2009 Lemmy Award Discussion

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Blue Lemma
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2009 Lemmy Award Discussion

#1 Post by Blue Lemma » Tue Feb 24, 2009 2:05 am

With the conclusion of the 2008 Lemmys, it's a good time to start talking about what people would like to see for the 2009 awards.

Let's use this thread to discuss these things, as well as any other suggestions you have:

* Categories
* Voting rules
* Eligibility

I'll start by reflecting on 2008. I have to admit I was surprised at how much negative feedback there was regarding the voting and categories. I thought the rules were reasonable, and there is probably no way to please everyone when it comes to how they think it should be. That's why I'm trying to get a discussion for 2009 going early so that the awards will better reflect the community :D

Categories:
My initial plan was to have about 6 of them, and I got talked down to 4 or 5. The idea was to keep things simple and the awards meaningful. With fewer categories, it would be easier for people to vote, and there wouldn't be any dilution of the honor of winning. (What kind of award is it if half of the games get it?) The 4 (+ a foofy one :wink: ) embodied the main honors I could think of.

Voting rules:
Ugh. I'm really leaning towards an equal-vote system now, where each person gets 1 vote/category. It's easier and harder to argue with :P

Eligibility:
I saw some discussion about this in the 2008 Lemmy thread. It was kind of sad that many good free games couldn't be nominated due to copyright stuff. They're still good games, but I wanted the Lemmys to be a sort of level playing field where everything had to be fan-made (maybe with some Creative Commons stuff). Also, it embodied the best spirit of doujin to me :) As for commercial games, while they can be good, the cost prevents many people in the community from trying them. That went counter to the doujin spirit of the awards to me. On the other hand, I can see the argument for a commercial category perhaps. Some people in the community are making original English VNs that are commercial, which isn't a bad thing (I just don't like it quite as much as free, :wink: )

What does everyone else think for 2009? Comments and suggestions appreciated and listened to :)
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Re: 2009 Lemmy Award Discussion

#2 Post by Samu-kun » Tue Feb 24, 2009 3:31 am

Actually, I think not allowing copyrighted material goes against the spirit of doujin, since 99% of all doujin works all violate copyright laws anyways. But you have to keep yourself from getting sued, so I don't think copyrighted works should be allowed to compete anyways.

I didn't have any problems with this year's competition. I think for the sake of simplicity, people should have 1 vote for category. Also, a much more convenient system of voting, such as an online poll, is pretty much necessary for these kinds of things and will encourage a lot more people to vote. Also, there was a notable lack of a "graphics" award this year. I also think the "best drama" and the "best overall" had too much overlap.

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Re: 2009 Lemmy Award Discussion

#3 Post by Vatina » Tue Feb 24, 2009 3:36 am

I didn't have a lot of problems with it either. Except I'm sad I didn't get to vote after all :( (I want my pc back dammit!)

As for eligibilty, I also think it was too bad that a few games didn't make it because of copyrighted material.

And yes, maybe a commercial category could be a good idea? One can argue that they are judged a bit differently after all, since higher quality would be expected? Judging them alongside free games could be a little unfair, for several reasons. (Budget, having people pay to play them)

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Re: 2009 Lemmy Award Discussion

#4 Post by Wintermoon » Tue Feb 24, 2009 4:46 am

Categories: more might be better, but I prefer "best of type" categories over "best aspect" categories. Best very short work, best in genre, that kind of thing.

Voting: either make it a popular vote (no panel, one vote per voter per category) or a panel (no popular vote, one vote per voter per category), or have both in parallel, but don't mix them. Nobody likes to see their vote diluted.

I think a popular vote makes more sense. No offense to this year's judges, but what makes them more qualified for judging than the rest of us?

Eligibility: Unlicensed copyrighted material should be banned. If we ever get an abundance of commercial works that greatly surpass the freeware visual novels in quality, they should get their own awards.

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Re: 2009 Lemmy Award Discussion

#5 Post by F.I.A » Tue Feb 24, 2009 6:09 am

Rants inside:
If anything, Lemmys'08 shows me just one thing : How cold is this community in participating any events, even official ones. By January 2008, we have 939 members, and you are telling me that there are only about 17 nominators? Heck, I can recognize and count half of them with my own fingers. If that is the ammount for easily accessible non-commercial games, I don't want to think the possible nominators for commercial games....

Sure, I understand one might be hesitating to vote since he/she knows not much of most games, but doesn't that ruins the spirit of free-voting? Not to mention that the whole period of voting is more than enough for one to try out all games. For the better of Lemmys'09, hopefully the community will improve regarding this.


@ Wintermoon: Agreed with different awards for short vn and long vn, since the former one seems to be at disadvantage when put against the big guys. However, I am wondering what length is a short or long vn...

