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My Own Survival

Hey there guys,

I’m about to begin, what I can only imagine is going to be a really long and arduous journey toward creating my very own game (I’m literally only going to actually create the project straight after I post this so, as you can imagine, I’ve done nothing). I’ve created a very crappy and sparsely filled website as a place to add new development blogs. I just think that shoving everything into one thread will get messy very quickly. The website is over here: myownsurvival.com](http://myownsurvival.com)

For those of you that can’t be bothered to go there, here is a very very brief introduction.

So the game is going to be an open world post apocalyptic zombie survival game with more of an emphasis on stealth game play. Avoiding zombies will be a requirement, and trying to take a horde head-on will simply not be option. To prevent the game from being painfully hard I have decided to introduce a companion, in the form of a wolf, rescued and raised by the player after it’s mother was killed.

The companion will have several roles to play such as: Using their heightened senses to determine with a threat is near (allowing the player to make better choices as to how they should proceed.) Silently taking down a lone zombie in your way. Distracting that horde while you make a run for food stash. And even tracking the dear you caught a brief glimpse of, before it slipped back into the bushes. Along with many more, but I do not want to get too far ahead of myself.

I know the zombie genre is a bit over played, and so is the open world survival aspect, but at the end of the day, that’s what I’m interested in creating. And I, honestly, believe that the only way I’ll see a project of this scope through is if I’m really passionate about the subject. And God knows I love open world survivals, I love zombies, and I really love sneaking around in games.

That all being said, this is really just a hobby project. I am not quitting my day job any time soon, and I’m really just trying to create a game that I would love. I wanted to make a post on these forums as I think it would be really awesome to have people in the loop right from the start, and I know that it will definitely help me stay motivated if I at least think that there is someone out there reading the developer diary.

There are no screenshots or videos yet because, as I stated earlier, I literally haven’t even created the project in the editor yet. If you want a little more info then please feel free to visit the site. There’s not a whole lot of info there either though, so please forgive me. I honestly just want to get started at this point, but more info will be coming as the development progresses. I promise…

For those of you that do visit the website, let me apologise right now, because I DO speak a lot of ****. I know I do, but I’m really trying hard not to take this too seriously as I don’t want to wind up hating the process, and I especially don’t want this project to turn into a second job. In the end I’m just trying to ‘have fun with it’.

If you’ve come this far, thanks for reading, and PLEASE feel free to add your thoughts and criticisms – I’m by no means an expert in Unreal and the decision to create this game was purely just a brain fart I had the other day whilst sitting in front of my PC, drinking whiskey, eating Cheas Naks, and watching It’s always sunny in Philadelphia.

That being said, I believe it’s time for me to open up the editor and actually get started. New updates will be posted every Sunday, so stay tuned!

Couple of things:

  • Make sure you clearly define how your design differentiates itself from the huge amount of competition. Try to avoid phrases such as “like <game> but…” as it makes it sound derivative.

  • Explain what your role will be. Are you doing art, programming, design etc. I strongly recommend you take an active role in delivery of the project as it will help attract people if you can make a start on the project in advance

Good luck! I think the market is still there for a good zombie survival game, as they are quite few and far between, separated by an ocean of mediocrity.

I really appreciate the response!

I agree! I’ll re-word the original post, as I don’t want anyone to think that I’m just stealing ideas and creating a ‘clone’ of another game. I really do plan on creating something original, but I haven’t completely fleshed out every idea running through my head – I feel like I need to come up with some solid mechanics (at least in theory) for those concepts as well as be sure that I am capable of pulling it off before before announcing them to the world. If that makes any sense.

I have done quite a bit of programming in the past but this is my first experience with C++, which I feel like I’ve been picking up quite well. I actually originally came to UE4 for the blueprint system(and the price. $20 at the time was a total bargain) but I’ve found that blueprints get way to messy, way too fast, which prompted the move to C++. I’m pretty happy but we’ll see how things go (The transition has actually been way easier than I first anticipated).

My biggest hurdle is going to be the art and animations, as I have zero experience creating either. At the moment I plan on getting around that by using 3rd party services such as Mixamo, the Unreal Marketplace, and even other places such as Turbosquid. So, hopefully I can find enough assets available to make a complete game. I’m just a little worried about the consistency of the art that I’ll be purchasing, as well as the originality (Obviously, if can purchase it, so can someone else, which means a lot of the same art running around. It’s probably not as big of a problem as I think it is though). That being said, I feel like that is something I only need to worry about a little later. Let’s just get something going!

So essentially I’ll be doing all the programming and designing the world. All the art and animations will be purchased from 3rd parties as money comes in.

Thanks a bunch, really appreciate it! Any support or even criticisms will definitely motivate me to keep going. And even though I feel the zombie genre is a little saturated at the moment, I definitely agree that there is still room for more.

LOL. A Cerberus would actually be cool. The open world post apocalyptic zombie survival game is pretty popular for game devs. Heck, my first UE4 project was a open-world survival game featuring Frankenstein Monsters (Flesh Golems) instead of Zombies. The monsters were assembled from dismembered remains of human, animals, other monster which lead to the invention of the collage construction I’m now employing in current game product.

Realizing the massive competition, I aborted the project early. However, I think *Cerberus - *the wolf companion, is a feature that can make the game unique and it deserves some highlight. Maybe a simple command system: follow, fetch, guard, attack, etc could be implemented to give the player a means to control or influence (another resource to manage). Of course, Cerberus has to be fed and cared for to survive too, so as a digital pet, raising from a pup and evolving makes sense.

