Posts Tagged ‘Survival Week’

Surviving With The Sims

Note – this was originally published a month ago as part of the RPS Supporter program, hence the reference to our now-finished Survival Week.

It’s Survival Week here at RPS, so I decided that I’d write about my earliest experiences with The Sims, a survival game like no other. Left to their own devices, Sims are just about smart enough to struggle through life but they’re not quite intelligent enough to live. They need to be coaxed into improving their lot, and influenced by the click and the cursor. Without either clicks or cursors, I first encountered The Sims when I was struggling to build my own place in the world. Let’s take a trip down the memory cul-de-sac.

Read the rest of this entry »

A Brief History Of Survival Games

As part of our government mandated Survival Week, I’ve taken a look into the long history of survival gaming, charting the genre from its origins to its present day obligation. Let’s dive in!

It bears repeating that the very first Survival Game was released in 1878, by pioneer developers Pickering’s Gaming Emporium. Being created at a time before anyone had ever had to survive anything in real life, looking back on Where’s My Pouch now, some of its ideas seem a little out there! You began as a lone gentleman, sat inside his study, and everything seemed tickety-boo. Until you reached for your pipe, and realised there was absolutely no tobacco to be found!

Read the rest of this entry »

Interview: Warzone Survival In This War Of Mine

This War Of Mine instructions

“An experience of war seen from an entirely new angle”. That’s how 11 Bit Studios are pitching This War Of Mine. The new angle they’re referring to is the fact that, instead of being an action-packed military shooter, their warzone is a city under siege and requires you to keep a band of civilians alive. Its desire not to glorify war reminds me of Ubisoft’s recent Valiant Hearts but in terms of how the game works mechanically it’s closer to Zafehouse Diaries – a zombie survival game with a diary storytelling element. I spoke to the game’s senior writer to learn more.

Read the rest of this entry »

How To Make Minecraft A Survival Game

There are lots of survival games, but there are also lots of games which could be survival games with the right mods installed. Over the course of Survival Week we’ll highlight a few of those games and i) write a diary of our experience playing with it ii) explain how to do it yourself.

“Survival mode”. Pah. Vanilla Minecraft’s survival mode is for the flimsy and infirm. Do you find yourself settling down to quiet retirement once you’ve got four walls – hell, a fence – around you? Too much time spent managing your diamond portfolio when you should be living the escapist dream? Well read on, Ray Mears; I’ve crafted a collection of Minecraft’s most savage survival mods and volunteered as guinea pig.

I’ve steered clear of total conversions like Better Than Wolves. They do things with style, and if you’re after an authentic Middle Ages farmhand simulator then you’re set, but overhauls don’t play well with other mods. What I want is flexibility – modular components which can be tweaked to reinforce my place as nature’s downtrodden underdog.

Read the rest of this entry »

Minecraft Survival Diary: Longing For Home Comforts

There are lots of survival games, but there are also lots of games which could be survival games with the right mods installed. Over the course of Survival Week we’ll highlight a few of those games and i)write a diary of our experience playing with it ii) explain how to do it yourself.

Loading my pack with the most brutal of mods, I set out into Minecraft with pure intentions: to establish a simple steading. The farmhouse shall be made of rustic sandstone. A small flower garden would be nice. And then the fields; a solid smallholding to support me and mine with fresh, free-range produce. Perhaps I’ll organise outhouses for the peasantry. The other peasantry, I mean.

Read the rest of this entry »

A Fistful Of Gelli Bears: Neo Scavenger Diary #3

Neo Scavenger is one of the best turn-based RPGs I’ve ever played. Although still in Early Access, it has oodles of content and has received several hefty updates since I first played it. As part of Survival Week, I decided to document a single playthrough of the game. No quicksaves, no restarts, no chance. Here’s how I died.

The previous parts are here.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Gentlest Surviving Of Them All: Salt

What better aligning of the fates than RPS’s Survival Week, and a fresh arrival on Steam, to excuse playing some more of Lavaboots’ Salt? The seafaring island-explorer has seen a few updates since I last played, as well as a place on Steam’s Early Access. And most of all, fishing.

Read the rest of this entry »

Survival Mod Total Chaos Pretties And Uglifies Doom II

Earlier this week I wrote about DayZ mod for Doom which you can play right now, but here’s another, potentially more ambitious still survival remix of id’s finest hour. Total Chaos for Doom II is a massively-modified ( to the point of being unrecognisable) singleplayer open world survival horror mod, which uses GZDoom (engine) and Zandronum (multiplayer infrastructure) and – GASP! – features no guns.

But… but… is this not like curry without beer, a Florida vacation without Disney World, or the Velvet Underground without feedback?
Read the rest of this entry »

Every Death You Take: Perma-Permadeath in DayZ

This town is, frankly, big enough for the two of us It's DayZ. It's huge.

Games with permadeath — wherein you start over completely when you die — provide certain stakes to a gaming session. Rather than reloading your last save after you die, you lose all your gear, you lose all your progress, and you essentially lose all the time you’ve spent playing up to that point. For a while now (a couple years, to be honest) I’ve been thinking about a way to up those stakes, to go a step beyond perma-death: perma-permadeath, where dying means you don’t just lose your stuff, you lose the game itself. Forever. Survival Week on RPS seems like an apt time to finally give it a try.

So, today I’ll play DayZ, and if I die, I won’t simply start over. I’ll stop playing DayZ, and I won’t play it again. For the rest of my life. For real.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Lost Cartographer: Surviving The Long Dark

It’s grim up north. The northern parts of Canada portrayed in early-access survival adventure The Long Dark, that is. We sent Duncan Geere to explore its icy landscapes for Survival Week, and he came back with a tale of a single day in the life of a lost cartographer, trying to map the wilderness as it slowly kills him.

