1) In order to ensure all prizes are fulfilled, monetary rewards may be awarded multiple times to the same person if they have multiple entries.
2) Since I won't need a lot of time for judging, the winners will be announced/paid-out tomorrow (the 22nd), rather than the 28th, as originally planned.
3) The rules for the second contest will be posted later this week, rather than next week, but it won't be like this contest. The nature of February's contest will be simpler. I'll be looking for concept art. Cleaned up black & white sketches of original mech designs. Please visit often so you don't miss the details!
UPDATE (1/12/14): We are half way through the contest period, now. Only 10 days left, including today. I still have only 3 entries, so this is just a friendly reminder for those that are planning to participate: the entry deadline is January 21st. The prizes (and likelihood) of the next 5 contests will depend on the success of this one. Thank you!
If you’ve been paying attention over the last few weeks, you’ll know that I’m working on a new Trading Card Game called Arsenal©. This will be a mobile phone game for Android in its initial release, though it will be brought to iPhone and also PC at a later date. We will be on Kickstarter in September of this year (2014), and we’re offering talented artists a chance to be a part of it from the beginning!
In the coming months, I’ll be hosting a number of contests to gather artwork for the game, and this is the first of six. Winners will earn cash and in-game prizes, their art will be featured in the finished product, and they’ll be offered opportunities for commissioned work with us in the future!
There will be one 1st, one 2nd and two 3rd place entries, as well as unlimited Runners Up, all with cash prizes (though the number of winners will increase if we get more than 50 entrants). Furthermore, everyone who enters, win or lose, will receive a voucher for in-game rewards once the game is release next year.
If you are interested in joining the contest, please read the following information carefully.
Arsenal is a deck-building trading card game with a fast-paced, explosive style of play. It will be playable on your mobile phone. It is not a “card battle game” where a pair of cards simply put their numbers against each other and one is declared the winner, with little input from the player. Arsenal is about strategy and tactics, and has more in common with “Magic: The Gathering” than “Rage of Bahamut”. You control every aspect of the game, and the data on the cards does not change or level-up. Everyone is on equal footing, from the novice to the veteran. It’s how you build your deck and how you play your cards that will lead you to victory.
You take on the role of a pilot in a combat Mech arena. This arena is represented by a small hex grid. You move your Mech around on this grid to gain an advantage against your opponent, and then play cards from your hand to attack or defend. You will manage your power levels (the resource used to play cards), and use all manner of subterfuge, electronic warfare, deployable drones, maneuvers and mobility, or shear firepower to win out against your opponent.
Your Mechs fight it out in sanctioned tournaments, in special arenas, and crowded stadiums. In the world of Arsenal, the Mechs and their pilots are celebrities, with rivalries and reputations. Big name sponsors fund these giant war machines by painting their logos all over them (similar to Nascar branding) and paying for their ammunition, repairs and upgrades. Pilots represent their country of origin, with displays of national pride (similar to Pacific Rim), participating in regional and national leagues. In the world of Arsenal, these Mechs are big business and popular sport.
In this contest, your goal is to draw a dramatic battle scene featuring one or two Mechs from the Arsenal American League (AAL), which encompasses combatants from the USA, Canada, and all of Central and South America. The major arms manufacturers in this league are both American (USA): Arcturus Military Manufacturing (or just Arcturus, using a bright star as their logo), and Hawk-Line Industries (or HLI, using a diving hawk in profile as their logo). The Mechs produced by Arcturus have a very utilitarian, American military feel to it. Drab armor plating and rivets, designs leaning towards intimidation through military might. Their Mechs are usually big, slow and powerful. They’re typically painted gun-metal grey, forest green, or desert tan, and often camouflaged (think of an M1 Abrams tank). The Mechs from HLI have a more streamlined, high-tech feel to them. Their Mechs are typically lighter and faster than their Arcturus counterparts. HLI is on the cutting edge of experimental technology, utilizing advances in electronic warfare or cloaking devices. HLI Mechs are typically blue steel, grey, white, or black, with sleek or angular bodies (think of an F-22 Raptor or F-117 Nighthawk). Most Mechs in the AAL come from one of these major sponsors, though some smaller manufacturers in Canada or Brazil (feel free to imagine who these might be) might make a weapon, body part, or deployable system used by any Mech. Pilots can come from any country in North or South America, and will likely repaint or modify their Mech to reflect their national pride in some way. You are invited to be creative here. Flags are fine, but try not to be silly or insulting to other cultures (for example, no Mexican Mech wearing a sombrero, or Canadian Mech wielding a giant hockey stick). Arsenal Mechs should also be painted with the logos and branding of their corporate sponsors. You can be silly here in a science fiction way, think Futurama (Fishy Joe’s Walrus Juice! “Ride the Walrus”). And don’t forget that these Mechs are made for sponsored and televised arena combat, which means they usually have intimidating paint jobs or mechanical designs to enhance their character and popularity.
