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TheCaterpillar

Survival Game Elements

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Hello there,

 

I'd like to hear thoughts on Survival Game elements. This request is to anyone who considers themselves a fan of such games. I'd like to hear as many opinions as possible on what elements you like about a specific survival game(s) and what you didn't like about them. Why you didn't like them and how you think they could be improved. Also anything that you would like to see in a survival game that perhaps currently existing ones don't have.

I myself have played as many of them as I know about so I already have my list of pros and cons. 

I'm working on a survival/action/rpg so any thoughts would be appreciated. 

 

And no idea is a bad idea, I'd like to hear any and all.

Thanks for your time.

Edited by TheCaterpillar

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This is a terribly broad question to answer.


The two things I find important for my own enjoyment are:

1. An environment that rewards exploration.

2. A serious periodic threat.

If the environment doesn't provide hauntingly beautiful areas, spectacular vistas or deep sprawling caves, it will quickly get boring for me. In a survival game I feel the world is one of the, if not THE main actor of the game.

But to really make it interesting as a survival game I need to be threatened. The threat aught to be periodic so it isn't all high tension all the time, but the threat should really remain serious.

Minecraft's survival mode loses me a bit on that for example. Early survivaling is interesting, but it doesn't take long to create an unassailable fortress with which you can sustain yourself forever, and the whole survival feel is gone.

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Dont starve has good period threats:

 

1. Nighttime. You need to find light and stay put, and some animals is more dangerous. You know when night begins becouse there is a clock.

2. Hound attacks. Every 3-8 days hounds spawn (increasingly hard) to hunt you down. You dont know when they come, but when they do you get a little bit of warning.

3. Giant attacks. Rare and very dangerous. Be flexible and have backup bases.

 

Non-periodic threats

 

1. Fullness (caused by hunger) and sanity loss.

2. Fighting for resources (you choose when to initiate attack, but when you do its dangerous)

 

As diesel says: force the player to explore (typically to scavenge or for other rewards) and impose dangers on the player. Thats the basic idea.

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A thing I like in survival games is how some of them turns your instincts against you, when we play survival games we think differently and the best survival games know this.

 

Games like Don't starve and many zombie games know the player will be hunting resources, in don't starve this is used against the player with resources often turning into a health hazard. Resource gathering and managing will be a key focus for most of a survival game, make this part fun first.

In Don't starve Reign of Giants, players encounter dangers for hording I liked this a lot.

 

There are two types of shelters in survival games, temporary and home. If you allow the player to build a home you should know that the player will settle, changing the way the player plays the game. Minecraft is more of a exploration game than a survival game because it allows the player to settle, if your aim is something similar then you know that people are social and don't like settling alone.

 

Survivors shouldn't just be some thing you collect because a building needs it, they should have some kind of life to them.

 

I recommend: State of Decay, Left for Dead 1/2, S.T.A.L.K.E.R all, Silent Hill 1/2 , Sims 3, This War of Mine, Cabela's Big Game Hunter Pro Hunts (Any hunting game will do, this one looks good and is fun even for players who don't like hunting), Fallout all, Evo and  NEO Scavenger.

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I personally like the kind where you are marooned in the wilderness (ideally an alien or fantasy wilderness) and have to build a 1-person civilization from sticks and stones.  PvE focused, where monster hunting is all about gathering crafting mats.  Not scary or creepy, more like Swiss Family Robinson or Uninhabited Planet Survive or Gilligan's Island, or A Tale In The Desert than all these zombie apocalypse games.  Definitely no crafting high tech items and no guns. 3rd person RPG, whether with turn-based tactical combat or spellbar/cooldown combat.

Edited by sunandshadow

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more like ... Uninhabited Planet Survive

 

Are there any survival games like uninhabited planet survive? Because that would be awesome.

 

I hate how in most survival games things seem to be based on luck/randomness. For example running around in Minecraft looking for coal.

 

It's also annoying how simple survival games enemies tend to be. A game that did this VERY nicely was "rake" on steam. Basically there's only 1 enemy, a monster called the rake. However, he's always running around doing monster stuff, you can encounter him as soon as the game starts, basically.

 

Your primary defense is doing things like setting up traps/setting up video cameras, so if you get ambushed and die, it doesn't feel "Crap, why did that thing have to spawn there?", it's more like "Crap, I guess he climbed down the ravine. I should have put a camera there".

 

Also the "vs zombies" theme is always 1/2 baked for me. Yes, I'd like a good zombie apocalypse survival game, but They're always so simple/easy. I want a zombie apocalypse game where zombies are a persistant threat, but primarily involves humans/settlements as the main antagonists. Kind of like dayz but with story/substance/pve.

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more like ... Uninhabited Planet Survive

 

Are there any survival games like uninhabited planet survive? Because that would be awesome.

I don't think there are any that are currently available in English at a beta or later stage.  There are a few in development.  I myself would love to work on a sandpark game with anime-ish art and some survival mechanics, but I don't have a lot of time to keep an eye out for newborn projects.

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There's as many types of survival games are there are colors in the rainbow.

 

On the one hand you have games like DayZ where the enemy is always another live human and the only point and purpose is to gain strength via equipment to survive the many people who are trying to do the same. The enemy is simply your trust in humanity.

