From the blog

void Survive();

void Survive(); is a 2D side-view resource management game. It is a one-man project for the course “Game Design Elective”. Therefore, the main focus point of this project is the combination of narrative and mechanics.

The player needs to discover different areas for survival resources. The backpack capacity is limited, so the player needs to think about what exactly to bring to his shelter.

Management of the use of resources is also important in this game, this affects the efficiency of finding resources.

As the story goes, the player will figure out the truth of this mysterious world.

Story

You wake up from the rubble, and you have lost your memory. The world is broken, plants have invaded the buildings and there is no one around – except for the young girl in front of you.

How would you choose between the resources for survival and family albums and dolls, symbols of humanity and spirituality?

As the rainy season arrives, the conditions for survival become progressively harsher. Like a coincidence, you fall unexpectedly from a broken building, and you gradually uncover the truth about the world…

I am not a human-being, but a AI to serve the real human-being in such a world. And, here, is the final test field.

The last of your rations were stolen in a rainstorm night. The “culprit”, who is found after investigation, needs the food more than you do…

After knowing everything about this world, what choice will you make?

Inspiration

As there is no restriction on the course, I have chosen the post-apocalyptic world, my personal favourite, for this project. The inspiration for the mood came from Girls’ Last Tour.

In my personal opinion, “humanity” shines through and is especially precious when there is a crisis and everyone is at risk. It is the only thing that separates us from the beasts when the world is dead and all things will eventually return to nothingness.

Combination of narrative and mechanics

Although I am not really a fan of the “Dark Souls” series, I really like what Hidetaka Miyazaki did in his work, which is to tell the story with item descriptions and the environment of the map. There is also a sense of enlightenment when the player finally discovers the ambiguities laid down in the previous game experience. Therefore, I also tried to do some imitation in the design of this project.

On the UI when the player is searching for resources, there is a “survival value”. To the player, he might think this is an additional mechanic to help him distinguish the more valuable items. However, this is a “trap”. The “survival value” is there just because the player character is not a real human. And only AI or computer programme judge things in a numerical way.

Meanwhile, for those items that are not necessary for surviving (such as family albums), they will have a low “survival value”. The purpose of this is to intensify the conflict between the girl’s needs (represent humanity and empathy) and survival (represent the needs of survival).

Mood

The three-act structure is used to build up the story in this project.

In the first act, the player will meet the first conflict, between needs of survival and needs of mental. The girl will ask the player if it’s possible to bring something that is not really needed for surviving, but she wants, while they are searching for resources.

At the end of the first act, the weather will get worse. This makes the cost of stamina increase for getting out and looking for items. Besides, the storming will result in some collapsing of buildings. So there will be less place to go for resources.

In the second act, the previous conflict becomes apparent and acute. Also from here on, the player will start to know about the world through some conversation between the player character and the girl (such as the “survival value”). This will make the player start to think and doubt this world.

At the end of this act, the player will get into an accident. He will fall down to an abandoned monitor station and it is completely different from the environment outside. There are some rare resources that shouldn’t be in such a post-apocalyptic world. The purpose of putting the plot here is to give the player information about this world. After the player finished this plot, he should know that his character is an AI and the world is just a test field.

In the third act, the weather will be more terrible and getting out for food become almost impossible. Eventually, there will be someone steal the player’s last food before it runs out. When the player finds the “thief”, he will notice that they might need the food more. The player has to make his decision: leave the food to them, or get the food back.

This is a confluence of all the conflicts. The player knows everything, and he experienced everything. In this situation, he still needs to make decision. This decision and every choice he has done before (how many items for the girl’s mental needs that the player brings home etc.) will affect the ending.

To become the template of a “qualified” AI, only respons to master’s life, and get put into production? Or to become a “defective” AI that cannot protect and keep the master from danger, and get disposed?

There might be more “better” endings, but all the endings depends on the player’s decision, every of them.

Postscript

This is a project that mainly about its design, thus the demo is just a showcase of the part of its gameplay. Due to the limited time of developing, it is not iterated to the final version.

If you want to know more about this project, you can find my game design document on Google Drive.

The art assets of demo is created by hyouai.

Demo

You can download the project files on GitHub.

Recommended Unity version: 2019.2.12f1.

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