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As stated above, which solution is better for a game based on user generated content?

  1. The simple solution (in-game editor) is great for gamers without experience in coding and etc. In this way every player could populate the game with content. But the content would be very limited.

  2. The complex solution would allow the content to be with almost no limitation but casual gamers probably couldn't make hardly any content at all.

If both solutions are used, the quality behind the second solution would be more valuable than the first solution's quantity.

However, making a powerful in-game editor could even take more time and manpower than the actual game and every gamer would have to learn how to use the new complex tool, understand it, and master it if he or she wants to make quality content.

You would be able to make levels and objects for it as well as the player model itself.

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I don't think level editors can be so complex that users must read a textbook – Ming-Tang Nov 20 '11 at 20:23
Maybe, but I'm not talking just about level editors. – Aistis Nov 20 '11 at 20:27
Interesting question, but I voted to close because I think it's too subjective to ask which is 'better'. – Kylotan Nov 20 '11 at 22:39
Can you describe in which way and what is created? – jcora Nov 20 '11 at 23:02
I have edited the question. – Aistis Nov 21 '11 at 6:03
up vote 3 down vote accepted

I think there's a fake dichotomy here. It's possible to make simple, yet powerful tools. The key is how you present them to the users, and what frame of mind you're going in to when designing them.

This also depends on what, exactly, type of tools you're talking about here. Do you mean that users would be editing levels a la Atmosphir or Little Big Planet, or is it more all inclusive like Second Life?

If you're talking about the former, you can make everything work within your system and do some things to prevent mistakes and issues with authoring content.

For example, you can implement a visual scripting system a la Kismet and have it be very powerful but still safe for users to use. When users are authoring content, find out what issues there are with the content being generated and try to prevent it from happening in the first place. If you set up some kind of system that has triggers and effects, don't let players save the level that doesn't have everything that needs to be hooked up, hooked up. If the game is a platformer, have some logic that determines that maximum distant/height people can jump and warn the user if they have made something that's physically impossible to complete. That kind of thing.

One other thing to keep in mind is the amount of investment you expect people to have in the game. It may be harder to author content in Second Life, but then again you can sell your creations. If your game doesn't have some mechanism to empower users to do something meaningful with their content, then you need to keep it simple.

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Agreed. If you have to ask this question, you've already failed at making a good game featuring user-generated content. There are fine examples beyond yours as well, such as Spore. Easy, simple, and yet capable of really complex creations. – DampeS8N Nov 21 '11 at 15:11
A bit rude of you? :( Well I do actually agree on some point... – Aistis Nov 21 '11 at 16:03

This may not be that helpful, but I think the goal should be an editor in which it's easy to do simple things, but scales gracefully to allow advanced users to do complex things. I'd rather not have two editors. Provide some tutorials that cover the range from simple to advanced use.

Also consider developing the editor as a tool for your own team and use it to build your own content; that'll make it easier to justify the development cost and also provide much more comprehensive testing than you'd be likely to get otherwise. You'll probably need to provide "backdoors" to allow the team to bring in custom assets, scripts, etc. but try to discourage this where not absolutely necessary, and make it easy for team members to add new tools/features to the editor.

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