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Questionable HackJam #1 - Rules & Discussion

Hello and welcome to this definitely normal H̸̞̾a̵̛̲ç̴̕k̷̗̍Jam!

The first HackJam was such a hit and so is QLDC that we have decided to mash them together for the first HackJam reprisal here on SMW Central (but don't worry, if you have been eagle-eyed about the Calendar you know normal HackJam is coming later in the year).

I know no one actually reads the rules but there's a lot to digest about this event in terms of guidelines so do read the things below. :)

Team Guidelines

This is a team event. You will group up with other community members to work together on an submission. Each team is required to make a thread for their project in the contest subforum, you can do this either ahead of time to announce your project or when you submit. The thread for your team's project can also be used to communicate with your teammates or solicit feedback from other community members.

Rules to Adhere To

In these group contests we have some additional rules all teams have to follow:

  • Each team must be a group of 2 to 5 people but no more than five (5) people can be on a team, nor can you participate by yourself.
  • Anyone that contributes materially* to a team's entry is considered a team member. This does not apply to publicly available resources used in your team's entry (see Submission Rules for crediting guidelines).
  • Giving feedback or testing entries does not make someone a team member, so there are no limitations there. You can even test for other teams.
  • You cannot be a member of more than one team. You can provide help to others however.
  • Banned users cannot participate in this contest. If we find out that a banned user participated with a team and that information was withheld, the entire team may be punished accordingly.
  • Off-site people can join a team, but their identity must be easily verifiable, and they must follow all of the above rules. At least one team member has to have a reasonably old site account to submit the team's entry.
  • You cannot make a project thread unless you have a team. Solo threads will be closed and repeat offenders will be disqualified from the contest.

Any entry or team that does not comply with the above rules will be disqualified.

*a material contribution means that that person has either ported music, created graphics, ASM or any other private-use resource for the hack, or designed aspects of the game such as levels, titlescreen, overworld, etc. during the contest period. Using a pre-existing resource (public or otherwise) does not make that person a team member.

Team Building Guidelines

There is no separate team-building period during this HackJam, instead it's been factored into the overall schedule. If you don't have a team already, you can go about forming into teams in the Team-building Thread. Some folks will have grouped up in anticipation of this event but if you haven't yet, here's some guidelines to help you out:

  • Try to have good synergy with others. If you're good on level design and graphics but need help with music, look for a music partner!
  • Don't be too picky when building a team. This isn't a ranked contest, so use this as a chance to connect with other users!
  • Make sure your teammates or those interested can easily connect with you! This is supposed to be a cooperative event, so make sure you all have a place to chat and share resources.
  • You only need a minimum of two people on a team to submit your entry. Don't spend the whole event looking for partners!
  • No one is required to join your team. If someone says they're not interested, respect that choice! If you harass other users to join your team, you may receive a punishment as per site rules regarding harassment.

What to Do if Someone Drop Outs

If a member of your team has to drop out due to real life obligations, this is understandable thing that happens in group settings and teams should not pressure said member into staying if they are no longer able to participate. In the event this happens, that person is still considered a member of the team and cannot be replaced unless all their contributions are removed from the team's entry.

Resource Sharing Guidelines

HackJams are community events, so even if you aren't on a team, you can still contribute by sharing any resources you've made in the resource sharing thread for others to use. If you're sharing over there try to:

  • Show samples of your work and provide a brief description. Also provide any documentation if you're sharing a complicated resource.
  • Make sure that the resources you're linking to are actually publicly available!

Things you show off don't need to be submitted to the resource sections but it is recommended that they follow our guidelines and standards so people can easily make use of them.

Entry Guidelines

Basic Rules

These are your usual limitations and prohibitions on entries you all know:

  • No more than one (1) entry per team.
  • Original levels only, no submissions of pre-existing levels. Submissions must be made within the time frame of the contest.
  • Only submissions that are Standard, at any level of any difficulty, are allowed. Do not deliberately make Kaizo as it is not suited to the contest.
  • No Game Overs permitted. Include infinite lives or some form of life farm.
  • Anonymity is not required. You can say who made what in your team's submission, joke names or pseudonyms are still allowed if desired. However, judges must remain spoiler-free as to what is in your submission.
  • No deliberate softlocks, hardlocks or crashes. Entries that do so unintentionally due to technical problems will be potentially disqualified depending when it occurs.
  • The use of MSU-1 is not permitted for including unoriginal, copyrighted music or video.. You may use MSU-1 for external level data and ASM, as long as your entry & its additional resources are below 10mb. No .pcms!

General Guidelines

  • Anything Goes! And I mean anything. If you're familiar with what gets submitted to QLDC, you can even stretch the concept of a level itself.
  • There is no limit to the number of levels in your team's entry, nor a limit to exits or screens. That said, we do expect that these mini-hacks to still be reasonably beatable by the judges and other players in no more than a couple hours.
  • Unlike the LDCs, all aspects of your team's entry will be judged, not just the levels. So everything in your entry should be changed from the original game: music, the overworld, titlescreen, etc.

Questionable Tips

If you're new and unaware of what it means to make "questionable" levels, here's some potentially helpful pointers to keep in mind while making your level, what might make it a good fit (or not) for this contest, and what might contribute to it doing well (or poorly).

