The schizophrenic progress of Survivalcraft’s design…

I had planned this post before the latest news from Kaalus came out and showcased the redesign of the main player avatar away from a very Minecraftian blocky guy to more defined 3D model and I can’t help thinking this confirms my thoughts that there is a schism at the heart of the game.

But Burro, old chap, what is this schism of which you speak, I hear you ask… Well let me tell you!

Blocks. The works is made of blocks. The earth, the rocks, the sand, even the hero (until now) are made of blocks as are the animals. Except some aren’t. The birds and bears are blocky (and cute) but the wolves and sharks and rays are not blocky (and I would argue less cute, but that is purely subjective) and this is the schism that points more than anything else to an almost schizophrenic tension in the game’s design.

Is Survivalcraft now trying to move further away from its Minecraft inspired roots by making as much of the world look more realistic that Minecraft does? If so, where will that end? A total make-over? How will a world built on the cube look when it is full of rounded creatures? Personally I suspect the answer will be ‘odd & confused’ but I could be wrong. Whatever plans Kaalus has in mind, I’ll enjoy seeing them unfold as he bridges the design schism looming before him.

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6 comments

  1. If you’ve seen Blockstory, there is still blocky terrain but all the people and animals on it are rendered in high detail which looks kind of odd. I can see minecraft progressing this way eventually. As for the block terrain, I can see the block eventually being adjustable at the surface where they are in open air not against another block. You would tilt the top surface of a dirt block and shape it, (kind of like the terrain editor in Second Life) to make smooth hills and curved buildings.
    I see in About Burro, you left SecondLife a few years ago. I also started around 2006 but had no time with work and school. Also I never had a fast enough computer to have smooth gameplay. Just felt like I was shoving my avatar around thru mud until I stopped somewhere, waited for textures and buildings to fill in, and chatted with people for awhile. For a while there, it seemed like SL was going to replace the Internet! Now, I own parcels in almost empty sims with most of the abandoned land owned by the Lindens and no way to even buy it.

    1. Yeah, I’m an SLer and that has really coloured my view of every 3D sandbox or MMO game I’ve played since. The build tools were amazing but I can’t see MC going that way. SC is a different story – its hard to see where Kaalus is heading. Honestly, I don’t think he does, or if he does it’s a very different place than he imagined when he started.

  2. Have you seen this old post? http://kaalus.wordpress.com/2011/10/19/24/

    SC is definitely not there yet but it’s interesting to think about the game changes in light of that early vision. I think that he is still heading there but there are so many things that sidetrack a games development I’d imagine, from bugs to community demand. Some features may not have extremely high on his wish list but you also have to keep your fans and future fans in mind.

    1. Hi DMD and welcome to the blog. I’ve started following yours and I’m looking forward to seeing how look you make it on ‘cruel’ 😀

      Thanks for the link, the depressing thing about it is that he set out to make a game that you can’t win with just a safe house and yet that’s exactly what SC is, more so than MC which has an overarching end goal in The End.

      I’m still enjoying the game despite my occasional rant and I really do hope that Kaalus moves back from new animals and the sort of additions coming in 1.21 and looks at the deeper game mechanics of managing survival. The game needs things such as farming, hunger, natural disasters and some form of persistent external threat. Without them it’s just a race to build a decent base and find some iron – game over.

      1. Thanks, HB! It was actually yours that inspired me to start my own 🙂

        I too want to see more of a struggle to survive. I enjoy building but it’s not really my strong suit. I think the new animals are a step in the right direction. If we’re gonna be surviving there should be danger in water, land, and sky. I don’t get the impression that he has any plans to add farming but I can see hunger getting added real soon. And hopefully more uses for leather other than saddles so that we’ve got a reason to go bear hunting. And of course there should be a reason for the aquatic animals, some kind of unique resource that they provide to give you a reason to hunt/fish for them.

        I think that Kaalus does have a vision in mind for SC and that looking back it’ll all make sense but it is very hard to restrain from leaving all-caps, angry requests on each of his new posts 😀

        As an aside, how cool is it to be a part of a game as it develops? I really enjoy when Kaalus shares his logic for adding or not adding features and experiencing the game growing over time. Probably showing my age.. to someone that grew up on NES modern gaming is amazing. I can only imagine if games like Survivalcraft and Minecraft had been around when j was a kid and had nothing but free time.

        1. Hey, that’s great to hear! I love getting people into blogging because its always been such an enjoyable adjunct to my life in games. That and the fact that every new blog about the games I like gives me something else to read 🙂

          I do agree that new dangers are needed in the game, but I’m not sure that more animals necessarily brings that danger. Apart from the occasional cliff-dive or cave-in, the only other things that can kill me are already the bears and wolves so new land critters are likely to be just a ramping up of deaths for no or little reward. As for the new sea critters, well they might be dangerous but if there is no need to go into the water it won’t matter much and I just can’t see what I will need from the water that would be that important.

          I hope Kaalus has a roadmap because from where I’m sitting it looks a little like we are lost.

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