We had an idea stirring around in the chat room last competition, and Swatacular brought it up again yesterday. It's the idea of some sort of award or reward for people who work hard, get stuff done, and make awesome games in the competition.
The Pot and "Serious Competitors"
One idea was to have everybody who wanted pay $X into a pot. This would definitely be optional, and you'd be able to do the competition without doing this. We'd give these people a label of some sort, like "Serious Competitors" or something. (I'm sure there'd be a better name.)
At the end of the competition all of the games made by the Serious Competitors would be assembled and given out to all of the other Serious Competitors. So for starters, your $X would be buying you a copy of all of those games, regardless of what else happens.
If you complete your game (which probably self-determined, but it ought to have some level of functionality and entertainment value and be relatively bug free) then you will get a share of the pot, divided equally among all the Serious Competitors who also finished their game.
So for example, let's say 4 people pay $10 each to form a $40 pot. Two of these people actually finish their game, while two do not (distractions/life). All 4 people get a copy of the two completed games, and the two winners would get $20 each, and have their first four customers! (Well… three, one is the person themselves.)
I personally quite like this idea. I'm just a little nervous about gathering people's money and redistributing it, especially if people who didn't pay decided to come in at the last minute and claim they paid and won, demanding their share of the money.
So despite liking it, I don't think it's all that viable, just because of legal concerns. (Unless somebody knows of a website that would allow us to do this or if somebody else is willing to risk it and collect and distribute the money.)
The other idea that's been floating around is basically to open it up so that anybody who wants can offer their own little reward for whatever they deem interesting, preferably announcing it up front.
So this would be something like me saying, "I'm going to give out 3 awards at the end of the competition in the form of a $5 or $10 Steam gift card to
- The person that I feel learned the most during the competition,
- The person that worked the hardest during the competition, and
- The person who made the best game.
The key being it's solely determined by me, the person offering the reward, and nobody can complain about fairness or getting their money back or anything. And if I chicken out and decide not to actually pay out the reward, nobody loses anything.
In these awards, the person offering it becomes the judge, jury, and executioner. Everything about it is completely in their hands as far as the actual payment, what they are rewarding, and who they give it to.
This idea is one I'm seriously entertaining personally, and I'd open it up to other people who might be interested in coming up with their own rewards and playing the role of competition judge.
The Real Winner Is…
The purpose of doing some sort of award like this is to provide additional motivation to do awesome things. The real reward of running a marathon is not the finisher's medal at the end, it's that you ran 26.2 miles, something few other people manage to pull off. The real reward of the competition is that you've made a game in a month, also something few people actually pull off.
If we do these rewards, I don't want them to detract too much from the real reward. At this point, I'm only proposing a reward scheme, not announcing one. If you feel like this might cause more problems than it solves, I'd love to hear that.
But at the moment, I'm thinking a little extra something something on top might help people focus better and get more things done.