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Author Topic: Monday Design Update 9/28 - Survival skill  (Read 9411 times)
Brian
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« on: September 29, 2009, 01:25:10 am »

Survival – it’s one of the major themes of the game, which is why it should come as no shock to anyone that it’s actually a skill in our Zombie RPG. Now, you might think pumping points into this skill is all it would take to win a game about survival, but that would be wrong. Survival (the skill) is a combination of skills that would allow someone to stay alive in a hostile wilderness without the threat of zombies being an everyday occurrence. In real life, this would encompass a whole range of skills, from camping and plant identification to navigation and path finding. In the game, there are some very specific reasons why you would want to sink points into this skill.

As was previously mentioned on the boards, food is an important resource for the player to seek out. As the stores aren’t being restocked and scavenging is always dangerous, the Survival skill unlocks an alternative way to supplement food stocks - by giving the player the ability to identify wild plants and fungi and know where to harvest wild sources of food. You’d be surprised at just what you can eat and how common some of these plants are. As the skill increases, the player will be able to identify more wild plants, giving them more alternatives to trying to fighting other looters for that last can of dog food.

However, the Survival skill isn’t just about gathering nuts and berries, it’s also about looking, listening, and staying out of trouble. While traveling, there will be times that the player’s party could be ambushed by hostile humans or even groups of undead. With high enough Survival skill, the player will be able to choose whether to run from or engage enemies on their own terms, and at higher levels, they’ll even get a bonus to ambushing their attackers.

Last but not least, the Survival skill is about moving fast – about knowing how to get through terrain quickly and being observant. What this means is that when traveling on the area map, the player’s party will move quicker when they or their allies have a higher Survival skill. As they are moving, the higher their Survival skill, the more likely it is that they will spot areas to loot from a farther distance than they normally would. Remember, wasted time is wasted resources, so speed and knowledge are critical abilities to possess when making your way through the hostile wilderness of the zombie apocalypse.

Observation, identification, swiftness, and situational awareness – these are the tools that Survival experts possess. Survival in our game is less about being a nature enthusiast and more about being a commando. If you build your Survival skill, rest assured that neither hunger, nor hostiles will get the jump on you. Don’t get too cocky, though, because Survival will only get you to a destination, but should you get into the thick of combat, you’re going to need some other skills to rely on, chiefly the kind that involve axes, shotguns, and claw hammers. More about those in our next update.
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SnallTrippin
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« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2009, 01:42:53 am »

Nice.  Question:  Does size of the group in movement have modifiers to the skill?

Also love that you can do this instead of having to go through the stores, etc.
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Tylerbear
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« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2009, 10:09:49 am »

Damnit.  Everything I've always wanted in an RPG.  Which is not out yet and probably won't be any time soon.   Wallbang
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Brian
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« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2009, 01:49:07 pm »

Nice.  Question:  Does size of the group in movement have modifiers to the skill?

Also love that you can do this instead of having to go through the stores, etc.

Currently, the group moves at the rate of the player's Survival skill, plus an additional boost for members of the group that also have points in Survival. So there are benefits to having a group of Survival experts in a party versus just the player.

As far as food goes, you may be able to live off of natural food sources found with the Survival skill if you have a relatively small group, but for larger groups and for finding non-food items, the player will still have to loot dangerous areas. The Survival skill merely supplements the food intake of the group, and is generally a less risky way to collect extra food. 
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Tylerbear
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« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2009, 01:54:19 pm »

Any chance you would actually be able to grow your own food?  I'm not sure of the amount of time that passes in the game, but I've been wanting a post-apocalyptic scenario more in the vein of Earth Abides, where lots of time goes by.  Although that kind of doesn't mash up well with zombies.  You can't really wait for the spring harvest or whatever when someone's trying to rip through the front door of your shelter. 
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UbAh
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« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2009, 02:45:59 pm »

I'm not sure of the amount of time that passes in the game

That is a question that keeps bouncing around in my mind.  The answer colors just about everything we have discussed so far.
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mingoran
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« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2009, 05:22:41 pm »

This skill also depends on how traveling in the world map will work. I could see this  skill being very useful if the world map worked more like in Arcanum and Fallout than in Baldurs Gate 2 where you just click on a place and go directly to it.
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caster
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« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2009, 01:48:44 pm »

I wouldn't be much surprised if we end up getting a new and improved version of the world map and traveling style like
from the Storm of Zehir, only 3X times better. And Zombified.

:nods head:
Grin
I like the part with observing, listening and ambushes too.


Question (s)
In case of traveling and gathering food ... it sounds like its going to be at least somewhat automatic, directly dependent on Survival skill. Only on "world map" or during other parts of the game when you're exploring locations more closely?

