Official CSTSF Mirai Modding Contest Discussion Thread (Over)

Sep 12, 2018 at 5:50 AM
Bonds that separate us
Forum Administrator
"Life begins and ends with Nu."
Join Date: Aug 20, 2006
Posts: 2851
Age: 33
As promised, it's (almost) here everybody!! I was going to start it earlier in the month until I got sickagainlike I do every time I try to work on something, so I hope the short delay hasn't caught anyone out. Before I get it officially underway and outline all the conditions, I want to open the floor first to get some feedback from those wanting to get involved.

Firstly, the start time. Please select anything in the poll you find convenient, or at least not too inconvenient. Ideally I'd like to have this completely wrapped up well before the end of the year, and I'm sure a lot of you have been waiting for it to start as well. For those who are really too busy, I'm sorry, and we'll have to try and work out something better between this and MaGCSL next year since Spring/Autumn breaks aren't really a great time usually. If you're worried about how much time investment you're going to need, I will mention now that the scope of this contest is going to be significantly pared down compared to the last one.

The biggest discussion to probably have now will be regarding what hacks and resources should be restricted, if any. I haven't seen any reason so far why NICE or Clownacy shouldn't be allowed, or if there have been any serious advancements since last year beyond similar .dll hijacking, and personal and open source hacks and assets have never been a problem. Again, the limitations this time are going to be designed to even out the playing field somewhat for those with less experience.

One last thing to point out now: Prizes! I'm going to offer to cover the payouts myself this year, but if anyone else wants to chip in, or has ideas or offerings for some other non-monetary incentives, please let me know somewhere.

All of the main contest specificities will be detailed upon the proper starting; note that there is definitely going to be a theme, and I'm going to expect all of you to start your concept from scratch based on it. In addition to what I've outlined here, if there's anything potential entrants would like to know or discuss as encouragement to get them involved, now's the time to bring it up. After last year I want to get as many people entering as possible if these are going to continue to be worth holding as a regular fixture.

Welcome everybody to this years' Cave Story Tribute Site Forums Modding Contest! I have set myself the task of being your humble host for this year, and I've brought a new set of plans with me to shake this baby up. The specific rules and explanations are listed together in their matching sections, so ensure you read through them all to make sure you aren't missing anything.

Some of you may have already suspected this from the title, to which I now reveal that this years' theme is indeed going to be Times Beyond The Present. What interpretation of the future to use and element(s) to focus on is up to you; it could be the near future or the far future, or the future of a different reality or time period, or even one about what the future might hold. I'm not looking only for hoverboards and death stars here. In fact, to stop this dipping too far into sci-fi territory, I've pre-decided to place on another condition: no time travel :toroko2: (Flashbacks are alright.)

Since I wanted to run a nostalgia/memory theme two years ago, I thought about taking it in the opposite direction instead and was happy with how much potential I saw. My future self is hopefully going to have many new things to remember :pignon:

Bonus Item
In an additional twist to the above, there's also going to be a semi-mandatory inventory item for entrants to incorporate into their creation. After discarding several different ideas, I eventually settled upon one, in the form of this...

...silver pear. (Not to size.)
There are some stricter rules concerning its implementation:
-It must not be made into a weapon/anything else that does damage, or any constant reusable utility like a booster.
-Whatever effect on the mod it has when used, be it plot-related or otherwise, must only occur once. Note that It doesn't necessarily have to have a wider effect if you don't want it to, nor does it strictly need to be selected from the menu.

To clarify, I don't mean that it has to be a bonus item within the mod itself, or even function as fake fruit. What it actually does or represents and where/how to include it is completely up to you, although however it's done, it should not distract from the central theme of the mod as a whole. I'm thinking of it as a small narrative aside or gameplay gimmick mainly, a single consistent point for every mod to think about in a different way.

For the time being, you can grab a copy of ItemImage with the pear installed over the Alien Medal at this location. If someone wants to improve that sprite a bit or make a 2x one or higher they're welcome to, but you're all going to be using the same sprite for a given resolution. I'm not going to outright disallow mods that don't put this in, but I highly recommend it for purposes of winning. See below for more details!

