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.