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David george

The million monkeys approach.

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Hello everyone, this is my first post here.

My name is Dave, age 34, currently living in Spain.

I am not a game developer or programmer, but I do run a Minecraft community and server, and a big part of that is playing around with code, thinking up quests, and things that are quite similar to what real game developers do. (I assume)

The reason I am here, is because I have been toying with an idea lately, and I'd like to know what you all think.

On my Minecraft server it was just me to start out with. Then for a long time it was just a few people, and now we are close to having 200 people in the community.

I have seen all kinds of crazy things, 11 year old kids coding their own plugins, total amateurs designing pixel textures, people coming up with inventive logic solutions for creating insane contraptions, and much more.

It all gets me thinking.

Do you think 250.000 total amateurs, could put togeter a game as good as or better than a game made by 250 professionals?

In other words, do you think it would be possible to make a kind of open source game, that was "made by the internet" so to speak. Where anyone who wants to contribute to its creation can.

Or would something prevent that?

 

Thanks.

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It's certainly possible.

There are many things that are going to limit everyone, regardless of whether they're professional or amateur.  CPU, GPU, and RAM is limited, so only a certain amount of work will be able to be performed.  For example let's imagine 10000 people all want to add some code to the game that runs every frame.  It's highly likely that the CPU will be overwhelmed by that amount of work and performance will be bad.  Similar for GPU performance, and running out of RAM.

Then you will have to have some way to coordinate.  250000 people working in source control will probably be extremely difficult to manage.  You will need reviewers making sure new code/art/etc aren't detrimental to the project.  You will have to deal with the drama of deciding who gets that power, and dealing with people having their work rejected.

In my experience with professional projects, things are much easier with fewer, highly experienced people.  Even smaller teams of professionals is usually better than large teams of professionals.  But this is just my experience.  It's possible that you could make it work.

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53 minutes ago, David george said:

Do you think 250.000 total amateurs, could put togeter a game as good as or better than a game made by 250 professionals?

In other words, do you think it would be possible to make a kind of open source game, that was "made by the internet" so to speak.

Anything is possible (except time travel to the past, and the Star Trek Holodeck). It's basically the "infinite monkeys with infinite typewriters eventually create Shakespeare" idea.

53 minutes ago, David george said:

Or would something prevent that?

Just probability, and time. It is theoretically possible, but if it isn't directed with experienced hands, the chances that something world-shaking will result are very low.

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3 hours ago, David george said:

Do you think 250.000 total amateurs, could put togeter a game as good as or better than a game made by 250 professionals?

No. I don't even think 1000 amateurs(Note as in never even tried making a game) could beat a single professional in making a game.

The problem you have is that a game is a system, one rouge, one mistake causes weeks of damage. Think of 250 000 people where 4-8% of the team is actively causing damage to the project just for "fun".

 

250 000 even with some skilled couldn't beat a AAA release.

Don't get me wrong, I think you would still get a good game but it would be more of a collage of ideas than a focused game. It will be no where near a game made by professionals.

Edited by Scouting Ninja

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4 hours ago, Tom Sloper said:

It's basically the "infinite monkeys with infinite typewriters eventually create Shakespeare" idea.

I just realized that's exactly what "the million moneys approach" meant to say. I'll fix the thread title, inserting a K.

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Hi again, thanks for taking time to entertain such ideas.

This is just an idea I have been toying with in the back of my head. I guess the key would be coming up with some kind of system.

The Minecraft server we work on is what got me thinking about it. We are a very casual chill group, we don't really delegate or give people tasks, we rather just post lists of what is needed, then people just pick what they feel like doing.

We have had several logos, each better than the last, as people take it uppon themselves to improve things.

When I see AAA games come out with bugs still in them, only to have the bugs fixed by a random guy within a couple of hours with a patch now available, it makes me wonder.

When I was a kid we did not have the tools that are available now days. Just loading a picture used to take 12 hours, and you had to talk your dad into not making any phone calls during the day so the modem did not disconect.

I had my first computer when I was about 3 years old, and while I have always known a lot about them, I have never really felt qualified to be able to make a game.

I have made games, horrible, horrible games. Little 2D platformers that only had a level or two, chat bot based text-only games, and a few other bits of nonsense.

Now days, with all the things that are available, it seems more possible to me, the idea of making a game, at least if it was part of some kind of group effort. I could probably direct 4 or 5 total amateurs to help me improve on what I can already do. This way, we could probably turn out some simply tycoon game or graphic adventure that is not too terrible.

Then I wonder to myself, what if I were to just open it up to whoever.

I used to be very protective of the Minecraft server we run, and while things used to work well, we did not really see this explosion in creativity until I kind of opened it up.

Now, the server members advertise our server, they vet people and profile them, recruit them, train them, and get them working on things, some times without me even knowing about it until days later.

All that, and then seeing the state of the gaming industry in general at the moment, gets the cogs turning in my head.

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I think what you talk about will happen and will be the next big thing in gaming, maybe social media as well.

The idea is simply user generated content, but let users not only place blocks, let them create rules as well. Someone crates a small deathmatch FPS arena, just nearby someone else creates racing tracks. Both have to create scripts to define rules and manage a sub-community of contributors. Mincrafts logics blocks are already an example of how non-programmers can create complex logical systems, Google Blockly is another option. 

Minecraft + Second Life = All happy people in a brave new virtual world ;)

The technology behind it is extremely involved and will be built by experts.

 

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2 hours ago, JoeJ said:

I think what you talk about will happen and will be the next big thing in gaming, maybe social media as well.

The idea is simply user generated content, but let users not only place blocks, let them create rules as well. Someone crates a small deathmatch FPS arena, just nearby someone else creates racing tracks. Both have to create scripts to define rules and manage a sub-community of contributors. Mincrafts logics blocks are already an example of how non-programmers can create complex logical systems, Google Blockly is another option. 

Minecraft + Second Life = All happy people in a brave new virtual world ;)

The technology behind it is extremely involved and will be built by experts.

 

Aren't those kind of things already put in games like GTA5 as modded servers? 

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If the question is can that many amateurs create something similar to a modern AAA game, then I'd say the answer is NO.   It's possible that they might be able to create "a game" that might also be a very good game, but it wont be the same type of game that we now consider a AAA game.  It might be something more amorphous, it might be a type of game that doesnt even exist yet.  

But, the types of games we make now rely heavily on a person or small group who has a vision and can both execute on that vision as well as successfully guide the team to execute on it.  This is why some teams of expert developers with good ideas for a game succeed and other fail.  It's not the numbers or skill levels or amount of funding.  It's just hard to have a good idea and carry that to fruition, and having more "cooks in the kitchen" doesnt help.

On the code side, having possibly thousands of programmers all working on the same engine, tools, and game code sounds like a freakin' nightmare.

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