Modding Allowances and Limitations
As I said in the preamble, NICE and Clownacy's loader are both allowed this year, in addition to the classic .exe modding tools and ASM/hex patches. I guess that means any sort of code injection via .dlls is technically allowed. There's so much to keep track of these days that it's hard to single out where problems might arise, so for this year at least I'm going to see what turns up, with one exception - the unfinished and unproven rebuild is not to be used in any manner. I get that it's very difficult to track anything of that nature, but if you could all just don't for the time being I'd very much appreciate it.

I'm going to be enforcing some lenient but firm project size limitations as well, as an attempt to keep the scope of entries reasonable within the projected time limit right from the planning phase. They are as follows:
-No submitted entry can be over 50MB in total. The ability to keep a mod's size down without reducing the quality will be noted and appreciated.
-A maximum of 15 maps (not including the intro and title screens), each containing no more than 20000 tiles total (e.g. 200x100, or some other combination), are allowed. This provides for several decently-sized main areas without limiting the convenient use of small maps (multiple smaller areas can still be included within one map if desired). Exceptions MAY be made upon request for mods that don't fit the 'map-based' model of game design, or for mods that use greatly increased player speeds a large portion of the time.
-Like last year, old graphic and audio assets may be used, but maps cannot be copied over from previous works.

Entries and Submission Times
While collab entries are not going to be outright encouraged, poplar demand has led to me allowing their presence. More specifically, what this is going to mean is entrants are allowed to seek as much help, hacking work and co-input as they want, and can help others as much as they want, as can non-entrants. This doesn't mean you're automatically going to get assistance and I don't want to see anyone having demands thrown at them, although if any intending non-entrants do want to put their hands up as a general hacker or asset maker they'll be welcomed warmly. See the prizes section for how this may affect payouts.

Whatever you decide to do, I'm taking this opportunity to trial a new, two-segment submission system, which will work as follows. Firstly, you have until 12:00 AM PDT (Midnight, GMT-7) Friday the 9th of November, or roughly 6 weeks from now, to submit something to me. Your mod does not need to be totally completed by this stage (although that will certainly help), the main thing to note is that all submissions made by this stage will be locked in as contest entries. Upon reaching this first deadline, everything I'm given will be packaged and released together for public play and feedback simultaneously. All entrants will then have, at minimum, an extra 10 days to fix and finish their works before they're finalised and judging will begin. This second period is open to extensions, particularly if multiple people intend to finish and look as though they will, but I'm not going to keep bumping it down the road for very long.

I'm doing it this way because I really do not like the game of chicken that submissions have turned into during the last couple of years, as well as to alleviate some of the crunch-time stress and rushing. Everyone's going to get a chance to catch their breath and see where they can most obviously improve at the same time.

Contest submissions at any stage of this process should be sent directly to me privately, either via forum PM or Discord.
The final deadline has now been set firm at 12:00 AM PDT Monday the 26th of November.

To make sure the turnover for the results much quicker than it has been, combined with the fact that I've basically already been handling this for ages, I will be solely running the competition judging. This does not in any way mean I won't be open to (sensible) public input from others, or that the community won't get any direct say (more on that in a moment). For additional impartiality, I wasn't going to enter anyway will not be entering.

It's always difficult to know exactly how to compare the entries before playing them all. For this contest and these rules, however, I will be focussing slightly more on certain areas than in the past. The integration of the contest theme will have more influence on the final score, as will the overall coherency and flow of the mod as a representation of its creator's intent. The complete openness of input means that sheer complexity of hacks and/or audiovisuals will need to stand on their own merits, while any outright technical errors, serious ongoing issues, rule infractions and incompleteness remaining after the cleanup period will have to be severely scrutinised. None of this should be considered as a change from the usual fundamentals of fun level design, neat ideas and base modding knowledge; the main thing is to take the theme seriously and don't give up!!

Here too is where the Bonus Item will come into play. Rather than attempting to unravel its mysteries on my own, a community vote will be held for the most investing use of the item in a mod :chin: The top three positions from this minicontest within the contest will receive a small bonus to their overall score, making it truly more than just a cheap gimmick. Then, in continuation from last year, there'll be another public vote for the People's Choice winner to go along with the official judging. I'll do my best to make sure these results aren't just mirrors of each other.

