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User Created Content is Key for New Games 167

An anonymous reader writes to tell us that recently Valve Software's Doug Lombardi has stated his strong belief that user created content is a very important part of games in the near future. "'I would argue that it's the biggest component those guys have to get over if they want online to matter.' 'Half-Life 1 was okay as a multiplayer game and Team Fortress Classic was really good, but Counter-Strike kicked both their asses no question. And that came from a kid going to college in Canada and another kid going to high school in New Jersey, who had our code and thought it would be cool to play our game.'"
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User Created Content is Key for New Games

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  • Just... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 16, 2007 @05:03PM (#19151343)
    Don't make a map of your school. Apparently that makes you a threat.
    • Re:Just... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by 4D6963 ( 933028 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2007 @05:36PM (#19151859)

      Don't make a map of your school. Apparently that makes you a threat.

      Or let's all make maps of schools, until officials realize they have better shit to do with taxpayers money than arrest map makers.

    • Re:Just... (Score:4, Informative)

      by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2007 @05:38PM (#19151899) Homepage
      I don't know how often it has happened, but this story is fairly recent:

      http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/05/03/student_co unterstrike_map_texasschool/ [theregister.co.uk]
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by SirMentos ( 780077 )
        what if you make a CS map at the blessing of my professors and got a B on a senior project because of it. gotta love game design curricula
      • by Raenex ( 947668 )
        I love this bit from the article:

        The boy's mother arrived and gave police permission to search her son's bedroom. The police found nothing illegal in the student's bedroom, but confiscated five decorative swords in the search.

        Sword ownership rights have been under heavy fire since they were determined to be the leading cause of death during the Siege of Acre in the third crusade.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by 7Prime ( 871679 )
      Funny, going to High School, I always thought it out be interesting to make a 3D model of my school and have a game in it. Not because I wanted to pretend I was fighting students, but because some schools (mine included), have fairly interesting architectural designs that would make for interesting maps. I wasn't trying to train for Columbine 2.0, I just thought it would be neat.

      I guess it's a good thing I never did.
  • One idea... (Score:5, Funny)

    by powerpants ( 1030280 ) * on Wednesday May 16, 2007 @05:04PM (#19151355)
    is to give each player their own space and let them custimize it how they want. They can put pictures of their avatar, some fascinating facts about themselves, and maybe have their favorite song playing. They could even link to other players' spaces. I'm not sure what they'd call it, though.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by alyawn ( 694153 )
      I have a second idea...
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Falesh ( 1000255 )
      UFO:Extraterrestrials [ufo-extrat...trials.com] is a good example of this. It is a fan made (turned into a company along the way) sequel to the original X-COM games. It only came out very recently but already it has been heavily modded. It seems that practically the whole game can be modified extremely easily. It's good fun and also has potential to not only tinker with the original but to create a fan made sequel to the game.

      I think ease of modding should definitely be high on any games priorities.
    • Re:One idea... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by harry666t ( 1062422 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [t666yrrah]> on Wednesday May 16, 2007 @06:20PM (#19152491)
      http://www.google.com/search?q=lugormod+jk3&ie=UTF -8&oe=UTF-8

      Lugormod, a serverside mod for Jedi Academy allows admins to put any ingame content in "real time", without even a need for reloading the map. And that doesn't mean just adding bots or spawning npcs, but placing all kinds of models, triggers, tricky entities, spawners, vehicles, designing whole new worlds using good old Q3 enigne. Practically it turns server op into game dev.

      Lugormod is IMO one of the best mods for any game ever made. And it's 99% serverside (a clientside plugin adds a few weapon models and cvars). Shame on LucasArts they discontinued the JK series.
  • How about User Created Weapons. Everyone knows that is why we play the games. It is also important in case some company (cough EA..) decides to buy the rights to real weapons like M16 etc.
    • by Cylix ( 55374 )
      The original Jedi Knight had an interesting ability to create new force powers. This resulted in a lot of issues, but I thought it was quite fun...

      I created a jump that shot sparkles and aoe damage. Ok, so it was not a fair weapon, but the concept was interesting.

