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Gaming Podcast 172: Heaps of Mates

May 11th, 2010 by Derrick Schommer · 9 Comments

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We’re bringing a new gaming podcast to our heaps of mates, the listeners. We’re discussing some good community feedback while hitting a few key news article for this week. This weeks industry gaming news includes:

  • Codemasters and Playground battling it out
  • GamesWorkshop Sues WarhammerAliance.com
  • StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty Hits retail shelves July 27
  • Nintendo to crack down on piracy with the Nintendo 3DS
  • Sony confirms Little Big Planet 2

This weeks question, can a user-generated content create a game that extends far behind its own life cycle? Or, do we really rely on the developers to extend it?

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9 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Herr_AlienNo Gravatar // May 12, 2010 at 3:07 am

    Hey! I’m on the metric system. And if it’s so bad, then why its units are used in physics?

    @Codemaster and playground:
    WTF? How about doing something to keep your competitive advantage and your people in your company?
    What’s next, we’ll be bound for life to one company? Will we start picking cotton?

    This smells more like revenge.

    The reason why it comes into media is the fact that good specialists are hard to come by. And with how education works (not!) you won’t get any of them any time soon.
    This makes labor market more competitive. Problem is, no company is willing to accept that.

    @GamesWorkshop Sues WarhammerAliance.com:
    Obviously they’re after the network. Thing is, they’re willing to do that by shooting their community. There’s just one way this can end, and it will turn around and bite GamesWorkshop on the a$$.

    @StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty Hits:
    Thyland? In who’s dreams? 😀 Derrick, you’re also a hacker!
    StarCraft II has all the chances to make a truckload of money. Modern Warfare 2 brought in 500 million USD. Starcraft II can do that too.

    @Nintendo to crack down on piracy:
    Heeey! I live in Europe. Former Eastern Block.

    Jennifer’s right though, if somebody pirates your game, it means they never intended to buy it (there are cases when people who pirated games also bought them afterwards, but they are insignificant in terms of numbers). So, technically, you’re not losing sales.

    Loved that, Don! Keep it up 🙂

    Lol, Derrick, iPad touch :))
    See? Even you can’t make the difference 😀

    @Question of the week
    CounterStrike. Made by the community. Still being played.

  • 2 Jonah FalconNo Gravatar // May 12, 2010 at 10:42 am

    LittleBigPlanet 2’s big hook is that you can make any sort of genre, like real-time strategy and shooters.

    To answer your question, few games have been able to thrive on user created content. The best game at it was the Heroes of Might and Magic series. The editor from Heroes II through IV were easy to make.

    Then there’s the granddaddies of user-created content – Lode Runner and Excitebike (is there any wonder why Trials HD is so popular on XBLA?)

    The problem with LittleBigPlanet and LittleBigPlanet 2 are that the crap to good ratio is extremely high. The first game didn’t sell at all (first month low on the top 20, then gone after that.) The fact is, most people would rather have official levels released as DLC than have to wade through a sea of dung to find one good level.

  • 3 OnyersixNo Gravatar // May 12, 2010 at 10:43 am

    I feel somewhat responsible for the massive tangents that you guys drifted away on.
    Ever watch Scrubs and see JD turn his head as he daydreams? That’s what I now envision Jennifer doing.

    @Black Wii – I forgot to mention, it was also bundled with Sports Resort and Motion Plus for a “limited period”, but I guess the limited period means they won’t be making them in 2090?
    Oh, and I stand corrected. The power lead couldn’t have been t reason for the delay, since it is the same one for the White Wii. Maybe it was the ink in the printer needed for the packaging.

    @DS hackers – There is a reasonable amount of widespread knowledge of a device known as the R4 cartridge. I haven’t obtained one, nor do I intend to, but from what I understand these cartridges can have games loaded on to them, and they look remarkably like standard DS carts. They fall into a grey area as far as their legality, and as a result can be freely sold in markets etc, as the cartridge itself is not a breach of any software license. The problem is that it would be almost guaranteed that you were only buying them to then obtain illegal software to run on it.
    You can see more on this “homebrew solution at the wiki site. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nintendo_DS_storage_devices

    @Derrick – The track is the Nurburgring. Not the Nuremburgring, or the Nurburgering. It just made me laugh after after Thigh Land.
    I’m sure we can give you plenty of regional colloquialisms just to hear you fail at the pronunciations. And yes, I did deliberately use big words to challenge you.

    As for QotW, I’d look back to 1997 and Xwing Vs Tie Fighter (which you may remember was my first real online MMO.) The game used the MSN gaming zone, but as Xwing Alliance became the title favoured by MSN, XvT turned to mods and downloads. There were several sites out there at the time that people would distribute their own missions. We would download them, patch the game accordingly, then would have to do IP matching (without the MSN support) to host and play games. All this back on 56k modems. We carried on with our clan like this for 12 months or more after software support stopped.

    Isn’t there an mmorpg now that stopped making new quests, but allowed the community to set up quests for other users to pick up and run?

  • 4 Jonah FalconNo Gravatar // May 12, 2010 at 10:44 am

    @ Herr Alien: It’s EASY to create a Half-Life mod? Really? You mean, I can go to an editor and make my own Source mod? They were talking about editors and accessibility. There have been a lot of Unreal mods, too, but that requires whole teams of users, like Counter-Strike did.

  • 5 Jonah FalconNo Gravatar // May 12, 2010 at 10:46 am

    @Onyersix You’re thinking of City of Heroes, in which players can create their own instances from the ground up. It’s basically the main selling point of that MMO.

