Game talkUser created content

 Posted by (Visited 61351 times)  Game talk
Jun 202006
 

David Edery has a nice list of reasons why user generated content works.

The big rap against user-generated content, of course, is that it’s directionless. It leads to a hodgepodge, and users who enter an environment built from it quickly feel that there’s nothing to do, because a rather small fraction of user content is actually finished. (Which just goes to show that the most needed attribute for a creator in any field is persistence!)

Will Wright's pyramid recreated by Damion SchubertWill Wright, back in the Sims 1 days, used to show off a User Content Pyramid, displaying the fact that a very tiny percentage of users made good content tools, a somewhat larger amount made content, a fair amount distributed it, a largish amount — a plurality as I recall — downloaded content that was user-generated, and the broadest base didn’t so anything with it. Because of this, Sims 2 pursued certain types of user content even more — namely, the movies and screenshot stories that were the big surprise in terms of Sims 1 content.

Damion Schubert wrote a blog entry about this pyramid, adapting it to MMO play specifically, and when looked at through squinted eyes, it has a lot in common with Randy Farmer’s Path to Ascension. The interesting thing about these models is that they assume that participation, that creation, that contribution, are in some way more to be valued. This is a deeply held assumption that I happen to share, but that often gets overlooked and not carefully examined. Why is “consuming” content such a dirty word?

One could make the case (and many media theorists have) that any interaction with media is a joint act of creation, that the work of the consumer is to reify the work of the original creator, melding it with their own interpretations and thus creating a new, third work that exists in the space between the consumer and the producer.

In games, this is made explicit. While it’s nice to talk theoretically about how your experience of a movie is different from mine, in a game we can see that difference. It is displayed for anyone who cares to watch. Our interactions with the system are demonstrably different and observable, leading any casual observer to undestand the gap between the experiences of different users. With a movie, we have to rely on a viewer providing their impressions to us in the form of a review, verbal or in print. Watching someone playing a game is its own review: we understand how that person relates to the work.

Why Video Games are Good for Your SoulIndeed, in his recent book, Why Video Games are Good for Your Soul, James Paul Gee, states,

So when I play Castlevania, not only do I freely generate story elements and not only do I co-produce a visual-motoric-auditory symphony, I also generate a unique story — this second story, the virtual-real story. It is the story of my own unique trajectory through the game world. This story is the tale of Alucard-Jim, and I can lard it up with all the fantasies, values, and morals I want to — no permissions needed, no critics allowed.

No critics allowed except your kids on the couch telling you how you’re being stupid, you should go left instead of right.

Let’s compare to a different industry for a second. A similar pyramid created by Bradley Horowitz of Yahoo! was the subject of some controversy a couple of months ago. The stats literally match the way Yahoo! Groups seem to work:

  • 1% of the user population might start a group (or a thread within a group)
  • 10% of the user population might participate actively, and actually author content whether starting a thread or responding to a thread-in-progress
  • 100% of the user population benefits from the activities of the above groups (lurkers)

However, this pyramid was challenged based on some of the recent Web 2.0 hits, such as del.icio.us and Flickr — in these services, the passive consumer is a rare beast. Instead, almost everyone spends some time creating.

Creativity is hard, and requires determination. But some forms of creation are easier than others. Playing a game is an expression of really easy creativity. In most games, it is akin to coloring within the lines. We are told “get to this place over here, without dying. How you do it is up to you, but we won’t let you go off course anyway.” Making a game, by contrast, is really hard creativity: there’s no guardrails on that particular road, and lots of cliffs taken at high speeds. It’s easy to veer off and crash, and never finish the race.

One can see Will Wright’s pyramid, then, as mostly scaled by difficulty. Flickr’s success in driving nearly all its userbase to creativity is inherent in the fact that taking a picture is something everyone does. Sharing pictures is something everyone does. Collecting pictures is something everyone does. The mental hurdle that Flickr had to overcome was the upload, not the activity.

Recently, the Pew Internet & American Life project reported that 35% of Americans contribute web content in some fashion. That’s 50 million people. We’re not talking just a review on Amazon, either:

It considers blogging, Web site creation, contribution of work on Web pages or blogs and submissions of artwork, photos, stories or videos as user-generated online content.

If we consider easier forms of content creation, such as Amazon reviews or even seller ratings on eBay, I am sure the percentage goes up.

The lesson here is that everyone is a creator. The question is “of what.” Everyone has a sphere where they feel comfortable exerting agency — maybe it’s their work, maybe it’s raising their children, maybe it’s collecting stamps. Outside of that sphere, most people are creators only within carefully limited circumstances; most people cannot draw, but anyone can color inside lines, or trace. If the games require serious commitment and challenging creation tasks equivalent to drawing from scratch, they will have smaller audiences.

This is, of course, the argument that some in the comment threads were making against complex ecologies, cool NPC AI, and so on. The logic goes that too much complexity will overwhelm the casual user. We must not forget that casual users aren’t stupid users, they’re just not adept at, or willing to invest in, that that particular system. They are likely heavily invested in creativity in some other aspect of their lives.

The answer that Flickr and to a lesser degree, The Sims, provide is that you must broaden the base of the pyramid. This does not mean that the overall depth of the system must be sacrificed, but that the user contributions that are immediately available must be guided, obvious, and most importantly, something that users can and probably already do anyway.

Raph's user content pyramidIn games, the real user content pyramid is this one: a broad base of creators of easy content, leading up to a peak of creators of hard content. That broad base may look a lot like consumption, but consumption isn’t a dirty word. It’s not so much indicative of a lack of engagement, as of the nature of the engagement; if a user’s playing, they have chosen to engage. The question is whether we’re offering the users the tools to engage on the level they prefer.

Mapping this pyramid to the Web 2.0 services is instructive. MySpace thrives on asking people to fill in the blanks, and to do easy content creation like linking and commenting. Flickr leverages an activity that everyone already finds to be at the easy end of the scale because it’s become so via our culture of the last few decades. And del.icio.us is as simple as “have you read…?” The question is whether there is an aspect of games that is as easy, as obvious, and as permissive of contribution. And the answer is “of course,” it’s called play. This is why features like character customization, pets, fishing, and gardening are more not going to go away — they are fundamentally more accessible, easier, and familiar than dragonslaying. They are fill in the blank or even totally passive experiences.

The core of the current market, dragonslaying, is certainly where the money is today (engagement level drives price sensitivity). But it’s not the mass market, because it’s so darn complicated and unfamiliar to most folks. Much as the hardcore decry the lack of creativity in playing the hack n slash games, they require a much higher level of engagement. A virtual worlds built solely on creation — well, that’s way up at the top end of the scale too. You know what lives at the bottom? Chat.