      Too bad it relied on horrid peering to play.
  • by $RANDOMLUSER ( 804576 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2007 @05:06PM (#19151401)
    U R in amaze of twisty little pasages, all a like
  • Little Big Planet (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 16, 2007 @05:07PM (#19151403)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nuoOosTdFiY [youtube.com]

    Absolutely amazing graphics, still remember the shock other people had when Sony unveiled this game at GDC. There were a hell of a lot of developers who went back home after GDC and realized how far behind their level editing tools and rendering engines were.

    Can't wait for this to be released later this year.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Rycross ( 836649 )
      Amazing? They're great but not absolutely amazing. Thats ok though, the real muscle seems to be in the physics and customization in that game. You can tell the designers focused more on the gameplay than the graphics, which is what makes me want to play it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by master_p ( 608214 )
      I heard that one of the developers most impressed with it was 3DRealms!!!

  • Duh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pboyd2004 ( 860767 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2007 @05:07PM (#19151411)
    And it's not the near future it's already happened. Look at Quake. I played that game for years because of some user created content called Team Fortress.

    I am glad that companies are starting to think about this stuff though. It would be nice if more games had good mod kits when they are released.
    • Of course guys from Valve will say this. User created content (primarily CS, but others as well) kept them from having to release a new game for something like SEVEN YEARS!
    • Screw Quake; I grew out of FPS before that even hit the market. In my day, user-created content was huge in Doom, Doom II and Warcraft II too.
      • User created content, as I recall, only really took off with Quake in the FPS arena. For Doom, you had maps and monster images that were created by users, but not a huge amount more (until they released the source code, after Quake came out. With Quake, the game and graphics code was separated, so you could completely replace the game with something different, including tank, rally and combat flying games. The source code for the game was released, so it was easy to hack on.
  • by Adambomb ( 118938 ) * on Wednesday May 16, 2007 @05:08PM (#19151425) Journal
    Between moddable multiplayer games, MMO's with player created structures, areas, and interactables (vendors and such), and any game with comprehensive map editors being around for ages, is this even a question?

    I'm pretty sure we've all known that without a massive potential for replayability in the original title, the only thing that keeps a game alive long term is the user created interactions and content (barring companies that keep ongoing updates and patch, like Cavedog did with TA back in the day [although that also had user created content]).
    • Indeed. I still play TA, as there is some brilliant user created content for it, mods, maps, units, everything. Its still a brilliant game to play, even though it is 6 or 7 years old.
    • Actually all online FPSs are are vary much reliant on "user created content" of a sort: the other player avatars running around the place.

      It's not an "objects" kind of content it is however an "intelligent entity" kind of content.

      My point here is that there are alreayd plenty of games out there relying on users to provide entertainment and replayability for other users. If you can get some users to also contribute with new or improved game objects, that's just icing on the cake.
  • by pr0xie ( 902743 )
    I think games are getting much better about the offerings of their mod(ding) tools. With many of the older games it was simple level editors, now with games like NWN2 you get access to much of the underlying engine allowing mods as simple as maps or as complex as adding whole new graphics, game rules and more. And it's much easier than most non-programmers would think.
  • Just now? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Enoxice ( 993945 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2007 @05:14PM (#19151505) Journal
    Are they just realizing this now? Hell, I remember modding Wolfenstein3D when I was younger. I made a Castlevania mod, if you were wondering (and I know you were).

    Point being, user-generated content has always been a big part of all the best PC games; FPS's, Strategy games, you name it. When users can mod the game, they become attached to it and it develops a much more cohesive and less fickle user-base and expands the longevity of the product.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Seriously, doesn't anyone remember Quake and QuakeC? CTF (original and thunderwalker), the real Team Fortress, tons of other crap. Anyone playing FPS games 11 years ago knew all of this already.

  • Speaking of CS (Score:3, Interesting)

    by lamarguy91 ( 1101967 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2007 @05:15PM (#19151527)
    What I would like to know:

    If Valve wants user input so badly, when why didn't they listen to their users of CS 1.6 then? Valve was retarded and decided to put in-game ads into CS 1.6, and they don't fully support it any longer.

    It sounds like they want the users to give them the good ideas to build the game off of so they can sell more copies. I don't think that most users want to give their work away to Valve for nothing. They'd rather give it to the gaming community as a whole for use. Maybe Valve should truly accecpt input from users and have a set price they pay out to those who submit ideas that are actually used. Wait, nevermind... they could change the ideas just enough to claim originality and then not pay.

