Rules For Survival Games: Do & Don’t #9

For four years now, I have been fixing all of gaming with mandatory decrees for the future state of development. There used to be some who would disagree with elements. Used to be. Now the series continues, with a selection of Dos and Don’ts for those developing survival games.

DO give some thought to how humans work, if yours is a game about humans. Humans, contrary to the apparent understanding of all survival game developers, don’t require an infinite amount of food to be continually poured down their throats all day and night to avoid instantly starving to death. Eating an entire deer is not only a gargantuan achievement for a person, but I suspect would generally suffice for a day. It too is the case that humans can sprint for more than five seconds at a time, especially if they’re being chased by a wolf. They also don’t tend to significantly reduce the durability of a shirt by wearing it for three days, unless they’re Bear Grylls crawling through a meat grinder. For a reference guide, you are a human.

DON’T include day/night cycles if your night time isn’t as equally fun to play, and lovely to look at, as your day time. Moonlit hours can introduce all sorts of fun new elements into a gaming world, and the shifting times can offer lots of variation for the player. But if your night means it’s like the day, but dark, you’ve successfully made half your game a lot less fun. Squinting and not really being sure where you’re going turn out not to be ideal gaming conditions.

DO give some thought to the balance between in-game time, and how long it takes to do things. I know Do/Don’t has been over this before, but it bears repeating: if your game races through time at ten times the speed of reality, then wouldn’t it also make sense for the player to be able to move ten times faster? Or, at the very least, not somehow go even slower, taking two hours to make a sandwich or whatever ridiculous system you’ve developed? I know it sounds crazy, but why not just have time go at the speed of… time?

DON’T put zombies in your survival game. This is not a criticism of any current survival games that feature zombies. But now we’re full. No more spaces in the zombie survival car park. All sold out. And no, having what is ostensibly a zombie by a different name – maybe “bomzie” – doesn’t count. Think. A tip: there are very few survival games featuring dragons.

DO give me time to explore. It’s vital that I feel a sense of threat, of imminent danger, absolutely. But if you’ve created this world, or indeed if this world is creating itself, then allow a little sliver of realism in and let me pootle about it. As mentioned above, a hearty meal is enough for a good afternoon’s poking around, with some wood collection along the way – give us some time as a reward for not having died yet.

DON’T require initial drudge work. Obviously a large part of surviving is hard work, and that’s not what I’m talking about here. I mean the obligatory tasks that must be completed each time you start a new game. That’s not fun. That’s repetitive, and painstaking, before you can get back to having fun/being desperately terrified. If you’re doing that thing during development where your debug mode lets you skip ahead to the good bits, then you’re probably making this mistake. Make a game that you want to play from the start every time.

You can read more Survival Week articles over here.

94 Comments

  1. Viroso says:

    Don’t make me chop anymore wood. Enough wood chopping.

    • Moraven says:

      Zom Survival

      Avoid zombies. Live off the land. Saw wood to build a fire.

    • Michael Fogg says:

      You die and lose your items and you’re back to punching rocks.

    • Cinek says:

      And for **** sake, don’t make me chop down that tree out there that’s 2 meter in diameter. That’s ridiculous. Noone in any semi-survival situation would chop trees like that with a small axe. First of all – your axe would most likely break in before you do anything serious to that tree, and secondly – with that axe you included into the game it’d take probably a few days to cut the damn thing down (considering that you’ll get exhausted every now and then…).
      Just add some thinner trees. No harm in thin trees. Forests are full of them. 0.5m diameter should be pretty much the absolute maximum of what is feasible to chop down in any survival situation. And I’m being very generous here. Even Bear Grylls doesn’t chop down trees like that.

      Oh, and:
      1) Get the height of trees right.
      2) Remember that trees at the edge of a forest are completely different to these deeply in a forest. I don’t recall ever seeing that reproduced in a game. It’s just lazy copy&paste everywhere while getting that right can easily make your game feel more natural and realistic.

      • Tacroy says:

        It’s not entirely “lazy copy paste” – every different tree you have in your game requires the allocation of some vram so the graphics card can remember what the tree looks like and how to draw that particular style of tree. If you have a set of five different tree generators for the middle of the forest and a set of five different tree generators for the outskirts, you’ve just doubled your tree-allocated vram usage.

        That being said, in a survival game where attention to detail is important that might make sense.

        In fact, now I’m thinking of a survival game where as your “woodsman” or whatever skill goes up, you unlock more and more tree skins and generators – it’s not so much that different kinds of trees suddenly appear, but that the character has started noticing the difference between different kinds of trees.

