Bohemia Interactive, best known for the ARMA series of military simulations, seems to have quietly built a competitor to Manticore Games' "Core" platform called "Ylands," and they're holding their first "Creators Competition" event.
Intended as a year long series of contests, this first run goes from October through December of this year. The top five entries will win a cash prize (first place wins $3,000 USD), as well as unique items to show off to other Ylands users. Additionally, there will be large numbers of "Coyns" (a virtual currency for Ylands) awarded to creators who come up with the best entries in certain genres such as Best Action RPG, Best Puzzle Game, and Best Composition. And each participant, win or lose, will receive a free virtual hat for their avatars. The contest's official entry form can be found here.
Ylands is powered by the Unity engine. It is currently free to download on Steam, the Microsoft Store, the iOS App Store, and Google Play. Creators have the capability to monetize their compositions (presumably even the ones which win in a contest season) to earn Coyns, and members of the Ylands Creators' Club will at some point be able to convert Coyns into actual currency.
Food For Thought
Ylands is a gutsy move for Bohemia Interactive, but the relative lack of announcements about it is oddly encouraging. Unlike Manticore Games, which seems to be going the typical Silicon Valley startup route with multiple rounds of investment from outside sources, Bohemia Interactive seems to be taking things more sedately. The Bohemia Incubator division has been very low key, and Ylands seems to be the result of their work. It'll be interesting to see how this contest raises Ylands and Bohemia Interactive's profile over the course of the next year. And it'll be equally interesting to see if any projects make the jump out of Ylands.