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The Rise of the Systemic Game | Game Maker's Toolkit

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From Breath of the Wild to Watch Dogs 2, we’re seeing a boom in so-called “systemic games”. What does that mean, how do they work, and what makes them tick? Support Game Maker's Toolkit on Patreon - https://www.patreon.com/GameMakersToolkit Sources Aleissia Laidacker - Systems Are Everywhere | GCAP 2016 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gelpn4mksXQ Raphael Colantonio, Harvey Smith - Empowering the Player in a Story-Rich World | GDC 2013 https://www.gdcvault.com/play/1018062/Empowering-the-Player-in-a Why Dwarf Fortress started killing cats - Here's A Thing | Eurogamer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6yWf6BHqiWM The uncertain future of games like Deus Ex and Dishonored | PC Gamer http://www.pcgamer.com/the-uncertain-future-of-games-like-deus-ex-and-dishonored/ Find Out More Nels Anderson - How Systems Will Save Us All! | Full Indie 2014 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8w1ScEulfU Harvey Smith, Randy Smith - Would the Real Emergent Gameplay Please Stand Up? | GDC 2004 https://www.gdcvault.com/play/1013560/Would-the-Real-Emergent-Gameplay Nintendo - Breaking Conventions with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild | GDC 2017 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QyMsF31NdNc [ZIP] Clint Hocking - Designing to Promote Intentional Play | GDC 2006 http://clicknothing.typepad.com/Design/hockingc_GDC06_Intentionality.zip What Works and Why Emergence | Rock Paper Shotgun https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2018/01/30/what-works-and-why-emergence/ Nick Popovich - A Thousand Tiny Tales: Emergent Storytelling in Slime Rancher | GDC 2017 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GbVFa89kUhw Mike Sellers - A Systemic Approach to Systemic Design | Sweden Game Arena 2015 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HR8EmTyJz9A Games shown in this episode (in order of appearance) The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Nintendo, 2017) Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (Kojima Productions, 2015) Kingdom Come: Deliverance (Warhorse Studios, 2018) Mark of the Ninja (Klei Entertainment, 2012) Watch Dogs 2 (Ubisoft Montreal, 2016) Far Cry 4 (Ubisoft Montreal, 2014) Monster Hunter: World (Capcom, 2018) Spelunky (Derek Yu, 2012) SteamWorld Dig 2 (Image and Form, 2017) Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception (Naughty Dog, 2011) Red Dead Redemption (Rockstar San Diego, 2010) Assassin's Creed: Origins (Ubisoft Montreal, 2017) Grand Theft Auto V (Rockstar North, 2013) Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor (Monolith Productions, 2014) Call of Duty: WWII (Sledgehammer Games, 2017) Prey (Arkane Studios, 2017) Hitman (iO Interactive, 2016) Dishonored 2 (Arkane Studios, 2016) Deus Ex (Ion Storm, 2000) The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Nintendo, 2011) Rain World (Videocult, 2017) Dishonored: Death of the Outsider (Arkane Studios, 2017) Far Cry 2 (Ubisoft Montreal, 2008) Mafia III (Hangar 13, 2016) SimCity (Maxis, 1989) The Sims (Maxis, 2000) RimWorld (Ludeon Studios, 2013) Dwarf Fortress (Tam and Zach Adams, 2006) Thief: The Dark Project (Looking Glass Studios, 1998) System Shock 2 (Looking Glass Studios, 1999) Gunpoint (Suspicious Developments, 2013) Music used in this episode Please, Don't Touch Anything OST, blinch https://bulkypix.bandcamp.com/releases k. Part 2 - 01 untitled 1, animeistrash Other credits The Sims 1: Gameplay #1 (No Commentary) | sibaem https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gi0AB5ksxuY METAL GEAR SOLID V: THE PHANTOM PAIN Decoys Confuse Guard | rcua1884 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g_wFbWkUgD4 Zelda: BOTW (Fire In The Hole) | Nassi https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVgt3dMdpxM&feature=share
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Text Comments (1279)
Mark Brown (6 months ago)
Thanks for watching! To mark the occasion, I'll be streaming some Hitman on YouTube at 8PM tonight.