        • Hyoscine says:

          How about using the same trees then, but for the ones on the forest periphery, have their bases several metres below the map surface? Smaller, denser trees for free.

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            DelrueOfDetroit says:

            The size and density of the foliage would look silly.

        • Cinek says:

          Wasn’t that partially migrated by DirectX 10 or so? Besides – the number of games that are capped by Vram can be counted on a fingers of one hand.

      • Echo_Hotel says:

        AND for the love of god give me more than 2 planks per 100 foot fir tree, along the same lines give me more than 1 meal from a 2000lb Bovine, why not make it a job to preserve the remaining 1998lbs in an edible state rather than just having me depopulate the entire area in a week.

        • Cinek says:

          Aye. I’m cool if it takes time to chop that tree into “units of wood”, but forcing me to chop down 5 acres of forest to build a wooden shelter tends to be rather ridiculous.

    • Morte66 says:

      Don’t have me die of starvation instantaneously and without warning 8 hours and 1 second after I ate a loaf of bread and a tin of spam. I’m looking at you, STALKER mod whose name I’ve forgotten.

      Do take the piss out of American “preppers” (survivalists) who stock their cars with guns, axes, snares, knives, magnesium fire steels etc but not sleeping bags or million gallon Sawyer water filters. [I’m a hiker. We actually know what the fuck we’re doing, unlike survivalists or game modders.]

      • Martel says:

        I believe those preppers are counting on you getting a sleeping bag and them killing you to take it :)

      • Echo_Hotel says:

        Not that I’ve seen the “preppers” television programs but most stockpilers I’ve met are kinda counting on having their house (or at least reinforced basement) survive the initial incident. Though to be fair the preppers I’ve met already own a working farm with solar powered well and are looking more towards a power grid collapse event rather total anarchy / foreign power invasion scenario.

      • Comrade Roe says:

        But what will you do when the zombie communist polar bears who have AK-74s shooting exploding piranhas come?

  2. dylnuge says:

    “There are very few survival games featuring dragons.”

    Way too few. Though I highly recommend the Frostfall mod for Skyrim; alongside a few others you can turn the entire game into a seriously challenging survival experience.

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      Mungrul says:

      You know, I thought of it the other way around; what if you were one of the last dragons trying to survive being made extinct by various knightly bastards?

    • Faran says:

      Yeah I’ve got that along with Realistic Needs & Diseases (which is a really boring name but a really good mod) that makes you have to eat, sleep, drink and all that. The two compliment each other so beautifully and I love having to prepare myself if I am about trudge through the northern and freezing parts of Skyrim by chopping firewood to create a fire to warm up once I inevitably start to freeze my toes off.

    • Echo_Hotel says:

      I’m sure you could rig some sort of challenge rule set for Dwarf Fortress adventure mode to get your fantasy survival going.

  3. GameCat says:

    DO – make dangerous animals like wolves circle you first, not just attack you on sight. They are often more scared than you, especially if they doesn’t come in pack. Allow me to scare them away with scream and fire or toss some meat or even captured live bunny to distract them.

    DON’T – kill bunnies. :(

    • Cinek says:

      “Allow me to scare them away with” – this. 100 times this. Why the heck almost noone ever implemented that into the game?!

      “DON’T – kill bunnies. :(” – DO: make rabbits run faster than humans can. Much faster. Damn rabbits can run ~50 km/h. There’s no flippin way you’d ever get near one unless you made an ambush – and even then catching one is borderline impossible. So all these games where player happily runs between bunnies – that shit never happened. Ever.

      • Echo_Hotel says:

        A rabbit can SPRINT ~50 km/h over about 30 meters, any more than that and they’ll just keel over from a heart attack, but you’ll never find one that far from cover.

        • Cinek says:

          Yep, that’s the point – rabbit can sprint into cover almost instantly, which means: no players racing with the rabbits.

    • jonahcutter says:

      It’s not a survival game, but Sang-Froid: Tales of Werewolves has a neat intimidation mechanic, where you… well… intimidate the packs of wolves as they circle around you and build up courage for an all out attack. It’s pretty much what you’re asking for.

      It’s a neat little system that would work great in a survival game. I’d love to see something like it in The Long Dark.

