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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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Mark Brown (3 months ago)
Thanks for watching! To mark the occasion, I'll be streaming some Hitman on YouTube at 8PM tonight.
Detective Assasin (2 months ago)
Great Video :D
Mark Dizon (3 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 (3 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 (3 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.
Kévin Allebourg (3 months ago)
I love it, you did a great work going in-depth about how creating behaviours into objects and IA (what you call inputs and outputs) can create reactions which give a virtual world/game wholesomeness, and let the player be able to learn and analyze a game to create his own adventure, the most recognizable example I guess would be games built with in-game physics, the first coming to mind being ragdoll physic where a dead body reacts to the world and the forces around it which brought their own non strict experience to players (I guess bugs and glitches too since they brought speedruns). My only problem is, you didn't talk about the negatives of a systemic game especially if abused, like the fact that you're not the main actor anymore as every sort of thing is happening around you without you noticing because you're doing one thing, which can be linked to your video about a too intelligent IA, if you can't comprehend how things are happening around you you can't manipulate it and have fun with it. One example could be MMO where, even though the input each player can create into the game is really limited, a lot of abuse has been produced from their behavior, like mob stealing, spawn killing, market price abuse ... or if we take the example of Far cry 4 about tigers and soldiers, if you were to put as the soldier's behavior "hunt for tigers", be it for preventive defense, trophies, poaching or such, it would surely make the tigers extinct in-game before you had even the chance to find one, and you wouldn't even be aware of it ! (And I couldn't bear after dying in Shadow of Mordor, if I was unlucky enough, everything that I've done in the last few hours is undone in a 15 min recap) It goes to show you how; if the balance between the player's power and the game world's power isn't in favor of the player, how the player instead of enjoying the game he can only bear what is happening to his experience. I hope you'll continue to make great videos :)
Im Betmen (2 days ago)
this is what that old Jurassic park wanted to be
QooperG28 (8 days ago)
2:54 The song is Screen Off, from the game Dont Touch Anything
thesuicidefox (11 days 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 (14 days ago)
Hearing news about Red Dead Redemption 2 it seems they took a lot of consideration into systemic game design
angelowl89 (15 days 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 (15 days 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 (16 days ago)
excellent vid yo
residentgrey (16 days 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 (21 days 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 (21 days 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 (28 days 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 (28 days 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 (29 days ago)
Oh yes gunpoint get in
Auranite (1 month 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 (1 month 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 (1 month ago)
great video, but seriously fuck animals in fc4
I Believe In Gaming (1 month 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 (1 month ago)
Why didn't you mention Oblivion? Those NPC conversations are true prime examples of game systematicy
Paulo Junior (1 month 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 (1 month ago)
My kind of games -- well, mostly, perhaps not exclusively.
Will Wirth (1 month ago)
I'm going to buy a lot of games because of this guy aren't I? Awesome
Phoenix Tracer (1 month 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 (1 month 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 (1 month ago)
borderlands has been doing what farcry 5 does since 2008
WazamRiteUpDaGiggity (1 month ago)
Your voiceover over quality is unbelievable, I don’t know how you do it
Hafa Ball (1 month 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 (1 month ago)
zelda is a pure masterpiece imo
Reichshund (1 month ago)
No mention or even footage of Stalker series? Chiki-briki sadness ( .__.)
Howl&Richard (1 month 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 (1 month 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 (1 month 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 (1 month 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 (1 month 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 (1 month 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 (1 month ago)
Can systemic game design work well in a platformer? If so, then how?
Julian Preußner (2 months ago)
Another great example is Scribblenauts
NAchOLIbReee_ (2 months ago)
This is, without the intention of being it, one of the best videos to understand object orientation in programming. Honestly.
Erimad (2 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 (2 months ago)
Your vids make me wanna become a Dev just so I can use your advice
Cole (2 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 (2 months ago)
Anyone else find his voice relaxing?
Andrew Turner (2 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 (1 month 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. (2 months ago)
Now I know what kind of game I loved playing.
Dylan Chapman (2 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 (2 months ago)
Dai Khairai (2 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..
Leon K. (2 months ago)
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 (2 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 (2 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 (2 months ago)
What is that game at 8:34 ?
Schlomo Yarlabach (2 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.
Daniel Turley (2 months ago)
When I hear that music, I think of the game Uncanny Valley.
