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Topic Subject: Pretty Town Contest 2022 - Sign Up Now!
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posted 02-08-22 07:38 AM CT (US)   


This year marks the 20th anniversary of AOKH's most popular contest: The Pretty Town Contest (PTC). Over the last two decades the PTC has provided us with some of the greatest accomplishments in map design and storytelling, from the original themed designs of the early competitions - the Jungle themed Guri Kuta by Tonto_Dave and the winter themed Bargravia by Julius999; to the eerie storytelling of Lord Basse's Sagropireia; and the phenomenal technical achievement that was Mr. Wednesday's Light of Kurishima. The Pretty Town Contest has always seemed miles ahead of the map design game for the last two decades and we hope to see that continue into the future. What better way to celebrate this anniversary than with another contest!

For those of you who don't know, the premise is simple: design the most outstanding town or city map you can! Combat and gameplay are absent, in favour of allowing the player (and the judges) to leisurely tour your map and explore all the attractions your busy (or deserted) towns have to offer. If you are interested and considering entering, please be sure to read all of the rules below before committing your name in a reply. Last time this contest was run in 2019 proved to be the most competitive and exciting contest in AoKH's history, with Lord Basse, Julius999 and Mr. Wednesday all tying for 1st place with some of greatest showcase scenarios ever seen. Four other excellent entries would all also score above average.

This year we are reintroducing the Pretty Town Contest with two big changes. Firstly, we are making the competition exclusive to the Definitive Edition. This is a way to engage new players and also make the competition fair, as DE has far superior editor assets to the previous game versions. Secondly, we are also revamping the judging criteria based on feedback after the last contest in 2019. This promises to be a great contest so go ahead and get creating!

Submit all entries to the Showcase Scenarios category in the Blacksmith, with the initials "PTC22" typed in the submission title. All entries must be submitted by 11:59 PM EST, May 31st. It must meet the requirements listed below to be eligible for judging. Otherwise, you will face disqualification. As an added note, we will not be approving the files in the Blacksmith until the judging phase has passed, so don't worry if your submission doesn't appear.

In addition, please keep in mind that outside of some noted minor changes this contest generally follows the guidelines of how the PTC was previously run and judged to keep with the tradition and intended nature of the contest.


Rules

1. No cut-scenes are allowed, except for a brief opening or ending to set up/complete the scenario. Additional triggered events are encouraged but the player should not lose control of their unit(s) and be able to move as they please. The total starting and ending cut-scene time should not exceed one combined minute of in-game time.
2. No combat allowed. Player 1 must win the scenario without having to kill or attack anything.
3. One entry per person or per team only.
4. ALL entries must be playable in Age of Empires II: Defintive Edition
5. Scenarios requiring The CD version, Userpatch, and the HD edition are NOT allowed.
6. The use of Graphical or Data Modification are NOT allowed.
7. Any mapsize up to 255x255 is allowed.
8. There is no trigger limit. However, the use of extra triggers will not necessarily warrant a higher score. Be warned however, that everything which is allowed can be used to increase your score.
9. The use of custom soundtracks and sound effects is permitted and encouraged. Everything which is allowed can be used to increase your score. If using custom sound files, please specify somewhere on which speed the scenario is to be played, as otherwise the soundtracks might overlap if the scenario is played on a speed other than what the designer intended, which will cause points to be deducted.
10. You must supply at least 1 unit that the judge can scout with. Any unit may be used, though the judges may deduct points for unnecessarily slow units which decrease the enjoyment of the scenario.
11. A story is encouraged to add further interest, however large bodies of text are not for everyone and long in-depth stories may alienate some players and potentially the judges. Alternatively, you can have a short narrative, a journal from a traveller or a history of the land to get us, the tourist, into it all! Use whatever you like, but make sure to remember that this is a design-oriented contest. That said, everything which is allowed can be used to increase your score.
12. Please submit your scenario in campaign format.


