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Constructive Communitites


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Slides for panel talk given at ECREA 2008 in Barcelona

Published in: Technology, Design
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Constructive Communitites

  1. 1. Constructive Communities: Understanding user- generated content in virtual worlds Jonas Heide Smith (
  2. 2. Some big questions What motivates the production of user- generated content in virtual worlds? How can developers/ designers support user creativity?
  3. 3. A slightly smaller question How can we think about user-generated content in the context of virtual worlds?
  4. 4. User-generated content Publicly available material existing as a product of end- user activity whether intentionally produced or not
  8. 8. FLICKR
  9. 9. AMAZON.COM
  10. 10. User-generated content THE USER... Adds extras COMMENTARY Develops content from scratch CREATION Adds value by personal goal- seeking PUBLIC ACTION
  11. 11. LODE RUNNER (1983)
  12. 12. DOOM (1993)
  14. 14. HABITAT (1986)
  15. 15. Lessons from Habitat quot;The first goal-directed event planned for Habitat was a rather involved treasure hunt... It took us hours to design, weeks to build (including a 100-region island), and days to coordinate the actors involved. ... We thought it would occupy our players for days. In fact, the puzzle was solved in about 8 hours by a person who had figured out the critical clue in the first 15 minutes. ... a huge investment in design and setup time had been consumed in an eyeblink.quot; Morningstar & Farmer (1991). The Lessons of Habitat. Published in Cyberspace: First Steps, Michael Benedikt (ed.), 1991, MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass.
  16. 16. Approach #1 Make more generic content
  17. 17. ULTIMA ONLINE (1997)
  18. 18. WORLD OF WARCRAFT (2004)
  19. 19. Approach #2 Allow users to co-create
  20. 20. LAMBDAMOO (1990)
  21. 21. SECOND LIFE (2003)
  23. 23. SPORE
  24. 24. SPORE
  25. 25. MACHINIMA
  26. 26. User-generated content THE USER... Adds extras COMMENTARY Develops content from scratch CREATION Adds value by personal goal- seeking PUBLIC ACTION
  27. 27. quot;COMMENTARYquot; in virtual worlds Usually happens outside the VW Usually impossible in game worlds
  28. 28. quot;CREATIONquot; in virtual worlds Often possible in social worlds Almost always impossible in game worlds (who value game balance over player freedom)
  29. 29. quot;PUBLIC ACTIONquot; in virtual worlds Other users are typically the very reason for logging on In game worlds, action is only public in a very abstract market economic sense Even in social worlds, actions have to be highly goal-directed to leave a mark
  30. 30. Conclusions Users must presently choose between the non- goal-oriented and the non- involving Virtual worlds (allegedly highly social) have untapped potential Publicly beneficial UGC seems to be harnessed more powerfully in quot;non- socialquot; game types