  79 Responses to “User created content”

  1. Raph’s Website » User created content

  2. User Created Contents

  3. typically revolves around a single point of interest, i.e. ‘UGC makes games more interesting’ or ‘UGC can help drive sales.’ So I thought I’d compile a (by no means exhaustive) list of the good business-y things about UGC in the context of games…” User created content: “The lesson here is that everyone is a creator. The question is ‘of what.’ Everyone has a sphere where they feel comfortable exerting agency — maybe it’s their work, maybe it’s raising their children, maybe it’s collecting stamps. Outside of that

  4. [IMG Visit Raph’s Website » User created content] Raph’s Website » User created content https://www.raphkoster.com/2006/06/20/user-created-content/

  5. Willの資料アーカイヴからGDC2001のぶんをダウンロードしていただきたいのですが、このプレゼン資料の72番目から、『The Sims』のMOD戦略についての説明が始まっています。これをルドロジー研究者のRaph KosterがWebサービスにまで拡張して論じたページを踏まえて、新・濱野両氏の「CGMマーケティング戦略論」が出発しているわけですね。

  6. flickr. myspace. del.icio.us. you sure are getting pretty webby on us there, raph.

    m3mnoch.

  7. They’re among the best examples of user-created content out there, and certainly more impressive in terms of volume than anything that has been done with virtual worlds. I think it’s a good idea to take cues from elsewhere.

  8. […] What great timing!  Following shortly on the heels of my latest musings on user content, Raph Koster has posted some great insight.  I thought I’d said some similar things, but I may not have made it clear. […]

  9. yes, but in all of them, the quality is very lacking.

    I think this is the main flaw of player created content, its crap.

    Now having a space where that’s ok, and people can choose to go to or see your “content” is one thing, Forcing the masses in your game to see the …ahem ..”crap” that others have made is…

    um…

    Crappy?

  10. I think Raph has made a good case for illustrating “If the tools make it easy enough to add content, a lot people will add content than you might expect.” However, uploading a video or blogging about an event in your life is far, far different from designing a virtual item, and that’s far different from actually integrating that item into a virtual game. I’m not sure just HOW much simpler you can make the latter two. Spore looks to do a good job. Even Second Life, for all its features, has some pretty limited tools.

    Addressing the “most content sucks” issue is a different problem.

  11. I just have to make myself clear, I’m referring to 3d models, images and even “quests”.

    Now, using in game items (professionally designed for that game) and creating your own “content” is a completely different thing. (UO house decorating with items that were not really …that , or SWG decorating homes to be “museums” ETC..)

    The tools were designed and, are already there.. They were made to fulfill a purpose.

    There are at least two kinds of “user created content”.

    1. One that a player uses some forum of authoring program, provided by its intended display or not. (The difference between using Furcadias image editor, or Photoshop)

    And

    2.”Content” created by players in game using tools provided them by the designers, IE: quest registrars, using items and tuning them upside down and labeling them something else (table) or using social tools are tools that, once again, were provided by the game, or target, itself. (Like the “Tax” that merchants in SWG could place on there buildings”.

    Option 1 is mostly filled with crap ..and most of it doesn’t fit the situation (A car in a medieval realm) or, is totally unusable by the engine, or intended media.

    I do not think we can continue to lump these two types of things into one term.

    2c

  12. “if a user’s playing, they have chosen to engage. The question is whether we’re offering the users the tools to engage on the level they prefer.”

    And ensuring the barriers to entry to engage arent so high as to prevent casual gamers from even trying to compete. And it must be very hard to prevent this as a game matures to the “Elder Game” and economies develop, especially where top tier players dominate economically. Two examples seem to be relavent from my perspective:

    Crafting and Player Gear

    Comparison of different game systems/designs would probably show some huge descrepencies in level of engagment required and barriers to entry.

    Interesting

  13. That’s not two kinds, Trucegore, it’s two points on the spectrum in my diagram.

  14. […] Comments […]

  15. Several recollections of player created content from SWG.

    Nar Emiki, a player city, is an excellent example of player created content with its shops, decorated houses, a museum or two, its Cantina, and its park space. No, there was no real ‘item designing’ involved. Nonetheless, this player created content greatly enhanced play enjoyment for those of us who liked the town. I’d hazard to say it was enjoyed by passers by, as well.

    This guide of activity represents guided content creation … something I wish MMO’s had more of.

    On the more free-formed front … the citizens of Nar Emiki participated in at least four player events.

    There was the two part ‘Neutron 7’ story (about drug addiction). Players filled roles as actors (drug addicts, law enforcement, smugglers). Action occurred server wide, and involved more people than I can recall. Very entertaining.

    An citizen of Nar Emiki developed a mixed media (in-game / out-of-game interactive website) story concerning his sordid past. The story included puzzles and searching.

    The town also twice hosted the ‘Great Corellian Kaadu Race’ (from Nar Emiki through the Agrilat Crystal Swamp to Kor Vella and back). The race featured a website (now gone) and a betting booth. Some players raced, some officiated, some organized, some donated prizes.

    Lastly, I did the same mixed media story to introduce my characters death and departure from the game. I’m told it was also entertaining.

    Across all four events, there were at least 100 players involved to various degrees (from helping to host the events, to acting, to merely participating).

    Very little support for these events was received from SOE (not that I’m complaining). We made do with what the game already provided.

    Certainly 100 people doesn’t represent a huge percentage of the server population. Nonetheless, imagine what more might have been possible if more guided tools were available for organizing common event types.

  16. *breathes out*

    Okay. I’m really not sure how you got artwork, quests, etc. from Raph’s OP. It’s an old argument, a well-worn one, and one that was briefly touched upon as it is. The contention was that play is creation, and the act of play itself is inherently content, and further that this is the place from which you can broaden a userbase.

    One perspective I take from this is the idea of PvP as content generation is a valid argument. That makes sense, to me, because outside of raiding, all endgame content in all games I have ever seen is essentially a bunch of PvP, whether it’s comparison (coolness) or conflict.

    Most play is crap, too. Most people suck. Perhaps what’s needed is a way to make a player’s suckiness seem less… belittling.

  17. Well, in my mind, they are two completely separate concepts.

    Each has its own can of worms.

    (what diagram is that?, maybe you are just using different Terms.)

    And i really think a distinction needs to be made between the two, they are not comparable when you are trying to answer the question: “Why is “consuming” content such a dirty word?

    Its because the first has a stigma attached to it, the second has never realy been done right, and boath seem to get lumped together in one term, “user created content“.

    To me, as a designer, and a player, they are completely different spheres, and while a player may be interested in one, the are most like not interested in the other.

    The player that like to be creative with the tools that are in game (flipping a crate and placing a run on it and calling it a Table) are not interested in “making” that with a 3d program, the same can be said for the other, they are not interested in playing with the items in game, because they want to make it themselves. There are always exceptions to the rules. but yeah, my take on the matter.

    Spore isn’t user created content, Its user Assembled content. Limited (you know what i mean) tools that grant the user the ability to assemble items in game to create content. No one is modeling anything, its all predefined, even it it is a large base of objects.. It is within the realm of the designers that made its tolerance and design for the game. You CANT mess up, you CANOT make something that doesn’t “fit” in the game.

    On the flipside, Second life has rules for guidance, but the players are Making the items, and uploading them…you can mess up, and you can stray from the “look” of the game…while intended… its still different.