    Sounds like the user-created aftermarket is still the best alternative.
    • Re:Speaking of CS (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Chyeld ( 713439 ) <chyeld@NOsPAm.gmail.com> on Wednesday May 16, 2007 @05:42PM (#19151961)
      You do realize that Valve hired both the team that created CS and DOD, and the reason why they sell the both mods now is because they paid hard cash for the mods, right?

      If you want to be pissed at Valve about something, please at least pick a topic where Valve isn't one of the leaders of the pack on. I don't know of any other game companies that you can speak of that have sheparded their mod community as much as Valve has.
      • Re:Speaking of CS (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Pvt_Waldo ( 459439 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2007 @06:39PM (#19152787)
        As one of the original DOD developers that got "bought", I have to give Valve immense throbbing sweaty kudos for how they work. Valve bought the game IP, agreed to start paying us, then told us, "Look, you're doing a really good job at what you do. We don't want to break that, so just keep doing what you do. If you need help, we're here."
        • Man, respect. I absolutely love DOD and its Source successor; they're the only online shooters I've ever really gotten into. A huge part of my desire for my next upgrade is so I can play DOD:S with all bells and whistles.


        • And I've heard they've basically done the same thing with the Narbacular Drop group - they liked what they saw, they hired them, and said "instead of silly quake-1 era graphics, do that with our engine, and we'll call it Portal and release it with Episode Two".

          God, I can't wait. Seriously, I'm buying Episode Two just for Portal. It's the first FPS I've looked forward to in ages.

    • Easy theres a point where you draw the line, CS:Source is less than £20 people have had years to play with it, Counter Strike is now pretty much a money trap adding little. I think the adds are their way of saying "Its been almost a decade get over it already".
  • by susano_otter ( 123650 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2007 @05:16PM (#19151535) Homepage
    I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that engaging, high-quality content is key for new video games.

    If that content comes from users, great. If it comes from paid professionals, great.
  • Yes I agree with this visionary. Why we could create a text-based interface, and let users
    experience the content first, perhaps gaining "levels" or "experience" (stay with me
    here, I know it's crazy) and when just for instance the users gain the topmost
    level they could extend the game for others. I'd call it the Multiple User Dimension.
    It would be awesome.

    If you really want to go crazy, you could let people have a graphical interface and exchange
    in-game goods for user created content on standard templates.
  • ...to customize Dance Dance Revolution to include Britney Spears or Fall Out Boy? Oh... wait... (bad Konami. bad.)
  • Consoles vs PC's (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Kazrath ( 822492 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2007 @05:20PM (#19151595)
    Every day I am amazed at how well console system do especially now that they cost as much as a decent laptop. When I was a kid they were great but as I got older I wanted more involved games especially MMO's. Consoles did not offer this and even now it is only sub-par. The controls are preset barely customizable and the lack of hotkeys drives me nuts. I did not own my first PC until 95 (Was actually a PPC) which I used for playing MUDS/Mtrek mainly which were significantly more complex than any console I had played before. Actually learning how to write scripts in TinTin++ was a blast.

    As the cost of computers came down more and more people have bought computers and we constantly see quotes concerning the increase of households that have 1+ computers I have no idea if the original Nintendo had more market penetration than lets say Play Station 2. Has the console market grown or shrunk over the last 20 years? I assume it has grown but is its rate exponentially larger than the PC market, about the same or far smaller? Are the amount of game titles being released increasing or decreasing? Basically there has really been nothing in the console market to hold my interest in its welfare with the exception of "God of War" but I am not going to pay hundreds of dollars to play just one title.

    The customization available in PC games IMHO makes them a much better and barely more expensive platform. In addition you can actually use your computer for other important stuff "Like surfing Porn".

    • Consoles are BIG, bigger than big, we're talking HUGE market. Bigger than it ever was. And the games are more diverse than they used to be and lots more of them.

      In addition you can actually use your computer for other important stuff "Like surfing Porn".

      The PSP and PS3 have bult in web browsers. The Wii has one available for download via the Nintendo store built into the machine.

      Linux can be installed on the PS2 and PS3, and it's an officially supported function.

  • Tell that to Carmack and all the people who STILL play Doom, Doug. Not to mention that Half-life technically is Quake 1 engine on steroids, so in a way, without him earning his ferrari you wouldn't own yours. (And it doesn't matter if you own one :P)
  • User created content means more new content (which the developers don't have to spend time/money on) for the userbase to play. How can it not be a good thing to have?