Grant Lauzon (2 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 (2 months ago)
great video, but Kingdom come being junky?
Crimson-fox Twitch (2 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 (2 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 (2 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.
Mark Raymond (2 months ago)
Also, it's interesting that you used a clip from CoD - "Systemic Games" are just developers trying to capture some of the magic of online multiplayer games in a single player campaign. CoD has all these huge, scripted events - but no one buys CoD for campaigns - they buy it for the online multiplayer component, where the stories and events and excitement emerge from the interaction. "Systemic Gaming" is just pushing the engines and design depth to try and mimic human interaction.
Mark Raymond (2 months ago)
It's not really a "boom". It's been in games forever, we're just seeing increased complexity as the technology and budgets allow for it. These things will just keep increasing in depth and quailty over the years. NVM - this is what happens when I comment before watching the full video.
Cyan Light (2 months ago)
Some of these were great examples but I don't really see how two different types of enemies that happen to be hostile to one another counts as "two different systems interacting in interesting ways." It seems like elements within the same system interacting in a predictable way. Not that I'll ever complain about monster in-fighting being in any game, of course.
Emi Kawaii Doodle (2 months ago)
Systemic game desing have a lot in commun with pen and paper game design.
kwang2015 (2 months ago)
Seriously though for all of mgsv's emergent gameplay, I barely remember that game but I still remember running up to the liquid helicopter battle and trying cool/heat the key cards in mgs1. I'd rather have a well crafted experience like dark souls rather than these dead generic open worlds a la far cry or Ass creed.
LP SP (2 months ago)
This was very tricky for me to watch, as I haven't played Breath of the Wild yet and do not want to spoil anything on it. I had to make a lot of fast reactive jumpcuts to evade revelations. But it was worth it - Mark, you're content is gold.
cosmosofinfinity (2 months ago)
What game is that at 8:19?
Paul A (2 months ago)
In Medieval 2 Total War I would conquer a weak settlment loot it and destroy only the military buildings if I planned to recapture it later or all buildings if I Didn't care abuot the settlement. I would leave and allow the settlment to rebel or be recaptured. Destroying buildings give money so it was lucrative. And whe when the enemy recaptured they would have a weaker version of the settlement. So if you repeated this "raiding" mechanic the enemy will become increasingly weaker cause they are loosing infraestructure. And you are profiting from it at same time. I call this strategy operation Iraqui freedom XD.
David Medlock (2 months ago)
Thief TDP was probably the first game I played with these "systemic" elements.
Bruno Feitosa (2 months ago)
Using one scripted fight from Monster Hunter World without touching anything else seems like cherry-picking. While that start is scripted, other monster encounters are not. Each monster roams freely, based on their patterns, sometimes in search of foods, and can (or not) clash between themselves. Some monsters don't even fight and just roar, attack a few times, and then escape (smart solution to not script fight animations, that are very elaborated, instead of just a bump or something fast and generic), and that behavior can also tell about the monster (a escaping monster is more likely to be the weaker one). Sometimes monsters won't even fight because they act together, like Rathalos and Rathian. There are also other habits, like the Pukei-Pukei, that eat berries found on the world (that you yourself can get as ammo) to stack up its venomous attacks against you mid fight, or piscine wyverns, that can coat themselves if near an appropriate source (water or lava). Weather also changes behavior of endemic life, making some rare to spawn more in favor of others, or triggering special events. Systemic design is a great tool to creat content on huge open worlds without having to detail every little thing, but that is no reason to pick on games that don't fully utilize it to the extent other does, because sometimes the focus is elsewhere, and you don't need lots of convoluted systems interacting. One size does no fit all.
MurhaajaFasaani (2 months ago)
Heat Signature does this well, but you probably know since you already mentioned Gunpoint. The frequent pausing and other time slowing business reduced the required reaction speed needed to do well, and random generation ensures you can't memorize solutions. That's not to say the game's easy, it's still permadeath and it's easy to get captured or knocked out/killed, but you don't have to get that much faster, you just have to get to know the different systems and be more clever as you go on, and the game gives you plenty of room for that with good depth.
