After returning from a trip to their Austin offices, Ten Ton Hammer has editorialized about Portalarium's decision to let the public submit assets that could be used in SHroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues, and their commitment to release any such assets they improve upon back to the original creators.
That brings us to the next point, which has to do with the fact that Portalarium isn't getting all of their assets from the Unity Store. Obviously a lot of them have to be developed by hand and in-house, but they also have another important source for that sort of thing. They're giving the community a chance to be involved with that process as well. At first a simple announcement on the forums indicated that the community could submit art and assets for filling out houses. If you think about it, that's the perfect place for a budding developer to begin to learn the ropes, and it's a great way for people to be involved with creating a game.
Portalarium shared out a document with a list of assets they need and are more than willing to allow the community to produce for them. I really do find myself excited at the idea that I could create something and then soon find it in a game. It ought to give a person more ownership in a game when the book or chair they designed pops up occasionally in random houses as will happen in SotA.
With everyone churning out games cut from the proven mold, it's been a little hard to get excited about a new MMO in the fantasy genre. I've been a Richard Garriott fan for years, but that didn't keep me from being skeptical. Until now I have to admit that I've really only been that excited about Shroud of the Avatar because of the name attached to it.
My recent trip to Austin sort of started changing my mind, though. I'm a big fan of the open-source movement and what I see here is something cut from the same cloth. It's not enough for the guys at Portalarium to just make a game, they want to empower the community around them, and that's something I can respect.