Thursday, June 13, 2024

Studio Competition Official Rules and Regulations

Eligibility  |   Registration  |   Placement Scoring   |   Schedule  |   Scoring and Advancing  |   Prizes  |   Conditions of Participation

No purchase necessary to enter or win. Void where prohibited.


The 2007 TopCoder Open Studio Design Competition ("SDC") will take place between February 19, 2007 and June 29, 2007. It will consist of eight (8) weeks of online competition and one (1) onsite final round, being the Championship round. The prize purse for this tournament is $30,000 in cash. The eight (8) competitors with the highest cumulative placement scores after the online rounds of competition will advance to the onsite Championship round, being held at The Mirage in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA on June 28, 2007.


TopCoder Studio members meeting the following eligibility criteria are eligible to compete in the SDC:

  • Must be at least 18 years of age as of March 5, 2007; AND
  • If not a US resident, must be living in, and participating from, your country of residence; AND
  • Must currently be eligible for participation in TopCoder Studio projects (i.e. not suspended from TopCoder).

TopCoder Studio members who are 18 years of age or older as of March 5, 2007 are eligible to win cash prizes, unless otherwise prohibited. The TopCoder Open is void in the Quebec province of Canada, and elsewhere where prohibited by applicable law. Cash prizes will not be paid to residents of Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan, or Syria.

Employees of TopCoder, Inc. and of all official tournament sponsors, regardless of commitment date as sponsor, including any companies involved in the production (including prize suppliers), implementation and distribution of this tournament and their advertising or promotion agencies, parent companies, service providers, agents, officers, subsidiaries or affiliates, or any other persons or entities directly associated with the tournament and members of the immediate families and/or persons living in the same household as such persons, are ineligible to enter the tournament. If a competitor's employer signs up as an official sponsor of the tournament on or after February 19, 2007, then that competitor will be disqualified from participating further in the tournament. TopCoder members who are performing internships for any official tournament sponsor between February 19 and June 29, 2007 are also ineligible to compete.

Those members who are eligible to compete in any of the four tournament competitions will be permitted to participate in any/all of them online. However, in the event a member becomes a finalist in more than one competition and the onsite competition times overlap, the member must choose only one competition to participate in as a finalist by May 11, 2007.


Registration for the 2007 TopCoder Open Studio Design Competition will open at 9:00 AM EST on Monday, February 19, 2007, and will close at 6:00 PM EDT on Monday, April 30, 2007. In order to be eligible to compete in the Studio Design Competition of the TCO, competitors must be a registered TopCoder member and have registered separately for the Studio Design Competition. There is no limit to the number of registrants for the tournament; however each individual may only register once.

Placement Scoring

Studio contests that are eligible for points towards the tournament will be identified as an SDC contest on the Studio website starting March 5, 2007. Scoring in the SDC is determined by the placement of the top four (4) submissions for each eligible contest. Placement of the top four (4) submissions for a TCO contest is determined based on the same criteria Studio contests have always followed, which could be one of, or a combination of, the following:

  • Client chooses the winner at their discretion with no community involvement
  • Client asks finalists to revise designs, then chooses winner with no community involvement
  • Client selects finalists, which are put out to a community vote to determine a winner
  • All contests submissions are put out to a community vote to determine a winner

You must be registered for the SDC to be eligible for tournament placement points. Placement scoring is as follows:

1st Place - 10 Points
2nd Place - 7 Points
3rd Place - 5 points
4th Place - 4 Points
Below 4th Place - 0 Points

The placement points outlined are for all Studio contests that are part of the online SDC competition round.

Open Competition Explanation

Both Studio members who have not registered for the TCO and TCO registered members will be allowed to enter any Studio design contest, including SDC TCO contests. Because of the mixed competitor pool, it is possible that TCO registered members may not place in the top four (4) of any given contest. If the situation arises, there will be no placement points awarded to TCO registered members who did not place in the top four (4).

Contest #1 Placement Determined by the Client:
1st Place Non-TCO competitor no placement score given
2nd Place TCO Competitor placement score 7 points
3rd Place Non-TCO competitor no placement score given
4th Place TCO Competitor placement score 4 points
5th Place TCO competitor no placement score given


The Studio competitions will have eight (8) weeks of online competition and one (1) onsite Championship round. Each contestant participating in an online round must submit his/her design submission for any contest by the submission deadline as scheduled.

