Thursday, May 17, 2007

User-Generated Content

It has been said before, the future of gaming is in user-generated content. By allowing users to create and vote on content generated by other users, developers can increase their art database tremendously, with the only cost being the user-generation system itself.

Of course, you can have a good crafting system, which would keep players occupied for a while, but they will eventually demand - and create - more. You can give them the chance to create their own PARTS of their own items, by giving them, say, a sub-item crafting. Or they could create new haircuts by missing parts of different haircuts. Create their own blade by taking the sharpness of one, the shape of another and perhaps the point of a third. Or create their own sleeves with the basic shape of one, the size of another and the fringes of that other one.

But what if they could do more? Second Life may not be as popular as certain journalists would want us to believe, but it has shown that user-generated content can be quite powerful in attracting attention and talent.

Players don't want to create something for nothing, though. How do we reward artists who use their own time to better the game? Free game time is of course a possibility, as are in-game rewards. Monopoly on their creation could be a great insensitive, as it would mean that those who create something great get rewarded accordingly.

Whatever the reward is, it must be allowed to both show great creators to the world, and keep hacks and griefers away. Because for every great artist, there's ten beginners, and a hundred potential griefers.

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