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Open Game Design - dream or possibility?

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Lately I have thought a lot about something I call "Open Game Design". As the term implies it''s about trying to apply the same philosophies as "Open Source" does to software development but to computer game design. Having all interested parties take part in designing a game and thus applying a sort of "natural selection" to all ideas during the design process sounds like a promising concept to me. Or does it only work in theory? I recently set up a discussion board about this concept, using the design of a Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG) as an example. So if any of you reading this thinks this sounds like a fun thing to discuss you are welcome to take a look at the forum. http://ogd.board.dk3.com/ Regards, Henrik

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I would think that the phrase "no army run by committee has ever won a war" would apply here. A game has to have one person or _small_ team to direct the flow of effort. For certain, everyone should be able to offer suggestions or criticism, but someone (or a couple of people) have to have the authority to limit the feature creep. Nice idea as a theory, though.



ShadeStorm, the Day_Glo Fish

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quote:
Original post by ShadeStorm
I would think that the phrase "no army run by committee has ever won a war" would apply here. A game has to have one person or _small_ team to direct the flow of effort. For certain, everyone should be able to offer suggestions or criticism, but someone (or a couple of people) have to have the authority to limit the feature creep. Nice idea as a theory, though.


That''s probably true, and my initiative does not exclude an organisation where there is a commander at the top who makes the important decisions. This is more or less how Linux development works, for example. A few dedicated people sit at the top and choses direction for the project as a whole, while the people below do most of the work.

To take your military analogue further, a top ranking general does not want to bother with the details on how to get food to his troops at the front - this is work for the lesser commanders. Game design is (should be) full of such "minor" tasks which still need a lot of work to get a good end result, isn''t it?

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quote:

Having all interested parties take part in designing a game and thus applying a sort of "natural selection" to all ideas during the design process sounds like a promising concept to me. Or does it only work in theory?



I think you answered your own question...how would your "natural selection" work? Is it possable for one memeber to convice others that thier ideas are better when it comes time to vote/decide what stays and what goes? And if one person/or group has the ability to control/influence this "natural selection"...then really, how truely open is the design process anyway?



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I think the problem you´re going to run into is that most game designers worth their salt who have enough free time to contribute to a big problem like that don´t want to spend time on "minor issues", besides, game design work is much harder to structure than say UI programming.... game design teams take a long time to form, and most design issues will influence a lot of other parts as well... the way I see it is that one or maybe two main designers could do the job, the rest of the team would just be supplying ideas for the chief designer to incorporate at his discretion.
Nonetheless, it´s an interesting idea to explore, although I believe that due to the large interdependancies a lot of effort will go to waste - and I´m not even talking about the problems coordinating a team via the net.

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Original post by MSW
I think you answered your own question...how would your "natural selection" work?

Hopefully time and peer review will do the job, i.e. if an idea survives for a long time, probably after being discussed quite thorougly, it''s probably a good idea.

quote:
Is it possable for one memeber to convice others that thier ideas are better when it comes time to vote/decide what stays and what goes?

A member should only "convice others" by argumenting his or her idea. This of course puts people with good language skills at an opportunity, but in an environment with open minded people, I think other members are willing to help "pushing" another persons ideas.

quote:
And if one person/or group has the ability to control/influence this "natural selection"...then really, how truely open is the design process anyway?

That person has no power over the natural selection process, but he or she might have the power to choose between two "equally good" "competing" ideas in order to get somewhere instead of argumenting between the two forever.

/Henrik

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Original post by Hase
I think the problem you´re going to run into is that most game designers worth their salt who have enough free time to contribute to a big problem like that don´t want to spend time on "minor issues"

I think are quite a few people "worth their salt" who are not currently employed in the industry. Maybe because they have another job, but are interested in game design as a "spare time project", for example. As a comparison, I don''t think many Microsoft programmers are involved in the Open Source community, but that''s probably for better than for worse!

quote:
besides, game design work is much harder to structure than say UI programming.... game design teams take a long time to form, and most design issues will influence a lot of other parts as well... the way I see it is that one or maybe two main designers could do the job, the rest of the team would just be supplying ideas for the chief designer to incorporate at his discretion.

