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Do we really need an unrealistic Survival Game?


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When I first read about this game I was truly impressed. It looked like everything I always hoped Minecraft would be - and more.

Now after reading further into the monster and temporal storm dynamics I doubt that it will be perceived differently after all.

 

Does it really need fantasy monsters and artificial conditions to emulate a tough survival experience?

Aren't natural disasters, harsh winters and other weather conditions, packs of wild predators and eerie pitch dark nights enough?

I only want to mention a few games which play very successfully with these themes (The Long Dark, Subnautica when only considering the water/darkness theme)

Let me know your thoughts.

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There are plans, eventually, to have a game mode that eschews all story elements.  Basically leaving you with just 'real world' stuff.  It won't necessarily be as well balanced in terms of progression and gameplay (I mean how much machinery do you need to take on bears, really?).  But it will hopefully be an option, down the line.

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7 hours ago, Korhaka said:

You can turn temporal stability/storms off in the menus if you like, not sure if you can turn the drifters off or not, can probably mod them away though?

If I'm not mistaken, you can turn off the aggressive mobs by using the world config command or initial configuration.

 

Quote

/worldconfig creatureHostility [aggressive|passive|off]
Set default creature hostility (default: aggressive)

 

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No, we don't necessarily need an unrealistic survival game, but even games like The Long Dark did the "Escape the Darkwalker" Halloween event. Personally, I'm enjoying VS way more than other similar games like Minecraft or The Long Dark because of the elements that you're listening, but fantasy and some cosmic horror appeal to me more than strict realism. 

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9 hours ago, TertiaVigilia said:

Does it really need fantasy monsters and artificial conditions to emulate a tough survival experience?

It doesn't need monsters and mysterious magic weather sure, but I don't think that necessarily means we shouldn't have them.

For one, having fantasy monsters means the game devs have much more freedom in where they place a threat and how dangerous it is.

Like caves, for example. Not a lot of animals live in caves, and the few who do are usually small and only live close to the entrance. If we only used real life creatures in the game, deep caves would be essentially risk free to explore.

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Thank you all for the replies!

I guess if I am able to turn off the temporal storms / monsters I'm satisfied with the survival experience.

Some remarks:

7 hours ago, Allen said:

If we only used real life creatures in the game, deep caves would be essentially risk free to explore.

What about cave-in's? They already include a physics engine, so it could affect that long tunnels/mines without support tend to become unstable, and trap the player while depleting oxygen. Also think about the light source, an underground fire/smoke could get out of control, destroying support structures and the smoke killing the player.

 

11 hours ago, redram said:

I mean how much machinery do you need to take on bears, really?

True, but today most machinery is also not used to hunt, but to reduce manual labor effort (like the windmill in the game). There could be machinery generating electricity at some point, the possibilities are endless...

 

I agree with all of you, that if you like the fantasy concept, you will want drifters, temporal storms and all kind of artificial events to spice up the experience. But there are soo many games out there which already do that, and first of all is Minecraft. For Vintage Story to have a beloved place in the community I'd deem it almost necessary that it sets itself apart and doesn't say "Here's Minecraft, with different monsters, a bit more tools and a bit tougher survival", but instead "Here's Vintage Story, a real-life survival struggle". There can be a patch to add monsters for fantasy lovers. Just my two cents :)

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Unfortunately, I think the ship has sailed on that one. This game is almost always going to be sold as "here's Minecraft, but with [something you wish Minecraft did] and [feature you never knew you wanted]" unless it gets RIDICULOUSLY huge. That's fine since there's a real niche to be filled that the game does a good job of doing. 

I think cave-ins and stuff should definitely be a part of the regular game, but... I also don't play with the setting that makes dirt subject to real gravity because it's just too different for me. Plus cave-ins aren't quite the same danger as a monster - one is typically the result of a player's own actions and inattention, while the other is a totally external force that you have to overcome. This is already my favorite MC-style game and I think it sets itself apart from vanilla Minecraft quite well. But I also haven't played vanilla Minecraft in over 6 years.

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15 hours ago, Feone Varen said:

What would your vision of regular gameplay / challenges to overcome / goals look like for this?

The regular gameplay would be about survival, having shelter, enough food, clothes, warmth, etc.

