The Fixed-plot / Replay Dichotomy

Somehow I managed to maintain the adrenaline post-IGF-deadline, I’m sure I’ll crash horribly at some point and have to take a week off, but I’ve been expecting that… Just figured I’d ride the wave of inspiration while it’s there!  I have at least been taking some quality time with the family, and with DARK SOULS.

So while I was putting together that build, a load of new ideas started to form, particularly thinking along the lines of what the metagame was, and what I could do to tease out the replayability element.  I don’t think all games need this, and for the most part with story-led games, I think it’s actually fairly pointless (except for the awesome Silent Hill ‘UFO’ / ‘Dog’ endings.  I probably have something like that planned.)

Anyway, not so with Lone Survivor, or so I hope.  Although my work tends to be fairly tightly scripted, for once I see a game where the story is loose enough to work in a number of different ways.  The story focusses on the minutiae, the details of the daily routine, and this can vary enormously without affecting the plot.

There’s been a lot of interest from Minecraft players since the trailer was retweeted by Notch, and that’s made me look at another element of it – the survival itself.  I hadn’t even considered that really the game partly fits into this new category of indie games with survival elements, and it made me wonder if I could take this aspect even further.  To that end I’ll be introducing a few pseudo-random elements into the world over the next few weeks, as well as focussing on the earlier survival ideas I never got round to implementing, and a few new ones…

I’ve already got the stove in the apartment working, and that’s really gonna help cheer up You’s world, along with a number of other cool items which almost work in a side-quest manner.  Well, the less I reveal the better I think, but this should give you an idea of where I’m heading with it.

Where the game differs massively from Minecraft and other survival games such as Terraria or Project Zomboid is that it is mostly linear adventure, with a fixed plot.  The ending is determined by how you play, but there are fixed scenes and puzzles.  It’s the details that change, as there’s a lot of (seemingly) pointless stuff to do in the world.  Although you’ll have to believe me when I say that everything you can do has some purpose!

I’m keen that people don’t try to ‘figure out / exploit’ the system, at least on their first playthrough.  That they just explore, play naturally, and see what happens.  Those that read my blog and twitter feeds will probably have much more of an idea of what the underlying systems are, but I think for the most part people will approach it like a normal survival horror game, which I’m kinda banking on for it to have its full effect.

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  • Comments (7)
  1. Valuable info. Fortunate me I discovered your website by chance, and I’m surprised why this twist of fate didn’t took place in advance! I bookmarked it.

  2. avatar
    • superflat
    • October 30th, 2011

    *edit – never feed the trolls.

  3. avatar
    • Sefam
    • October 28th, 2011

    Thanks Jasper! I`m also looking at you on TIGSource.

  4. avatar
    • superflat
    • October 27th, 2011

    Alberto, it’ll be out either at New Year or some time into early 2012. Still not sure how much is left to do!

    Sefam, I’ll try and keep updates more frequent over here!

  5. avatar
    • Sefam
    • October 27th, 2011

    Well, I was suspended by Twitter two days ago for no apparent reason. So I suppose I’ll just keep following your blog since Twitter’s support doesn’t answer.

  6. avatar
    • Alberto
    • October 24th, 2011

    When is coming out and how do i buy this game???

  7. avatar
    • Sefam
    • October 22nd, 2011

    Yay! Blog post!

    I can’t wait to see those elements when I play the game, you’re making me very impatient!

    As for your crashing, just make sure you reserve time each day to spend time with your family or to do something fun; something to look forward to everyday.

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