To reiterate. While this is primarily a map design contest, everything which is allowed can be used to increase your score. As story, soundtracks, and triggers are allowed, it stands to reason that they will matter. Judges experience everything as a whole.


Judging
This year sees the introduction of a new scoring system to try to avoid a tie in the top entries as in previous contests. All entries will be judged on how they look, however only what is seen will be judged. The categories are simple and are as follows:

Scenery and Visual Interest (30 points). This is the single most important category, as it is the heart of what the Pretty Town Contest is about: making a nice-looking map in AoK. This category will be judged from the perspective of viewing the entry in-game, but should be focused exclusively on how the design looks, as if you were judging it as a collection of screenshots. Judges will take into account both the particular high-points and the general level of quality throughout the scenario.

Atmosphere and Sense of Place (20 points). This category aims to reward those entries which are most successful in taking the concept for the entry and portraying it convincingly in AoK. What this means will depend on what the entry was aiming to achieve: a historical city will score highly if it authentically and realistically (within the limitations of AoK) depicts that city, while other entries may seek to create an atmosphere of wonder, melancholy, intrigue, grandeur, horror or something else. It is when judging this criterion that such things as text, dialogue, music, sound effects, life and movement (or a deliberate lack of them), and so on will be taken into account and rewarded if done well.

Coherence and Layout (15 points). This category concerns how the map works as a whole. It can be judged by imagining a zoomed-out picture of the whole map and considering whether it makes sense. Believable geography and smooth transitions between different parts of the map will be the signs of a high-scoring entry.

Ingenuity, Novelty and Technical Skill (15 points). This category concerns map design, rather than other elements. Well-executed but unoriginal map design will be enough to score fairly highly, but to achieve more than 12 points an entry should bring something new to the table or take an established trick or technique further. The technical skill of an entry will be reflected in the map as a whole, but in most cases examples of really ingenious or novel pieces of design are likely to be just some particular highlights rather than being present throughout (especially with a large map).

Ambition (10 points). An entry which seeks to take on something inherently hard to do in AoK, or which embraces the challenge of filling a large map, or which otherwise pushes the boundaries will score highly in this category. Even if the ambition is not successfully realised, leading to lower scores elsewhere, it should be recognised here.

Attention to Detail and Polish (10 points). In this category, small specific mistakes or misplacements or typographical errors that may not affect the judgment in other categories should be taken into account. On the other hand, small touches such as renaming units appropriately can influence the score positively. An entry does not need to be completely unblemished in order to get full marks in this category, but it should be nearly so. Observations that depend primarily on personal taste or which are due to the inherent limitations of AoK should not result in a lower score.




Prizes
  • Eternal Glory
  • An Official Review
  • A Custom Title



  • Judges
    1. Possidon
    2. Lord Basse
    3.


    Participants
    - duyhung2h
    - Mr. Wednesday
    - Andanu Trisatya
    - Zetnus
    - seanbyrno23
    - Fisk
    - HawkPVK
    - Talon Karrde
    - TheRealGuardian




    Past Pretty Town Contest Entries for Inspiration:

    [This message has been edited by Possidon (edited 04-04-2022 @ 09:13 AM).]

    Author
    Replies:
    bassi_aoc
    Squire
    posted 02-08-22 12:16 PM CT (US)     1 / 55  
    Cool!
    Looking forward to it and hope that a lot of designers will join!
    Lord Basse
    MI6 Scenario-Making Machine
    posted 02-08-22 12:48 PM CT (US)     2 / 55  
    Nice to the see the PTC making a return! I'd be happy to judge this time around, as I very likely will not have time to complete an entry myself.