This would be regularly challenged by failing crops due to pests, hail or storms in summer (against some you might be able to protect yourself). Then there would be harsh winters requiring more firewood (or something better than a open campfire, a hearth or oven inside a wooden or stone house) to keep you from freezing. During winter packs of predators roam the forests, so it's dangerous just to gather one piece of wood (try keeping control of a wolf pack and protect your own lifestock is sure a challenge). Then there are always better tools, better materials (some of them requiring scarce or remotely found resources, requiring special equipment to mine/gather). 

I remembered my first hours in Subnautica for example. I almost didn't buy the game due to the underwater theme, but then I spent almost two days living of emergency rations and figuring out how to purify water. Yes, water. I almost died of thirst in a survival game, who else has achieved that? Most don't even have an indicator for that. The rest of the game basically didn't have an agenda, you just wanted to have a better base, better vehicles, better tools, more comfort. Some of this required you to travel to deep and life-hostile environments.

15 hours ago, l33tmaan said:

unless it gets RIDICULOUSLY huge

I'm not so sure about this one. Simulating a temporal storm or a hailstorm/blizzard, what's the difference? Having a complex wolf pack behavior vs. imagines monster behavior? It doesn't have to be 100% realistic for sure, there are interpretations, simplifications, hell it's a game after all. A lot of the content (e.g. advanced machinery and tools) can be added later, as the players will struggle long enough just to survive in the first place, having an electric stove is second to third level priority.

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On 11/22/2020 at 11:25 PM, TertiaVigilia said:

Does it really need fantasy monsters and artificial conditions to emulate a tough survival experience?

In my opinion Vintage Story if one of the more realistic games i've played. But not because its super realistic about its mechanics. It's more about how ambient and real it feels.  Multitasking all the time, planning long trips, struggling with possibility to carry too much things with you, feeling happy finnaly arriving home, food preservation, climbing caves (while thinking how to get back safe), animal hunting, season change...you name it. Once water and temperature physics will be improved, struggle will become more "real".
 

Monsters and storms are small part on "unrealism", yet needed for small story this game has. There is some reason we're finding ruins and ancient scrolls/books - what are they remains of? Sure there could be option to play without monsters and storms, but then there should be alternatives for getting gears and using teleports - because map is huge. Some mod for such alternative will come later on i guess. :)

Surviving more real conditions is fun thing to try, but i would't want to do that long-term. No feel for achievments, unless survived days counting. How about injuries for example - broken leg - wait months to heal? Then game without respawn - starting all again from scratch? There is limit to how real game can get and i wouldn't want to play such game i think. :)

That's my opinion. I wouldn't want Vintage story to become simple farming/surviving simulator. :)

 

 

Edited by Domkrats
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On 11/24/2020 at 12:22 AM, TertiaVigilia said:

What about cave-in's? They already include a physics engine, so it could affect that long tunnels/mines without support tend to become unstable, and trap the player while depleting oxygen. Also think about the light source, an underground fire/smoke could get out of control, destroying support structures and the smoke killing the player.

Having played with some mods/games with cave-ins, cave-in's in games generally aren't a threat unless a player is being really careless.

It makes you use up more resources during caving to make the supports, but that's generally it, since well used supports will negate the dangers of a cave-in. It's also generally not a danger for exploring generated caves, so without some sort of threat, it's easy for someone to just walk down a cave, mark all the ores, them come back with some supports for easy mining.

Underground fire/smoke can be resolved by not placing too many dangerous light sources, not a problem since you're no longer trying to stop spawns, just light the place enough to see. Also, unless there's going to be some complex thing to make it only work in caves or only have them set supports on fire, you'll probably need a 'safe' light source for using in buildings as well, which could be used to negate the fire/smoke dangers.

Basically, the problem I see with environmental threats is that once you know what they are, they can generally be easily bypassed, especially in games like this when things are generated randomly and the player can easily shape the world around them.

 

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I am very torn on this subject as I really love realistic survival games and I prefer magic being kept at a minimum, because it often removes my immersion or the game "forces" me to use it in order to progress. However, I also feel like the monsters add a fear element, that realistically speaking could represent our ancestors' fears of entering caves and going out in the dark. This fear element is really important for the game as it slows our progression down. Wolves are super scary as well, but I feel like they act as a great situational threat rather than a lower and more constant threat.

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I am not really into monsters at all but those in VS are fine. Thing is: the surface drifters are a real nuisance. Always dozens of them after every night. I appreciate the realistic elements like when it is cold and one is getting warmer next to a fire. Also a lot of the game mechanics lead to a reason to build things like storage areas or buildings to process materials instead of having each and everything instantly in the crafting grid.

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