Will high Survival skill highlight food and other interesting items automatically?


just to confirm:
Is there any kind of tracking or seeing, noticing any tracks, when you're loaded into some local map, as a part of the Survival skill?

Will "eating" be also completely automatic?

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Brian
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« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2009, 02:45:52 pm »


Question (s)
In case of traveling and gathering food ... it sounds like its going to be at least somewhat automatic, directly dependent on Survival skill. Only on "world map" or during other parts of the game when you're exploring locations more closely?

Answer (s)

There are locations on the map that are "wild" food sources that only show up if you have the proper amount of Survival skill. If you know where they are, you can travel to them, harvest the food (automatic, not pick everything up manually), and come back if they pop up again.

Will high Survival skill highlight food and other interesting items automatically?

If your skill is high enough to identify them, yes.

just to confirm:
Is there any kind of tracking or seeing, noticing any tracks, when you're loaded into some local map, as a part of the Survival skill?

Will "eating" be also completely automatic?

There's no tracking with Survival. Survival will help you get to a location intact, but once there, you'll have to keep an eye out for danger.

Yes, eating is automatic. If people need food and you have it, they'll eat automatically. If you don't have food, you'll definitely hear about it.

 
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caster
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« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2009, 06:19:59 pm »

Quote
Answer (s)

There are locations on the map that are "wild" food sources that only show up if you have the proper amount of Survival skill. If you know where they are, you can travel to them, harvest the food (automatic, not pick everything up manually), and come back if they pop up again.
Smile Cool beans.
Its going to feel more like ... , living world  Smile ... that way.
Will we load into some small map like you would in random encounters in Fallouts or just collect from the world map?

Quote
There's no tracking with Survival. Survival will help you get to a location intact,
Shame...
And you already have highlighting stuff... sigh...
Quote
but once there, you'll have to keep an eye out for danger.
So, while in the location survival wont have some influence on things there?
I imagine a map like a piece of smaller half ruined city, nothing too big... it seems to me survival could add some advantages to a group of people in there too.

In case of ambushes, will we load into a random small location to fight them out?

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Scott
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« Reply #10 on: October 02, 2009, 08:10:44 am »

Regarding "faster" map travel dependent on Survival skill, I trust in the Real World (on your monitor I mean) your group will always cross the map at the same speed (quickly), while the rate of time passing will reflect other parameters.
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« Reply #11 on: October 04, 2009, 12:34:03 pm »

eh... it seems we filled our quota for this update Scott.

But thanks for clarifying those few things above Brian.


/
Maybe it would be cool if each appropriate skill would highlight its related items to some degree.
Medic will see his medical stuff, Technician would see useful parts, etc.

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inhuman
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« Reply #12 on: October 17, 2009, 07:26:44 pm »

And just where does one learn this "skill" of survival? Since you're planning to set the game in the very early stages of a zombie apocalypse scenario, there isn't much of a sound reason for a single ring skill to rule survive them all.

Your criteria, or rather lack of specialized criteria to have one skill named survivor is lacking foundation. This sounds way too oversimplified. Spotting and identifying wild life, pathfinding, navigation, travel speed and whatnot. So, maybe you have further sub groups planned, like separating these aspects as traits, but the way you make it sound so far is 100 times worse than axes-are-blunt-weapons. Yes, really that bad. In a single oversimplistic move, you have put stats and skills as perception, strength, dexterity/agility, intelligence/wisdom, climbing/pathfinding and several other potential skills into one big pot and honestly it all does sound terrible to me.

There's also the curious fact that a "hardened survivor" can come in all sizes and shapes. An athletic person with a strong build, perfect climbing skills and some knowledge about nature can make just a good "survivor" in one environment as a physically insignificant but agile and dexterous wild game hunter 5000 BC, or a physically inapt nerd with some firearms training and impressively wide knowledge on survival gained from all kinds of nerdy books, in a suburban/rural environment.

I can think of a survival skill or a trait/background with several levels as a general wisdom type of modifier on lots of other actions/stats but this, this is just absurd. It's on the same level with putting all forms of physical and potentially lethal conflict into one skill called "combat". Come on, you can do better than that.

All things aside, a party benefiting from higher survival skill of a member for things as faster movement makes absolutely no sense. A person can either move fast as others, or not. If anything, the character with the lowest survival skill would be slowing down the party. I really can't get any sense of RP foundations from where you seem to be headed with this survival skill business.

