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User Created Content is Key for New Games

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the world-according-to-valve dept.

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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Just... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19151343)

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

Re:Just... (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151811)

Don't talk about capping someone in the face with a Desert Eagle not once, not twice, but three times while in a public area. The Thought Police may get the wrong idea.

Re:Just... (4, Insightful)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 7 years ago | (#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... (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151921)

Oh, even better! Let's make a 3D FPS that takes place only in faithfully reproduced official buildings and schools and encourage users to create maps of their own school and such. And host the project in Russia or something.

Re:Just... (5, Funny)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 7 years ago | (#19152185)

Hey what about a flight sim in pre-2001 New York with realistic collisions and explosions.

Or is that taking it too far? ;)

Re:Just... (3, Informative)

erroneus (253617) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151899)

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:Just... (3, Interesting)

SirMentos (780077) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151991)

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

One idea... (4, Funny)

powerpants (1030280) | more than 7 years ago | (#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:One idea... (1)

427_ci_505 (1009677) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151709)

No. That's a terrible idea. Leave the internet alone.

Re:One idea... (2, Funny)

alyawn (694153) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151717)

I have a second idea...

Re:One idea... (2, Informative)

Falesh (1000255) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151883)

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... (4, Interesting)

harry666t (1062422) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

TFC? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19151377)

Okay I'm sorry but I'll take TFC over CS any day, that IS in question. Not to mention Science & Industry and Desert Crisis.

Re:TFC? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19151953)

I'd actually take HL1 deathmatch any day over TFC or CS.

User Created Weapon (1)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151399)

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.

Re:User Created Weapon (1)

PhxBlue (562201) | more than 7 years ago | (#19152487)

They can have my real M16 when they pry it from my cold, dead fingers.

No, really. Come and get it, beefsteaks!

User created content (5, Funny)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151401)

U R in amaze of twisty little pasages, all a like

Re:User created content (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19152301)

It's pitch black, comrade and the batteries are drained.

In Soviet Russia grue eats YOU!

**** You have died ****

Little Big Planet (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#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:Little Big Planet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19151539)

A game isn't graphically impressive unless it involves Bald Space Marines.

Just ask any Xbot, they know lots of stuff about graphics! The most advanced rendering technique there is is 'bright lights on shiny metal'.

See:

Halo - very shiny!
Gears of War - very shiny!
Mass Effect - very shiny!
Too Human - very shiny! ...

Re:Little Big Planet (0, Offtopic)

revengebomber (1080189) | more than 7 years ago | (#19152121)

A game isn't graphically impressive unless it involves Bald Space Marines.

Just ask any Xbot, they know lots of stuff about graphics! The most advanced rendering technique there is is 'bright lights on shiny metal'.
While this is flamebait, I do agree that developers need to spend less time on how light looks on any single object, and focus on how it affects the scene as a whole (HDR, shadowing, etc).

Re:Little Big Planet (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19152327)

"I do agree that developers need to spend less time on how light looks on any single object,"

It isn't really a matter of spending time but system power. Global lighting solutions require massive parallel floating point power - which the 360 doesn't have. Although it is significantly better than the shitty x86 chips.

The 360 is in essence just another desktop pc type rendering architecture. Which leads to the proliferation of the low poly highly normal mapped graphics in so many games. PC and 360 engines are very similar where you have all of your game logic and collision/physics being handled on the CPU and low poly material heavy data being worked on by the GPU. That leaves pc and 360 developers with only so many options to make things look impressive - which inevitably mean lots of bright shiny bumpy metal.

I have no clue why Microsoft, given a clean slate, would design a rendering architecture on such an archaic one as the desktop pc other than to make it easy for pc developers to dump their pc games onto the system easily.

The PS3 pretty much just uses the RSX to render tris and almost all lighting is done on Cell with it's massive floating point power and ability to crank through lighting calcs in parallel. So you aren't stuck with the silly little vertex/pixel shader crap you have on pcs or the 360. You are able to do real modern lighting models that aren't limited to local data and short little shader programs.

The PS4 will most likely continue down this road of evolution where you have a REYES style rendering system on the Cell side with an RSX like chip spitting out massive numbers of micro-triangles.

