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Mansions of Madness: Second Edition» Forums » General

Subject: UGC Editor Petition Discussion Thread rss

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Judgement Dave
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Hi folks,

Many of you may have seen my petition thread asking FFG to look into creating a scenario editor so players can create new adventures to play/share in the game app.

I should have done this yesterday, when I created the petition, but here (at last) is a discussion thread for issues around that petition. I'm creating this so that, hopefully, any discussion about the idea can go here leaving the petition thread as 'clean' for signatories.

(Partly as it makes it a lot easier to see how many have signed if the only posts are signatures rather than replies to comments.)

Anyway - here it is. I'd be grateful if discussions of price, difficulty, support, whether it's worth (or possible) doing, etc go here.

Thanks in advance.
JD
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Paul Nojima
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One issue that comes to mind... How do you share your created scenarios? Mac/PC? Sure, but what about mobile? It's not like your iPhone can hit the BGG files section and download someone's custom scenario. I feel like the whole custom scenario thing would require FFG to make an entire ecosystem and have dedicated servers for it.

I guess you could just make them not shareable and only have them if you made them, but that's really narrow and wouldn't justify all the dev time to add the ability.
 
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Judgement Dave
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Kicking things off, reposting some issues/questions from the petition thread:
kraisto wrote:
I liked, but two points (making the devils advocate here devil hahahaha )

Guys, one question, how much good fan made scenarios were made for the first edition?

Because, the quantity of good fan scenarios created in 5 years for Descent are very sparce.

Dont see FFG wasting resorces in a feature for a small audience, even paid. The Descent Vault scenario creator has in the beta state for a eternity.

And second, dont get me wrong, with release a tool to make new scenarios
if the main business appel from the app is sell new ones? (the app code has the structure ready for that)

So, start making good arguments to convince FFG to make this feature

I've no idea about the descent app, but I do know that:
- the 1st edition Mansions of Madness had some very good scenarios created by users
- The City of Heroes (CoH) MMO also had some great UGC

It's also worth noting that (in CoH at least) allowing users to create their own stories freed devs up from creating the more run-of-the-mill scenarios, they were free to work on the bigger, more complicated adventures - the sort that added new systems/mechanics/effects. As such the standard of scenarios available increased and devs delivered some of their best missions (certainly worth paying for).

In CoH it also lead to the dev team hiring at least one of the best scenario creators to work as a dev writer. i.e. it can be good for finding talent for the team...

On the other hand: yes - scenario writing isn't for everyone and doing it well takes some imagination, skill, patience and (depending on how user friendly/easy the editor is) some modicum of technical ability. There was a fair number of [expletive deleted] scenarios.
A decent UGC system needs a supporting rating system do that the cream rises to the top - which, in my experience, it usually does!
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Judgement Dave
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Pauljima wrote:
One issue that comes to mind... How do you share your created scenarios? Mac/PC? Sure, but what about mobile? It's not like your iPhone can hit the BGG files section and download someone's custom scenario. I feel like the whole custom scenario thing would require FFG to make an entire ecosystem and have dedicated servers for it.

I guess you could just make them not shareable and only have them if you made them, but that's really narrow and wouldn't justify all the dev time to add the ability.

Ah - okay I should have had my 'kicking things off' posts ready before posting the thread...

As I and others have said, the ideal scenario for end user players (ignoring designers for a moment) would use network access (through the app) to a common database, complete with ratings (possibly even reviews).

From the petition thread:
rican919 wrote:
I'd also suggest networking the app to a database of user uploaded scenarios, so we can share and enjoy each others creations. The essence of board games is community interaction. There should also be a community rating system to recognize those particularly excellently designed scenarios.


Past that, it is possible to transfer files to mobile applications (e.g. using iTunes on a PC/Mac for iOS devices), so through a two/three step process you could hit BGG (or FFG forums), download a file then transfer it to your mobile device.

The networked database is harder for devs to implement, but easier for players to access (and so could well see UGC content being played more - justifying the cost).

The file approach is a little easier to implement, but by throwing up barriers/extra-steps to the players could (IMO) easily see a much lower take-up.

Now onto costs in my next post...
 
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Judgement Dave
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In the petition thread, many have stated that:
- they'd pay for an editor
- it costs to develop and support the functionality

Now I intentionally didn't mention cost/fees in the petition opening post as I didn't want to sidetrack the thread into a debate, but I've always thought it reasonable (and even desirable) that some sort of fee is attached.

The questions are really how much and who pays?

Some of the considerations:

The Case for Free...

It would cost to create/support a UGC editor/distribution/rating system, but it could make sense to FFG to do that and provide it for nothing or minimal cost if it increases the popularity of the game and drives sales of the core game and expansions.

Once the system is built, it may need minimal support from FFG, but then allows

Think about it: FFG could provide mini-expansions with, say, a few tiles and a couple of minis (monsters/investigators) and providing just 1 or 2 official scenarios knowing that the users/fans would 'fill out' the content.

How many people would create new scenarios if an Egypt/pyramids pack was released? Or a Mountains of Madness pack? Arkham streets? Dreamlands? Rlyeh?

The creation of good scenarios/campaigns is much harder than designing a few tiles or creating a new creature/investigator. This is especially true if the devs seized the opportunity to concentrate on the envelope-pushing scenarios.

In summary: Creating a scenario-editor could make it easier for FFG to sell more physical products.


The Case for Scenario Creators Paying...

You may be thinking that maybe it makes sense to have to pay to access the editor or create scenarios - after all it's the editors who'll probably need most support and take up database space...

There's actually a better end-user reason to have scenario creators pay something: if the editor and storage/distribution is totally free then you'll end up with everybody creating scenarios, no matter how half-baked, semi-finished and trolling/obscene they may be. Putting a price on creating/distributing scenarios, even $5, will keep out many who aren't serious about creating adventures to share.