This is a very good point, and maybe that is how "Open Game Design" should work? Maybe it should vary between projects; some projects might require an autocrat as an leader while others will do well with a democratic leader.

quote:
Nonetheless, it´s an interesting idea to explore, although I believe that due to the large interdependancies a lot of effort will go to waste - and I´m not even talking about the problems coordinating a team via the net.

Oh, I don''t think coordinating a team via the net is that a big problem nowadays. Email, instant messaging, IP-telephony and other communication tools more or less eliminates the problems of a geographically separated team (judging from my own experiences).

/Henrik


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quote:

To take your military analogue further, a top ranking general does not want to bother with the details on how to get food to his troops at the front - this is work for the lesser commanders. Game design is (should be) full of such "minor" tasks which still need a lot of work to get a good end result, isn''t it?



no, no, no...you are talking about management...not game design here...to any game designer worth thier wieght in gold...those "minor" tasks are just as important as the major ones...simply because the "minor" tasks are used to bring balance to the major ones.


The top ranking general still needs to qualify the ways in which food is delivered to his troops...does it set up some supply route that can be exploited by the enemy? does it boost troop morale to have a wide range of foods available? Am I in a posision in which this matters?...a general can trust his sub-commanders to take care of food supply...but this is management principals in action...the general still needs to decide if turning such tasks over to sub-commanders is worthwhile, as well as judgeing if they are doing a good job at it...but that is management...the general still has to concern himself with the issue.

a game design still must concern himself with the "minor" issues...does it contribute to the overall design, or is it useless no matter how cool it is? What effect does this have on other issues? Is there a better way to handle this? What limits will this impose on the game?

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Good points all, but I believe that most objections are valid. For one, most game designers are somewhat introverted, self-centered personalities (I know I´m overgeneralising, but hear me out) - by this I mean that most game designers have very clear beliefs about what works and what doesn´t. This doesn´t imply that they can´t be criticised, but once a designer is past the "we´re just tossing around ideas" point it is usally very hard to change his mind. So working on details between two people is a difficult process (nonetheless a very, very productive one), with more than three people involved this becomes nearly impossible.
The thing about "supplying ideas" might work, but just doing that is not the rewarding thign about gd, what most people want is for their ideas to be discussed, taken apart, examined and reassembled in an improved version. Feedback.

As for some of the ideas on reviews, I like the notion that all can be done in an open and democratic way, but that´s not the way it works. Not with the number of people you´re suggesting. Anythign more than three becomes unable to make deceisions, and if you put a dictator in power then a lot of the members may feel left out...

About the coordination issues: I know that working over great distances has become much easier, but when it comes to game design the best thing by a long shot is a room with a table and a flipchart. And by long shot I mean a really, really long shot.

@MSW:
I don´t think that all minor issues necessarily have an impact on the whole, at least if you´re at a point where the lead designer can give specifications about what´s to be done.

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@henrikb:

I´ve had a look at you board, while I still think that the idea might be useful, at least for gathering ideas, there are some problems there: First, your categories seem rather arbitrary and incomplete, mixing important issues with minor ones, there isn´t much of an overall structure... if you´re aiming at creating a GD you have to attempt to cover everything, in a structured way if possible. If you have worked out a structure for your chapters you´ll have a list of ingredients for a MMORPG. Then you can start filling in content.
Second, you have to distinguish between critical items and non-critical issues. For example, the topic about "boredom" is more of a general, philosophical or sociological question and does not belong within a GD.
Still it would be interesting to see where this thing goes.

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http://www.octdev.com/tyr/ ~ Tyr Project
Just begun. If you're really interested in "open game development" check it out. Might be what you're looking for.

