The process of making a game could, in a way, be thought of as similar to the process of giving birth to a child. There is all the same or similar mental, emotional and physical (to some extent) strain. Of course making a game does not have the same intensity or level of any of these, or the amounts of extreme physical pain. But most game development teams look upon their new creation with much of the same love a mother looks on her newborn child. Also most game development teams are very protective of their children, as are most mothers. But unlike most healthy people who have children, game development teams retain an obsessive sense of ownership of their child.
Just as a baby is completely dependant on its parents for survival, so a video game initially depends on those who made it for its survival. But just as a baby will eventually learn how to walk, and will grow up into a (hopefully) free-thinking human being, at some point a game will have matured enough that its creators no longer need to "support" it. The game will stand on its own. But there is something I think game developers forget here, some vital piece they miss.
You see just a child will mature and eventually become an adult, ultimately depending on society and the world to define who they are and to support themselves, so a video game matures and becomes dependant on its community. A video game community is comprised of the players who buy, play and create things for that game. In the same sense that parents must learn to let their grown child grow and release them out into the world, so game developers have to let go of their game and let it stand on its own.
What do I mean by this? Let's bring in my examples... Many years ago a game was released that really did change the game industry. Its name was Unreal, and it was quickly followed by Unreal Tournament. The last time I checked in on this game, a new version had been released for free to the community. Unreal was different in that it was a first person shooter, but there were elements of adventure and even a story. I still remember the fondness many players had for the Nali. When Unreal Tournament came out it became more about its first person shooter aspect, but players could, and did, design their own adventures. That is because Unreal and Unreal Tournament, and it's latest iteration, have a very good level editor.
I am not over exaggerating when I say I have a gigabytes of maps and things from the Unreal Tournament community. It may not seem like a lot now, but we're talking gigabytes from a time when a 40 gigabyte hard drive was about the same amount of space a 4 terabyte drive is to us today. The developers did things right, and Unreal Tournament reigned for many years. There may still be people playing it today. The last time I checked in on its newest iteration the developers were still doing things right. In the past they even went as far as to hire many of the most active and creative members of the Unreal Tournament community. Some of those same people are part of the game development team today.
Here is a picture from one of my Unreal Tournament 2003 - 2004 levels, when I was known as DeathBliss:
You can still some of my work at MapRaider (surprisingly):
Now let's look at Creativerse. Both Playful Corp's Creativerse and Epic Game's Unreal Tournament have, in a way, an editor. In Unreal Tournament the editor has always been an external program. You built your level and then played it. Here is a tutorial video showing Unreal Tournament's new editor:
In Creativerse the game and game world itself is the editor. Here is a video showing a bit of that:
You build things from within the world, much like the old FPS games Cube and Cube 2. But the developers behind Creativerse have made a mistake, and I am not going to call their attention to it.
In any sort of environment when you are making something, you need certain tools. We will use the Rotate tool as an example. Let's say a game developer releases their game and includes a functionality in some form of the ability to rotate objects. Once the game is released to the community, the members of that community will use that rotate functionality. They will come to depend on it.
Let's say that players learn they can rotate things in 45 degree increments and the game development team, for whatever reason, does not want that. But before the game development team has done anything about it, the community has built hundreds or thousands of structures using this "bug." In this case if the developers removed it the impact would be low unless everything that had been rotated was rotated back to a default position. But removing the tool or fixing the bug also removes the functionality, and this is the wrong thing to do.
In Creativerse, a year ago I guess, the community discovered that they could use something called Block Phasers to automate farming. The default farming process is to use your tool on the ground then go around and plant your seeds. Then when the plants have grown you go around and pick up your plants. But then you have to plant your seeds again if you want more plants. With the Bock Phasers players could make the seeds phase in and out. So they planted their seeds once, waited for the plants to grow after setting up everything with a switch, then flipped the switch to turn the block phasers on before they harvested the plants. When they would flick the switch again, the seeds would reappear, and the garden would be replanted.
Now think about this for a second... Hundreds, if not thousands, of Creativerse players, members of the Creativerse community, have designed entire houses, forts, camps, bases, etc. all around the idea of automated Block Phaser farms. So when the developers removed that functionality by "fixing" this bug (it did not need to be fixed) it messed up all of these things that the Creativerse community had made. That is the mistake Playful Corp made.
If they had bothered to go to YouTube or pay any attention to what the Creativerse community was doing, they would have seen how their proposed fix would have affected things. I don't think they did that. I don't think they care. They do have a forums through Steam, but as far as I know there is no way to directly contact the game development team. In my opinion they are, in short, doing this incorrectly.
Yes, according to the law a game is the property of whoever made it. Yes, according to the law they can do whatever the hell they want to their game. Just as some parents feel they can do whatever the hell they want to their children. The end result is bad in both cases. While a game development team may have legal ownership rights, once a game has been released it belongs to its community, in the same way that Einstein belonged to the human race, as any of us belong to the human race.
Imagine if all our geniuses had been shut away and not allowed to share their discoveries with us? Think of all we missed out from Nikola Tesla, all the information the American government has hidden away or destroyed. Just as what the American government did to Tesla wronged all of of the human race, when a game developer does whatever the hell they want with one of their games it wrongs all of the members of its community. Just because it is right in the eyes of the law, that doesn't make it ethically, morally or in any other way the right thing to do.
In other words, having the right to do something doesn't make what you do right. We should no more tolerate game developers doing whatever they want with their games then we should tolerate parents doing whatever they want with their children, end of story.
If you are a game developer, or a game development team, and you are reading these words, heed their message well! Once you release your game you ONLY legally own it. In order for you to be successful, your game must be successful, and for your game to be successful it has to stand on its own in its community. Be very careful when you are fixing bugs that remove functionality that you IMMEDIATELY replace that functionality, no matter what!
Understand that players will come to depend on some of the things you think of as bugs. Understand that some bugs provide functionality that improve your game and the experience of those who play it. Do not make Playful Corp's mistake and fix a bug that not only did not need to be fixed, but also drastically affected all the members of the Creativese community.