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Passion, Affinity Communities, and the Modding Mentality

by Leedale on Oct 08, 2012 at 11:55 PM}
For this first week of the MOOC, I'm understanding a lot more than I did in the last iteration.

For example, I used to kind of wonder what kind of mania powered the communities that would spring around certain games. When I played the Sims, I saw my sister creating stories using the software. I stumbled upon a role playing sim in Second Life (not that kind, get your mind out of the gutter!) and committed the blunder of actually calling someone by their avatar name without having been formally introduced. I watched my sister play custom missions in the Thief games. "How could they improve a game that was designed by professionals?" I wondered.

Passion, that's how. Since I started really looking at games and their surrounding affinity and mod communities, I don't buy or play a game unless it encourages what Jim Gee called the "modder mentality". To paraphrase: "The game design skills of the many outweigh the game design skills of the few."

That kind of passion is not found in many places and it's always a delight. It's better than the art that goes over your couch, any day.


That passion is what keeps us coming back! I'm also starting to deeply appreciate the value of having hours to devote to unstructured playtime. I am really missing that. I'm starting to feel like I have to assign myself to unstructured playtime, just to stir the passion!
Time is always a challenge. Our society is not set up to value unstructured playtime, at all. We much prefer to decide exactly what's going to happen when and group it all together. Many people come back from their vacations more tired than when they left!

It's all in our priorities, which we know are messed up!
The modding community has always fascinated me. I don't really have the time or patience to design my own levels, but those who do, and are good at it, turn out some of the best quality gaming found. It'a amazing to see that one person with passion can turn out something comparable to a professional dev team.
LeeDale, I can discuss one game in particular where there was a "spillage into real life." Hawkye, I hope you don't mind me sharing ;) I started talking to Hawkye about nine months before StarTrekOnline opened. Everyone at the college knows I am a Trekker, and he explained there was a guild already formed, known as Second Fleet, so he arranged for me to join, my name in the game is DILT, a Ferengi Female Captain of the Scordatura. Hawkye was a Admiral in the Guild (guild rank is not the same as "in game" rank) and I was a lowly ensign. At FRCC I "outranked him, as an instructor/student, but in Second Fleet he outranked me. When we would meet in the all I would salute him and say, "Admiral." and he would say, "At ease ensign." People who saw us do that would just kinda have a "What the Hell??" look, and I think we kinda chuckled at the irony. Second Life has since abandoned, (the actual game really didn't meet the hype, but we both still play) but I still have some people overseas that were in it as facebook friends. Here is a quick look at a remaining video someone did in our guild for recruitment. From three years ago. Second Fleet StarTrek Recruitment Video. I think they may have stared up again so am going to check that out. I need a fleet! Can't destroy some ships/missons without cooperative attacks.
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