Nicola Hill (2 months ago)
are hitman games systemic games? i think they could be
Detective Assasin (5 months ago)
Great Video :D
Mark Dizon (6 months ago)
Piggybacking off @Kamran Houle's comment, from my experience the three monsters in any zone patrol a set of areas with some overlap, and by normal means the monsters don't occupy the same area. It's only when the player engages an enemy that they stay in one area potentially long enough for the two monsters to meet and interact with each other. This actually gives the player a breather to heal or prepare traps, which I think is a conscious decision by the developers now that the series is a true open world as opposed to the earlier titles.
friendofphi (6 months ago)
I don't think you "abused" the tranquilizer I think you just "used" the tranquilizer gun. Tranquilizer gun is and has always been Snake's primary weapon. I think the balance is if you want to do things quickly you kill everyone but if you want to do things safely use tranquilizer. It's a fine balance because that's what people expect. If the game was easier if you just ran around killing everyone it would break thematically a bit. They also have mechanics where the AIs start wearing helmets. You most certainly spent some of your resources preventing shipments of helmets, you have to if you want to use the tranquilizer through the whole game. You got invested into that gameplay style, to me it's mastefully intentional.
Kévin Allebourg (6 months ago)
Kamran Houle - Not the first time you hunt Great Jagra I think the first attack by the Anjannath is scripted to show you indeed that it can happen, as a tutorial.
thebengr35 (4 days ago)
This reminds me a lot of Zoo Tycoon when I put too many animals in the same enclosure
Francois Schnell (8 days ago)
Are there systemic games (probably single player) where we can change the input/rule/output through addons or directly in game ? Then share your crazy world with others ?
Francois Schnell (8 days ago)
Just seen this video => intant sub. Such an interesting subject and channel, keep it up!
Noyz Gaming (9 days ago)
muhschaf (9 days ago)
Skyrim: lure the giants into a Banditcamp...or a mammoth for that matter.
Mi Ke (10 days ago)
Prey sold so shitty, because it was marketed to the wrong audiance. Prey was in reality System Shock 3, not a dumb shooter game like the original Prey. So it sucked balls to the shooter audiance. It was in my personal opinion Game of the year ... after buying it much, much later on a deep sale.
Jack Sargeant (10 days ago)
Space station 13 is worth looking into if you want to experience this sort of thing. It's free and there is an excellent video by mandalore gaming to give you a run down of what to expect.
Daniel Tejnický (11 days ago)
Blue Sun (13 days ago)
I love this
This Gen Last Gen (18 days ago)
BotW's system is fucking pathetic and I have no idea why everyone is so in love with it. Fire burns wood? No it doesn't. It burns a very small amount of wooden items that Nintendo absolutely planned to be burned, in a way that is equally as simple as adding an enemy that can be hit with a sword. Why can't trees and forests be burnt? Why can't moblin fortresses be burnt? Why can't ANYTHING in an npc village be burnt? Oh, you can chop things down? No you can't. You can chop trees. End of story. How fun would it have been to sneak under a tree fortress and chop down one of the supports (or set fire to it) and watch the whole thing collapse with enemies sliding and falling off. Every single video demonstrating all the 'amazing' 'unplanned' 'emergent' gameplay in BotW shows the exact same set of things, to the point where it becomes identical to people showing off a heavily scripted set piece from CoD or Uncharted. The most impressive thing Nintendo did in BotW was to convince players that yet another video of somebody flinging themselves around on a boulder is worthy of anyone's time. The BotW physics engine is fake bullshit.
some one (18 days ago)
4:54 how did that guy do this ?
lirio sogno (19 days ago)
6:43 waaaaaat
Rock McThornberry (19 days ago)
Jarrett R.K. (28 days ago)
EDIT: I fully confess that I don't finish watching videos, and comment on thing as I hear them. That way my thoughts won't be forgotten and I don't forget what the video says, word for word. So at 10:50 when Mark Brown talks about simulation games using this for decades, I agree, but I'm prematurely saying: so much more than sim games. Uh... uh... the assumption amongst non-developer gamers (consumers) that non-systemic games are the paradigm is somewhat misleading and confusing. Your title suggests by logical default (not using my system of definitions) that non-systemic designed games are, what, cinematic or scripted, and that they are the paradigm? I have a lot to say on that, and so do developers. (In a nutshell: they are NOT the paradigm). Also, I don't define systemic the way that employee in your video does. I define systemic design as centered around the core gameplay loop (and the interplay off that and branching systems) -- so, every game ever made. Even the most retro game was complex (and I'm using the word strictly here, meaning, "multivariate and integrated", and not synonymous with "complicated" or "intricate."), and it is that complexity that hallmarks systemic-ness. In any case, you can thank Todd Howard and the teams at R* for helping to bring the meteoric "rise" of "systemic" games. So I wouldn't say it has been the last few years, I'd say it's been around ten.
