Destructible environment

destructibledeformable terrainterrain deformationdeformabledestroy part of the scenerydestroyeddestroying small portions of the scenerydestructibility of environmentsdestructible terraindestructible walls
In video games, the term destructible environment, or terrain deformation, refers to an environment within a game which can be wholly or partially destroyed by the player.wikipedia
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Cover system

covertake covercover-based
Early examples include the Taito shooter games Gun Fight (1975) and Space Invaders (1978), where the players could take cover behind destructible objects.
Brian Ashcraft of Kotaku argues the idea of taking cover in video games is nearly as old as the shoot 'em up genre itself, originating from Taito's seminal 1978 arcade shooter Space Invaders, where the player's laser cannon could take cover behind destructible defense bunkers to avoid enemy fire.

Space Invaders

Space Invaders: The Original GameSpace InvaderINVADERS
Early examples include the Taito shooter games Gun Fight (1975) and Space Invaders (1978), where the players could take cover behind destructible objects.
It was also the first game where players were given multiple lives, had to repel hordes of enemies, could take cover from enemy fire, and use destructible barriers, in addition to being the first game to use a continuous background soundtrack, with four simple diatonic descending bass notes repeating in a loop, which was dynamic and changed pace during stages, like a heartbeat sound that increases pace as enemies approached.

Spring Engine

SpringSpring game engineBalanced Annihilation
Newer iterations of this feature can be observed in games such as the Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi and Dragon Ball: Xenoverse where the fighters' dashes and super moves can destroy large rock formations and buildings, Spring, Crysis (CryEngine 2), Mercenaries 2: World in Flames, Battlefield: Bad Company (Frostbite 1.0), Battlefield: Bad Company 2 (Frostbite 1.5), Battlefield 1943 (Frostbite 1.5), Black, and Red Faction: Guerilla (Geo-Mod).
Springs rendering features include deformable terrain, 3D projectiles and multiple water renderers.

Worms (series)

WormsWorms'' seriesWorms series
The Worms series also features terrain which can be completely obliterated.
This allows for pseudo-realistic terrain deformation similar in style to the 2D games, in which the terrain was represented by a bitmap.

Ghen War

The earliest first-person shooter example may be Ghen War, released in 1995 for the Sega Saturn, which featured a 3D terrain map generator that allows fully destructible environments.
Ghen War features an early example of deformable terrain.

Diablo III

Diablo III: Ultimate Evil EditionDiablo 3Diablo III (console version)
Future implementations are core facets of gameplay and can be found in Battlefield 3 (Frostbite 2), Diablo 3, Battlefield 4 and Battlefield 1 (Frostbite 3).
The proprietary engine incorporates Blizzard's custom in-house physics, and features destructible environments with an in-game damage effect.

Battlefield 1

They Shall Not Pass
Future implementations are core facets of gameplay and can be found in Battlefield 3 (Frostbite 2), Diablo 3, Battlefield 4 and Battlefield 1 (Frostbite 3).
Destructible environments and weapon customization, features present in the previous games, returned in Battlefield 1 and are more dynamic.

Dynamic terrain

Dynamic Terrain
Terrain deformation

Terrain rendering

terrain systemTerrain visualization
Terrain rendering
Some games also have terrain deformation (or deformable terrain).

Video game

video gamesgamevideogame
In video games, the term destructible environment, or terrain deformation, refers to an environment within a game which can be wholly or partially destroyed by the player.

Taito

Taito CorporationTaito AmericaTaito America Corporation
Early examples include the Taito shooter games Gun Fight (1975) and Space Invaders (1978), where the players could take cover behind destructible objects.

Shooter game

Shootershooting galleryshooting
Early examples include the Taito shooter games Gun Fight (1975) and Space Invaders (1978), where the players could take cover behind destructible objects.

Gun Fight

Western GunGunfight
Early examples include the Taito shooter games Gun Fight (1975) and Space Invaders (1978), where the players could take cover behind destructible objects.

Namco

Project AcesNamco HometekNamco USA
An early example of fully destructible environments can be found in Namco's 1982 game Dig Dug, in which the whole of each level is destructible, though enemies can usually only follow the player through a combination of pre-made tracks and paths made by the player.

Dig Dug

Dig Dug SDig Racing TeamTaizo Hori
An early example of fully destructible environments can be found in Namco's 1982 game Dig Dug, in which the whole of each level is destructible, though enemies can usually only follow the player through a combination of pre-made tracks and paths made by the player.

Mr. Do!

Neo Mr. Do!
A similar game released that same year was Mr. Do! by Universal.

Universal Entertainment Corporation

UniversalAruzeUniversal Distributing
A similar game released that same year was Mr. Do! by Universal.

Shoot 'em up

rail shooterscrolling shooterrun and gun
An early example of a shooter game that featured fully destructible environments was Kagirinaki Tatakai, an early run & gun shooter developed by Hiroshi Ishikawa for the Sharp X1 computer and released by Enix in 1983.

X1 (computer)

X1Sharp X1X1 Turbo
An early example of a shooter game that featured fully destructible environments was Kagirinaki Tatakai, an early run & gun shooter developed by Hiroshi Ishikawa for the Sharp X1 computer and released by Enix in 1983.

Enix

Enix CorporationEnix America Corporation
An early example of a shooter game that featured fully destructible environments was Kagirinaki Tatakai, an early run & gun shooter developed by Hiroshi Ishikawa for the Sharp X1 computer and released by Enix in 1983.

First-person shooter

first person shooterFPSfirst-person
The earliest first-person shooter example may be Ghen War, released in 1995 for the Sega Saturn, which featured a 3D terrain map generator that allows fully destructible environments.

Sega Saturn

SaturnarcadeSat
The earliest first-person shooter example may be Ghen War, released in 1995 for the Sega Saturn, which featured a 3D terrain map generator that allows fully destructible environments.

Doom (1993 video game)

DoomDoom (video game)The Ultimate DOOM
However, the trend to make more and more items and environmental features destroyable by the player hearkens all the way back to the explosive barrels in Doom (1993).

Blood II: The Chosen

Blood II: The Chosen & The Nightmare LevelsThe Nightmare Levels
Games like Blood II: The Chosen (1998) also featured major amounts of destroyable objects, in that game a room filled with objects could be turned into an empty room filled only with debris.

Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi

Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 3Budokai TenkaichiDragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2
Newer iterations of this feature can be observed in games such as the Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi and Dragon Ball: Xenoverse where the fighters' dashes and super moves can destroy large rock formations and buildings, Spring, Crysis (CryEngine 2), Mercenaries 2: World in Flames, Battlefield: Bad Company (Frostbite 1.0), Battlefield: Bad Company 2 (Frostbite 1.5), Battlefield 1943 (Frostbite 1.5), Black, and Red Faction: Guerilla (Geo-Mod).