  4. Sarble says:

    How many of these things does Minecraft get right? Many

    • dylnuge says:

      Speaking to the day/night cycle point, I especially like Minecraft’s solution of the beds. Should you prefer to play the game only by day, the option is there (it’s even there in SMP, so long as all players currently online on your server want to take it and server admins haven’t otherwise disabled it).

      The thing with night in survival games is that often it’s “day but scarier” as opposed to “day but darker.” I feel like this association can work on many levels, but I very much prefer when a game gives a lot of unique atmosphere to the nighttime as opposed to just making me want to skip it entirely.

  5. Bobka says:

    “A tip: there are very few survival games featuring dragons.”

    But now that this has been said, there damned well better some. That sounds awesome.

    • Clavus says:

      Sort of the angle that The Stomping Land is going, but with dinosaurs. They brought out an update to it recently, so it’s not completely abandonware as was reported a while back.

      • Chuckleluck says:

        Have they made dinosaurs more prominent? I’ve never played, but word on the street is that dinos to a back seat to the more imminent threat of players kidnapping you and torturing you.

    • Mister_Inveigler says:

      This.
      This. I need this. And dragons you can’t fight either. All you can do is hide and survive.

      Dragons please.

    • amateurviking says:

      Ooh ooh, replace all the towns in Skyrim with melty burned out versions, get rid of ~95% of the NPCs and magic nonsense and have one really fucking big unkillable dragon that randomly incinerates stuff + survival mechanics. Maybe even a traversal mechanic ‘get to daggefall without being flambé’d’ sorta thing.

      Ooh.

  6. Stuart Walton says:

    Don’t make your crafting system:
    – Use recipes that you have no way to reference from anywhere except an online wiki
    – Require the micro skills of a Starcraft champion to create the simplest of tools in any sort of decent time-frame

    Do make your crafting system:
    – Let the player know what ingredients are missing when you try to craft something
    – Allow the player to use materials in any nearby inventory, not just the player inventory. And don’t force the player to have the ingredients in their ‘hands’ (But requiring free hands is OK).

    • Awesomeclaw says:

      The crafting systems are the absolute crux of so many modern games (not just survival sandbox games either) but they’re so frequently absolutely terrible.

      I think actually one of my favourite crafting systems is in Guild Wars 2: you can learn recipes in several ways, including by experimentation. While experimenting, the game tells you how many unlearned recipes there are with your current partial combination of items, so you can know if you’ve learned all recipes for a particular thing.

      I think that balancing approachability (by listing recipes) and experimentation/creativity (by… not listing recipes) is one of the most important things to get right to make a crafting system fun and interesting.

    • Cinek says:

      DO: let me use an alternative components!

      If I want to make a fire burn I don’t need 3 magical ingredients (yes, The Long Night, I’m looking at you) – I can make fire from 2 sticks with help of a knife. Deal with it.

      DON’T: Make me tear up 5 coats to make a single new one. It’s ridiculous. I want a patch here and there, that’s all, a second coat will do.

      In some cases you should be able to deassemble tools with NO loss of material.

      And that’s GOOD. GOOD. That’s realistic and that’s how it should be done. If I have a rope, knife and a stick and build a spear – I don’t need a new stick and a new rope each time I want to deassemble and reassemble it again! Examples can go and go and go. There’s plenty of stuff in games that you can deassemble in real life with little or no loss in a material. If it breaks your game balance – problem is with the balance, not deassembly.

      • Press X to Gary Busey says:

        Neo Scavenger has a pretty damn decent system (if ignoring the tetris interface). Every item has properties like sharp, rigid and flammable and most items can be disassembled to get the components.

    • TechnicalBen says:

      Fallout New Vegas fails greatly on some of those things. So hard to get anything together to make things at times.

      Where as Neo Scavenger fails on the wiki bit, but the crafting is quite fulfilling.

  7. h_ashman says:

    “DON’T include day/night cycles if your night time isn’t as equally fun to play”

    I’d personally extend that to include weather systems in general. Whilst rain/snow adds nice effects, I’d rather it adds some additional effects (e.g. things get wet, fires outdoors are harder to light) as well.

    Doesn’t need to be full on dynamic puddles, mud, flooding or anything too extravagant, just some basic alterations to how things work.

    • Cinek says:

      “(e.g. things get wet, fires outdoors are harder to light)” – no just harder. Impossible. Yes, it should be impossible to do certain things in certain weather unless you have a shelter. So: No, you cannot fix that shirt of yours in a middle of field during blizzard. No, you cannot make a fire during a heavy rain. No, you can’t ride a horse up to 50 degree slope…

    • Field Marshal Wildboar-Smith says:

      Ergh. This reminds me of trudging through deep snow in AssCreed 3. In theory the idea is pretty great and might suit other games, but it made getting around such a bore and broke the already somewhat lacklustre movement in that game anyway.