The first sensation is one of bone-chilling cold. I open my eyes, and I’m blinded by bright light from all directions. What is this place? Am I dead? If I’d known that heaven would have been this chilly, I’d have brought a thicker jumper. But no, after a few seconds the whiteness fades into shapes. Shapes of trees and mountains. Slowly, the memories come back.

I was on a plane – a plane flying into the far north of Canada to study an odd geomagnetic anomaly that had appeared close to the magnetic pole. My skills were needed to map the affected area – I’ve been a cartographer for fifteen years. But while in flight, the anomaly grew larger and the plane’s navigation systems failed. In vain, the pilot hunted for a safe landing site, but when the fuel ran low we were forced out of the door with a few basic survival supplies and a parachute. Now I’m somewhere in the Canadian wildernerness in the worst possible state for a cartographer to be. Lost.

Read the rest of this entry »

Have You Played… A Dark Room?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Is A Dark Room a survival game? It’s a browser-based resource management game, which wears the uniform of an ‘idle’ experience but is about far more than accumulation over time. Perhaps it doesn’t quite fit the survival theme because it’s impossible to fail but it repositions the language and grammar of survival for its own sweetly sinister ends.

Read the rest of this entry »

Skyrim Survival Diary: Teaching Old Dogs New Tricks

There are lots of survival games, but there are also lots of games which could be survival games with the right mods installed. Over the course of Survival Week we’ll highlight a few of those games and i)write a diary of our experience playing with it ii) explain how to do it yourself.

I found Meeko sitting by the side of the road. He is one of Skyrim’s shaggy, grey wolfhounds that look as old as they do stupid. He saw me, turned around and ran into the thicket. I followed him through the trees, where he led me to a run-down shack. I looked inside and there, lying still and grey on the shed’s single rickety bed, was Meeko’s owner. He was dead. The mongrel looked to me, blinked in the cold and seemed to whine. All right then, I thought, you can follow me. It was a decision I never came to regret. Later on, Meeko killed a lot of people for me.

But more importantly, Meeko kept me warm in Skyrim’s deadly mountain passes. One of the mods I have installed is Frostfall, which gives the player a few extra things to worry about. Exposure can leave you freezing to death, while being wet means you succumb to the cold even faster. You have to keep yourself warm at fires and fill up on hot soups to keep your ‘exposure meter’ from dropping too low. Once, I tried to swim across a small, icy river and before I could get a fire going on the opposite shore I passed out from hypothermia. I woke up in a familiar inn, penniless, frostbitten and with this note in my pocket.

Read the rest of this entry »

How To Make Skyrim A Survival Game

There are lots of survival games, but there are also lots of games which could be survival games with the right mods installed. Over the course of Survival Week we’ll highlight a few of those games and i) write a diary of our experience playing with it ii) explain how to do it yourself.

You may have already read my Skyrim survival diary and if not, why not? It sees me struggling to ward off frostbite with wine and adopting the game’s most lovable dog just to keep my feet warm. If you want to plod through the winter wastelands of Skyrim‘s Tamriel with the same ‘survival mode’ in mind yourself, these are the mods you’ll want to add. Most of them come from a single source, the Nexus modding community. Before you grab them, it is best to have their Nexus Mod Manager installed, as well as something called SKSE. (You will also have to register to join the Nexus community to download these files). Getting all this architecture in place is a minor frustration compared to the improvements you’ll see in the end. It will be worth it when you find yourself freezing to death under a rocky outcrop with no wood to start a fire.

Read the rest of this entry »

Bag For Life: Neo Scavenger Diary #2

Neo Scavenger is one of the best turn-based RPGs I’ve ever played. Although still in Early Access, it has oodles of content and has received several hefty updates since I first played it. As part of Survival Week, I decided to document a single playthrough of the game. No quicksaves, no restarts, no chance. Here’s how I died.

Part one is here.

Read the rest of this entry »

Have You Played… Notrium?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

The RPS archives don’t contain a single post dedicated to Notrium and Survival Week is the perfect time to remedy that. Mod-friendly, free to download and rocking a randomised alien world before ‘procedural generation’ became the buzzword de jour, Ville Mönkkönen’s top-down sci-fi treat is still an unusual experience, even if I do sometimes feel that half of the game developers in the world have been secretly taking notes from it.

Read the rest of this entry »

Eidolon Diary: Diarising Eidolon

Eidolon is a beautiful survival game inside which John starved to death on video back in August. We asked Jack de Quidt, writer for The Tall Trees, to live a little longer and write a little more about his experiences with the game.

When you first open up your journal in Eidolon you’re met with wonderful, terrifying blankness. You have no objective. You have no map. You have nothing in your inventory. There are spaces for these things, but they’re utterly empty. One icon in particular drew my attention – a little hand-drawn pencil that opened a tab with a single blinking cursor. I closed my journal. I looked out at the landscape. I opened my journal again.

Read the rest of this entry »

Field Notes: How Devs Recreate Wilderness In Games

Most survival games are set in the great outdoors, and while The Vanishing of Ethan Carter and Firewatch aren’t survival games, both have taken interesting steps to present natural wilderness. We asked Mitch Bowman to find out more.

The outward appearance of everything on Earth that wasn’t made by humans is one big accident. It’s the result of a bewilderingly complicated system of interactions between organisms that couldn’t care less how pretty their surroundings are, and the end result isa chaotic mess.

As you might imagine, that makes it pretty tough for environment artists to recreate the corners of the planet that humans haven’t messed with. We understand cities – we know what they’re for, we know why they were designed the way they were, and we probably even have some idea how they were built. Not so with the great outdoors, and that presents an interesting challenge to those attempting to emulate wildernesses in video games.

Read the rest of this entry »

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.

Read the rest of this entry »