Monday, 18 March 2013

Tunnel in the Sky

Survival. One of the things which initially attracted me to Minecraft was its survival aspect - of finding myself alone in an unknown environment. Of exploring the world. Of crafting weapons, tools and shelter and struggling to survive. Unfortunately, the survival element never became a serious focus of development and it was never expanded, refined or gained the sort of depth I was hoping for.

I recently picked up Far Cry 3 in a Steam sale. I’m about nine hours in, and it’s been decent enough so far, but once again I find myself wishing for a more in-depth survival experience than the game offers. So here’s a game I’d like to see, but doesn’t yet exist -

Jungle Island Survival Exotic Extreme Adventure 2013 Edition (Working Title)

The Setting: Like Far Cry 3, a large tropical island chain with ancient ruins and rusty WW2 fortifications. Abandoned fishing villages, shipwrecks and washed up shipping containers can be scavenged for supplies. The islands were inhabited long ago, and only traces of the human presence remain.

The Story: None. Your nameless character washes up shipwrecked on the island. The game opens with you waking up on the beach. You goal is to explore the island and find a way to signal for help or escape by your own means. There are several possible solutions.

Gameplay: First person, with a fully modelled 3D body. Your character traverses the environment with a fluid, Mirror’s Edge style grace. You can crawl, crouch, run, sprint, jump, slide, swim and climb (rocks, cliffs and trees). Health, Stamina, Hunger, Sleep, Oxygen and Thirst bars. Clothes become wet, worn and torn throughout but can be replaced, repaired or crafted.

Health: Lack of sleep results in less stamina and eventually hallucinations. Wounds can become infected if not treated properly or quickly enough, resulting in visual and auditory hallucinations, fever and eventually death. Some plants on the island, if consumed, may also poison or trigger hallucinatory effects - the player has to learn the effects of local plants through trial and error. Far Cry 2 style DIY surgery.

Crafting: Certain weapons, traps, food, clothes and medical supplies can be crafted by gathering materials on the island. Herbs can be harvested, fallen branches gathered, fruit picked and local wildlife hunted. You can construct a shelter in several locations and improve upon it by gathering the appropriate supplies. There are a few old vehicles hidden on the island, but parts must be located in order to repair and use them. Fuel is limited.

Exploration: the player has a journal which they start with and update on their travels, building a map of the island as they explore. The player can add notations. The journal also logs discovered crafting recipes. There are ancient ruins on the island with puzzles, traps and artefacts to collect as well as several pieces of a treasure map which leads to buried treasure!

Sharks! Save anywhere, no checkpoints! No cut-scenes! Placement of key ‘Escape’ items is randomised every game!

Yeah, I’d better stop there. So seriously developers, get on it!

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