Event E2/Proposal Raelshark

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Pirate Skins
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A competition where participants will create a user-friendly skin (or "theme") for a computer application that best expresses the Puzzle Pirates experience

Player Profile Timeline
Audience Everyone, but mostly artistic and technically creative players Elapsed time 3-4 weeks
Unit of Entry Entries from individuals but with multiple entries and collaboration allowed Participant Time Several days of work
Expected Participation Unlimited Judging Time Several days
Platform Forum, possibly with some Wiki usage for feedback and testing of skins


Event Description

Participants will create a functional and aesthetically-pleasing Puzzle Pirates skin for a popular Windows-based application ("app"). The winning entry or entries will become the "official" skins of Y!PP for the applications they are made for. More information on skins is available on Wikipedia. As an example, here is the official World of Warcraft theme for Windows Media Player.

Apps must be selected from a list of eligible programs, although players can request that an app they'd like to use be added to the list. Any requested apps will be reviewed for ease of use and ability to judge.

Example apps that may be allowed
  • Winamp (classic or modern skins)
  • Windows Media Player
  • Various instant messengers
  • Firefox
  • Windowblinds

Eligible apps must run in a Windows XP environment for judging purposes. The entries will consist of a zip file containing any files necessary to install the skin (with instructions if needed) and one or more screenshots of the skin. These will be submitted via email (with attachments or links to the entry files). The participants might be required to post their screenshot(s) on the forum to correspond with their email entry.

Original graphics will be encouraged, though in-game elements could also be used to re-create the Y!PP environment.

Since judging will be based on creativity and not technical proficiency, in order to encourage participation, links to existing tutorials will be included with the event announcement. Technical support will be available to participants as they create their skins, and they can submit their entry for early testing of functionality. Only the last version of a particular entry submitted will be considered.

At the end of the competition all entries will be independently hosted and posted to the main forum so others can install them.


Judging will be done by myself, members of my crew and flag, and possibly others. Judges should have a good aesthetic sense and some technical knowledge or experience using a variety of apps. Judging participation may involve installing the eligible apps (at least temporarily). Judges will install the themes and use them thoroughly to explore all the functionality.

The entries should serve the purpose of promoting and communicating the Puzzle Pirates experience, and providing enjoyment for existing players outside the game.

Specifically, entries will be judged on:

  1. creativity/style - effective use of graphics, colors and layout
  2. usability - entry must be easy to use, with distinctive buttons and text where needed. Interactions must be intuitive and not hindered by the look and feel. Judges should want to actually use the theme in daily use of the app.
  3. Puzzle-Pirateyness - relation to the theme of Puzzle Pirates

Comparing themes based in different apps could be a challenge in judging. Judging will not be based on complexity or difficulty of implementation. In other words, a simple but creative Winamp skin could win over a complex but un-inspired or difficult-to-use Windowblinds theme, although the latter would probably be more difficult to create.

Thoroughness is also important - themes should not be half-finished, nor should they just be merely layered on top of another theme (although other skins can be used as a starting point, the final theme should be sufficiently different from the original). Judges will explore the interface thoroughly to ensure the theme is fully implemented.


Preferably a familiar for the winner, possibly with trinkets for runners-up. Trinket(s) alone would also be fine for the winner. If none of these are available, poe will be available for prizes.

Help Required

Volunteer Assistance

Several judges will be needed

OM Assistance

None besides stickying thread(s)

Workshop Coaching

The barrier to entry might be somewhat high for this competition – it requires at least some minor technical know-how or ability to learn it. However, simple entries should not be too difficult, and complexity or technical skill level of the entry will not be a direct factor in the judging. As mentioned above, tutorials and technical assistance. The intention is to have as many people enter as possible, and not have the technology be a challenge.

Here are some sample tutorials to get a sense of the level of difficulty involved:

For most applications, skinning involves simply editing graphics files in any graphics editor, such as MS Paint.


Previous Similar Events

This is somewhat similar to the recent Y!PP icon event and previous wallpaper event, but is mostly completely original. I am not even aware of any Y!PP skins being made for other applications.


I've personally run a couple of events, and my crew and flag have an extensive number of mates who have both run complex events and have the necessary creative ability and appreciation to judge the event. I also have extensive technical knowledge, an artistic background and experience in creating skins for various apps myself. My own plans to do Y!PP themes and skins led me to this event idea.