Re:Little Big Planet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19152721)

You don't know anything about Cell development. The SPUs and a GPU's shader units are very very similar in capabilities and limitations. Calling shader units "silly little vertex/pixel shader crap" while praising the SPUs is ignorance, plain and simple. Furthermore, you go on and on about how PC's and the XBox 360 have low-poly models; yet in reality, recent high end GPUs can push a far greater number of triangles per frame than the PS3. Tell me, does Sony pay you per post, or is it an hourly arrangement?

Re:Little Big Planet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19153437)

"The SPUs and a GPU's shader units are very very similar in capabilities and limitations."

My god, talk about making yourself look like an idiot.

"recent high end GPUs can push a far greater number of triangles per frame than the PS3"

Nope. Not even close. Sorry, you are out of your fucking league.

Let me guess...you get your 'console hardware' news from pc fanboy sites like beyond3d or others...right?

And let me guess again, you like to talk about 'which video card' teh PS3 has in it...right?

Little Bright Light. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19152435)

Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter.

Re:Little Big Planet (2, Interesting)

Rycross (836649) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151733)

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:Little Big Planet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19151867)

You have to be joking...

The lighting model in LBP is a giant leap beyond any game on any platform right now and unless something comes out of the blue there is nothing in the pipeline for the next six months to year that will come close.

Find someone who is a real console graphics engine person to explain what is going on to make the game look so good and why developers were utterly stunned by the game when it was unveiled.

I didn't think developers would so easily and this early tap into the incredible parallel number crunching power of the PS3. Especially for such a small developer.

Re:Little Big Planet (2, Insightful)

Rycross (836649) | more than 7 years ago | (#19152231)

No, I'm not joking. I haven't heard any developers talk about how stunned they were about the graphics, and I haven't seen anything that I would classify as "awesome", including the lighting model. I had heard a lot about the gameplay, and I have to wonder why you're focusing on the graphics when its obvious that the gameplay is whats going to bring people to the table.

I didn't think developers would so easily and this early tap into the incredible parallel number crunching power of the PS3.


Ah, Sony shill. Right. Glad to see you're back after the Wii pounding.

Re:Little Big Planet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19152415)

That's what I suspected, just another console fanboy trying to downplay something incredible because it's not on their system.

Grow up guy.

I've been to many GDCs over the years and I've seen many demos of new games or tech. There has never been a reaction to a game from developers like there was at GDC in all the years I have attended.

Feel free to share with us what you think the structure of LBP's engine and specifically lighting model is in broad terms on the system. You clearly know more than most of the gaming world's best developers. Right?

Re:Little Big Planet (0, Offtopic)

Rycross (836649) | more than 7 years ago | (#19152583)

That's what I suspected, just another console fanboy trying to downplay something incredible because it's not on their system.

So basically put, you treating the game like the second comming and going on about the "awesome power of the PS3" doesn't make you a fanboy, but me saying that the game is far more impressive gameplay-wise than graphics-wise makes me a console fanboy?

Someone needs to grow up, but its not me.

I believe, in fact, that I said that the graphics are great, just not "absolutely awesome." I also said its a game I'd like to play, and that the gameplay... the physics and interactions, are far more interesting than the graphics. Its quite baffling to me why you choose to focus on the graphics when thats small potatoes compared to what they're doing with the rest of the game

I've been to many GDCs over the years and I've seen many demos of new games or tech. There has never been a reaction to a game from developers like there was at GDC in all the years I have attended.

Yeah, note I didn't specifically discount the reactions of developers. I've heard lots of good reactions. But none of them have been about the graphics. Thats what I was pointing out.

Feel free to share with us what you think the structure of LBP's engine and specifically lighting model is in broad terms on the system. You clearly know more than most of the gaming world's best developers. Right?

Ok, first of all, care to link to some developers raving about how awesome the graphics in particular are? Second, I don't need to know about the structure of the engine, just the end result. No, I don't know more than actual game developers, but that doesn't make me unqualified to judge the end-results, which is what I can see and play on screen. Just because I don't know anything about oil painting doesn't mean I can't say that I don't care for the scenery in the oil painting.

Hell, if you weren't sucking on Sony's cock so hard, maybe you'd realize that I was actually paying the game some very big complements. But I guess that your reaction, when I didn't hail the game as the second comming, is very telling. I wasn't mistaken when I was calling you a shill. And you throwing a hissy fit about the way I choose to compliment a game doesn't really make you seem any more unbiased.

