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back to article The revival of survival – the gaming genre that refuses to die

In these times of austerity it seems ironic that my free time is being taken up with trying to survive death by hunger and cold. Next I'll be nicked for dumpster diving behind Iceland. I am, of course, in the grips of day 48 of Don't Starve, a perfect gem in the rash of survival games popping up on Steam. Early Access on Steam …

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JDX
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Expensive

Paying for beta access isn't that new, and I don't mind the idea. But you should be paying a fraction of the full price and £20-26 is quite expensive even for a finished indie game. You're supposed to be incentivised to play pre-release by getting it cheap, or getting free life-access to pay-subscription features.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Expensive

People spend a LOT more than that on games that don't exist as alpha via kickstarter. I myself spent £150 on the E:D kickstarter, and that did not even give me Alpha access..

Sure it's the only full game I've put money on for years (well except buying a few Team17 classics they released for Android, Alien Breed & Worms, child hood revisited right there!!)

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Linux

Re: Expensive

Arma3 alpha was £19.99 when I bought it, the release price is £39.99. These games add a lot of features before launch and are often worth paying £15-20 for the early access versions. DayZ was also (or still is) £19.99 and will be quite feature rich on full release.

In contrast, the release version of Battlefield 4 (Digital Deluxe) is £54.99 as a digital download and the add-on "Premium" expansion is £39.99. There were no discounts for pre-orders or early-access.

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JDX
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Re: Expensive

Battlefield 4 is in a whole different league to these games though.

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Re: Expensive

Is it?

Ok, the production values are through the roof and they have lots of well done maps etc but if you take the time spent playing an indie game and an AAA release and divide the cost of the game by the number of hours spent enjoying them both then the results can easily come out with the AAA game taking second place to indie titles.

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Re: Expensive

Some early access games on Steam even come down in price as they get closer to release. Generally these are games that were initially funded on Kickstarter, have subsequently been added to Steam's early access program, and thus use the original Kickstarter pricing structure to be fair to their original backers. This seems perfectly fair to me but that doesn't stop entitled idiots on the Steam forums from ranting about how they're being ripped off (before they've even purchased it, natch). I wonder whether you're serious when you suggest that you should only have to pay "a fraction" of the final price for a game that's released while it's in beta.

In Australia, AAA games often sell for more than $100 in stores, even the ones that have five hours of gameplay and no replayability. $40 indie titles that were made by people who love making games don't sound so bad any more do they?

Ultimately the way they run their pricing structure is their business. If you don't think it's good value, don't pay for it. I value games by the enjoyment I get out of them, not who made them or how much money went into their production.

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Re: Expensive

Have they fixed the sound bug in BF4 yet? That felt like a game that was released to a deadline - regardless of how finished it was.

I've had significantly more enjoyment out of the free to play War Thunder, even if it is still officially in beta.

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Linux

Re: Expensive

"Battlefield 4 is in a whole different league to these games though." -- Yeah, the bottom of the division. Leave it to EA to ruin a great franchise. EA rushed DICE (so the story goes) to market with BF4 approx 6 months earlier than they were ready. On the whole, BF4 is the most unpolished, poorly implemented and virtually untested game I have /*ever*/ played, including my own simple endeavours recreating Space Invaders et all for my Android phone.

EDIT: "Have they fixed the sound bug in BF4 yet?" -- Sort of, I believe they may have partially cured the loss of sound on Hainan Resort, in particular when in a vehicle, BUT, they have now introduced that same sound bug into other game modes, without vehicles. I hear (lol) TDM is particularly affected by this.

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Why Zombies

If there is one thing detestable in games, it is Zombies. I honestly can't think of anything less appealing that shooting something that is already dead ( well half-dead). The Zombies don't have guns, don't shoot back and are generally unintelligent.... They play the role of mere cannon fodder.

Or are they used solely on the premise that the games companies are "relieved" from the responsability that "Shooting games result in real world scenario shootings" ? Sorry guys but Zombies look a helluva lot like people to me.... ( just not very healthy ones)

How about a game where the targets are the silly law makers, the corrupt politicians and the thieving bankers. No, I am not putting all law makers, politicians and bankers into the same cart, just the bad ones....