The Good
  • Funny moments, humour or a silly tone go a long way
  • As a chocolate contest adding onto the vanilla game is encouraged.
  • Break convention! Save normal ideas for the other contests.
  • Make use of the unintended behaviour of things.

The Bad
  • Don't make the hardest thing you can imagine, QLDC is about the experience not the challenge
  • Deliberately unfun sections won't win you any favours with the judges.
  • Making fake "low-effort" levels runs the risk as being interpreted as actually low-effort.
  • Don't paste a mess of Map16 tiles in your level or make unintuitive edits to tiles.
  • Troll levels are not advisable.

The Ugly
  • :D

These pointers are just some loose guidelines and not rules. Questionable events will always be about unorthodox or silly design, so thinking outside the box is encouraged above all else. Also, levels don't have to be extremely high production to do well or get recognition so have a bit of fun. :)

Submission Guidelines

This thread is not a submissions thread. When it comes time to submit, your team will present your submission in a thread in the HackJam subforum. Be sure to tag the thread with the "Completed" to signal a complete submission. We also recommend that your team place your submission in the original post of the thread to make it easily findable.

Submission Requirements

Some basic requirements of all entries:

  • Your team must submit a single .bps patch of your entire entry. Submitting anything else will disqualify your team, and submitting a ROM file is bad news.
  • Your team must include an authors list that identifies your team members, either in the original post of the submission thread or as an included text file.
  • Your team's submission must also detail what each team member contributed in your submission in this same Authors list.
  • If any external resources were used they must be credited and listed in a Credits file. This includes any off-site but publicly available resources, including BaseROMs.
  • Your team's entry must be present and visible somewhere in the submission thread, if we can't find it than your team will be disqualified.

There is no penalty for mistakes in the credits files or unintentional omissions.


The following will result in a swift disqualification if not followed:

  • Submitting a patch file that is somehow corrupt, locked or broken. (This happens often so be sure to check your patch's integrity by reapplying it).
  • Submitting something incompatible with a current, stable version of bsnes (v115) or Snes9x (v1.61).
  • Submitting an .ips instead of a .bps patch.
  • Submitting an .smc file or any other form of rom file. This will result in not only a disqualification, but file deletion and a site warning!
  • Including anything in your submission that breaks the site rules or guidelines.

Judging & Prizes

Once again I have assembled arguably too many people to judge your questionable hacks but go big or go home, amiright? Our judge team for this event are:

Most of them are QLDC veterans but we have some new faces in  BeeKaay and  Shoujo to round out our team. Some of our judges have said they will broadcast or record their playthroughs of the entries so you can look forward to that as well.


A reminder about how judging works in HackJam: entries will not be scored; the judges will review each level qualitatively and they will come to a consensus on the top entries, alongside the additional distinction awards of the event. However, just as in HackJam #1 you (all you lovely users) will get to to pick your favourites during a "User Voting" round and decide some extra special awards (which will be revealed later).


Questionable HackJam #1 submissions must be in sometime on or before Friday, February 16, which means you have about:

Discussion & Questions

You can use this thread to ask any questions or start a discussion about the event or use the appropriate #q-hackjam channels in the Discord.
First. (And oh no!)

Now if I got the chance to take a part of this contest...
The Hacking of PuyoPuyo. Come join the fun, friends. 『いけいけ団長、頑張れ頑張れ団長!』
Help us raise funds for the Armed Forces of Ukraine. #ДопомагаємоРазом / #HelpTogether
“Even if you personally are so dissatisfied with life that you want the world to end, surely the cruel reality is that it will continue on, unchanging. All the better for someone perfectly content, like me.”
Aya Shameimaru, Touhou Suzunaan ~ Forbidden Scrollery
Does the no banned users rule extend into those banned from the discord?
Originally posted by DanMario24YT
Does the no banned users rule extend into those banned from the discord?

No, if a user is banned from the community/site entirely they are disallowed from being a part of a team event. The rule is there to let people know we won't accept site-banned users as part of a team if users in good standing try to include them regardless.
What is the link to register?
Originally posted by MrInfinite
What is the link to register?

There's no "link", just an optional team building sticky in this very forum. Or just message (non-banned) people you think are fit for your team.
Don't forget to create a thread as soon as everything's set.
Will be waiting on Daizo's next crazy idea thanks to this event. #tb{^V^}
Well, his QLDC level was basically a small hack (or at least a demo of such a hack) anyway, it's very fitting for Q-Jam anyway.
Originally posted by AmperSam
If any external resources were used they must be credited and listed in a Credits file. This includes any off-site but publicly available resources, including BaseROMs.

Do we have to include a credits file for SMWC resources if the hack itself contains normal credits that would be suitable for a typical hack submission?
ICYMI, the deadline for the HackJam has been extended to 16th of February.
Originally posted by NewPointless
Do we have to include a credits file for SMWC resources if the hack itself contains normal credits that would be suitable for a typical hack submission?

Like the hacks section, one or the other is suitable, or a mix. i.e. if you want in-game credits to be more concise.
For those looking for the entries as sent to the judges (and who can't download 9 different hacks themselves #smrpg{:D}) here's the link: