Thursday, 10 October 2013

Hallow's End Competition

Edit: here is my own piece for this competition as an example
- obviously it's not a real entry, since I can't win myself.

   Hello everyone! Well, if you don't know yet, you soon will. I love competitions. I enter them all the time, especially if they're creative in some way. I rarely win, and when I host them they don't always go well. I had a profound failure with a creative competition I once hosted called the 'Destroy This Journal Competition'. I had more prize donators than I had entries! The winner, however, was deserved. But I didn't learn my lesson, and I still like to try such things, and foolishly expect them to go better than they do. Still, I think it's great to keep creative, and to try to encourage other people to try it. The only thing that I worry about is that perhaps if someone does go out on a whim and enter something creative for the first time ever, and they don't win after putting so much time in, that they won't enter anything creative again and take the loss personally. It's a very real concern of mine because it's such an amazing shame when that happens, and happen it does.
   But I digress.
   Yes, I'm hosting another WoW-based competition. This one, however, is much simpler than my Atherya Sunleaf Writing Competition. It's also perhaps a little more fun, and far more visual!
   Halloween and Hallow's End aren't far off, and I intend to make a week of it from the 24th to the 31st, with Halloween/Hallow's End related posts every day, and that wouldn't be complete without a relevant competition to bring people's interest in a little more.

   I've never really been one for Halloween. I trick or treated once, but I was about 18 and taking kids out to do it rather than doing it myself. I still dressed up as a drown victim - it was ridiculous, I jumped in the shower, fully clothed, minutes before going outdoors (and my costume required a lack of coat) at the end of October. But, since playing WoW, I have at least looked forward to the World Event.
   And so I decided that a great competition would be to use World of Warcraft screenshots to tell a small story. DON'T GO JUST YET!! This small story requires little or even no writing, and you could even use a story or poem that already exists such as Edgar Allen Poe or the Corpse Bride as long as it is relevant to the holiday. It's supposed to be like a kid's picture book sort of story (in layout and difficulty, not necessarily in story strength, meaning fighting is allowed). It could be about a hunt for the perfect costume, the hunt for a fabled sweet, the story behind the Headless Horseman - alternatively, it could be more loosely based on Halloween, rather than the game's version, or even not really 'Halloween' at all, just spooky or melancholy, or happen around the same time. And you don't have to have any trace of WoW's Hallow's End in it, though there is a greater option to don masks and use wands here and there. But try to work within the game's world than with the game itself. So no achievement hunting stories.
   There are prizes. There will be three winners, all of whom will win a month of advertising time on my blog's side bar for their blog/deviantART page/etc, and a Halloween-relevant loot card, either Landros' Lichling, or an Ogre Pinata (blue item, non-consumable) - the choice belongs to the winners, and I'll purchase the cards once they've given me their choices. There may also be honourable mentions if I get more entries, rewarded with consumable loot cards like Sandbox Tigers and Slashdance.
   I've already put my own story together, which I will post this Sunday to show you all. It will act as both an example, and my own entry - though I cannot, of course, win. The reason I say my 'entry' is because I feel I have to participate because I hate it when people host creative competitions and don't join in themselves, offering their own work as an example or even showing any personal enthusiasm. It took me about 2 hours to put my story together, including screen shots, and I loved it.
   I may in fact make a second story, much more simple in nature, to act as a secondary example.

All you really need to know:

   A small story, like a child's picture book, with any kind of Halloween theme (dress-up, sweets, dead, history, etc), using screenshots as the pictures. WoW Model Viewer is allowed, and GIMP can easily be used to make the items in WoW Model Viewer look more natural in the screenshot. It doesn't have to look perfect, however. There will be three winners, all of whom will get 1 month of advertisement space on my blog's side bar, and either a Landro's Lichling or an Ogre Pinata loot card, the choice is given to the winners, and the cards will be purchased then. The competition is open for 3 weeks, from the 10th of October to the 30th, and there is no minimum or maximum number of screenshots required for an entry. The story also does not have to be of your own creation but you must acknowledge at the end the original title and author of the story (prose or poetry) that you used. I will be judging the winners based on several things. WMV or GIMP strength of use will not be one of them, so if you're not good at photomanipulation or such then it doesn't matter. Writing skill is also far from important. What counts is the tale itself, and how well you've used screenshots to portray it.

Suggestions, Hints, Submission Dates, More Info

The most important fact is this: it's supposed to be fun. So if you decide to participate, remember that it's for fun, and don't you dare worry over it. It doesn't need to take you too long to make, either. Like I said, mine took me just 2 hours, and I enjoyed doing it.

