SAGE '21 has officially been announced earlier this month and the guidelines & deadlines have also been recently published. Much like last year's SAGE this year demands the usage of the Showcase System for submitting your projects. For returning members we all know how much of a cake walk that is, however it may be a little daunting and confusing for those joining in for the first time, with those people in mind we've crafted a detailed guide on how to Submit your game to SAGE 2021.
- 1. Register on the Forums
Right on the main page of the forums, you can click the big "Register Now" or the smaller one in the top right corner. This will take you to a different page asking you for some information tocreate your account.
Fill those in, solve the captcha at the end, confirm your account using your email and you're set!
(If for whatever reason you're having trouble creating a new account, please let us know in the Official SFGHQ Discord Server. You can also DM me through there).
- 2. Adding a New Submission
After you're done registering and have logged in, use the menu on the top of the website to navigate to our SHOWCASE, once you're there you can click thebutton on the top right to start creating your booth page.
You can also check out some of last year's booths for inspiration. A quick way to do that is to use the Filters and select the appropriate SAGE 2020 Prefixes: (SAGE 2020) Demos, (SAGE 2020) Complete Games, (SAGE 2020) Frameworks.
You'll then see the following Menu:
What this menu is asking you to do is pick a category for your submission. Currently we have three categories that are accepted in SAGE: Games, Mods and Frameworks and inside of each of those categories there's a number of sub-categories to make it so your submission is easy to be found by others.
We strongly ask you to please submit your project to the correct category. Here's a brief description of each of them in order:
- Original Games:
This is where indie projects go.
- Fan Games:
As the name suggests, this category is for fan projects. If you're making a Sonic, Mario, Zelda, etc, project, it goes here!
- Original Games:
- ROM Hacks:
For hacks of ROMs, (i.e. Sonic 1, Sonic 2, ...)
- Retro Engine:
Mods using the Retro Engine and RSDK. (Sonic Mania mods)
- Sonic Robo Blast 2:
Sonic Robo Blast 2 (SRB2) Mods.
- ROM Hacks:
- Frameworks (a.k.a. Engines)
- 2D Frameworks:
Frameworks designed to create 2D games in. A good example of that would be the Core Framework.
- 3D Frameworks:
Frameworks for 3D games. The Bumper Engine is a good example.
Please keep in mind if you're submitting a test level, a prototype, or a demo of a Framework you're currently working on. That's not considered a Framework! For a submission to be accepted in the Frameworks Category it needs to have editable files in it (A .mfa file, .gmk, .unityproject, etc.)
If you're submitting a playable build of a Framework you're currently working on, please do so in the Games category.
Submissions that do not contain any sort of playable content will not be accepted in the event. Please refer to thefor more information.
- 3. Creating the Booth
Once you've picked the proper category, you'll be taken to a page where you'll be creating your Booth Page.
You'll be given two options here (and only one if you're in the Framework Category). This bit is pretty self-explanatory, select the proper Prefix according to the state of completion of your project.
The name of your game.
Example of Good Titles:
- Sonic Ball
- Sonic Ball (SAGE '21 Demo)
Example of Bad Titles:
- my first game
- SAGE 2021 game
- Sonic Ball (Download)
Add some relevant tags that can be used to locate your project. We ask you not to use joke tags and that you try to, instead, use already existing tags (if you start typing it will offer a list of suggestions).
Add a brief description of your project.
This bit is completely optional and it's not currently being used in our Showcase system (but it's a good idea to add a small description, just in case things change in the future).
Booths with no information or screenshots won't be accepted at SAGE!
Spend some time here, you can always click thebutton to see how your Booth page is looking up. Also do keep in mind, as stated in the SAGE '21 - Guidelines & Deadlines article, the pages will only go live once the event begins. Meaning you can always go back to it and edit in your own time.
We also have some very cool BBCode features that you can use to spice up your booth page (like this Notice Box)! You can check those out and also learn how to use them in this Article:
After attaching those, you can choose to insert the Full Version of the image or the Thumbnail version to your Overview. The thumbnail will create a small version of the image with a clickable link to see it's full size version.
After adding the Full Image to your Overview, if you click it you'll reveal some options you can use to fine-tune your image:
Here are the options and what each of them do:
Pro-tip: You can also use Ctrl+V or Drag and Drop files to add an attachment to your page.
The system will figure out when you upload something that's not an image and add it to the sidebar of your Booth automatically. This is how you should upload your game to SAGE!
- Optional Pages
A little further down after your attachments you'll see a few extra pages you can use for your booth. These are completely optional and only serve the purpose of making things neat.
This is a good place to add Youtube Videos, Soundcloud OSTs, Imgur Galleries, and so on (you can just post a link for it and the system will automatically convert it into an embeded video).
Whenever you update your page and/or add new content, you can post a brief description of what changed here. You can use it as a changelog.
Space dedicated for you to credit the people who worked on your project if you so wish. If they have an account on the forums you can type @(Username) here to automatically link to their profile.
And that's it!
- 4. What's next?
After you're done you will notice your page isn't approved straight away. This is because games submitted to the Sonic Amateur Games Expo will only become visible once the event starts in August 21st. However, if your project has changed or you made a mistake or maybe you would like to fine tune your Booth page some more, you can always edit your Booth even if it's not publicly visible yet.