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Re: Why Zombies

"How about a game where the targets are the silly law makers, the corrupt politicians and the thieving bankers. No, I am not putting all law makers, politicians and bankers into the same cart, just the bad ones...."

You're looking for Assassin's Creed. Or possibly Watch Dogs when it comes out.

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Re: Why Zombies

Watch Dogs looks promising, it even has an IT theme. If the game really is as good as the video then it will become a must play... Hopefully there won't be too much travelling/driving about which tends to get really tedious.

Assassins Creed was just far too boring.. Eternally repeating the same missions, shame because some of the places were superb.

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Pint

Re: Why Zombies

+1 for opinion of zombies in games. Would be +10000 if I could.

Zombies are to indies what sequels are to AAA.

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Sir, You Are Being Hunted

You want a survival horror game without zombies, see the title. It's so cruel and unforgiving it gave me bad weather on the brain, though, every moment of helplessness and crushed hope distilled into a game.

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Re: Sir, You Are Being Hunted

@ foxyshadis

Thanks for that, not heard of it before, will check it out.

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Re: Sir, You Are Being Hunted

@ foxyshadis

Never heard of this either, it reminds me a little of Alone in the Dark...

Tweedpunk Stealth ( quite original if I say say old chap)...

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Re: Why Zombies

"I honestly can't think of anything less appealing that shooting something that is already dead"

how do you kill something that's already dead?

"How about a game where the targets are the silly law makers, the corrupt politicians and the thieving bankers. No, I am not putting all law makers, politicians and bankers into the same cart, just the bad ones...."

Thing about zombies is they are easy to code AI for because they are mindless.

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Re: Why Zombies Politicians.... hehehe

Player: (holding blood-soaked axe over head of bureacrat) THSI IS WWHAT YOU GET FOR ALLOCATINGG AND APPROVING $350,000 FOR A TWO-SEAT, HALF-LENGTH MONKEYBAR, 3/4-SIZE MERRY-GO-ROUND, NO-SANDPIT PARK IN A NEIGHBORHOOD WITH NO KIDS!

Polidician: (simpering, pleading pussianically) BUT I WAS PAAAAYED TO DO IT. I'M NOT RESPONSIBLE...

Player:

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Re: Why Zombies

The big problem in the game industry is bandwagoning. Zombies are here at the minute because x years ago one of the zombie games came out and at the time it was fresh and new. All the game companies pounced on it and now even though lots of people are sick of zombies the industry hasn't really got the message yet. It will eventually die off when the new bandwagon comes along, like the WW2 shooter glut from years ago died when Modern Warfare became the new hit thing.

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Re: Sir, You Are Being Hunted

It's quite fabulous on so many levels, and the only one I was prepared to pay money for (albeit in a Humble Store sale).

If the (Bath-based) developers are reading this, implement slow motion for those of us without the reflexes and mouse control of a teenager :)

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Re: Why Zombies

Spent another hour last night playing Left 4 Dead. Perhaps one of my favourite co-operative games I own. Yes they're zombies... but it's far from boring.

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Early Access

Otherwise known as: Buy our half finished game for full price now!

Don't Starve implemented this well, with frequent updates and a game that looks sort of finished now.

Kerbal Space Program.... I'm still waiting on biomes past Minimus, not to mention kerbalnaut training, and for them to finish off career mode.

I don't think I'll let myself get burned like that again.

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Re: Early Access

Agreed. I made the mistake of buying into Godus. Been on 40% complete for quite some time now.

On the subject of Kerbal, the modding community, has extended this game, for me, without them, I don't think I'd still be playing.

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Mushroom

Re: Early Access

And squad is about 10 guys working out of mexico city......including their new interns

And they've been open and honest about , yes its a alpha stage game and unfinished, but everytime it goes through a version, the price goes up .

