In these days of Minecraft, IndieGoGo/Kickstarter, Steam, and online markeplaces on console, it would be easy to say that small/indie developers are where the innovation lies. That the AAA games are just refinement, over revolution. Well, I can think of one idea, relatively easy to implement, that would let any game (AAA or indie) greatly benefit from emergent gameplay. It’s easily demonstrated in FPS’, but really any game with shooting mechanics could do it, and it especially could benefit the open world games that AAA developers love to make.
Calling your shot – Let players tag their target. Just, let them point, hit a button, and have that target marked in some fashion. From there, the possibilities expand exponentially.
1. Skill: If they hit it, dependent upon size, speed, view, power of shot, maybe even weather and penalty of missing given other nearby targets? Give them some kind of recognition or bonus. Hell, give players skill points for using that skill.
I never really used a bow in Oblivion, instead preferring to cleave enemies with an axe. But there was one time I did… When I saw deer. It was natural. It was primal. When I saw a deer, I pulled out my bow, snuck as close as possible, and shot. Invariably my sucky skill meant the deer lived, which meant I had to chase the deg through the first, completely forgetting whatever I was in the middle of. It was like they were purposely meddling with my fun with their… Fun!
2. Challenge: It was just like taking to a rooftop in GTA, pulling out your sniper rifle, and plugging interesting looking civilians. It was a shooting gallery, and I had tools to shoot with. How could you NOT save your game and occasionally do it?
Of course eventually police would come, increasing in number and strength, and eventually take you out. (Usually.) But man what fun it was, plugging a citizen going about their way, and seeing the chaos that ensued.
3. Self-defined Narrative: The key to emergent gameplay is that the player brings it with them. And that’s never more evident than when done with intent. But if you pick out the target, and tell the player why it needs to be done, then there’s no wiggle room. Instead, Let players mark people/places things, and let them tag them as important for themselves, for whatever reason.
Emergent gameplay gave us “zombie” in Halo 3, when it emerged from Halo 2 players consciously creating the rules from thin air. Oblivion gave extra damage if you shot a target while unseen, making initiative on a target worthwhile. GTA had instant kills with headshots.
These are just a few evident ideas that come with letting the player point at things. That’s all I’m suggesting, really. And anyone, AAA or indie, can do it.
Lines edited out of this post:
-Fact: I would’ve been trying to balance apples on the heads of Cyrodiil’s guards.
-Many games check for regional shots/damage. A game could even go so far as to let players highlight not only targets, but regions of targets.
-Imagine an action game that lets you press select/back, pauses the gameplay, and gives you a freeform camera to zoom around and pick your own target, then you get to try for it.
-Maybe a game with one player as the spotter, and the other as the shooter/sniper. Or a game where both players “mark” the other’s target, and they have to chase it down. (Instead of killing each other.)