    I’m not disputing your article, or anything in it. Just the fact that the two are the same.

    Ask anyone what “user created content” is, and you will always get vastly different definitions, its to broad a title for the subject.

  18. Okay. I’m really not sure how you got artwork, quests, etc. from Raph’s OP. It’s an old argument, a well-worn one, and one that was briefly touched upon as it is.

    From using my space and Flicker as examples.

    None(well the majority) of that “content” other than the text is created by the users, or found on the net and Uploaded.

    I understand the concept that “play” is considered content, i do however fell that it should not really be part of any measure of how much content a game has. That type of “content” usually only comes with age of the game and its community…

    Bad game = no community and no “play” content.

    And I’m sorry if my posts come off as aggressive (guessing that from your *breaths out*) they are not meant to be at all.

  19. Not sure why I included the exhalation; I do that sometimes.

    I think that Raph is simply suggesting that, because gaming is a participatory experience, and that because multiplayers, like MMORPGs, are shared participatory experiences, the result is that part of the content–and that’s a really big part–is the fact that other people are playing.

    None(well the majority) of that “content” other than the text is created by the users, or found on the net and Uploaded.

    I think I’m misinterpreting this sentence, but… Flickr is effectively 99% user content. The designer content is the structure of the website, the FAQs, the interface for upload, viewing, commenting, tagging, annotating. You can trace every photo back to a single person who is almost certainly not getting paid to do it.

    MySpace, though I have less experience with it, is the same way. There is no MySpace without user created content.

    I understand the concept that “play” is considered content, i do however fell that it should not really be part of any measure of how much content a game has. That type of “content” usually only comes with age of the game and its community…

    What’s the content of chess?

  20. Perhaps for the sake of discussion and to stay more on point it would be best to think of it as “User Contributed Content?” Perhaps the actual method of creation isn’t as important as the fact that something has been either modified or added.

  21. Trucegore — serious question, do you see the third pyramid diagram in the article, the one that breaks down user content into these tiers:

    1. Creation “from nothing”
    2. “Fill in the blank” creation
    3. “Adjust parameters” creation
    4. Guided story construction

    I ask because in the past I have heard that some users cannot see the PNGs when I post them. I’ll reupload it as a GIF or JPG if that turns out to be the issue. Edit: I went ahead and did that.

    “Consuming content” is a dirty word among fans of user content, where it’s often regarded as passive and inferior.

    I quite agree that there’s a big difference between #1 and #3 on my list there, but I don’t see them as different in kind, just in accessibility. It’s the difference between metal shop and Legos.

  22. i’m concerned that when MMO developers from big companies make the next batch of MMOs, they’ll take the term “player created content” the wrong way. they hear “player created content” and think “players want to create their own content. ok, we’ll let them make up their own quests.”
    (sort of like when SWG implimented “player event perks”, like programmable NPC actors.)

    maybe some people want to sit down and write out a new quest for their friends or whoever else to attempt. but as the charts on this post show, the majority don’t want that.

    i’m of the thinking that when most people ask for “player created content”, they actually mean that they would like their decisions and actions (and the decisions and actions of other players) to have real meaning in the MMO’s world. so that by choosing to do or not do something, they alter their own character’s “life”, and possibly the “lives” of other characters, so to speak.

    when an MMO is made so that the choices and actions of players (through their characters, in the context of the fictional MMO world) shape the very world they exist in, then those players will inherently be creating their own content.

    if MMO developers do indeed misunderstand, the MMOs they create will seem like hodgepodge because they’re implimenting the type of “player generated content” where players litteraly create their own content through the conscious act of creation. which inherently breaks immersion both on the creation side, and the consumption side.
    decisions and actions acting as a form of unconcious content creation seems like the best way to combat hodgepodginess.

    anyway, i think that’s maybe what you were getting with this post, Raph. but i could be mistaken.

    this distinction of what people actually mean when they say “player created content” is important as the next generation of MMOs are developed with that phrase in mind. i’d hate to see an entire “generation’s” worth of development resources wasted on a misunderstanding, and have to stall on the progression of this potentially amazing genre.

    it’s obvious (to me anyway) that many MMO developers and MMO players don’t speak the same language, and the players often have a difficult time expressing what they truely want.

  23. […] Raph Koster’s post, User Created Content, is an insightful take on user created content and the 1% rule. He does a great job of wrapping up some of the lessons of Web 2.0 and applying them to games (and by extension virtual worlds). Mapping this pyramid to the Web 2.0 services is instructive. MySpace thrives on asking people to fill in the blanks, and to do easy content creation like linking and commenting. Flickr leverages an activity that everyone already finds to be at the easy end of the scale because it’s become so via our culture of the last few decades. And del.icio.us is as simple as “have you read…?” The question is whether there is an aspect of games that is as easy, as obvious, and as permissive of contribution. And the answer is “of course,” it’s called play. This is why features like character customization, pets, fishing, and gardening are more not going to go away — they are fundamentally more accessible, easier, and familiar than dragonslaying. They are fill in the blank or even totally passive experiences. […]

  24. but as the charts on this post show, the majority don’t want that.

    Who comprises the majority? If we’re talking about an MMO game that is marketed to hardcore Dungeons & Dragons players whose weekly offline routines include playing the role of the Dungeon Master, writing stories, and developing character sheets, then the "majority" probably do want player-created content. Keep in mind that the charts Raph posted cannot be simply extracted and applied to any scenario. Each chart references specific and distinct user communities that are relevant to the associated products.

  25. “i’m of the thinking that when most people ask for “player created content”, they actually mean that they would like their decisions and actions (and the decisions and actions of other players) to have real meaning in the MMO’s world. so that by choosing to do or not do something, they alter their own character’s “life”, and possibly the “lives” of other characters, so to speak.

    when an MMO is made so that the choices and actions of players (through their characters, in the context of the fictional MMO world) shape the very world they exist in, then those players will inherently be creating their own content.”

    For this example I assume you mean things such as:

    WOW: Opening the gates of the expansion AQ: Took resources (various quality and quantities) contributions (from each faction)and completion of significantly difficult quests culminating in the “opening” ceremony, server by server of the “gates” which opened the content to the entire game world. The reward to the player contributing? Faction and etc. and contribution to the world content. Here you can see variable development of communities, some older servers have yet to open those gates, some newer servers open them rather quickly.

    SWG: The story archs and the voting for mayor in NPC cities which caused changes in faction. The blowing up of bases in the GCW, causing a shift in the presence of one faction vs another (planet wide) causing NPC cities to change faction. And to a limited extent the FRS, which resulted in Alpha Class Jedi dominating PVP, and Alpha-Alpha Class Jedi dominating other Jedi (usually the very early pre-pub-9’ers), vying for top tier ranking, preying on eachother, politicing, allying with bounty hunters to cause loss of rank for other Jedi and etc. Or localized to a Player City (Imperial) dominating nearby cities (Rebel) causing them to band together.

    If I understand this scale right these are examples of #3 and #4.

