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Systemic Game Design

Gamasutra reports from GDC Europe. It’s good to see Systemic Game Design is getting a lot more attention these days as CPU power increases on consoles, instead of the random 3D graphics tweakery that predominates on the PC platform. Systemic game design is defined here as follows:

“Instead of hard-coding lots of features into the game .. the systemic paradigm tries to create global patterns which provide emergent gameplay, and the ability to create alternative strategies using the level’s resources. … In this way a player can come up with new ideas to solve problems by combining items in ways that perhaps even the level designers hadn’t considered. This improves the sense of immersion and freedom, while emphasizing player’s self-expression capabilities through the game. … An example of a systemic game is GTA3, where each mission can be solved in dozens of ways, as compared to old lock-and-key adventure games, where player expression and alternative strategies were basically non-existent. In a systemic game world, the player can use different methods to solve a problem. In a non-systemic game world, you must guess how the game designer wanted you to solve the problem, even if that way does not feel very intuitive, nor fun.”

Mmm. Grand Theft Auto 3. PS: GTA3 can also be found on my Amazon wishlist ;)