Wednesday, October 20, 2010


I bought Emergence in Games in the 2008 GDC at San Francisco. Now that I have the time I eventually read it, and here are my thoughts:

Emergence and its applications on games have been a recurring theme among developers from a long time, particularly since GTA was first released. Many see a potential Holy Grial on it, and there are countless lectures and papers about the subject. At a certain extent this book goes in the same direction. Quoting the author: 'Emergent games are the next step in game development'.

My personal feeling goes in a different direction: Except for some (and succesful) games based on emergence such as The Sims, the majority of games can take little advantage of emergence, except for supporting mechanics such as creating realistic city traffic flows or setting grassland on fire dinamically (Far Cry 2). Furthermore, I don't think the bulk of players are willing to spend time experimenting with the tools the game provides. The majority just want to be challenged, beat the computer and that's all.

So you could say I'm an skeptic about emergence. In order to achieve the industry standards about spectacularity, I think scripting is a much productive way for developers. But who knows, maybe I'm wrong...

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