An article on PC Gamer talks with Mojang's Markus 'Notch' Persson and Tobias Möllstam about 0x10c, their upcoming space simulation. "The goal is to have it feel a bit like Firefly," says Notch. "You can try to land on a planet but you mess up and, instead of having the ship just explode like it would in real life, the landing gear gets broken. Then you have to try to fix that by finding resources. Instead of the adventure being flying from here to here, it’s: I set the destination, oh god I hit a small asteroid and the cloaking device broke. I think they really nailed that kind of emergent aspect in FTL." They also include a link to this trailer showing footage of a "first draft" of an "art test" for the game.
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Sepharo wrote on Oct 13, 2012, 23:06: It's shaky but I believe the "emergent" aspect is how you deal with these events that happen. The narrative in FTL is emergent. "Aliens boarded my ship, there was a fire, I lost most of my crew, but I picked up more from a slaver later." Random != Scripted
No, but random isn't emergent either, because all these things are planned to happen. Aliens will often board you because they're designed to do so, fires happen because getting hit sets stuff on fire, being able to pick up more crew from a slaver is programmed to happen in that encounter. (or at least it's one of the options.)
Maybe my definition of emergent is too rigid, but the things you described are natural outcomes of events that were programmed. I see emergent as something that happens that the devs never planned for, but which changes something in the game in a way that actually has an effect.
So, to give a weird FTL example, you get boarded by aliens and you lock one in a room somewhere. Then because you don't have enough crew left to kill it, you decide to leave it there. If you were then able to continue on (I don't know if the game allows that, but let's assume it does), and get boarded again, you find that the other aliens won't try to enter that room because one of their own is already in there. So you have effectively created a wall they can't pass.
Maybe not the best example in the world... ehm... let's go with Notch's example of a damaged landing gear. If it damages when you land, that's because there's a chance of it damaging when you land. That's just written into the game. But what if you land and go outside your ship, set off an explosion somewhere that dislodges a bunch of boulders, which roll down and slam into your ship, thus breaking its landing gear?
To me that's more emergent gameplay.
The Wikipedia article on it is pretty good. Details different types of emergent gameplay. The part I was referring to would be emergent narrative which they say includes The Sims, Deus Ex, and L4D. Though at the bottom of the Talk page there are arguments against that.