Several years ago I was about to work on a game with some UGC (User Generated Content) features. So i started to take a look at what other game developers have done by the past on consoles. The purpose was to take some ideas and mainly best practices.
This article is just a list of interesting UGC things, not an analysis. However I added a short opinion at the end.
All started with Excitebike in 1984 in which you can create your own tracks.
Re-volt in 1999 was also a good game with a great Track Editor (demo video
Another great Track Editor: V-Rally (2000). Here's a video
of what you can do with it.
A track editor again in F-Zero Expansion Kit for the N64. You could save your track on the DD64 Disk
(Demo video part1
In 2003 The Sims arrived on consoles. The entire game is a UGC game.
In Top Spin the player edition is incredible
In PGR3 you could create your own tracks by choosing the path used in the cities.
When Ubisoft Montreal put Far Cry on consoles they added a more accessible multiplayer map editor. You could save your maps and send them on online servers.
Since the first Forza on Xbox you can customize your cars. You can custom the engine but also the visual aspects with a clever editor based on the use of layers. You can also take pictures of your car and share it.
In PGR4 the photo shoot editor has been improved. You can also send your pictures in the specific PGR social network.
Skate does almost the same thing with video replays of your best tricks that you can edit and share online on the EA website.
Another example of character customization in PES.
In Smash Bros Brawl on Wii you can create fighting arenas and save them on SD Card or share them online. (video
Little Big Planet offer a full level editor, and an ingame online community where you can send your levels.
In Boom Blox you can create your maps.
The gameplay of Banjo & Kazooie Nuts & Bolts is all about building cars, boats or planes and using them to navigate in the levels and achieve challenges.
In Spore you create your creature, and customize your building & vehicles.
Let's finish with Fifa 13 that offer lots of pc online editors. You can create your own soccer player with your real head (by using an uploaded picture of you) or your teams by designing everything.
I will say obvious things but a good editor:
- is easy to use
- has enough features for building lots of stuffs
- allows you to test your creation in the editor in one click/button pressed
- allows you to save your work and gives you the possibility to share it with other players.
For me the best approach is the one from EA with Fifa. Instead of giving an ingame editor they prefered to give pc web editors connected with the game. Because editing things on a computer is often easier than on console with your limited controller. I've been always disappointing to see that Little Big Planet didn't have a pc version of its editor. Creating levels on PS3 was such a pain!
Also it's better if your community with all the generated contents is accessible from everywhere (computer, mobiles, etc...). That's what Nintendo started to do with the MiiVerse, but none games do that for the moment.