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Thread: What new games are "immersive sims"

  1. #26
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2001
    Location: Somewhere
    I wouldnt say its absolutely crucial, for example I found GTAV totally immersive even though its 3rd person. Due to its worldbuilding and realistic design, of course.

  2. #27
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    Watch Dogs 1 & 2 for similar reasons.

  3. #28
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    I'm generally put off by the open world stuff, but from what I watched of other people playing GTA, they really did go to great lengths to make the city feel like a real place. I'd argue that it would still be more immersive with first person view, though.

  4. #29
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2001
    Location: Somewhere
    The thing I find with 1st person in a lot of games is the lack of peripheral vision, it actually can lessen the immersion because it feels wrong.

  5. #30
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    Quote Originally Posted by Starker View Post
    from what I watched of other people playing GTA, they really did go to great lengths to make the city feel like a real place. I'd argue that it would still be more immersive with first person view, though.
    There is first person view in the newer-gen version of GTA V.

    However immersive sim isn't just about feeling like you're there, it's also about player agency, about the gameplay allowing you to tackle obstacles in a variety of ways. And, as I said earlier about Ubisoft's openworld games, but it applies to Rockstar and most others as well, while you're given a lot of freedom in the open world and sidemissions, when it comes to storymissions your agency is often stripped away in favor of having to follow the game's "script" to successfully finish a mission.

    Hence, they're not immersive sims.

  6. #31
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by PigLick View Post
    The thing I find with 1st person in a lot of games is the lack of peripheral vision, it actually can lessen the immersion because it feels wrong.
    It's less about the view and more about the character doing things versus you doing things. For example, when you are in third person, the NPCs look at your character, but when you're in first person, the NPCs look at you.

    @henke
    Yeah, it's basically a lot of the LGS design philosophy packed into one concept. I don't think immersive sim is necessarily the best name for the genre, but I've yet to see someone come up with a better one.

  7. #32
    New Member
    Registered: May 2017
    Location: USA
    Quote Originally Posted by Starker View Post
    It's called "immersive sim", not "most immersive sim". And they are called simulations because things happen in the game as a natural result of physics and/or other game systems interacting, as opposed to being scripted.
    Then most modern open world sandbox games would be immersive sims. Wouldn't it?
    Many games like the modern Far Cry games, Dying Light, and the GTAs allow for unpredictable results since due to interacting game systems/mechanics/physics.

  8. #33
    Member
    Registered: May 1999
    Location: on the socio path
    I guess I'd just call them LGS-inspired, or hey maybe just "good games". There's no more a feeling of "being there" in Thief or System Shock than any other decent first-person game. Things like player agency, emergent gameplay, and multiple ways to deliver story are broader trends in the industry that came in no small part from LGS, but it's not really a genre in and of itself. It was simply the talent of one studio. What developer worth a snuff actually thinks fully scripted on-rails gameplay is a positive?

  9. #34
    Thing What Kicks
    Registered: Apr 2004
    Location: London
    Quote Originally Posted by Abysmal View Post
    What developer worth a snuff actually thinks fully scripted on-rails gameplay is a positive?
    [pedant]Rage Software, the same guys who then made Hostile Waters. I seem to remember Incoming Forces being almost exclusively a Rail Shooter.[/pedant]

  10. #35
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    Quote Originally Posted by Abysmal View Post
    There's no more a feeling of "being there" in Thief or System Shock than any other decent first-person game.
    Alien Isolation has that, and then some. It's the first game I've played since System Shock 2 that has given me that same feeling.

  11. #36
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2001
    Location: Somewhere
    Been playing SS1 again, and I must admit, it doesnt do sim as well as the UUW1+2 games.

    still a great game though.

  12. #37
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    Still great. It's just super different to the sequel. I wonder which way they'll go with the 3rd entry.

  13. #38
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    Even though I was an Ultima fan, the Underworld games never quite clicked for me, and I don't think I even finished the first one. For some reason, they also didn't make me feel like I was there (as much as this is possible), whereas System Shock did. I suspect that part of it was the tiny first-person viewscreen showing you where you were; what feels like 2/3 of the screen is basically UI.

  14. #39
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2001
    Location: Somewhere
    yeh pretty much limitations of the tech at the time. And also the arse movement system with the mouse instead of a freelook, which admittedly wasnt a thing in the day.
    UUW2 especially had an amazing amount of depth, anyone remember the Watcher?

  15. #40
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Yeah, you have to consider the time they were made. Did Underworld make you feel more like you are there than Wolfenstein 3D? Did System Shock make you feel more like you are there than Doom? Did Thief make you feel more like you are there than Half-Life?

    Quote Originally Posted by SplitterTrace View Post
    Then most modern open world sandbox games would be immersive sims. Wouldn't it?
    Many games like the modern Far Cry games, Dying Light, and the GTAs allow for unpredictable results since due to interacting game systems/mechanics/physics.
    Far Cry 2, absolutely.