    __[]_________
    |||||||||||||||||
    The ||||||||||||||||| Hus
    OF | [/ \] || [/ \] | ME
    ______________________________________________________________________________ |__ _ ||____|_______________________________________________________________________________
    The Relics of Athalλn (5.0) | AoK Opus - 100,000+ downloads | StormWind Studios | "I consider the conversion of Basse to be one of the great triumphs of my modding crusade" - Matt LiVecchi
    Zetnus
    Squire
    posted 02-08-22 01:31 PM CT (US)     3 / 55  
    Is there any particular reason to for the rules to limit the map size, besides curbing ambitions to a reasonable level?

    ......../―/\
    ......./ / / \ Check out my Blacksmith submissions as well as my Random Map Scripts.
    ....../ / /\\ \
    ...../ /_/_\\ \ Proud guardian of the Definitive Random Map Scripting Guide
    ..../_____\\\ \
    ....\\\\\\\\\\\\\/ and the Random Map Scripting Links and FAQ thread.
    Mr Wednesday
    Cavalier
    (id: matty12345)
    posted 02-08-22 03:25 PM CT (US)     4 / 55  
    IT's probably a holdover rule from previous contests, where that was a hard limit for CD and the larger maps handled very poorly in HD.

    "And Matt is a prolific lurker, watching over the forum from afar in silence, like Batman. He's the president TC needs, and possibly also the one it deserves." - trebuchet king
    Andanu Trisatya
    Squire
    posted 02-08-22 05:39 PM CT (US)     5 / 55  
    I'll need time to ponder on this considering the tight deadline, since I usually place the very first oak tree on my map around 2 or 3 months after registering.

    -•|•- StormWind Studios -•|•- Blacksmith Files -•|•- Fabula Fatalis -•|•-

    "No more gold lights for the queen earth to keep you warm in your kingdoms,
    high on the waves you make for us, but not since you left have the waves come."
    duyhung2h
    Squire
    posted 02-08-22 08:17 PM CT (US)     6 / 55  
    Cool I'll join, since this is a change of pace, for I was in the process of making my grand RPG map (pretty far from being announced, because I got a lot of ideas :P)

    P/s: Only want to remind to last contest (Minigame contest 2020) judges that I haven't got rewards by winning the 1st place, pretty bummed 'cause I was basically promised to get a kewl shining forum role or some stuffs :P

    ✰~Make your dreams come true by finishing whatever you hold dear most~✰
    YOU ._________________________________________________________________________.DO
    CAN/±±±±±±±\__/±±±±±±±\__/FROM VIETNAM WITH LOVE\__/±±±±±±±\__/±±±±±±±\IT
    VERY useful tool for map designers
    Check out my Youtube channel for AoE2 Editor, modding tips and tricks!
    Gensokyo: Season of Calamity | El Nath (Winner of ZeroEmpires designer contest) | Rebirth of the Colosseum (Winner of 2020 Minigame Competition) | And more...
    Possidon
    Slayer
    posted 02-09-22 03:41 AM CT (US)     7 / 55  
    @Lord Basse
    Nice to the see the PTC making a return! I'd be happy to judge this time around, as I very likely will not have time to complete an entry myself.
    Signed you up as a judge but if you do end making an entry then feel free.

    @Zetnus
    Is there any particular reason to for the rules to limit the map size, besides curbing ambitions to a reasonable level?
    Its a general rule for all PTC over the years. I think its just a way to ensure entries are completed by not being to large. But happy to remove it if you

    @Andan
    I'll need time to ponder on this considering the tight deadline, since I usually place the very first oak tree on my map around 2 or 3 months after registering.
    Just do it Andan. Even if you get half an entry in it'll be better than nothing (and still place quite highly judging by your previous designs).