    And then there's games like the in-development Pirates of the Burning Sea [burningsea.com] which actually has an entire system set up for the creation of user created content, run mostly by the users themselves. There's a whole bunch of ships that the users have made that have been put in the official game. The whole idea of the playerbase being connected
  • Mulla Aziz of the Northwest Frontier Province was invited to preside over a local football (soccer to us Americans) match. He was astounded to see all the players chasing a single ball. He thundered, "We, the citizens of Peshawar are not only rich and prosperous, we also value of tradition of treating our honoured guests with dignity and respect. I will not have my people or my guests fighting for a single ball. Give each of them, I command, a ball."

    If each player modifies a multiplayer game so much who

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      I think the analogy you're trying to make is that if everyone makes their own mod they won't want to play everyone else's. There's a bit of a difference though. Sticking to the analogy: Firstly it would require all of the players to make their own balls, some are much less skilled at doing so than others, so those balls would never be finished. Then of the finished balls, some would be much more high quality than others and everyone who played with them would be able to rate them on overall quality and word
  • by Tassach ( 137772 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2007 @05:29PM (#19151759)
    I've said for years that the feature that made the original Doom so popular wasn't the 3d graphics or deathmatch, but rather the fact that people could easily make their own levels.

    The industry focused on the graphics (which were remarkable for the day), and the format (FPS) thinking that those were the keys to popularity, and neglected customizability.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      You and I clearly have different definitions of "easy."

      Creating boards for Lode Runner was easy. Creating boards for Arkanoid II: Revenge of Doh was easy. Creating and texturing BSP trees for Doom was...something other than easy.
      • I don't see where he said it was easy... but for what it's worth, DOOM Builder [doombuilder.com] is a recent level editor with the ability to edit the world in 3D. Makes texturing, ceiling/floor heights and all that stuff a lot easier to fiddle. And gives a better sense of perspective as well.

        That is of course, assuming you still care for level editing.
    • Actually, as far as my memories of Doom go, it was the fact that you could play multiplayer at all. Other prior FPS games didn't have this ability to my knowledge.
      • Actually, as far as my memories of Doom go, it was the fact that you could play multiplayer at all. Other prior FPS games didn't have this ability to my knowledge.
        MIDI Maze for Atari ST [wikipedia.org] was one of the first multiplayer first-person shooters, if not the first. So was its console port, called Faceball.
  • I perfer TFC to CS, it's much faster paced and has more strategy than CS. The fact that everyone is even (give or take gun options) makes for an interesting game but the rock/paper/scissors feel of TFC is just more interesting long term for myself.

    Maybe I just perfer capture the flag than 3 minutes of creeping around. But I don't think CS and TFC are ccomparable on equal terms as they are like chalk and cheese.
    • Just wondering, but did you ever play the original Team Fortress? So far, I have yet to hear anyone say good things about TFC who played TF.
      • No I didn't, but I never got into quake until 3 was released and I played the first two. I don't expect it to be indentical but it's still fun.
  • Starcraft (Score:2, Insightful)

    This is why Starcraft is so awesome. The last time I played an official Blizzard map while not on a mod was ages ago.
  • by AlpineR ( 32307 ) <wagnerr@umich.edu> on Wednesday May 16, 2007 @05:40PM (#19151929) Homepage

    The submitter left out a very important word in his summary. This article is about console games. The first sentence in the article is:

    Valve Software's Doug Lombardi stresses the importance of user-created content in home videogame consoles.

    He's saying that consoles are way behind general purpose computers in online play. One of the big advantages that computers have always had is customizability and user-generated maps and mods. The online experience of consoles will remain a poor shadow of the computer game ecosystem until they enable and allow the players to share in the extension of their games.

    This is a big reason why I haven't bought a full-size console since the Atari 2600. Two years after I got the Atari I also got a Texas Instruments 99/4A. I loved the ability to do wild things like save games, download levels from online bulletin boards, and even program simple games myself. Nowadays I enjoy playing Use Map Settings games in Starcraft and have created several maps of my own. That game is ten years old but still megafun due to the user-generated maps.


    • by Medgur ( 172679 )

      That game is ten years old but still megafun due to the user-generated maps.

      And why would they want to encourage continued use of ten-year-old product?