"The human mind is limited only by the bounds which we impose upon ourselves." -iNfuSeD

[edited by - iNfuSeD on October 20, 2002 11:39:12 PM]

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quote:
Original post by Hase
@henrikb:
I´ve had a look at you board, while I still think that the idea might be useful, at least for gathering ideas, there are some problems there: First, your categories seem rather arbitrary and incomplete, mixing important issues with minor ones, there isn´t much of an overall structure...

Yes, but the categories are just meant as examples, and the choice of categories to discuss should also be an open issue. Some categories will probably be closed when there is nothing more to discuss, while others might be created at a later phase in the project.

quote:
if you´re aiming at creating a GD you have to attempt to cover everything, in a structured way if possible. If you have worked out a structure for your chapters you´ll have a list of ingredients for a MMORPG. Then you can start filling in content.

Yes, that''s the way I intended it to work, but I didn''t want to do this on my own since it would make me into a dictator Having other people help choosing what to discuss is part of the "openess" in the project. Maybe I only should have created one category called "What categories need to be on this board in order to cover everything needed?"

quote:
Second, you have to distinguish between critical items and non-critical issues. For example, the topic about "boredom" is more of a general, philosophical or sociological question and does not belong within a GD.
Still it would be interesting to see where this thing goes.

I have to disagree with that. Surely, a game''s design influences if a lot of the players find the game boring or not. Therefore, I think it''s something that should be taken into account when the game is designed. Avoiding boredom must be an important goal of any game''s design, must it not?

/Henrik

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quote:
Original post by Hase
Good points all, but I believe that most objections are valid. For one, most game designers are somewhat introverted, self-centered personalities (I know I´m overgeneralising, but hear me out) - by this I mean that most game designers have very clear beliefs about what works and what doesn´t. This doesn´t imply that they can´t be criticised, but once a designer is past the "we´re just tossing around ideas" point it is usally very hard to change his mind.

This is probably a good quality for some types of games, especially smaller projects, but for a MMORPG with ambitions to be an "alternate universe" I don''t think that one person alone can and should be the sole architect. A person probably have certain aspects of the design which thinks is more fun or more important and those are the aspects the person will focus on. But where does this leave the aspects which the Designer finds boring or even unimportant? How much time and love will the designer set aside for those? Bringing in another persons who burns for thos issues must be much better!?

I am a software architect myself, but not in the game industry and I certainly have areas of the system which I care less or more about. I have happily turned over some parts of the system design to people who find those parts much more rewarding to work with that I do.

quote:
So working on details between two people is a difficult process (nonetheless a very, very productive one), with more than three people involved this becomes nearly impossible.
The thing about "supplying ideas" might work, but just doing that is not the rewarding thign about gd, what most people want is for their ideas to be discussed, taken apart, examined and reassembled in an improved version. Feedback.

Exactly! Providing feedback should be one of the most important goals of an OGD project, but instead of a room full of people you''ve got a world full of people. Throw out an idea and come back in a few days and you will have two or three equally good refined ideas to choose from. Furthermore, you can count on that all weak spots have been found and eliminated in these new ideas, because "Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow".

quote:
As for some of the ideas on reviews, I like the notion that all can be done in an open and democratic way, but that´s not the way it works. Not with the number of people you´re suggesting. Anythign more than three becomes unable to make deceisions, and if you put a dictator in power then a lot of the members may feel left out...

People will always feel left out if there idea is not the chosen one, but if the selection process is as democratic as possible I think all open minded people will accept that the "best" idea won and that is was for the the good of the game. If not, they are always free to start their own project!

/Henrik

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Guest Anonymous Poster
why not just try it and find out if it will work or not?
make 1 game this way and you will no categorically.

also
"The human mind is limited only by the bounds which we impose upon ourselves." -iNfuSeD
why do you keep saying that.
i must have seen it a half dozen times in variuous forums.