The competition runs from today, the 10th, to Wednesday the 30th. Entries must be sent in by or on that day. Time zones at that point don't matter - if it's Wednesday the 30th for you when you send it in, it'll count. Entries will be reviewed and winners announced and notified on Halloween itself, though likely in the later portion of that day, or possibly even November 1st. Bear in mind that I am in England so for you Aussies you might find me to be a bit behind you.

There is no minimum or maximum number of shots needed for your story. Use as many or as few as it takes to tell the story. I used 8 shots, myself.

You CAN use WoW Model Viewer. I did, and I used basic parts of GIMP to make it look more natural (opacity, de-saturation, colour levels, ie more blue, less red etc until I felt it was good enough). The reason I say you can use WoW Model Viewer despite it being a screenshot competition is because there's only so much you can do with screenshots, and, like in my story, it may require a person like an NPC to be in a certain place they're not, or it may require items to be layed on the ground that cannot be.

You may of course post your entry on your blog. In fact, I encourage it. You can either email me the link to your entry, or send me the images in an email - if you email me the images, please number them from 1 to however many, in order, and if there is text to accompany them, add them to the text body of the email and number them to the images they go with as well. Clearly, it's easier to post it on your blog, but I don't mind how I receive them. As long as I receive them!

Think of it as a sort of story book tale. You may add writing beneath your shots if you don't think your story is clear enough to be picture only, but they don't have to be long, or overly complicated. They can be really quite short and sweet. I wrote small 2-4 line paragraphs beneath each of my shots because I felt it was a little more story like, and also because my story isn't so clear without them. You could tell the story using /emotes to suggest emotion (ain't I clever?) such as if something is disliked or not
You could also utilise /say to add your writing and have it within the shot itself.*

You could write captions, have no writing at all, or you could write a Halloween poem, as poems are often used around Halloween, and is included in Hallow's End as well, and take screenshots to go along with that instead. You could use the /say function to have your character speak each verse in each shot.*
You could, alternatively, use an existing poem or story that is relevant to a Halloween/spooky theme and use screenshots to tell that story. No one stands any more or any less chance of winning if they make their own tale or use one that is already written, well-known or not. You could try some Edgar Allen Poe, or even a scene from something spooky like Sleepy Hollow, or give a less obvious film or story a spooky twist.

Since we're allowed to use WoW Model Viewer, you could have a non-playable race as your story's feature character, like an Ogre trying to partake in Hallow's End. It could be a Murloc or a Naga. Use your imagination! This really isn't that limited. But you must use screenshots as a base. If your story's lead character is a non-playable race then you will obviously need to take screenshots in first person and add the characters in afterwards. I needed to do this for some of my shots as well, eventhough I used a playable character. Some shots just wouldn't work because of the way the camera lines up.

It doesn't have to be a scary story. Halloween is torn between spooky stuff, and fun and whimsical stuff. Between the dead, and dressing up in silly costumes for sweets. So keep that in mind. It took me a week to think up my own story, and only two hours to create it, including gathering the shots and implementing WoW Model Viewer and GIMP.

*I will be posting a guide tomorrow about the best ways to get your screenshot, especially if you want speech bubbles and no other interface. It may be obvious to some of you, but in order to encourage participation, I want to make it as simple and helpful as I can.


  1. Sounds like really awesome idea, already got bunch of ideas :D Arthur Conan Doyle popped in my head first :P Now to think ways to make screenies

  2. Oooh, good luck! It's easy once you get into the swing of it, but when you're trying to figure out how to do the first few shots it's kind of hard. I enjoyed putting mine together, but like I said, I might do another one, perhaps from an already existing story ^^

  3. I have a huge respect to A.C Doyle and especially Hound of the Baskervilles. I found my copy in a fleemarket for a really cheap brice and it was one of my first books I got on my own :) I've read it so many times over and over again :D But thinking a scene from it might be difficult but I'll shall think! :D

  4. I've never read any, but I do love the BBC's series of Sherlock, they're all based on the books - how closely, I don't know - but Hound of the Baskervilles is easily my favourite so far, and really quite creepy. I would LOVE to see how that would turn out in screen shots!

  5. I love the old Sherlock shows too(they say that the new in is quite good too), I haven't read all the books but I think it is quite closely how it's in the books (need to start reading the book to refresh memory and now I'm watching the movie of it :D)

  6. What an awesome idea :D I think I shall try this time!


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