Month: February 2013

Aieeee! Death from Above!

The Boy finally got his mitts on Survival Craft tonight. He’d been banned from playing it after he bought & downloaded it on the good Lady Antfarm’s tablet a few weeks ago without asking, the cheeky pup! Anyhow, two weeks of stars on his reward chart had resulted in the ban being lifted and he was a happy chappy!

He knew you could take pictures and alter the camera position so from the get-go he was snapping his progress. Here he is in his brand new creative world:


He spent an age digging holes, setting spike traps, blowing up caves with barrels of gunpowder and experimenting with basic electrical circuits before he moved on to create a new world, only this time entirely flat. I asked him why and he said, without looking up, he wanted to build a zoo 🙂

At first he built an zoo keeper’s house before moving on to a polar bear enclosure, but the snow and ice he put down for them melted so he decided to change the enclosure into something else, only he didn’t know what. Birds, says I! Birds, asks he? Yup, birds confirms I! So he set to work on an aviary 🙂


And soon he was admiring his work as his wee seagulls, ducks & ravens wheeled & squawked overhead…





At point he had to leave to clean his teeth and get ready for bed. He handed me the Kindle and said “Can you take some pictures, daddy?” and that’s when disaster struck…

I was moving the camera around to try and get an interesting angle when a thunderstorm broke out.


I was just pondering the chances of capturing a lighting flash (or maybe even bolt!) through the glass when the bloody aviary roof was struck and in a flash of fire most of the birds (who had flown up to the top, the silly sods) burst into flames!


By the time The Boy had returned from the bathroom, the ground was littered with small burning bodies! Honestly, it was bloody gruesome and I dreaded having to tell him.



Luckily The Boy was petty sanguine about it all. The good Lady was laughing like a drain but all he was worried about was if the lightning had blown a hole in the aviary roof!

Oh the humanity…


Meanwhile, in Survival Craft…


The Boy is building a zoo! 🙂

Meanwhile, in Survival Craft… FOREST FIRE!


Holy crap! Who left the camp fire unattended?

Building trucks…


Sonny is showing me his B&Q truck in Minecraft PE – it has a load of bricks, coloured lights front & back, windows & seats. All on his own without help or a plan. What a lad!

3 things that would make my Survival Craft more fun…

First off, let me sat that despite my last post on Survival Craft I’m really enjoying the game. It offers a subtly different experience than the mobile version of Minecraft as it really is more about survival than mining. Yet for a game that is so much about survival, once you have built a decent shelter and gathered enough supplies (something that can be done in a couple of hours) there isn’t much left to worry about and outside the Creative mode you are left with nothing to do bar explore.

And there is the problem. Exploring is both hard and dangerous.

Hard because the sheer size of the world means it’s far too easy to get lost thereby potentially reducing your attempts to consolidate a stronghold from which to weather your enforced isolation pointless because you could all too easily lose the lot and have to start again. There is only so many times building a mud hut and slowly upgrading it can be fun, let me tell you. On top of that, once you do decide to explore and are lucky enough to find a mineral-rich cave system, do you know how ball-achingly maddening it is to then lose it again just because you can’t recall if it was left at the tall tree and right after the double hill out the other way around? This alone is enough to make me falter before I leave my lovely, comfortable house and head off blindly into the hills and that is not a great play experience.

Dangerous because the penalty for dying is too great. When I rage quit a couple of days ago it was because I was killed by wolves near my house and by the time I returned to the scene all my stuff, including a diamond bloody compass and a crapton of precious wood, had vanished. Why? Am I led to understand a wolf ate it all? Why did that stuff need to vanish? I’m the only person on the bloody island so I doubt it was stolen! This more than anything else puts me of exploring and again doesn’t give a great play experience.

Now don’t misunderstand me, I really, really like this game. Other than Minecraft Pocket Edition, it’s the only game I actually play on my tablet. Also you have to remember that the game hasn’t reached beta yet and is still in alpha so there is a hell of a lot of development still to go into it (not that you’d know it – I’ve seen major studio betas that aren’t as well developed & supported). Honestly I have no hesitation in recommending you download this game immediately because it’s not just another cheap MC rip-off but a riff on that excellent idea (in itself inspired by other titles).

But having said that, and given the fact the game is in alpha, here’s what I’d like to see changed or added to make my time playing even more fun…

1) A map and waypoint system. I wouldn’t want to see these given to the player from the start, but they should be crafting options. The map should come from growing and processing a certain type of plant. Waypoints should come from crafting radio transmitters that you drop in key locations. The two would interact meaning one without the other would be useless and neither would unbalance the game but together meaningful exploration would be possible.

2) Items lost at the point of death should not de-rez. Period. Aside from being more logical (wolves and bears do not eat stacks of wood, iron or stone, let alone diamonds!) it would add a much needed exciting mechanic to the game whereby the player has to struggle and fight to get their stuff back

3) There really needs to be an end game. Currently there is no purpose to the game and beyond building a house and digging a mine, no progression towards something such as escape or revenge. I’d love to see a goal, or a series of goals, that I had to work towards as this would give me more reason to explore the island and expand my operations. Maybe certain goals can only be completed in certain areas meaning players have to set up more than one base, more than one farm or mine.

In conclusion, as my old English teacher said I should never end an essay, this is a really good game but with these additions & changes I know it will have something of the huge replayability factor Minecraft has. Now go and download it, Kaalus has a FREE demo version as well add a dirt cheap full version you know 🙂

UPDATE: If you are interested in my thoughts on Survivalcraft developments since I wrote this post, you may want to read this post:

Memories of a place that has never existed…

My phone was on shuffle as I got dresed and in between the Kate Bush & SoM tracks the theme for Divinity’s Reach started and I had a gut-deep longing to return to the city one more as my mind replayed the sights & sounds of my long-ago wanderings there. Most peculiar.

Meanwhile, in Survival Craft… RAGE QUIT!!!1!!

I got killed by a pack of wolves at night, rezzed at my last sleeping point and by the time I got back to my death pont all my fecking stuff, including an expensive compass, had vanished. I wasn’t that far away so it seems the de-rez time for stuff must be set stupid-fast!

I’ve rage quit and I think I’ll spend some time in Minecraft instead. Sure the MC world is tiny compared to SC’s and there is no electricity for me to play with, but at least I don’t lose everything I have worked for a mere 10 seconds after I die, for feck’s sake!