  Start Date Starte Time End Date End Time
SDC Registration Feb 19, 2007 9:00 AM EST (GMT/UTC -5) April 30, 2007 6:00 PM EDT (GMT/UTC -4)
Online Competition March 5, 2007 9:00 AM EST (GMT/UTC -5) April 30, 2007 6:00 PM EDT (GMT/UTC -4)
Onsite Competition June 28, 2007 9:00 AM PDT (GMT/UTC -4) June 28, 2007 6:00 PM PDT (GMT/UTC -4)

Scoring and Advancing

During the eight (8) weeks of online competition, eligible competitors can submit designs for as many contests as they like. Submissions will be screened against the Spec Doc by the Contest Administrator and either passed or failed depending on whether all of the requirements of the Spec Doc are met. Competitors can resubmit any fixes to their failed designs before the submission deadline. ALL SUBMISSIONS MUST BE RECEIVED ACCORDING TO THE SUBMISSION DEADLINE TO BE CONSIDERED A VIABLE ENTRY. THERE WILL BE NO EXCEPTIONS. There will be no elimination of contestants during the online competition.

After the submission phase for a contest is over, placements will be determined.

Up to the six (6) highest individual placement scores that each contestant receives for his/her submissions throughout the eight (8) weeks of competition will be added together for a cumulative placement score. Up to eight (8) competitors with the highest cumulative positive (i.e., greater than zero) placement score will advance to the onsite Championship round.

Contestant enters three TCO eligible Studio design contests during the online competition, earning the following placement scores:

Contest #1 - placement 2; placement score 7
Contest #2 - placement 3; placement score 5
Contest #3 - placement 3; placement score 5

Cumulative placement score: 7 + 5 + 5 = 17

In the event of a tie of cumulative placement score among the advancers to the Championship round, the tie will be resolved in the following manner:

  1. The competitor who has the most higher-placed submissions among those submissions used to develop the cumulative placement score for the tied contestants shall advance.
  2. If a tie still remains, then the tied contestants will enter into a Rapid Design Contest (see below) and the winner shall advance.
  3. If a tie still remains, then all tied contestants will advance to the onsite Championship round.

The Rapid Design Contest will only include the competitors who are tied as stated above. This contest will consist of designing a mock (graphical representation) of a fictitious web site's main page. The tied finalists will only be allowed to submit one design for this contest. The designs must pass the normal Studio screening process to be accepted. Once submissions are received, they will be presented to the community for a vote. The winner of the Rapid Design contest will be chosen based on who wins the community vote. The winner will advance to the onsite finals. The results of the vote and choice of the winner are final.

The schedule for the Rapid Design contest is as follows:

Submission Phase: May 1 - May 4, 2007
Voting Phase: May 7 - May 11, 2007
Winner Announced: May 11, 2007

Onsite Championship Round

Important Information

Travel Confirmation
Up to eight (8) advancers from the eight (8) weeks of online competition will travel to the Mirage on Tuesday, June 26, 2007 to compete in the final competitive stage of the tournament being held on Thursday, June 28, 2007. All contestants must arrive at the Mirage no later than 4:00 PM PDT on Tuesday, June 26, 2007.

All contestants must confirm their attendance at the onsite rounds no later than 5:00 PM EDT (UTC/GMT -4) on Friday, May 11, 2007. That is, contestants must have acquired any necessary travel visas and know for certain that they can travel to the U.S. by that date and time. In order for a finalist to confirm attendance for the onsite finals, it is necessary to show proof of visa and/or passport by the deadline (5:00 PM EDT (UTC/GMT -4) on Friday, May 11, 2007) if the finalist is required to travel from outside the United States. Finalists may do this by emailing a copy of their documents to Jessie D'Amato Ford at Competitors who fail to meet this requirement by the deadline will not be able to attend the onsite finals and will be replaced as an onsite finalist.

Visa Assistance
TopCoder will issue visa invitation letters at the request of international competitors who require one to obtain a travel visa to enter the United States. All competitors who pass screening on at least two designs will receive a request form to fill out if they require a letter. As soon as a competitor fills out the form in its entirety, their letter will be shipped out by FedEx International Priority mail. Competitors have until 5:00 PM EDT (GMT/UTC -4) on Monday, April 23, 2007 to request a letter. Visas can take a significant amount of time to obtain in certain countries; therefore, for those competitors who need a letter, it is in their best interest to request one well before the deadline. The cost of obtaining a visa is the sole responsibility of the competitor. If you fail to request a visa invitation letter by the date above, TopCoder will not assist you in the process of obtaining a travel visa. See more information about travel visas.