Young Knight (9 days ago)
The terminology is used by a lot of the developers behind the games that have that kind of inter connectivity so for them systemic means there's a connection with all the systems in the game. It's possible he means the interconnection wasn't really a major focus like simulation games like Sim City and all that. Story Driven and Linear games are now starting to take advantage of that inter connectivity like Uncharted with its wide linear approach and obviously Dishonored and Prey who had help from creators of Deus Ex and Thief for that matter.
Solid Snake (1 month ago)
Weapons breaking in Breath of the Wild was anything but good. That was the only thing holding that game back imo. One of the things that made me fall in love with Zelda as a kid was when I went through a dungeon and found some new item or weapon, I got to keep that item, it didn't feel like a cheap throw-away power up. In BOTW getting new stuff feels like trash collection, nothing sucks more than micromanaging an inventory with whats least useful.. In MGS V I put in 300 hours and used everything, replayed every fun mission over and over seeing how fast or stealthy or lethal I could run it and still pull off an S rank, in a game like BOTW I hardly use anything because it's just gonna break so I just end up saving the better stuff I find until its trash, That's the opposite of enjoying a game for me, Instead of littering the game with thousands of trash Items they should have kept it that part like the old Zelda games. That game mechanic needs to stick to survival games.
Chase Wages (1 month ago)
Im genuinely happy to have learned what an immersive sim is through your videos. I always knew there was a word for it but I never was able to find it. Now I know the name of my favorite type of game.
Zac Bergart (1 month ago)
nice review of the topic
Akemi Homura (1 month ago)
deus ex foreshadowed the twin towers falling. also shadows of mordor falls under this topic right?
EvilTim1911 (1 month ago)
You show an example of systemic gameplay in Watch Dogs 2 where you pit the cops against the gang members to escape and then show GTAV as an example of just "shooting a bunch of cops", but GTAV lets you do the exact same thing. In fact when escaping the cops with 1 or 2 stars in the ghetto areas of GTAV that's me preferred method of distraction while I switch cars and get outta there. Just saying.
Bartosz Olszewski (1 month ago)
Wow, didn't know the Breath of The Wild was so good
coute 21 (1 month ago)
In FarCry I had just fought tooth and nail to save some dude from a bunch of assholes. After it was over I was walking up to him to get my reward and he was all like "you saved my life man" when right out of nowhere my vision is filled with rhino ass as it steamrolled into him, killing him instantly. I had no clue that thing was even in the area, and it scared the absolute shit out of me. All I could do was yell "oh fuck!" and hightail it out of there. Fuck horror games, nothing has brought me closer to a real life heart attack than FarCry's unexpected animal encounters.
Breeze Ark (1 month ago)
I think it'd be cool to have lots of systems like this and then add a magic system that lets you alter it, say: Create a fire that doesn't get extinguished, prevent wood from burning or make metal and stone burn, create rain or snow or summoning monsters to attack dudes etc
friedpinnapple (1 month ago)
Ive actually got a really funny story from that had nothing to do with me. I was trying to solve a puzzle and i saw a thunderstorm coming so i dequiped my metal items. When the storm came i still heard the sparks of incoming lightning and I tried to figure out why i had metal. when the lighting hit it stuck near me and i heard a yell. I looked at the spot and saw a yiga swordmaster die
RobinLSL (1 month ago)
Why is being "European" a related point to anything?
Christopher Wilson (2 months ago)
What about MGSV TPP makes it a systemic game?
Ignatij Fiodorov (2 months ago)
Deers in Ultima.
Stoian Borissov (2 months ago)
Great video Mark! At 6:10 you talk about how different entities interact with one another based on established rules in the game, however that instead of hard coding specific interactions for every different possible entity that is encountered, developers should instead program entities to react to general stimuli. This is the core idea behind class inheritance in object oriented programming. You program interactions between classes of objects instead of having to program an interaction for every instance of an object. It's cool to see such a fun application of this idea! It would be interesting to see a game designed around these interactions between entities, instead of coming up with a narrative and player mechanics first. You set up a bunch of rules between entities and just hit go and see what emergent behavior arises, and then the player is given ways of interacting with these entities via the same rules. It reminds me of Conway's Game of Life, where that game is all about discovering emergent states in a world run by very simple rules that have very interesting consequences.
essmene (2 months ago)
I think some games have a systemic core, but only think about advantages - not sure if these would count a s systemic. Sims 3 - you have a basic engine in the base game and then the expansions extend one system or another. But most systems only have advantages and gear wise each expansion surpases vanilla content.Usually there is no downside. Like your example where rain boosts electricity, but negates fire. Maybe it is th e need of the game that there should be no disadvantages in the game. Citybuilder Cities Skylines. The game has "systematic components" - like buildings need electricity, water, sewage, services - but there is hardly any interaction. E.g. the game has a weather mode and disaster, but they hardly mean any interaction. Water souces do not change even if it has not been raining for days and if it rains the ground gets wet. Some people try to modify the game that rain leaves puddles and rain and droughts effect the water levels - so you might get a flood out of pouring rain. How would you define systemic? It clearly needs to have some functionality at the desieng engine level, but what does make a game systemic?