That’s actually what I had in mind. In most of the games, that I’ve personally played, you generally end up with more weapons and ammo than you know what to do with. Here I essentially want the companion to be the players main tool. So instead of blasting that horde with a high powered rifle, rather use you companion, intelligently, to help lure them away so you can run in a grab that stash of supplies. Of course, the command system will have to be worked on heavily as I can see that being a major source of frustration for the player, if it doesn’t function perfectly.

And yes, I definitely want the player to raise the animal from a pup, mainly because it allows me to create choices for the player, and adds a sense of progression. So for instance, as a pup the animal can only really warn the player of danger close by, but as your companion grows so will their abilities – which will be managed via a ‘training’ system. Think of training your dog, so each play through you might choose to train the animal slightly differently so you can use it in different ways.

Yeah exactly! While I don’t want to go all [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tamagotchi”]‘tamagotchi](”[url)’ with it, the animal will definitely be mortal, just like the player, and require food as well as water. Even sleep, or lack thereof, could be used to affect how well the animal performs.

By the way,

, sounds really awesome! lol

Hey WesleyJM your project sounds interesting and admittedly I read “Zombie survival” and rolled my eyes, there are so many of those. But I’m glad I kept reading and your idea of using a pet to help you and provide you with companion ship sounds like a more unique aspect and I will be interested in how you pull it off.

This for some reason made me think Pokemon battles.

But also would be interesting instead of just a command system, have it where you actually get to control the dog when it goes into building it’s master can’t enter and look for food and other small objects a dog can sink its teeth around. Or have it as a stealth puzzle and you have to find a way to open that building up for your master to explore. Sorry just rambling ideas.

I might barrow your idea for posting videos at the end of every week to let people know how your project is going.

I know how you feel about the whole zombie survival aspect. Admittedly, when I was first thinking about the game I kept saying to myself that no-one wants another zombie survival, but, the thing is, I absolutely love the genre and that’s really the type of game I’m interested in creating. I definitely think that there is still room for unique game play mechanics that would separate what I’m trying to create from the rest of the herd.

That’s actually very interesting! Well if I can’t get my command system to work the way I want it to in my head, then something like that would definitely be worth looking into!

I’ve honestly never tried to create a full game before, but I believe that it’s going to be really hard to stay motivated. I think a good way to do that is to show off your work(at least what you’ve done so far) and ask people for feedback. Plus, knowing that people are ‘watching’ is definitely going to force me to be more productive, and even nudge me to try write better code :wink:

I have to say, I like the idea of the animal companion. I would definitely use this as your differentiator, and do your best to integrate it into the gameplay to ensure it’s a core mechanic rather than an analogue to World of Warcraft’s hunter pets which are really just to confer buffs/debuffs and output damage, same as every other class, just packaged differently.

I recommend, if possible, having the pets customisable in some way, definitely in terms of aesthetics, but perhaps also in training and behaviour. People will love the virtual pet element.

Are you planning to have the pet potentially vulnerable to being killed? Could offer a bit of drama and tension the next time you send it into an unexplored building!

Hello Wesley,

In my now deceased open-world survival, I was implementing a true viral replication mechanic as demonstrated in my DX7 tech demo:

http://www.hpquest.com/techlord/images/cellular1.jpg
c e l l u l a r

The mechanic worked using an AI Controlled NPC called the Uninfected (similar to Pedestrians in GTA) that were essentially hosts for monsters to replicate. The Uninfected would automatically follow/guard players (Survivors) and attack monsters hordes. Player could group up to 25 Uninfected. The more uninfected in the group the more powerful monsters and hordes encountered. If players managed to get a Uninfected to a safe zones, they were rewarded. Of course the more Uninfected saved, the larger the rewards.

I’m definitely planning on implementing different training and behaviours. I want the companion to be able to do different tasks, as well as be able to complete those tasks with a greater or even lesser degree of competency, depending on the training, age of the animal, etc – thus giving the player choices as to how they go about training the animal, as well as allowing for different game play choices.

Definitely! Taking care of the animal is a must, both in terms of making sure the animal is fed and nurtured, as well as making sure you don’t force the fella into a situation where there is no hope of coming out alive. So having the potential for your companion, that you’ve spent days/week/months training, die would definitely add more tension, and even force the player to play more intelligently. I haven’t figured out exactly how these mechanics will work though, but I definitely don’t want the animal to have any sort of ‘god mode’ protection.

That’s very cool! I’m definitely planning on adding other survivors to roam around, and even join the player; As far as the mechanics are concerned: I have a few ideas, but they mostly revolve around helping to build, and subsequently defend, a base. But it would be nice, to have them ‘turn’ on the player when infected, and even tag along and help with distracting zombies and retrieving supplies.

Of course, more survivors, also means more resources needed to keep everyone alive. So having that extra set of hands might not be worth it as your resources will be strained too much, which will force you to make more runs into hostile territory. At this point I don’t have anything concrete though, but it’s nice to just throw around ideas with other people :slight_smile:

Hey guys, so week one is over and the weekly update can be found over here.

Admittedly, I had a really unproductive week. After running into a few problems, some of which were my fault, others I had no control over, I ended up accomplishing very little, and the little that I did accomplish was coded in a rush and therefore very poorly. Overall I’m scrapping the weeks work, and by week I really only mean 19 hours, as that’s all the time I had to work on the project. I’m struggling a bit to juggle having a day job, working on this project, and having a social life – I’m honestly not sure how other people do it, but I’ll have to start staying up later or waking up earlier.

That all being said, I’m still optimistic about this project, and this will be the last time I restart. I think I just need to order my life a little better so I know exactly what I should be doing, and when I should be doing it.

That’s it. Not the best of updates, but my workflow will definitely get better as I start to get into the swing of things.