Sam Sibbens (2 months ago)
I'm currently making a game in which there's an alien "egg layer" monster that spawns some very quick, tiny fly monsters. There are moveable crates, and each entity, if small enough, can be squished by it. Some entities can move the crates, the player can too. Because the flies are super fast, they hit the crates and explode. So when there's a swarm of flies and there are many crates, many get squashed :D This was a happy accident.
Ego Alter (2 months ago)
So AA is catching onto the idea of immersive sim. Big woo hoop. Old news since 97.
Supereor (2 months ago)
Oh my gosh...this video made me realize just how systemic Skyrim ISN'T, and how amazing it could be if it was. I think there was a comment before saying how Breath of the Wild was like Skyrim if it was better, or something along those lines, but after finishing the Dark Brotherhood questline in Skyrim and watching this video, I realized just how railroady Skyrim really is. (Spoilers for the Dark Brotherhood questline, if anyone is somehow still interested in that) In the Dark Brotherhood questline, when Arnbjorn was injured because of Cicero, you can't heal him with healing spells. When Arnbjorn is fighting with the Penitus Oculatus, you can't heal him or save him from dying. When Astrid is dying, trying to use a healing spell on her actually KILLS her. And that's not even mentioning all the land-related stuff, like fire not actually behaving like fire or rain having no real effect on anything. Bethesda could have done so much with this game, but for whatever reason, they didn't.
SingingGir (2 months ago)
Catacomb Kids on Steam is an amazing example of this kind of game. It's a 2D sidescrolling roguelite, ala Spelunky, who's brutal combat difficulty heavily incentivises planning and wit amidst a complex, procedurally generated dungeon. You could lose your leg and use a torch as a peg-leg, or heat up potions on a fire to create makeshift gas bombs with the potion's effect, just to name a couple of things. Normally I wouldn't advertise something like this, 'cause I figure it's annoying, but I know for a fact Catacomb Kids deserves more attention than it's got. It's a truly incredible, deep game and I feel strongly enough about it to make an ass of myself in it's name.
CrudusViscus (2 months ago)
If by 'difficult to climb' you mean 'I'm going to turn the game off because I can't climb now', then yes.
Dallas Van Winkle (2 months ago)
Emergent gameplay is what I loved so much about Ultima Online and DayZ. Did you know that originally Ultima Online had a functional ecology where each creature had a preferred diet, and if dragons for example couldn't find food they'd begin wandering closer and closer to cities? This was in an MMO... in 1997!
LastEcho (2 months ago)
I all ways feel like I'm playing games like Dishonored and Phantom pain wrong which I why I never finish them
Grant Mitchell (2 months ago)
I don't find BOTW to be the best example (in it's combat). First off, later in the game, enemies get so strong that using bombs and boxes does like, no damage. Now of course, there are other ways you can do it like you did, but there's not going to be very many times where your fighting a Guardian and a Hinox at the same time.
ShortChangeGames (2 months ago)
Sometimes you need those scripted events to tell a more engaging narrative.
drgeppo (2 months ago)
This is why I'm hyped for Beyond Good and Evil 2
Alain borgrave (2 months ago)
I agree that GTA games main missions have become overly scripted and linear, even un-GTA I would say. This began with San Andreas and got worse with IV (though I love both games, this is disappointing). Another problem wit IV is if you park your car too close to the mission start, it disappears before the cutscene and never reappears ! This did not happen in GTA 3, and could be used for very funny consequences. The most obvious was you could see your own car on fire, then explode in the background during cutscenes in GTA 3. This was truly hilarious to see the consequences of your bad driving in that way. Baffling that they removed that from more recent GTA games, that feel "sanitized" in comparison.
Alain borgrave (2 months ago)
Emergent gameplay is the holy grail for me. I love that. But demands huge budgets and playtesting I guess.
stephencolbert5 (2 months ago)
This is what I thought of immediately too. As interesting as this whole systemic game thing is, it seems very cost-inefficient, and like it would take much longer to make and test than a linear game. I don't think I necessarily want to see these systemic games replace linear games entirely.
Grayson Sutherlin (2 months ago)
I think that making a game systematic is one of the best ways to make a game world seem alive/realistic that we have right now. I'm excited to see this concept explored more in the game industry.
