Sean Bulger's Column
Community Column: Player Made Content

Sean Bulger | 26 Mar 2008 17:20
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So, what's a developer to do? Well, that's tricky. It also would depend highly on the developer. A lot of things could potentially be done: any content could be allowed, content deemed against Terms of Service could be removed (which of course would require someone to go through the content), or it could be restricted to an area of the site that requires users to be of a certain age to enter.

This might be an issue that could effectively kill the idea of player created content for a developer. However, the potential hassle may or may not be deemed worthwhile - again, this would depend highly on the developer.

Implementation
Okay, player-created content has its benefits and, of course, some issues as well. However, how should something like this be implemented? There are certainly quite a few different ways that developers could handle something like this - and they certainly wouldn't need to do it in just any single way.

For one, it could be possible for such content to be implemented directly into the game itself. Imagine if players could actually write books, or create movies that could be shown in in-game theaters (depending on the setting, of course), in-game libraries, etc... Granted, this could potentially cause a royal pain as far as coding goes, and it would directly affect the development time of the game, but it could also go a long way in creating a more dynamic feel. It also provides new content within the game itself.

It also can be simply implemented onto a website. This has a greater ability to be used as advertisement for a game, and can also reach a larger audience in general. This is probably the most ideal way of handling the implementation of something like this, but I personally would like to see a company using both types of implementations.

Remembering Core Concepts
If a developer does consider implementing something like this, just remember:

  1. Users need to be able to rate the content.
  2. Users need to be able to comment on the content.
  3. Users need to be able to build a reputation by having their names included with their content and with their comments.
Do the above and the service will have a chance to be successful.

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