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Hi. I'm Andrew. Audio portal junkie since 2010, supporter since January 2017. I always want to improve what I do! I make music, run the NGUAC, and am active in the writing forum. I love this site, and I want to make it the best I can. :) Formerly TheDoor6

Andrew Mikula @TaintedLogic

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Bates College

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Joined on 8/16/12

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NGUAC 2021 Rules

Posted by TaintedLogic - July 15th, 2021

This is a list of rules and scheduling details for the NGUAC 2021, an annual audio contest here on Newgrounds. If anything is unclear, please leave a comment below.


  • Submit a piece to the Knock-out or Final Round that you worked on before the round started
  • Submit a collaboration as your tryout piece when you’re not on a team
  • Update your track in the project system during the judging phase
  • Submit your track after the deadline
  • Use copyrighted or stolen content


SECTION I: General track requirements

1. If you are entering as a solo artist (i.e., not part of a team), YOU CANNOT SUBMIT A COLLABORATION to the competition. If you are entering as a team, you cannot collaborate with anyone besides your teammate. Having someone sing or play an instrument for you is fine, but you must still compose the music and lyrics yourself AND mix/master the piece. Your singer/instrumentalist is not allowed to improvise for your track.

2. You may only submit one song per round.

3. The pieces you make for the competition should be full-length songs, of any musical genre you want. No comedy pieces, sound effect reels, or voice acting.

4. You may have pre-packaged loops and samples in your piece, but overusing presets may compromise your track’s originality. Songs that use full-length acapella vocal tracks or drum loops with little modification - even if they’re not copyrighted - will be accepted on a case-by-case basis.

5. For tryouts, it's okay to submit covers, arrangements, remixes, remakes, mash-ups, and pieces with samples downloaded from the internet.

6. In the Knock-out and Final rounds, covers, arrangements, VIPs, mash-ups, remakes, and remixes are not allowed. 

7. YOU MUST SUBMIT YOUR SONG TO NEWGROUNDS and follow the NG Audio Portal regulations. No submissions from Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Spotify, etc. will be accepted! Also, make sure you actually press “publish audio” - the judges can’t access your piece if it’s left unpublished in the project system. 

8. You may submit a song to the NGUAC that you had previously submitted to another contest on NG, like the NGADM or AIM.

9. In order to submit a track, post a link to your song in this forum thread. You can also change it by CLEARLY stating in the thread that you’d like to change it, but only during the submission phase.

SECTION II: Schedule-related rules

1. The contest has 3 distinct rounds (tryouts, a knock-out round, and finals) each consisting of a submission phase of roughly 2 weeks and a judging phase of 4-9 days. 

2. There is a separate forum thread for each round. Participants submit their songs by posting a link to the song in the corresponding forum thread.  

3. PARTICIPANTS MAY NOT start working on their Knock-out or Final Round tracks until the corresponding forum thread is posted. You also can’t create samples for the purpose of using them in a Knock-out or Final round piece before that corresponding round begins.

4. No one is allowed to update their track (i.e., replace or delete the audio file in Newgrounds' Project System) during the judging phases until results are released for the following round.

5. All submission phases close at 23:59 (11:59 p.m.) Eastern Daylight Time on the final date of each phase (see the schedule below). Submission phases open as soon as the forum thread for that round is up.

6. Immediately after the tryout submission phase, the participants will be grouped evenly based on their fan totals. This ensures that the best of the “Underdogs” advance as far as possible without directly competing with more experienced and knowledgeable musicians. It’s kinda the premise of the entire competition.

7. Late submissions will be accepted until 24 hours after the deadline with a “tax” on your score, according to the following paradigm: 

Hours late = percentage off final score

<1 = 5% 

1-3 = 10% 

3-6 = 15%

6-24 = 20%

>24 = 100%

If you’re, say, EXACTLY 3 hours late, your submission will fall in the “3-6 hours” category. 



1. Participants are allowed to enter the competition as a team of two.

2. If the members of your team would otherwise be placed in different groups as solo artists, the team will be placed in the group corresponding to the highest fan total among its members (e.x., if one member has 20 fans and the other has 60, and the All Stars each have 50 fans or more, the team will compete in the All Stars group).

3. Both members of a team must contribute to all of the pieces submitted as part of the contest. You can’t just submit a collab as your audition piece when your team member is AWOL for the rest of the contest.

4. Teams of more than 2 are not permitted, even if your band of 3+ members shares one Newgrounds account.


SECTION IV: Code of conduct

1. If you have any complaints about judges’ scores or the contest in general, please PM THEM instead of getting combative in the thread. Standard BBS and Audio Portal rules ALWAYS apply.

2. The judges give participants a score out of 10 by considering a variety of parameters. These parameters may vary by judge. Scores are averaged among the judges to determine who advances to future rounds. Most rounds, a given judge won’t score all of the competitors; we’ll divide it up by group. 


