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Blades of Avernum Scenario Design Contest Winners

First off, I want to say that we were all really impressed with the contest entries. The Blades of Avernum system is complicated. It takes a lot of work to learn to use it, and even more work to get it to live up to its potential.

The winning scenarios had excellent plots and dialogue, cool situations, and a lot of just, plain good design. We spent a lot of time playing through them and having back and forth about who the top three should be.

Of course, the "best" scenario is a highly subjective judgment, and intelligent people can disagree about the wisdom of our choices. When judging, we mainly looked at the quality of the plot and dialogue, and the cleverness of the encounters. At the same time, we looked for ingenious design: that intangible quality that makes something fun or interesting or intriguing. And, in the end, we also looked hard at which scenarios made us most want to keep playing.

So, anyway, these are the winners of the Blades of Avernum Scenario design contest, with comments.

First Place - Bahssikava, by Kelandon

After a bit of play, it turned out that picking the winner was not that difficult. Bahssikava had excellently written dialogue and cutscenes, incredible detail, and was technically superb. It fit in well with the Avernum game setting, and was a lot of fun. Well done.

Second Place - Mad Ambition, by Terror's Martyr

Terror's Martyr is a genuinely accomplished coder for the Blades of Avernum engine. His scenarios always stretch the engine to its limits, with intricate cutscenes, interesting town layouts, and tricky and unpredictable characters. Of his scenarios, this is the one we enjoyed the most.

Third Place - Lord Putidus, by Kelandon

When judging scenarios, we tried to be author-blind. That is, we looked at the scenario on its own, without thinking about who wrote it. And if that meant all 3 winners were the same person, that was it.

Kelandon's scenarios have been excellent, and while Lord Putidus is small, its plotting was very good and it had a really nice, creepy atmosphere. When I placed in the scenario engine the ability to take spells away from players, I knew this power could be used very well or very poorly. Once glitches were fixed, this is a case where this was used very well.

Fourth Place - Canopy: Manufactured Womb, by Terror's Martyr

The choice for third place was really quite difficult. It was a sharp cutoff, and I want to single out this scenario and the next for special mention. Canopy showed real technical mastery, with lots of cool special spells, animations, and encounters.

Fifth Place - Backwater Calls, by Simo Porsti

A very fun, open-ended, traditional scenario. And we want to stress that there were more than two people making really good scenarios.

Finally, I want to thank everyone who submitted winning scenarios, non-winning scenarios, or even tried the engine. Making a scenario editor is a lot of work. It's much harder than just writing a game. The reward for this effort is to see people take the tools and make creations. Playing these adventurers was a genuine thrill for me, and, believe it or not, I'm looking forward to playing them again.

- Jeff Vogel
Spiderweb Software

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