Re:Little Big Planet (1)

LKM (227954) | more than 7 years ago | (#19153207)

I've been to many GDCs over the years and I've seen many demos of new games or tech. There has never been a reaction to a game from developers like there was at GDC in all the years I have attended. Feel free to share with us what you think the structure of LBP's engine and specifically lighting model is in broad terms on the system. You clearly know more than most of the gaming world's best developers. Right?

Feel free to share with us some links that support your claim about how astonished the developers at GDC were when they saw LBP's graphics.

(Please note that LBP was the game that finally convinced me to buy a PS3. I think it's one of the most awesome games I've ever seen. I just don't think the graphics are what makes the game good. The graphics are neat, but nothing we haven't seen in other games)

Re:Little Big Planet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19153465)

> The graphics are neat,

Aww, that's so cute. Feint praise. Never seen someone use that on the Net!

Who the hell are claiming that the graphics are what make the game so good. The amazing level tools and very rich physics/dynamics engine are what everyone is talking about. The graphics are just icing on the cake.

Duh (4, Insightful)

pboyd2004 (860767) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:Duh (1)

aichpvee (631243) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151525)

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!

Re:Duh (1)

Doddman (953998) | more than 7 years ago | (#19152635)

don't forget garry's mod

Screw Quake (1)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151537)

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.

Re:Screw Quake (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#19152129)

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.

Re:Duh (1)

Nos. (179609) | more than 7 years ago | (#19152361)

Did you read the article?
it comes from multiplayer and modding starting in the early '90s
Valve knows this, this isn't something they're just figuring out, or that they figured out after the release of HL. That's why they let modders go nuts on HL, they knew it would help their sales. The point of the article, which the submitter also seemed to miss, is that consoles are at a serious disadvantage in this respect when compared to PCs (and presumably Macs).

Re:Duh (1)

fitten (521191) | more than 7 years ago | (#19153223)

It was even before that... MUDs were all about player created content. Just because it was text and not graphics is not sufficient reason to dismiss it.

Re:Duh (1)

HobophobE (101209) | more than 7 years ago | (#19152909)

Yes. QWTF. The TF Trailer. 2forts. Spazball. Hunted. The original Canalzone is still one of the greatest maps ever. The >V server. Phat Dragon.

Hell, I bought Quake2 and Half-life 1 primarily because they were supposed to make TF2 for them. That was what, 1998? And TF2 is due out in a vastly different form (finally) this Fall.

It wasn't just TF and the TF team (though they did a lot, including the Birthday easter egg that would turn all grenades into presents on the TF birthday every year), but user-created content spawns a community that in turn creates more user-created content. Numerous CS maps, CS:S maps, RTCW:ET maps, any game you can map for.

Selling someone a product is fine, but selling them a product they can make their own is ten times better. Cars, Slashdot sigs, case mods, cell phones, mozilla chrome and addons, and so on. Trent Reznor has started releasing tracks to be hacked by the community, yet the RIAA/MPAA/MSM are still too dumb to recognize their customers are full of great content. That they can make a hell of a lot more money inside the club dancing with them than outside of the club yelling at them to pay.

Slow News Day Indeed (4, Insightful)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151425)

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]).

Re:Slow News Day Indeed (1)

cottandr (1017464) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151585)

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.

Re:Slow News Day Indeed (1)

Anonymous Cowpat (788193) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151745)

10, actually. [/smartass]

Re:Slow News Day Indeed (1)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 7 years ago | (#19152265)

Heh. I still play it without the user created stuff.

The gameplay is second to none.
Plus with a Dual Core processor we can finally hit the 5,000 unit mark and just swarm our enemies with Peewees. :D

Re:Slow News Day Indeed (1)

DaveWick79 (939388) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151723)

IMO the main draw to PC gaming is the user editable and user created content. Heck, 12 years ago we were playing MS Monster Truck Madness 1 and later 2 on the Zone with user created trucks and tracks, and if you look around there are still guys playing MTM2.

The real reason the console programmers haven't included this capability is because if millions of people kept playing the same game with user created content in it for 10 years, they would lose billions of dollars worth of potential new game sales over that time. I think you will start to see it because of consumer demand - people know that if it's possible on PC they should be able to do the same thing on a console - but I don't see anyone embracing console addons because of the money factor.

