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Chris Hecker Discusses User-Generated Content

Posted by ballightning on March 26, 2009

Hecker split his talk into three sections: what user-generated content is, how to use it, and why to use it. He began by setting up a partial taxonomy of axes for UGC, including aesthetic content versus behaviorial content, parameterization versus raw creation, as well as a more vague axis of accessibility.

As examples of UGC interfaces that demonstrate various combinations of these descriptions, Hecker went through a number of screenshots — Wii Miis and City of Heroes for parameterization and aesthetics; Spore creatures and mods for aesthetics and creation; Final Fantasy XII‘s menu-driven battle queue system for behavior and parameterization; Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts and the Flash game Fantastic Contraption for behavior and creation.

The “edit/test” cycle, Hecker says, is an ongoing loop that users cycle through when creating content — which occurs in gameplay as well as players try different mechanics and approaches, but on a much faster scale. With user-generated content, that cycle can end up lengthening to the point that it approaches game development. That can limit accessibility and shrink the potential audience for such content.

Read here for more.

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