@ Samu-kun: I have to agree with no problem on copyrighted works, unless the maker him/herself decides to exclude it off the list.
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Re: 2009 Lemmy Award Discussion

#6 Post by Samu-kun » Tue Feb 24, 2009 6:40 am

I'm surprised even 17 people voted to tell the truth... I was expecting something closer to seven. The majority of people here are lurkers and too shy to voice their opinions on these sorts of things. Which is kind of the reason why I want an online poll - so that they don't have send a private message to Blue Lemma, because a) not everyone is familiar enough with Blue Lemma to feel comfortable sending him private messages and b) because there will be anonymity - Blue Lemma won't know who you voted for. >:3 But 17's still pretty decent.

Also, there was somewhat of a lack of pomp and circumstance in the entire process... It was kind of just... boring until the awards ceremony so I forgot about Lemma08 for the majority of the time it was running.

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Re: 2009 Lemmy Award Discussion

#7 Post by Jake » Tue Feb 24, 2009 7:56 am

Re: Voting: I'd agree with a straight popular vote, as well. If you want to keep panel-voting, then I'd agree with the separate-awards idea. This year there were awards for "best whatever" and "honourable mention", maybe next year it could be "best whatever" and "judge's choice"... although if participation is similar, I imagine that you'd probably find they'd go to the same game much of the time.

As to whether the poll should be public or not... it's hard to say. A forum poll where you just need to log in to vote and results are hidden until awards day would be the best accessibility-wise, but you can almost guarantee that someone would create a dozen fake accounts, probably more to troll the forum than to really influence the voting. Can PHPBB require voters have an account which was registered before a paricular date, maybe?
Wintermoon wrote:Categories: more might be better, but I prefer "best of type" categories over "best aspect" categories. Best very short work, best in genre, that kind of thing.
I think I made my views on this clear in the other thread - whatever you split it out by, make sure it's inclusive rather than selective. So:

- If you want to split out by length, for example, then have a "best short work" and a "best not short work".

- If you want to have a "best drama" award, you'd better be prepared to list out all the other genres, including "best comedy" and "best romance" and "best slice-of-life" and so on. And sometimes you might not get any nominees or possibly even any VNs eligible for one of your many genres, and the award count would bloat, so I'd avoid it, myself. You might try "Best Serious" and "Best Non-Serious", but some people might disagree with which category their game was put in. MorningStar was definitely intended as a parody, for example, but it also had a dramatic story.

- Personally, I don't see anything wrong with having "best facet" awards, it's obvious from the award name it's not supposed to be so prestiguous as a "best everything" award. Plus, it's a lot easier to divide up into a smaller number of obviously-discrete categories.

- I also agree that it makes sense to keep the number of awards relatively low - say, below ten - because otherwise firstly it'll be a bit ridiculous to be awarding the same game fifteen different awards for slightly different things, and secondly the more categories the more likely the majority of the electorate haven't played all the titles nominated.

I'd be tempted to go for something like:
- Best Long-form VN (say, over an hour in length)
- Best Short-form VN (up to an hour)
- Best Writing and Storytelling
- Best Art and Graphics
- Best Sound and Music
- Best Technical Achievement

Where today's Best Overall would fit mostly into Best Long-Form, Best Drama and Best Comedy would go into Best Writing, Most Innovative would fit into Best Technical Achievement, the way it turned out... Fanservice could fit into Art and Graphics badly, or have its own award... or just be dropped, on the grounds that it's a bit specific (as much as some people might like to see an Oscar for "best tits shown on-screen", it's never going to exist...;-).

There are things which that set of categories doesn't cover - such as directing, or game-balance issues in hybrid VNs - but those are things which aren't so easy to pick out amongst the other disciplines for most users, and/or aren't really VN awards anyway.
Wintermoon wrote: Eligibility: Unlicensed copyrighted material should be banned.
I'd certainly agree for games which rip someone else's art or music to use in their game, for example. But that's not the be-all and end-all of the discussion.

- Should we bar games which infringe on others' trademarks, character designs, etc.? Re-drawing other people's characters without their permission? Arguably if we were doing that, Real Life should have been barred from this year's.

- Presumably it's OK to include copyrighted/trademarked items with permission, since otherwise it would be hard to include team efforts or games including freely-distributed backgrounds or music. But there's a psychological difference between using freely-distributed music and - for example, since it's something I'm planning on doing myself - setting your game within an existing, established fictional universe. I have permission from the owner, but it's going to be viewed differently from someone using Deji's paper-doll.


Personally, my opinion is just that awards should simply exclude things which are illegal - it's an easy enough distinction to make, and absolutely divides potential edge-cases.
Wintermoon wrote: If we ever get an abundance of commercial works that greatly surpass the freeware visual novels in quality, they should get their own awards.
Agreed. Presently, I don't think there are enough commercial works to warrant it, and thus it would probably end up with the few we do see winning categories by default, just because they were the only (or only viable) nominee. Which is silly, and also dilutes the value of the same awards for future years. Equally, unless the authors agree to give away copies to the voting public (unlikely!) then voting will likely be mostly uninformed.

If a large enough number spring up to have decent competition in different fields, then sure - give them a separate set of awards. But I'd suggest that's the kind of award which would be better decided by panel, just to make sure that everyone voting can in good conscience assert that they've played all the titles they're considering.
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Re: 2009 Lemmy Award Discussion

#8 Post by chronoluminaire » Tue Feb 24, 2009 8:30 am

Number of Awards: I think it's good to keep the number of awards small: say 8 or fewer.

