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The Contest Week has now started as of this post! Play this year's Contest and Expo entries! It's that time of the year again... Contest Date Last year, we ran the Contest Week around the start of December. We found that this has noticeably this resulted in a lower stream turnout. Therefore we are returning to hosting the contest at an earlier time this year.. Historically, the reason the contest dates kept on being moved every year was usually a result of site delays, however some other circumstances also occurred. In 2018, we moved it due to the release of Sonic Forces. In 2019, we delayed it due to Thanksgiving. This year we are returning the contest week to late October. Deadlines & Judging In 2019 we found a number of Expo entries slipped the net and nearly ended up in Contest Week despite failing the Quality Control criteria. This was mainly due to negligence of some Judges to monitor Expo entries as they were being submitted. To compensate, we added an additional week between the Expo deadline and the Contest Week, to ensure entries could be filtered out. We do not wish to give bad quality entries exposure, particularly those we do not feel would bring anything positive to the end user. Regarding game compatibility. As an improvement to previous years, a spreadsheet has been made to track which games individual Judges can play. This will allow us to ensure that we can better tackle niche games (should any be submitted), better than in prior contests. The Trophy System We found that the new trophy system introduced in 2019 has worked pretty well. Some categories did not simply have a good turnout to take full advantage of them. Overall we were happy with the outcome. We should continue using this format, but tighten up some minor loose ends that were discovered. Entries will be graded top 3 overall in the respective common submission formats/categories: “Retro”, “3D” and “2D PC”. Various “general” categories, subject to different interpretation based on submission format such as “best visually appealing” or “best sounding” will also be split in the following manner. Last of all, “special” trophies such as “most improved since last year” or “most WTF” (Polygon Jim) will also be split this year. Also, we have reinstated a few trophies that were removed last year. We understand that there is a possibility that some of the trophies under the format may end up “unnecessary” in the long run with no real “winners”, due to what may or may not be submitted. For such trophies, the “Null Vote Rule” will be applied, with “Null Vote” being a voting option if no entry either satisfies the trophy description or does not meet a given quality standard in the given trophy’s department. If “Null Vote” becomes the top vote for a category, no trophy is awarded. Uploads and Patches A recurring issue every contest year is that we very often receive requests from users to make available an archive of all of the entries for a given contest. While at the time of a contest, it is possible, with the passage of time this becomes very difficult, as many entries are often hosted off-site. Well, in good news. According to SeanieB, (who hosts the SHC server), the bandwidth on the current server is now more than enough to allow all entries to be directly uploaded. As such, there is no need for an extra server to be configured for uploads, which had been the plan for previous contests but time constraints did not permit this to be set up. As a direct result, we expect SHC2020 to have no off-site links for entries. Although it wouldn’t stop mod loaders, this will also address a potential exploitable issue with off-site links being updated after the contest deadlines. The Judges This year's judge set consists of AURORA☆FIELDS, Cinossu, CodenameGamma, Dario FF, Melpontro, OrdosAlpha, Sewer56, SSF1991 (Donnie), Spanner and Twilightzoney. Judges & Contest Submissions Judges will be allowed to submit their own hacks, however they will not be allowed to judge their own entries (conflict of interest). This includes submissions that they have been involved with, such as team submissions. After the main contest finishes, the Judges will provide more detailed evaluations of the entries to give their opinion, thoughts, and advice they feel is deserved. Disclaimers This judge list is not final and additional judges may be recruited to replace former judges who have left the contest due to retiring or other reasons. Do not ask to be a judge as that just rules you out. If we think you're up to the job, we'll talk to you. Not all judges can judge all games as they may not have have the capability to do so. For example: 360/PS3 based Sonic hacks requiring either powerful PC for emulation or hacked console. If you submit a non 8/16-bit entry please have this in mind. The majority of judges however are capable of playing PC-based game entries. Please note that the final decisions are subject to the Judging Team and may not reflect your own opinion. If one hack wins a whole load of trophies that is what the judges thought should win. Judges may change at any time due to unavailability or other reasons. Like last year, we have three main categories that entries can fall under: Retro For any and all retro console hack entries 3D For all entries based on the 3D Sonic games outright 2D PC For those entries based on the 2D ports, rereleases, and remasters on PC, as well as Mania. All three of these categories will have a Top 3 result and individual trophies of the following: Best Visual Best Audio Best Technical Best Level Design Best Voted by Media Panel Most Entertaining Most WTF (Polygon Jim) Best Team Entry Best Multiplayer Entry Best Character Implementation Best Boss Design Best Fresh Concept Using Existing Concepts As A Backbone Most Potential Most Improved Since Last Year Of course we also have the overall Top 3 that can again be attributed to any entry from any category. And what of community trophies, you ask? Apart from the obvious exception of "Best Voted by Media Panel", the community get to vote on each and all of these categories and trophies as well. All of these will be able to be played from Monday 26th October to Sunday 1st November, with the Contest Entries being eligible for Community Trophy voting too. Here is the Contest Week stream schedule for this week: Sunday 25th Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday 1st