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Plot, Point, Prototype

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I have come up with the rough idea for the game. Gameplay will take place almost entirely on the surface. I made a quick prototype that gives a very rough idea of the kind of top-down terrain view the game will take place in. Ignore the lighting/textures/framerate...and in fact the gameplay...


The actual plan for the game (which isn't really shown by the video) is:

  • Pre-historic wilderness setting.
  • The objective of the game is to travel to a place far to the North. There will be some weak plot excuse to justify this, but that doesn't matter so much.
  • The further North the player goes, difficulty will increase. So it's like a sideways version of traveling down into a dungeon.
  • There won't be level transitions, the map will be continuous and loaded as needed.
  • Permadeath. If you die you can't reload. Your score is how far North you get.
  • The game is about survival, not hack and slash. If you can make it north without fighting a single monster (you won't be able to) then you still win.
  • As you head North you will have to cross progressively harder environments with their own environmental challenges and monsters. The starting zone will be easy, perhaps a warm grassland with few dangers. Further North the zones will get harder with additional hazards. Eg ice mountains, a desert, a jungle, a dense forest, a huge lakes, perhaps even a section where you have to cross underground through a mountain. The zones themselves will be at the same "latitude" north in each game, so the player can have some achievement from just reaching (or surviving) a zone. But the contents (terrain, monsters (placement not type), etc) of the zones will be randomly generated.
  • Monsters will include realistic natural animals, eg wolves, bears, crocodiles, dinosaurs? and made-up ones. No high fantasy creatures like goblins.
  • No magic. I don't see any need. There may be skills like tracking
  • No XP from killing monsters. Kill them either for food, resources, survival or fun.
  • You need to sleep occasionally. A lack of sleep will be penalized (reduction of speed, sight radius?). You decide when and where to sleep. You are vulnerable to attack while sleeping. You can reduce that chance by sleeping next to a fire or in a shelter.
  • You find/construct tools and clothing to help your survival. eg a torch can scare off some creatures, thicker clothing will protect you from colder times/places.
  • Day and night transitions, seasons and weather affect gameplay. Some creatures will be nocturnal. Some creatures will hibernate during the winter. At night it's colder, during winter it's colder, during storms it's colder. If it's too cold you will take damage, to prevent that you either wear thicker clothing, take shelter or build a fire.
  • You can construct shelters to protect yourself from the environment. Simple ones like tents are quick to make but provide minimal protection. Bigger ones like log huts take more time and resources.
  • Different zones have different hazards. For example in a desert thirst is an environmental hazard. The player will need to find or carry supplies of water which will be rapidly exhausted. In zones with plenty of water it is assumed the character can handle thirst themselves. In the mountains storms and extreme cold are hazards.
  • The player is killed for mistakes they can learn from rather than by the random number generator. I can't prevent RNG deaths full-stop but I want to reduce them. The game is about increasing the odds of survival. Doing really dumb stuff will dramatically lower the chance of survival - eg crossing a desert without a supply of water, or diving into a random pool of water in the jungle, or attacking a bear with a stick. Making less obvious mistakes will lower the chance of survival - eg wandering around in a storm wearing metal might just get you killed by a lightning bolt, sleeping in the open without a fire (or even sleeping in the open with a fire if there are human hunters about)
  • The player can balance how fast they head north. They could try to rush. Or they could move slowly through build-shelter/explore cycles. On reaching the lake zone the player might decide to build a boat and risk the crossing, or they might decide to take a very long trip round the lake risking all the shore based predators. Or they may decide to build a really strong shelter, wait for winter and then walk across the frozen lake.
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Looks pretty neat, will be intresting to see how this develops.

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