I have put “The Final Countdown” by Europe on a constant loop, and may not get much in the way of sleep for the next few days, but things are coming together. When I started this assignment, I wanted to look into the changes that may have occurred in modding communities with recent changes in user generated content. UGC is being more frequently co-opted by developers to extend their games.
This research question has now grown more specific. I am now focusing on a specific game, Team Fortress 2, which is selling UGC to other players but actively compensating its creators. My question now focuses on how this compensation has changed the relationship the modders feel with their work. Here are my (somewhat) finalized questions and sub questions:
How do content creators for Team Fortress 2 characterize their relationship to their creations?
In what ways are these connections similar to, or different from their contemporaries in other games with active modding scenes?
What impact does the active compensation from the developer have on gamer’s perception of their efforts?
I had initially hoped to perform some sort of experimental or active research proposal to investigate this issue, but as I have been performing my research it is quite clear that there isn’t enough literature on this topic to allow me to fully grasp the variables present. As such, I will be taking on a participant-observer perspective and use the principles of ethnography to create a snapshot of the current situation in the field. Once this work has been completed there will be a better foundation to launch more active interventions to seek an optimal relationship between players and developers. What issues do you all see with this kind of approach or other angles that could be pursued?
Good luck in this final week everyone!