Young Knight (1 month ago)
essmene basically people view systemic as the interconnectivity and awareness of multiple systems though some systems can be inconsistent like you talked about
Pantong (2 months ago)
Gamepaly Tags in Unreal is amazing, allows for making these systems "easier"
Nufirdy (2 months ago)
Please, Don't Touch Anything OST ❤️
Aman Bytheway (2 months ago)
This wasn't bad
Josh Wilson (2 months ago)
Don't Starve is an excellent example of an Indie that is pure emergent gameplay. The character is weak, but more importantly, you need to think of everything in the environment as a resource.
BologneyT (2 months ago)
I think the scripted parts of GTA are good. If EVERYTHING was open ended, it might be TOO open ended. It's fun to have some linear direction added into such an otherwise free game, and the scripted cutscenes are real and interesting, at least the first time or two you watch them.
Young Knight (1 month ago)
BologneyT I've been playing the older games lately GTA III, Vice City, San Andreas I've played IV and Episodes of Liberty City
BologneyT (1 month ago)
Ah okay. That makes sense and your replies make even more sense now than it did already. Which GTA games did you play?
Young Knight (1 month ago)
BologneyT gta v is personally my least favorite in the series just cause it feels all over the place as a whole. I feel if you're going to give the player freedom let them take advantage of that freedom to achieve the goal you gave them. Online is a lot more open ended in a way where there isn't too many fail states besides the heists where if one team mate leaves the mission fails online is more fun because it relies on teamwork in away and you can work with your friend. The reason why people like freedom in their games is because they should be the co author to the experience cause interactivity is what makes games stand out from any other medium. Systemic games have a high level of interactivity I feel if they want to tell a linear story they should at least take notes from other games like immersive sims to give players that agency gta iv kind of gives you hints on alternate solutions or even hitman and thief
BologneyT (1 month ago)
Well, I still think the linear parts make GTA V a lot better. Too much freedom can be detrimental. The part that bugs me most with the mix of freedom and linearity is in the scripted missions, they often have an alternate solution that's official (like shoot a gas trail to blow up a container and kill guys), but the 'official alternate' method is too hard to do sometimes and they grade you for it, which is good but then it might make you want to repeat a mission until you get it in a way that's not even that fun. But also, a certain amount of frustration makes winning better, or drives you to find a better path that you wouldn't have before.. Like with my brother, the only reason he started using a headset in GTA online is because other people had them, but so many of them were idiots, and so he had to resort to the headset to coordinate due to all the children, noobs and idiots that are on the servers making missions impossible, and he ended up having a lot of good experiences with people later because of that. And also dealing with frustrating missions and then also having idiots on top of that make him learn to do more things and then he could enjoy the game more later after the bad experiences. When you get tired of noobs ruining you game it makes you want to step your game up and fix that. XD Or quit, haha. But yeah EVERYONE likes the freedom of GTA, no matter how or why they play it.
Young Knight (1 month ago)
BologneyT I mean when things happen for no reason than the sake of story that's when t becomes pointlessly frustrating obviously there's going to be challenge but it's up to the game developer to find a way to make challenge of an open ended design while some people like failure I don't know anyone who like failing because of a simple error that and the reason why systemic games stand out are because you're able to create unique moments of yourself so having heavily scripted events takes away from that now I get linear does have quality moments but who's to say having emergent moments can't have the same quality even mark brown made a video of the same idea with Storytelling through Systems and Morality in Games. The thing that makes gta so liked among folks is that level of freedom that they can do so when they are restricted down a linear path it feels jarring
Narcaros SJ (2 months ago)
3:38 God damn... You use that specific place too?
anoukhman (2 months ago)
Yes one of the best systemic game is astroneer before his late objectif, all entities do what you expect to do with an interesing connectic mechanic ^^
Lippy (2 months ago)
I just discovered your channel and I am loving all of your content. I am not sure if you talked about this yet but have you ever played payday 2? That game has an amazing way of syncing the music with the state of the gameplay. If you're playing stealth the music is calm but as you transition to the action and the cops are coming the music slowly builds up and finally "drops the beat" as soon as the cops arrive. I have always loved that aspect of the game, I'd like to know if there's a name for such technique.
patakasu (2 months ago)
consider topic of the video it is strange for me that you haven't mentioned S.T.A.K.E.R. games. There's a lot to talk about this one, development process of first game in particular.
