Friday, July 20, 2007

Back on track -- user generated games

After long & relaxing holiday I am currently focusing on innovation methods and pondering what values people get from playing games [Easy to play, social interaction, excitement, fun, entertainment, relieve boredom, gaining something, reputation, bonuses, branding], what are the motivational and risk factors in games and what type of horizontal innovations [Everyday life >> leisure >> games >> wellbeing] could be developed. I will share my thought of that a bit later.

This time I wanted to put forward YoYo Games which is somewhat related to GreatGamesExperiment and Kongregate. Lessons learned? This is clearly a trend and it surely is evolving (which make it interesting to follow). It remains to be seeing how different user generated games (portals) are from mainstream publications/concepts and will truly innovative concepts/games be posted to such portals. In the music industry (e.g. MySpace) it works well but games industry has totally different operational logic. Anyhow it is nice to see the trend of user generated games (incl. MyGame.com, Pictogame.com & related) growing!

9 comments:

Cafeman said...

Hi, say do you have a complete list of user-generated or user-personalized game sites that you can post for us? Have you seen digitalbrix.com and its subsidiary site gamebrix.com? What do you think of these sites?

Cafeman said...

Say, can you sign up for feedburner so I can get a feed of your blog? THANKS!

SonjaK said...

Ciao and thanks for bringing digitalbrix.com up! User generated content/-games discussion is actually rather diffused. I would say it is really a question of a viewpoint.

In the early days demo culture, MUDs (Multi User Dungeons) and Mods (modifications) as well as C64/Amiga/Sinclair gamers were actively also creating games by themselves.

Currently there are at least five types of user generated game categories:

[1] Game-editor.com, Game Creator etc. tools which as relative easy to use but require some knowlege of programming. There are also some story/game editors for kids and editors created for educational purposes available (e.g. by MIT).
>> http://www.ambrosine.com/resource.html (not all of these listed are easy enough for the average Joe)

[2] Then there are such UGC/UGG communities I mentioned in my blog.

>> This is a good "Game 2.0" list: http://bobstumpel.blogspot.com/search/label/game

[3] Console games (also episodic gaming in a way), LittleBigPlanet, XBox XNA, Wii (Mii)...

>> GDC07 /Sony's vision Game 3.0: http://bp1.blogger.com/_uXWLiR3v69M/RfhiLrNxNjI/AAAAAAAAAAs/VgHiBG4zxmI/s1600-h/game30.jpg from GDC07

>> Microsoft XNA: http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=10458

>> http://www.cnbc.com/id/17502769

>> http://www.businessweek.com/innovate/content/may2007/id20070511_008835.htm?chan=innovation_game+room_industry+trends

>>Shockwave has published interesting user generated games / animations for nearly 10 years already etc.

>>Project OutBack could be somewhat interesting?: http://www.yoick.com/outback/

[4] Simple "composition/collage" tools such as Pictogame etc.

[5] Online (and mobile) games such as Habbo.com, MoiPal (http://www.moipal.com/index.jsp), MiniFriday.com, WoW, CyWorld.com etc. which enable people to personalize and modify but are actually in between games and Social Networking Services.

There are also several services somewhere in between web2.0 / social media and UG games, e.g. "Gibbity (in Philippines) allows anyone keep, share and eventually discover links to favorite online gaming information, such as favorite articles, blogs, and other interesting topics."

And there are number of location based and/or pervasive games (Perplexcity, Uncle Roy etc.) which are UG in a way.

TrendWatching complied pretty nice report about CustomerMade: http://www.trendwatching.com/trends/CUSTOMER-MADE.htm

And IP issues have been discussed, e.g. at: http://www.wipo.int/wipo_magazine/en/2007/01/article_0006.html

My opinion:
I have organized game design clubs for girls and I have utilized simple UGG/UGC tools which enable girls to create/modify their own games. Without such tool many girls would not have enough confidence / patience to create their own games as they do not have much knowledge of programming, graphical design etc. Thanks to easy to use and inspiring tools, girls who had only basic knowhow of computers before the club created very interesting and playful games! I hope game editors (UGG communities) would be used more to empower people's creativity (also at schools etc.).

SonjaK said...

Also I added TechSoup to Feedburner, thanks for reminding me about it!

Anonymous said...

Hi, Great site for discussion on Games UGC! I came across Digital Brix that provides GameBrix technology for building casual games. It is in beta currently, and allows online collaborative game creation. It provides cool browser based tools for building simple platform independent games that ANYONE can publish. Their website is http://www.gamebrix.com

ar said...

Lot of internet locations claim to be user generated game (UGG) websites. IMO none of them really are UGG websites. UGG websites should have the following qualities -

#1 Should have tools to create any kind of game and there should be no need to buy expensive software to build games.
#2 Game creation should be inexpensive
#3 Game publishing should be inexpensive

it would also be great if the infrastruture uses industry standard extendable programming capabilites - that enables games created to be played on every computer on the internet without any downloads. For example this rules out games that need the dot net framework.

Sites that allow you to "mod" games - pictogame, sploder etc - would not be UGG websites - they lack item#1. Some of them claiming to user generated websites have used the "UGG" buzzword and got funded - kongregate.com - are essentially aggregators of flash games - they lack items #1 and #2.

Microsoft Live arcade - lacks #1,#2, #3

Although the technology is not fully mature, I think gamebrix is the only online platform that has elements of items #1, #2 and #3. And their infrastructure enables them to be a viable business even if the game built is just played a few times.

Bigger websites will publish your game only if it is "hit". It is too expensive for them to create games that are played only a few dozen times and it is not ecenomically viable for them to publish "less" popular games. For example Microsoft claims to democratize game creation - but try to create a game for the XBOX live arcade and see the battles you'd have to fight...

SonjaK said...

Hi Ar, really good points! I am glad to see the discussion is actually going somewhere. Those three points you mentioned are definitely good starting points. In Finland Media education association (Mediamuffinssi) has launched game design "competition" for kids/youth at Pelixi.fi. The main idea is that everyone CAN design games but while looking for good tools (your point #1) it was pretty hard to find such which would be easy enough to learn without any programming skills whatsoever. There are a few animation tools like Metkula (http://mediametka.fakiirimedia.net/metkula_beta/)
but that is just to create a movie or short animation. Anyhow -- thanks a lot for your comments! At least it inspired me to get back to the topic in more detail!

Flake said...

#1 www.GameBrix.com - Anyone can create Animations & Games online - No Programming required
#2 Its Free and in Beta today
#3 At GameBrix.com You Publish Online Instantaneously - Get your friends worldwide play your game. No downloads or installations required.

SonjaK said...

Gamebrix looks good -- thanks for the tip!