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quote:
Original post by Hase
For one, most game designers are somewhat introverted, self-centered personalities (I know I´m overgeneralising, but hear me out) - by this I mean that most game designers have very clear beliefs about what works and what doesn´t. This doesn´t imply that they can´t be criticised, but once a designer is past the "we´re just tossing around ideas" point it is usally very hard to change his mind.


I think this will really lead to the problem of hanging onto dedicated members. I envision many of the people just going off to do start their own project. This is, of course, assuming that you could even attract enough people to the project for it to become useful. It would probably only work with a relatively large amount of people on-board and contributing consistently.

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quote:
Original post by iNfuSeD
http://www.octdev.com/tyr/ ~ Tyr Project
Just begun. If you''re really interested in "open game development" check it out. Might be what you''re looking for.

I just read the introductory texts you have published and, yes, your project seems to be very similar to what I had in mind!

Though, there seems to be a little too much bureaucracy for my taste, but that''s maybe just a way to "scare the wrong kind of people" away, i.e. you only want dedicated people to take part in the project!?

I think that it should be very easy for anyone to contribute to the project, so that you don''t scare someone with a good idea away. I must admit that I did not spend too much time on your site, but I will take a better look at it later today.

/Henrik

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quote:
Original post by henrikb
Lately I have thought a lot about something I call "Open Game Design". As the term implies it''s about trying to apply the same philosophies as "Open Source" does to software development but to computer game design.

Having all interested parties take part in designing a game and thus applying a sort of "natural selection" to all ideas during the design process sounds like a promising concept to me. Or does it only work in theory?

In Open Source, there are a few critical ingredients to success:

  1. One or a few individuals must come up with a basic premise for a tool/program, and provide a working version that potential users and co-developers can evaluate. This working version will determine whether the project attracts developers or not.


  2. A common language, vocabulary and set of tools exists (programming languages, design patterns, etc) which maximizes the communications efficiency between participants. With game design, many ideas and terms are both abstract and debatable. It will be almost necessary to first define a base set of terms, and constantly expand this vocabulary to facilitate higher-level discussion. These are things that Computer Science has done for the programming community for over 50 years.


  3. Systematic peer review in a rigorous environment coupled with self selection (an individual has to choose to learn to program, then choose to contribute to a project) ensures high product quality. In effect, the barriers to entry are high for the general populace but relatively low for software developers.


All that said, I think the idea is interesting and worthwhile, but will be quite challenging.

quote:

I think that it should be very easy for anyone to contribute to the project, so that you don''t scare someone with a good idea away. I must admit that I did not spend too much time on your site, but I will take a better look at it later today.

In Open Source, while it is theoretically easy for "anyone" to start a project, it isn''t quite so easy for "anyone" to lead a successful project. Competence and ability must be demonstrated, and I think the same is necessary here (otherwise much effort will be squandered on idinviduals without the drive and skills to bring ideas to fruition - which will have a very negative effect on the Open Game Design community).

When an individual without the appropriate level of skill has an idea and wishes the start an Open Source project (or extend an existing one), the options are to a.) nicely request that someone with the required skills looks into it; b.) pay someone to do it; or c.) grab a textbook and start learning. I suggest something similar for OGD: rigor is a necessity for efficiency, and if this community cannot exhibit greater overall efficiency and productivity than traditional methods, it will die.

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Original post by beantas
I think this will really lead to the problem of hanging onto dedicated members. I envision many of the people just going off to do start their own project. This is, of course, assuming that you could even attract enough people to the project for it to become useful. It would probably only work with a relatively large amount of people on-board and contributing consistently.

This is an important point! An OGD project is probably very dependant on dedicated members and, at least if you want to maximize the "natural selection", many members! But which project isn''t dependent on its members and if a project wants to reach new heights it''s also dependent on dedicated members.

This holds for commercial projects as well, since having a top notch game designer running a project he''s fed up with won''t help the game. The designer will either quit his job or create a game which is not as good as it "should" have been.

