A few thoughts since this is kinda a theory thread.
I believe that there may be some problems with using player made content like minecraft, and others, primarily because you lose a cohesive design, the old joke is that ps4 and xbox one have skyrim in hd and pc has skyrim with pink ponies. This may be a bit of an excessive case as you can literally add anything to a game like that, but even with minecraft just having blocks, some people have medieval styles and some people have modern styled homes. At the end of the day I don’t think populating the worlds with content that is engaging using player created content is the way to go, at least not in MMOs. I think that we should simply try to use the space wisely, we have much larger worlds possible to us, but we will pay for the computing power, but something that doesn’t use computation is no entities, so why not work with that, and make games that work with the empty space, (I believe that Worlds adrift and lazarus are both using this, large bodies of air, and space respectively). Perhaps have a game where all the players are in large cities, and water is the primary currency. To find combat they leave the cities in vehicles (if you want mad max style go with cars, but it could be just as easily horses, or flying whales or something), and you go out into the desert, which is actually a to-scale desert, and look for adventure. It doesn’t really matter the theme, I just think that using large empty spaces in game development is a lost art, and it really highlights what you want the players to focus on. A nomads camp with 3 people fighting over water, suddenly becomes realistic and immersive if you actually use that stuff for money, and you have to have it to survive. And you notice small things like camps because you’ve been driving for a while and not seen anything.
Breaking off from that I think that SpatialOS will really shine when people start to try to make something that hasn’t really ever been done before, and Immersive mmo. I don’t just mean no hud (though I’m sure you could use that to immerse the player in the experience), but a world that follows rules that while slightly alien from our world, are still believable. I personally want to work on a project that uses neural networking to create hostiles that function like real animals, (I encourage you to google neural networking AI) neural networks are complicated and I’m not gonna try to explain it here, there are plenty of videos for it, but what I’m getting at is that up until this point you couldn’t do. With classic mmos you got character movement, chat, items, classes, skills, chat, and all the other things that are basically required, and by the time you got to the AI you simply didn’t have the server resources necessary to do anything meaningful with it. In the end 99% of mmo npcs are a really simple two way street, you either are ranged or you run to the player and attack them, and the other 1% are just bosses. With Spatial I think that we could actually make goblins that each camp is maybe 10-20 of them and they actually breed and reproduce and hunt. (A note, this exact behavior has been made using neural networks, not even in different parts, there are cases of people on their home computer simulating AI this complicated up to several hundred npcs.) The most interesting part of this is that an AI built in this manner would change based on the region they are in, goblins in one region perhaps don’t run into players as much, and so they’re AI doesn’t react as much to the players, and in some regions they are constantly attacked by players, so the only one’s who survive are ones who when encountering a player either run or are able to kill them. (A note on this to anyone who wants to do this, make sure you have some visual que, have each child take their parents color of skin (just for reference) and change it very subtly, so that over time entire families of goblins in different regions will have different coloration’s, for game-play purposes so that you can tell them apart, even saw one video where someone had them take the name of their parent and change it slightly, so each family had their own family name, super cool.)
But I digress, I’m kinda taking Sunday off because I’ve been coding about 8-10 hours a day the entire rest of the week, and I wanted to relax, so I figured I’d post on here.
PS: I’m currently just playing with herd AI not neural networks, but it’s where I want to go with my npcs.
Edit: I apologize for any miss-spelling I am NOT proof reading that wall of text, lol sorry