Travel Details
TopCoder will provide air travel arrangements for each competitor. The flight reserved by and paid for by TopCoder is for arrival on June 26, 2007 and departure on June 30, 2007 (or July 1, 2007 if the cost is significantly less to fly out a day later). TopCoder will pay for each competitor's airfare up to $1,500, however we will do what we believe is reasonable given each individual circumstance (e.g., if the most reasonably convenient ticket itinerary is a little more than $1,500, TopCoder will pay for the entire cost). Extended flights and/or hotel room nights requested by a competitor that result in additional costs will be the responsibility of the competitor and will be deducted from the competitor's total TCO prize money won.

TopCoder will also provide ground transportation to and from the McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, as well as hotel accommodations and meals for each contestant. All other expenses are the responsibility of the contestant.

TopCoder will not provide travel or lodging accommodations for competitor guests at the 2007 TCO.

Onsite Championship Round

Each finalist will compete on the same design challenge, which will be announced on Tuesday, June 26, 2007 during the Welcome Reception. Finalists will receive an overview packet at the Welcome Reception describing their challenge, which begins Thursday, June 28, 2007 at 9:00 AM PDT in the Competition Arena.

Finalists will have one (1) day to compete and submit their final design. During the competition, finalists will also have a brief public feedback period with the judges. Judges will give the finalists their initial impressions of each design. Finalists will have time to incorporate this feedback into their design as they work toward finalizing their submission.

Finalists must use the workstation provided by TopCoder Studio during the competition. This workstation will contain the following:

  • A PC running Windows XP
  • Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop installed
  • The open-source graphic programs GIMP and InkScape
  • A sketchpad, pencils and pencil sharpener
  • Limited Internet access to the following sites only:
    • Each finalist will have an account with $20 credit available for stock photos

Finalists may bring the following:

  • Their own keyboard
  • Up to two (2) design reference books, such as color guides, typography references, etc. However, template books (or books containing any template ideas) may NOT be used.

Competitors may not bring any other materials (including flash disks, magazines, or sketches). Keyboards must be given to the technical team at least one (1) hour before the competition begins and reference materials must be evaluated by TopCoder at least 30 minutes before the competition begins. TopCoder reserves the right, at any point in the onsite competition, to confiscate any reference materials it deems inappropriate for any reason whatsoever.

The winner of the 2007 TopCoder Open SDC will be determined at the judges' discretion.

About the Prizes

All contestants who submit designs that pass screening for at least two (2) TCO design contests during the online competition will receive a prize. The tournament will award $30,000 in cash prizes. Any and all applicable taxes on prizes are the sole responsibility of the prizewinner.

Competitor(s) Design Prize
1st place finisher* in the Championship Round $15,000
2nd place finisher* in the Championship Round $7,200
3rd place finisher* in the Championship Round $3,600
4th place finisher* in the Championship Round $1,800
5th place finisher* in the Championship Round $600
6th place finisher* in the Championship Round $600
7th place finisher* in the Championship Round $600
8th place finisher* in the Championship Round $600
Online participants who pass screening for at least two contests Limited edition 2007
TopCoder Open t-shirt
* Prize will be awarded after the conclusion of the Championship Round. Winner must be present at the onsite round to receive prize.

In order for onsite finalists to receive their onsite cash prize, they must first complete all TCO-related work for all online rounds and the Championship Round.

Conditions of Participation

By participating in the tournament, you agree to be bound by these rules and to all decisions of TopCoder, which are final, binding and conclusive in all matters. Also, by participating in this tournament, you consent to providing certain information to the title sponsor. Such information shall include the information contained in your TopCoder member profile, as well as your competition statistics.

Contestants must not cheat. All ideas for work and/or challenge submitted must be the contestant's alone. TopCoder uses the word "cheat" to mean collaboration of any sort - including, but not limited to, working with another competitor, submitting work that was not fully authored by you, and using resources, software, etc. that are not allowed in TopCoder competitions. TopCoder reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to remove any competitor from the tournament whom it suspects has cheated.

All decisions relating to the viability of submissions, the ranking of submissions and all other matters pertaining to the tournament shall be within the sole discretion of TopCoder or its designee and shall be final and binding in all respects.

As a condition of participation in the tournament, all information provided by you in your TopCoder member profile must be comprehensive, accurate and up-to-date. TopCoder may require you to complete an additional registration form to register for the tournament. In order to be eligible to participate in the tournament, you must have completed any and all registration forms required by TopCoder.