I feel it would be remiss of me to take up the reigns without being able to offer any prizes myself. Unfortunately I still don't have a whole lot of cash to throw around, which means they're toned down a jot from previous years and you get to deal with exchange rates, unless anyone else wants to make it rain :v
Current offerings:
1st place - $40 AUD (DoubleThink) +$10 USD (BLink)
2nd place - $25 AUD (DoubleThink) +$5 USD (BLink)
3rd place - $15 AUD (DoubleThink) +$5 USD (BLink)
Consolation prizes: N/A

People's Choice:
1st place - $15 USD (BLink)
2nd place - $10 USD (BLink)
3rd place - $5 USD (BLink)

Note: In light of the lack of entries, BLink has decided to scale back his payouts somewhat.

Because collabs are going to be allowed, any decisions involving splitting of pay should be made well ahead of time. Alternately, don't offer to help somebody if you're going to expect payout for it without being the name on the entry.

-Don't complain if I tell you you need to change something that I haven't specifically mentioned or disallowed here, or complain about the rules in general without at least asking me about them first. I'll be adding things to this post as I go along if I think of them.
-Furthermore, you may have noticed by now that I really really really don't like dumb drama and the less of it that's had the better for everybody. I am not above taking liberties concerning someone's opinion if they can't control their salt output.

That's my lot for now, get started and I'll see you all in the morning :D

Final download for all entries Submissions (Final).zip?dl=0

Voting instructions
As described at the start, there will be two different sets of public voting: One for the best use of bonus item, which will slightly affect the overall result, and one for the People's Choice, which will be considered separately from the official judgement. Both of these will be handled separately.
-People's Choice votes are to be sent to me via PM, either here or on Discord. They will take the form of a ranked list containing all three games, ordered from 1st to 3rd based on preference. While this is intended to be a less-intensive process than the official judging, voters are still expected to put some consideration into all the elements that go into mod creation and the various limits and focuses of the contest rather than pure personal opinion.
-Votes for the best use of bonus item will take place in the new poll in this thread. SlipTouch isn't present as an option because it didn't include one. In this case the focus should be on the ingenuity of the item itself, and how the implementation of its bit part meshes with the rest of the mod.

There are some further rules that cover all voting:
-All three mods need to have been played, with effort made towards completing them, in order to vote. Any votes for the bonus item will also need to know how to get it and what it does when used.
-Since there are only three "main" mod creators this time, they will be excluded from public voting, as will the official judge (me).
-If there are any disputes over splitting pay, these need to be settled and sent to me before judging is over.

Voting ends in a week from this post update, i.e. when the pear poll ends. All results, including the official judging, will be posted shortly after. I don't care how few votes I get this time, I promised a quick turnaround and I'm sticking to it.
Last edited:
Sep 12, 2018 at 6:10 AM
"Life begins and ends with Nu."
Join Date: Jun 27, 2013
Location: Phoenix
Posts: 2778
Age: 29
Sep 12, 2018 at 6:42 AM
The TideWalker
Modding Community Discord Founder
"That dog!"
Join Date: Apr 5, 2013
Location: In my mind and of my body.
Posts: 1640
Age: 26
I'm super hype for this year. I've been stuck out of the fast lane because I work 14 hour days in the summer, but now that it's being held in winter I'm ready to rock and roll. (yet I still managed to make STARZZ in 3 days and got 5th that one year?)