      So erm, I guess, DON’T add extreme weather if it breaks the flow of the game.

      • Chuckleluck says:

        Lacklustre movement like the horses in the wilderness. REAL HORSES CAN JUMP OVER THOSE TINY LOGS

  8. Padintong says:

    The last DO, one thousand times!

    So many games have put me off after a while for this very reason. I want to look over there, to investigate behind that rock, but I can’t because I have to craft too many things before the night comes – and it comes fast, as you point out.

    Also, as this is my first comment here at RPS, hello everybody! I hope I’ll be as comfortable as a commenter as I’ve been as a reader for so many years now.
    (and I hope my english doesn’t hurt you too much)

    • Turkey says:

      That’s one of the reasons I grew tired of Don’t Starve pretty quickly. There should be like a new game + type option that lets you start with certain milestone tools that you’ve unlocked in your previous playthroughs.

      • Padintong says:

        Yes, you’re right, a way to bypass those first repetitive actions somehow. Or making them less repetitive or less crucial to your progress, giving more variety to the first steps of every playthrough. This is harder to implement, but probably worth trying. And don’t tell me that about Don’t Starve, I was going to start playing it today! :(

        EDIT because I forgot a word.

      • FredZepplin says:

        Yup, I was thinking of Don’t Starve on that point too. I can’t imagine how the devs weren’t using a “debug mode lets you skip ahead to the good bits…” The first time (maybe two) that you harvest the initial stuff is fun, after that, not so much.

        • davethejuggler says:

          There are mods that allow you to spawn items, which i used last time i played to set me up with a list of starter items for just that reason. Have to then be strict with yourself not to cheat, but at least you skip the drudgery.

          • Philotic Symmetrist says:

            You don’t even need a mod; if you go to the world settings when starting a new game there’s an option called Default Plus. This does more than just preset various options that you can change manually (more boons and spiders, less berries, carrots and rabbits) but also starts you out with three chests containing stacks of basic materials, food, some tools and a few blueprints. It also makes the spider nests start out at stage 2 or 3 (this is in addition to there simply being more of them).

            Edit: so in essence, yes they did use a debug mode to skip the starting phase and then put it into the game as an option.

      • Dilapinated says:

        You’re in luck, there is! Under the world generation options, select Default+ (iirc!). This’ll give you various boxes with blueprints & ingredients in to get up to 2nd tech level or so with comfort items. The flipside of this is WAY MORE SPIDERS, but that’s often a boon in Don’t Starve (fishing line, bug net, bird trap, etc)

      • Bradamantium says:

        That’s exactly why I bounced off of Don’t Starve. My progress was incremental and I could live with that, but every death meant doing it all over again just to squeeze out another little stretch of success before being booted back to nothing.

        I’d like to see survival games do the setup of a basic kind of camp or set of tools or what have you as part of the tutorial and give the option to start with all that stuff established on subsequent playthroughs. I suppose it comes down to some sense of survival authenticity v. keeping the entertainment rolling, though.

    • tumbleworld says:

      Welcome to the non-lurker side! We have cookies.

      • Padintong says:

        Hahaha!! Thank you. I like cookies! I’ll bring some next time. :)

    • caff says:

      Your English is excellent. Welcome.

  9. Thirith says:

    I don’t entirely agree on the in-game time thing. I’m fine with different approaches to in-game time vs. real time, and I’m doubly fine with letting this be adjusted by the player (if it works for the game – it very much depends on how the game is designed, obviousy), but I like the heightened quality you can get out of time passing more quickly in the game. I don’t necessarily play games for several hours at a time, so I wouldn’t really get to see how the world changes depending on what time it is; the changes would most likely be imperceptible. I’m the kind of guy who watches every timelapse video he finds, especially of well designed game worlds, and I like knowing that going from A to B might mean that the sun sets in-game and the scarier monsters come out to play. Game worlds are smaller than the real world and getting from A to B rarely takes longer than an hour, so speeded-up time tends to reflect the fact that our relatively small game worlds represent much larger worlds.

    • Eight Rooks says:

      Yeah, this is the weakest one. There is a reason – there are multiple reasons games do not generally operate on a real-time 24-hour clock.

