CHANGES and the future of the "UGAC" [for all of us]


this past challenge has seemed to lost it’s steam a bit. i don’t know if it because of the topic, the rules, the holidays, or what, and don’t really care. but what i want to do is to start talking and brainstorming on what we can do to make better UGAC and have them never loose their excitement.

this thread is totally open for anything. have an idea? lets hear it! i don’t even care if you bitch and complain, but back it up with some constructive criticism. i want to generate enough excitement with these challenges that CGTalk takes notice and starts some Official Game Art Challenges with some prizes and sponsors [not that i can guarantee anything, but we should try].


my first idea.

combine the UGAC [unofficial game art challenge] with the MGAC [micro game art challenge].

i do not mean to combine them into 1 contest, but at least have them in the same forum and when possible, have them relate. so while the main UGAC is going on for a month, there could be 2-4 MGAC that follow the same theme, but of course, different rules.

example would be the MegaMan challenge we had one challenge ago. while the UGAC could be the longer, high poly challegne, the MGAC could be to make new small enemies found in MegaMan levels [like 500-1000 polys top, 1 week time period].

another idea is to have a thread of ideas that we can easily grab from and make new challenges quickly and or give the winners some material and ideas to pull from.


The easy way out is to never again include level design. I am shooting myself in the foot but it seems that many of the game modelers here do not really want to do levels or envio design which sucks because… Envio artists are greatly needed now more so than character modelers. I love level design hence why I push for it sometimes. :slight_smile:

Besides that nothing really rewarding has come out of these contests besides making same theme things. Most people here can get more complex ideas to make for their own portfolio.

When it comes to envoi design the rules get uber complex. With the whole instancing and texture usage especially. Perhaps the contests themes can be even wider.

What I have never gotten about these contest are the strict rules on texture usage and other stuff. I mean you’re not going to say to an athlete only use 50% of your strength. I think these contests should be based on a wide theme like something along the lines of the themes in the past cg talk contests.

Master and servant. Just look at that one and see how many works spawned from just a simple idea like that. Some very realistic ones to some very fantasy ones.

The biggest issue here are the rules that limit the contest. The judges at the end should know in terms what is possible for games in the current gen. And works should be judged on ability not on the limitations put in the contest

I know what your thinking
well this opens the doors to very higher poly counts and lots of texture usage and stuff
If a work that looks amazing but can not logically be done in the current gen it should not be accepted by the judges logic.

I am saying this because on the level design contest for the chamber one
I came to a point that I had to sacrifice visuals over absurdity. A few more polys over the limit would have not had a problem in a game engine
I only had 50.000 poly to work with
This is nothing compared to what can be used on an old ut2k4 engine
I can pump 70,000 to even 100,000 depending on the usage of objects in a scene(as in the player view) alone. In a scene for my chamber level it would be like 15,000 polys max. I mean that is horribly low for many games even now. So what I am saying as that the rules are not helping anymore.

We have so many varieties of games that these poly and texture rules just are not realistic at all.


i have to disagree with you RO. i’m kinda new around here, but the limits and such keep people from getting out of hand. person A might go for an engine on an overclocked PC, but person B might want to take it from a handheld perpective. two totaly different things.

imo, we should do what heavyness suggested, and have the UGAC and MGAC both related. that way, they could have seperate rules, and you could pick and choose.


For starters I know where i went wrong with this contests…i am still in school and i am working on projects for those as well as working so time just kinda ran away from me lol…not to make any excuses but thats what happned to me.

Okay now to the solutions to get us noticed…you both have all have great ideas. If we limit the amount of restrictions on the designer for say the ugac but make them bigger challenges then maybe we can attract people to them…then add the whole mgac with the same theme and put them poth in the same forum would attract a decent amount of people. Like say we have a ugac that is a level but then the mgac could be an example of a vehicle or player type character. I think that could work. But like RO said we cant limit the artists too much maybe instead of saying this is the poly count we say this is the system we are designing for make something logical that can be played on that system…that might make it a bit more fair. I dont know these are just the rantings of a college student lol…take them however you want. Hopefully we can get the ugac some recognition soon though(and maybe i can complete one soon lol)

PS I hope everyone has had a wonderful holiday season and have great New Years


There could be several small challenges all running at the same time over a theme. For example you could have a theme of mad science. There could be an area for character modeling, environments, props, and level design. All the challenges would end around the same time (even if they didn’t start at the same time).

Everyone could work on an area they feel comfortable finishing in the time period.

Another option would be to build on top of each other. Have a mood concept art challenge on a theme, and then have environment, character, and prop art challenges run on the winning pieces. It would be great for working on portfolio examples because it would be collaborative without everyone pairing off into small groups.

Concept artists could show examples of their illustrations realized, modelers could show that they can work of predefined ideas.