      • Are you familiar with Valve's release schedules?

        All joking aside, I am more apt to buy games that I know traditionally have tons of user-created content. Neverwinter nights 2, Half-life 2, Counter-strike:Source and Unreal Tournament 2k4 are all games I bought knowing that I will have no shortage of game to play should I ever tire of their high quality primary content.
      • There are certainly ways to make money off of a ten-year-old game. For one thing, I've bought Starcraft three times in those ten years: once when it was first released for the PC, again when I got a Mac and realized that my first copy was too old to be a hybrid disc, and a third time to run it on a second computer for testing my multiplayer maps.

        Also, online Starcraft is played through Battle.net which has banner ads on the chat and game-forming screens. As long as players keep playing they can keep sel

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by theantipop ( 803016 )
      I salute Valve for talking about this and hope they follow through with it. It's a shame companies like Microsoft insist that "content have value" and heavily pressure production studios to charge for content that has been classically free for PC games. Why should four multiplayer maps cost ten dollars [blognewschannel.com] when companies like Epic have given away expansion-sized updates for their Unreal Tournament games? I can't understand how value-added content is such a bad thing when you're already shelling out $60 for a
      • I can't understand how value-added content is such a bad thing when you're already shelling out $60 for a game.

        Because in the mentality of Microsoft execs (and of course many others), not charging $10 for a map is like losing $10. Even if they don't need to because they already made significant profit off your original purchase. It's not just about making money, it's about making maximal money, and a the lack of a hypothetical gain equals a loss.
  • Neverwinter Nights (Score:2, Interesting)

    by evil_Tak ( 964978 )

    The ability of users to create custom content (in addition to the three-platform releases) was a huge key to Neverwinter Nights's success.

    While the official campaigns were great, all the longtime NWN players I know have spent countless hours playing on user-created and -hosted persistent worlds and user-created campaigns from places like The Vault [ign.com]. I can't think of many other games that are still being bought and played this long after their releases, and the ones that are probably fall into this categ

  • Whirled (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gmuslera ( 3436 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2007 @05:46PM (#19152011) Homepage Journal
    Whirled [threerings.net] seems to go exactly in that direction, where the content created by its players is the king. Some games have meaning by themselves, but if your game is essentially what you and other players adds to it, possibilities are endless.
  • by j00r0m4nc3r ( 959816 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2007 @05:48PM (#19152061)
    And that came from a kid going to college in Canada and another kid going to high school in New Jersey

    Haha. He says that as if being from Canada or New Jersey is akin to being in the special olympics or something.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by jalefkowit ( 101585 )

      He says that as if being from Canada or New Jersey is akin to being in the special olympics or something.

      I take it you've never been to New Jersey.

  • Not to be a complete cynic, here, but this can be translated as:

    "Unpaid labor making product for you to sell can help your bottom line."

    I don't think that's entirely revolutionary.

    Nor is it a criticism, either of the sentiment or the fact of it. User-generated content is a fantastic way to give a game legs. I've played lots of it, dabbled in making it (not very well), and am all for games including the tools necessary to foster it. Especially on consoles, which are so far behind PCs in this regard they're n
  • SWG (Score:4, Insightful)

    by toolie ( 22684 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2007 @05:55PM (#19152175)
    One of the reasons SWG was so freakin barren in regards to anything to do is because the expectation was for users to create their own content. Raph Koster wanted to make a sandbox and then have the players create the cities and PVP fight for the rest of the content. I hope to God nobody ever expects that level of user created content to carry a game again.

    Designing maps for a FPS, that is good.
    Designing mods to extend a game, that is good.
    Not providing anything to do except have 'users create their own content' is bad.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Taelron ( 1046946 )
      Yet second life is thriving...

      SWG had many other issues that have kept it from really becoming a hit. The number of locations you could travel was much less than you were promised. It wasnt until like 2 paid for add-ons before you could get a space ship. Duh, shouldnt that have been something in the base game? And then they nerfed everything and at the one year mark suddenly made it easy as hell to get a force character, just make one... That was a major FU to the people that paid and played the first
      • by toolie ( 22684 )
        Yet second life is thriving...