Body Types: Arsenal Mechs are very diverse. They’re made for arena combat and showmanship, so they’re typically built with both melee and ranged combat in mind. Most have a humanoid torso, two arms built for punching or grabbing, and a head, but with wildly different forms of locomotion. This is not a standard rule, though. If you want to design a Mech with six arms all holding swords, or one with giant guns or mechanical tentacles for arms, or one with two heads, I’m all for originality! As for its legs, you must choose one of the following for your Mech (it is a card keyword that affects gameplay), listed in order of weight, from lightest to heaviest:
- Hover: Not like a modern inflatable hovercraft, these actually float a few meters off the ground using advanced principles of magnetics. These Mechs have the highest speeds of any body type, but are the most fragile.
- Multilegged: Anywhere from 4 to 10 legs, whatever you think your Mech needs, it could be like a robotic sphinx, centaur or spider, it’s up to you! While much more maneuverable than other leg types, their increased number of moving parts makes them more susceptible to damage.
- Reverse-Joint: Sometimes called dinosaur or bird legs or “chicken-walkers”. More agile than humanoid legs, but able to carry less weight.
- Humanoid: Standard human-like legs (all the Transformers). A good all-around balance of mobility and defense.
- Wheeled: Anywhere from 4 to 10 big knobby armor-plated tires. Good top speed and weight capacity, but poor maneuverability compared to legged body types.
- Tracked: Like a tank, one pair or two, in any shape. The slowest and least maneuverable, but able to carry the most armor and weaponry.
Profile Types: As far as weaponry and capabilities are concerned, the sky’s the limit. Just about anything you can think of will work, as long as it has suitable combat functionality and some loose basis is science fiction (rather than fantasy). Arsenal is set in a near-future period, where mankind is exploring and colonizing its own star system, but has not developed faster-than-light technology. There are hover cars, cloaking devices, and advanced A.I., but no teleporters or fantastical quantum mechanics. Ballistic weapons are common: rifles, machine guns, cannons, shotguns, handguns, sniper rifles. Or even their energy-based laser counterparts. Guns can be carried in the Mech’s hands or visibly mounted somewhere on its body (think Armored Core), or hidden and only revealed when used (hand turning into a plasma cannon, or chest opening to reveal missile launchers, a la Pacific Rim). It can use missiles or rockets. It can drop mines, or deploy drones. It can use a cloaking field to turn invisible, or project holographic decoys to distract fire, or fire flares to confuse missile attacks. It can shoot fire, acid, electricity, or even ice! It can pummel with its fists or use heavy melee weapons: Anything from colossal steel swords to giant chainsaws. It might even carry a massive iron shield to defend against such attacks. You are really only limited by your own imagination, and I list these only to inspire you. One thing you must do when considering your Mech’s armament, is what its design purpose is. Each Mech has a combat profile, and you must choose one of these when designing your Mech (like its body type, this is also a keyword on the card and greatly affects gameplay), listed in alphabetical order:
- Acquisition: Utilizing advanced targeting protocols, radar, and precision weaponry to deal massive damage with each well-timed strike.
- Assault: Bristling with weaponry and all manner of heavy firepower, it overwhelms its foe with relentless attacks.
- Close-Combat: Made to advance quickly and get in close under the range of missiles and rockets, difficult to shake, and dealing out massive melee damage.
- Defense: Heavily armored with advanced shielding, both physical and energy, designed to take a beating and keep on coming.
- Electronics: Designed for electronic warfare in mind, using EMPs, electrical attacks, drones and jammers, it disables and shuts down the enemy.
- Fire-Support: Built for very long-range combat, easily shaking close-range combatants, pinning them in place, and filling the sky with missiles in its wake.
- Maneuver: Very evasive, very agile, made to dodge and outmaneuver, you empty a clip right at it and still miss.
- Mobility: The fastest thing in the arena, designed to be wherever the enemy doesn’t want it, it outflanks and outpaces, forcing its foe to burn energy to keep up.
- Stealth: Uses advanced cloaking systems and holographic decoys, missiles miss and lock-ons fall off like water, then from the shadows, it strikes.