  • 6 IvanNo Gravatar // May 12, 2010 at 7:14 pm

    Hey Schommers & co

    @ Gamesworkshop
    It’s never a good idea to attack your consumers. This will only be negative for them. I think Gamesworkshop need to put some more thought before action. You can’t treat you community like they are expendable, because if you piss off a number of consumers their word of mouth can be very powerful & in this case I believe its worse because of the market GWS is in. GWS only has a few game titles, most they money I assume still comes from war hammer figurines. Warhammer is driven by Players passion & organization to build armies ($$) & versus other players. Private Matches & tournaments which are not hosted by GWS are usually advertised online & organized on sites like these.

    @ Game Pirates & Parrots
    Maybe there are some factors that can make companies loss small amounts of sales. Because in the past a friend of mine (not me), was going to buy some genuine MS software then a friend was like “Don’t bother I have a cracked copy @ home”. Then Friend (not me) was like “oh, Sweet.” Then that person lived happy ever after using MS office to do assessments with =).

    It’s true there are few, because User Generate content can keep a game going to a small number of hardcore players of a game, But it would be very hard for a game to be successful way beyond its expected life to the masses because you need everyone to be passionate & dedicated people. The Masses are neither of those XD.
    But I’ll quote 1 game. Black Hawk Down on PC. The game came with this wicked little level designer program with a massive manual. The program allowed you to design campaign or multiplayer maps with the freedom to add rules to the NPC(friendly & Foe) , Create events, NPC waypoints, & use 1000s of objects to create the level. Also the base maps were upto 50km sq which is huge for a FPS, there were a number of base terrains to choose from or Random Generated terrain could be created. This was a great feature which improved the online experience at the time. There were servers hosted by the developers & there were community servers with amazing User generate maps. Some used this freedom to make Epic & a great gaming experience. Extending the games life.
    I enjoyed playing the User Generated Maps online more then the Default ones. I also made maps but for private use because the debugging part of the program was a little complex for my skill.
    Side note I mostly played on sniper dedicated servers which would be 50km2 & kills could be 30min apart.

    Question to the Cast?
    What are your Guild & toon names on WOW?
    I was going to role play my undead priest (He has no Jaw =/)

    May the metric system live long and prosper!

  • 7 TristanNo Gravatar // May 13, 2010 at 8:28 pm

    Hey Dunn & Co’s,
    (Just balancing things from Ivan’s greeting. ^_^)

    In regards to the QotW, I would imagine it is the opposite. Is it possible for a game without user generated content to out-live it’s expected life cycle. If it is up to the developers then the game will begin to decline and die when they stop supporting it. Developers will always eventually move onto new projects and when they do the support and resources will dry up, even if sometimes gradually, for their older products. If they don’t have any community content how can the game outlive this life cycle. (eg. how many xbox original games can you play online, or how many EA titles have had their servers shutdown.)

    However if you look for example at the steam stats page you might notice a couple of rather old games dominating the “current player count” charts. In 2nd and 3rd spot is Counter Strike Source and Counter Strike. In third and by a margin of almost 3 times as many players as 4th is the original Counter Strike, released as a community mod for half life in June of 1999.

    These two games aren’t still alive not because there are regular developer updates, but because there are an army of mappers, scripters, skinners, modders, server owners and a legion of players who enjoy the enormous supply of quality content that is produced daily.

    Taking some stats from FPSbanana.com (a community download site that has files for over over 250 games):

    Counter-Strike: Source
    maps: 21,019
    Skins: 10,487
    Prefabs: 1,164
    Scripts: 1,052
    Textures: 536
    Tools: 191

    (I personally have over 800 maps in my cs:s file and this is after it got wiped 2 years ago)

    Counter-Strike (original)
    Maps: 14,453
    Skins: 2,628
    etc etc…

    These are two games that have a massive share of the total player base who use steam. You can add games like Warcraft 3, the age of empires series, nearly any decent rts or pc fps and countless others that survive on due to user generated maps, mods, patches, skins, GUI’s and more.

    And lets not forget about the community content that might not be in-game:
    community competitions, community download sites, community hosted servers, community forums, faqs, walkthrus, videos, machinima, blogs, guilds, clans etc etc etc.

    Without the community content, either in game or not, any games might as well be dead, even if they are new.

    And I was hoping to keep this short. Sorry.

    PS: although I used primarily pc examples this is simply because this is the medium I know best. But if I hadn’t been able to find a community made walkthru/faq for the release of final fantasy 1, that I picked up on my iphone recently, I would have stopped playing and counted it as a poor purchase. Long live the Community!

  • 8 TristanNo Gravatar // May 17, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    In hindsight, maybe I went a little overboard…

    But hopefully this balances out the perception that that a level designer or content creator needs to be overly simplistic or that their are not enough people out there creating creative, useful or fun content to expand games.

    And limiting your perception to just creative maps ignores a large number of content creators who improve and extend the life of games thru other more practical methods. If you are still having doubts try playing wow again with no addons, without using forum specs and class guides, without dungeon or raid youtube videos, and without any database site like wowhead. While people are eager to for content patches and expansions, Blizzard’s openess and assistance in allowing the community to add to and improve the game is one of the reasons it is such a popular MMO.

    PS: Portal is free on steam! =D

  • 9 IvanNo Gravatar // May 17, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    YES Portal is free from STEAM Until May 24th =D =D =D now i have portal on my 360 & PC!

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