Contestants who advance to the onsite Championship Round must complete the following items and submit them to TopCoder by 5:00 PM EDT on Friday, May 11, 2007:

  • Confirmation of attendance/proof of travel documents - Please email Jessie D'Amato Ford to confirm your attendance onsite. If you require a passport and/or visa to visit the United States, you must show proof of your documents via a scanned copy of the necessary documents.
  • Please submit a photo, if we do not have one on file for you.
  • Please ensure your most up-to-date information is listed in your TopCoder profile in the event we need to mail your plane tickets or contact you via telephone.
  • Competitor Questionnaire - the questions and responses may be published in the 2007 TopCoder Open program
  • Travel form - provides TopCoder with the appropriate travel information for your trip to the onsite tournament rounds
  • Affidavit of Eligibility and Liability and Publicity Release
    • TopCoder must receive the original copy of a notarized affidavit unless a notarized affidavit is already on file with TopCoder. The document must be postmarked by May 11, 2007, and must be sent in such a manner that it will arrive at TopCoder no later than June 3, 2007.
    • If TopCoder already has a notarized affidavit and a tax form on file for a contestant, that contestant may affirm the affidavit online.
  • Applicable tax form (unless one is already on file with TopCoder)

Failure to submit the above items on time will result in a forfeiture of advancement as an onsite finalist. In that case, the competitor with the next highest cumulative placement points will advance.

All prizes (cash prizes and participatory prizes) will be sent within 60 days of the Championship Round. Unclaimed or undeliverable prizes will be forfeited. Competitors who do not submit the required information listed above by the applicable deadlines will forfeit their prizes.

As a condition of participation in the tournament, all information provided by you in your TopCoder member profile must be comprehensive, accurate and up-to-date. TopCoder may require you to complete an additional registration form to register for the tournament. In order to be eligible to participate in the tournament, you must have completed any and all registration forms required by TopCoder.

As a condition of winning and redeeming a cash prize, certain contestants will be required to submit a completed (i) Competitor Questionnaire, (ii) Affidavit of Eligibility and Liability and Publicity Release, (iii) IRS Form W-9 or W-8BEN, as appropriate if one is not already on file with TopCoder, and (iv) Travel Form. In completing the Affidavit of Eligibility and Liability and Publicity Release, a cash prize winner (a) confirms his/her eligibility, (b) represents and warrants that he/she has not cheated; that the idea for the code and/or challenge submitted is his/hers alone, (c) verifies the accuracy of the demographic information submitted to, and contained in, the TopCoder member database, (d) authorizes TopCoder to publicize the tournament's results, (e) agrees to sign any applicable forms required by tax authorities, (f) licenses to TopCoder rights to all information submitted during the tournament (including rights to source code and other executables), and (g) releases TopCoder from liability arising out of any prize won. TopCoder requires contestants to complete the Form W-9 or W-8BEN for tax reporting purposes. If prize notification is returned as undeliverable, or if the cash prize winner fails to return the Questionnaire, Affidavit, W-9 or W-8BEN, or travel form, as specified, the cash prize winner will be disqualified and the prize money won by the disqualified cash prize winner will be forfeited. Providing false information in the registration process or in the required forms described in this paragraph will disqualify a cash prize winner.

By participating in a tournament and redeeming a prize, a winner releases and agrees to hold harmless TopCoder, its affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies, sponsors, and prize suppliers, and all of their respective directors, officers, employees, representatives and agents, from and against any and all liability for any loss, property damage or damage to person, including without limitation, death and injury, due in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, from or arising out of participation in this tournament, or participation in any tournament-related activity, or the receipt, use or misuse of a prize. TopCoder specifically disclaims all liability associated with, and makes no warranties with regard to, any prize given.

In addition, all prizewinners agree to cooperate with TopCoder's publicity efforts, without further compensation. This includes the agreement to use their name, handle, address (city and state) and likeness for publicity purposes, where legal, for this or similar future tournaments, and to use the statements made by, or attributed to, the winners relating to TopCoder and any and all rights to said use, without further compensation. Furthermore, all prizewinners agree to promptly notify TopCoder if a third-party, including tournament sponsors, contacts the prizewinner regarding employment opportunities and/or media interest as a result of the prizewinner's participation in the tournament.

TopCoder reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to revoke any and all privileges associated with competing in this tournament, and to take any other action it deems appropriate, for no reason or any reason whatsoever, including if TopCoder suspects competitors of cheating, tampering with the entry process, the operation of the Web site, or the tournament process, or otherwise being in violation of the rules. TopCoder reserves the right to cancel, terminate or modify the tournament if it is not capable of completion as planned for any reason, including infection by computer virus, bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention or technical failures of any sort.


The tournament is void in whole or in part where prohibited by law.

A list of tournament winners by coder handles will be available on the web site at, and will be displayed for at least 3 months after the end of the tournament.

This tournament is brought to you by TopCoder, Inc. ( 703 Hebron Avenue (now 95 Glastonbury Blvd), Glastonbury, CT 06033. AOL LLC is not responsible for any aspect of the Tournament.