Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Player Driven Content

Ryan Paul has posted an article for about player driven content in games. I find it highly relevant to some projects I'm working on. Anybody who faces a decission about how to develop content for their game should read the article.

Meanwhile, the MUD project has taken on a new name. We're still calling the world engine and game service project MAGE, but now it stands for the generic "Multi-user Advanced Game Engine", thanks to Ryan Paul's ingenuity when originally divining the acronym. We're going to call the content project and our particular release of the game "Tale". We, at this time, have the game running at and we plan to keep it running throughout the development process.

Tale runs in an autonomous AJAX client (Asynchronous Javascript and XML). AJAX is the label for a paradigm shift in web programming, which amounts to the creative uses of the Javascript XMLHttpRequest. Similarly DHTML described the paradigm of combining HTML, CSS, and Javascript. So, Tale, top to bottom, involves HTML, Javascript, CSS, discrete XMLHttpRequests, XML, SVG, SSL, Python, and possibly Java :-). A veritible alphabet soup.

Ryan's article leaves me wondering to what exetent Tale can harness "player-driven" content. One way to do this is to encourage players to participate in the development process. However, to really harness all the power of player driven content, we really must make the game's content drivable from within. To that end, I think that developers should cultivate some history for the game to ignite the imaginations of the player base, but provide features that put the storyline in the hands of the players. By this I mean that the players should have intimate control over the shape of the world. Players should create bastions to protect their hoard, which will naturally provide other players the challenge to defeat them. The challenge for us is writing algorithms of gameplay that make the struggle of the game always a fine edge between success and failure for all parties involved.

No comments: