# You spawn in a forest, in your backpack you have a...

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I'm putting together an idea for a survival game.

Essentially, the game revolves around you being dumped in a world that consists of a variety of different environments (jungle, dessert, arctic). The world will be inhabited by:

A) Non-player animals, a varied ecosystem ranging from tiny ants to big dangerous things.
B) Other players who have also been dumped in a wilderness, motivated by survival, probably friendly, probably after your gear. Who knows.

Your entire goal is to survive, decide whether to set up a camp/shelter or just to go nomad. If you bite the dust, I think the game will give you a simple permadeath end message along the lines of "You survived for 4 Months - 2 Days - 10:12:32".

I want the game to be extremely harsh, so survival carries a sense of satisfaction, but also risk. I am thinking that the players should just have the set of overalls on their back and their wits.

What do you think, would it be fairer to go down the DayZ route and give them a pistol and a tin of beans? Maybe a knife or even a survival kit?

I don't want to doom the players (I secretly do), nor do I want an over abundance of pistols with empty magazines kicking around on the jungle floor.

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I does not matter what you give to the player. Tons of ammunition and weaponry - kill them by bacterias. A lot of medicaments - kill by radition. Anti rad gear - kill by a landfall. And so on, so on :)

You definitely should try being a Game Master in an pen & paper RPG, it extends the imagination of means to kill extrmelly well equipped and skilled player characters :)

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I does not matter what you give to the player. Tons of ammunition and weaponry - kill them by bacterias. A lot of medicaments - kill by radition. Anti rad gear - kill by a landfall. And so on, so on

You definitely should try being a Game Master in an pen & paper RPG, it extends the imagination of means to kill extrmelly well equipped and skilled player characters

Yep. And just plain bad luck can do a number on them as well. A friend once rolled a 1 in a d20 system ten times in a row. (And yes, he switched dice for most of them assuming someone swapped his for a trick die.)

What gear you start with depends on what environment you are dropping them in, what amount of challenge you want to give them, and what kind of a crafting system you want to offer.

Generally they will want a blade of some sort, a day or so of food, and something to hold a limited amount of water. Larger items like an axe would often be useful. Something to create fire, extra clothing/shelter elements, etc.

Also, you could go with something like a points based system where the player chooses what they take. Starting difficulty levels could then scale the prices for different things.

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Actually, I think I would have each one start with radomized gear. That way each time you play it's a unique experience right from the beginning.

Sure they will also be players that will restart until they get the item they want, but I believe if you limit the possible starting gear and if each item on it's own is just a small step to survival then it will work.

Offtopic:

Also I would consider having only very few actual weapons and mostly just stuff you can find in a normal household, maybe shops, hardware stores.

For example if you take a look at the walking dead, all characters in the series are armed to the teeth. If you take a look at your own environment, would you really have easy access to such an arsenal in case a zombie outbreak happens? If you live in a country with reasonable gun controls, it's very unlikely that you can come up with a way to get your hands one some. E.g. in Germany the only places I would expect weapons are:

a) the police stations

b) military stations

c) shooting ranges

d) ambassies

e) maybe a few selected security services

f) some hunters home or maybe from one of the selected few that did actually do the paperwork to get a permit

Though even if you know that there might be guns, they are all locked up, the only way to get to them is crack the safe or get them from someone who has access to the gun. (There is always the black market, but let's assume the normal citizen doesn't shop there regularly.)

In any case, I think it's not only more reasonable, but it can also be used to make the game much harder.

Yes, for the few that do find a gun, it would be a huge advantage, people could rob you at gun point, hold you hostage and whatever they might come up with and they are more inclined to try, since the probability that the other person has a gun and shoots first are tiny. If you do combine this with a very limited ammunition supply guns could make players kings, but only as long as they can convince people that they will actually use them.

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I think you should start with 4 random things from this list;

1 matchbox

1 utility knife

2 days rations of food

10' of rope

1 8x8' tarp

1 flashlight with 3 nights worth of battery life

3 16oz full water bottles

all of these things you should be able to make/find throughout the world. If my list is is missing something, feel free to add to it.

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Hi,

I think you should do what shadowomf said, giving randomised gear. But I think you should make it so the player get given a flashlight, 999 guns, 999999999999 ammo...

Also, I like the ide of following the lines of DayZ, but I would suggest something a bit more like The War Z.

Lastly, don't make it too violent or scary, so you could $cash$ in on a younger audience.

Cheers,

duckwolrd.

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-Duct tape

-Stick

-Socks

-Termos bottle with old chocolate milk in it

-A poorly balanced paper plane that immediately makes a loop and hits you in the eye if thrown

Unless the player had time to prepare, in which case:

-Duct tape * 8

-10 random knives from the kitchen

-tool box

-matches

-toilet paper

-cereal

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I dont like the idea of guns being main tools in this game. They seem both hard to find and too easy to use. It throws off the balance of scavenging difficulty and alternative building that are the main strategies that I see in it.

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This might not be what you are going for, but this reminds me of battle royale and a battle royale game would be beyond awesome.

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The action in the game is going to be tick-based and text-based, but there will be a graphical representation of the sector of map that you are in showing the basic positions of you, other entities, items etc...

I want the game to look like you are in a control room, looking at a radar representation of what is going on.