I think a lot of gamers (who might actually be potential game designers!) are not satisfied with todays "state-of-the-art" games. They probably have numerous ideas on how to improve certain aspects of the game, but would never dream of creating their own game. However, they might want to participate in another project by providing valuable feedback and comments on certain (minor) aspects from time to time.

/Henrik

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quote:
Original post by Oluseyi
In Open Source, there are a few critical ingredients to success:

  1. One or a few individuals must come up with a basic premise for a tool/program, and provide a working version that potential users and co-developers can evaluate. This working version will determine whether the project attracts developers or not.


This is probably the most critical point in the project. Hopefully it will be possible to start an OGD project around a game idea which none of the commercial companies would accept. Taken a step further, this could lead to completely new types of games, but I''m not naive enough to think that this will be the case. At least not for the first OGD projects. The first projects will probably be heavily influenced (I didn''t say copies!) by existing games.

quote:
  • A common language, vocabulary and set of tools exists (programming languages, design patterns, etc) which maximizes the communications efficiency between participants. With game design, many ideas and terms are both abstract and debatable. It will be almost necessary to first define a base set of terms, and constantly expand this vocabulary to facilitate higher-level discussion. These are things that Computer Science has done for the programming community for over 50 years.


  • These are very insightful comments and probably requires some thought before OGD can proceed beyond the stage of "interesting concept". Perhaps people here can help with that?

    quote:
  • Systematic peer review in a rigorous environment coupled with self selection (an individual has to choose to learn to program, then choose to contribute to a project) ensures high product quality. In effect, the barriers to entry are high for the general populace but relatively low for software developers.


  • This is also a very interesting observation, but many open source projects actually have forums of different kinds where even laymen and simple users are allowed to make suggestions. That way, one does not have to study computer science and learn a programming language before "contributing" to an Open Source project. Similar methods can probably be used in OGD.

    quote:

    All that said, I think the idea is interesting and worthwhile, but will be quite challenging.

    Nice to hear that you liked the idea. In fact, I have been quite surprised by the quality of feedback I have received on this idea here in the forum!

    quote:
    In Open Source, while it is theoretically easy for "anyone" to start a project, it isn''t quite so easy for "anyone" to lead a successful project. Competence and ability must be demonstrated, and I think the same is necessary here (otherwise much effort will be squandered on idinviduals without the drive and skills to bring ideas to fruition - which will have a very negative effect on the Open Game Design community).

    True, but is this really such a great problem? "Natural selection" should work equally well on the project level as it will on the idea level, i.e. "bad" project will probably die out while the "good" ones survive. But I agree that there is a risk with having too many "bad" projects around, since people might get reluctant to put time and work into a project which they don''t know if they will survive or not.

    quote:
    When an individual without the appropriate level of skill has an idea and wishes the start an Open Source project (or extend an existing one), the options are to a.) nicely request that someone with the required skills looks into it; b.) pay someone to do it; or c.) grab a textbook and start learning. I suggest something similar for OGD: rigor is a necessity for efficiency, and if this community cannot exhibit greater overall efficiency and productivity than traditional methods, it will die.

    Ah, the parallels with Open Source seem to be manifold! Who knows, perhaps we will see OGD "think tank" companies emerging all around who will sell their "idea refining services" to game companies?

    Thank you for these valuablue contributions - I will have to think about this for some time...

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    quote:
    Original post by henrikb
    This is probably the most critical point in the project. Hopefully it will be possible to start an OGD project around a game idea which none of the commercial companies would accept. Taken a step further, this could lead to completely new types of games, but I''m not naive enough to think that this will be the case. At least not for the first OGD projects. The first projects will probably be heavily influenced (I didn''t say copies!) by existing games.

    There''s a saying that comes up often on these pages - usually when someone claims to be reluctant to divulge details about their game idea for fear of someone "stealing" it: (paraphrased) ideas are cheap; implementation is what counts.

