TOFA 2015 Rules and Guidelines

the rules

  1. A Flash program must be used to create your entry.

    Entries must be submitted as .swf files. Other programs, such as Photoshop, 3DMax, or Maya may be used in tandem for elements such as backgrounds, however a Flash program that natively exports to the SWF format must be used for the actual animation. This is the Tournament of Flash Artists, after all.

    Keep reading to find out where (and where not) to submit your entries.

  2. Entries must be from 45 seconds to 5 minutes in length.

    To put it another way, your video must be 45 seconds or longer, but not a second longer than 5 minutes.

  3. No copyrighted material may be used without permission.

    This includes things such as copyrighted characters, images, music, and trademarks (such as real brand names). Note that if a specific piece of music is in the public domain, such as classical music, you may not use a recording of it without permission of whoever recorded it, unless the recording is also in the public domain. If you do obtain official permission to use something owned by somebody else, take careful note of the next rule.

  4. You must credit your sources.

    If you use any non-original material, such as voice acting from other people, royalty free music, or music made by a friend, you must credit your source. You may include this before or after your video, or under a click-able “Credits” button within the video that is easily accessible. As long as credit is given, it's allll good.

  5. All animation content must be new.

    You may not re-use elements from past animations. This includes graphics, characters or character designs, tween templates, and mouth shapes. This would give the more prolific competitors an unfair advantage as their re-usable elements were created before the round began; everyone must be bound by the same time constraints. If you want to make a self-cameo in your animation, find a way to depict yourself that you haven't tried before. Try out a different art style!

  6. Videos must premiere on has time-limited exclusive publishing rights to videos created for the ABS TOFA 2015 until TOFA 2015 has concluded OR until you are eliminated from the tournament, whichever comes first. This means that uploading your video to websites such as,, or anywhere else publicly viewable before this will result in your being disqualified. Bummer!

    Secure places such as DropBox, SendSpace, RapidShare, your own personal server, or emailing AB directly at are all allowable methods for submitting your entry. After the final round of TOFA has been judged, or you have been eliminated, you may release your video anywhere else you choose.

    This also applies to modifications of your entry, such as editing it or adding bits that you didn't finish in time for the deadline. These edits, while allowed (because it's your video after all), will not be judged, and you may not post the updated video on other websites until after your time as a competitor in TOFA 2015 is over.

  7. Content must be suitable for general audiences.

    Use American TV standards as a guide for censorship in your animation. Words such as "Hell", "damn", and "crap" are allowed. Words like “Motherfucker” must be bleeped and censored from being shown in writing. You can submit both a censored version and a non-censored version if you wish.

    People mentioning sex is allowed if it's not overly descriptive. Graphic dialog, full uncensored nudity, depiction of sex acts, extreme gore, and racism and other features that would classify your video as "hate speech" are not allowed.

  8. Your entry must link to and mention TOFA 2015 at the play screen.

    Please use the TOFA 2015 Flash Preloader to have this already done for you. Preloader - Flash 8+: tofa2015-preloader-8.fla

    You may not include Ad APIs in the version you submit for the contest. You are free to link to your Facebook/Tumblr/MySpace/Twitter profile or other personal self-made website(s) of yours in your credits screen. You can also link to your audio sources in a similar way. Voice actors approve of this!

  9. Entries must be received before or on the deadline.

    No latecomers. Late = Zero points (and you don't get to be in the story). You may submit an unfinished version early (as a precaution against something terrible happening at the last minute and preventing you from submitting - it sometimes happens!) and later submit a fully finished version before the deadline to replace it. The earlier version(s) will not be shown or judged.

  10. Entries with actionscripted "multiple ending" or "alternate scene" events must include a means of letting the judges jump to any alternate scenes immediately.

    This could be in the form of buttons on the preloader or ending screen. The judges want to be able to see all of your scenes, and compare alternate scenes immediately without having to watch the movie over and over. In the case of games, there must be a way (e.g. cheats) for judges to bypass points in the game as it progresses from one mode of play to the next. e.g., Judges must be given the ability to skip a level, fastforward to a boss battle, view any cinematic or scripted sequences, etc. You must submit a special "cheats" version for the judges to play, but you may also make a separate "regular gamers" version for general audiences to play if you wish.

    The point of this is so that the judges can see all of your hard work, and not miss anything!

    The total time of a movie with alternate scenes is still the time it takes to play through once, not the total time of all of the possible scenes. A movie that runs for 4 minutes and then randomly plays one of two 1-minute endings still counts as a 5-minute movie, even though technically there are 6 minutes of footage that were created for it.

how the judging works

Here are the areas in which your performance as a Flash animator in TOFA 2015 will be judged:

  1. Entertainment /10

    How enjoyable / compelling / amusing / intriguing / riveting your movie is. This relates to the overall effect of your entry, how effectively its concepts/storylines/characters/styles were realised, and of course how much we liked it. This is AlbinoBlacksheep - we like movies to be entertaining! This category is one that any animator should strive to excel in whether they want to be in a way-cool frat or not. It's about art!

  2. Competition /10

    How well you worked in the spirit of the competition. Primarily this means running with the theme you're given for a round, as well as how masterfully you incorporate any extra requirements you may be given for a challenge. The more inspiration that you can draw from the theme and challenge for each round, and how well you accept them, the more points you will receive. Embrace them for maximum points; clumsily acknowledge them for very few points; ignore them entirely and you probably won't survive. Points can be gained and lost depending on how well you work with the constraints and traditions of TOFA. It's about sportspersonship!

    Handy Hint: If you want to lose points in this category, then by all means use part of your movie to deliver an apology to the viewers/judges for any unavoidable technical problems with your movie (such as incompleteness). People whose movies weren't perfect but also didn't contain an apology for it will overtake you quickly in this category! If you want to gain points, at least make it look as though you had fun creating what you did!

  3. Technical /10

    How effectively you used Flash to create your entry. All the judges are Flash veterans and will be scrutinising how effectively you appear to be utilising Flash to do what you did. You'll be graded on cold hard technical ability in both the artwork (including story-writing, if applicable) and the Flashwork. This doesn't mean you automatically lose points for using motion tweens instead of frame-by-frame animation. Nor does it mean you automatically gain points for adding loads of interactivity or building your own preloader. It means you gain points for demonstrating that you know when and how to use motion tweens, frame-by-frame animation, and any other features of Flash that you have at your disposal. So show off your technical abilities, especially in Round 1. This category's about Flash knowledge and MAD SKILLZ.

  4. Completeness /5

    You automatically get five points if what you submit appears to be complete. The degree of incompleteness will determine how many of these you lose. If it looks like you forgot a character's shoe in one scene, you might not lose anything. But if you turn in scenes with only roughs in them, or a story that clearly stops prematurely, you could lose all five Completeness points depending on how the judges feel about that. These are five easy points, though. You can get them all with a bit of forethought! It's not about speed - it's about planning.

Entertainment /10
Competition /10
Technical /10
Completeness /5
= Total /35

Any questions or clarifications, please ask in this thread or by email: :)