Psycho Drummer (2 months ago)
I would love to have a systemic game - immersive sim - based in principle and content of the Olsenbande series of movies, where they used mundane system elements to conduct heists.
Earl Loves Gaming (2 months ago)
Love your videos! Not only are they interesting and offer well-presented information, they also make me appreciate games on a whole new level. As far as systemic games go, Divinity Original Sin II is a very interesting candidate.
BlackJoe23 (2 months ago)
this is probably why i liked dishonored so much and also far cry 3. didnt really want to capture camps though since it makes the world boring
Tristan Cotton (2 months ago)
I would say that Prison Architect is the best example of systems in any game. ever
Cyfrik (1 month ago)
Then you need to try Dwarf Fortress. Imagine Prison Architect, but even more systems involved, and far more depth and complexity. (To clarify - I'm not saying PA is bad. I'm just recommending a similar game, but which I like even more.)
Im Betmen (3 months ago)
this is what that old Jurassic park wanted to be
QooperG28 (3 months ago)
2:54 The song is Screen Off, from the game Dont Touch Anything
thesuicidefox (3 months ago)
I'm convinced that the morph ability in Prey exists exclusively so you can turn into a coffee cup to slip through the tiny security windows.
Young Knight (3 months ago)
Hearing news about Red Dead Redemption 2 it seems they took a lot of consideration into systemic game design
angelowl89 (3 months ago)
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, AKA the best one in the series. Decently open enviroments to travel through, animals to interact with and you might need to eat. And you silencer breaks after a certain amount of use. Meaning that I get absolutely paranoid about shooting people and try to stab them with a knife if possible and otherwise sneaking past them entirely. Compare this to Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty where the silenced SOCOM is the best thing ever. Sure, you don't get as much ammo as with the tranq gun... But you can still knock them out, steal their stuff and then execute them whilst they sleep.
angelowl89 (3 months ago)
Some random anecdotes that might be relevant. In XCOM 2 I recently did a guerilla op that got quite tense and almost messy. I ran into an entire patrol of sectoids and decided that the most prudent thing would be to kill every single one before attempting proceed further. This awakened both the heavier patrol and the lost in the area. Thus far things was managable, the enemy stun lancer decided that the lost needed to die and ran off to deal with them. But then the MEC launched its mortar, blew away my cover and drew the attention of a lost swarm. It is not quite as messy as when I had to rescue civilians from advent and they triggered a lost swarm as well as nearly killing my entire squad and several civilians in the process. I was quite close to loosing spectacularly. Four way battles are quite rough, especially in a dynamic enviroment where you can't rely on cover and the enemy got both hidden shapeshifters and mind control on their side. For a completely different game, New Vegas. I was tasked with taking out some lunatic who kept killing people with a golf club. I got a group of snipers to aid me so I set up and prepared. As my allies were getting late I started opening fire. Drawing out the entire camp. I think it was 16 people all killed with headshots when they either tried shooting me or reach me. It was very rewarding. Or Crysis which let's you drive vehicles. And early on when you are driving an armoured jeep you see this nice sloped rock right outside a camp. Too tempting to not use. Full speed ahead, jump out of the car before it reaches the rock and then observe the fantastic spectacle. It flew up over the large garage, brought down the roof, explodes spectacularly and killed several people. And not a single enemy had any idea what the hell was going on.
residentgrey (3 months ago)
excellent vid yo
residentgrey (3 months ago)
it is intense for me to see that everything i thought of like 15 years ago is not only possible but at our fingertips with a few clicks...the games, the tech behind them, everything...i love it
Adam Mason (3 months ago)
So "Systemic Gaming" is just average ai. cool... I'd've just chalked it up to modern expectations by now. But, of course, it's got to have a dumb fucking name like "Emergent Gameplay'.