        The difference in SWG (when I played, before the first expansion and expansion beta) and Second Life is scale. Second Life is limitless in what you can do (from the reports, I haven't tried it). SWG was very limited. In SWG your content was limited to building a city, business/economics and PVP. There wasn't much else to do.
    • The counter example is Eve Online, which is based on the same principles, but lacks the massive number of grinding timesinks. The fact that they basically supported botting for grinding up your skills is a huge tip off toward the glaring flaws in that system.

      I think that either you need a relatively unstructured game with an equally unstructured skill system, or you need a more structured game with a more structured skill system. Putting an unstructured game together with a structured skill system is a reci
  • There has been a lot of talk about more immersive storylines in games lately. Arguably, it's immersive storylines along with great gameplay that made Blizzards Warcraft and Starcraft series so popular. When you care about the characters and the story, it's easier to tune out the repetative aspects of gameplay. Nobody wants to go through the motions of building yet another base, but if it's the last hope of your little group, it might not be such a bother.

    The problem is that stories are a *re-telling* of p
  • Never happen (Score:3, Informative)

    by MeanMF ( 631837 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2007 @06:03PM (#19152291) Homepage
    It'll never happen. Allowing users to create their own content and distribute it to other players would completely destroy the ability of game companies like EA, Ubisoft, and Microsoft to overcharge for half-assed map packs, expansion modules, downloadable songs, etc.
    • well, that is where companies like Valve come into the picture. The power and wealth of EA and Mircrosoft will be pitched against the creativity and drive of the modding community who will be loyal to whoever gives then the easily moddable games and modding tools what they want.

      I foresee a battle in the future between those companies who take the, charge extra for everything' approach and the 'give customers loads of goodies to create their own content' approach. Likely there will be no winner, but a

  • by CodeBuster ( 516420 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2007 @06:12PM (#19152395)
    If companies want to have more user generated content for their games, particularly when they themselves release "for sale" expansion modules ala the Neverwinter Nights series, then they must allow the copyrights to remain with the creators AND they have to give the creators a piece of the action when their content is featured in the "for sale" download area. The problem with Neverwinter Nights and other games is that they state in the license agreement that any content that you produce for their game becomes their property when you distribute it and they can re-distribute it as much as they want and even charge for it without giving you any royalties. If the companies want good user generated content then they must allow users to earn money off of their content and maintain rights to the content that they (the users) create.
  • We asked (Score:5, Funny)

    by suv4x4 ( 956391 ) on Wednesday May 16, 2007 @06:15PM (#19152433)
    We asked the three top consoles, what's the key for new games:

    XBOX360: Well, hot detailed graphics are definitely a key.

    PS3 [looks in question list]: Hey! That's my line, you jerk! Anyway.. Blue Ray's a key too. You can make bigger games on Blue Ray to fit all the hot graphics, so I can have hotter graphics than any of you guys.

    Wii and XBOX360: Yea.. Sure.. [chuckling].

    XBOX360: Micro-transactions are a key as well. We sell gamers crippled games, and make them pay to buy assets. It's kinda like Scientology: by the time you understand it's all a bunch of bull, you've already paid, so you gotta keep playing and paying. Aaa.. and... and.. it also makes gaming more engaging, and bitter, just like real life is.

    PS3: User content is also key. You allow the gamers to create anything they want in a game, guns, cars, roads... Wait.. this kinda doesn't fly with transactions...

    XBOX360: Shhhh... damn it! Another key is online gameplay. I integrate all games with consistent online experience, which builds a great community of gamers.

    PS3: Me too!

    XBOX360: You too what?

    PS3: I build a clone of your service by integrating a clone of Second Life in my clone exp.. I mean core experience.

    XBOX360: Oh.. right...

    Wii: A key in new games, and old games, is fun an inventive gameplay, you guys. You shouldn't forget that.

    XBOX360 and PS3: Hahahaha. Idiot...

    Wii: And new fun ways to interface with game with innovative sensor controller!

    XBOX360: Hahahaha, you're making our day, Wii.

    PS3: [hides the 6-axis controller behind his back] Hu-hu-hu :(
  • An anonymous reader writes to tell us that recently Valve Software's Doug Lombardi has stated his strong belief that user created content is a very important part of games in the near future.

    In the near future? User created content has been important for quite some time. Maybe before big-name games first started linking to mod sites from their homepages, and bundling some of the best user-created content in expansion packs, this could qualify as a bold prediction. But now? Come on.

