Decentralized is a brand new category this year, and the new rules might sound tricky, especially for a competition where you try to squeeze in a tiny amount of code to a single zip package, so below are the clarifications that will hopefully help you understand what you can do a little bit more.
Keep in mind this is all more or less an experiment the same way WebXR and Web Monetization categories when they were being introduced in the previous years. Please be understanding, ask questions if you have any concerns, and remember that the category is entirely optional.
1. Submitting to Decentralized versus other categories
You can submit your entry to any of the “basic” categories (Desktop, Mobile, Server, also Web Monetization) AND to the new Decentralized one at the same time (so it’s not exclusive the way WebXR is), BUT only if your entry can be played without decentralized features, so they are optional. If the game requires some decentralized tech to be playable, then you can submit it ONLY to the Decentralized category.
2. Using external resources
You are allowed to use any external resources, but ONLY when those resources are used to implement decentralization. You are NOT allowed to use any external images, sprite atlases, fonts, or pieces of code if your entry is going to be submitted to any of the basic categories. If you plan on submitting ONLY to the Decentralized category, then you are allowed to use resources that affect the gameplay - NFT cards, and other assets, but they still have to fall into the decentralization category specifically.
3. Category versus challenges
You can use anything that can be considered a decentralized technology to submit your entry to this category (Fleek, etc). To win prizes from given challenges though, you have to use any of the technologies provided by the partnering companies (NEAR, IPFS, Filecoin, NFT.storage, dRand, Flux, etc).
Also, keep in mind that the prizes will be given to the most creative implementations - you can just deploy your entry on IPFS (using something like Pinata) and it will be enough to submit it to the category, but the best games will implement some of the tech in an original way (smart contracts, leaderboards, trading NFTs, sharing user-created levels, etc). Make sure to check Decentralized category entries from Gamedev.js Jam 2021 for inspiration.
4. Voting on an entry
Since the entry can be submitted to multiple categories, remember that the game itself will be judged by fellow devs (as we had in previous years), but the decentralization aspect will be examined by the Decentralized category experts specifically.
The most common question I see is “ok, but it’s brand new to me - where do I start?”. For NEAR those would be Near Academy, Getting Started guide, and Examples, Protocol Labs related tech can be found in this document, and there’s a Flux Wiki as well.
6. Example and a tutorial
There will be an open sourced example hosted on GitHub with some of the basic implementations of the tech mentioned above, and a written tutorial going through the details step by step.
I wanted to have this before the start of the competition, but got delayed - sorry about that. The materials should be published next week though, so you’ll still have plenty of time to use them, if you decide to do so.
7. Everything else and more
If something is unclear - please ask, and it will be answered.