Well, now it can be used for the Phylomon project. You know, the one where we're hoping we can guide an open source project into a free and massive card collecting game that is fun and even perchance (oh no, here it comes...) educational.
Now that we're at a stage where we're confident that the mechanics of obtaining images is sound (check out the submissions pool here, and the few from this pool that we've already lined up for beta testing as shown below), we're ready to move onto other crucial components of the project.
Namely gameplay and content on the card.
In many ways, we think these need to develop in tandem, and at this point, I'm gathering a group of scientist types who will ultimately act as science editors in the project (i.e. they will play a key role in determining the type of content on the cards).
However, we realize (and as is obviously clear in the many comments garnered at various places), that the game mechanics are just as, if not the most, important role in this project. This, we feel confident we can deliver, if only because the phylomon project is very much about being an open source project, and one that has the intent to include new ideas as they come along.
Still, it would be nice to get some of those game design juices flowing early and in earnest. With that, I'm hoping there are folks out there who will provide whatever feedback they want (in the comments, or ideally at this phylomon forum) - maybe even the odd person going full out and designing an actual game.
If it helps, we've even made a handy dandy idea sheet for folks to scrawl notes all over (see below and available as a pdf here). Anyway, if this sounds interesting, do participate, or at the very least, spread the word via twitter, your blog, facebook, etc.
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My thoughts about the gameplay:
What a BRILLIANT idea!
I do worry about the choice of the non-commercial clause, though -- largely because "non-commercial" is so incredibly poorly defined. I've come to believe, over time, that it's a faulty license, and would encourage the folks at Phylomon to reconsider.
Like, for instance, here's a question: what software license will the gameplay engine fall under? It will almost certainly be open source, I would think -- and open source software has long since outgrown its non-commercial restrictions. What happens when you can distribute the game engine with every Linux distro, but can distribute *none* of the cards because they are licensed non-commercial? It's a problem.
Still, the idea is crazy brilliant.