In today's update, we've got more tools for game jam hosts with support for judge feedback, custom ranking, and file locking. If you weren't aware, itch.io was the first site to let you instantly host a game jam. Read more in our hosting a game jam guide.
A while back we added judges to jams to let hosts elect special individuals that could rate entries. In the past, if a judge wanted to give personal feedback, they could leave a comment and their message would be marked JUDGE. This doesn't work for all jams though. If a judge needs to give honest feedback then it might not be helpful to have their name and a reply button associated to what they have to say.
All judges now get a new field on the jam's submission page during the rating period that lets them write in feedback. This works quite a bit differently than comments:
We hope this makes it easier to host jams where having anonymous feedback is a critical part of the submission and ranking process. You can see an example of judge feedback on this submission page: YOMOTSU
Judge feedback is automatically available for any jam that has a rating period, no additional options need to be enabled.
itch.io's voting criteria tool has always let you easily create a community voting system based around the criteria that is relevant to your jam. When we added judges we made it possible to restrict the voting to only judges. This was a step in the right direction, but not flexible enough for when people want both a community rating and a judge rating.
We've added a new Manually ranked option when creating criteria. A manually ranked criteria can have the result order manually specified. You just need to list out the game pages and their rank. It's not necessary to rank every submission, feel free to list the top 10, 20, etc. Just like voted ranks, manual ranks can also share the numerical place an entry comes in. For example, you can have two entries share 1st place if there was a tie.
You can choose how a criteria is ranked when creating it on the jam's edit page. Manually ranked results will only appear after the rating period is over. If you don't add them in time, then they'll appear as soon as you add them.
You can see an example of a manually ranked criteria on the Indie Game Maker Contest 2017.
Up until now, jams on itch.io generally have used the honor system to make sure people weren't changing their submissions during the rating period. For jams where prizes are involved, it can be pretty critical to enforce the submission rules. Although it's technically possible to check the upload dates, that isn't practical. Hosts can now use the new locked uploads option to prevent submitters from updating or adding new files to their pages during the rating period. Submission owners can continue to update the page's design and description during the rating period though.
The lock only takes affect during the rating period, after the jam has ended submission owners are fee to release their post jam builds. Additionally, if the submission period is still active, files can still be changed. Submitting early will still let you publish updates right up until the deadline.
This option is only available for ranked jams, and you can find the option on the jam's edit page.
Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed these updates and look forward for more. If there's anything you'd like to see with our jams system leave a comment.
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