This year, we're looking to find the next big Indie Game. That means that we aren't focusing on complete, polished games. That doesn't mean you want to turn in something that is a mess of bugs, but it does mean that we want to see games that have plenty of room for expanding into full games. Because of this, we are judging all entries on the four following criteria, rated on a scale of 1-20.
The gameplay includes any part of the game that the player can interact with that gives feedback in the form of meaningfully different reactions from the game. This includes both the mechanisms used and their execution. You want a game that people want to play as much as they want to experience!
The presentation of the game includes quality of the visual art, music, and sound effects used in the game, as well as how well they are used to convey the story and/or gameplay to the player. You want good writing, good music, and good art!
The engagement of the game measures how well the game draws the judge in. How much the game makes the judge want to play more or experience more of the game. This can be due to a “fun factor” or some other method of hooking players in. You want to have a solid hook that keeps the players playing!
The potential of the game represents not what is in the game, but it’s potential for expanding into a full game. How would this game fare in the commercial landscape with additional material and polish? You want to make sure your game has somewhere to grow!
Since we aren't looking for completely finished and polished games, we expect the games to have some level of bugs and glitches. Bugs are hard to eliminate! As such, any bug that is not game ending will not result in a penalty to your score. A bug that makes the game unplayable in the first 10 minutes of gameplay will result in disqualification. A bug after the first 10 minutes will have to be judged solely on the merits of what the judge was able to play, with a -5 penalty to overall score.
Additionally, to reflect that these are games that are meant to be expanded and further polished, your highest score among Gameplay, Presentation, Engagement, and Potential will be doubled when added together for your final score.