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Mac Contest Roundup 53

Posted by pudge
from the themes-and-games-and-cookies-oh-my dept.
MacThemes.net writes "MacThemes.net has had over 45 artists submit entries to our Theme Mockup Contest, of which the top six will be created into actual themes by established themers. Prizes of over a thousand dollars of software and cash will be awarded. Until this Sunday, readers and visitors are asked to visit our entries archive and vote for the submissions. Winners are expected to be announced Monday, April 5th." blobbo writes "iDevGames announces the opening of '21 Days Later', a programming mini-contest that is designed to motivate and educate Mac game developers. It is open to developers from around the globe, and the source code from all entries will be released as open source."
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Mac Contest Roundup

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  • by daviddennis (10926) <david@amazing.com> on Friday April 02, 2004 @03:28PM (#8749138) Homepage
    but the main thing I brought back from this is how great the original is.

    I looked at every theme, and there seem to be three tendancies:

    One is to make it bright, gaudy and hard on the eyes;

    The other is to make it so dark it's hard on the eyes. Some of these look very nice, but I wouldn't want to risk my continued vision on them.

    And the last set simply makes them as much as possible like things that already exist, which shows a fatal lack of imagination.

    It's obviously a lot harder to invent a good visual look than one might think, but for the time being, I'm sticking with what Steve provided me with, with a newer, renewed respect for how hard his designers' jobs are. I even have a little sympathy for his allegedly fascist desire to prohibit the development of themes for MacOS X entirely.

    D
    • Mod parent up (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Hackie_Chan (678203) on Friday April 02, 2004 @03:32PM (#8749171)
      Every single time I've used theme changers for my Mac, which has been a lot of times (more than ten) it always end with that I turn it back in to Aqua. Why? It's the most eye pleasing theme there is. The same thing now applies to Panther from Jaguar -- I can't believe that I actually used a system where the stripes were so rough before! Apple really knows what it's doing.
      • Re:Mod parent up (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Why? It's the most eye pleasing theme there is.

        You know, the real reason why you always switch back is because that's the original, plain and simple. Not because it's necessarily better or worse, but because it's the default. That sounds too simplistic but it is always true. It's why most XP users switch back to the classic theme. I've heard countless XP users say 'I love the new round look', only to find out that they've switched back after a few days, weeks, or months.

        Whatever changes Apple makes in th
    • You're completely right:

      I use Unsanity Software's Shapeshifter [unsanity.com] theme changer.

      Can you guess what my two favourite themes are? "Aqua Extreme [maxthemes.com]" and "Smooth Stripes [maxthemes.com]." They're basically just Aqua with slight tweaks, such as removing the pinstripes, adding sunken buttons instead of raised buttons, and getting rid of the streaks in brushed metal, etc.

      I've found that every single theme I've tried that strays too far from Aqua ends up being a total disaster.
    • Usability (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 03, 2004 @01:06AM (#8753716)
      The problem is that most people who consider themselfes great skinners have absolutely no idea about usability or have the basic skills of design. Look at all the skins for Winamp, Mozilla/Firefox/TB, Windows or what ever. 99% is crap. Most of those people consider releasing a skin every week something great. Sometimes the authors have something like 30 different skins released. WTF? Do they eat their own dogfood? I do not think so.

      Look at Tunderbird and Firefox for Windows. The main theme is PLAIN UGLY, who came up with that Quake activity indicator? You are trying to reach professional users or kids? If I had a boss (and Windows) he propably would ask WTF I a wasting my time on with kids software or something.

      Now have a look at those examples:
      [kmgerich.com]

      Pinstripe for TB [kmgerich.com]

      Does it look good? It does. Does it look professional? Yes. Does it have little skulls bouncing around? No!

      I do not have anything against skinning functionality in applications, I have something against people running the skin archives coz they have no clue about the basic standards of Usability and taste. They should tell those people with 30 submitted skins to fcuk off and get a life.
    • A lot of them remind me of Kalidescope themes as far back as System 7. A couple are cool but thats all.
  • by hbmartin (579860) on Friday April 02, 2004 @03:56PM (#8749429)
    The OS X icon needs to be changed. It's already two years behind. Not that I'm complaining or anything.
  • by baryon351 (626717) on Friday April 02, 2004 @03:58PM (#8749459)
    I'm amazed at the complete lack of subtlety in any of these themes (ok, except for one of them [artofadambetts.com] which looks OK.

    Does anyone here use the really black black themes? I find them a pain switching from a black desktop to a suddenly white browser window for example.

