Deus Ex Game of the Year Edition Fan Mission Contest Winners
- Warren Spector
We knew when we released the DX SDK that building DX-style missions would be a challenge far greater than building a straightforward deathmatch level for a straightforward shooter. That being the case, the quality of entries in our Deus Ex Game of the Year edition contest pretty much blew us away. Still, tough as it was to pick just three winners, we had a job to do and we did it.
Who are "we"? Here's the list of judges:
And how did we pick the winners? Here's what we based our decision on:
- Warren Spector - Studio Director, ION Storm Austin and Project Director on Deus Ex
- Harvey Smith - Lead Designer on Deus Ex and now Project Director on Deus Ex 2
- Bill Money - Associate Producer, Deus Ex 2
- Ricardo Bare, Monte Martinez, Steve Powers, Clay Hoffman - members of the Deus Ex/Deus Ex 2 design team
As we played the missions, each judge gave each mission a point score from 1 (low) to 5 (high) in each category outlined above. To determine the front-runners, we compared notes and scores and came up with a single score in each category that represented the group consensus. With that in mind, we debated the intangibles - the things a point score can't reveal - to come up with the following list of winners.
- Lighting - Is the lighting interesting, atmospheric and true to the rather dark vision of DX?
- Concept - Is the concept new and original or true to the DX spirit or (best) both?
- Object Density - Is the mission crammed full of useful, interactive objects?
- Architecture - Is the geometry interesting in and of itself and does it deliver solid gameplay without leading players by the nose?
- Frame Rate - Do any of the maps bog down and stutter?
- Sound - Is sound used effectively (as communication device) and evocatively (to create an appropriate mood)?
- Technical Excellence - Does the mission stretch the limits of what we expected and do things we thought were particularly hard or that we never even considered doing ourselves?
- Polish - Is the mission complete, attractive, fun and bug-free?
- Dialogue - Is there dialogue at all and, if so, is it short, sweet, to the point and appropriate to the mission's needs?
- Multiple Paths - Does the mission exemplify the DX-requirement that there be multiple ways to solve game problems and multiple paths to reach mission goals?
- Game Balance - Are enemies, allies, weapons, items and power-ups placed to ensure challenge without making the mission impossibly hard (or trivially simple) to complete?
So, without further ado, here are the winners of the DX GOTY fan mission contest:
The winner of the Grand Prize is "Double Cross - Chapter 1" created by Tristan 'Jherax' Blease.
"Double Cross - Chapter 1" had it all - a really solid set of alternate paths, some DX-style ethical decisions to make, lots of nice, concise conversations, excellent lighting, a ton of interactive objects and all in a tight area just crammed with gameplay. In other words, an excellent implementation of classic DX gameplay ideas. This was easily the most polished, professional mission we received - one we could have shipped with the original game.
For winning our Grand Prize, Tristan gets an Intel® Pocket Concert™ Audio Player; an Intel® Wireless Series; a Sound Blaster® Live!™ Platinum 5.1; a Cambridge SoundWorks DeskTopTheater™ DTT3500 Digital Speaker System; a Creative Labs EAX t-shirt; a Deus Ex Strategy Guide by Prima, signed by the development team; a GameSpy SwagPack, including a T-Shirt, mug, mousepad, and GameSpy Arcade registration.
The 2nd Prize goes to "Hints of Corruption" created by Alex "BigAL" Reid.
"Hints of Corruption" starts you off in a plane - a cool setting and interesting mission set-up that makes really effective use of ambient sound. The overall mission concept was great, the fiction solid and the depiction of the DX characters in the mission was on the money. (The dialogue sometimes goes on a bit too long, but we had that problem ourselves at times!). From a technical standpoint, this mission was one of the few that got goals and notes right and there was even a new 2d image integrated into the game. There was some great geometry that led to some interesting gameplay situations. A really strong effort, worthy of one of our top prizes.
For winning our 2nd Prize, "Big Al" gets an Intel® Wireless Series; a Sound Blaster® Live!™ X-Gamer 5.1; a Cambridge SoundWorks FourPointSurround™ FPS1800 Speakers System; a Creative Labs EAX t-shirt; a Deus Ex Strategy Guide by Prima, signed by the development team; a GameSpy SwagPack, including a T-Shirt, mug, mousepad, and GameSpy Arcade registration.
The 3rd Prize goes to "Break In" created by Ray Wenderlich.
"Break In" was really strong, conceptually - unlike anything in the original game but totally true to the gameplay ideas in DX. As Harvey Smith put it, "Break In featured an unusually palpable, somewhat sinister atmosphere, and in some (very nostalgic) ways felt like Deus Ex meets a classic adventure game." I couldn't agree more. There are some nice humorous touches as well as some chilling moments. This is some cool, logical fiction - tough to pull off in an entire game but here it's communicated in a single mission. The geometry and gameplay situations lend themselves nicely to alternate paths. We liked the conversations, the emails, the skill points awarded appropriately... The fact that this played like something other than a rehash of the same old stuff we did in DX a year ago was icing on the cake.
For winning our 3rd Prize, Ray gets an Intel® Wireless Series; a Sound Blaster Live! X-Gamer 5.1; a Creative Labs EAX t-shirt; a Deus Ex Strategy Guide by Prima, signed by the development team; a GameSpy SwagPack, including a T-Shirt, mug, mousepad, and GameSpy Arcade registration.
Before we close the books on this contest, we'd like to honor one more mission -- "Hotel Carone," created by Carsten 'Carone' Kraemer. This mission demonstrated technical excellence, originality and huge potential but was submitted unfinished and we didn't feel we could consider it for one of the overall awards. If it had been finished, it would have been a very strong contender for top honors.
"Hotel Carone" starts out with an incredibly cool intro flic, some wonderful geometry (weirdly like some of the DX2 concept art!). There's an awesome moment where you find a miniature model of a location you get to explore, life-size, later in the mission (which had us loudly lamenting the fact that we hadn't thought of doing that ourselves!). The mission concept allowed players to stay with UNATCO (probably the most requested unrealized story element in the original game). There was some great lighting, great architecture, innovative use of the technology, multiple paths... Everything except a climax.
So call Hotel Carone the unfinished symphony and wonder what might have been...
There you have it. three winners and a fourth "honorable mention." Thanks again to all who entered the Deus Ex Game of the Year Edition Fan Mission Contest and to the enthusiastic and growing Deus Ex mods community. Given the quality of the submissions in this contest, we look forward to seeing what you have in store for us in the future!