Olausify (2 months ago)
There is a satisfaction in systemic interaction that works so well in games because it is the perfect interactive medium. It's why I totally forgot the main story of Breath of the Wild but can't stop coming up with ingenious schemes to mess with Bokoblins! MGS: Snake Eater: I had systematically cased a building in the jungle and found that it housed three soldiers. I strategically placed claymore mines outside the door and another one further away that I blew up. Attracted by the noise, the soldiers ran out and promptly got blown to pieces. It was my first orchestrated massacre and while Snake Eater is a memorable game, this moment stands out the most so many years later.
Rusty Therapist (2 months ago)
This give me the urge to play breath of the wild
pliskinn0089 (2 months ago)
The best video about video-games ive seen in holy shit, 10 years i think easy.
Exiled ExDeath (2 months ago)
I've never been a huge fan of Nintendo but I got my niece this for her birthday. I do game design as a hobby so I decided to give it a soon given the high praise it received. Man this game thoroughly impressed the hell out of me. It is really a masterpiece as far as I could tell
chiffmonkey (2 months ago)
MGSV has a lot of reactionary things that are intended to stop you from doing rinse and repeat, unfortunately they either aren't that effective (guards wearing helmets if you tranq headshot a lot), or take too long to kick in (minefields placed in areas where you are known to go). They clearly did put a lot of effort into the systemic nature of the game though, it's a shame that it only really becomes apparent after the 100 hour mark when enemies start pointing their searchlights at your common entry points, start placing balloon fakes where you'd previously find a guard, start learning how to counter the choke move (the first time an enemy did this I nearly fell off my chair it was so late in the game!)
Clint Blake (2 months ago)
As I was playing AC Origins, I came upon a fight between a group of camping enemies and some hippos. I was about 30 feet away and I figured I’d let them fight it out and pick off whoever’s left. Then they noticed me. They *all* charged at me with no regard for the fact that they had just been in a life or death battle with each other. _“Truce! The player is here.”_ they must’ve said. As an enemy with a shield charged straight at me, I noticed two hippos coming from the left. I moved back and to the right so that the charging enemy would cross into the path of the hippos who, being hippos, shouldn’t really care to tell the difference between him and me and would attack him and leave me alone, right..? Nope, they joined forces and attacked me all together, again. As I turned to flee I was shot by nine expert archers while the hippos they had just been stabbing looked on in amusement. Whether or not they kept their truce is unknown to me... AC Origins is terrible.
Matthew AT (2 months ago)
It's been a while since I watched it but for those interested, Nintendo did a GDC talk on Physics and Chemistry which expands a little on this. https://www.gdcvault.com/play/1024562/Change-and-Constant-Breaking-Conventions
dualsamurai (2 months ago)
It felt wrong in the game about creativity and exploration I helped make that I was asked to make big flashy set pieces. Now I know why.
RumoTu (2 months ago)
And that is why BotW is goty
mark Meier (3 months ago)
Great vid
Necry (3 months ago)
Makes me think of a fun situation: A medieval time guard witnessing a corpse rising up and possibly either fleeing in terror, fleeing to get help, fight and either win, die, or become another corpse. This is the kind of thing I love to ponder and why game design is interesting too me, or at least one reason.
SnakeEngine (3 months ago)
So basically, the way a game should be if it is not downgraded.
Billy Rebecchi (3 months ago)
As always love the video Mark. I built a game for GamesPlusJam this weekend based on the dialogues in this video and your video on Jonathan Blow. My attempt at a platformer: https://thebillington.itch.io/seasons
snmcfadden (3 months ago)
This really made me think of all of the systems in breath of the wild, The list just seems endless. I honestly can't think of another games with so many different systems in place.
Ashiente (3 months ago)
2018, one year has passed, stil havent played BoW. Being colleg broke sucks.
umbaupause (3 months ago)
I have a question: Do you think infighting in Doom 1 (and 2 I guess) already counts as a system? I mean, it's just enemies getting angry at each other for being shot at and all, but I also found it really cool to set up enemy only infights...
umbaupause (2 months ago)
Well, I wouldn't call doom systemic either, but it is interesting to see how a single system can already add a lot of depth to a non-systemic game, isn't it?
Grant Mitchell (2 months ago)
I think it is, but that's not really the focus of Doom, so I wouldn't call it a systemic game.
the120cxx (3 months ago)
Huh, so it's like linking tags & sensors to various tweakers & such in little big planet. ... Noted. I should make enemies that can fight each other in a level one day.

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