    Whereas creating an Island with an ecology thats dynamic in SL, is an example of #1

    I think #1 is not only hard but perhaps represents maybe 10% or less of the MMO fanbase, where 2-3 are 30-45% perhaps and 4 is the ramainder.

    4 is easy, it appeals to the transitory game hopping masses(WOW). 1 is hard it appeals to a narrower strata, who tend toward more stickiness in thier loyalty to a particular game (after all whos going to abandon thier lovingly created terraformed Island?) (SL)

    Now an interesting thing would be to know how and at what rate do people (if they do) develop from tier 4 to tier 1 players. If this is the case, then with all the new players WOW introduced to the genre, one would expect a very large cohort of players looking for a #1 game in say…4-5 years? (after they get through a #2 and #3 of course). The trick of course would be in capturing those people as they “rise” from one game to the next. Predictive modeling 4tw!

    The downside is this, right now there seems to be a lot of players looking for a #2 and #3 type game, “vetrans” if you will. Im not sure whats caused this dry spell in releases perhaps the dominance of WOW , but I would venture a guess (well this whole post is supposition anyhow) that the next game that does #2 and #3 (and optimally releases very soon, say 4-6 months) would be pretty successful.

    Hell I think if something released next week that was mostly #2 and had #3 then it would do really well…..

    If this is accurate copying WOW would be counter productive

    “it’s obvious (to me anyway) that many MMO developers and MMO players don’t speak the same language, and the players often have a difficult time expressing what they truely want.”

    I think (hope) the developers have a pretty good idea of what players want when they say something. Im not sure the inverse is true. Partially is because the “terminology” of design/games/mmos? has gotten more formalized it would seem. You may experiance the same thing when you go to a Doctor (medical terminology vs laymans terms). It happens to every industry eventually…..

  26. This is why I said back in one of these previous threads that the game-play itself is the content, too, that’s it the content that is just as much a substrate of the game as the coding made by the game gods, deserves just as much respect, and is not a dirty word. Playing — consuming — just passively clicking on stuff, is still a form of creativity *precisely because it is a form of play*. Play is by its nature creative. Of course, you don’t imagine that in the skill-grind, but the skill-grind comes from a Calvinist notion of the work ethic, putting off immediate gratification, etc. for the sake of winning a prize, if not life in heaven, then a sword or helm thingie.

    What was great about the Sims offline was that even if all you managed to do was use the Maxis-created device that enabled you to take textures or images from the Internet and turn them into little pictures or rugs for you sim (avatar), you felt wonderful. You felt as if you were at the dawn of Creation. Anybody had at least that much skill to simply upload a picture or rug into your game. Then there were all those people who used “the transmogrifier” and other programs like PSP to make complex items with manipulating alpha channels and Z buffers or whatever they’re called, to have furniture, flowers, food for your sim. A hard core of us spent lots of time long before there was SL or Sims Online scouring the fan sites and custom sites for the perfect “props” as we called them to fit into scenes to make stories with the sims as the actors.

    It’s true that perhaps 10 percent make something serious, perhaps 1 percent at a professional level, perhaps 30 percent make at least some little thing like a rug, or very interactively consume the 10 percenters and 1 percenters stuff, but why worry about the rest? It’s ok to consume, I’m so glad you have seen fit to declare that consumption isn’t a dirty word, but the completion of the cycle of creation, without which creation because the most sterile form of art.

    Is communicating consuming or creation? Putting up a picture, and easy thing to do for most, is communicating. It may not qualify as creation. Seeing it and talking about it is more communicating — it may not qualify as consumption. Where is the line between communicating and creation/consumption? Maybe it doesn’t matter on the 3-D web.

  27. Who comprises the majority? If we’re talking about an MMO game that is marketed to hardcore Dungeons & Dragons players whose weekly offline routines include playing the role of the Dungeon Master, writing stories, and developing character sheets, then the “majority” probably do want player-created content. Keep in mind that the charts Raph posted cannot be simply extracted and applied to any scenario. Each chart references specific and distinct user communities that are relevant to the associated products.

    the majority of people have never played D&D, have never had interest in playing D&D, or interest in the practices of DMs.
    this is true for the overall population of potential MMO players, as well as current MMO players.
    D&D is nothing like MMOs, and MMOs are nothing like D&D.

    that’s all i meant really.

    but i do agree that there is a decent sized market for D&D people and DMs as well, and that a new genre of 3D D&D-type video games is a good idea to create.
    they would be fully 3D, and feature some sort of quest/adventure editor tool so that GMs can do their thing, as well as the ability for a decent sized group to adventure simultaneously in the scenario that the GM has created.
    they would basically be just like the tabletop D&D, except 3D and on a computer, and able to be played online.
    they would not be MMOs, however.

    i’m actually surprised that D&D:Online didn’t follow that model, as the name would suggest.

  28. by the way, i think maybe the terms “player-created content”, and “character created content” would do well to discern what one is talking about in a discussion such as this.

    – “player-created” meaning that the MMO has some sort of quest editing/creating tool. therefore the player, sitting at their keyboard, will be the one litterally creating content for the game-world, in an out-of-game-context manner.

    – “character-created” meaning that the MMO is designed so that the choices and actions players take with their characters effect the game-world in meaningful ways. all decisions and actions each player takes work with or against each other, thereby creating situations which become content.

  29. The difference between “player-created” and “character-created”.

    Ugh. No offense, but I would opine that we look at it completely differently.

    First of all, the supercategory we’re dealing with is “user-created”. Very quickly, we take a quick look at what it means to be a user. Well, you interact with the system. Period. That’s it. You might be a coder, a content creator, a hardcore enthusiast, a casual every-few-months. You create content, through your interaction with the system, i.e. the game.

    Instead of asking who is creating the content, why don’t we ask what kind of content is being created? Who cares who created the content? If it’s good, then it’s good. If it’s bad, then we cure it with defenestration.

    So instead of “player-created”, we can all it “tool making” and “quest development”. Instead of “character-created”, we call it “roleplaying”.

    Sound fair?

  30. >If it’s bad, then we cure it with defenestration.

    Um, I’m sure you’ll be the best judge of that, yeah.

  31. Good OP and comments.

    My takeaways then are:
    1. adapt web 2.0 principles and develop more tools
    2. provide tools to help players find and access the content set they desire (as most are considered crap)
    3. provide tools to capture and display contents (gameplay videos, dress-up doll modules, character progression diagram, etc.) to be placed in-game and out-of-game
    4. provide formalize structure in each of areas to promote adoption and the best examples (like an editor’s recommendations)

    One issue in MMOs are disruptive or unwanted interactivity, which reduces the uptake of an dynamic and reactive design and increases separate play like instances. Thus, the adaptation of web 2.0 principles and techniques will balance out the trend towards separate play (e.g. flikr for WoW, myspace for SL bands, google map for SWG cities, etc.)

    my 2 cents

  32. So instead of “player-created”, we can all it “tool making” and “quest development”. Instead of “character-created”, we call it “roleplaying”.