The only thing that would stop an average Codexer from calling consolitis on this case is the fact that you will be using AoD's modified engine. Seriously, WTF? Next up is a WW2 game where survivor skill dictates whether you can sneak your way around and out of concentration camps or not.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2009, 07:45:01 pm by inhuman » Logged

inhuman
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« Reply #13 on: October 17, 2009, 07:42:33 pm »

Any chance you would actually be able to grow your own food?

Now that you said it, it would be kind of interesting and cool to carry around planted vegatation in pots or other similar containers, to keep it ever growing.

Yes, eating is automatic. If people need food and you have it, they'll eat automatically. If you don't have food, you'll definitely hear about it.

Hopefully, we'll have a few options on consumption habits? Options to consume food such as  "plentifully" (major positive effects on morals, other psychological effects, health -such as higher resistance to infections and faster recovery- and the rate of your progress with physically related stats), "healthily" (minor positive effects on all these factors), "savingly" (no positive effects, and maybe very slightly decreased stat progression), minimally (negative effects. characters end up weaker but it's managable for a short while as long as the party gets its rest and there are no health problems), and "bare survival" (major negative effects plus if this lasts for a while, bad things start to happen with characters) where effects kick in after repeated and average consumption habits over prolonged times. In an RPG claiming to be about survival, you have to have at least a few options on this alone, as half the survival in reality is about how your preserve and consume your resources.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2009, 07:48:06 pm by inhuman » Logged

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« Reply #14 on: October 17, 2009, 08:20:57 pm »

And just where does one learn this "skill" of survival? Since you're planning to set the game in the very early stages of a zombie apocalypse scenario, there isn't much of a sound reason for a single ring skill to rule survive them all.

Your criteria, or rather lack of specialized criteria to have one skill named survivor is lacking foundation. This sounds way too oversimplified. Spotting and identifying wild life, pathfinding, navigation, travel speed and whatnot. So, maybe you have further sub groups planned, like separating these aspects as traits, but the way you make it sound so far is 100 times worse than axes-are-blunt-weapons. Yes, really that bad. In a single oversimplistic move, you have put stats and skills as perception, strength, dexterity/agility, intelligence/wisdom, climbing/pathfinding and several other potential skills into one big pot and honestly it all does sound terrible to me.

There's also the curious fact that a "hardened survivor" can come in all sizes and shapes. An athletic person with a strong build, perfect climbing skills and some knowledge about nature can make just a good "survivor" in one environment as a physically insignificant but agile and dexterous wild game hunter 5000 BC, or a physically inapt nerd with some firearms training and impressively wide knowledge on survival gained from all kinds of nerdy books, in a suburban/rural environment.

I can think of a survival skill or a trait/background with several levels as a general wisdom type of modifier on lots of other actions/stats but this, this is just absurd. It's on the same level with putting all forms of physical and potentially lethal conflict into one skill called "combat". Come on, you can do better than that.

All things aside, a party benefiting from higher survival skill of a member for things as faster movement makes absolutely no sense. A person can either move fast as others, or not. If anything, the character with the lowest survival skill would be slowing down the party. I really can't get any sense of RP foundations from where you seem to be headed with this survival skill business.

The only thing that would stop an average Codexer from calling consolitis on this case is the fact that you will be using AoD's modified engine. Seriously, WTF? Next up is a WW2 game where survivor skill dictates whether you can sneak your way around and out of concentration camps or not.

I had thought this as well, but then it occurred to me that Brian has already said that by announcing the Melee and Ranged combat skills, he's nearly done with all available skills. It seems pretty clear to me that the ZRPG, like many other party RPGs, will focus on a smaller number of more useful, varied, and (let's face it) logically bizarre traits. I mean, improving pistols, crossbows, thrown rocks and sniper rifles with one skill? For serious? What about chemistry, computer science, and engineering as one? It's bizarre and game-logic based, but no worse than (say) Cyclopean's Mechanics or Deceit skills, or even most games' Persuasion. There isn't anything inherently wrong with having fewer skills internally bound by utility and logical connection rather than necessity and "real life synergy" (as I've heard it called).

Besides, it's not as though bundling up survival skills is entirely without precedent, he said, gesticulating wildly at the SPECIAL system. To me, it's really not that big of a deal, but I can see the issue.
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inhuman
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« Reply #15 on: October 18, 2009, 05:07:47 am »

I'm not against bundling up skills by principle, I'm against it when it defies logic. Even though a game doesn't necessarily need to mimic reality and that's why people can come up with all types of wild abstractions and interesting game mechanics here and there, that doesn't mean it can be nonsensical.

I've yet to read the thread about melee and combat skills, but Xenu help them if they're planning to bundle all kinds of fire arms, bows, slings, and thrown weapons/tools as one big ranged skill.
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