SIA Foibles

The return of the Software Industry Awards is somewhat flawed.

As I wrote in a previous post, Software/Shareware Industry Awards are back, there were some questions yet to be answered about the Software Industry Awards under their new process and new name.  In particular, I wondered whether a list of nominees, or at least software categories, would be published prior to the conference, being especially concerned about how (or even if) game software would be handled.

Unfortunately, neither names of nominees nor a list of software categories appeared prior to the Software Industry Conference at which they were awarded.  This means that no software developers would attend the “Gala Networking & Awards Dinner” solely in support of nominated products.  Apparently, the overall conference turnout was noticeably smaller than in recent years, too (which is not any sort of indictment, as I prefer smaller, more intimate gatherings).

I did also mention that “all questions should be answered” after SIC, but that was almost not the case, as the official list of SIA nominees and winners has not, to my knowledge, been published outside the Association of Software Professionals (and only within the ASP by unofficial sources).  Aside from publishing the names of the software nominees beforehand, the conference organizers should also be proactive in promoting the results.  (After more than a week, the awards winners should expect to at least be able to link to an official results page.)

The good news is that “GAMES” was one of the categories in which awards were presented (of only eight).  The bad news is the nominees demonstrate a pretty serious misunderstanding of this segment of the industry.  I applauded the positive idea that “the nominators are asked to consider only software and services offered by MicroISVs”, a concept that seems to have been seriously ignored.  (I suppose that poor selections are better than none at all, which is what the educational software industry received.)

The SIA winner in the Games category was “Sam & Max” by Telltale Games.  The problem, of course, is that Telltale is nowhere close to being a MicroISV; they have had (literally) millions of dollars from outside investors, and 67 employees listed on their Our Team page (including an old friend, Tom Byron).  [I could also mention that “Sam & Max” is not a product, but rather a series of more than a dozen different episodes.]  One of the other nominees was “Family Feud” by iWin, which is also far larger than any MicroISV, listed as the #4 casual software retailer in 2009.

Therefore, the winner in spirit is “Fantastic Farm” by Kristanix, which is a fellow ASP member and, according to the web site, consists of only two people, hence a proper MicroISV.  Alas, this kind of victory comes with nothing of value, except perhaps this link to the Fantastic Farm page.

Here are a few more selected SIA results.

The winner in the “GRAPHICS SOFTWARE” category was “SnagIt” by TechSmith, a local company for which I worked briefly.  I was actually the sole programmer on SnagIt way back in 1992-1993, developing (only) version 2.1.  (They are now up to SnagIt 10, so I take zero credit.)

The winner in the “MULTIMEDIA MUSIC/VIDEO SOFTWARE” category was “Blaze Media Pro” by Mystik Media; our company once did some artwork for Blaze Media Pro (also many years ago).

The winner in the “PROGRAMMING TOOLS/UTILITIES” category was “Beyond Compare” by Scooter Software; this is a product that I use almost daily and is extraordinarily useful.  (As a coincidence, I happen to be wearing one of their “What’s the DIFF?” t-shirts at this very moment.)  I also use another nominee in this category, “CSE HTML Validator” by AI Internet Solutions.

Two nominees in the “ISV SERVICES” category also deserve mention: Freelance Works (Martha Seward), who helps promote our games published by Goodsol Development, and Software Promotions (Dave Collins), who use to do similar (but does not handle games anymore).

For those keeping score, the three remaining categories were “BUSINESS APPLICATION, DESKTOP”, “BUSINESS APPLICATION, SaaS”, and “INTERNET TOOLS”, for which I have neither the interest nor the time to write anything clever.

Software/Shareware Industry Awards are back

After missing a year, the SIAs return for 2010, slightly renamed.

Recently, the Software [nee Shareware] Industry Conference unveiled a brand new web site design, which is much improved from the previous web site.  Kudos to Sue Pichotta of Alta Web Works for a job well done (and no disrespect for the previous designer, who I also know).

Perhaps lost in this story, though, is the fact that the updated web site quietly announced the return of the Shareware, I mean, Software Industry Awards and a new (hopefully improved) process for awarding them.  According to the Process & Rules page of the site, the awards are now determined by a score of unidentified “software industry insiders”, rather than by the whole of the industry, which should reduce the amount of bizarre results (from either manipulation or voter laziness) at the risk of making them less prestigious, no longer being truly voted by peers.  I do not know who any of these people are, only that I am not one of them and that I hope they appreciate our games.

