Survivalcraft and the curse of an endless landmass…

Space is big. Huge really. Infinite in fact. And whilst Star Trek has spent the last 40-odd years convincing us that exploring its vast hugeness is an exciting non-stop thrill ride of wonder and daring do, it is in fact a boring, black, cold, empty dunghole of mind-numbing proportions.

Endless landmasses in games are like that too. Sure there’s an occasional interesting lake or mountain or cave but the rest of the time it’s just a huge stretch of land that, by turns, green, is brown, flat, lumpy, sandy & snowy to such an extent that it all starts to look exactly the same.

Now many folks would have you believe size matters, and they would be right but maybe not in the way you expect. Look at it this way, if it’s small enough to garner derision or big enough to cause eye-popping discomfort them it’s the wrong size and/or, possibly, shape. When it comes to games and penises, size is less important that what you do with it but as penises are for a different blog let me turn towards the size of Survivalcraft.

Survivalcraft is big. Huge really. Infinite* in fact. But that great size can also make it a little dull. Run in any direction you want and very soon the land will begin to repeat itself like the backdrop of a Tom & Jerry chase scene. Hills, grass, sand, trees, snow, hills, grass, sand, trees, hills, hills, grass, sand, trees, hills, hills, grass, sand, trees, hills, hills, grass, sand, trees, hills, hills, grass, sand, trees, hills, hills, grass, sand, trees, hills, hills, grass, sand, trees, hills, hills, grass, sand, trees, hills, hills, grass, sand, trees, hills, hills, grass, sand, trees, hills, and so on until you are no loner sure how far you have gone from your base or in which direction because it all looks the same.

Alright then smartarse, what should Kaalus do, I hear you say. Well, let me tell you what I think would be a better layout.

Islands. Lots and lots of islands. An almost infinite world of islands in fact.

These islands would be a mix of small to huge, but each one would be one vital thing. Finite. There would be an end to the resources on each, an end to the available landmass on each, and, more importantly, there would be a sense of achievement in the complete exploration of each. And when an island has been stripped bare or explored inside and out, it would be time for a brave survivor to build a boat and brave the dangerous seas (I’m thinking weather and giant quid attacks here) and move to the next island. Each island would be procedurally generated just as the landscape is now, but there would be a greater variation between islands so that terrain & climate change wouldn’t seem as jarring as it does now. I’m imagining a jungle island, an island of nothing but mountains, another of cliffs all the way round leading up to a high plateau, and yet another full of dangerous volcanoes! There could even be variations in animal types that would allow people to try and ‘collect’ all the different breeds! I’m only just scratching the surface here!

You see, for me, when the terrain is varied in a more interesting way and full of an endless number of achievable  goals I find myself far more engaged with the world than if I had the whole of creation on one flat plain to play in.

So what do you think of my Survivalcraft Archipelago idea? Do you have any landmass models you’d like to see Kaalus adopt?

 

* Well, almost but let’s not quibble over such a small thing.

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8 comments

  1. Sounds like a great idea to me! Seems like you could soooooort of get that effect yourself by just not taking off into the distance even on the infinite landmass; focus on the particular valley / mountain / desert that you’re doing stuff in right now, with only the occasional trip Outland when you feel like it, and don’t move on in a major way until the current neighborhood is played out. Might give you sort of that Island Feeling…

    1. That is a seriously great idea B.
      Infact I luv that idea. Maybe as a twist to this abit you could start on the infinite land mass we are on now that stays the same, just for those that want to build big to there hearts content on one continent, also it wouldn’t change anyone’s big builds they have already made Iike me cos I would hate my world half cut of if a update for this arrived. But that only goes left to right along the coast and inland. So we look in to the deep blue sea and make a boat just like you invisage and set sail to these infinite islands with there complex and varied differences. Reminds me of the polineasians before we corrupted there idealick life style ;D and that part of history fascinates me on so many levels and I would luv to have this incorporated into SC cos it would fit in so well.
      This idea has to be heard by the masses and especially by Kaalus. Have u put this in the SC forum?

      1. Hi mate – I haven’t contacted Kaalus, I’m never sure Devs actually listen to the masses because they have their own set ideas and never seem to want to veer off. As for the implementation, I am imagining the islands idea being an generation option, sort of like flat land is now so that if someone wanted the classic endless continent they could have that whereas explorers could set sail between an endless amount of islands like travelers in Earthsea 🙂

    2. Trouble is, it’s very easy to play the neighbourhood out. Once you’ve explored above and below ground and mined out all the available resources there really isn’t anything left to do right now. And besides, I’m a natural explorer in games – show me a mountain and I have to see what is on the other side, even if it’s just another mountain.

      1. I would contact Kaalus and get this idea out there posting it everywhere mate, haha. I think it would go great in both game styles in the one continant mode and a choice for just islands like flat mode. It seems a waist of all that endless water to not have islands for destinations to explore. Once my world build is finally complete some time in the distant future I would like to go exploring for islands rather than just in land on one continant so that’s why i would like to see this XP or I would have to build it all again on island mode, Doh ;(.

          1. Hi mate – sorry for the looooong delay in replying but I’ve been busy with trips away and kid’s birthdays (and enjoying the British summer – more than 5 days of sunshine, this could a record breaker!!) Thanks so much for putting my idea forward – I’ve just been to look now and it seems folks like it so thanks for that 🙂

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