    And some of the gaudy ones... just want to make my powerbook burst into flame [danamania.com]
    • I think the following themes had potential: Simple Grey, NickelCobalt, Cold Chrome. The rest I didn't think were so hot, and I agree the black themes are to dark. I personally would prefer a nice light to medium gray theme if I used one, I tend to stick with Apple's default UI but in the graphite colors.

      • I'm really simple. I'd love to see Apple's Platinum look make a return, with concessions to the layout of OSX. There's a platinum theme in existence that goes a good way towards that goal, but it's not quite 100%... and doesn't fully work on panther anyway.

        I know it's probably one for those of us who sharpened our teeth on classic macos, so there's probably very little demand for it.
    • by arson1 (527855)
      I was just about to post the same thing. Out of every 100 themes there seems to be one decent one. You'd figure in the Mac world there would be some creative people jumping all over this.
      • by Johnathon_Dough (719310) on Friday April 02, 2004 @10:07PM (#8752773)
        hmmm. I always figured in the linux world there would be more inspired software coming out, but it seems that only 1 out of 100 is usefull.

        Just because someone uses a Mac does not mean they actually have any graphical talent. Just like someone who has managed to set up LInux(i have) can then bust out a decent script and or full fledged application(I DEFINTELY can not).

        I've worked for 10 years on a mac as a photo-retoucher. And weep whenever it is time to start looking at resume/portfolios for a new hire.

        Many many many {repeat x10} people out there, Mac and Windows think they are artisticly inclined with photoshop. [cough] bull$hit [cough cough]. Look at Fark's photoshop contests, or if you are feeling particularly masochistic, follow this link... [syddware.com] This typical of people who say they are "photo-retouchers".

        For the other side...check out Saddington Baynes [sb-showcase.com].(not where I work, don't want to be accused of plugging...)

        • No shit. Just because someone can use a bunch of filters and come up with something that might be nifty, doesn't mean they know jack shit about the software. I'm a photoshop novice, and am not afraid to admit it. I have no desire to go beyond the plugin stage (Kai's Power Tools, mainly, to generate procedural textures, which I then modify for use in 3D modelling/tile generation). I also do not claim to be some sort of uber-guru, which I suppose is better than 99% of the so-called "hacks" I see running a
    • by Anonymous Coward

      And some of the gaudy ones... just want to make my powerbook burst into flame. [danamania.com]

      How much you wanna bet that powerbook still boots?

    • haha nice fake on the powerbook fire.. the other photoshop work on the site (gallery here) [danamania.com] is pretty good, some funny ones.

      But you know you're going to spread FUD with this..

      Oh well.

      The Milk theme is one of the only ones that don't make my old monitor look fuzzy under OS X. Some other good themes, not in this contest, can be found here. ResExcellence [resexcellence.com]
  • by mzs (595629) on Friday April 02, 2004 @04:52PM (#8750129)
    I heard about uDevGames2003 a long while ago. After the contest the source code and binaries of all of the games was supposed to have been made availble. I just took a look and I cannot find it anywhere on the idevgames site. The closest I could get was this press realease [idevgames.com]. The Downloads [idevgames.com] page is essentially empty save for the 21days readme file. Am I just looking in the wrong place? Probably I should use the Contacts page and get a hold of someone there, but maybe another slashdot reader knows so that I do not look stupid twice. I do remember that the idevgames web site 'looked' a whole lot different last year, so it seems someone is maintaining and updating it.
  • GUI Olympics (Score:4, Informative)

    by lotsofno (733224) on Friday April 02, 2004 @05:18PM (#8750415)
    In comparison to what the Windows/Litestep/WindowBlinds communities have been putting out for a while now, these submissions are pretty unimpressive.

    There's a similar "theme" competition also running for PC users looking for customization, called the GUI Olympics [guiolympics.com]. They'll be accepting entries until May, but already they have some really nice Winamp skins [guiolympics.com] and Windows themes [guiolympics.com]. Anyone interested in seeing what some of the biggest names in "skinning" are up to should check it out.
    • Re:GUI Olympics (Score:3, Informative)

      In comparison to what the Windows/Litestep/WindowBlinds communities have been putting out for a while now, these submissions are pretty unimpressive.

      These are just mockups by people who don't even know how to make themes. Part of the prize for winning is having a professional themer make it a reality. Look here [macthemes.net] for some real themes.