    @duyhung2h
    Cool I'll join, since this is a change of pace, for I was in the process of making my grand RPG map (pretty far from being announced, because I got a lot of ideas :P)
    Added. Looking forward to hearing about your RPG map too.
    P/s: Only want to remind to last contest (Minigame contest 2020) judges that I haven't got rewards by winning the 1st place, pretty bummed 'cause I was basically promised to get a kewl shining forum role or some stuffs :P
    The prize was a custom forum title. All forummers start with title of Squire but it can be changed as a reward. Mine is currently Slayer. Email Sebastien with your request and explain it was your prize for winning MGC and he should be able to get it changed for you.
    CADi_Master
    Squire
    posted 02-09-22 08:47 AM CT (US)     8 / 55  
    Is there meant to be a theme for submissions, like Winter Wonderland or whatever? Didn't see anything about this so I'm assuming anything goes.
    Possidon
    Slayer
    posted 02-09-22 09:51 AM CT (US)     9 / 55  
    Mr Wednesday
    Cavalier
    (id: matty12345)
    posted 02-09-22 04:57 PM CT (US)     10 / 55  
    Might as well sign up now. Fairly confident I'm going to attempt a small entry.

    "And Matt is a prolific lurker, watching over the forum from afar in silence, like Batman. He's the president TC needs, and possibly also the one it deserves." - trebuchet king
    Andanu Trisatya
    Squire
    posted 02-09-22 05:33 PM CT (US)     11 / 55  
    Might as well sign up now. Fairly confident I'm going to attempt an entry and not finish it in time.

    -•|•- StormWind Studios -•|•- Blacksmith Files -•|•- Fabula Fatalis -•|•-

    "No more gold lights for the queen earth to keep you warm in your kingdoms,
    high on the waves you make for us, but not since you left have the waves come."

    [This message has been edited by Andanu Trisatya (edited 02-09-2022 @ 05:34 PM).]

    Zetnus
    Squire
    posted 02-11-22 03:27 AM CT (US)     12 / 55  
    Might as well sign up now. Fairly confident I'll wait until a week before the deadline and then make an entry of sorts.

    ......../―/\
    ......./ / / \ Check out my Blacksmith submissions as well as my Random Map Scripts.
    ....../ / /\\ \
    ...../ /_/_\\ \ Proud guardian of the Definitive Random Map Scripting Guide
    ..../_____\\\ \
    ....\\\\\\\\\\\\\/ and the Random Map Scripting Links and FAQ thread.
    Devious Dev
    Official Professional Qualified Noob
    (id: dragonslayermcmx)
    posted 02-11-22 04:17 PM CT (US)     13 / 55  
    Might as well sign up now. Fairly confident I'll think about the game at least a couple of times before the deadline.

    This is a joke please don't actually sign me up but also best of luck to all the entrants!
    Mr Wednesday
    Cavalier
    (id: matty12345)
    posted 02-11-22 05:50 PM CT (US)     14 / 55  
    Dev! Great to see you entering. Nostalgia list of entrants.

    Edit: missed the fine print. Jerk.

    "And Matt is a prolific lurker, watching over the forum from afar in silence, like Batman. He's the president TC needs, and possibly also the one it deserves." - trebuchet king

    [This message has been edited by Mr Wednesday (edited 02-11-2022 @ 05:51 PM).]

    Andanu Trisatya
    Squire
    posted 02-11-22 09:17 PM CT (US)     15 / 55  
    Anadanu Trisatya
    I can't help that I was born and given a peculiar name which is hard to pronounce, but that doesn't give you an excuse to misspell it.

    -•|•- StormWind Studios -•|•- Blacksmith Files -•|•- Fabula Fatalis -•|•-

    "No more gold lights for the queen earth to keep you warm in your kingdoms,
    high on the waves you make for us, but not since you left have the waves come."
    CADi_Master
    Squire
    posted 02-13-22 11:48 AM CT (US)     16 / 55  
    Just curious, are there any other design competitions coming up, like for combat-oriented scenarios? Or just PTC for now?

    Already looking forward to seeing what everyone makes

    [This message has been edited by CADi_Master (edited 02-13-2022 @ 03:24 PM).]