One definite positive in the new procedure is that “nominators are asked to consider only software and services offered by MicroISVs“.  This means that products like Google Earth and Windows Live Messenger (Microsoft), both 2008 winners, should no longer be eligible, getting the focus back to the independent developers the awards were originally meant to recognize.  (We also go by the title, “the developers formerly known as shareware publishers“.)

The only obvious omission is a list of categories for which the awards will be presented, and specifically, whether any game categories are included (and if so, how many).  The last time games were recognized was 2007, when our own Pretty Good MahJongg won the SIA for Best Non-Action Game.  Hopefully, the list of nominees (and, hence, categories) will be announced prior to the conference; that would almost certainly increase participation in the “Gala Networking & Awards Dinner”, which attendance was reportedly dropping.

In any event, all questions should be answered in Dallas, Texas, where SIC will take place July 15-17, 2010.  Perhaps I will see you there.

Vote for Us

One of our titles is nominated for an Epsilon Award.

Epsilon Award

This year, Most Popular Solitaire 2.0, has been nominated for an Epsilon Award, the software award associated with the European Software Conference, which takes place November 7-8, 2009, in Berlin (Germany, in case anybody is confused about that).

Unlike other software awards, there are no categories here; only one award is presented each year.  This year (again) there are 25 nominees, and our product is the only game title nominated.  Accordingly, we would appreciate your vote.

Today is the last day of voting, so please vote (for us).

On the voting page, you will find the following description:

Most Popular Solitaire 2.0 by Goodsol Development, Inc. Most Popular Solitaire is a collection of only the 30 best and most popular solitaire games (selected from a collection of hundred of different varieties). There are versions for both Windows and Mac OS X, with combined high score charts and interchangeable save games. Its great popularity in Windows is even surpassed on the Mac, where it has been in the Top 20 at the Apple Store since its release. Gregg Seelhoff

Voting is basically open to anybody and everybody (i.e., the “public”), so if you are reading this, you probably qualify.  To vote, simply go to this page, click on the (above) graphic with “[VOTE]” superimposed, and follow the instructions.

(Note that I would have included a ‘Nominated for the Epsilon Award’ image here, too, except that they are only available for 2006-2008, and those are really, really ugly.)


2009 People’s Choice Awards

Only two days left to vote!

This year, the leadership of the SIAF (Shareware Industry Awards Foundation), the group which produces the Software (nee Shareware) Industry Conference (SIC) each year, made the unfortunate decision not to present the Shareware Industry Awards this year. These premier awards were basically the Oscars of this industry, voted on by other industry members, and represented peer recognition. No SIA was presented for any standard game category last year (2008), so our own Pretty Good MahJongg was the last game to win one of these prestigious awards for the 2007 Best Non-Action Game.

In the absence of the Shareware Industry Awards, the People’s Choice Awards take center stage at the SIC banquet (presumably). With no nomination process, and voting open to anybody with an email address, there is no particular anticipation for these awards (and with no game PCA presented since 2006, even less for us). Nevertheless, I will support the awards process, so I submitted my ballot today.

The deadline is looming [Monday, June 15th], but if anybody has not yet voted and still has time to do so, we would certainly appreciate consideration of some of our products:

Although I certain could have done so, I did not fill all seven lines on my ballot with our games. I did an evaluation of the products that I use on a regular basis and which greatly aid my (development) productivity, and these products really stood out:

  • Beyond Compare is an absolutely indispensable part of my development toolkit, and I use it almost daily for code diffs, file syncing, single line editing, and even viewing of Japanese/Unicode resource files (which VC6 cannot handle).
  • Inno Setup is the easy choice for creating professional installers, and though it is not shareware, it is downloadable (free/donationware).
  • Help & Manual is simply the best help editor I have ever used (though I will admit to preferring version 4 without the ribbon interface).
  • PC-lint is critical to my C++ programming work and it is run, literally, alongside my compilations to guard against both silly mistakes and serious errors in order to help keep the quality of my code as high as possible (although there is no downloadable trial version, unfortunately).

To vote for the 2009 People’s Choice Awards, simply register to vote [Editor’s note: invalid link has been removed] (with just name and email address) and then follow the link that will be emailed to you and enter up to 7 software products. Easy.