In addition to choosing a body type and profile, you must also tell me your Mech’s weight class (Light, Medium or Heavy) and its name. Here are some examples (if you’re having trouble with this, let me know, we can come up with something together):
Viral Isis: Light Multilegged Electronics
Bristling Amy: Medium Tracked Assault
Death Dealer: Heavy Reverse-Joint Close-Combat
Gun Griffon: Light Wheeled Assault
Fog of War: Medium Hover Stealth
Sundown: Heavy Humanoid Fire-Support
For some great examples of what your entry should look like, check out this folder: shanenopolis.deviantart.com/fa…
For some great examples of thematic art that might help inspire you, check out this folder: shanenopolis.deviantart.com/fa…
Style: Your own! It must be an action shot, showing some kind of attack, defense or aftermath. You don’t have to depict both Mechs in the battle, but if you do, make sure one of them stands out as the centerpiece of the artwork. If you choose to show a Mech engaged in melee combat, make sure its body is not blocked too much by the other Mech. Also, it probably goes without saying, but in your action shot, your Mech should be winning!
Visual Requirements: It must be full-color, including the Mech(s) and background. The background must be some type of Arena setting of your choosing. These arenas are very large, so we don’t necessarily need to see the whites of the spectators eyes, but we should get the impression that this is a sport in a type of large stadium (indoor or outdoor), rather than a battlefield somewhere. We don’t have to see the whole body of the Mech, some of it may be blocked by debris or smoke/explosions, but we must be able to see at least 75% of it. Also, Arsenal Mechs are branded, so your Mech should have some kind of eye-grabbing logos (paint or wraps) on it somewhere. They could be torn up and scraped off from combat, but they should be visible in some form. What those corporate sponsors might be is your call, have fun with it!
Media Format: Digital art only. Any lossless format that preserves the original image (PNG, BMP, etc).
Canvas Size: No maximum, but the area of focus (the Mech itself) should be larger than 1080 x 1507, because that’s the actual size of the card.
WHO CAN JOIN?
Any artist in the world who has read these instructions carefully and wants to be a part of Arsenal! They need only have a DeviantArt account, as you must submit your art to me via notes. If you’ve discovered this contest through another website or promotion and do not have a DeviantArt account, please join up so you can participate.
Arsenal Mech combat is an international sport, and each combatant has a national flavor to them, so we welcome artists from all over the world to step up and represent!
HOW TO ENTER CONTEST
- You don’t need to comment on this journal stating your intention to join, just start drawing! If you want to let me know you’re in, please feel free to send me a note. I do love to hear about what you might be planning, and would be glad to offer advice or answer questions.
- When you’re finished, send me a note with a link to your submission. Make sure this happens before the deadline of January 21st! We MAY ask you to make small changes if something doesn’t quite fit right.
- Once your piece has been submitted look for it in this folder: shanenopolis.deviantart.com/fa…
- After all submissions have been collected, a winner will be chosen based on the following criteria: representation of the Arsenal universe, quality of the art, originality and character.
- Winners will be announced on January 28th. If you are one of the winners, you will be contacted directly and prizes will be awarded (see prizes section for details).
- Starting time: Wednesday, January 1st, 2014.
- Deadline for submissions: Tuesday, January 21st, 2014.
- Winners announced: Tuesday, January 28th, 2014.
- Second contest announced: Saturday, February 1st, 2014 (come back for round 2)!
- By entering this contest, you agree that we will have the rights to use your entry as a card in the game Arsenal, if you win.
- DO NOT use any bases or stocks without permission. You can use free stocks and your own skill. We do not want any intellectual property violations or legal conflicts.
- You must state in the comments for your submission that it is for this contest, and link back to this journal entry.
- Don’t submit the full sized image to your gallery. Only submit a smaller size that’s big enough to see and judge. 35% to 40% should be fine, the full version will be collected if you win.
- If you don’t want to submit to your gallery, that’s ok, just submit to your Sta.sh or Photobucket, or whatever you prefer, and send me the link.
- Your submission must meet the Entry Requirements listed above.
- Remember to keep the original PSD file (or whatever you use), in case you need to make any small changes.
- There is no limit to the number of entries per person, but only one person each may earn a 1st, 2nd, 3rd place, or Runners Up prize. If your additional submissions are good, though, you can be awarded any number of Honorable Mentions, which will equate to more in-game rewards once Arsenal is released (details to come). Keep in mind, at this point, we’re looking for quality over quantity, and there are still more contests to come!
- Collaborations are allowed, but please choose only one to represent the submission. How you split the prize is up to you.
- Entries depicting hostile or derogatory racial/cultural imagery will be disqualified.
The first priority is your skill level. How impressive your artwork is. Level of detail, atmosphere, character. These are all things that go into making great art.