So us lucky early adopters who played when the world consisted of Kerbin, the mun and bugger all else paid a tenner.... for another years work you're paying another tenner on top.

<<<off to go blow up another contraption

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Gimp

Re: Early Access

I bought KSP a while ago and thorougly enjoy the hell out of it. Yes, its very rough around the edges, but it's still quite fun. The early version of career mode also reinvigorated my enjoyment of the game. Mucking about in Low Kerban Orbit after having all the doodads just available to you is a nice change of (s)pace.

Fanboi icon: reasons are obivious I'd think :)

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Re: Early Access

"On the subject of Kerbal, the modding community, has extended this game, for me, without them, I don't think I'd still be playing."

Yeah but I always found modding fragments the game. They can never quite cram the stuff in as well as the actual developers and then it all breaks when a new version comes out and has to be rejigged. Dunno I just feel that modding ends up creating some fragmented mess where you don't feel you are playing the same game anyone else is playing.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Early Access

Game modding makes most of these sand box games... there's a ridiculous amount of stuff you can do in Kerbal - however I'm waiting till Career mode is fleshed out more. And why would you want to play the same game anyone else is playing, that's part of the fun. Then you can post your mod lists to other people and they can play them and you can play there mod list... it's all part of the online collaborative experience right?

At least it has a career mode now. I don't mind Kerbal at least it's going somewhere.

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Remember Kids don't eat the Mushrooms

But, this goes against the convention I learned as a Kid playing Mario Brothers...

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"playing Mario Brothers"

Yet you missed the bit where you suddenly appeared to be much larger than normal, head-butting bricks for money and throwing turtle shells around whilst dodging over-sized turtles with spikes on!

"Remember Kids don't eat the Mushrooms unless you want to take an unexpected trip".

tftfy

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How about a game called...1%?

Where your job is to reduce the numbers of 1%'ers and the money they have gets redistributed to the 99% lifting them from poverty and eventual full slavery before it's too late?

Too soon?

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Re: How about a game called...1%?

> Too soon?

No, too dumb. I sympathize with the occupy movement, but just like with libertarians in environmental issues or religious rightwingers on anything science, it just seems you can't resist dragging your political propaganda into unrelated issues. Like, for instance, gaming.

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Re: How about a game called...1%?

Ahhh yes and you also have to fight against the 1%'s brainwashed impoverished supporters bent on satisfying their masters needs in the hope they are dragged up from the pit.

They never will though.

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Re: How about a game called...1%?

However, to offer a balance game you can also choose to play as the 1%'s supporters.

You get to take on the uprising using your AR-15, getting battery upgrades for your mobility scooter, refills for your breathing tanks and a supply of 'Diabeetus' medication that keeps you alive. If you fail the meds get taken away slowly till you die.

Kickstarter here we come.....

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Trollface

Re: How about a game called...1%?

Where your job is to reduce the numbers of 1%'ers and the money they have gets redistributed to the 99% lifting them from poverty and eventual full slavery before it's too late?

This game has been tried a few times before. There is the quadro pack, which includes all of the "Hitler", "Stalin", "Mao" and "Pol Pot" earliers successes. I especially like the add-ons where you can drive trains (look for 'Thomas the Gas Engine'). The versions of "Zimbabwe" and "Commandante Chavez" are rather lackluster (and frankly, the subtitles need a refresh), but more recent.

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Devil

Re: How about a game called...1%?

Fantastic! I look forward to the re-written Mantle enabled versions!

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Windows

Where is my S.T.A.L.K.E.R.?

Ukrainian clusterfuck with special slavic/post-communist-industrial-wasteland tack!

It's is still actually good after all those years (7 years already! time flies like a banana), once you apply the patch set (Zone Reclamation Project et al.)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Where is my S.T.A.L.K.E.R.?

Seconded. There's always have one of the three games installed on my PC. Interesting link.

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Re: Where is my S.T.A.L.K.E.R.?

