World building for the rest of us

I’m intrigued and delighted by this ‘game editing’ trend becoming so big. I mean, granted there have always been editors for games; either fan built hacks or tools included by the developers. But we’re getting to the point where some kind of editing tool is pretty much expected from the game buying public, and at the same time, developers are realizing how much the fan community can add to their public exposure.

You can imagine the bean-counters seeing this as a two edged sword. On the one hand, giving away the tools means you’re expanding the ‘hours played’ of a given game, and therefore pushing back the time when Joe Gamer walks into EB to buy something new. On the other hand, once a game hits critical mass in the editing world, it becomes an Event and builds huge brand awareness. We’re all salivating for the next Unreal, but who remembers Shogo?

But I digress…

What I’m excited about today is the new breed of RPG Editing tools. Four fairly hot RPG’s now have editing tools available:

  • Morrowind (editing tools come with the game)
  • DungeonSiege (Beta version of the siege editor is currently out… a bit of hacking required to play the maps.)
  • Freedom Force (Check out the new ModForce site for lots more info.
  • Neverwinter Nights (The wonder here is that the game isn’t even out yet, but a beta version of the tools are. If you don’t want to deal with the 240 meg download, you can get the tools when you pre-order NWN, or just wait for the game to come out… the tools will be included.)

We dragonchasers dream of fantastic places to explore. Of escaping the dreary, mundane existence of real life. We’ve turned to books or games or movies to show us these places, and the more clever of us have created our own worlds in the form of written fiction. Now, with these tools, it becomes possible for us to create our own interactive worlds. It won’t be easy, but it’ll be a lot easier than having to start from scratch.

Here’s a chance to bring our imaginations to life! Pick a game, grab an editor, and create the world you’ve always wanted to explore. It’s a pretty cool opportunity, and one that wasn’t available to most of us until just recently. Props to the developers for giving us these tools.