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Member Since 17 Feb 2012
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In Topic: Features for an Island Survival Game

22 February 2012 - 06:41 AM

One thing I would love to see in a game is having to actually design/build your shelters and possibly tools. Not "You have collected 10 sticks, and 50 palm leaves, now you may build a lean-too, aka Shelter_Level_1", but "I have collected a number of procedurally generated branches, now let me play with a physics engine of some kind and actually put something together using the natural landscape".

I tried to come up with an idea how to actually do this in a 2d tilebased game. I think you could modify Tiles in a way that turned some tiles into a shelter, instead of just building a shelter-tile. So instead of building the shelter you'd build protection from rain, protection from groundmoisture, protecture from insects, etc. You'd just build up all the protection you need around you, but in a logical way. for example using leaves for a roof would provide some protection from rain, but building your whole shelter in a cave or under a tree would be even better. So you'd kinda expand the natural landscape to fit your needs. So you're probably better off buidling a fire in a cave than starting to chopping down trees to build a small lean-to shelter.

I still have difficulties trying to think of ways to expand gameplay in an intesting way. What happens when you have a shelter and maybe a way to get all the food you need? I would appreciate some input on that as well :)

In Topic: Features for an Island Survival Game

18 February 2012 - 04:02 AM

Depends on if the game has a "real world" setting or if it can have monsters and such. Unreal beings would present a good additional sense of being exposed and defenseless. I'm imagining a game where you find things you weren't expecting and have to find ways to evade and run from them for the majority of the game, climbing up trees or getting in water if they can't swim. End-game items could give you a fighting chance. You can do this with normal animals too, but monsters add a lot more variety to the kind of experiences they offer.

If you're going for a realistic cast-away experience, the game could focus on getting resources and experimenting to discover "recipes" for things. Probably a mix of an xp system and actually player experimentation. Rare materials that has to be gathered in an unusal way (eg: burning a substance off the ceiling of a cave) or that only exists in dangerous locations (eg: a flower that grows in the middle of steep cliffs) would give the player interesting goals and problems to solve.

First of all thanks for all your great ideas! I really like the idea of dangerous locations, and i could come up with a system that would create the world in a way that some dangerous locations would be bottlenecks for further exploration of the island. I really want to use an XP system but i also want the game to be played "forever", but I've not yet come up with an idea how to combine both...

Hunger, Thirst, and Stamina come to mind immediately. I think you should model health as a wound system rather than an hp system. eg: instead of "you took 5 damage", it'd be "You received a bruise on your head" or "you broke your left arm". Dealing with specific wounds give it a much stronger survival feeling than managing a health bar. You could also have skills (things like climbing, cooking, spear throwing, ect) to manage. If you wanted to try something rarely done, you could have to manage your character's mood and do things to make yourself happy (eat good tasting food, play instruments you crafted, go fishing, ect) to preform at your best.

I like the idea of mood as a metric, i think that would work out quite well. And i guess a broken leg equals "you're as good as dead - why not start over?" ;) There's plenty of possibilities if you also bind attributes to certain body parts, like strength of your arms, etc.

I played an island survival game that had repetitive quests from the natives. If you do have quests, try to make them more unique and interesting than “Give us five banana because we're too lazy to go ourselves”.
The game should give the player the opportunity to feel like you're slowly mastering the island, but make sure the player can never feel completely safe. They should be able to make parts of the island relatively safe, but if an area is 100% safe, it can alter the tone of the game in a negative way.
Finally, make sure the player has some direction. Dropping them somewhere and saying “Have fun” usually won't work. If people want that, they'll probably go play Minecraft instead of your game.

I'm definitely not going for quests. I really like the aspect of exploring the whole island. I'm not sure how big to make the island to really give the feel of "you're on an island and there's water all around it" but also give enough room to explore. Instead of making the whole island open for travel from the beginning it would be possible to block you by using dense vegetation, steep cliffs, broad rivers and stuff like that you'd have to overcome as a self-given "quest".

If the island or some aspects were procedurally generated, that would do a lot to improve its longevity. Including roleplaying things that don't necessary relate to survival, like decorations for your shelter, would add a lot.
If you aren't going fully realistic, I'd love to see something mythical and mysterious that you can unfold. Something strange and difficult to study that can be uncovered. That would fit perfectly with the isolated feeling of an island survival scenario.

Yeah, I'll go for procedurally created islands, but give the player some settings to tweak, for example: volcano? - yes, no, random. So that if someone really hates some aspect of the game, like volcanos they can turn it off. And of course players should be able to share their random seeds to play identical worlds.