1. Prizes will include forum signatures for the top 3 finishers boasting of their success in the competition, as well as spots on the front page of the Audio Portal the week after the competition.


Contest Schedule:

Phase - Start date - End date

Tryout submission - 7/15 - 8/6

Tryout judging - 8/7 - 8/15

K-O submission - 8/15 - 8/29

K-O judging - 8/30 - 9/3

Final submission - 9/3 - 9/17

Final judging - 9/18 - 9/21

Thank you in advance for following the rules. Good luck and (most importantly) have fun! :D


Comments (15)

Smiles on your faces, winning or losing. Any outcome benefits you as a musician :D

Can a full length song for tryouts be 7 minutes roughly?

Yes. There are no time limits or anything. Just know that really long tracks tend to either be overly repetitive or not musically cohesive, which could lower your score. That said, we've definitely had successful submissions that are 6+ minutes before. Good luck! ^^

@Teckmo-X @TaintedLogic oh well then let's see if this works out. It'll be fun. I'm gonna give it my all as always!

@TaintedLogic I've a doubt, in the tryout submission, It's allowed submit a remix track?

Yes, you can submit a remix for the tryout round. After this round, only originals though. Thanks and good luck! ^^

Good luck to everyone, see you on the battlefield!

Guess this will be my chance to slow down on working on music, and focus on making it as good as possible instead of just sending it out when I view it as acceptable.

Will there be a tag-everyone post like in the last years NGUAC? I'm kinda concerned about if i got in the next round or not xD

You can view whether you're into the next round or not here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1MwpyBBtxtCa_0dXBzwmBd6s4ns-lO6hZcubCV_OoL64/edit#gid=789796311. Looks like you are! Congratulations. I'll send PMs to everyone who made it to confirm their participation in the KO Round.

"3. PARTICIPANTS MAY NOT start working on their Knock-out or Final Round tracks until the corresponding forum thread is posted. You also can’t create samples for the purpose of using them in a Knock-out or Final round piece before that corresponding round begins."

How can you be sure that someone hasn't worked on their song at all before the round starts? Since there's cash prizes on the line, I have little faith that there won't be any cheaters.

That's a good point. It's hard to be sure, admittedly, but usually I do scour people's YouTube and SoundCloud accounts for evidence that they've submitted a piece with the same name or exact length before.

@Immitis @TaintedLogic Brainstormed on this for a bit. Maybe make people send their project file from whatever DAW they used? Creation date should be in the file, some DAWs like FL Studio can even show when the work was started. Not perfect but still something.

That's a good idea. We might just do that for the final round, when the stakes are the highest and there are relatively few submissions to keep track of. Thanks again for the suggestion! :)

Can we use pre-existing mix templates? I have a few with drums already set up, guitar EQ/settings already present, etc.

Thanks for asking. Can you provide me a link that explains in greater detail what it is you're using? I'll take a look at it tomorrow.

@Wahnsinn2 @TaintedLogic If you Google "mix template" you'll see loads of relevant results. Mind you I've built mine from scratch (no pre-downloaded mix templates) so it's still 100% my doing. Think of it like presets - except it's for a full mix (bass, guitars, drums, vocals, reverbs, etc.)

Very well. After doing my homework, this is okay with me. Thanks again for checking and good luck in the contest.

@Wahnsinn2 @TaintedLogic @TaintedLogic Thanks brother!

I have a lot of questions in my mind. Im new here in newgrounds so I dont really know what is NGUAC but I have already read it. My first question is can I still submit my own even if its late? If not is there a way to enter here? If yes where can I send my submission, is it in a forum or private message? I hope you could answer my questions becuase I wanted to join in this contest.

Sorry man. You're a little late to join the contest - the deadline was August 1. That said, I've added you to the PM list for next year, so you'll get notified when the next one starts. Also, I believe @Everratic is hosting a VGM contest starting on September 20, so watch out for that in the forums! Cheers.

@TaintedLogic I have a minor question regarding the fan total.
Since I'm in the Underdogs category but my fan total right now is 14 fans (increased in the past 11 days), am I going to get moved to the Professional Amateurs group when the judging phase begins or will I stay in the Underdogs category?
If I get moved to a new category, will I have another set of judges who will review my submission or will I still have the previous judges from my tryout piece?
Thanks in advance!

Participants don't change groups in the middle of the contest. I logged everyone's fan totals the night before the tryouts submission deadline, and that's where you'll stay for the duration of the contest. However, you might get a new set of judges anyway. We try to switch up who is judging which group every round. Thanks for asking!

May I create an "EP" and upload sections as songs for their respective knockout round?
For clarificication, the EP would be completed when the knockout rounds are finished, so no piece would be created in advance.

Thanks for asking. As long as the section of the EP that you're submitting to the contest was made entirely within the timeframe of the KO Round (i.e., since August 16), yes you may. Good luck with the EP and in the contest!