Second is how well your art fits into the Arsenal universe (this is second because great art can always be tweaked to fit). Does it convey the impression of massive combat machines fighting each other in sponsored arenas with crowds cheering? Is your design believable?
Third is creativity and originality. Please don’t just copy someone else’s design, Arsenal is something that hasn’t really been done before. Your design should certainly take inspiration from things like Transformers, Pacific Rim, Armored Core, Battletech, Gundam, even modern military technology, but Arsenal is still very different from those things. We’re trying to make something new and original here, so you should definitely keep that in mind when designing your Mech!
Lastly is following the contest rules. Even if you have the best art in the world, we can’t accept it if you don’t read carefully and make sure you don’t do something wrong. Please read!
One 1st place prize
- Your entry will be featured in the game, and credited to you. On a card and possibly as promotional art as well!
- $200 via Paypal, or 16,000 DA Points if you don’t have Paypal (if there are at least 50 entrants, this will go up to $250).
- You will automatically be entered in a high-level tier once our Kickstarter goes live later this year, this will include premium in-game content, and more (details to come later), as well as limited edition cards only available through this contest!
One 2nd place prize (if there are at least 50 entrants, there will be two 2nd place prizes):
- Your entry will be featured in the game, and credited to you. On a card and possibly as promotional art as well!
- $100 via Paypal, or 8,000 DA Points if you don’t have Paypal.
- You will automatically be entered in a high-level tier (not the same as 1st place) once our Kickstarter goes live later this year, this will include premium in-game content, and more (details to come later), as well as limited edition cards only available through this contest!
Two 3rd place prizes (if there are at least 50 entrants, there will be three 3rd place prizes):
- Your entry will be featured in the game, and credited to you. On a card and possibly as promotional art as well!
- $50 via Paypal, or 4,000 DA Points if you don’t have Paypal.
- You will automatically be entered in a high-level tier (not the same as 1st or 2nd place) once our Kickstarter goes live later this year, this will include premium in-game content, and more (details to come later), as well as limited edition cards only available through this contest!
Unlimited Runners Up prizes:
- Your entry will be featured in the game, on a card, and credited to you.
- $25 via Paypal, or 2,000 DA Points if you don’t have Paypal.
- You will automatically be entered in a mid-level tier once our Kickstarter goes live later this year, this will include premium in-game content, and more (details to come later), as well as limited edition cards only available through this contest!
Visit this folder to see the current entries: shanenopolis.deviantart.com/fa…
If you do not see your submission within 24 hours of sending me your note, please send it again.
Questions to be added as they come in (check back for updates).
DOES MY MECH HAVE TO BE FROM ONE OF THE AMERICAS?
No, not necessarily, but that is the theme of this first contest, and so that’s what you should be thinking of. Later there will be a contest for the Arsenal European League, and then the Arsenal Pacific League, and perhaps your idea might fit better in one of those contests. Later still will be three more contests, the details of which have not been decided on yet. That being said, I’m always open to new and interesting ideas. If you’ve got a design you think would fit in the Arsenal universe (for example, maybe an unsponsored Mech cobbled together with military scrap scrounged up in the Congo and painted with African tribal markings for intimidation), and the art was good, it would certainly be considered!
SHOULD I PUT A PERSON IN MY DRAWING TO SHOW SCALE?
No, please don’t! Unless it’s a person that can be seen on the sidelines. Arsenal Mechs are around 30 to 50 feet tall, so we will just make an assumption. Plus, having a person on the ground in an arena would not be a good thing!
WHERE IS THE PILOT IN AN ARSENAL MECH?
The cockpit of a Mech is typically positioned in the head, though if your design calls for something different, I’m open to clever alternatives. The pilot does have to be in the Mech, though, and not controlling it remotely from somewhere else. The pilot does not require giant windows to see the battlefield, because unobtrusive external cameras provide streaming battlefield visuals, but if that’s what your design calls for, go for it!
WHAT ARE THE KICKSTARTER PRIZES YOU KEEP MENTIONING?
I’m sorry, but we’re not sure what those will be just yet. The Kickstarter campaign launches later this year after all the contests have finished. Maybe in August or September. At that point, each contest winner will be contacted and informed where they enter as a pledge, and what they stand to receive if the Kickstarter is funded. Some special cards will be created only for winners of these contests, and will never be available in any other way in the game (except to trade them away from winners). The awards will also undoubtedly include premium booster packs and perhaps wallpapers or special in-game titles. The details for all that will be ironed out by the time the Kickstarter launches, but I’m a gamer too, and I assure you, they’ll be cool prizes!
WILL THE OTHER CONTESTS BE THE SAME AS THIS ONE?