    This is what makes the concept of OGD so difficult to readily embrace. While we all believe that there are lots and lots of people with excellent ideas around here, if the objective is to translate those ideas into workable models and demonstrable (and hopefully marketable) products, then we need to first see some implementation - it can be extension of an existing game (eg a mod) - to convince us it''s feasible and worthwhile. This raises the barriers to entry somewhat and lowers the pool of possible initiators.

    quote:

    This is also a very interesting observation, but many open source projects actually have forums of different kinds where even laymen and simple users are allowed to make suggestions. That way, one does not have to study computer science and learn a programming language before "contributing" to an Open Source project. Similar methods can probably be used in OGD.

    But these individuals cannot start new projects in Open Source. Their prestige rewards are also low because they can''t code and therefore can''t actually engage in debugging or adding new features. In essence, they are fringe players whose opinions are only useful when brainstorming in abstract fashion. When it comes time to sit down, design code interfaces and structure and do some implementation - they are shut out.

    quote:

    True, but is this really such a great problem? "Natural selection" should work equally well on the project level as it will on the idea level, i.e. "bad" project will probably die out while the "good" ones survive. But I agree that there is a risk with having too many "bad" projects around, since people might get reluctant to put time and work into a project which they don''t know if they will survive or not.

    The initial period for a paradigm like this is critical. One way to ensure that it survives the gestation period is to make it near-exclusive (the seeds of Open Source were sown in the 70s at universities the world over; it wasn''t until the mid-90s that it became popularized and admission was effectively made open to all). If you truly have a bazaar from the get-go, the articulate ones will be drowned out by the ignorant - something that has been borne out many, many times (look up the Indrema and the Indrema Developer Network, which Nurgle, another moderator, and I were both involved in, for corroboration of this sometime.

    quote:

    Ah, the parallels with Open Source seem to be manifold! Who knows, perhaps we will see OGD "think tank" companies emerging all around who will sell their "idea refining services" to game companies?

    Perhaps. OGD will need to first demonstrate that it can yield better solutions either faster or at lower cost to developers. Since game design is an abstract quantity, it''s difficult to do that without tying OGD to Open Source, because if the developers still need to implement the solution (and especially if they first have to get up to speed on OGD vocabulary to understand the solution) then it will fade.

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    quote:
    Original post by Oluseyi
    There''s a saying that comes up often on these pages - usually when someone claims to be reluctant to divulge details about their game idea for fear of someone "stealing" it: (paraphrased) ideas are cheap; implementation is what counts.

    Personally, I wouldn''t mind if someone stole one of the ideas I had helped develop in an OGD project, and made a great product out of it. This is because, for me, the "higher goal", with OGD is to further game design as a whole and improve the overall quality of computer games. This might sound a bit starry eyed, but it actually is why I started thinking about OGD in the first place...
    quote:
    But these individuals cannot start new projects in Open Source. Their prestige rewards are also low because they can''t code and therefore can''t actually engage in debugging or adding new features. In essence, they are fringe players whose opinions are only useful when brainstorming in abstract fashion. When it comes time to sit down, design code interfaces and structure and do some implementation - they are shut out.

    Yes, but I''m not sure it really matter. Indirect contributions can be as valuable as direct ones. Sure, implementation is what counts, but there are probably much more implementors around than there are people with really good ideas. A highly competent software developer without (original) ideas isn''t worth much at the early stages of a project. The same goes for a highly competent game designer; it doesn''t matter how strutctural his thinking is, or how well he translates his ideas into a working game design if he has run out of ideas or inspiration. What''s even worse, he might not realise that he has but continues to churn out mediocre games for the rest of his career.

    quote:
    If you truly have a bazaar from the get-go, the articulate ones will be drowned out by the ignorant - something that has been borne out many, many times (look up the Indrema and the Indrema Developer Network, which Nurgle, another moderator, and I were both involved in, for corroboration of this sometime.

