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46709 Posts in 5588 Topics by 13297 Members Latest Member: - Shane786 Most online today: 31 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Crowd-Sourced RPG Development - Has it been done successfully?  (Read 2172 times)
John Michael Crovis
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Posts: 24


WWW
« on: June 30, 2011, 09:01:37 PM »

I'm rather new to open-content gaming, and I've been seriously considering the impact Wikis could have on game design. I've tried to find games that were designed in this manner, but I only found one that was partially done, and only included a limited number of people. My thought is that a game designed through using various social media programs that engage potential players and encourage them to help design the game would have a better chance of attracting a large fan-base. Such an game, if open-content, would help to unite the gaming industry, much like the d20 SRD did in the early 2000's.

Do games like this already exist? Am I wrong in my thinking that this would be a good idea?
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Mike Sugarbaker
Member

Posts: 150

|>


« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2011, 11:38:43 AM »

You've already had a look at the body of evidence: a lot of half-finished games.

Most people with a design-y frame of mind want to do their own thing. That, or they want to make contributions and add-ons to something that already has legs.

If you start a project with a clear design lead who is someone with some stature in some online community or another, I could see it maybe having a chance. But it would take a lot of active leadership. If you just build it, they will not come.
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Publisher/Co-Editor, OgreCave
Caretaker, Planet Story Games
Content Admin, Story Games Codex
Nathan P.
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Posts: 590

emotional game design


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« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2011, 06:26:43 AM »

Matt Snyder tried to do an open-group-development project last year. It didn't really go anywhere. You can take a look through his posts about it, maybe it'll be instructive - they start here.

Actually, the most successful crowd-sourced RPG projects I can think of have all stemmed from RPG.net. Check out Princess: the Hopeful and Man What: A Game of Incomprehensible Self-Reference. Generally one person or a small group has the basic idea and throws it out there, and then serves as the point of contact for everyone else who throws other ideas into the mix.

The critical thing is having that one person/small group of people who does all the logistical work and has a vision for shaping all the input.
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Nathan P.
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I design | ndp design
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pells
Member

Posts: 194


« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2011, 10:28:17 AM »

I just want to address something here, having worked a lot with opensource/crowdsourcing in the context of softwares :

A project that you want to "crowdsource" is not just your typical project "with a community" ... it is, in fact, much more. It needs to be.
Structures, backbones, first steps of the project needs to be done with this in mind. Having a doubt ?

I don't think they built "linux" with just saying "hey, let's do an OS with some crowdsourcing" !!!! It doesn't happen that way ...
Same thing for wikipedia.

Also, please note :
- it is said crowdsourcing, not groupsourcing. So, think large !!!
- There are various ways to "implement" crowdsourcing. Just saying "how about a crowdsourced game" doesn't seem enought for me. What part do you crowdsource (plot, skills, settings) and how ?

As for rpg games, strange as it may seem, but TSOY, under the BY CC licence, can be defined as crowdsourced (yeah, I know, not exactly, but ...).
Lastly, I believe that if you want to succeed in this "crowdsourced" environnement, you need to define the "rules of the game" (how you crowdsource).
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Sébastien Pelletier
And you thought plot was in the way ?
Current project Avalanche
John Michael Crovis
Member

Posts: 24


WWW
« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2011, 03:21:12 PM »

You've already had a look at the body of evidence: a lot of half-finished games.
Most people with a design-y frame of mind want to do their own thing. That, or they want to make contributions and add-ons to something that already has legs.
If you start a project with a clear design lead who is someone with some stature in some online community or another, I could see it maybe having a chance. But it would take a lot of active leadership. If you just build it, they will not come.

Hello Mike,

I don't know if I agree... It is possible that some potential contributors would rather have complete control, while other potential contributors would rather just add to preexisting systems, I find it hard believe that everyone would fall so neatly into one camp or another. AND there are too many other variables that can contribute to the failure of a project... including lack of a sufficient leadership, lack of a structure and deadlines, insufficient following, and lack of buy in .

Even in crowd-sourced projects, you need leadership, structure, and buy-in. And a large body of participants is crucial, especially at the on-set of a crowd-sourced project. Is it possible that individuals who have tried this before just didn't have the charisma, planning, people, or buy-in?