A new contest will run each month for 6 months. February’s contest will be similar to this one, but feature Mechs from the Arsenal European League, which means Mechs and sponsors from Europe and the former Soviet Bloc! March’s contest will be the Arsenal Pacific League, which will feature Mechs and sponsors from Japan, China, Korea, India, Australia, and more! The subject matter for contests in April, May, and June will depart from this trend and be used to showcase some Arsenal technology and action. Scenes from inside the cockpit, action shots of deadly weapons and equipment, the deployment of advanced technology. Details will be released once we get closer to these contests, so stay tuned to find out more! The prizes awarded for future contests may change depending on how well this contest goes. So even if you don’t feel like participating this time around, please add this journal entry to your favorites and spread the word so we can keep awareness up!
WHAT CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT ARSENAL GAMEPLAY?
In the interest of copywrite protection, not too much at this point. I will tell you that I’m appalled at the current state of mobile card games, and I seek to produce something completely different. This will be unlike any other “card” game available on your phone. These are actual cards (in digital form) that get shuffled, flipped, drawn, dealt, and discarded, not just fancy pictures with upgradeable stats. You build a 60-card deck, you draw into your hand every turn, you spend resources, and you make important decisions about what to do, and how. The cards are balanced against each other, with cost and functionality being key. Cards do not level-up, everything is always as powerful as the day you got it, and even veteran players will need to use old common cards in their tournament-winning decks. The card gameplay is offset by a hex map used to show the position of your Mech in the arena, and an element of luck is introduced by die rolls used to attack or evade your opponents. The gameplay is probably closest to the World of Warcraft TCG, if I had to compare it to anything, but I’ve been playing TCGs for many years, since Magic: TG was all there was, and I assure you there are many new concepts here that have the potential to be a huge success!
WHERE DO YOU SEE ARSENAL IF IT’S A SUCCESS?
I see a game that’s low-cost or perhaps free to download and play. You’ll be able to earn/trade/compete for just about every card there is. More dedicated players will be able to purchase booster packs of random cards for quicker access to rare cards, or themed sets of non-random cards to pursue a certain play style, but the success of a player will depend more on how he builds his deck and how he plays what he draws, rather than how much money he spends. Regular events and leagues will allow players to earn new cards on a regular basis, with some only available to top performers. Each player will choose a country to represent, which will affect which leagues he can join. There will be regular scheduled tournaments for different regions/countries, or for different deck types (such as only heavy Mechs or only tracked Mechs). I want it to be like a real sport, with players earning sponsorships in the game that act as passive bonuses in ranked play. I also envision an active market with players trading, buying, or selling cards with one other (with in-game currency, of course, which you can earn through wins or buy with real money). Perhaps players will even be able to sponsor each other or place bets on ranked matches. Only time will tell!
HOW IS THIS PROJECT BEING FUNDED?
For these contests the prize money is coming out of my pocket (I’m sorry I couldn’t offer more, I do still work an unrelated 9-5 job, haha!), but I am also accepting donations for anyone who wishes to contribute to prize money. With the art from these contests, we aim to have enough quality material to help produce a successful Kickstarter campaign to raise funding for the completion and release of the game. Contest winners will be contacted again at this point to be offered commissions for more art before the game’s release.
WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE PLANS?
The game is already designed and tested, I have over 800 cards on paper, all we need now is art and programming. We’ve got 6 months of contests in DA, followed by a Kickstarter campaign (which all contest winners will automatically be entered in as pledges). We hope to have all of our funding by the end of 2014, we will then continue to commission artwork, perhaps outsource some coding and audio, complete a couple rounds of testing, and then shoot for a release on the Google Play market in late 2015. Later, a release to iPhone and then PC, with (hopefully) cross-platform combat.
WHO IS ON THE ARSENAL TEAM?
There are currently three of us. Shane B (that's me), Erik F (programming), Laura H (marketing). At this point, I am doing all the design and art by myself, which is why I’m seeking assistance from DA. Erik is a professional software developer, and he’s currently working on our Kickstarter demo. Laura, a graphic designer and web developer, is working on our website, Facebook page, and other marketing efforts.
CAN I JOIN THE ARSENAL TEAM?
That’s certainly a possibility, but it would depend upon your contribution. Skilled artists are always welcome, and we are definitely going to need a sound technician soon, and though the project won’t be profitable for some time, and I don’t like asking people to work for free, if you feel passionate about it, we can always talk about how you can contribute in exchange for future royalties. In addition, once the Kickstarter is a success, we may need to hire some more staff! Just send me a note if you have an inquiry.