Who says (virtual) crime doesn't pay? Jason Rohrer, developer of controversial house defense and burglary game The Castle Doctrine, is taking $3,000 from the game's alpha-period earnings and offering it up as a bounty to any and all players during a special contest to celebrate the game's impending January 29 release date. The current exchange rate is $146 in-game dollars to $1 real-world dollar, so the more money you have in game, the more money you can claim. While the $3,000 bounty will be divided amongst all players, only the best (worst?) criminals can also win some other real-life prizes.

The top eight players will receive various items that touch on Rohrer's personal history. Sixth through eighth place will receive a $50 gift card to Custom Cartridge, a guns and ammunition store Rohrer visited, second through fifth place will receive an anti-burglary device known as a Door Devil, while first place gets a dog club - "the club that started it all," as Rohrer describes it. Each of the top eight players will also get to have their favorite in-game painting become a real-life, 20x20" giclee-printed canvas.

Players have until 5 p.m. Pacific on Monday, January 27 to amass their virtual fortune, at which point Rohrer will take a snapshot of the server database. The top eight players will be ranked according to their house value, so long as that house is on the public house list, and not kept private.

You can read more about the contest, as well as its rewards and rules, on the official Castle Doctrine site.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.