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We, the judges, would like to say some words before we cross the finish line and leave the glorious past of this tournament in the dust.
When I first decided I wanted to do an OCT, I envisioned a small group of people sharing stories, having fun, making new friends and learning something new! That is what these tournaments have always been for me. They have been such an important and vital part of my life when growing up and I wouldn't replace any of my OCT experiences with anything else. I eventually realized that I wanted to share the experience by creating that atmosphere for others and I feel like we more than succeeded in that goal. Being involved in watching all of you and reading all of these wonderful creative stories could not have made me happier. Xotiathon is special. You guys are responsible for making this place great. Thank you to everyone who participated. May you continue to grow and learn and stay hyped for creating!
My OCT history has been short but exciting, and I certainly have grown addicted to them over the years, both through participating and simply reading along. I passed up opportunities to judge before, but Xotiathon came at just the right time with a great, supportive team and sea of entrants that really blew me away. I have adored seeing all the creative characters and even more enthralling stories. It has been an amazing experience jumping into a judging role and I appreciate everyone I've met in this tournament. You've all been awesome from day 1 and I will never forget this tournament.
Xotiathon is the fifth tournament I have been staff on. Despite my long career, I have seen incredible, fresh new stories during my time here and a truly wonderful level of involvement from its community that I have scarcely seen rivaled before. Not only have I enjoyed writing prompts and encouraging people to participate in side events, I am deeply pleased by the fact that I have made new friends and watched others’ friendships grow.
's Floala vi Trhkiwipeach
Terence is a great personality. The problems he had to face were huge and it was interesting to see how Pox had been so great at manipulating him and that Terry still was conflicted about his friend’s actions until the very end. You are great with expressing action and guilt and juggling such a positive character with such a dark plotline. It was great to see you were not afraid to hold some punches. Some parts of the final round were confusing in their arrangement and this took a bit of deciphering. Pox was built up as this huge terrifying threat and the way he was handled in the end seemed too quick and painless for such a big problem. The final note of Lanet’s, Xanta’s and the rest of the planets’ problems being worked out so painlessly seemed way too easy for the dark and complicated tones of all the competitor’s stories.Techn0Gecko
Floala’s development as a person was a thrill to read and seeing her grow in the face of everything that happened was heartwarming. The overall tone of your entries was fluid and kept the theme without getting sidetracked. Taking the opponents’ stories and themes into account to better your own story was very well done and nice to read. How you capture the reader’s attention and make them feel for the characters is a valuable skill and served you very well in this tragic but inspiring story. There were a few grammar mistakes that would disrupt the flow of the story because I had to stop and figure out what I just read. Those would be good to keep an eye on. In some places, details and comments would be repeated or really hammered into the reader when they really did not need to be mentioned that many times. kiwipeach
Right out of the bag I'm going to have to compliment your sequential art skills. Your forms are always believable and VERY expressive. Absolutely mint. Your comic skills are very, very strong and I can only recommend you try to include better introductory/establishing shots in your first pages, as none of your rounds really had those and they could have benefited with some. The story you were trying to tell with Pox and Terrence was absolutely fantastic: at the end of every round we were on the edge of our seats. Your finale, while still extremely engaging, fun, and visually beautiful, unfortunately platued a bit in relation to Round 4. I felt you were really, truly wanting to go somewhere great with the Pox plot, but it fell a bit short. This was also not aided well by the intro of the round being extremely confusing to read with the present/past tossing around without completely clear panelling to indicate what was a flashback and what wasn't. This is not to say the Pox plotline was at all disappointing, as I felt you wrapped everything up quite nicely and it was an emotional roller coaster seeing poor Terry deal with it all the way to the end. Floala's role, just like all your past opponents, was addressed very well and snapped along nicely with your own storyline, even though I did feel she was presented a bit out of character from time to time. Overall I enjoyed ounce of creativity and complexity you put into your comics and your story. Terry deserves all the adoration.Techn0Gecko
I still can't believe the little bratty child we were introduced to back in the auditions became such a selfless, lovable character. They grow up so fast. The way you portrayed Floala's personality, character growth, and plotline throughout the story was seamless, confident, and convincing. You were also extremely fluent in expressing your opponents' plights and roles; they never felt out of place while also never overshadowing your own plotline. Even the actual rounds themselves never obstacle in the way of your story, but rather a core piece of it. Your writing was always really strong and rarely difficult to read. There were recurring issues with repetition in many of your rounds, such as sequences repeating themselves or being drawn out far too long. A good deal of your rounds could have benefited from extra time spent editing down to what was important. The biggest example of this was the physical round itself (ch.10-11) of the final: it got a bit agonizing reading the characters doing the same things (falling and restarting) on repeat to the point it got exhausting. Overall, though, your entire Xotioathon story was strong, captivating, and emotional. I'm not crying, you're crying.kiwipeach
You made it through the audition phase in the nick of time, and what a fortunate thing that was for Xotiathon. A popular character in-universe and out of it, Terence was a delight to watch even as the darker elements of his plot were foreshadowed very early on. His boundless enthusiasm and penchant for making friends was a good contrast to Pox’s reserved and - as we found out later - evil nature.
Your early rounds established and continued a theme of well-drawn body language, expressions, and background shots. You created a slowly unfurling plot of deception and betrayal in a fairly tight space while also balancing Terence’s growing friendships and his opponents’ struggles. However, your rounds sometimes suffered from an overabundance of detail or only touching on important points briefly even though they would be vital later on (sometimes leading to confusion. Your finale suffered a bit from clarity and odd dialogue, or plot points that felt a bit odd even in retrospect. Still, the message of evil being overcome not by might, but by information and kindness, is a timeless one.Techn0Gecko
As a longtime reader of your work, it was amazing to see you venture into a sci-fi story with such an atypical protagonist for the setting! Floala made us all laugh with her antics, but then gained our sympathy as she grew and learned, and finally she made us cry as she suffered and struggled with ever-increasing responsibility and tragedy. While round one had a somewhat excessive amount of race obstacles that caused some lagged pacing and round two was good if not spectacular, you really upped the ante of your plot in round three and sustained the tension until the very end of your finale with hard-earned happiness and peace, if realistically not perfectly done up in a bow. The finale itself was wonderful; though it did have minor flaws in some dialogue and clarity errors, it was a beautifully done emotional ride that wrapped up not one but two complex plots, and it deserves its place among the stars.
With all that said, there can be only one, and the champion of Xotiathon is…
Congrats to Techn0Gecko
for placing first, and to kiwipeach
for placing second. It was a delight to watch both of you progress through this tournament, and I wish you nothing but luck in your future endeavors. Xotiathon is now over, but there are still prizes to be given, so I remind all who placed (including the third place winners) to contact their prize givers!First Place: Techn0GeckoSecond Place: kiwipeachThird Place: Evelyn-Cross
There will never be another Xotiathon, but there will always be the memories that have been made here. May you always stay hyped for whatever you do, wherever you go in life.