I want the items to be attribute based, so for example, you might have a collection of sticks that you have pulled off a tree. One might have a sharpness of 87% another might have a sharpness of only 4%. You wouldn't be able to use sticks with a sharpness of less than, say, 30% as tent pegs, but you would need sticks of a sharpness of at least 70% to use them as eating utensils.

This way, the crafting will hopefully have a lot of depth. Using a rock to bang a stake in the ground might reduce the weight or strength attribute of the rock etc...

It would be interesting to see how players would use this from an emergent gameplay point of view. One famous example is Minecraft, YouTube is choc-full of videos showing how to make different player-designed mob traps - so hopefully, by giving the players some sandbox elements, and a robust crafting system, the game items will design and evolve themselves in some way.

To this end, short of basic elements like trees and leaves, I want to keep the number of non-player-made items to a minimum. The whole architecture of the game is up to the gamers, if this happened, the players might even form an online civil society (they won't).

Good suggestions everyone.

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Actually, I think I would have each one start with radomized gear. That way each time you play it's a unique experience right from the beginning.

Sure they will also be players that will restart until they get the item they want, but I believe if you limit the possible starting gear and if each item on it's own is just a small step to survival then it will work.

Go off the idea of using a point system to "purchase" these items and just have a random generator "buy" the items until there either are no items left or you run out of points to spend.

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Make it a start of game decision (difficulty level).

Hardcore players will go for the "undies only" mode, whereas newcomers playing their couple first attempts might go for "I came here intentionally with my BBQ and M16A2"

Note: Make sure they don't end up playing on the same server though :P

Edited by Orymus3

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I'd let players choose their own starting gear, and the skills they're allowed to use well.

For instance you could forgo marksmanship(% less accuracy) and starting with a gun, to spend in a bunch of other skills

Where as starting with a gun you'll end up being forced to choose being able to heal yourself less efficiently, more likely to get sick from "wild water", spawning somewhere inconvenient, and similar.

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An alternate suggestion:

If you want to foster interaction between players, have players start with an overabundance of one thing and little of anything else.  You could do it randomly, or have the players select from a given loadout.  If you give players stuff that is worth trading (or worth killing for), they will naturally seek to interact more.

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I'm assuming that gear with determine abilities, like you can't whittle a point on a stick unless you have a cutting tool, so starting with a knife will save you the hassle of knapping a stone into a crude blade (or an awesome blade, if the PBS documentaries I watch know anything about master-level stone tools).

You say there will be perma-death, but will the client/account/whatever track achievements in the past?  Just like the new Starcraft automatically sends your workers to mine, maybe a thousand repetitions of the first twelve seconds of the game would allow you to skip those chores.  Say I spawn in with just the clothes on my back.  After fifty tries or so, I'm going to have certain elements locked down, like finding tinder or a walking stick.  Have a tracker for the number of times mundane tasks have been completed--"Made a walking stick within five minutes of spawn:  23/50"--and when the criterion is met, just let the guy spawn in with a walking stick.  You know he's able to get one, why waste his time?  He'll never not be able to get one.

Of course, you have to qualify it, so a super-dedicated player can't spawn with an Iron Man suit and a Ferrari, but taking away some of the entry-level chores and letting a player get back to work being awesome (or catching Cholera, whatever) would be a nice reward for past successes and take some of the sting out of permadeath.

You could even balance it further by employing a "point" system.  Like Waterlimon said, a character who had time to prepare would have a wildly different kit than one who was caught with his pants down.  How about a system that lets players pick a few items from a list, spending points to build their kit.  A book of paper matches is cheaper than a butane lighter, a box cutter is cheaper than a survival knife, and if you want that survival knife you have to accrue credit through in-game effort, since not everyone has a freaking Rambo knife laying around.  I might spend my points on some spam and a canteen (old Dasani bottle if I want to save a couple points) and mandals, but once I've got my act together and know how to get food, I can stop bringing the spam and spend those point to upgrade my footwear to a closed-toe hiking shoe.  Once you get awesome at survival, you can spend all your points to start with an unlockable canoe and play the game in a totally different way, hard-mode with water travel.

You could even use the unlock system as an incentive to the players.  Say you can only get certain unlocks if you start in a more austere way.  Yeah, you can spawn with a .22 rifle and fifty rimfire cartridges, but just like playing GoldenEye with cheats enabled, you won't get any credit toward further unlocks while you're in easy mode.  If you start naked, you get a difficulty bonus and mad props for being a true woodsman.  If you split the difference and start with a cargo vest and a hatchet, then you can accrue credit towards achievements in a normal way.

I really like your idea, and I'm hoping the project moves forward so I can hear more about it.  Have you given any thought to the tools and restrictions regarding inter-player communication?  It's been a worm in my brain lately, and I'm on the lookout for views.

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If you randomly decide to give them items, do take care to ensure that even if they started out with zero items, they could still survive. Sort of like the game Sweet Home, where each of the five characters has a unique item that allows them to overcome obstacles, but if they die, you will be encumbered with having to find and hold an item that does the same task. The point it, the player should be able to find a substitute for everything he does not start with, and ideally, starting with a different set of items should save you roughly the same amount of time, even if you get an item that helps immensely, but as a result, you have to find a replacement for an item that is hard to find, but essential.