Game Creation Ecosystems

Fragnova
6 min readMay 17, 2022
Sony Playstation Dreams. Image attribution: https://twitter.com/metacritic/status/1227633688168415232

The first revolution: game engines

Game development has come a long way from Pong (an Atari arcade game released in 1972) to the likes of Call of Duty (a modern FPS with an installation of 200+ GB and requiring at least 8GB RAM to run).

The first revolution in game development was the creation and release of game engines. Initially, these were in the form of in-house game development tools (like in-game editors, reusable code frameworks, etc.) bundled and released by game studios to foster a community of game developers. For example, Epic Games originally created the Unreal Engine as a custom engine for their 1998 FPS game Unreal.

While game engines made game development accessible, easier, and faster for all kinds of game creators (and not just for the game programmers), it was actually the second revolution that leveled the (game) playing field!

The second revolution: the game is the engine

Second Life. Image attribution: https://twitter.com/SecondLife/status/1443336344076488713

In 2003, Linden Lab sparked the second revolution when they released Second Life.

Second Life is a full-fledged virtual universe that allows users to create games, experiences, and assets within the platform and share/trade them with other Second Life users. Though it was not originally intended or marketed as a game, Second Life gamified the act of immersive creation.

And the fact that Second Life is still around after almost two decades (with 64.7 million users as of 2021) proves that this ability to create and share digital content is an important part of the modern immersive gaming experience.

Besides Second Life, a few other platforms like Rec Room (released in 2016) and Sony’s Dreams (released in 2020) have successfully implemented this immersive-creation paradigm.

All of these three implement in-game editors i.e. creation and editing tools that can be invoked right from within the platform, without forcing you out of the gaming experience.

For example, in Rec Room, you can pull out the Maker pen and create objects right where you are. While in Dreams, the primary gameplay itself is centered around creating, shaping, and manipulating objects.

However, this is far from the norm.

Roblox (released in 2006) allows users to create their own games as well as to play games created on the platform by other users. But the user experience of playing and creating are disconnected as you use different tools depending on what you want to do (Roblox player to play games; Roblox studio to create).

Ditto for Core (released in 2021). Core’s interface for creating (Core Editor) and for playing (Core World), though both accessible from the Core Browser, are completely distinct from each other.

For both Roblox and Core, the unavailability of in-game editors is a missed opportunity for making their creation experience more immersive.

Core Game Engine. Image attribution: https://twitter.com/gamefromscratch/status/1255885501879529472

While sandbox building games like Minecraft, Terraria, Space Engineers, Fortnite, etc. also allow gamers to build and craft in-game, these games do not yet support building complete games or end-to-end experiences.

Game creation as emergent gameplay

Roblox. Image attribution: https://twitter.com/roblox/status/1501702818905817088

The need to create and share is a strong human imperative.

It’s also a means of expressing oneself. People don’t just consume media passively, they interpret it in their own way and co-create a version of it in their heads (think fan-fiction).

A regular game with objectives to achieve and obstacles to surmount is still just a game. But a game enhanced with tools that allow the gamer to build (almost) anything they can imagine allows for a deeper creative expression.

As a result, many gamers, who would have otherwise never thought of game development, start creating games & digital experiences as a natural consequence of the gameplay itself.

Such a platform also blurs the line between being a creator (game developer) and a consumer (gamer). Some of these platforms also allow creators to showcase and monetize what they’ve created. This truly democratizes the act of creating art (or games).

Hence it’s essential that game creation ecosystems put the ability to create/share at the core of their user experience. If this is done then the acts of creating (games and other digital experiences) and showcasing/sharing automatically appear as emergent gameplay.

Dreams, which allows users to not only create games but also other digital media like art, music, and animation, is the perfect example of such a game creation ecosystem. Dreams provides a set of powerful creator tools coupled with a gameplay revolving around the objectives of creating, sharing, and collaborating. The result is an impressively immersive ‘creator’ experience.

Elements of immersive game creation

Rec Room. Image attribution: https://twitter.com/recroom/status/1285277938317811712

There are certain elements that game creation ecosystems must implement as part of their game and gameplay design in order to make the jump between playing and creating as seamless as possible. For example:

  • High degree of immersion (using VR, haptic feedback, etc.) so that the experience of creating and sharing feels natural: Most game creation ecosystems support VR. A few (Roblox, Sony Dreams) have basic haptic support via gamepad controllers.
  • Gamification of the process of creating, showcasing, and trading the in-game items: Dreams and Rec Room both have successfully gamified the process of creating and showcasing elements. Core has gamified monetization for creators (Perks Program).
  • High-quality game (and asset) creation, editing, and debugging tools at par with popular game engines: Core provides high-quality game development tools. Dreams has a very extensive set of tools that allow users to create a wide variety of digital experiences and assets.
  • Exchangeability of the in-game currency with real-world money: Second Life has Linden dollars. Core has Core Credits that can be redeemed for real-world money. Roblox has a DevEx program where developers can cash out their Robux.

The third revolution: dawn of the metaverse

The Metaverse. Image attribution: https://pixabay.com/images/id-7086968/

Games of the future will be accessible across devices. They will be massively multiplayer. And inherently social.

They’ll provide life-like immersive experiences using the latest technology like procedural generation, full-body haptic feedback suits, motion capture tracking VR, AI-based NPCs, cutting-edge 3D graphics rendering, etc.

However, the most important piece of technology that’ll form the backbone of this ecosystem would be the metaverse; a Web 3.0 interface on steroids.

Since Web 3.0 is based on trustless and decentralized blockchain technology, the metaverse would make it trivial for game creation ecosystems to implement a creator-owned decentralized economy.

Existing game creation ecosystems still have a long way to go (more on this in our next article).

And the first thing they would need to do is to embrace the metaverse.

*In an upcoming article, we take a detailed look at how the Fragnova Network is providing a decentralized game creation ecosystem, while Fragcolor is building tools for game creators that allow them to leverage the power of the Fragnova ecosystem.

About Fragnova

Fragnova is on a mission to revolutionize the gaming industry by promoting a more decentralized and creator-focused approach to game development, founded on User Generated Content (UGC). Via the Fragnova Network, creators and developers have a way to unleash their full potential and bring their creative visions to life. By building the new Creation Operating System, Fragnova empowers creators to not only create, but also preserve and licence their work.

At Fragnova, we believe in the power of creativity, and strive to make it accessible to everyone.

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Fragnova

Building the Creation Operating System to revolutionize creation, distribution and monetization of User Generated Content (UGC). Empowering creators.