Actually, the most successful crowd-sourced RPG projects I can think of have all stemmed from RPG.net. Check out Princess: the Hopeful and Man What: A Game of Incomprehensible Self-Reference. Generally one person or a small group has the basic idea and throws it out there, and then serves as the point of contact for everyone else who throws other ideas into the mix.

The critical thing is having that one person/small group of people who does all the logistical work and has a vision for shaping all the input.

Hello Nathan,

I am not sure if a pre-planned focus on one idea is necessary, but I certainly understand how such a focus would make it easier to move forward. However, you last sentence, is completely on point - you need someone (people) guiding the process. You can't just say, "Well, what do you want to do?" and expect good results - you have to give them options and ask the good (hard) questions.

Hello Pells,

Your insight is invaluable... it confirms my thinking on this issue. I feel that the first step is getting people to talk about the idea of crowd sourcing a game. A lot of people. If you can't get people interested in the idea, than you won't have enough people in on the ground floor. Without the crowd, there is no crowd sourcing, right? Without the crowd, you don't have the momentum to draw more, and you wouldn't be able to make up for those who leave because they don't like the direction the crowd is going. Am I making sense here, or am I blowing smoke out of my rear? ;-)
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pells
Member

Posts: 194


« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2011, 10:23:26 AM »

Quote
I feel that the first step is getting people to talk about the idea of crowd sourcing a game. A lot of people. If you can't get people interested in the idea, than you won't have enough people in on the ground floor. Without the crowd, there is no crowd sourcing, right? Without the crowd, you don't have the momentum to draw more, and you wouldn't be able to make up for those who leave because they don't like the direction the crowd is going. Am I making sense here, or am I blowing smoke out of my rear? ;-)

Yes, I think you're blowing up a little of smoke ...

First thing first, a typical example of "pure" crowdsourcing : you want a logo for your company.
Normal way : you contact a company, they propose you one or two logos. You choose one and pay, let's say 1000$.
Crowdsource : you go to a site that offers that kind of service (for instance 99designs), post a "contest", for instance, "I need a logo". You set a starting and finishing date, and a prize. You get many, many logos, choose one and pay the winner. Note : in most cases, the winner loses his "intellectual property" (IP) on the logo.

Now, let's take an example in software : drupal. Some guys designed and developped a "backbone" (called "drupal core") and use some licence that would allow people to contribute by developping either "modules" (adds-on) or "themes" (elements of design). The hard stuff :
- Note that the core is not crowdsourced. It was done by a "small" communauty. It is still developped by a small group.
- One thing they want : a strong and good "core". If it is not good enough, no new modules will be good enough.
- There are over 10K modules. Are they all good ? Certaintly not. As for the logo example above, crowdsourcing will bring up some very bad results. That is, the good ones are very good !!!

Concerning what Mike said, I don't think drupal has already three legs !!! Its design was built for crowdsourcing.

Back to rpgs :
- You don't need a crowd at first. I would even say you don't want one !!!!
- There are things you don't want to crowdsource : your vision and your core !!!
- The first thing you need is a good product that is easily "scalable", on certain aspects, as to "permit" crowdsource.
- You also need to know how to allow crowdsource : in the case of softwares, it is their licence. How do you do it for rpgs ? Using CC or website (like wiki) with licences might seem like an option.
- You need to identify the core of your project. Is it your system, setting, plots ? And then, do it !!!

Also, very important : define the rules of the game !!! Why would others contribute ?
In the logo example, it is very easy : the reward in cash.
For drupal ? Those companies that release very good modules make a name for themselves, which bring bussiness.
What rules do you propose ?
I must admit that wikipedia is kind of an ovni around the web in this context ...

Speaking of bussiness : crowdsourcing is about bussiness model, not development model !!!

My advices :
- Think of your bussiness model !!!
- Develop your core, with a small group of people, and make it the best you can !!!
- Release your product, build a community and crowsource. Not the other way around !!!
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Sébastien Pelletier
And you thought plot was in the way ?
Current project Avalanche
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