Ryan Bissonnette (3 months ago)
There's only one example that's being focused on. A.I. Teams. You could make the player A.I. too that goes to different objectives automatically. This halfway point between team deathmatch and free-for-all is very simple and not much of a "system". More like one simple idea. Different teams of A.I. The Zelda Weather system at the start is much more of an actual system. If there was a kind of ecosystem where A.I. teams would act, grow, and die in the background on their own then that would be more of a system. That's how Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIII is being a grand strategy game, and it's an awesome experience. I wish Skyrim could adopt that kind of grand strategy-style progression of different A.I. teams(no not for the civil war, for everything). About removing entities... it's definitely more interesting and productive to "enslave" A.I. to your systemic ideas than to remove them and any possibility of messing with them. I love Immersive Sims... the idea of being a single character in a whole, complex, living world is the greatest thing ever to me. Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIII has gotten the game systems the closest to what I want, but it doesn't allow you to actually run around in the world. The meaningful choices and living world aspect are perfect though. For a fast, multiplayer, more competitive version of this "living world" design I'd recommend ARMELLO. It's a 4-player strategy game (online and offline) sure, but your character feels like they're living a meaningful personal life during this one era of the kingdom's lifetime. Other than ARMELLO and Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIII, Skyrim remains the best immersive sim to me.
allluckyseven (3 months ago)
Thank you so much, Mark. I hope you will keep on talking about these kinds of subjects in gaming (simulation, interconnected systems, emergent gameplay. etc.), they're the sort of stuff that I find most fascinating. Don't shy away from going as in-depth as you can. Also thank you for your "find out more" list, I'll be sure to check those links. EDIT: Funny that you mentioned the rain in BOTW... I was watching a streamer play that game the other day, and he was really upset with the fact that while it's raining, cliffs get slicker and you have to spend more time and stamina trying to climb it up. So his solution was just to wait for the rain to go away, doing absolutely nothing, just letting time pass. Having not played the game yet, I got curious as to what would the rain do in the game, besides being an annoyance for someone that wants to climb a stone wall. Your video shed some light for me on that, thanks for that too.
Mr Spaghetti (3 months ago)
I feel like Far Cry’s animals hardly count towards being a systemic game, cuz it’s not like they’re a feature outside of luring to attack enemies or yourself. they don’t act like animals, the player has no method of interaction with them besides direct or kill. they’re basically just indirect guns. which is disappointing, imo. Far Cry Primal did a little better
Andres Lastiri (3 months ago)
Oh yes gunpoint get in
Auranite (3 months ago)
This kind of stuff is why D&D is so fun. The difference is that in D&D (with good DM, at least) anything you do goes and everything else reacts to it in a believable way, meaning you start to approach everything as problems that you can solve as opposed to just tasks you need to do. It's way more fun to create a solution than it is to just do everything the obvious and boring way, and as a result the campain becomes personalised, shaped by the personalities and actions of the PCs. It takes systematic game design to a whole new level. Also you should do a video on D&D. I don't know how or why, you just should.
Wicked Voxel (3 months ago)
The elephant in the room is that Bethesda Game Studios have not made their games more systemic. In fact, that's a large reason why they feel so paper-thin.
Moartem S (4 months ago)
great video, but seriously fuck animals in fc4
I Believe In Gaming (4 months ago)
Food for thought: Why not have the different factions in games like fallout and far cry duke it out on a broad, RTS scale over time? Vying for resourses, deploying units and defences, expanding territories and occupying locations, and engaging in diplomacy according to needs and faction barbarity. Add in the nemesis system from SoM and you have... fun filled paradise. I want it to be Prototype! How bout you?
Nuppusaurus (4 months ago)
Why didn't you mention Oblivion? Those NPC conversations are true prime examples of game systematicy
Paulo Junior (4 months ago)
Emergent gameplay is nice and all, but almost all of these games lack deliberate gameplay crafted by the devs. It's lazy if you ask me. The devs design a bunch of systems instead of a game.
Jared Blackburn (4 months ago)
My kind of games -- well, mostly, perhaps not exclusively.
Will Wirth (4 months ago)
I'm going to buy a lot of games because of this guy aren't I? Awesome
Phoenix Tracer (4 months ago)
Problem with a lot of systemic games: Limiting the choices through narrative. Why kill enemies and go loud in a stealth game like MGS when you could just tranquilise them and ship them to Mother Base? Or Dishonored. Going for the good ending limits you to ghosting, poison arrows and choke holds.
Sebble de Pebble (4 months ago)
Look at this crazy thing that happened to me in CoD just now!!! [insert cut scene here] that happened to everyone you utter dumbass
CHASE BANDZ (4 months ago)
borderlands has been doing what farcry 5 does since 2008
WazamRiteUpDaGiggity (4 months ago)
Your voiceover over quality is unbelievable, I don’t know how you do it
Hafa Ball (4 months ago)
Amazing video. Can't say how many hours I played Shadow of Modor by experimenting with different combinations I could figure out. The story was god awful, but aggroing a whole camp with a bunch of elites and whittling them away bit by bit was so much fun.
DeadEndFrog (4 months ago)
zelda is a pure masterpiece imo
Reichshund (4 months ago)
No mention or even footage of Stalker series? Chiki-briki sadness ( .__.)
Howl&Richard (4 months ago)
I can't believe you wouldn't mention or even show the mother of al systemic games: John Conway's Game of Life
Kasane1337 (4 months ago)
5:26 Well, when it comes to having elements react with the environment and with each other my favourite example is Divinity Original Sin 2. You can hit someone with a blade, electrify the blood puddle beneath their feet, or throw an oil flask at them, set the oil ablaze, douse the fire and blind them in the smoke. Or you can make it rain and throw a fireball close to you, use "Blessing" on the steam cloud and thus be able to get invisibility from entering it. Or you can kill a noxious enemy who will explode into a poison puddle and then use "Curse" on it to turn it into acid so it burns through enemies' armour.
Minecraft does it. Enemies react to being attacked by fighting back. Skellettons got a ranged weapon and can hit other skelletons (and other monsters) mid-fight. Alsi it reminds me of a case in Skyrim: I was travveling towards a cave and infront of it was qute a big fight. A bunch if skelletons was fighting a group of vampires when some wolves hit the scene and started going into the fight. Then a dragon descended as one of the skelletons noticed me. We had a nice 5-way fight.
Gabriel Khanna (4 months ago)
Mark. Thanks for posting these. I’m so interested in pursuing a career in game design. Have you come across global universities programs in this field or other facilities to help enter this field? I am finishing High School and looking into different fields of study and this definitely has my interest. Thanks in advance.
Sprazzal (4 months ago)
This is PRECISELY why I love Spelunky! Ok so there are spikes over there on that floor tile. If the player falls on them, they die. If a Spider jumps on them, the spider dies. If the player throws a stunned enemy Caveman on them, the caveman dies. This is the same with almost everything. Every single trap can kill enemies, and the player can use this when fighting them off. Not only this, but the game's items also interact with this. If a Jetpack gets crushed by a crush trap, it will explode damaging nearby enemies and destroying nearby blocks. If the player lands on spikes while wearing a cape they will be fine. etc. AND I LOVE IT!
Endarire (4 months ago)
In general, I liked this video and agreed with it. However, I felt you didn't go enough into Roguelikes since they are some of the oldest examples of single player gaming (including NetHack which has been actively developed for over 30 years! - http://nethack.org/) as well as of systemic gaming. A major intent of Roguelikes is so players can generate stories to share due to permanent character death (in many/most cases) and procedurally-generated maps. A more recent Roguelike example is Incursion (http://www.incursion-roguelike.net/, http://incursion.wikidot.com/start). There is freedom within the ruleset to allow tremendous amounts of player input and problem-solving. And, yes, enemies can fight each other.
Aurelien Vandoorine (4 months ago)
Very interesting as usual though I must say I've always found the police quite dumb in all GTA. The best I can remember is from the first Mafia game, where the police actually did it's job trying to give you tickets from going too fast or crossing red lights. Which could change the results of a pursuit where you are escaping or tracking some other guys and suddenly the police might come in the equation. I don't really understand why in the subsequent games it became almost as dumb as to react only to crime in front of them or hitting them. It was really feeling good in that first game that it was there.
Orange Swirl (4 months ago)
Can systemic game design work well in a platformer? If so, then how?
Julian Preußner (5 months ago)
Another great example is Scribblenauts
NAchOLIbReee_ (5 months ago)
This is, without the intention of being it, one of the best videos to understand object orientation in programming. Honestly.
Erimad (5 months ago)
Duck game is my favorite example of this. It doesn't necessarily have ai but the systems and physics in that game are so deep especially for a good joke game.
Markus Knaak (5 months ago)
Your vids make me wanna become a Dev just so I can use your advice
C (5 months ago)
but zelda is trash tier gaming.
Or maybe you just have trash taste. A game that won multiple GOTY, won numerous awards, and a line of perfect scores is trash tier gaming. LOL
Glitch (5 months ago)
Anyone else find his voice relaxing?
Andrew Turner (5 months ago)
Breath of the Wild was awesome, but I felt slightly lost because of the lack of big scripted story arcs. I got the memory quest and expected to finish that and get the next quest, only to find that some of the memories were almost impossible to find. I found the celestial dragons and worked hard to find all three, but the Master Sword had nothing to do with them. I feel like BotW skewed just a little too far away from linear scripts, especially since Zelda games have traditionally been completely linear except for the order of dungeons.
elborrador333 (4 months ago)
That world does such a good job of making you feel insignificant and overwhelmed. It's such a different Zelda game, that even if I disliked parts of it, just the shock value of this decades-old stale series absolutely abandoning all tradition and doing something that modern open world franchises on better hardware haven't was just so pleasing to me. They took such a big chance on Botw, and I'm so glad it paid off.
