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How Xbox One's DVR will revolutionise user-generated content

Turn 10 explains the appeal of instant video capture and sharing

Xbox One's DVR feature should encourage the creation of games that are more about "systems overlapping" than scripted fun, Forza Motorsport 5's lead gameplay designer Rhett Mathis has told OXM. The ability to easily capture and share video at any point is an incentive, he argues, for developers to craft experiences that allow players to meddle with the ingredients.

"The cool thing is how all these systems interplay, because they allow for a creative - an amazing amount of creativity," Mathis commented of Forza 5's Drivatar system and connected features at a preview event. "We were talking last night about how there's two really great categorisations for user-generated content. Some of them are done in tools, like our livery editor, Adobe Photoshop, and Forge in Halo.


"Those are tools where you go in and if the tool is powerful enough you can have a very high level of creativity, but most people can't use the tool very effectively, because its too powerful, its like Photoshop versus MS Paint. One is easy for everyone to get into, the other one is so powerful that most people actually can't do anything with it."

"There's another classification of user-generated content and that comes out of systems," he continued. "Oblivion, Skyrim, Far Cry, or Grand Theft Auto, where I'm going to do something with the systems interplay and create something, maybe a glitch, or something funny, or something unique because there's so many systems layered on top.

"That is a form of UGC, because I have tremendous creativity I can put into it and it can be captured with a capture card. Now with DVR, that becomes true UGC, because I can use the system from Fable, I can use the system from Grand Theft Auto to create moments that were never planned by anybody, and then share them.

"That's the same when we see Drivatar. I'm going to train, my Drivatar is going to watch me, and do things that we never intended. We're going to be able to react, it's going to do cool stuff, and you can capture that on DVR. It's going to have the liveries, the paint schemes, the cars that I like. We're going to get tremendous emergent gameplay that's going to come out of this."

Drivatar, in case you've yet to have the pleasure, is an AI learning feature which creates a digital driving personality based on your in-game behaviour, and shares that personality automatically over the internet. The game doesn't have an traditional, pre-scripted AI - tracks are effectively populated by evolving brain-scans of Xbox Live acquaintances.

"The strength of a team that's worked in UGC for ten years as such is that we don't actually predict what they're going to do," Mathis continued. "We're going to just open it up knowing its going to surprise us. The system is living and breathing and organic and its going to do things we didn't expect. And what we expect is really exciting to us, but what we don't expect is where the real magic is going to happen."

Watch out for more on Forza Motorsport 5 later today. Here's a video about the game's audio, which includes lion roars and the sound of human screaming. If you'd rather read about looks, here's an appropriately goggle-eyed preview.