBGD should be ready to start a new competition within few months, but this is where we need you. We need ideas and discussions about the theme for the next competition. All ideas are welcomed. Email me or post in the FBGD competitions sub-forum.

I hope for the next competition to be the most successful so far, meaning at least 5 solid entries, and a lot of game dev talk. Also, the next competition should feature higher cash prizes.

Until that time, happy coding!

Yours, Lachie Dazdarian (lachie13@yahoo.com)