    Sound fair?

    sure, whatever grinds your xp 😛

    just as long as there’s a distinction between the two.

    and just so we’re clear, i’m not so much concerned with who is creating the content (i realize that ultimately it’s the user who would be creating it), but rather in what manner it’s being created (as in, whether the user is stepping outside of the game-context to create it, or indirectly creating it through their decisions/actions while playing).

  33. Raph,

    First time posting here, but I really appreciate you sharing all your thoughts. User created content holds a special place in my heart. I think it is going to be one of the most quintesential things that makes the next MMO much bigger the WoW.

    I agree with the article you wrote and I agree with the others comments that user content is for the most part “crap” for one reason or another. I had thought about this for sometime and realized that the problem with user created content quality has already been solved.

    First, the game that allows for user created content must be as broad as possible, allowing the casual user to modify the Super Fly Catcher 2000 with some purple mandrake root to make the Super Fly Catcher 2001 with +1 Damage against flies as well as allowing power creaters the ability to generate a 3D model of that new item.

    The trick is filtering out the good from the bad content. That problem is solved with systems like del.ico.us. You need a way to allow others to rate the content (not necessarily the obvious way such as voting) so that the best of the content reaches to the top and have the better content be seen by more people. You could also have the content seen by all if it reaches a certain threshold level. The point is that the entire player base is allowed to generate content at different skill levels and all of it is rated by the users so that the best naturally floats to the top and weeds out the “crap”.

    QED.

  34. rather in what manner it’s being created (as in, whether the user is stepping outside of the game-context to create it, or indirectly creating it through their decisions/actions while playing)

    But why is this difference important?

  35. […] Fascinating little post from Ralph Koster about user created content at https://www.raphkoster.com/2006/06/20/user-created-content/ A short excerpt… […]

  36. There are some interesting things learned by observing the historical relationships between MUDders, and their particular content pyramids. There is usually a gentle upwards pressure on players to ascend the content pyramid — either because of ambition on their part, or because of a natural reverence (or hatred) towards the higher tiers (we all want to be rock stars, after all). However, as players ascend, there is a sort of starvation that can emerge — denying the player the simple pleasures they enjoyed in the lower tiers — the same pleasures which created their investment in the game, in the first place.

    There are a couple of reasons for this. Time is the most obvious one. A player who spends all his time making is not spending as much time playing as she might. There are more insidious factors, however. The moment a player reaches a paw into the nuts and bolts of a game, there is a psychological shift taking place, akin to the moment when Dorothy discovers the man behind the curtain, pulling the levers. It can suck all the magic out of a world, whether one realizes it immediately, or not.

    So, while there is a very real possibility that a player may find a new love — that she may take great joy in making things — she may lose an old love, in the process. You may never be able to reclaim her as a simple player, no matter how nostalgic she may be for that period of her relationshp with your game.

    I do not wish to dissuade anyone from having player-generated content. Rather, I’d like to encourage people to think about ways to allow players to create and contribute in visible, important ways, without divorcing them from the game they love so much. They will not look out for their own interests, in this regard, because they don’t realize what’s at stake, until they’ve lost it. You don’t want to lose some of your most valued players, because they have inadvertently traded their play for work, and are no longer enjoying themselves.

    In light of this, I think that some of what Raph is saying about low-barrier-of-entry, directed contribution is important. The more you provide means for casual expression for the masses, the less players need to give up their beloved gameplay to be creators.

  37. […] The big rap against user-generated content, of course, is that its directionless. It leads to a hodgepodge, and users whoWarhammer Online von Mythic Entertainment. enter an environment built from it quickly feel that theres nothing to do, because a rather small fraction of user content is actually finished. (Which just goes to show that the most needed attribute for a creator in any field is persistence!) Will Wright, back in the Sims 1 days, used to show off a User Content Pyramid, displaying the fact that a very tiny percentage of users made good content tools, a somewhat larger amount made content, a fair amount distributed it, a largish amount a plurality as I recall downloaded content that was user-generated, and the broadest base didnt so anything with it. Because of this, Sims 2 pursued certain types of user content even more namely, the movies and screenshot stories that were the big surprise in terms of Sims 1 content. Link: User Created Content 150)?150:this.scrollHeight)”> __________________ The tools suck! — Raph Koster […]

  38. But why is this difference important?

    it’s important because of what Tess said right above me here. because they’re two very distinct and different ways of approaching it, and will most certainly have different results.

    “quest development” takes the user beyond the 4th wall, and has them working with the nuts and bolts of the game. of course various levels of removal are possible, from an all out zone editor, to a simple NPC actor for which you program lines of speech (ala SWG). either way, it completely ruins immersion, which could be quite difficult to regain for some players.
    it also runs the risk of ruining immersion for other players as well. for instance, many users in SWG abused the programmable NPC actors to say vulgar, or anti-SOE dialogue around highly populated areas.

    “roleplaying”, when the mechanics of the game actually support it (so that the decisions/actions of users, through their characters, affect the game-world in meaningful ways) do not remove the user from the context of the game-world. you just play, and your play creates content for both yourself, and others as well. no one is going beyond the 4th wall. everything happens “in character”, and in context.
    if someone decides to attempt to abuse this by having their character speak or act in an out-of-context way, the environment (through the game’s mechanics) should react accordingly.

  39. […] Degrees of Creation Raph Koster’s website has a great post on user created content.”The lesson here is that everyone is a creator. The question is “of what.” Everyone has a sphere where they feel comfortable exerting agency — maybe it’s their work, maybe it’s raising their children, maybe it’s collecting stamps. Outside of that sphere, most people are creators only within carefully limited circumstances; most people cannot draw, but anyone can color inside lines, or trace. If the games require serious commitment and challenging creation tasks equivalent to drawing from scratch, they will have smaller audiences.”Player creativity and user created content are some of my favourite subjects, and this post gives a pretty good picture of what is going on there. […]

  40. How does the user created interfaces of WoW fit this scenario? I might be tempted to argue that they carry some contentish values, altho they are really just support for the interactive process of the players. The differences between user created content and user created interfaces are somewhat limited when you look at their impact on a product. I would assume that you want a similar distribution model aswell, anyone wanting to play user created content can pick and chose at available modules and install them. If they are good enough the “real devs” can implement them as part of the baseic gameplay kit everyone gets with the box, just as Blizzard does with the good UI mods.

    Content in a game of chess is your opponent, the rest of chess is vocabulary and interface. 🙂 New chess opponents are only really created by mentors who are so or so common among chess players.

  41. I don’t think that there is a break between LEGO and DIY based of creativity. Fundamentally, our world (as we see it) is organised based on modules and humans have the gift to re-organize the modules we find around us. So its not different to create something out of LEGO or use nails and screws and wooden boards. In games like SWG players can »create« anything they want by arranging items inside their houses on the XYZ axis, so just as you can create any image by using pixels inside a matrix (say B/W 16×16 bitmap), you can use small items and model an elvis statue of it, only limited by the »grain size«.

    The »grain size« to work with is only limited by our technical possibilties, so you can for example cut LEGO stones into pieces and re-organise them with glue again (reducing the »grain size«, while most of us cannot re-organise the atoms inside a coal chunk to make a diamond of it. So I think this »grain size« is not exactly in the Y axis of the pyramid, but somehow connected to it. On the pyramids base, the tools to organise things are much more limited and rough than they are on the developer peak, where they literally organise virtual molecules.