Several Types of Mods (2, Informative)

pr0xie (902743) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151501)

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? (4, Insightful)

Enoxice (993945) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151505)

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:Just now? (2, Insightful)

hangareighteen (31788) | more than 7 years ago | (#19152249)

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.

Very sad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19151521)

So obvious. So very very obvious.

The more open a game is to modding, the more tweakable a gadget is, the more freedom you have to alter and personalize a device - the better it is for everyone. (the people that love modding spend their free time releasing new content (usually for free). people that aren't advanced enough to tinker with the software/device can easily obtain modifications and hacks other people created. the companies making said devices or software arguably sell more devices/software because more people see how many neat things it can do, before and aftermarket.)

Cell phones are especially pathetic in terms of personalization.. sure, you can throw some midis mp3s or games on them, but what about customizing the gui? Usually you only get a handful of color schemes, at best, to choose from. I hate seeing hardware limited by software. This was my major disappointment factor with Apple when I was a Mac tech back in the days of 7.x/8/8.5.x. Superior hardware, inferior software. OSX built on BSD changed this, but soonafter, imo, Intel maimed it.

my samsung sgh-e635 is balls... balls + sacks... you cant even upload games to it :( ..... trash.

Speaking of CS (3, Interesting)

lamarguy91 (1101967) | more than 7 years ago | (#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 (4, Insightful)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 7 years ago | (#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 (5, Interesting)

Pvt_Waldo (459439) | more than 7 years ago | (#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."

Re:Speaking of CS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19153163)

that rocks man. i loved your mod. havnet played it for source, yet, but damn, i loved it on hl1. dod and cs were all i really enjoyed playing. firearms was cool, but it never really seemed to 'come together' and have the right 'feel' like dod and cs did.

Re:Speaking of CS (1)

Stevecrox (962208) | more than 7 years ago | (#19152005)

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".

Going Out On a Limb Here... (4, Insightful)

susano_otter (123650) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151535)

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.

Going Out On a Body Part Here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19151969)

If it comes from those who have talent, time, and give it away, no charge. Otherwise it's a no go.

What a great idea (1)

eudaemon (320983) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151549)

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. You know, shirts, pants, vehicles,
that sort of thing. Heck that's such an innovative idea I think just everyone would join and
so we should just call it "there". That's it "there", I mean there's only one because it
would effectively be everyone's second life!

Wow that guy's crystal ball is working overtime.

How SWEET would it be... (1)

fuocoZERO (1008261) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151573)

...to customize Dance Dance Revolution to include Britney Spears or Fall Out Boy? Oh... wait... (bad Konami. bad.)

Consoles vs PC's (3, Interesting)

Kazrath (822492) | more than 7 years ago | (#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".

Re:Consoles vs PC's (1)

BlackSnake112 (912158) | more than 7 years ago | (#19152285)

"...but I am not going to pay hundreds of dollars to play just one title."

isn't that what WOW players do now? $40 for the game then $5 (or $15) a month to keep on playing. I am not sure on the price I have never played WOW.

Re:Consoles vs PC's (1)

Kazrath (822492) | more than 7 years ago | (#19153179)

It's $15

However for you to reach "Hundreds of Dollars" you would have to stay entertained by the game for a year. Name a console game that you play consistently for a year. Everyone I have ever owned gets played until its beat (Usually a few days after purchase) and is only touched on occasion after that. And if you do well enough in WoW you can be compensated and then some by selling of your character. I made $810 bucks off my character when I quit playing. Albeit it was only about 30 cents an hour :)

Well, Sherlock... (1)

imbaczek (690596) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151597)

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)

Of course it's good (1)

kiracatgirl (791797) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151617)

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 and involved with multiple aspects of the game is, in my opinion, an awesome idea.

Disclaimer: I am a self-admitted PotBS fan. This post may be slightly biased.

Reminds me of a Pakistani joke (2, Interesting)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151675)

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 else will be able to play with them? Or would want to?

Re:Reminds me of a Pakistani joke (2, Informative)

CaptainPatent (1087643) | more than 7 years ago | (#19152097)

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 would spread given this metric. Eventually the best few balls emerge to produce some of the fastest-paced and best games ever.

I said the same thing 10 years ago (2, Interesting)

Tassach (137772) | more than 7 years ago | (#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:I said the same thing 10 years ago (2, Insightful)

Control Group (105494) | more than 7 years ago | (#19152187)

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.

