A new trend is sweeping the independent game scene; the community creations contest, generally focused on map or level creation. Of course, other contests have been done in the past for various other games. But in those cases, prizes were usually few and far between. Mid-size independent game developers have much to gain from this new technique to create buzz, and increase awareness of maturing titles.
Screenshot of Chivalry, by Torn Banner Studios
Torn Banner, a studio founded and financed due to a very successful Kickstarter campaign, recognized the value of maintaining its nascent community, by engaging with fans and rewarding them for their creations (and, in turn, benefiting from the new content that can be included in the official version of the game). The announcement of an impressive $25,000 in prizes, in turn, led to further coverage of the contest, and further hype for the new maps that will be available for the game. Torn Banner certainly isnâ€™t the only game studio to have experimented with this new method of community involvement.
Flippfly, the developers of Race the Sun, a third-person abstract aerial racing game, recently ran a level creation contest for signed merchandise and other prizes.
Flippfly launched the contest with the release of its simplified level creator for Race the Sun, which allows anyone (with enough time on their hands) to create stunning levels and share them with other players. The contest garnered substantial interest, with hundreds of incredible levels created by ordinary people.
Additionally, Flippfly selects a community-created level each day and features it on the main menu of their game, giving players the potential to directly add to the gameâ€™s content, as a member of the gameâ€™s community.
Crowd-sourced content contests have, without a doubt, benefited both studios and their respective communities, by increasing engagement and resulting in the creation of unique, diverse new experiences for various games.