    I think there is a lot room in between. Developers of games already can create larger worlds as they can fill with content, so it seems natural to lease world-space to players which they can use as a playground to create content for themselves and everyone who wants to consume it. You can place warning signs into the world so that players know that they are now stepping on anothers creative space or you can make the user created content otherwise locked behind doors. It seems easy to do so, just add the door to the user’s creative space into the world and allow others to open it (like player is allowed to place mute NPCs as doors, once you speak to them and accept, its quests are unlocked…)

  42. Raph,

    Thanks for the reference.

    You’re one of the few people that I think accurately captured my point – that our acquisition of flickr, delicious, etc. is a deliberate effort to melt down that pyramid and convert every visitor into a contributor. In flickr for instance, that contribution can be completely “implicit…” People that are ostensibly “consuming” (i.e. simply viewing pictures, saving favorites, etc.) are actually creating a trail of value in their wake and “voting” on the interestingness of photos. These applications lower the barriers to participation to such an extent that every visitor becomes a contributor.

    Found your article quite interesting!

  43. Content in a game of chess is your opponent, the rest of chess is vocabulary and interface. 🙂 New chess opponents are only really created by mentors who are so or so common among chess players.

    Actually, the answer I was fishing for was the act of playing itself: the different patterns of movement and the history of the current match. One of the more interesting ways of observing a chess match is to study your own choices.

    it’s important because of what Tess said right above me here.

    I’d argue they’re not playing the same game, but extending onto Tess’:

    So, while there is a very real possibility that a player may find a new love — that she may take great joy in making things — she may lose an old love, in the process. You may never be able to reclaim her as a simple player, no matter how nostalgic she may be for that period of her relationshp with your game.

    I’m not convinced this is bad in the slightest (except from the traditional “competition should be shot” model). Ideally, all readers should become writers, all writers authors; all movie-watchers movie-makers; game players game-makers. In one sense, it’s the idea that a person should give as well as receive. In another, it shows that people grow, get better, and learn more about the things they love. Everyone should ascend a pyramid.

    A passive audience is like an infant. They don’t give anything back, actively anyways. They give the parent emotional feedback, sure, and inspires emotions, but it’s not intentional on their part. An active audience, on the other hand, is a peer. They can criticize your work through theirs; and demonstrate proven knowledge of the subject material in it.

    In other arts, understanding theory and jargon is a sign of greater, not lesser, appreciation. I don’t think it’s different in games.

    because they’re two very distinct and different ways of approaching it, and will most certainly have different results.

    So is it the distinction between methods that’s important, or the fact that their results differ?

  44. One of the things that drove me away from WoW was that I was the maintainer of a package of about a dozen addons that I wrote, and maintaining them was taking up more and more of my time. I wanted to play the game, but I didn’t want to play it without my addons and fixing them every time Blizzard broke them with a patch was too much like work. (this was a minor consideration next to my boredom with the game, or course).

    I think if you want user-created content to be central to the experience of your MMO, you have to do at least the following 3 things:

    1. give users the tools to easily create structured content
    2. try to restrict/shape their content-creating experience so that its easy for them to create reasonably good content and not easy for them to botch it too badly. (for example: if you ask them to write their own free-form quest text, you will succumb to the 90%-of-everything-is-crap rule).
    3. provide filtering tools that make it easy for other users to rate the content, not see the crappy content, etc. Doing this so it doesn’t break immersion would be pretty difficult though.

  45. If they are good enough the “real devs” can implement them as part of the basic gameplay kit everyone gets with the box, just as Blizzard does with the good UI mods.

    Blizzard did this with one of my addons, MozzStickyItems. 😉 It made item icons stay on the action bar when you used up your last instance of an item (and appear disabled). I think thats the way they should have done it in the first place, of course. Slouken tried it and liked it and decided to put it into the standard UI.

  46. ideally, all readers should become writers, all writers authors; all movie-watchers movie-makers; game players game-makers.

    ideally… which means it doesn’t actually work that way.
    some people just want to play an MMO. they have no interest in designing one.
    if there’s a market for “quest development” type games, by all means make them.
    but don’t neglect the market for “roleplaying” games.

    So is it the distinction between methods that’s important, or the fact that their results differ?

    both method and result are important, to me.

    i go to a movie, i don’t want to see the lights, cameras, director, ect. i want to be immersed in the movie.
    i read a book, i don’t want to see the author’s notes scribbled inbetween paragraphs. i want to lose myself in the story.
    i play an MMO, i don’t want to have to break through the 4th wall just to be able to have an impact on the game-world. i want to create content for myself and others just by playing the game.

    now, i can appreciate the nuts and bolts behind great works. i do enjoy watching behind-the-scenes pieces on dvd, or reading author’s thoughts on their great works. and i’m sure the same would go for MMOs.

    but sometimes, well… most of the time, i just want to immerse myself in another world.
    and since MMOs are one of the only forms of interactive entertainment, i would like to utilize that interactive potential for a better, more immersive experience.

  47. […] The big rap against user-generated content, of course, is that its directionless. It leads to a hodgepodge, and users whoWarhammer Online von Mythic Entertainment. enter an environment built from it quickly feel that theres nothing to do, because a rather small fraction of user content is actually finished. (Which just goes to show that the most needed attribute for a creator in any field is persistence!) Will Wright, back in the Sims 1 days, used to show off a User Content Pyramid, displaying the fact that a very tiny percentage of users made good content tools, a somewhat larger amount made content, a fair amount distributed it, a largish amount a plurality as I recall downloaded content that was user-generated, and the broadest base didnt so anything with it. Because of this, Sims 2 pursued certain types of user content even more namely, the movies and screenshot stories that were the big surprise in terms of Sims 1 content. Link: User Created ContentWeitere News zum Thema: WAR: Preview auf Warhammer Online WHO: GOA bernimmt europischen Support WHO: Screenshots vom 28.5.2006 WHO: Paul Barnett und warum man Game Designern kein Kaffee geben sollte WHO: Screenshots 22.05.2006 Diskussion im Forum:Theorien ber User Created ContentBisher 5 Kommentare im Forum. […]

  48. 1. give users the tools to easily create structured content
    2. try to restrict/shape their content-creating experience so that its easy for them to create reasonably good content and not easy for them to botch it too badly. (for example: if you ask them to write their own free-form quest text, you will succumb to the 90%-of-everything-is-crap rule).
    3. provide filtering tools that make it easy for other users to rate the content, not see the crappy content, etc. Doing this so it doesn’t break immersion would be pretty difficult though.