Re:I said the same thing 10 years ago (1)

harry666t (1062422) | more than 7 years ago | (#19152629)

Yeah. Soon after Q4/D3 were released, the first questions on many mod/map devs fora were "what changes have been made to the engine?", "how is it different from Q3?", etc. I've been very glad to see that the packaging format hasn't changed since the Q3 engine, and I already made some custom content for D3 before I actually played the main game.

Multiplayer (1)

phorm (591458) | more than 7 years ago | (#19153195)

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.

So it's official (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19151813)

They're out of ideas.

I perfer TFC (1)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151837)

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.

Re:I perfer TFC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19151977)

TFC, the fucking... content??

Re:I perfer TFC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19152117)

oh, and it's prefer, not perfer...(just saying, since you misspelled it three times)

Re:I perfer TFC (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#19152259)

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.

Re:I perfer TFC (1)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 7 years ago | (#19152523)

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 (2, Insightful)

Annymouse Cowherd (1037080) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151843)

This is why Starcraft is so awesome. The last time I played an official Blizzard map while not on a mod was ages ago.

Fri5T stop (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19151865)

Console games. Console! (5, Insightful)

AlpineR (32307) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151929)

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.

AlpineR

Re:Console games. Console! (1)

Medgur (172679) | more than 7 years ago | (#19152385)

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?

Re:Console games. Console! (1)

theantipop (803016) | more than 7 years ago | (#19152447)

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.

Re:Console games. Console! (2, Insightful)

theantipop (803016) | more than 7 years ago | (#19152397)

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 game.

Re:Console games. Console! (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 7 years ago | (#19153471)

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.

Customization community (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19151985)

If you want to see some of the incredible things being done with game customization, come check out FPSBanana [fpsbanana.com] . There are some truly talented individuals there who do incredible things.

Neverwinter Nights (2, Interesting)

evil_Tak (964978) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151995)

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 category as well.

Whirled (2, Interesting)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 7 years ago | (#19152011)

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.

Canada+NewJersey (4, Funny)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Web 2.0 for online games? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19152123)

So, game developers are finally getting the memo. When you build a server that allows players to create and upload content like blogs/flikr/whatever in the game setting and affect the game environment, then you will have a successful game. I guess I'm strictly talking about MMO's, not modable non-persistent games like HL or CS.

Something like Second Life, but it is debatable [slashdot.org] whether they even have a userbase. But, as I understand it, it is just a big 3d scripting VRML demo with all user content.

Compared to something like Ultima Online (which is still going!) where players could place houses on the 2d terrain and populate it with a plethora of decorations.

Of course, the problem with both of these is the abuse. Players scripting Flying Penises in second life. UO house break ins, looting, etc. These are just two examples, and the things that make the games great are also its greatest weaknesses.

So, no matter what dynamic content people can add to a game, it will be exploited.

No kidding. (1)

Control Group (105494) | more than 7 years ago | (#19152131)

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 not even running the same race. No one's getting ripped off, since the people who make the best content enjoy doing what they're doing, and they didn't need to buy some enterprise license of the engine to realize their vision.

But it's still not a terrifically insightful statement.

SWG (3, Insightful)

toolie (22684) | more than 7 years ago | (#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:SWG (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19152759)

Not providing anything to do except have 'users create their own content' is bad.


http://www.garrysmod.com/ [garrysmod.com]

Re:SWG (2, Informative)

Taelron (1046946) | more than 7 years ago | (#19153357)

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 year and all that time in beta and still did not have a force capable charater or had only just gotten to that point. Suddenly that $15/month plus $30 to buy the game ($150 or more for a year) was wasted because some guy that waited a year pays the $30 into price and suddenly has a force character...

User Generated worlds do work, look at Second Life. Granted I dont play it, I did log in to check out all the hoopla and it wasnt my thing. I'm more a FPS and strategy player... Yet Second Life is doing so well that even the IRS now has accounts and has been working with the parent company to explore the world and determine if they want to start taxing peoples virtual accounts... There are tons of articles about people that have quit their real jobs to run businesses soley in second life and are making thousands of dollars a month...

SWG might have worked if they had actually given the users the baseline they promised pre-release and not the bastardized stripped down crap they actually launched with...

Immersive storylines from player content (1)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 7 years ago | (#19152275)

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 past events. You can't tell a story beforehand. Read up on narrative theory if you want to understand this. I began to understand it when I took a screenwriting class. Any really good story, whether it's a fish story, an anecdote about your day, a classic novel, a cutscene, or a good movie, has a good narrative structure.