    This is probably (and sadly) true, but how does one avoid it without risking to shut out people with new ideas? If you only invite your friends or people with the same values and ideas as yourself you will probably not produce anything revolutionary. [Btw, I looked up "Indrema" and I actually read about it back then, but had forgotten all about it. I''m afraid this proves your point quite well.]

    /Henrik

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    quote:
    Original post by henrikb
    Personally, I wouldn''t mind if someone stole one of the ideas I had helped develop in an OGD project, and made a great product out of it. This is because, for me, the "higher goal", with OGD is to further game design as a whole and improve the overall quality of computer games. This might sound a bit starry eyed, but it actually is why I started thinking about OGD in the first place...

    "Stealing" wasn''t the issue; "it''s implementation that counts" was.

    quote:
    Yes, but I''m not sure it really matter. Indirect contributions can be as valuable as direct ones. Sure, implementation is what counts, but there are probably much more implementors around than there are people with really good ideas. A highly competent software developer without (original) ideas isn''t worth much at the early stages of a project. The same goes for a highly competent game designer; it doesn''t matter how strutctural his thinking is, or how well he translates his ideas into a working game design if he has run out of ideas or inspiration. What''s even worse, he might not realise that he has but continues to churn out mediocre games for the rest of his career.

    Without some form of regularized "par" for prospective participants to attain, the community is likely to be flooded with clueless individuals who think they have "cool" ideas - usually completely devoid of grounding in reality, awareness of current state of the art, etc. Remember, Indrema (though it had other problems, which I shall refer to shortly).

    quote:
    This is probably (and sadly) true, but how does one avoid it without risking to shut out people with new ideas?

    Good ideas require a conducive environment to flourish. It is necessary to first develop the "movement" and its paradigms - the basic vocabulary, a library of patterns and idioms, etc - in a rigid (and likely boring) setting. This phase won''t be revolutionary, but creates the tools necessary to empower others to innovate. Find direct correlation in the early work of the FSF on GNU (binutils, GCC, etc) which have now enabled anyone anywhere to enter the bazaar and churn out whatever innovative product may come to mind.

    Indrema didn''t do this. They involved the communiy too early so they had a bunch of "developers" (I use the term loosely; I wouldn''t let some of those kids near my compiler) sitting on their hands, asking for specs and delivery targets and making feature requests - the system specs weren''t even nailed down! - which caused the entire project to spiral out of control. Jumping, unprepared, into the publicity arena too early (that stoopid "Top Ten Reasons to Skip a PS2 and Buy an Indrema" list) didn''t help either, as Indrema was thoroughly roasted and pronounced DOA before it was ever born.

    If I were to have handled Indrema - and I said this then - I would have developed a working prototype, pretty close to the final version, before uttering a peep to anyone. By the time I involve the developer community, we''d be using late beta hardware so that software titles can be written and will require little to no change to run on final hardware. Once I had a few graphics-intensive demos, I''d start showing it to the press, and I''d make sure my platform had at least one thing no other platform had or planned to have soon.

    Go, with OGD, and do likewise.

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    For those of you interested in reading even more opinions on my idea, I can recommend the thread I started in comp.games.development.design a few days ago. It''s also titled "Open Game Design - dream or possibility" and has resulted in quite a few interesting responses. The thread is easily accessible through Google Groups:

    [url]http://groups.google.com/groups?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&safe=off&q=open+game+design[/url]

    /Henrik

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    Take a look at http://tiles.ice.org. While it''s not directly translatable to the gaming paradigm, conceptually, the idea could be applied to gaming. Each artist gets an the "edges" of the "world" that they create ... and in the end, these worlds come together to form an entire piece. If a set of rules was established for a gaming framework, I think this same concept could be applied.

    It wouldn''t be easy, and it almost definitely wouldn''t be productive, but I think it''d be possible and might be interesting to see what the outcome would be.

    Telstar

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