Fantasy Graphics League

Backstory: You've been called into your manager's office and told to close the door. His expression is pained and serious. He starts, "Recently our company has hit hard times, and we have to do some belt tightening. The investors have been grumbling about the cost of your lab. In the past five years you've hired everyone who walks off the papers presentation stage at SIGGRAPH. This has given us a world-class, no, galaxy-class research facility, but since our company sells playing cards and farm tools, there has been some talk by the board of directors about cutting costs."

You reply, "Don't they realize that the future of corn shellers and grain cradles is all about real-time photon mapped subsurface scattering with automatic LOD computation? And half my lab is working on having playing cards made out of smart paper, with animated kings, queens, and jacks. Each card talks about its life story. Test groups have responded extremely positively to hearing why the suicide kings feel so down, and enjoy the animations that go along with them. Plus, we've coined a great new word, HoloMeme; I've got a six figure book deal lined up, now all we need to do is figure out what it means and write some papers for CGIPVP to give it legitimacy."

"All good work, but the board is concerned about the recent infringement cases against the lab. Like Hax0r's suit over their pseudo-random number generation patent -"

"We've switched over to random numbers generated by lava lamp."

"- and the patent on right angles that CeaseNDesys Inc is pressing."

"Our ground-breaking VirtualDNATM process has already brought back Euclid as a key expert virtual witness!" you sputter.

"Fine, but the board is beginning to wonder whether hiring all 680 graphics researchers is strictly necessary. They've demanded that there be some cutback in the workforce. Think of it as an opportunity to cull out the underperformers."

"But the CEO is one of the richest men in the world, and we're his pet hobby," you blurt out, embarrassing as it is to admit the major reason your lab exists. "His personal fortune could support our lab for another, let's see, 663 years!"

"His interests have drifted from graphics to rock music. He's focussed on his new project, a museum dedicated to remembering the legacy of the legendary Neil Sedaka."

"But Sedaka's not even tragically dead yet!"

"I can't help it, this is the way it's going to be," your manager says, looking sincerely sorry. All his previous lies and deceptions pale compared to his ability to fake sincerity now.

"All right," you grumble, "how deep are the cuts going to be? 5%? 10%?... Don't tell me 20%?!"

"Well, they were thinking 12."

You think, "12%? Well, that's bad, but surviveable."

"So, you have until January 21st to downsize your workforce to 12 researchers. Or less. There are also some budgetary constraints."

"What, you mean cut it down to 12 people?!?! What is the board thinking?"

"To be honest, they've seen how cost-cutting impresses Wall Street. A company lays off 5% of its workforce and its stock price rises 12%. Another cuts 20% and its price jumps up 50%. The way the board figures it, by cutting 98% of the workforce, the stock should rise by about 29,328%, which would really help the bottom line."

You stare in shocked silence.

He continues, "Wall Street also considers accrued vacation time a debit on the books. Last year the company made employees use up all vacation days accrued during the year. The good news is that the board has revised this policy in a much more proactive way, requiring that all employees take their next twenty years of vacations during this year. So, everyone laid off first gets a year of paid vacation, wiping a huge future debit off the books."

Da Rules

Short version, for previous players: the rules are the same as before.

Computer graphics researchers salaries are computed by how many times they have been published in SIGGRAPH the past five years, based on the economic formula:

    Researcher's value in quatloos = Sum of ( 60 / A )

rounded to the nearest multiple of 5 (or 10, if over 100), where "A" is the number of authors that contributed to a paper. So if a researcher was a part of two papers, being the only author of one of them and one of 4 authors on the other, the value would be:

    value = ( 60 / 1 ) + ( 60 / 4 ) = 75 Quatloos

Here are the rules:

Researchers are then judged by the papers and sketches accepted for SIGGRAPH. Each paper scores points for the authors, scoring (60/A) points for each author on the paper. Each sketch scores 20 points for the first author, only. Add up your points and that is your lab's score.

(Actually, the game's now closed, but you can still look at how it works.)

Also, you can check out the results of last year's contest.

From the laid-back, but not laid-off (yet) minds of Eric Haines, Phil Dutré, Dan Kartch, and Ben Trumbore.
last updated: January 23, 2004