So what is the narrative structure? It's the three part act. First of all, you have a protagonist, the character that we identify with. He's living in his normal, everyday world. That's act one. We get enough background to understand who he is and the world as he sees it. Imagine Luke as an adopted son of moisture farmers. Then, some event happens where the hero can't get back to his normal, everyday life. This is the beginning of the second act. Luke's Aunt and Uncle are killed, so he can't continue living under their house. He either has to take over the family business, or hook up with weird old Ben Kenobi and whatever madness he's chasing. Either way, it's a big change, and tomorrow is going to be totally different from this morning.

So in the second act, the hero starts to confront some of the challenges he faces in his new life. Eventually, there is a 'showdown', where the hero encounters the antagonist, the final, major obstacle preventing him from obtaining a new status quo. In Luke's case it was hooking up with the rebel alliance and beginning his Jedi path. His new 'everyday life' was becoming a pilot for the rebellion and a serious Jedi student.

Star wars is a little cosmic in scope, so let me relate it to an everyday anecdote. You call your buddy at 6 PM and tell him what happened to you that day. You got up to drive to work. Everyday, normal situation. On the way, you get in an accident which wrecks your car. Suddenly, you're in the second act. This isn't a normal day, and you can't just go back to driving to work. You have to figure out a new status quo. You face various obstacles -- dealing with the other jerk who hit you, dealing with your insurance, getting a rental call, dealing with your arsehole boss who might fire you. You overcome these various obstacles, get your rental car, and then it's a new status quo -- driving your rental car to work, shopping for a new car in the evenings.

Now, what does this have to do with video games? Well, if you want to have a really good story, an immersive story, one that makes the players care about "what happens next", you have to *know in advance* the rest of the story. As a video game designer, you have to plan out a really good story, and implement it in gameplay and cutscenes. Obviously, this takes money and development time. Also, this limits the open-endedness of the game, since you have to build the story into the game *in advance*. Storytelling is a strong AI problem, so we aren't likely to get computer-generated stories in the near future.

The way to solve this is to make a totally player-controllable world. I don't mean where you are an all-powerful wizard and can do anything; but where you have much more freedom to build and invest in your world, over and above killing monsters and collecting treasures. You have to have time invested in the world. I'm talking about building a castle, controlling tax-paying towns, forging alliances with other players for protection, backstabbing them, negotiating with others, launching campaigns against more powerful threats. Introducing human relationships with investment in the virtual world into the game creates storytelling opportunities, because stories are *what you tell after the event*.

So you build up your castle and outlying towns, collect taxes, all that stuff. This is act one. Then, one of your allies makes a sneak attack and lays siege to your castle. This is act two. You can't just go about collecting taxes; now you have to defend your castle. But wait, there's a surprise! Your new enemy has breached your defenses and his army is swarming into your castle. Little did they know that there was a dragon you were storing in your dungeon, which you unleashed once they were inside the walls. His army is destroyed, and you take over his towns as a thank you for the betrayal. End of Act 3.

So by allowing users more creative control over a virtual world, you also get the benefit of immersive storylines as a bonus. Nice!

Never happen (2, Informative)

MeanMF (631837) | more than 7 years ago | (#19152291)

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.

Game companies need to share the wealth (4, Insightful)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 7 years ago | (#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 (4, Funny)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#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 :(

Near future? (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 7 years ago | (#19152803)

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 vs. Second Life (1)

Wilson_6500 (896824) | more than 7 years ago | (#19153035)

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 Second Life. Only the highest-order mods--separate games--ever significantly change the fundamental engine upon which a game is built. Would all the Quake skins that every Quake clan made be considered "user-generated content"? The maps they made? What about the mods for mods? The models and sounds for those mods?

I think, frankly, that user-generated content has _always_ been key for FPSes, at least.

sooooo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19153129)

I'm curious.....why, oh why did valve take a big "steaming" dump all over CS by integrating steam?

  The game SUCKED HARD after that......

  (and no, I didn't bunnyhop)

Some Indie Games already support user content (1)

Dragonseye (1103251) | more than 7 years ago | (#19153343)

It seems to me as tho some developers such as eGenesis already support user designed content. Take a look at Atitd (www.atitd.com) as an example.
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