      --Adam

  • New Gaming (Score:3, Interesting)

    by artlu (265391) <(ten.ultra) (ta) (ultra)> on Friday April 02, 2004 @05:27PM (#8750539) Homepage Journal
    Hopefully, contests like this will influence the random programmer to start developing something useful. Look at that trailblazer app that recently was cited on slashdot. Definitely awesome! A friend of mine is working on a 2d RPG similar to the old secret of mana games. He is designing it for Mac. We need more of this!
    • way cool! does he have a webpage up about it? It would be cool if more people just picked up and started writing games (or helping for that matter), but the problem is, finding artists for all of the games out there. It seems like artists (generally speaking) aren't as willing to devote some time to a project as coders are (without pay that is).
      • No not yet, he has just started actually. He is waiting for the new G5's to come out before he purchases one for the sole purpose of this game development, but hopefully when he has some type of website up it will get slashdotted!
  • aqua (Score:4, Insightful)

    by minus_273 (174041) <`moc.oohay.MAPS' `ta' `aaaaa'> on Friday April 02, 2004 @05:53PM (#8750855) Journal
    whats wrong with it? I think it is great. The brushed metal is also a nice touch
    • Gotta agree; they do good work at Apple. Good enough that I can get my work done without having to futz around with everything endlessly to no real purpose.

      Once I changed the default system font so that my menu bar and file names and everything showed up in "sand", but that quicly lost its fun. I have my background images cycle through my vacation photos [dimspace.com], but other than that, I don't waste my time modifying the environment.

  • by truthgun (62387) <t.roundbrackets@com> on Friday April 02, 2004 @08:06PM (#8752049) Journal
    I pretty much agree with many of the other posters, the themes were dull, too dark or just plain ugly.
    My problem is I want something that looks good that is easy to read. I need high contrast but not black on white because it gets too bright. The font has to be clean, sans serif or I can't read it. Bceause I also need the font size to be larger I want the frame around windows to be smaller so that I still can fit more than one window on my monitor.
    I also want it to be pretty because pretty things are pleasing to the eye.

    Needless to say I haven't really found a theme I like regardsless of os. I tend to choose something simple and then costumize colors and fonts as much as I can.
  • by Chief Typist (110285) on Friday April 02, 2004 @08:22PM (#8752183) Homepage
    We're running Pixelpalooza [iconfactory.com] at the Iconfactory. It's the longest running (and first?) on-line design contest for the Mac desktop -- starting in 1997 [iconfactory.com].

    The final submissions are being posted now [iconfactory.com] and we're going to start public voting next week (April 6th.)

    -ch
    • oh the irony! A site that mainly does mac stuff running asp and a windows server. (would atleast thought bsd or linux or something non-windows).
  • It's a shame that all the winning themes, if and when they are completed, will only be compatible with Unsanity's ShapeShifter. Which is fine except that it's closed source and proprietary.

    I still have OSX 10.2.8 on my primary Mac because ShapeShifter seems to be the only game in town for themes on 10.3.x, and I think it was kind of sneaky the way they got all the big themers on board around a proprietary standard for theme packages and a proprietary engine and then started charging for it.

    If we were talk
    • by wibs (696528) on Friday April 02, 2004 @10:36PM (#8752921)

      There is an alternative, sort of. It's called XTender, and its public beta [macthemes.net] was incredibly unimpressive. The day after XTender went public an update was made to ShapeShifter, and everyone again realized how good it was.

      Also, ShapeShifter has cost money since its inception. No underhanded tactics there... although it did have the big themers involved in its creation to do the things that they wanted to do. The same guy develops the theme changing [unsanity.com] and theme creating [geekspiff.com] software, and he is very approachable in regards to feature requests and bug reports. ShapeShifter is technically under the Unsanity umbrella, but Jason Harris makes both. ThemePark (to create themes) also allows exporting to many other non-guikit formats, including the format native to ShapeShifter's competitor (XTheme), and the format supported by Open Source alternatives such as ThemeChanger. [sourceforge.net]

      All ShapeShifter guikits can be extracted into images and a Extras.rsrc file using Guikitty. They can't be directly used by another application, so in a sense it is closed and proprietary, but the above mentioned XTender was able to automatically load ShapeShifter guikits if you had Guikitty installed.

      Another big point is that a lot of themes use ShapeShifter because it has features that go above and beyond what is capable with any other theme changer, even in terms of things as simple as changing text colors.

      Competition is always good, don't get me wrong. But there isn't a whole lot to complain about with ShapeShifter, and any competition it has had has been crushed despite the higher price tag because of ease of use, features, and theme-changing safety (it doesn't modify any system files, or even attempt to overlay those owned by root).

      And finally, theres nothing preventing the winning theme from being released in the DLTA (aka Open Source friendly) format as well, the only restriction would be if the theme requires features that are only available in ShapeShifter.

      Alright, I think that about makes the case...

  • this [corbis.com]

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