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HopeDagger

A community-powered game -- possible?

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An idea that I've been toying with for a while, although I'm questioning if it will ever come to fruitation. I'm oblivious to whether this has been done, and I'm guessing that it has in some form: an online game that is powered by the community. Of course that's a vague statement, however I mean in terms of content, not bandwidth. ;) The game's community would be responsible for making new maps/areas, monsters, items, spells, skills, etc. I would supply all of the necessary tools for doing so, and the submitted content would be screened for quality and being proper (ie. fitting in with the game, being balanced, etc). Frankly, I just love the concept. Players get the benefit of being able to effect the development of an online game in a significant way, and I don't have to build all of the content by myself. ;) Sounds perfect, right? There's some flaws that I can see poking up: 1) One of the major ones is what if content becomes greater than the number of players? Supply and demand, sort of. A world that is too huge for the number of players in it, or even the opposite. Since I'd only be partially able to control the flow of new content, it might be hard to balance this out. I mean, it's impossible to predict how many people will contribute. 2) Quality and rejection. I think that most players will want to contribute, but the sad fact is that not everyone has creative talent. A lot of the submissions will suck, and not everyone takes that nicely. I doubt it will cause people to leave, but it might have some grudging. This effect may or may not happen. 3) People abusing their own submissions. Simple problem, but not a simple solution. Player submits Dark Elf Castle area with a heavily guarded Grandsword of Flames somewhere in the heart. He builds himself a backdoor subtle enough to pass the submission screening, and gets himself an easy grandsword. Worse yet, he tells the backdoor to his friends, and they pass it around the game. Either way it's disaster. I want anyone to be able to contribute, but I can't trust everyone at the same time. Feedback, comments and discussion and welcome! :)

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I sort of like the idea. At first I was thinking of previous posts that talked about getting gamedev.net to work, collectively, on some project. Most tend to think that a bad idea (seen too many projects like that start and fail rather quickly). But it sounds like you're talking about doing the initial leg work and then letting the community submit content. Could be cool, if it works.

Like you say, it's hard to judge how the community would react. Too much content and you can't keep up with submissions. Too many players and you can't provide enough content. Too little content and the players will leave. Too few players and, well... nobody's playing.

Maybe you could try some sort of "Game Wiki" and hope (or engineer it such that) you get a good initial community that'll take care of the game. Only problem I see with this is that people tend to have trouble distinguishing between "balancing" and "nerfing" (do gamers still say that? It's been too long...). Don't know what sort of game you're intending (MMORPG? RPG? RTS? FPS? Top-Down shooter? Adventure? Platformer? Online? Offline? Single player? Multi player?) so specific problems may be hard to come by. Also not sure how submissions are added (DLL's? Some general purpose scripting language (LUA, Python, etc.)? Something made specifically for the game?), but that's something to think about, too.

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I don't think it's very possible. In my RO server, we still have a hard time picking Card effects. People just want to be the best of the best with all the godly items and 100,000,000,000 Gold. It could be done, IF the community is VERY closeknit and small. Small means arround 100 people or less online on average. Of course, there are still many holes, but it would be eaiser it there were not as much people playing. Another idea is to not have open registration, but instead, you interview each person who wants an account via IRC or AIM or whatever. Make sure they're not some crazy guy.

Your idea would be hard to admin too. You would need a lot of mods that know what they are doing, not some power-crazy or power-abusing mod that would make secret dungeons with the best items in it for their guild or friends.

It's possible, but don't count on it to work. Just my opinion.

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It will be more trouble than it is worth. You are better off finding people who want to work on a game and starting a team. Even with a "community" there will only be a handful of decent contributors.

But if you really want to try then the only way I can see this working is if the game is 2D with relatively simple game mechanics. You will need to come up with a nice editor and an easy to use trigger or scripting system. Then you need to come up with some sort artistic standard on how things should look. Otherwise you will get a very wide range of art that looks too dissimilar to be in the same game. And then run some sort of contest system for submissions. Tell them you need a Dark Elf Castle level and let people submit their levels/art/monsters and then let the community try out all the submissions and vote on the best one. That way everyone gets a say in what happens.

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I could be wrong, but I think Furcadia might've did something along these lines. Users could make little worlds using a scripting language and other tools, and other users could visit them. You might want to look into it.

Cheers,
--Brian

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Quote:
Original post by WiseElben
People just want to be the best of the best with all the godly items and 100,000,000,000 Gold.


Depending on the sort of game, this may or may not be as much of a problem. Take something like Fireteam or Infantry (I said it's been a while, didn't I? ;) ). 2D top-down shooters. In both, each unit type had pros and cons. There was no god-setup due to how the games worked. Different units had different abilities that suited different playing styles and different "positions" in the team. Granted, this would require putting some limits on "content" that can be added, but you need to do that anyway to define the sort of game you're making.

Note that I didn't say it wouldn't be a problem, just that it would be more of a problem in an RPG than in other genres. Hmm... I'm stupid, now that I read the OP, it sounds more like an RPG, but maybe this sort of setup isn't suited to an RPG? Or if it's single player (e.g. you download the content to your own computer) we can just say "If they want to cheat, let them!". :)

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Isn't that how most MUD-s and/or MOO-s are developed and grow? Once the community brings you "in" you get creative powers, and keep the system going?

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Quote:
Original post by Way Walker
Quote:
Original post by WiseElben
People just want to be the best of the best with all the godly items and 100,000,000,000 Gold.


Depending on the sort of game, this may or may not be as much of a problem. Take something like Fireteam or Infantry (I said it's been a while, didn't I? ;) ). 2D top-down shooters. In both, each unit type had pros and cons. There was no god-setup due to how the games worked. Different units had different abilities that suited different playing styles and different "positions" in the team. Granted, this would require putting some limits on "content" that can be added, but you need to do that anyway to define the sort of game you're making.

Note that I didn't say it wouldn't be a problem, just that it would be more of a problem in an RPG than in other genres. Hmm... I'm stupid, now that I read the OP, it sounds more like an RPG, but maybe this sort of setup isn't suited to an RPG? Or if it's single player (e.g. you download the content to your own computer) we can just say "If they want to cheat, let them!". :)


Yeah, this setup will be hard to execute on the RPG genere. It sure would be easier for a strategy game though, like Starcraft, WarCraft, or CC. All of those games have a scripting engine and map maker. The user then can make maps and minigames using the tools provided.

Another problem is the art. If you let them make their own art, your game will look ugly, since not everyone has the same style. Give them premade art created by your artists, just like what those games I stated above did.

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This is also the central idea powering Second Life. I've heard a few things about the game, exclusively negative in tone, but I don't think I've talked to anyone who's actually sat down and played it or created for it.

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