I'm curious, has anything been tried like this that was scaled up above a couple of test canvas drawings? I'd never really considered this way because it seems to me that it just wouldn't look right.
One thing I was considering was having a builder gun with a set series of meshes that you could scroll through and place/rotate. You could place some set number of items per "game" instance. Let's say 10 for this discussion. These wouldn't be lego blocks but more like pre-made decos like house, cabin, table, chair, etc. Once placed you could switch guns to your ColorPicker gun and select coloring for your chosen decorations so you could personalize them. Dynamic texture loading would allow clients to add their own stuff too like a sign in their driveway showing their house, stuff like that. Once you made your choices then the server would convert those placed decorations into code that will auto spawn at server reset with the chosen position, rotation, texture, etc. and then you are allowed to add more or mark existing decos for deletion. Each client will have a builder gun coded to their 'property' so they cannot mess up other people's houses but there would also be a common 'downtown' where collaboration could happen.
Larger meshes like houses would be converted to BSP and the map updated once they have remained for a couple of days without moving. Because most decorations would load dynamically the map size would remain small with the spawn data being replicated to the client via constantly updated ini file as people build things. It will also make it easy to manually edit if people want items changed. If the base structures are carefully made then it would also allow textural decorations easily, IE you could paint your house as you want.
I also considered having a builder server that would let you as a client open a demo map in editor and create your own property. Once you are happy with things you would upload that map to me and select your property. I would add that base setup to your yard and then you would be allowed to edit the common 'town' area in the same way. Think of it as a constantly updated mapper's map. This would also be done as a mixture of BSP and spawned decos via ini file.
I've done a ton of the base work on this. From the clan-only area and locking doors in the MHMVillage map to the entire concept of the Chaos mansion map I've been moving towards something like this for a long time. Years back when I made the MHM village I was very surprised at the amount of time players spent just hanging out. I watched players literally lie in bed and chat for hours in their houses, even have simulated sex when they thought the server was empty. The actual map was hardly played, instead the clan members would spend most of the time in the village redecorating their houses and adding things to do in the village.
Ah shit, post too long. Sorry
"You damn kids, back in my time we made the items, maps and games ourselves with an unwieldy engine using counter-intuitive crash-prone tools and we liked it so much we built communities around this which nowadays look like cults because they're quasi-parallel societies based on the same old games." -Hellkeeper