Sonic Hacking Contest

By Sonic Hacking Contest

SHC Newsletter - CONTEST SUBMISSIONS DEADLINE - SUNDAY 12TH SEPTEMBER!

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Sonic Hacking Contest
This is a reminder that you have until Sunday 12th September, at the end of the day, to submit something to the Sonic Hacking Contest.
You must submit a fully playable entry of your submission by this date.
After that, no further submissions will be accepted, however Expo entries (which are not judged) will still be accepted until the end of Sunday 26th September. There is no updates period for Expo entries.
All Contest entries have until the end of Sunday 19th September to refine their submission and update it, then afterwards the Judges will be looking at them, for evaluations and trophies. 
Please note that it is the responsibility of the submitter to test their own entries for bugs, the deadline is the deadline, we do not normally accept any fixes beyond that date unless they are game critical, and even then it is a case by case basis, to avoid any more changes than what is needed. So please test your entry prior to finalising your submission.

The Quality Control Criteria
Sonic Hacking Contest :: Quality Control
Judges check all entries for Quality Control purposes during the entire submission period and if your entry will be moved to the Expo or rejected altogether, you will be informed by email as to why, following the deadlines.
We will not normally move anything until the deadlines have expired, unless what they upload cannot be entered (such as a game that doesn’t meet the criteria of what is allowed in the Contest and Expo).
We have given notice since March of this year that the SHC was happening this year, and even before that people were aware that there would be an announcement for SHC, therefore people have had ample amount of time to work on and present an entry if they are going to submit something.
We have a Quality Control Criteria to make sure people (public, judges and streamers alike) can enjoy the SHC, not go through dozens of poor quality entries which are not yet ready for SHC exposure.
Last year, we rejected around 25 Mega Drive entries. It’s certainly not what we want to do again, but again we have had some entries be submitted which wouldn’t pass the criteria, not even for the Expo.
In 2021, we simply cannot have entries which feel like stuff from the early 2000s, made in older, inflexible (compared to disassembly) tools such as ESEII and other things. Unless you are trying to challenge yourself by using these older, deprecated tools, disassembly based hacks are the way forward.
How to Improve Potential Entries
Nobody’s asking to be so advanced with content, but for beginner, basic stuff, SHC isn’t the right platform for that, not for the time being anyway, so you could try going to Sonic Retro or SSRG for help and showing your stuff off, in regards to Retro entries, both sites have extensive information to help you on your way with hacking, and are valuable resources for you to use.
For 68k assembly learning, you can also look at MarkeyJester’s guide on that.
Other categories are currently more on Discord servers rather than specific websites although many entries are also submitted to GameBanana.
For 2DPC (Mania and Other RSDK), you can try the REMS Discord Server.
For 3D, X-Hax (earlier 3D games such as Sonic Adventure 1 and 2) and Lost Legacy (later 3D games such as 06 and Forces) are worth going to.
There are other communities out there too, but we simply couldn’t list everything out there, therefore we only offer these as suggestions.
Also worth recommending to read, earlier in the year, before returning to the Sonic Hacking Contest as a Judge, Selbi made threads on Sonic Retro and SSRG explaining the lack of originality of hacks these days.
It’s maybe something that people should read, and take into consideration for entries in future Contests and Expos. That’s not to say we don’t have unique entries submitted this year, but those discussions are certainly worth your attention, and are worth reading the responses from both forums.
Regarding Submissions to SHC
It’s up to the people who make hacks and mods, if they want to submit to SHC. It is the biggest event out there for Sonic hacks and mods, and if you don’t want to be judged, there is always the Expo, meaning you will still have an opportunity to show something to the public and get the best exposure.
Of course, we must accept, there are times when some people aren’t going to submit another year, maybe they will return in the next year or two, maybe not. Some people come back in five years, or even ten years…
When people have their own personal circumstances to deal with, among other things as well, as well as their interest or lack of, it’s not an expectation that there may be returning entries, or even new entries altogether.
We are also aware that the modding of the Sonic 1 and 2 Decompilations are still at an early stage, and it is highly expected there may not be many of those submitted this year, or many Mania related submissions as people are focusing on the decompilations. We can only get what we can get this year.
In any case, if you have something you would like shown to SHC, whether it’s for the Contest or Expo, there is still time for you to submit to the event.
And Finally...
We have made changes this year to improve the SHC event as a whole, the biggest change being the judges being split up into categories to provide the best and most fairest judging available. It is something, in hindsight, that could have been done a few years ago, rather than later on.
Next year, we may make further changes depending on the outcome of this year’s Contest Week, to improve the SHC for years to come.
Unfortunately, we do accept there are occasions where the publicity could be better. This is something we have tried to address this year too.
Likewise, we are addressing the issues regarding Media Panel coverage, so that entries are played properly on screen, which some were not in 2020.
The evaluations you get this year, certainly won’t be a repeat of last year from some people. People should be satisfied with this year’s evaluations.
Finally, we have not forgotten about the Developer Streams mentioned on the site and in the previous newsletter. Once we have finalised the Media Panel streams, which are mostly complete, we will release a booking form will include all the details and what is expected and what will be provided.
When we are ready to book those streams, we will let people know.
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