If I recall correctly, in the City of Heroes MMO, anybody could access the editor and create an adventure (in fact you could create any number of local files for testing/dev) but you could only have 1 (or 2) in the central database for anyone to play. Unless you were serious - in which case you could pay (a one off fee) for additional scenarios* to be stored.

I think it was also the case that if a scenario was rated highly enough (by others users or the devs hall of fame) then the scenario was locked (to preserve it) and the creator was given a free slot.

With the rating system this approach seemed to work well for minimising the amount of detritus in UGC.

* Not actually scenarios - in CoH you could create mini-campaigns of 1-3 adventures in each 'slot'. So it was possible to set up a sort of 3-act campaign story.


The Case for End-Players Paying...

It may be created by other players who aren't FFG devs, but if a scenario is good would you expect it to be free? Would end players baulk at a small one-off fee, say $2-$5, to access a wealth of UGC scenarios?

What about $10?

I think that if some UGC scenarios got decent reviews (which you'd no doubt hear about on BGG) then people would pay something. After all, isn't paying $5 pretty much the same as you'd pay in materials and time if you'd downloaded and printed out one of the bigger PnP expansions for Arkham Horror or Mansions?


The Probable Case...

If a scenario editor/distribution system was created, it's highly possible, maybe even probable, that FFG would use a mix of the above. After all money is money, and who'd really argue if they charged a reasonable amount to create, distribute and play, a reasonable amount to just play and used the opportunity to produce lots of mini-expansions with some scenarios (but assuming users would fill in the gaps)?


Well what would you actually want, JD?

Personally I'd hope to see free or very minimal fees to end-players, with a low-medium entry price for creators who want to distribute adventures.

Get the prices right and I think many of us would be paying up and the game (and FFG!) would be much richer for it.
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Judgement Dave
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BTW Whilst I'd fully expect UGC scenarios to be playable on any version of the app (Steam, android, iOS) I'd also expect the editor to be available purely on PC (or maybe PC/Mac/Steam).

This is for reasons of cost and the end user practicalities (a decent, user-friendly scenario editor UI can take a fair bit of space).
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eric johnson
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kraisto wrote:
I liked, but two points (making the devils advocate here devil hahahaha )

Guys, one question, how much good fan made scenarios were made for the first edition?

Because, the quantity of good fan scenarios created in 5 years for Descent are very sparce.

Dont see FFG wasting resorces in a feature for a small audience, even paid. The Descent Vault scenario creator has in the beta state for a eternity.

And second, dont get me wrong, with release a tool to make new scenarios
if the main business appel from the app is sell new ones? (the app code has the structure ready for that)

So, start making good arguments to convince FFG to make this feature


It should also be noted that as far as I'm aware there was no official system to create scenarios in 1.0, and the process was anything but intuitive. Since the majority of the cards were very story or use specific you were pretty limited without using proxy cards.

Mansions 2.0 uses a system much more like Descent 2.0, in which most of the components are generalized, leaving the story and specifics to be revealed by the app. This is MUCH more customizable, and allows for both simplicity and complexity out of the same pool of pieces, tiles and tokens.

And Descent is a straight-up dungeon brawl. This is more story-driven. There is still combat, but it's not the focus.
 
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Enon Sci
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The petition should be on a site dedicated for registering votes, like change.org (or, at the least, a poll should have been included in your post here).
 
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Judgement Dave
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Reposting a 'discussion' post from the petition thread:
kijoe wrote:
Dark63 wrote:
Sorry guys, if I was FFG, I wouldn't hand over the toolset either. It's not like game designers are sitting around chopping cigars in their ferrari's, so it's not greed, just business sense.


What if there would be a subscription fee? Or what if it was a scenarioStore similar to appStore so FFG would be providing the platform for independent scenario writers (who could also gain some credits or money)?
 
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Judgement Dave
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Reposting another 'discussion' post from the petition thread:
Dark63 wrote:
Trinket wrote:
Id like this, but can't see it happening. FFG are going to sell scenarios for cash, so they won't give away a system that stops that cash cow from delivering.

Edit: why do I think that? First it's FFG. Second in their video recently they stated that the next two scenarios would be available this fall "for free". Why add that if your not prepping for "and later these ones for just $10 each..."

Aren't they only "free" if you're buying the two expansions or have the v1 edition pieces/tiles/monsters? If not, that's exciting!

You're right on all counts of why they won't however. That said, this game is selling out hard. Plus. It's a business.

Sorry guys, if I was FFG, I wouldn't hand over the toolset either. It's not like game designers are sitting around chopping cigars in their ferrari's, so it's not greed, just business sense.


Hopefully some of my take on this was covered in my posts earlier in this thread
 
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Judgement Dave
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Anarchosyn wrote:
The petition should be on a site dedicated for registering votes, like change.org (or, at the least, a poll should have been included in your post here).

Wow - this is discussion about the discussion thread... it's all going meta!

To be honest I don't see a poll or using a polling site as being necessary or really adding much. If the petition thread is used as intended, with discussion going here, then each reply should be a 'signature'. Nothing else to add so no need having it in a poll - though that's just my opinion.

Thanks for the feedback though!
 
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Judgement Dave
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BTW - as stated in the petition thread, I think I'll contact FFG customer after the weekend to let them know about the petition thread.
 
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Judgement Dave
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HI folks, just a quick update.

I sent a message to customer support as I said and today I got all excited to see a reply from them...

I shouldn't have got so excited as it's just a quick email from FFG (well it says Asmodee) saying that because of GenCon they're a bit behind in responding to customer service emails.

i.e. I've had the we've not got around to your email yet, but rest assured that we will email.

I'll let you know what they say when/if they say anything.

Cheers

JD
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