    Mr Wednesday
    Cavalier
    (id: matty12345)
    posted 02-13-22 10:29 PM CT (US)     17 / 55  
    Traditionally PTC gets held once every two years, give or take. There are usually other scenario design contests that run as well. Some years there are 2-3 contests. It really depends on activity and interest.

    I could see another contest later in the year.

    "And Matt is a prolific lurker, watching over the forum from afar in silence, like Batman. He's the president TC needs, and possibly also the one it deserves." - trebuchet king
    seanbyrno23
    Squire
    posted 02-14-22 02:14 PM CT (US)     18 / 55  
    I'll sign up aswell
    Fisk
    Champion of AoEH
    (id: Fruktfisk)
    posted 02-15-22 10:11 AM CT (US)     19 / 55  
    Sure I'll put my name in the hat. 60 % chance I'll have something by the designated date. Otherwise I expect you guys to postpone the deadline anyways.

    //The warrior of Isola

    "I lack quotes that demonstrate Humor Intelligence or anything about me."

    Pineapplefish
    Cleidopus gloriamaris
    HawkPVK
    Squire
    posted 02-18-22 03:14 PM CT (US)     20 / 55  
    I'll sign up.
    Talon Karrde
    Squire
    posted 02-19-22 11:50 AM CT (US)     21 / 55  
    I'm tempted to sign up despite my incredibly rusty skills just for the fun of it but there's also no guarantee that I won't be too busy actually to work on it...

    Bah.
    PhatFish
    Mr. Beta
    posted 03-14-22 08:32 AM CT (US)     22 / 55  
    TheRealGuardian
    Squire
    posted 03-18-22 04:34 PM CT (US)     23 / 55  
    Sign me up!
    Andanu Trisatya
    Squire
    posted 03-19-22 08:52 PM CT (US)     24 / 55  
    No cut-scenes are allowed, except for a brief opening or ending to set up/complete the scenario. Additional triggered events are encouraged but the player should not lose control of their unit(s) and be able to move as they please. The total starting and ending cut-scene time should not exceed one combined minute of in-game time.
    How about an intermission cut-scene? I'm planning to include one not stretching beyond the one-minute mark, but I need to make sure if it's allowed.

    -•|•- StormWind Studios -•|•- Blacksmith Files -•|•- Fabula Fatalis -•|•-

    "No more gold lights for the queen earth to keep you warm in your kingdoms,
    high on the waves you make for us, but not since you left have the waves come."
    CADi_Master
    Squire
    posted 03-20-22 06:50 AM CT (US)     25 / 55  
    Just a suggestion but after the judging is complete for this competition, I'd love it if you made a video reviewing the entries like what ZeroEmpires did for the Winter Wonderland contest in 2019. It's really cool to have a video showing off everyone's work like that.
    Lord Basse
    MI6 Scenario-Making Machine
    posted 04-02-22 02:28 PM CT (US)     26 / 55  
    How are everyone's entries coming along?

    __[]_________
    |||||||||||||||||
    The ||||||||||||||||| Hus
    OF | [/ \] || [/ \] | ME
    ______________________________________________________________________________ |__ _ ||____|_______________________________________________________________________________
    The Relics of Athalλn (5.0) | AoK Opus - 100,000+ downloads | StormWind Studios | "I consider the conversion of Basse to be one of the great triumphs of my modding crusade" - Matt LiVecchi
    Possidon
    Slayer
    posted 04-04-22 09:12 AM CT (US)     27 / 55  
    How about an intermission cut-scene? I'm planning to include one not stretching beyond the one-minute mark, but I need to make sure if it's allowed.
    For the sake of you finally getting an entry into this contest I'll allow it
    Just a suggestion but after the judging is complete for this competition, I'd love it if you made a video reviewing the entries like what ZeroEmpires did for the Winter Wonderland contest in 2019. It's really cool to have a video showing off everyone's work like that.
    This would be fantastic if you are prepared to do it.

    [This message has been edited by Possidon (edited 04-04-2022 @ 09:14 AM).]