I know that I got excited going into this challenge, even late as I was. I also know that I got in over my head pretty fast. I’ve never done 3d level design, let alone on a moving character model. I would vote for more smaller challenges as a way to get more people involved.


I think the pertinent question here is this: what is the point of these challenges? It’s not merely about art, but about GAME art, and so I think it should be more than an arbitrary polycount coupled with a topic. If these challenges exist to both prepare people for working in games and to help them build their portfolios, they should reflect, above all, the games industry itself and the assignments an artist could encounter working in games.

To that end, I suggest we borrow an idea from namely, their Creature/Character/etc of the week setup. Offer a well-written brief, explain the purpose of the model, perhaps even provide concept art or an art style that must be adhered to.

Basically, I think the challenges need more direction and more structure. Perhaps we could even get industry art directors to offer up model briefs that you might encounter in the real world. I think these tasks could be valuable preparation for working in the industry (and great practice for those who already do). That doesn’t mean we avoid subjects like 3d environments, but they need to have realistic budgets and time restraints. If the MGAC was combined with the UGAC, people could also have a chance to contribute to the completion of the brief without needing to spend too much time on it.


I love level design, but the Collossus level didn’t really inspire me for some reason…

If we add the MGAC to the UGAC forums, I think we should add another, being a challenge where we get to recreate past levels in old favorites (Zelda: A Link to the Past, Chrono Trigger, etc.). Or perhaps make that an UGAC for the future. I understand not everyone likes to do level designs, so it’s okay if we can’t…just a thought.

Maybe we could (and this might sound really stupid, but fun) at the end of the year we could have an awards ceremony for the best of the best. Different catagories, honorary mention, etc… And if we could give out prizes, we could give them out then.

If I think of more I’ll come back for sure. :thumbsup:


how about a monthly theme? like “A Month of The Legend of Zelda”? so in the 30 day time period, all game art challenges relate to the Zelda theme. example…

the 30 day challenge will be to… [15,000 triangles, 3 1024x1024 total]
[li]create an end boss and his chamber[/li][/ul]
the weekly challenges will be… [500 triangles, 2 512x512]
[li]low poly, hyrule stylized tree[/li][li]sword and sheild[/li][li]simple enemy[/li][li]house in village [exterior][/li][/ul]
the 30 day will be the UGAC, the weekly one will be the MGAC. the weekly one won’t be told a head of time, every week, the new one will be posted. we can also throw in new ideas [like this one] into the mix to keep things interested.

this way, if your entering in the UGAC, you can also enter some of the weekly MGAC and actually use those assets within your UGAC entry.


also, is there a “magic formula” out there that we can use to determine polycount/map size?

like for every 2,500 triangles, you get 1 512x512 worth of texture space. this way, we can set the poly limit and the texture limit falls in place.

or we set up some predetermined specs and just keep re-using those over and over. if we’re doing a character, we use this predetermined set of numbers… doing a building, we use these sets of numbers. these numbers can be boosted every 6 months or so to keep up with the industry.

just looking for something that will help stream line the process.


another idea is to have a “GAME ART GALLERY” thread stuck at the top of the forum that the winners work will be posted in and kept in. no comments, only edited by me so it’s just winner’s work.

i asked about having our own version of the “front page” plugs on our page, but i don’t think that will happen.


I’m actually wondering if it would be a good idea to propose an actual collaboration between CGSociety game artists and artists. They do frequent concept art challenges, which have a 3d component, but the 3d end is very small and only a handful of people participate. On the other hand, we don’t have a huge 2d community but we do have plenty of 3d artists. I think it’s the perfect match. Check out their Character of the Week forum:

And their 3d forum:

Some awesome work comes out of the weekly challenges, but almost none of it makes it into 3d. If we had some great concepts to work with, I think the UGAC would really take off. And of course we’d be fostering some good old community interaction. What do you guys think?


I think we are making some good ideas i think it would be great to say before one ugac comes up we get together with and get a few of them to get concept sketches done that would be apart of a contest for them and then we pick like the top five or so and then we model on of those examples cause like you said not all of us are that great at concept art me included…i know that concept art does not need to be concrete and in some instances all that good lol…but it might make it more interesting for us and the concept art guys to see a collaboration as well as seeing their ideas turned into a reality.

As for the end of year grand prize that might be difficult to acheive that we would have to set up an art gallery of sorts that is controlled by a set person and the winners and inserted into this gallery and the runner ups as well maybe and those are the only thing posted in this gallery no comments or anything but a link to the artists page or something…and then at the end of the year we get judges to scroll through those links and pick the best one…prized would be great but even if no prizes are givin imagine the pride of having the best art of the year i think that would rock :buttrock:


I think this right here is one of the best ideas presented so far, though I’d add one thing to this:

If we’re going to have predetermined specs that get re-used, then there should be a variety of them. Say, one for handhelds and phones, one for PS2/Gamecube-ish specs, and one for next-gen. They could be something like 128-512 tris, 512-2048 tris (guessing here), and 2048 to a bajillion tris with the appropriate-sized textures to suit. That way people could choose which one they want to do while still keeping the theme.