Win or lose I'm so ready to show up with my best finally, and we're gonna have a jammin' slammin' contest this year.
Sep 12, 2018 at 7:54 AM
Deliverer of Sweets
Bobomb says: "I need a hug!"
Join Date: Jul 20, 2015
Location: Under sea level or something
Posts: 786
Age: 25
I'm going to expect all of you to start your concept from scratch
Yes please, I felt kinda on edge last year about a certain entry whose developement started months before modcon even started, but only was allowed cause they mostlt still had the specific asm for it. I kinda hope for that to not happen this year. (im not gonna point fingers, if you know what i mean you know what i mean)
Sep 12, 2018 at 12:22 PM
Junior Member
"Wow! The more I drink of this magical beverage, the more games I can play! Wheee!"
Join Date: Jan 19, 2018
Location: Yes.
Posts: 23
Age: 19
finally, have a reason to practice. hope school doesn't get in the way plz don't
Sep 12, 2018 at 10:46 PM
beep boop
Bobomb says: "I need a hug!"
Join Date: Aug 16, 2014
Location: no
Posts: 845
Age: 23
Heh, my time has come.
Sep 13, 2018 at 11:55 PM
Senior Member
"Fly, Fly, Fly!"
Join Date: Nov 3, 2015
Location: Westminster, Colorado, U.S.A
Posts: 128
I have an idea from January... let’s go.
Sep 14, 2018 at 1:14 AM
In my body, in my head
Forum Moderator
"Life begins and ends with Nu."
Join Date: Aug 28, 2009
Location: The Purple Zone
Posts: 5998
whats the stance on team submissions / collaboration this time around?
Sep 14, 2018 at 2:24 AM
Bonds that separate us
Forum Administrator
"Life begins and ends with Nu."
Join Date: Aug 20, 2006
Posts: 2851
Age: 33
If collabs/freelancing are going to be a completely open option then it should really be made clear right from the start this time that everyone is able to work together or get as much assistance as they want. I can see how this would create complications for the prizes as well in terms of who gets what, especially something like a game that can't really be split in half. I do think in this won't be unreasonable with the layout I have planned, but I want to see what others have to say first.

Looks like the second option is clearly winning out as the start period. I really don't want to sit on this any longer than I absolutely have to, so based on that I'm going to drop the date now: Friday the 28th of September, or two weeks from today. Keep some hype in reserve, and like I said in the OP, don't get too trigger-happy with the ideas before then!
Sep 14, 2018 at 3:14 PM
Based Member
"Life begins and ends with Nu."
Join Date: Dec 31, 2011
Location: United States
Posts: 2318
Age: 27
I love your art taste, Bombchu. Those gave me a good chuckle.
Sep 14, 2018 at 4:21 PM
"Life begins and ends with Nu."
Join Date: Jun 27, 2013
Location: Phoenix
Posts: 2778
Age: 29
I love the McDonalds one. I wouldn't mind seeing a more serious design, if you have one you're thinking up of
Sep 14, 2018 at 10:19 PM
Soup Man
"In Soviet Russia, graves keep YOU!"
Join Date: Jul 15, 2014
Posts: 670
Age: 7
hey i can finally make digimon story

(but i wont)

will this modfest have a theme

if so im thinking: subtropical
Sep 15, 2018 at 4:46 PM
Professional Whatever
"Life begins and ends with Nu."
Join Date: Jan 13, 2011
Location: Lasagna
Posts: 4481
are there any mod length details that you're already considering? length will probably make or break my ability to contribute, so i'm curious
Sep 15, 2018 at 5:31 PM
"Life begins and ends with Nu."
Join Date: Jun 27, 2013
Location: Phoenix
Posts: 2778
Age: 29
We need more Raven, Slither ;)
Sep 15, 2018 at 6:30 PM
Professional Whatever
"Life begins and ends with Nu."
Join Date: Jan 13, 2011
Location: Lasagna
Posts: 4481
Sep 16, 2018 at 2:34 AM
Bonds that separate us
Forum Administrator
"Life begins and ends with Nu."
Join Date: Aug 20, 2006
Posts: 2851
Age: 33
There's going to be size restrictions, length as such I'm not overly concerned about
Sep 16, 2018 at 4:22 AM
In my body, in my head
Forum Moderator
"Life begins and ends with Nu."
Join Date: Aug 28, 2009
Location: The Purple Zone
Posts: 5998
what do you mean by that
Sep 16, 2018 at 4:37 AM
"Big Joe Tire and Battery Restaurant! Opening Soon! Eat at Big Joes!"
Join Date: Jan 10, 2014
Location: yes
Posts: 477
Age: 20
file size restrictions are probably going to be put in place for convenience that way we wont have 200mb flac ost entries since clownacy's modloader is allowed
Sep 16, 2018 at 6:28 AM
I don't anymore.
"I'm sorry Mario, but your princess is in another castle."
Join Date: Aug 9, 2010
Location: Greener Pastures
Posts: 1190
Age: 30
Give me a weapon and I'll wield it.