If you want to Edit your Booth:
In order to access it, you first need to click the triangle/arrow next to SHOWCASE in the site's top menu. This will make it so a drop down list with a few available options will appear. Navigate to Your Items and click it. Here you'll see all items you've ever created in SFGHQ, whether they are approved or pending.
Click on the submission you would like to begin editing and you'll see the page of your project (this is how people will be seeing your Booth once it's approved and made visible). Click on theto open a few options you have to better organize your page:
Set Cover Image: With this you'll be able to easily change the cover image of your Booth. The cover image can't be uploaded and it requires to have been previously added to the post using the Attachment system.
Edit item: With this option you'll be able to edit your submission. This is how you'll make updates to your booth page and/or finish editing your booth if you haven't finished when you first created it.
Delete item: You'll delete your submission. If you're making a new one for the same project, we ask you to please Edit it instead.
Move item: If you added your submission to the wrong category, you can then easily change it's prefixes and/or move it to a more suitable category.
Editing your Page:
There isn't much here to be said. After clicking the Edit item button, you'll be taken to the same page you were when creating your Booth for the first time.
A couple of things to keep an eye on when editing your page:
At the very bottom of the Page, when editing it you'll get an option to mark that Edit as an Update:
This doesn't do anything with your Booth Page in particular, but it will send an Alert in the SFGHQ Forums to anyone who's watching your Submission. This is a neat way to let fans of your project know you just made an update.
These special Notice Boxes tend to break a lot when Editing your submission. Always remember to press thebutton when Editing a page to make sure nothing broke. Usually it's a very easy fix, as it for whatever reason likes to add closing tags [/NBB] to the end of paragraphs making it look like this after pressing Save:
- 5. Final Considerations and F.A.Q.
If you're done, you probably don't have to read these. But here are a few words to take into consideration when creating your booth or if you're unsure about something.
Your Booth is the first thing people will see! So take your time with it, write everything you can, make sure it reads well and provides users with proper information about your game, write it in proper English, make it official! While a lot of people will scroll through some screenshots and jump to Download, many people take their time to read every single description of a game and sometimes when they are not sure about its contents, they won't even bother downloading it. Making a good looking, organized, informative and adding screenshots will always put your game in a good light and is a very good way to make sure even the most skeptical of people will give it a chance.
Don't add useless information while we recommend you to spend time with your booth, it's also important not to fill it with information that's not useful. Plans for the future, story and what-not while always a good way to present your game and make people interested in it, won't really do much if all you've got is one 20s long stage and a title screen. Saying you're planning on adding "20 playable characters and 108 stages" is not something people will take seriously if you don't have enough to show that you're capable of doing that.
Avoid weird formatting and English mistakes, theirs
n0th1ng PrEtTy aboutt a page †ha† looks like diz. The Sonic Amateur Games Expo welcomes everyone from all across the globe, but as stated in our Guidelines, we ask that you make your Booth pages primarily in English. We don't expect non-native speakers to have a masterful understanding of the language and making a few mistakes here and there is fine! But Booths with terrible grammar and excessive use of abbreviations will be asked to be edited before going live in the event. Likewise usage of weird formatting, funky fonts, hard to read colors (or bad use of the colored text feature) and anything that makes your booth hard to read or excessively ugly will also be asked to be changed. Readability is key when creating a booth.
Add screenshots and don't forget to crop them. As stated above, your Booth should have screenshots, but you should also do more than simply pressing Print Screen and pasting it over here. There are plenty of softwares to aid you in taking screenshots as well as a lot of editing tools that allows you to crop said screenshots. It looks so much better and way more professional when we can't see your Operating System underneath or have to zoom in a 1920x1080 screenshot to check out a tiny 320x240 window. Making it full-screen doesn't count either!
Here are some of the best (and free) screenshot tools you can use:
Also here are some good free photo editing softwares you can use to crop your images and/or add elements to it such as text, overlays, highlights and so on:
If you're unsure on how to do this, or don't have access to some of the aforementioned tools and is using Microsoft Windows, at the very least make use of Alt+PrintScreen. This will automatically take a screenshot of whatever window is currently active.
Adding links to a project's Discord, personal website, Twitter, etc. is allowed as long as it's safe for work, clear of any malicious links/ads/software and has to do with the game or the people involved in it. Adding a link to your Dungeons and Dragons Discord Server to your Fan Game's booth, as cool as the server might be, doesn't make much sense.
Alternative download links are allowed as long as the game itself is also uploaded using the Attachment System. When doing so, make sure you don't add links to websites that require registration, surveys, constains NSFW ads or link to one of those Link Shorteners that give you money. Likewise, fan-games with itch.io pages asking for donations will be discarded and even removed from the event (for indie games that's fine!)
Submissions without playable content will be discarded after the deadline, make sure to have something downloadable there by the deadline, even if it's incomplete. You can always come back afterwards and add a new and more recent build in the upcoming days (even during the event).
Submissions will remain as "pending approval" until the event begins! Every year we get the question "why hasn't my submission been accepted yet?" and as stated in the Guidelines & Deadlines, we'll only approve items once the event has started! If there's anything wrong with your submission we will contact you!
If you would like to check out our fake Booth, you can do so via this link:
- 6. Great Booths to Get Inspiration From
Here are some of our favorite booths currently available on the website. These go the extra mile and add a bunch of screenshots, lots of informative text and great presentation overall.