[MUD-Dev] Geometric content generation

Derek Licciardi kressilac at home.com
Sun Oct 7 20:40:04 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001

> -----Original Message-----
> From: John Buehler
> Ian Collyer writes:

>> I think it helps to view this 'content race' problem as a
>> mathematical equation where, in order to meet demand for new
>> content the following must be satisfied:

>>   ContentCreationRate * NoOfDevelopers >= ContentConsumptionRate

>> Rearranging gives:

>>   NoOfDevelopers >= ContentConsumptionRate / ContentCreationRate

>> An interesting point to note is that this is _independent_ of the
>> number of users, which prompts me to question why everyone is
>> discarding option 1 above so quickly. Surely with a sufficiently
>> large paying user base simply increasing the number of developers
>> is a viable option.

> Your units are messed up.  Rate * Number = RateNumber, which is
> not comparable with a Rate.  The number of users is significant.

> ContentCreationRate * NumberOfDevelopers >= ContentConsumptionRate
> * NumberOfUsers 

Its funny how all of us math geeks(I take it back if you don't have
a thread of math nerves in you John) come out when someone brings
forth a formula.  Anyway I would probably define things a little
different than you corrected.  ContentConsumptionRate is some
function of NumberOfUsers.  Perhaps you meant ot use
UserContentConsumptionRate * NumberOfUsers = ContentConsumptionRate.
In that case you would need to qualify that by explaining how you
aggregate the final ContentConsumptionRate because each individual
consumption rate will differ.

I propose something simpler.

  To define the general equation:

    ContentCreationRate >= ContentConsumptionRate.

    ContentCreationRate = SUM(DeveloperCreationRate) / NumberOfDevelopers

    ContentConsumptionRate = SUM(UserConsumptionRate) / NumberOfUsers

Looking at these equations it is simple to see that while it might
be possible to create the content faster than it can be consumed, it
is significantly difficult because the NumberOfDevelopers is usually
some large factor of the NumberOfUsers.  I would postulate that as
the ratio between the NumberOfUsers over the NumberOfDevelopers
increases, that the chance of the general equation being true would
diminish towards 0.

So how does one try to beat or keep up with this equation?  That is
a question that I cannot fully answer.  I can tell you that the
problem is specifically related to the manufacturing industries in
the world.  Many companies have to develop products faster than the
client can consume them.  The same case is here.

Some companies look to constantly bring in new clients and accept a
certain turnover ratio.  This extends the formula a bit by further
differentiating NumberOfUsers by type and longevity.  It breaks down
the userbase into groups where one can more readily target the
actions of the already overwhelmed NumberOfDevelopers.

How about mass production techniques?  This goes to the original
article's #2 in that most of today's games have inadequate content
creation tools for this sort of task.  I would argue that even the
highly Modable Quake and Half-Life do not have tools developed
enough for a mass production line.  Mass production brings up all of
the problems our manufacturing brethren have fought with since the
early 19th century.  How do we keep creativity?  Do we hold
inventory or is it just in time.(think additional textures, NPCs and
artwork) Are we a job-shop, throughput-shop or a production-shop
with respect to inventory management?  Just a thought, but I believe
there are some serious parallels in the manufacturing world that
could be taken advantage of to solve this equation.(or handle higher
User/Developer ratios) This approach alters the definition of the
NumberOfDevelopers in an attempt to make them more specialized in
function in order to achieve higher overall ContentCreationRates.

Lastly another idea we see is the distributed model.  Not to go back
on what I said earlier, but the FPS Mod scene is a perfect example
of this model.  (I still do not believe it could work in a mass
production environment which is different) This usually can take the
form of player driven content which alters the NumberOfDevelopers
and the NumberofUsers definitions.  Often times the bottleneck in
this equation is the approval process to get that content live.(ie
Open Source projects) Perhaps we could give the tools to players
such that the approval process under this scenario is automated as
well?  Not sure if it is even possible.

This is juts my two cents on the whole idea.  Do I think the problem
is solvable, ultimately no.  Do I think we have reached a level of
marginal ContentCreationRates, yes.  Can we increase marginal
ContentCreationRates in an effort to improve, absolutely.  I do
think it will take a new(perhaps old but new to us) method of
production to accomplish this.  I applaud anyone who tries it,
successful or not.


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