    Hmm. Well, if they are looking to create in-game content for other players (“Quests”) then while I agree the tools should be intuitive, perhaps not easy in the sense that there may be a cost involved. An in-game cost. For example: To create a quest is just a little coin, to create you own text to start it is an easy-to-farm feather but NPC dialog would cost a harder-to-get dragon scale. The idea here is that there will be less bad content if the creator has a cost. He will not pay dearly to write “Kill ten rats”. This does not make him more creative; just spend more thought on it. As far as filtering tools, I’m picturing a guy standing in the main cities giving out Player-created quests, and he asks before “are Ye seeking something Exciting or Quick Paced, or perhaps a bit of Story? And I might have some other Choices if none of that interests you.” Unrated content is under the other choices menu. Players rate content as soon as one hour after the quest starts up until the finish it. Who would pay for quest rewards is a much larger topic. 🙂

  49. “then while I agree the tools should be intuitive, perhaps not easy in the sense that there may be a cost involved. An in-game cost. For example: To create a quest is just a little coin, to create you own text to start it is an easy-to-farm feather but NPC dialog would cost a harder-to-get dragon scale”

    This is interesting, if I may borrow this idea but adjust it to another dynamic: Content development as a real world currency cost, I mean if the much loved and much maligned model in games, related to purchasing say, armor or weapons with real world cash, is appropriate isnt it also appropriate to charge for player created content?
    Create a simple quest: 3$
    Create a medium difficult quest: 6$
    Create a hard quest: 10$
    Create an epic Quest: 20$

    Now whats the downside? Maybe the level of difficulty is tied to some internal review mechanisim, Hard/Epic quests require submission, Simple/Medium are Text Editor based (coded to reject foul language of course)

    Perhaps theres a fee to even get access to this functionality. And a hard limit on the number of these pez dispenser user created content NPC’s per server and or per account.

    So whats the upside for the player creator? Maybe the “turn in” deposits to the players bank account. (quest: Bring me 20 red dragon scales, ill give you 30gp) (NPC’s based upon level come with a fixed amount of GP to dispense, or maybe the player deposits it). These NPC’s in effect act as dynamic content, AND a form of economic trade?

    This could be tied to the crafting economy?
    Would it serve as a means of economic distribution of game currency? (preventing concentrations of wealth?)
    Provides a time sink for questing and content creators?
    Theres an economic incentive to design good content or waste real world money?
    What would be the utility to mega-guilds?
    What about out of game organizations, good content creators could ask for donations via pay-pal?
    How would this effect gold farmers?
    What about when the game has an expansion?
    Or Competition for resources? Supply and demand?
    Whats the potential revenue stream for the game company?
    Would there be a decent ROI?
    hmmmm…

    This has probably been done before, Im probably just not aware of it.

  50. ideally… which means it doesn’t actually work that way.

    Yes, but the thing I neglected to mention was that going up the pyramid does not exclude you from the bottom. Every good artist views art. Every good author reads. Every good game designer plays games.

    I would put this statement forward: the reason that learning the nuts-and-bolts of a game makes it uninteresting is because the games are uninteresting in the first place. What happened is merely that you found out.

    Understanding character, plot, setting, framing, perspective and learning how to apply these things to my own stories has not stopped me from enjoying novels; instead, it has heightened my appreciation for their deftness, but it has also dampened my respect for ineptness. It makes me want to be a better writer.

    I would prefer that bad games be revealed for the poor designs they are, and good games respected as the excellence they are, and for people to constantly work at improving those designs. I want people who enjoy something to be able to tell me why, and hopefully to further be able to produce their own work showing me how that “why” really was why it was better.

    if there’s a market for “quest development” type games, by all means make them. but don’t neglect the market for “roleplaying” games.

    I would cautiously say that there is a market for a game that permits a roleplayer to being a quest-maker… if they want to. If you don’t want to be a writer, then you won’t be one. You should keep reading, of course, and enjoying it.

    I would suggest a more generalized Path to Ascension: consumer, appreciator, critic, hobbyist, professional. The consumer is someone who doesn’t understand why he likes it, whereas an appreciator does. A critic, furthermore, knows why he doesn’t like it, and has no problem saying so. A hobbyist and a professional both actively create, but the former does it without skill.

    The idea is not to FORCE players to move up the ladder, but to make it possible and actively encourage it.

  51. Why do player-created quests have to be of a similar mold to the junk we already see today. Isn’t putting a bounty on someone’s head a quest? What about placing an order for 10 metal breastplates? Or hauling this load of rare emeralds to the coastal town and having them shipped across the ocean? I think finding ways to make these sort of things more interactive and dynamic is a better focus. But doing so requires planning the game from the top with this idea in mind.

    An example from WoW (since thats what Ive been most involved with recently). The auction house is a godsend for functionality and ease of transactions. However, its very impersonal, sterile, and ultimately, further detracts from any sense of community. If I sell something I made on the auctions, Im just looking for gold. I really dont care who buys it or what they use it for. It’s really pretty boring an uninteresting. However, if someone in my guild requests the same item, then it becomes a quest of sorts. Oftentimes, they will only have part of the materials needed, so we ask the rest of the guild for materials and/or gather up the rest manually. I place all the parts in my pack, head to the forge, watch the little crafting bar progress (also pretty lame, but thats a different discussion), finish it and hand it over to my guildmate. They are appreciative, I feel a sense of accomplishment and get to watch them put it on and feel that I did something to improve not only that character’s existence, but the guild overall, and, finally, there is the bonding betwwen the two of us from that a direct interaction which would never had occured had I simply sold the item at the auction interface.

    That is not something that could ever be replicated through coding (though maybe it could if NPCs actually had lives and desires).

    Player generated content happens wherever the players are. Something as simple as one player doing a dance emote, and then having 10 other players nearby all join in is still player generated content. Was the dance move hardcoded into the game? Yes it was, but the dance party would have never happened if there weren’t players there to initiate and particpate in it on a whim. The trick is to give the players as many tools and options as possible, so that such content isnt limited to silly emotes.

  52. There was an article over at Skotos today… take a look at the third screenshot. I didn’t read it in depth (I’ll probably re-read later), but that quest editor was for players.

    http://www.skotos.net/articles/guestvoices/guestvoices4.phtml

    Not making a point here. =P

  53. did you see the paypal button? (Joke) 🙂
    Would be nice to get some stats from them, once that goes live, related to user base, vs number of people creating quests and etc.

  54. Why do player-created quests have to be of a similar mold to the junk we already see today. Isn’t putting a bounty on someone’s head a quest? What about placing an order for 10 metal breastplates? Or hauling this load of rare emeralds to the coastal town and having them shipped across the ocean? I think finding ways to make these sort of things more interactive and dynamic is a better focus. But doing so requires planning the game from the top with this idea in mind.

    that’s exactly what i’m talking about.

    when i was a wee noob in SWG, i ran into another player who needed someone to hunt down and collect a certain amount of creature hides. i felt i was up for the job and went on the hunt.
    i came back to meet him with the hides and he paid me well for my trouble.

    he could’ve went to the bazaar or found an NPC vendor to get the hides he needed. but like you said, Tholal, that’s boring and impersonal.
    it’s much more interesting when players interact.

    that’s why i feel that interdependency, and cutting out all the stuff that makes things too “easy”, is key to an enjoyable, lasting, and dynamic MMO.