BoggArt 2da. (5 months ago)
Now I know what kind of game I loved playing.
Dylan Chapman (5 months ago)
I know skyrim isn't exactly a role model for this style but it just reminds me of when I had a five way fight with a legendary dragon, a pack of wolves, vampires, and 2 giants
Alan Vitek (5 months ago)
Dai Khairai (5 months ago)
i remember playing farcry for the first time in FC4 about 18 minutes in i had been attacked by gaurds twice and having not yet gained a fluid muscle memory of the controls i was mostly relying on " hide behind rock, shoot from rock, live around the rock" the 3rd time they cam for me was on the road and i thought to myself "oh not again, i dont have time for..." SMASH ERAAAAARRG a pack of rhinos decided that they we're intensely irritated that those guard were alive and were going to sort that right out..
In my opinion to design a systemic game is one of the vital parts for designing a realistic/ immersive environment. Because a truly realistic environment does'nt stop as you stop playing it moves forward rather than waiting till you make your move.
Galgamos (5 months ago)
Systemic games need to actually trigger their interactions in order to function. A game that failed at this was Shadow of Mordor. During my whole playthrough of that game, I only ever died to non-orc enemies, such as the giant felines called "Caragors". The exception were two enemies that are guaranteed to die permanently. As such, its much-heralded "Nemesis" mechanic never came into play and, where other players had epic battles against enemies that they failed to best time and time again and that they developed personal stories with, I only ever saw a bland army of non-descript orcs that died like flies or were far too easy to take control of. Yes, a systemic game can create interesting encounters, but that is its weakness. It "can" create these encounters. None of them are guaranteed. A game that is controlled by its story, where everyone gets the same content, delivers an experience that is based on its quality, not on sheer luck. And if a game wants to feature both elements, both need to be of good quality. As such, a systemic game seems like a far riskier purchase for the consumer.
khatack (5 months ago)
What everyone is really waiting for is for this sort of systemic design to get a foothold in MMORPGs. Everyone is sick to death of these theme-park wow-clones.
Shian (5 months ago)
What is that game at 8:34 ?
Schlomo Yarlabach (5 months ago)
I remember in MGS4, in one of the penultimate levels, on the ship, finding out the tranquilizer works on the gecko's. You could put the mechrobots to sleep! It was so well hidden, but essential to MGS game mechanic. It was amazing. Love finding neat ways to use game systems.
KingdomKey24 (5 months ago)
When I hear that music, I think of the game Uncanny Valley.
Grant Lauzon (5 months ago)
I would love to see a Half Life 3 made by Arkane studios. I like Half Life but if there could be multiple solutions to every puzzle (that wasn’t a different gun) that would make them so much cooler.
Boris Brncal (5 months ago)
great video, but Kingdom come being junky?
Crimson-fox Twitch (5 months ago)
Here's two games that have an interesting take on these elements: Gunblade NY and L.A. Machineguns. You see, at first this looks like a typical light gun game, but it has several gameplay mechanics that separate it from the rest of the genre. The two main ones for today are the camera and the enemy AI design, and how those two are used in interesting ways. You see, whenever you hit an enemy in either of the two games, it takes knockback and the camera locks onto them. Shooting them again moves the camera forward, and then the camera automatically locks onto the group again. When there are no enemies on screen, the game automatically moves to the next enemy segment. Granted, there are times where the game will make the camera only rotate or it's even locked altogether, but those only happen when the camera is doing a high speed chase or a boss fight. These two mechanics combined allow for the camera to take paths never intended by SEGA, but this is all combined with the fact that the only form of damage you can take is through missiles you shoot down to make a very interesting camera system. Of course, this camera system does have some limitations, such as the face that it can occasionally be quite buggy, but SEGA countered some of the other limitations by having the first game's characters be in an attack helicopter, and the second game has hoverbikes.
Tremuoso (5 months ago)
Mafia 3 got infected with social justice? Ah, no wonder it was a half-finished unacceptable mess of a game then. A common recurring theme.
Gogo Banogo (5 months ago)
Can you check out Darkwood, it has some interesting (if not somewhat basic systems). Also, I would be curious to hear your thoughts on the game itself, and think it might make for an intriguing video.

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