Sunday, April 23, 2006

The Next Generation of Gaming

Raph Koster posted some speculations on where this is all heading. Similar ideas have been passed around before, that the production costs for mainstream video games are ballooning out of control and will simply be too expensive for most publishers and developers. Personally, I think that these same publishers and developers brought this on themselves with their overemphasis on eye candy and graphical splendor over any sort of gameplay whatsoever.

My idea is that there should be open source development. Let the gaming company produce the infrastructure, and then let all the amateur level designers and modders produce most of the content. What would an MMORPG look like if it was moddable but had a basic framework in place that allowed questing, leveling, etc? I'm not talking about Second Life, which allows for a large amount of user-generated content, but something like WoW or Guild Wars, where most of the quests/missions were created by the players themselves? SL unfortunately is not a game. What if Orgrimmar was entirely player-created, from the buildings, to the personnel, to the quests handed out? What if you had to go kill 10 Elder Panthers because Gimpy the Dwarf (another player) really needed you to kill those 10 cats in exchange for 5000 XP or 10 gold? What if there actually was a war being fought in WoW, and supplies really did need to be moved from behind the lines to the front where they were most needed? What if that Sword of Slaying I held aloft before crashing into the battle lines was created by Darok Forgemaster entirely, from the iron bars I gave to him, to the glowing ruby in the pommel, to the textures he uploaded to the server so that everyone else can see the fine grain of the steel before it swipes off their head?

What if, what if?

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