    CADi_Master
    Squire
    posted 04-04-22 10:21 PM CT (US)     28 / 55  
    Sure, I'd be happy to make a YouTube video reviewing the entries! I could do something comparable to the ZeroEmpires video from 2019 without too much trouble, just as a fun way to show off everyone's work.

    I'll follow up after the judging is complete to see if the participants have any specific parts of their maps they'd like me to highlight.

    [This message has been edited by CADi_Master (edited 04-04-2022 @ 10:27 PM).]

    Mr Wednesday
    Cavalier
    (id: matty12345)
    posted 04-06-22 11:05 AM CT (US)     29 / 55  
    How are everyone's entries coming along?
    Gonna be tough to make the deadline. I just sunk about 120 hrs into Elden ring. I probably could have designed two entries by now if that game didn't exist.

    I might have to shrink down the detailed portions of the map and add in some more water or low detail forests.

    "And Matt is a prolific lurker, watching over the forum from afar in silence, like Batman. He's the president TC needs, and possibly also the one it deserves." - trebuchet king
    duyhung2h
    Squire
    posted 04-09-22 11:49 AM CT (US)     30 / 55  
    Got pretty busy since 2 months ago, I could spend some time this month but still cannot guarantee my entry. Progress was made though.

    Here's a sneak peak for my map's interior.



    ✰~Make your dreams come true by finishing whatever you hold dear most~✰
    YOU ._________________________________________________________________________.DO
    CAN/±±±±±±±\__/±±±±±±±\__/FROM VIETNAM WITH LOVE\__/±±±±±±±\__/±±±±±±±\IT
    VERY useful tool for map designers
    Check out my Youtube channel for AoE2 Editor, modding tips and tricks!
    Gensokyo: Season of Calamity | El Nath (Winner of ZeroEmpires designer contest) | Rebirth of the Colosseum (Winner of 2020 Minigame Competition) | And more...
    Mr Wednesday
    Cavalier
    (id: matty12345)
    posted 04-09-22 11:41 PM CT (US)     31 / 55  
    Where is the lava terrain from?

    There's a lot of cool ideas in that screenshot, but it's a bit confusing even for a crazy person like me. I'd pick your best idea in each area and let it speak for itself rather than have a bunch competing for air. You have all kinds of cool off grid placement but I'm not sure what some of them are representing.

    "And Matt is a prolific lurker, watching over the forum from afar in silence, like Batman. He's the president TC needs, and possibly also the one it deserves." - trebuchet king
    Mr Wednesday
    Cavalier
    (id: matty12345)
    posted 04-15-22 10:23 AM CT (US)     32 / 55  
    What's everyone's opinion on an extension?

    With a new DLC coming out that reworks Indians to hindustanis and adds three new civs, there is a lot of potential for some incompatibility and needing to rework scenarios. Additionally there will be some new assets to implement potentially.

    Maybe like a July 1st deadline?

    "And Matt is a prolific lurker, watching over the forum from afar in silence, like Batman. He's the president TC needs, and possibly also the one it deserves." - trebuchet king
    CADi_Master
    Squire
    posted 04-15-22 11:00 AM CT (US)     33 / 55  
    An extension to the deadline could make sense, especially if the DLC has lots of new eye candy objects. Maybe wait to decide until we see exactly what's all added with the new DLC, then take a vote?
    Possidon
    Slayer
    posted 04-15-22 03:38 PM CT (US)     34 / 55  
    Andanu Trisatya
    Squire
    posted 04-15-22 08:53 PM CT (US)     35 / 55  
    pMaybe like a July 1st deadline?
    This would be great, provided there's no objection from any of the participants.

    -•|•- StormWind Studios -•|•- Blacksmith Files -•|•- Fabula Fatalis -•|•-

    "No more gold lights for the queen earth to keep you warm in your kingdoms,
    high on the waves you make for us, but not since you left have the waves come."
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