Specific Awards: I think it'd be good to have an award for either presentation or specifically graphics. I think there's no problem with calling out writing and graphics as the primary elements of a VN, even though programming and music are very important too.
I think there should continue to be one "Best Overall" award.
I think for as long as Blue Lemma's organising them, there's going to be a fanservice award and there's nothing we can do about it ;) and I don't mind that.

Eligibility: It's a complicated issue, and there's no ideal solution. But Jake's "is it illegal" is a very simple and clear divider (once you understand copyright law... :shock: ), so a good idea. I'd be happy for commercial games to either be eligible just like the free ones, or alternatively to have their own award; it'd be a bit sad if they were excluded, but also a fair decision in the wider scheme of things.

Votes: I don't think it makes sense to have different people's votes count for different amounts. "1 person, 1 vote" seems simplest to me.
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Re: 2009 Lemmy Award Discussion

#9 Post by Jake » Tue Feb 24, 2009 8:55 am

Also, as a mostly-unrelated note, the 'General Discussion' forum description still says the 2008 Lemmys are taking nominations... ;-)
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Re: 2009 Lemmy Award Discussion

#10 Post by papillon » Tue Feb 24, 2009 9:25 am

Presently, I don't think there are enough commercial works to warrant it, and thus it would probably end up with the few we do see winning categories by default, just because they were the only (or only viable) nominee. Which is silly, and also dilutes the value of the same awards for future years.
The nicest thing to do in my opinion is simply to have a 'Special Recognition' category that lists the commercial works released that year and makes no judgment between them. That way, it doesn't feel like those games are being rejected/excluded by the community, and any outsider who hears of the awards and comes to see what the community is up to will be made aware of the commercial games.

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Re: 2009 Lemmy Award Discussion

#11 Post by EwanG » Tue Feb 24, 2009 9:57 am

Since I'm not a disinterested party, I won't comment further on the commercial inclusion or not. However, my other thoughts on the process...

Based on some of the other discussions on here, I think one of the goals of the awards is to motivate folks to do their second, third, etc VN and to constantly be trying to improve their own technique, as well as help to move the field as a whole toward a brighter future (however you care to define that).

In most industries that means that a panel of judges decides the nominees, and then the members of that industry vote on the categories. I'd like to suggest something similar here. If we went that route, then there would need to be some kind of qualification for who can be a judge, and judges generally would have to rotate. I'd suggest that the most "useful" membership qualification would be people who have published or been credited for work on at least one VN - but I know what a pain that would be to maintain, and so would suggest the "lighter" requirement that they be a registered member of the forum (to minimize Guests packing the ballot boxes).

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Re: 2009 Lemmy Award Discussion

#12 Post by sake-bento » Tue Feb 24, 2009 11:35 am

I know that I, personally, had a few issues that I voiced during the process, but I want to start with saying that I'm very happy with the 2008 Lemmys. I think for a first time, you managed to keep things together, and I'm impressed that the forum didn't degenerate into a dramafest like ::cough:: other places that have tried to implement similar awards. Yes, I think things can be improved, but congratulations for pulling through this year.

And with that...

I already voiced this, but I would really like to see some sort of award for graphics, imagery, or what have you. Basically, I want something that awards the "visual" part of visual novel.

Categories like "best drama" and "best comedy" tend to exclude a lot of other subjects. Something like action or mystery wouldn't fall into either category, even if the writing is brilliant. I think something like that can be condensed into "best screenplay" (or whatever equivalent you want to use).

And I like the one vote, one person idea. A panel of judges might be suitable for choosing a nominee, but once everyone's allowed to vote, I'd rather not have to deal with which of us are super delegates and which are not.

On second thought, I like Jake's ideas for categories. Let's go with that.

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Re: 2009 Lemmy Award Discussion

#13 Post by usul » Tue Feb 24, 2009 12:15 pm

I like the direction this thread is taking. A lot of the above are good ideas. Most notably the participation of the public (members on the forum prior to a specific date perhaps) for a popular vote. I think having a mention for the best commercial game is a good idea. A limited number of awards also makes sense considering there's a limited number of games being made.
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Re: 2009 Lemmy Award Discussion

#14 Post by Jake » Tue Feb 24, 2009 12:21 pm

sake-bento wrote: A panel of judges might be suitable for choosing a nominee
Having seen the suggestion a couple of times now, I kind of like this, as it goes.
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Re: 2009 Lemmy Award Discussion

#15 Post by PyTom » Tue Feb 24, 2009 2:06 pm

F.I.A wrote:By January 2008, we have 939 members, and you are telling me that there are only about 17 nominators?
I ran the numbers on active members, defined as having visited the forum at least once in a certain time period:

1 day: 101
7 days: 202
31 days: 401

Just FYI. Also, the 2008 voting scheme was a lot of work. For games released early in 2008, I barely remember them. Now that I know I may have to vote on things, I'll pay more attention to excellence.
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