  55. Hey, everything don’t have to be structured into a square, diamond, hexagon, etc.

    We can create tools that allow the best to flow to the top and allow people to find the user-created content that they like. It’s the open-wide web perspective vs. AOL’s or Yahoo’s “selected” best.

    After scanning through Henry Jenkin’s blog, I think he’s perspective is close to my own perspective. And his post on Ode to Robot Chicken points to what’s happening in the RL multi-media enivronment. As Second Life and others are starting to pursue, VWs are not walled gardens with one door in and out.

    Players will take what they have on hand to create their own content. It is to the developer’s benefit to help players share and consume the best user-created content.

    Frank

  56. The big rap against user-generated content, of course, is that it’s directionless.

    I would say that this is the “the rap” against a specific kind of user-generated content used in a specific context. Specifically I think the argument is made that user-created content (along the lines of housing, quest-creation, etc.) fails to be directed enough to create strong narrative in online worlds. Flickr isn’t trying to create a narrative. It is filling a very specific need — sharing photos. It doesn’t need to be directed for that.

  57. That’s about the crux of the problem. Game designers anticipating 1000 concurrents and millions of accounts seem to furthermore be expecting the majority of said users to work with their narrative. Is it really a surprise that they don’t? There are many parts to a story: plot, character, setting, trigger…

  58. The biggest reason user-generated content goes off in a different direction than the gameworld it’s based on, I suspect, is that creativity is by nature a matter of inspiration, even to the point of whim.

    Try to get a half-dozen people to write within one overarching story sometime. You’ll get one or two writers mostly on topic, one or two more on-topic but contradictory in some significant way, and the rest will be either totally offtopic or (if you enforce consistency) silent because they just don’t have any ideas on the given subject.

  59. After my first attempt to revolutionize the MMORPG industry was about one month to complete death, I was writing a white paper on why my model was workable and, still, revolutionary. A friend of mine read it, and argued that it was possible to control even a thousand people to work inside a narrative.

    I’d met him while doing writing-based roleplay (my term), which is essentially where some leader creates the setting and the framework, and whatever other rules as necessary, and then the others contribute to the story through their own characters. (Example) Apparently, he claimed, he had done this in a major writing project he had held sway over.

    The fact is… it’s important to realize that “the rest” you speak of are almost always certainly present, and yes, they do suck. If you want to retain them in the face of this, then you have to give them something else to do. On the other hand, you can polarize and say, “Sorry, if you aren’t happy, find something else.” They won’t all leave, and some who stay may get better, but you’ll have to deal with them anyways.

    All of this aside, however, I personally don’t see any good reason why we need a DM, GM, or Storyteller, or Narrator in MMORPGs at all. The fanciful notion of the MUD was that this role was handed to the computer. That’s not true. The truth is that it was never handed off at all.

  60. […] Raph%u2019s Website � User created content […]

  61. […] Raph Koster: everyone is a creator, the question is, “of what”? […]

  62. […] Raph Koster: everyone is a creator, the question is, “of what”? […]

  63. […] Shattering the Self-Promotion Taboo   Learn More (Advertise for free!) Logged in as demo. Login Feedback Discussion – Register (no email required) – CleverCS – Web 2.0 All Links My Targeted Links My Targeting Links My Liked Links My Disliked Links My Submitted Links Link Targeting Raph’s Website » User created content – https://www.raphkoster.com/... 0 points, 0 liked, 0 disliked, del.icio.us import, 2 bookmarks, 40 days ago design, videogames, user, games, game, fourthwall, creativity, content, blog more like this / fewer like this – reply – targeting – surf The link above is currently targeted to 0 people based on the targeting rules below.Resubmit the link above to improve its targeting rules, description, etc. Link targeting determines who will receive the link as a targeted link. For example, you might recommend reddit.com to people who like digg.com or slashdot.org. In this case, digg.com and slashdot.org would be targeting links for the targeted link reddit.com. A targeted link’s score determines its ranking among people’s personalized recommendations. Spam too many people with poor targeting link rules and most of them will just vote your link down, thus reducing its rank among people’s personalized recommendations. Learn more: Shattering the Self-Promotion Taboo. resubmit link above (so you can improve its targeting, description, etc.) No targeting link rules found. For quick and easy link submission, drag and drop this bookmarklet to your browser’s bookmarks toolbar: Target Your News Submit […]

  64. […] Jenkins somewhat ignores the massive disparity in participation among collective intelligences. While he does cite Survivor producer Mark Burnett’s claim that the show’s 20 million viewers massively dwarfs the community of online spoilers, Jenkins seems to assume that this disparity is a temporary one. In the future, as convergence culture takes hold, participation will become universal. Unfortunately, participation seems to take place more naturally in levels. Raph Koster points to a User Content Pyramid Will Wright used to use when talking about The Sims. A small number of tool makers supplies a slightly larger number of content creators, who publish content on a slightly larger number of web sites, for a slightly larger number of content downloaders, compared to the even larger number of ordinary players. Koster also cites a similar pyramid for Yahoo! Groups, in which 1% of the population starts a group or posts a new thread, 10% participates in the discussion, and the rest benefit from lurking. Koster convincingly argues that flattening the difficulty of content creation also flattens the pyramid–Raph’s example is Flickr, where creating a photo is a low-effort process. But Jenkins clearly sees high-effort, low-volume activities as much more indicative of convergence culture, or perhaps just more desirable (it’s hard to disagree). This kind of participation or “collective intelligence” still demands a very large base of ordinary mass-market consumers–20 million Survivor viewers are needed to generate 5,000 messageboard spoilers. While it is possible that the increased exposure to participation and convergence may naturally flatten the pyramid over time, it’s unclear how long it might take. In any event, Jenkins paints a picture of media participation that may imply greater flattening than actually exists. […]

  65. […] All of this is, of course, an expression of the user content pyramid, which is usually expressed as “10% create, and 1% of it is any good.” But I’d like to propose an alternate extended definition: […]

  66. […] All of this is, of course, an expression of the user content pyramid, which is usually expressed as ‘10% create, and 1% of it is any good.’ But I’d like to propose an alternate extended definition: […]

  67. […] allow users to make instances, and am trying to find it… In my search, I came across this stuff: https://www.raphkoster.com/2006/06/20…eated-content/ ————— […]

  68. […] Will Wright, the creator of The Sims, represents this chart after the release of The Sims: […]

  69. […] (About Results) Are you looking for? No Suggestions Found. 1. Raph’s Website " User created content … of a movie is different from mine, in a game we can see that difference. … but the guild […]

  70. […] up illustrating these engagement levels. Will Wright once produced one showing the Sims ecosystem, Raph Koster made one mapping the levels to easy and hard fun and in web circles Bradley Horowitz’s 1% […]

  71. […] Koster’s post, User Created Content, is an insightful take on user created content and the 1% rule. He does a great job of wrapping up […]

  72. […] users across even the most shallow creation line for a product, but the most obvious one is that “creators are the most voracious consumers” (2).  To extend that further:  more creators means greater consumption per user, and greater […]

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