A Kingdom of You
Have you read the description of what Nerd Kingdom is yet? If you haven’t, go ahead and take a quick look, I’ll wait for you. You get it? Excellent.
You might have noticed that the word "collaboration" is placed right there at the start of the thing. Following that, we’ve got a list of the sorts of collaborators involved in the project. Obviously, we have developers involved in this work and yeah, there are scientists as well, but I wanted to draw your attention to the other two types of collaborators in the list: modders and gamers. Why are we listing modders and gamers in our collaboration, you might ask?
While obviously we have a team of developers (programmers, artists, designers...the whole shebang) because we need these people to make an awesome project like TUG, we also have a team of researchers (or scientists if you prefer), because we’re serious about improving gaming through both design and research. Yet for us, just having these first two groups involved in our work simply isn’t enough.
We really consider gamers and modders to be the heart of the collaboration. First, there’s the part about how games should be made for the players. In order to make a game for players, you have to actually listen to your players, and for us this means very directly bringing you into the collaboration.
Meanwhile, the rise of modding has created this incredible space that researchers of my ilk characterize as “Pro-Am” practice (basically practices that blur the line between professional and amateur). In fact, a lot of the research conducted by my colleagues who have been looking at games and learning has pointed to the ways in which many gamers are in a sense Pro-Am researchers (theorycraft is just research masquerading as play).
As to modders, modding blurs the line between playing a game and developing it. We believe that this fact needs to be more broadly recognized, and that anyone developing the sort of game that’s amenable to modding is doing a serious disservice to their community if they don’t invite their modders in, recognize them for the work they contribute, and reward them when they help to create changes that improve the play experience for a significant segment of the players.
Building on all of this is how we seek to truly differentiate ourselves from everyone else out there, and it’s most evident in how we’re going about building TUG. A major focus for us in the TUG project is to make the lines between all of these groups a heck of a lot thinner, and this means starting with you, the gamer. It means making the distance between crafting and modding a little slimmer, and making sure that there’s a clear path from there towards more heavy hitting development. It means recognizing all the different forms of both hard and soft modding that take place in a gaming community, and providing avenues for all sorts of modders to share their work and advance their practices. It also means finding the right ways to reward those practices, and as with everything else at Nerd Kingdom, we’re going to lean on the best ideas the community can generate to figure out exactly how we should be doing that. If you contribute in a significant way to TUG as a game and our community as a whole, you better believe that we will hoist you on on our metaphorical shoulders and trumpet your name and achievements far and wide. We want to empower your creations and do everything we can to encourage and foster a robust, powerful, and creative modding community.
Inviting gamers to be part of the collaboration doesn’t stop with the design side of things. We want to actively recruit those of you who have a penchant for the research side of things too. On the one hand, this means letting us know what types of questions about games and play you want answered. On the other hand, it also means having the opportunity to get involved in conducting the research and analyzing the data along with us.
We have a long road of design, research, and play ahead of us, and when I say we, I mean all of us. If you’ve registered an account here or helped Kickstart TUG, you’re a part of the kingdom.
What’s that you say? Tl;dr?
Okay then try this.
This “Nerd Kingdom” -- you’re a part of it, and there’s lots of work to do in the kingdom, so let’s get started. FOR SCIENCE!!!