2008_04_17_thumb.jpg [Our sister programming mag/website Dr Dobb's Journal has been running the Dr. Dobb's Challenge game competition in association with Microsoft Visual Studio, with $10,000 in prizes. There was an initial $1,000 'First Month Challenge' prize for modding the downloadable Windows game - and here's contest organizer Mathew Kumar outlining the best entries and the 'First Month' winner - all worth checking out for game mod fun, and to see if you can do better for the final June deadline.]

It would be an absolute understatement to say we've been blown away by the quality of the entrants to the Dobbs First Month Challenge. We thought that even with $1,000 on the line to the best entrant with a mere month to develop a serviceable work-in progress it was just going to be too much work.

We were, happily, proven wrong and there's a strong crop of hobbyist games now available up on the Dobbs Challenge Critic's Choice download section for you to check out -- including a one button fighting game from Alexkr; Badly Drawn Robots, which can be best described as "Robotron Meets Castle Wolfenstein Meets Dr. Dobbs" and Dobbs Derby, possibly the most ambitious total conversion we've seen yet, which turns Dr Dobbs Challenge into a racing game!

We've selected five mods from a rich selection to spotlight here -- four runners-up and the $1,000 winner. If your entry wasn't selected, please don't  think that we've lost, missed or ignored it!

Runners Up

Alexkr's Mod


AlexKr has created a mod which works as a sort of one-button sumo - hold down the enter key to run towards your opponent and mash it to attack! [details]

Rodhyde's Mod


RodHyde has created a fast paced shooter with Badly Drawn Robots. The room layout reminds us of the classic adventure game Castle Wolfenstein, even if the gameplay is most similar to Robotron. [details]

Ethanpack's Mod


Ethanpack's Debugging With Dobbs uses the graphics provided with Dr. Dobbs Challenge to good effect, creating a single screen platform shooter (almost a "run and gun") with Dr. Dobbs firing bugs at the Defy All Challenges enemies that swarm the screen! [details]

Lanza's Mod


Lanza's mod, called Modpower, is one of the most technically remarkable, as it contains scrolling levels, something that the original engine was not set up to do -- making the title to the original Dr Dobbs Challenge what Super Mario Bros. was to the original Mario Bros. [details]

$1,000 Winner

Punkle's Mod


Punkle's Dobbs Derby is a total conversion of Dr. Dobbs Challenge, turning the game into a one button slot car racer. [details]

Our judges were impressed by the amount of work that must have gone into the mod after such a short period of time, as it features a completely different game design from the original Dr. Dobbs Challenge game, with new graphics (including a simple particle system), but were most instantly impressed by how fun and playable the game's one button controls were even in the game's incomplete state.

 If you entered but didn't win, please don't lose heart. As we've already stated, the judges were very impressed with the majority of the entries, and found it very hard to choose a winner. With a $9,000 prize pool still on offer, it'd be foolish to give up now!

If you haven't even begun developing your mod, there's plenty of time yet too.  The deadline for The Dobbs Challenge is June 13th, 2008, and you still stand a chance to win: Best Windows Game ($4,000), Best Windows Mobile Game ($2,000) Best One Button Game ($1,000), Best Game Starring Dr Dobbs And The Defy All Challenges Crew ($1,000) and Best Total Conversion ($1,000).