First off, this could have all been avoided had we heeded the community's warnings against Like-based voting, specifically relating to how easy it is to manipulate and abuse the system. We hope we can all agree that getting the contest back on track to a system where the art can be judged based solely on its merits is ideal for everyone. We've actually lined up some fantastic artists and animators who are willing to judge the contest and are not privy to this current mess of a situation.
When the situation was first brought to our attention for a specific user, when we went to verify, we ended up seeing another user's submission on the site. Had we waited another five minutes, or logged in five minutes earlier, it's likely we wouldn't have seen the second video, or maybe we would have seen a third. As has been covered in the thread already, it's possible for anyone to submit any video to KingdomLikes, and without turning this community into a crime scene investigation, it would be impossible to figure out who is abusing the system and how. I'm sure KingdomLikes is not the only way to unfairly generate additional likes. For this reason, we think it would be unfair to disqualify any specific participant(s) when we can't prove wrongdoing, and we would potentially be benefitting another abuser of the system who simply wasn't caught.
The best solution is to switch to a system that can't be abused and where any potential current or previous abuse is irrelevant.
Here is what we propose:
The contest will be judged by three judges with game industry and animation experience.
So far, we have two awesome judges lined up - Nick Wozniak (Artist on Shovel Knight (http://store.steampowered.com/app/250760/)), and Nathan Lavato (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/gdquest/game-art-quest-make-professional-2d-art-with-krita/description). We're currently working on a third. Edit: We have our third judge: Louice Adler, concept and graphic artist at Tripwire Interactive (creators of Killing Floor)
In order to give an opportunity for anyone who stayed out of the contest due to the original YouTube-based judging to make an entry and participate, we'd like to extend the window of submission until the original judging date of August 31st (6 days from now). This is also an opportunity for anyone who's already submitted to further tweak or improve your current entries if you'd like. The judging should take place within a few days after that.
Anyone who makes any attempt to privately communicate with any of the judges before the judging takes place will be automatically disqualified regardless of the content of their communication.
Also, since we're trying to fix past oversights with the rules, we'd like to take this opportunity to clarify some things that weren't made explicit in the previously posted rules.
Any sound effects in the submitted video should originate from the Spriter animation (sound effects should play back with the animation in Spriter)
You may have background music as long as either you (or your team) created it or you have the rights to use it.
Judging will be based only on visuals (and use of sound effects, if applicable) but not on background music.
No post production video effects other than simple fades from one animation to another. Please avoid any effects that might be mistaken for part of the animation created in Spriter.
Don't worry if you have doubts about your already submitted entry breaking one of these clarified rules - all current entries will be allowed as they are.
All original rules aside from judging, prizes, and the clarifications made in this post still apply (see original post in this thread for reference)
As a thank you for agreeing to the rule change, we'll also increase the total prize pool to allow two additional prize winners, and a slight increase to second and third prize:
The Grand Prize of $1,000.00 USD
Second place Prize of $400.00 USD
Third Place Prize of $300.00 USD
Fourth Place Prize of $200.00 USD
Fifth Place Prize of $100.00 USD
We can only enact these rule changes if all the current entrants agree to it. To make this as simple and painless as possible, if you agree to this rule change please like this post (using the like button on the bottom right of the post (). Once we have every participant in agreement, we can make the changes official.
Yeah, for me it's actually the most important thing going forward. Even though i sadly didn't have the time to participate, i can't fathom people who try to cheat in such a contest.
And when those same people (who at some point had up to 3 times more likes than views on their video...) actually try to give their opinion on this matter like nothing happened... please, stop, it's despicable and disrespectful to Brashmonkey, the participants, and this entire community!
That being said, i do think that Brashmonkey should choose the winners. Yes, like they said, they may know some of the contestants, but i don't have any problem putting the decision in their hands. We can't risk people trying, once again, to cheat their way to victory.
Well, that's my two cents anyway.
As far as judging goes, it might be a good idea to contact industry professionals who have used Spriter as part of a professional project. While it may be difficult to organize, it would ensure that the judges would be knowledgeable on the animation systems and could determine the merit of a project based on ambition and animation difficulty as well as the final visual product. A fair, balanced vote is invaluable, even if the process itself takes some time. On another note, I'm truly disappointed that those who cheated thought they could get away with such flagrant abuse without repercussions. It shows a complete lack of faith in one's work, and demonstrates a profound lack of respect for others. In my opinion, it would be wise to eject them from the competition altogether to demonstrate that dishonest practices will not be tolerated.
Here is a thought, what if you made a poll on this website that registered users as of the end of the contest submission 8/24/2016 date, can vote on which one they like the best. That way anyone after 8/24/2016 cannot vote, making bot accounts made after the date useless.
Hope this helps resolve the issue.