      (Though it’s still amusing to me how most of these are basically John getting all angryface again over The Long Dark.)

      • Cinek says:

        Is he? I read that post and besides the time thing – I never thought about The Long Dark. Points on a list are fairly universal to the genre, and many problems are as much of a problems in, say, DayZ, as they are in The Long Dark.

        • Eight Rooks says:

          It isn’t necessarily a criticism, and it was partly a joke on my part. Just saying – he was extremely vocal about The Long Dark’s faults as he saw them to a degree I don’t remember him being for any other game in a while – how it required the player to eat all the time/had the player getting tired all the time/the in-game clock was operating very strangely, and how these requirements weren’t letting him have fun the way he wanted to. Of course they can apply to other games too.

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        John Walker says:

        I was thinking of many, including The Forest, Salt (the worst for the night time thing), Don’t Starve, Eidolin, and indeed The Long Dark (which I love.)

        • gi_ty says:

          Speaking of The Forest are you ever going to to more gameplay videos? I think they were well received (at least I enjoyed it greatly).

          • Cinek says:

            First they would have to release some significant content patch…

        • Eight Rooks says:

          Oh, it wasn’t meant as HAHAHA WEAK PANSYMAN WALKER WHO HATES ALL GAMES or anything. You did seem to enjoy TLD quite a bit – after all, your WIT was partly what persuaded me to buy it. :) Though – while I don’t believe what certain commenters/internet people say about your writing – you did seem to be pretty angry about the things you didn’t like.

    • programmdude says:

      The most frustrating game I have played with bad game time to real time ratio was the sims. It’s not a survival game, but still has this issue. I should not miss the bus to school/whatever because it takes me 2 hours to walk from one side of my house to the other.

      • Spoon Of Doom says:

        God, how I hate this. Need to brush your teeth? You better have half an hour left! Taking out the trash? Wow, only 1.5 hours – record time!

  10. Turkey says:

    I don’t think we’ll see the end of zombies in survival games anytime soon. Zombie lovin’ is still going strong, despite how tired us savvy dorks are of the concept.

    • Dinger says:

      Zombies work because you can have humanish enemies and yet the AI will always be believable. Wanna do wolves? Now you need a new set of models and animations, and, even after spending three weeks getting the ‘circle and attack’ code in there, people will complain about it breaking immersion.
      Corridor shooters developed to maximize poly budgets; zombies to minimize AI budgets

      • Cinek says:

        Hm… let’s think…. humanoid yet dumb enough to work well as an AI, yet rarely (or never) used in a survival games…
        Ogres (Shadow of Mordor being beautiful example), Goblins/Gnomes (whatever), Droids (people always believe droids will suck on a battlefied), Aliens (cause humans like to feel superior), Mutants (though people tell to call them cheap zombies, so I won’t insist), Troglodytes (we have way too few games with these guys), these (cause f*** yea!).

    • Klatu says:

      Couldn’t we have Deliverance style combatants as a stop gap? ie They look like humans on the outside but inside they just want to kill you and eat you? And play banjo’s and make you squeal …

      Edit. Also. There should be a limit on the number of Morte avatars.

      • jonahcutter says:

        The Forest’s antagonists are some type of mutant cannibals.

  11. skyturnedred says:

    Instead of zombies, give me natural disasters. Surviving after a near-world-ending earthquake/tsunami/asteroid would be interesting, since the enemies would be other humans (and wildlife). Though I get that zombies are easy to do, since humans would require some actual AI. One of the key aspects could be that you would never know if the people you meet are friendly or not. There would have to be some systems built around that to allow you to determine in some way if they can be trusted.

    Now that I think about it, the (now canceled) TV show Revolution would make for an awesome survival game with grand scope.

    • caff says:

      I really like this idea. A proper simulation of the descent of rational human behaviour into looting, killing and general other naughty behaviour would be awesome, and perhaps more immersive than the well worn “oh look they’re turning into zombies” storyline.

    • AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

      I’m amazed that no one has made a survival game set in a STALKER/Roadside Picnic style setting yet. Replace zombies (numerous, but more of a nuisance) with anomalies (rarely but almost immediately fatal, and each one an event in itself) and you’ve got a game changer.

    • jonahcutter says:

      I Am Alive did this. No monsters. No zombies. Everyone you encounter is a normal human (except for one notable exception who can be missed completely, and never really seen clearly).

      It’s a flawed game, but with some very cool ideas, set-up and atmosphere. It’s worth a playthrough.

