Thoughts from a (girl) Gamer

Tara Voelker's thoughts. A lot about video games, a little about life

User Generated Content

Zeb’s presentation was pretty cool, as everyone got to ask questions while he was talking. Somewhere in the middle we got on a huge segue involving DLC, so that was pretty cool. To keep my notes more in order I moved anything that was DLC related to the end since it really wasn’t part of his speech. For more information about this presentation see And We’re Back – InterFaces 2009.


What is content: It’s everything that player does and interacts with
Why do we have content: Because it makes the player involved

Note: Traveling is never content. Do not make the player travel. It doesn’t keep them involved, it makes them bored.

There are 3 types on content:
Designed/Designer content, User Created Content, and User Generated Content
each have their own benefits and drawbacks

Design content


  • it’s often defined and well polished
  • well thought out, themed
  • worked on by a team
  • defines what the user can and cannot do


  • it can be pricey
  • it can spend years in development
  • player is limited to what the designers thought of or had the time to make

User Created content:

this is similar to Spore or City of Heroes.

  • The designers only have to make the tools the the consumers will use.
  • Designers don’t have to work on as much content, and it can be cheaper because the consumers will make the content for free
  • Map editors are very popular


  • creating content is hard, which is why people have jobs that are creating content
  • Only 10% of consumers will actively work to create their own content
  • 95% of what they will make is going to be crap
  • Making sure the tools are fool proof is hard. It the consumer uses your tool in a way you didn’t intend them to be used and they break something, it’s still your fault
  • When you give people the tools to make something, they will make penises. Always.

User generated content:
This doesn’t have to be included in the game itself, but is really anything that give your game a sense of community or allows the player to generate more meanings for themselves. it could be guilds, writing online reviews, chatlogs, pvp/multiplayer modes, or forums.


  • Allows the player to become more involved with the game and offer them a different experience each time they play with out the player consciously choosing to create


  • There will have to be moderators for any forums or chat logs.
  • Depends on the players interacting with each other.


DLC is something that is useful. It can extend the life of a title and continue generating money, but should not be overused.

DLC is not a substitute for making a new game. If you just keep releasing DLC and not a new game, your fan base will feel used and grow bored. When this happens you aren’t making money anymore.

DLC should be something added when the game feels complete. You shouldn’t need DLC to make a game feel like a whole.

Sometimes DLC is used to add missions that the designer wanted to put in but couldn’t because of time constraints.


One response to “User Generated Content

  1. Pingback: Attending Interfaces 2009 « Tara Tefertiller

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