  • Mods have always been important for at least the FPS scene. Quake wouldn't have been the game that it was if ten-thousand little crappy mods hadn't been made by ten-thousand little neophyte programmers cutting their teeth on it. Counterstrike's first incarnation, as far as I can tell, was the "Navy Seals" mod for Quake; Counterstrike itself originated as a HL mod, of course.

    But the phrase "user-created content" for some reason doesn't make me picture in my mind mods. It makes me think of "games" like Sec
  • I worked on a HL2 mod. It was terribly frustrating.

    On one hand you had things like the SDK, all this great code laying right there for you to learn with and make your mod happen. On the other-hand you have all this code in C++ and on the mod forums you'd find 'conceptual' and artistic types begging for a programmer. A lot of modders are much more hobbyist then programmer and things like C++ scare the hell out of them. A lot of mods can be scripted, and while you can undoubtedly do a lot more with raw code
    • Hence it's all about teamwork, you need a coder, modeller, texture artist and a mapper. The more of these you can competently do yourself the merrier.

      I worked on a HL1 mod (Uncrossable Parallel, the code is still out there) and stuck in a load of changes, one of the more subtle-but-effective ones was moving the footstep sound code client side, expanding the scope but slimlining the overhead of the materials detection that went with that and syncing it to the model animations. Plus i added a 3rd person death
  • In high school not only did I create my own levels and enemies for Wolfenstein 3D but I modeled my high school, recreating the tiles, lockers, classrooms and everything. And we played it in school. Later on I recreated my home and the neighboring homes in Quake. Those were the good old days, however, when administrators and teachers wouldn't freak out over nonsense.

    As much as I think mods are a great thing for games I tend to have a problem with developers relying on player-created content. I'd much rather
  • Having millions of users connected to a global network and sharing their 3d creations in a virtual world is not very far (examples: Second Life, Croquet). What if these virtual worlds reach a level of sophistication that the interaction, physics and graphics are on par with "normal" video games? wouldn't that be dangerous for game companies? no one would go out and buy the next version of Half Life, because there already be a much better user-generated Half Life out there.
    • by grumbel ( 592662 )
      Where exactly should that better user generated content be coming from? Even the most dedicated user can't match the creative power of a team of 20 or more artists working full time for a year or two as you get with commercial games. User generated content is a nice addition, but it will basically never be able to compete with commercial content. Just look at CounterStrike, its well done, extremely popular and everything, but even it did not replace HalfLife, it didn't even try, instead it did its own littl
    • What if these virtual worlds reach a level of sophistication that the interaction, physics and graphics are on par with "normal" video games? wouldn't that be dangerous for game companies?

      It's already happened. To my knowledge, Blizzard has released exactly 2 maps for Warcraft III ("Blizzard TD" and "Bomber Command").

      Meanwhile, 3rd party mapmakers have released hundreds of maps. "Battleships" has dozens of spin-offs. "Tank Wars," dozens of spin-offs. And so on.

      Ever heard of a "TD" (tower defense)? These
  • Carmageddon used to be a great example of user-modification extending the life of a game. While SCi never initially intended for user modifications, the game itself was so ideal for it that users started creating new vehicles, environments and other game elements... all with their own unique properties. Several communities were founded entirely for modifying Carmageddon content, long before you had The Sims.

    By the time SCi began development on Carmageddon: The Death Race, those who had worked on mods to the
  • I've searched the comments and haven't seen a single mention of one of the more moddable FPS games out there (that is still one of my personal favorites): Operation Flashpoint. GREAT mission and campaign editor. Tools are also freely available for creating new models and huge new environments. People used the tools for everything from minor changes like dynamic weather to complete conversions like RTSes.

    Operation Flashpoint's true successor, Armed Assault, was released in Europe in November or December.
  • I think user created content is an amazing way of making a games value skyrocket. I could play Baldur's Gate II for the rest of my life on current mods. And with all the Quake and HL mods, I doubt I'd get bored with FPS's any time soon either.

    But... What happens if the game companies start trying to profit off of it? Perhaps forcing modders to turn in their ideas for 'approval' and resell them. Personally, I am only responsible for making a few Warcraft II and CivIV/III maps that all pretty much suck.

"How many teamsters does it take to screw in a light bulb?" "FIFTEEN!! YOU GOT A PROBLEM WITH THAT?"