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Free Market On Content

Games have three parts — an engine, assets and a UI. What do players come for? Assets. How much time is typically given to them? Not enough. Games are ever and anon reinventing the wheel — bringing us the same engine implemented a hundred different times, to get that little lighting effect or atmospheric blend.

There is no reason many — may I say all? — games can not use the same engine. In fact, with good granularity controls, the same engine can be used for gaming, simulation, training tools and the like.

The UI is another matter, but not much — there is no technical hurdle to regularizing the notion of a game controller, a menu, a button. The web has shown us that skinnable UIs can be hard — but the web started out the wrong end round, leveraging a data format for typesetting.

When are we going to see a real split in engine developers and content developers? Ideally, a game studio would be a lot of artists and story tellers connected to a consulting firm that guided them in using an engine. This would allow many games — with many revenue streams — to encourage improvements in the same engine, allowing free competition in content. Right now, one is too often compelled to suffer prosaic content to enjoy nice lighting effects.

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