Good day everyone!
About a week back we where finally able to meet for our end of the year meeting where we go over everything and review the year and high level plan what we want to do this year. The meeting itself lasted around 4-5 hours this year due to the large amount of stuff we needed to discuss so I am going to break these posts into 3 parts and release each one about 1 week apart so its not as much of a massive wall of text as it could be. It will be split up as follows:
Part 1 - Updates to the Gain Jam
Part 2 - Phase 2 Migration & General Updates
Part 3 - Update on the Main Site
So with that out of the way lets get into what we talked about with the Gain Jam
As many of you may remember last years jam we offered a last minute extension which we really shouldn’t have. As many of you may remember from our postmortem on the jam this was mainly caused by a knee jerk reaction on our side and explicitly me failing to take the time needed to really consider it before authorizing us to go ahead with it.
To prevent another issue like this from happening in the future we are putting in some firmer rules on extensions for us to follow. In general the rules we will be trying to stick with are as follows:
Extensions to the Jam will only be given under extenuating circumstances in which an external factor that is not under the participants control impedes their ability to submit before the deadline.
The issue in question must be proven to be either significantly unfair to a minority of the participants or effects all participants equally.
The Extension can only be up to a maximum of 24 hours unless extenuating circumstances outside of the control of Weight Gaming require a longer extension
In general we feel these rules allow us the flexibility to extend the Jam’s deadline in the case of technical issues on our end while helping to prevent us from trying to do something like the extension we did last year. We plan on keeping any and all future extensions as short as possible, and expect we will only need to go to the max (or past it) only in extreme failure scenarios such as a data center collapse.
After some discussion with @Juxtaterrestrial it seems the 2 phase judging actually worked quite well. According to Jux the only main issue they hit was some unforeseen scheduling conflicts delaying some of the judging which was outside of anyone’s control.
He did bring up that it seems there may be some confusion over how the games are scored and we think the issue for that is two fold:
The numbers are so large they are hard to understand at a glance
Some users may have a hard time finding the rules and docs
Issue 2 we think mainly comes from the fact that this is a forum and not something like a wiki. Most of the time users have to go through a few links and download some documents to get the full picture. Unfortunately, we are not quite sure how to solve this issue quite yet but we are playing around with a few ideas which I will mention in more detail in part 2.
Issue 1 though we think we can help with by simplifying the scoring a little bit. Originally we set up the scoring like we did to reduce the chances of ties as well as weight things we thought was more important. We are going to look into simplifying the scoring on the sheet and have each section be 10/10 instead of 500/500 for example. We will release a few revised versions of the scoring sheet well before the jam to receive public feedback on them once we have them worked out.
Now onto the largest change we have planned, themes and wild cards. Before I get to deep into this I want to restate what our 3 main goals with the jam are:
Challenge devs to improve their skills
Encourage development of rapid prototyping skills & try new concepts
Try to encourage new devs to at least try their hands at game dev
For a long time we have been having a hard time balancing mainly 1 & 3 as well as balancing it with providing rewards for our Patreons. We want to challenge devs to improve and push themselves but want to try to keep the bar low enough for aspiring devs to try their hand as well. Also, we do not have much we can offer as rewards on our Patreon so allowing some influence on the Jam was one of the things we could offer.
We have never been quite happy with this setup though. We feel that we have been unfair to our Patreons while at the same time having a hard time balancing goals 1 & 3 with each other. After much discussion and back and forth we came up with an idea that we are actually really excited about and we think will help us meet all 3 goals as well as making the Patreon rewards more fair.
After quite a bit of discussion we decided the theme will be exclusively decided by the Weight Gaming admins and staff. We are no longer going to allow Patreons to suggest or vote on themes. We are doing this for 3 major reasons:
We want to keep the theme as secret as possible and we have seen evidence of users pledging temporarily to try to get a leg up and its never been quite fair to be honest.
We still want to try to make the themes a bit technically challenging to encourage growth and creative thinking
We want to try to prevent the tyranny of the majority. We all know the majority of our users are into weight gain and due to that a fair number of suggestions tend to favor that or a related fetish. We want to try to keep it as neutral as possible to allow devs to try their hands at a as wide a range of games as they can.
That being said we are also placing some restrictions on ourselves. We are going to try to keep the theme fairly simple and high level from now on to try to keep the barrier to entry a bit lower. That means you may see something more like “use your fetish as a resource” then “hands off” like last year. We do know for some devs who really liked the tougher theme might be a bit of a let down but we have something we think will help to balance that.
If you are familiar with jams like the Godot Wild Jam they have a concept of wildcards which are bonuses challenges you can do in the jam. We plan on adding these wild cards into the Gain Jam as well to allow devs to choose if they want to take on extra challenges or not and what challenges they want to try to take on.
The way it will work is each card will have two scores tied to it:
An attempt score - basic all or nothing just for attempting to use the card a bit like the theme
A bonus score - This is bonus points that are awarded based on how well the card was implmented
The way this works is anyone who at least attempt to use a card will get say 10 points or so for doing so. This is to provide some reward to those who made an attempt at trying these challenges. The bonus points though are where things go get a bit weird.
The way the cards bonus score works is we are going to set a hard max on the score sheet. So using the current 1st round scoring sheet as an example lets say the max is 1700 points. You can not go above this and the bonus score of the cards is not factored into this total. This means cards can be used to compensate for categories that you may not be strong in. Lets say you did one card and they are worth 100 points. You got full points on it but only scored a 50 and a 50 on your art and writing. With that card’s bonus points added in its actually like you got a 100 in both categories.
This makes the cards legit bonuses and can be used by teams and devs to compensate for weak points in their skill sets or hedge their bets incase scoring does not go the way they expected.
There will be 3 cards in total with each one chosen a different way.
The first card is chosen by us on the admin team. Expect this card to be more technically involved then the other cards as this is what we want to use to try to encourage devs to push their limits.
The second card will be chosen by our Patreons. This will work in two steps. Step 1) the Patreons will suggest a card (we are unsure what tier will be allowed to do this yet) and then Step 2) the suggested cards will be put up to a vote to all Patreons with the card with the most votes being chosen and ties being chosen at random. The main restriction here is we will reserve the right to make suggestions a bit more generic if we feel they favor a specific fetish. For example a suggestion of make them fat may be changed to the more generic make them big to allow for more than just weight gain to apply to it.
The third card will be chosen by the community. A small hand full of options will be prepared by the admin team and then presented to the community for voting. These will not be as hard as the one chosen exclusively by the admin team but may still be a bit technically involved. The community as a whole will then vote on the option they like best with ties being being broken by random choice much like with card 2.
This all may sound a bit complex on the surface but we are quite excited to try it out with you all as we feel it may be a good way to balance our 3 goals while also allowing for more community input on the Jam.
For the most part I think that covers just about everything when it comes to our discussions on the Gain Jam. If you have any questions or thoughts on these changes we encourage you to state them down below!