As it is now, the game art challenges are getting a lot of drop-outs because people become tired or they feel daunted by the presented specs. This is the reason I’ve only finished one, and it was just a crappy little garbage can.


I know I have no right posting here considering I entered the Colossus challenge and didn’t even post concept art (as soon as my partner and I decided on a form, heavyness announced he was doing the same form so we were like “**** it” and went back to work playing PS3 and Wii games…).

But I do have to say you’re onto something with the whole unified concept thing. But here is my suggestion. If we tackle a specific game, then it’s all good and eveyone can focus on the same world. However, what about when we DON’T want to do a Zelda? I propose the contest admins “create” a core game concept and even put together some concept artwork. This would require a tad more work during the setting up phase, BUT, it would create a more unified contest if we were to do something like…

"The ashes from the old asylum washed over the city, like a plague that had been lifted. There were always strange rumors of that place and the nightly screams did little to quell the speculation but the screams on this night were much worse. The flames were licking the flesh from the bastards bones and all they could do was offer vocal protest. Despite the tragedy, spirits were lifting all across our small town.

It wasn’t until 4 days later until the smoke had finally ended, and the first figure stepped out from the ruins. It looked like a fully grown adult but he dragged a childs corpse in his hands. Soon after, more emerged. Those who could escape, did. But for most of us, the attack happened too fast and we were forced to try and take shelter.

For several weeks, they’ve been up there, on the surface, noisily shuffling around and fighting over whatever tragic person had left their shelter. But my food is running out, power has been down for days, and I’m at the point where I need to leave my shelter as well. What kind of hell they’ve created up there is beyond me but I will try to make my escape at dawn."

Then come up with a small assortment of concept screens, lead character design, and possibly even a set number of rules in this concept, like “No sci-fi elements” or “all things must be kept in a certain time period.”

This way, character designers get to participate, level designers get to participate, propr creators get to participate. And all have this follow a concept. So, hopefully, towards the end of a challenge, we not only have a number of entries, but possibly even a unified vision as well and a gallery that stands up as a colaborration.


i like the idea of just using a theme. makes you think more and opens it up for anyone. BUT, the is GAME ART. the only people in a game studio who don’t have limitation are the concept artists. what makes the best game studios “the best” is that they are able to make stunning game art while staying within the limits of their game engine.

was is such a big deal to see a Pixar character with hair? no, not really. but when you first saw that fighting game with that character who had unbelievable hair your jaw dropped. you can do anything in a 3d program. pulling off the same thing in a game engine is an accomplishment.

we have to have limitations.

and yes, sometimes there will be challenges you don’t like. and sometimes, the game studio your working on will start a game your not to crazy about.

i want to use the theme concept, but we need rules. i want to make the rules feel more like guidelines then strict rules.


I know what your sayin heavyness…Without guidlines things tend to get out of control…that coupled with the fact that yes there will always be a project that your not thrilled with and that is understandable…but again i think we hit a good idea with the whole theme idea and having multiple projects based around that theme if we could get people to judge and monitor the different projects within each theme example would be again saying here is an idea for a level design in and then saying we have this concept of what the world is now character designers create a player or npc that might be involved in this world that the level designing gurus are creating lol…just a thought


theming weeks/months is a great idea. it sounds fun and it would give people a chance to see what it’s like to work with a certain game for a while until moving on to the next one.


hey, i know we wouldn’t be able to do this for a while, but it sounds really fun, and it’s something we should think about…

how about we have the ultimate/super/mega game art challenge, alongside the mgac and the ugac? it might sound stupid at first, but here’s the idea: the challenge lasts one year. (or less, depending on how long everyone thinks it should take). you can decide if you want to be in a group, or work alone. the actual challenge is to create a trailer/introduction of a videogame (like something is seen at E3). the video will be around 5 minutes long, and i’d say 2 of those minutes have to be showing actual gameplay/lowpoly characters. with the rest of the 3 minutes they can show whatever they want, such as highpoly sequences, storyline explanation by the creators, etc… the ideas have to be completely your own, but maybe certain things will be aloud, like a game based off of a fairy tale.


an announcement on the next “challenge” will hopefully be posted here shortly after the current challenge is over. maybe a small one [MGAC].

this new challenges will [i think] help us as a community and give us time to re-organize the UGAC system and get us back into the swing of things.

if you have more idea, please post them. thanks for all the ideas so far. before i make any “major” changes, i will, or course, bring them before you all.