Visitor-generated content

 
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KaVir



Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 565
Location: Munich

PostPosted: Mon Jun 14, 2010 2:22 pm    Post subject: Visitor-generated content Reply with quote

In the past there have been various discussions about player-generated content, one of the main advantages being that there are far more players than staff, and therefore much more content can be produced in a short period of time.

However I've been thinking lately about a variant on that idea. If the tools are constrained enough that players can't abuse them, then they don't even need to be restricted to actual players, they could be made available to anonymous website visitors as well.

A simple example that I've been considering: People connecting to the website would see a "Create a monster" button. Clicking this button would take them to a page that allows them to select various attributes of a monster, using different menu options to assemble its appearance, weapons, AI and tactics. Once they were happy with it they could click the "Spawn" button, and the monster would be created and announced within the mud. Each monster would be tracked by the creator's IP address, so if the person went back to the page they'd see a history of what their monster had done, which players it had killed, etc. If their monster had died, they'd then have the option of creating a new one.

Why would this be of any use? Well it's mostly a marketing gimmick. You see adverts for muds all the time, how often do you actually bother trying them out? I very rarely do. But if I had the chance to invent my own monsters (with only a few minutes effort) and watch them kill players in other muds, now that would catch my interest - at least enough to give it a go. If the battle histories were exciting enough, it could well encourage people to try the mud out, and even if they only stuck with the monster builder they'd still be producing content for the players.
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shasarak



Joined: 29 Jun 2005
Posts: 134
Location: Emily's Shop

PostPosted: Tue Jun 15, 2010 8:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I foresee players endlessly connecting to the website with scripted browser-clients to create a never-ending series of easily-killable monsters for themselves.
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KaVir



Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 565
Location: Munich

PostPosted: Tue Jun 15, 2010 10:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thus the caveat "If the tools are constrained enough that players can't abuse them".

Such monsters would obviously be limited in their functionality, as "balance" would be the number 1 priority. But even with that in mind, I think you could allow enough creative freedom for the tool to provide some entertainment and marketing value.
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ide



Joined: 21 Feb 2006
Posts: 105
Location: Seattle

PostPosted: Wed Jun 16, 2010 3:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is an awesome idea. I would call it audience-generated content (AGC). though, if we want to patent the term now ;D.
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gerund



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 14

PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 4:08 am    Post subject: Re: Visitor-generated content Reply with quote

KaVir wrote:
A simple example that I've been considering: People connecting to the website would see a "Create a monster" button.

...

Why would this be of any use? Well it's mostly a marketing gimmick. ... it could well encourage people to try the mud out, and even if they only stuck with the monster builder they'd still be producing content for the players.

This is definitely an interesting idea. But I think it could serve a purpose worthwhile in and of itself, and not only as a way to draw in new players. It could be extended as a way to generate a wide variety of new and interesting content, not just monsters. Present the users with a Dwarf Fortress like interface where they do not have direct control over a settlement of entities, but have abstract ability to direct and observe their progress. The game players would get encounters and locations that are beyond the simplistic ones that are hand-created and unchanging, and are deeper and more believable than the ones that are randomly generated.
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shasarak



Joined: 29 Jun 2005
Posts: 134
Location: Emily's Shop

PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 9:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

KaVir wrote:
Thus the caveat "If the tools are constrained enough that players can't abuse them".

Well, sure, but how do you actually achieve that? How do you avoid making the monsters no more interesting than they would be if the game generated them automatically by assembling pre-fabricated components in random combinations?
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KaVir



Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 565
Location: Munich

PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 11:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

gerund wrote:
It could be extended as a way to generate a wide variety of new and interesting content, not just monsters. Present the users with a Dwarf Fortress like interface where they do not have direct control over a settlement of entities, but have abstract ability to direct and observe their progress.

That would also be a cool concept, but I think it's beyond the scope of this proposal - you'd effectively be creating a separate game that interfaced with the mud, and people would really need to create accounts to manage something like that. I would love to do that as well, and it could certainly be built on the same design, but it would be a bit too complex for anonymous visitors who had a couple of minutes to waste.

shasarak wrote:
Well, sure, but how do you actually achieve that? How do you avoid making the monsters no more interesting than they would be if the game generated them automatically by assembling pre-fabricated components in random combinations?

You don't - it would be the same principle. The part that makes the monster interesting is that it's not generated randomly, but assembled by a real person, rather like Mr Potato Head or the Spore Creature Creator.
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