  16. #41
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    Quote Originally Posted by Starker View Post
    Yeah, you have to consider the time they were made. Did Underworld make you feel more like you are there than Wolfenstein 3D? Did System Shock make you feel more like you are there than Doom? Did Thief make you feel more like you are there than Half-Life?
    For me it's more that there was a certain threshold before which the tech simply wasn't there yet, and for me that threshold was crossed with System Shock. It's not just technology, though; it's also, and perhaps more so, things like level design. Citadel Station felt like a place, more so than many later, more technically advanced games, whereas the dungeons of Ultima Underworld gave me less of a 'being there' feeling than the 2D, isometric Ultima VII did. The first-person perspective itself didn't outweigh other elements for me.

  17. #42
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2001
    Location: Somewhere
    I have a pretty active imagination, I dont need a lot to get me going. Things like Doom were great to play, but I didnt think about the world it set in after I had played it, unlike LGS games. So i guess world building is the most important thing for me?

  18. #43
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2001
    Location: Somewhere
    would be interested to hear what your MOST IMMERSIVE game(s) of all time is. For me two games come to mind and its purely a timing and enviromental thing. Firstly gta3 San Andreas, and then arma2 DayZ. If there were real life versions of those games you could drop me in anywhere and I would know exactly where I was. Sad? possibly

    wait I meant: sad? Possibly!
    Last edited by PigLick; 17th May 2017 at 10:12.

  19. #44
    Giant Bomb's list of the characteristics of an immersive sim is about as good as anything I've seen:

    Quote Originally Posted by GIANT BIZZOMB
    Immersion in an elaborate and believable game world.
    Simulation: physics and AI are used to create believable behavior in objects and characters which the player can freely interact with, resulting in 'emergent gameplay'.
    First-person perspective so as to truly look through the eyes of the protagonist.
    Game design that allows for multiple paths and/or multiple solutions in every situation.
    A systemic game world that keeps track of the player's actions, which can affect the "whole" game.
    open-ended/non-linear game design with an emphasis on choice and consequence.
    Full control over the player's character in every situation.
    A world with consistent rules that the player can interact with.
    Narrative that is not always forced on the player, but instead can be told through exploration and gameplay at that players will.
    No fail states, beyond player death.
    They also point out that not every immersive sim checks every box, but they should check most of them.

  20. #45
    Member
    Registered: May 1999
    Location: on the socio path
    Sounds like bullet points for good game design. A literal immersive sim would be something like American Truck Simulator.

  21. #46
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    Or Day Z.

  22. #47
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2001
    Location: Qantas
    If this term was easy to define, it wouldn't get debated in every thread it comes up in.

    Taking it literally, the Truck Simulator games are excellent examples.

  23. #48
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    I think the problem is that we're treating it as a genre descriptor. The thing is, most genres describe the tonality of the experience, whereas the term 'immersive sim' is simultaneously specific and vague, enough so that it could encompass entire genres within it.

    It's a design philosophy at the end of the day. As with most design philosophies, there aren't absolute rules or rigorous sets of parameters to meet. Or, perhaps more accurately, they may have absolute rules and rigorous parameters, but it might not be physically possible to meet all of them.* In the end, it's a set of guidelines that help delineate a certain kind of player experience. It could be used to create a stealth game, or a cyberpunk action game, or even a puzzler if required. Whether the end result is actually immersive will always be up for debate. MGS 5 definitely follows immersive sim design, for example, but the random punter here might say that it's not an FPP game, so it can't count.

    Well, they're wrong.

    Anyway, what we've seen with modern game design is that they've taken portions of the philosophy - your Ubisoft Far Cries are a good example of limited emergence arising from systems - and utilised them to create experiences somewhat more layered than a vanilla shooter (how successful they've been is up in the air though; I hate the generic fetch-questiness or variable tweaking that lets them get away with dotting maps with hundreds of 'side-missions'). That's also the reason why it's a bit sticky to tell whether Stalker: SoC or GTA V belong to the imsim category. The truth is many of these games have borrowed parts of the ideology for their own needs over the years, which is exactly what you do when you decide the blueprints for your own design.


    *See Spector's design notes for Deus Ex and compare with the end product.
    Last edited by Sulphur; 19th May 2017 at 14:31.

  24. #49
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Genre, at the end of the day, is not a classification system, but a tool to group similar works together under a single label as a convenient shorthand and a work can very well belong to multiple genres. I'd say that 'immersive sim' is no better or worse in that regard than, say, 'soulslike'.

  25. #50
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    Genre is used to talk about a limited class of experience within fiction. This term we're batting about doesn't really funnel down to or operate like that.

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