July 13, 2003
Flasholympics Anyone?

I have this idea which I want to tell you about. The more I think about it, the more ideas I get, but unfortunately the whole project is probably too big to become reality. I'm talking about the Flasholympics, the World Cup of Flash.

Flash has become a worldwide topic. I dare to say that whereever there are computers in the world there are people who are working with Flash and some of them are really good at that. Flash is very versatile so there are also different disciplines people can be specialized in: animation, art, typography, programming, games, experiments, applications, video, visualization etc. Furthermore because Flash is so flexible and complex all over the world there are lots of communities in different languages that communicate about it, exchange knowledge, help each other or show off. Unfortunately due to langugage barriers some of this information only stays within these local groups, or it's unidirectional: from English to French or Russian or Japanese, but seldom the other way. That's a pity and to some it may transport the false image that great achievements in Flash are only made in the English speaking part of the internet.

Sometimes though you do have the chance to get exposed to ideas and solutions that were created in other parts of the word. And that is in competitions and festivals. For example a few days ago the winners of the Flashforward Film Festival 2003 were announced. You can see entries from Korea, Poland, Italy, Hungary, USA, Germany and probably some other countries that are hidden behind a ".com" suffix.

Wouldn't it be nice to have a platform that allows us to showcase the diverstity and the things we have in common throughout the international Flash community? A place where the most talented Flashers of the world can compete? The Olympics of Flash?

I really imagine a competition similar to sports: it's not about submitting things that were done for a client or were lying in a folder for month. No - I see several challenges in various disciplines where individuals and teams from different nations compete for the medals. Different disciplines also means that not one person does everything. Like in the Olympics only the best of their countries take part in the area that they are specialized in. This means that there have to be preliminary decisions organized in the participating countries. This is something where I see the local boards and forums as a National Flasholympic Committee (NFC). The disciplines will reflect the versatility of Flash: speed, beauty, efficiency, size, accessibility, intelligence, teamwork, just to name a few.

Some disciplines that I could imagine are:

  • Speed: solve a given problem in the shortest possible time
  • Efficiency: solve a given problem and achieve the highest framerate
  • Size: optimize a movie so it has the smallest footprint
  • Size: create a movie from scratch limited to a maximum filesize. A jury decides which one's the best, based on criteria like complexity, beauty or usefulness.
  • Beauty: in a limited time create a movie with given elements. A jury will decide who's movie is the most beautiful
  • Teamwork: like in a relay race starting with a set of elements a movie gets passed from one team member to another who works on it for a given time. The most beautiful wins.
  • Accessibility: a Paralympic competition. A given application has to be made as accessible as possible.
  • Intelligence: the competitors have to create an AI game engine for a given problem that have to fight against each other.

I guess you see the possibilities. Unfortunately ideas are worthless without the execution. And this project would take lots of organization and time. Definitely something I'm not able to do alone. Comments are more than welcome.

Posted at July 13, 2003 01:48 PM | Further reading

interesting idea mario... kinda like www.topcoder.com, right? there are closely-related ideas--even though yours is on a grander scale [more topcoper-like ;)], and i suppose would need a lot more corp support--flowing on branden hall's website and on studiowhiz

i'm all for it. maybe we could all start pushing for it... a brother could earn a quick buck while learning and having fun

Posted by: eokyere on July 13, 2003 03:44 PM

My goodness, I didn't know that site. Wow, that looks pretty advanced. It would probably take a long time to achieve a standard like this.

Posted by: Mario Klingemann on July 13, 2003 03:50 PM

yeah, i log in there every once in a while--it's been a long time since it's been a while though ;)--just to browse through ppl's solutions and see what i can learn as well as take a crack at some of the practice rooms. i have learnt a great deal (of java coding) from the site and i'm sure we could have a similar thing with actionscript as it's getting bigger and bigger

Posted by: eokyere on July 13, 2003 04:53 PM

It's a very creative idea. I'm personally a suporter or evrything related to contests, festivals, etc cz they really help us grow the idea of community and open room for new talents. But I'd like to add the following question to this discussion: is the concept of Olimpycs a suitable one to a time where more and more we want to stress the idea of global comunities, international markets, hirers, contractors, etc?
Those of you who are interested in History know that the birth of modern (I said modern!) Olympics traces back to a period where there was a strong need to reinforce the concepts of Nation and State.
So I wonder: would the model of the Olympics, which is nation-based, be the best one to help shape a new world (the Internet) that was concieved to be without frontiers?

Posted by: Joao Araujo on July 13, 2003 08:45 PM

It's not exactly the Olympics but there is an interestingly similar compitition going on next year. Although I don't think it's at a worldwide scale...check it out www.flashevolution2004.com

Posted by: jeremy on July 13, 2003 11:51 PM

Thanks for that link Jeremy. That seems to get very close to the idea. I'm very exited to see what they will be doing.

Posted by: Mario Klingemann on July 14, 2003 12:24 AM

From what I read on that site, it seems like everything is almost ready for the competition, with sponsors and everything. I like the idea of teamwork competition, although 'flashevolution' is not necessarily considering national teams.

Posted by: Oscar Trelles on July 14, 2003 03:07 AM

Interesting idea! Sort of an iron chef in flash--I think they did something like that at flashinthecan.

What do you think of putting random teams together? Participants would list their strengths and weaknesses, and teams would be put together that ballanced the talents of each member. Maybe have at least one common language within a team?

Posted by: Kristin Henry on July 14, 2003 06:45 AM

I don't cling to that idea of nations. What counts is the competition. And I like the idea of teams. So perhaps it would be an idea that teams of 3 or 4 people can take part where ideally their talents supplement each other. Just like in a RPG where you have warriors, wizards, thieves and elves in one group.

Posted by: Mario Klingemann on July 14, 2003 10:37 AM

Speaking of Iron Chef in flash
http://www.ironflash.com/ ;)

It's yearly competition run at the Canadian Flash Festival, FlashintheCan (http://www.flashinthecan.com)

This year was its second running.

Sounds like alot of people are thinking what you are thinking, maybe if we can get something going on a larger scale.

Posted by: Ryan on July 14, 2003 08:41 PM

hey mario,

nice idea. i think an international competition like that would be very interesting.
haha, but not for me to compete, rather for watching the "flash gladiators" :)

Posted by: Marcel on July 15, 2003 12:13 AM
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