> It's is still actually good after all those years

Personally I feel STALKER: SHOC and STALKER: COP are still the best shooters released in the last 10 years. I recommend the OGSE mod, it fixes a lot of bugs, enables a lot of content that was cut from the original release because of time constraints, and updates the graphics to the same level as the Complete-mod, but without making the game easier like Complete.

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Been playing DayZ quite a lot now. So far, I havent met anyone in the game who wont shoot you on site. The majority of the villages and towns seem to be permanently free of loot and the only piece of food I have found so far is a fresh orange in a cowshed.

Still, looks like it could shape up to be a fairly interesting experience.

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Coat

" I havent met anyone in the game who wont shoot you on site"

Perhaps you should find somewhere else?

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Paris Hilton

Early DayZ: 1,147,237 views on YouTube

Back in the DayZ

(Why do I know that video even exists? OMG what I am I doing with my life.)

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Re: Early DayZ: 1,147,237 views on YouTube

Haha that was hilarious, thanks for linking that!

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Once you find some gear the game becomes alot better. Just got an axe so i can now take out zombies. Havent bumped into another player yet in 14hrs of playing. The game was a grind at first for me but there is something special about it and this is only the alpha.

Was happy to pay £19.99 to back it. If they accomplish half of what they are talking about, then this game is worth the investment. Not a fan of the whole zombies thing but this is alot more about survival. Its grity and you create your own stories around the most trivial of tasks.

To get a feel for it, this is a great article.

http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2014/01/22/the-saline-bandit-dayz-diary-part-one/

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Re: Early DayZ: 1,147,237 views on YouTube

Was my gateway to watching all the ShackTac videos, they make watching gameplay videos on Youtube entertaining.

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Anonymous Coward

Early??

Don't you mean a late Dire Straights video?

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Dwarf Fortress

This is the game that spawned many of these survival titles, including Minecraft:

http://www.bay12games.com/dwarves/

It's basically a hideously complex open ended sandbox where you have to raise a colony of dwarves while they are assailed by the environments and various creatures..

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Re: Dwarf Fortress

Relevent, a study of the pursuit of 'fun' in dwarf fortress, in comparison to 'normal' and merely 'hardcore' games:

http://dwarffortresswiki.org/images/4/40/FunComic.png

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Anonymous Coward

Minecraft and Don't Starve are seminal products, maybe throw in Terraria (I havn't played ut "but I've been informed)...

They also managed to release finished products...

And more importantly they have massive communities creating mods and figuring out new ways to play (Minecraft again - it seems there is little that can't be achieved in this amazing gem.)

The downside with early access is it's a crap shot and the game company may just vanish into the ether or not follow up on their stated goals. Or it may never leave early access, or you get bored of it before it does.

Very much buyer beware.

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Anonymous Coward

games & learning

Gaming the System: Video Games as a Theoretical Framework for Instructional Design

http://arxiv.org/abs/1401.6716

Ian D. Beatty

In order to facilitate analyzing video games as learning systems and instructional designs as games, we present a theoretical framework that integrates ideas from a broad range of literature. The framework describes games in terms of four layers, all sharing similar structural elements and dynamics: a micro-level game focused on immediate problem-solving and skill development, a macro-level game focused on the experience of the game world and story and identity development, and two meta-level games focused on building or modifying the game and on social interactions around it. Each layer casts gameplay as a co-construction of the game and the player, and contains three dynamical feedback loops: an exploratory learning loop, an intrinsic motivation loop, and an identity loop.

Comments: Proposed for a conference paper presentation at the International Conference of the

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Linux gaming

I'm just shocked a lot of these not only "run on Linux" but are actually very playable.

For the longest time, my selection of Linux games was 100 different versions of solitaire... then Minecraft showed up, and Kerbal Space program, and now Don't Starve.

Heck, I don't even have an expensive 3rd party graphics card, just the integrated Intel HD4000. (granted, I do have to hand-patch KSP to get shadows...)

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Re: Linux gaming

> a lot of these not only "run on Linux" but are actually very playable

I think it's a result of Valve's push to shift gaming from Windows to Linux. This is a process which will accelerate when the Steambox consoles are released.

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