    • Spoon Of Doom says:

      That kind of sounds like what I hoped I Am Alive would be, before it was released and shattered my hopes.

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    FhnuZoag says:

    I wish designers would get away from the Forest/Abandoned town/Nuke-blasted city settings, really. They aren’t really very interesting or novel to play in.

    One thing I would really love to see is a survival game expanding on that one GTA mod with the flooded city. ( link to youtube.com )

    • Cinek says:

      Problem is that freshly flooded cities don’t make much sense for a survival situation. You’d get rescued within hours by just sitting on a rooftop :)

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        FhnuZoag says:

        U-uh…. zombies ate all the helicopter pilots????

        Or I guess you could have maybe a gang of evil cultists who are holding off the rescuers with surface to air missile launchers or a nuke or something?

      • 04dowie says:

        Day after tomorrow style story?

        Could be fun, but would be unrealistic to be alone.

        • Cinek says:

          If it’s day after tomorrow then you still have TONS of eatable food all around you (cans, bottles, vacuum-packed food, heck: food in any sort of plastic bags) basically solving the whole “survival” element. ;)

          • 04dowie says:

            True, but survival isn’t and doesn’t have to be purely about food. Yes it is a key concept of survival but its role could easily be replaced by other concepts that often don’t receive (as) much focus in survival games; such as keeping warm, avoiding disease, finding medicine, even (appropriately and sensitively) dealing with the mental stress such a situation would put on someone.

            Finding food can even often feel like a chore because of the reasons mentioned above, (eating enough food for an entire family and needing to eat again ten minutes later) so reducing the importance of food could potentially not only increase the amount of fun the player is having but also open up the possibilities for other interesting survival aspects to be explored.

  13. Monggerel says:

    Not everything has to be a fucking apocalypse you STUPID DEVELOPER HU-MANN. STOP RIGHT THERE CRIMINAL SCUM

  14. Gypsy23 says:

    Don’t make weapons/armor/tools part of the busy work, or use it to amplify the grind. Crowbars don’t break after a couple of hits, batteries don’t die within minutes, people don’t need to eat all the time.

    Do let the player use the environment to their benefit. Including the ability to use whatever is in the environment as they seem fit. Was watching a play through of The Forest and couldn’t believe when the player was cold the only thing he could do was light a fire, while there’s tons of suitcases filled with clothes they could have worn to reduce the cold. Also the player had to build shelter, even though there were plenty of tents they logically could have made use of. Those two things are what made me decide against getting it, unless they made it more immersive.

  15. gadalia says:

    What if you’re lost in / on [insert setting] and you must survive and complete certain objectives to be rescued.
    From what I’ve seen a lot of survival games have no end game, give some incentive to keep playing once you’re safe and well stocked.

  16. Comrade Roe says:

    I’m curious what it’d be like to have a survival game, only you’re a member of a surviving community that was able to live past the Great Epic World Ruining Disaster, but there are rival communities you need to compete with for resources to rebuild to what once was.

  17. strangeloup says:

    I think the only survival game I really liked was a 2002 title on the PS2, one of the Zettai Zetsumei Toshi series that’d got translated into English; SOS: The Final Escape in Europe, Disaster Report in the US.

    To quote Wiki: “The game deals with the characters’ survival and escape from the slow collapse of an artificial island. While dodging falling buildings and debris from periodic earthquakes, the player must find a way off the island. In addition, the main character, a reporter, must investigate the reasons for the disaster.”

    It wasn’t a big budget game, but the idea of surviving a natural disaster where aftershocks would periodically change the environment, as well as cause more hazards (and sometimes new paths) was excellent. The whole idea seemed both more plausible and more interesting than the recent “you’re in the woods oh and also zombies and also maybe other players who will torture you for the lulz” titles.

    Now, survival-horror as a genre, I can generally get behind a lot more, but that’s a different thing, even if there is sometimes a degree of overlap.

  18. zentropy says:

    My Skyrim setup is pretty survival heavy, and features quite a few dragons. I call it Dragon’s Souls.

    I know, I’m lame… :'(

  19. Haborym says:

    Hm, I remember Seiken Densetsu 3 had a day/night cycle. Certain monsters slept at night, so it was easier to kill them (though they’d wake up if you bonked them on the head I think), and I think other monsters only came out at night. Something like that could be interesting.

  20. Devilfish says:

    “there are very few survival games featuring dragons”

    ARE YOU SAYING THAT THE NUMBER IS NOT ZERO