 

On the other you have a game like Rust, where the majority of the game is centered around building a base and surving much akin to DayZ, where everyone you meet is potentially hostile. However, the relative safety of a base where you can respawn to creates much stronger forms of alliances and bonds and larger risk taking.

 

On the other hand you have a game like Don't Starve, where survival is more against an AI clock that is progressively getting more difficult.

 

On yet stil the other hand you have a games like Rogue, where survival is about pushing forward to achieve an objective and win condition.

 

And so on. The list is pretty huge. At its core nearly every game you play is a "survival" game of some kind. The question is how far down the rabbit hole of what is a threat and what do you do after you overcome that threat do you go? Can you make a game in which survival in the barest sense is always the goal? Food? Shelter? Oxygen? No enemies, just the inability to get beyond the basic needs? I don't know about that, but you could do it if you wanted. Or you could have the Rogue loot / power treadmill, in which by the end of the game you're a downright baddass with hardly any fear of anything you find.

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I personally like the kind where you are marooned in the wilderness (ideally an alien or fantasy wilderness) and have to build a 1-person civilization from sticks and stones.

Is the "1-person" part required for your personal enjoyment?

Being alone can definitely add to the ambience. But even if you had a small (NPC) party with you, predominately you explore alone.
Alternatively, each NPC could split up to survive on their own, and you could unexpectedly come across them still alive or ripped to shreds in your own exploration.

Though, honestly, coming back to the "Swiss Family Robinson" aspect, it would genuinely be interesting to have to protect and provide for your family in a survival game. You choose your gender, and your spouse for some reason can't travel far - maybe breaks his/her leg in the crash (or whatever), so your spouse protects the kids in the shelter you've built, while you forage for food, and etc...

 

Imagine managing to survive and set up a shelter, when suddenly before your eyes, your 14 yo daughter gets dragged off into the underbrush by raptors.
 

And since your survival is the goal, and them dying isn't an explicit fail condition, you can ofcourse just abandon them or shoot them if that's your play style. (Or just uncheck "Family" when starting the game).

 

PvE focused, where monster hunting is all about gathering crafting mats.

What's a crafting mat? Oh, crafting materials. *facepalm*
 

Definitely no crafting high tech items and no guns. 3rd person RPG, whether with turn-based tactical combat or spellbar/cooldown combat.

Not first person, for increased immersion?

 

I like the idea of starting off with a few guns, with limited ammo, so as your carefully conserved ammo depletes, the game naturally increases in difficulty. Obviously you can't find any more ammo within the wilderness, only the... say, shotgun (8 shells), rifle (12 cartridges), and pistol (1 clip - 16 bullets). Once you're out of bullets, I guess you can try to use them as a club. happy.png

(And you can just uncheck "Starting gear" when starting the game)

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I personally like the kind where you are marooned in the wilderness (ideally an alien or fantasy wilderness) and have to build a 1-person civilization from sticks and stones.

Is the "1-person" part required for your personal enjoyment?

Being alone can definitely add to the ambience. But even if you had a small (NPC) party with you, predominately you explore alone.
Alternatively, each NPC could split up to survive on their own, and you could unexpectedly come across them still alive or ripped to shreds in your own exploration.

Though, honestly, coming back to the "Swiss Family Robinson" aspect, it would genuinely be interesting to have to protect and provide for your family in a survival game. You choose your gender, and your spouse for some reason can't travel far - maybe breaks his/her leg in the crash (or whatever), so your spouse protects the kids in the shelter you've built, while you forage for food, and etc...

 

Imagine managing to survive and set up a shelter, when suddenly before your eyes, your 14 yo daughter gets dragged off into the underbrush by raptors.
 

And since your survival is the goal, and them dying isn't an explicit fail condition, you can of course just abandon them or shoot them if that's your play style. (Or just uncheck "Family" when starting the game).

 

 

Definitely no crafting high tech items and no guns. 3rd person RPG, whether with turn-based tactical combat or spellbar/cooldown combat.

Not first person, for increased immersion?

 

I like the idea of starting off with a few guns, with limited ammo, so as your carefully conserved ammo depletes, the game naturally increases in difficulty. Obviously you can't find any more ammo within the wilderness, only the... say, shotgun (8 shells), rifle (12 cartridges), and pistol (1 clip - 16 bullets). Once you're out of bullets, I guess you can try to use them as a club. happy.png

(And you can just uncheck "Starting gear" when starting the game)

 

I was thinking more in terms of a survival MMO, where I would want to avoid cooperative play most of the time.  MMOs where you can build a house but only if you team up with 3 other players frustrate the heck out of me.  In a single-player game I'd be cool with having an NPC family, though not so cool with them being able to die.  I'm all in favor of NPCs found in the game being collectible as family or neighbors too.

 

First person games give me motion sickness and are demotivational as far as earning character appearance customizations, which I generally like to do.  I get lost more easily in first-person view too, and I have yet to play a sandboxy game where I haven't gotten lost enough for it to be annoying.

 

As far as the gun, I think I'm imagining a totally different kind of PvE combat than you are.  The combat in several of the sandboxy survival games I've played (Wurm, Xsyon) is completely terrible, and even in WoW-style combat guns suck.  I was also thinking that saying "no guns" efficiently communicated "no FPS combat except possibly Skyrim-style bow+arrows".

Edited by sunandshadow

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