Hey, sorry for the late posting, it totally slipped our minds until the contest submission deadline had already passed. However, submissions are still being accepted for the non-judged Expo portion, so get in there!
Please note that these rules can be changed, added to, or removed from at any time. In such event,
the contest staff will notify you through this thread and send a global announcement using any form
of Social Media we have at our disposal. We recommend checking back often to ensure nothing has
Everything described in this section applies to both the Contest and the Expo unless otherwise specified.
1. Your entry must be based on an existing ROM or game tied to the
Sonic The Hedgehog franchise. Homebrew submissions are not accepted.
❌ Hack of Super Mario 64 converting it into a Sonic game.
❌ Custom game engine with imported Sonic game assets.
✅ Hack of a Sonic game turning it into a non-Sonic game.
✅ Hack of a Sonic game introducing new features/content to the game.
Tech demos of console to PC/console conversions are acceptable if based on an existing
ROM and/or disassembly.
2. Joke/Meme entries are not allowed in the Contest. Public evaluations clearly shown people
did not like the abundance of them in previous contests. Once again we will not be allowing them.
They will however be allowed in the Expo provided Quality Control Criteria are met.
3. All entries must be playable and cannot prevent judges from playing them if they have been
uploaded. Judges have the right to look at your incomplete work if you have submitted it. However,
judges will not allocate trophies based on any incomplete builds, only the last build submitted
for the completed entry.
1. Each entry by a participant may only be submitted to either the Contest or Expo - you
cannot have the same entry in both categories. That said, nothing stops you from submitting
entries to the contest and entries to the expo.
❌ “Sonic Hack R” in Contest AND Expo.
✅ “Sonic Hack R” in Contest.
✅ “Sonic Hack R” in Expo.
✅ “Sonic Hack R” in Contest, “Sonic Hack Z” in Expo.
2. You must include media such as screenshots, videos (YouTube links are fine) and/or music
(MP3, OGG, and VGM preferred). The staff will not waste time making these for you.
3. All submissions must be completed through the online site.
E-mailed or direct-messaged entries will not be accepted.
4. You must inform what has been changed or explicitly what has not. This can be zone and act
breakdowns to a full change log, if need be. We need to ensure stock vanilla levels and completely
untouched gameplay is not being judged and/or played by the general public. Submissions can
inform of other information such as cheat codes, easter eggs, and other worthwhile information
that would benefit your entry when being looked at and judged.
Copyright & Intellectual Property
1. All work used from external sources/contributors (sprites, VGM conversions, etc)
must be credited. Hacks found with stolen and / or uncredited content will not be tolerated.
If anyone suspects an entry to have stolen and / or uncredited content either flag the entry or
contact staff immediately.
2. If you have used asset collections such as music packs from the Internet, please be wary that
they are known to contain content illegitimately ripped from other hacks. Please always double
check your original sources.
The general course of action for stolen content is that the participant will have all of their entries
removed from the Sonic Hacking Contest.
What Not To Do
1. Save the drama. The contest is not an appropriate place to air your
grievances with individuals or communities.
2. Obscure jokes/memes that most people will not understand. If the entry focuses
on inside jokes with no appeal to anyone other than those in the know, the Contest or Expo
is not a valid place for it to be shown.
3. NSFW content accessed through normal means. Easter eggs are okay, provided
accessible without prior knowledge of existence. Adding the method of access through
your entry description, will be considered as “accessed through normal means”.
4. Submit joke entries with sole purpose of just gaming the rules/exploit any loopholes.
Action may or may not be taken depending on the severity if you infringe on any of the above.
In the worst possible case the participant may have their entry removed, possibly along with
any other entries they have submitted.
1. No private entries. If you want to submit to the Contest your entry must be made
available completely to the Public.
2. Offensive content without good context is frowned upon and should be
avoided to prevent issues.
3. Give a thought about your target audience. Make sure your entry is not
over-complicated to run or unnecessarily bloated. If a mod can be 200MB and easily
installed with a mod loader, we don't want to see a 2GB submission that achieves
the same thing requiring total file replacement.
4. All entries are viewed equal regardless of who submits them.
Do not be put off with people well known in the community potentially submitting
that could win trophies - people do not win trophies because of who they are in this
community, people win because their entry deserved to win.
In the Sonic Hacking Contest we take quality control very seriously,
but try to be inclusive enough to potential contest participants by not setting the
bar too high.
For Contest entries, the quality control is very strict, while for the Expo
entries we are a bit more lenient. As a general rule of thumb, we use the
following measurements to decide whether an entry is of sufficient quality
for the Contest.
Retro & 2D PC Entries
Pick at least 3 of the following
A. Palette changes, physics changes and other various minor modifications.
B. Art changes, layout changes and/or mapping changes.
C. Engine, sound driver and/or special stage functionality changes.
D. Music and sound effect modifications.
Modification(s) that change features in the playable game itself.
❌ Simple texture only hacks.
❌ Simple object layout modifications.
❌ Model swaps of existing game models. (UNLESS process is technical)
✅ Collection of custom models, assets, objects.
✅ Custom levels and/or playable stages of acceptable quality.
✅ Custom game logic/code written in assembly or existing game logic hooked
using arbitrary programming language (C/C++/C#/D etc.)
Alternatively if your entry meets any of the following criteria
(regardless of entry type), it is sufficient to enter the Contest.
Pick at least 1 of the following
A. Complete change to the rules of a Sonic game.
Example(s): Sonic Bash v2, Boss Rush Hacks, Knuckles Emerald Hunt.
B. Overhaul into a whole new game.
Example(s): Sonic Scorched Quest, Sonic Virtual Adventure.
C. Technical feat.
Example(s): MarkeyJester's Mode 7 Mega Drive experiments,
Lantern Engine, Sonic 4 in 1, etc.
Can’t meet the criteria? Take some time, look at what you are
missing or need to work on and come back in next year with an even
better hack than your current one.
Unsure if your entry meets the standards? Ask a judge or a
member of the Hacking Contest staff. If it happens to be the case
you already have submitted your entry, do not be concerned - we
will tell you if we believe the entry does meet the given standards.
CONTEST UPDATES DEADLINE: Sunday 10th November
CONTEST WEEK FROM: Monday 2nd to Sunday 8th December
The Contest Week has been put back due to Thanksgiving, but also
allows extra time for judging and quality control.
Please see this link regarding submitting for this year's trailer.
Ready, Set, Procrastinate!!