I feel like we still haven't hit the peak of survival gaming yet.

Most survival games are centered around the individual experience of a dude, usually a white guy, arming himself to the teeth and progress is measured by how easily they can kill.

I'd like a game that has a more holistic and community context. Yes, defending yourself is important, but so is housing, a power grid, water, schools, manufacturing etc. You know, community building.

I don't know of a game that goes that far with it.


Like being able to mow down dozens of zombies in seconds is cool and all, but that's not going to help me build a sustainable farm.

Instead of having missions to get more guns, imagine how cool it would be to have to go on missions to recruit specialists to address specific needs in your growing community.

Don't have proper plumbing? Go find a civil engineer. Having trouble building sustainable housing. Trade grain with another community to have their architect​ teach you.

That would be LIT.

My idea would be something like my character has learned how to survive the hard way, so they are tough and capable.

On a run out to find supplies, they come across a former network engineer holed up in a convenience store that has built a peer 2 peer network to communicate with other people.

They could do more, but constant hunger and fear have made progress slow.

You offer sanctuary at your place, which allows them the space to build a more improved version, which opens up communication.

Another scenario. Your character is a talented civil engineer and you've made some real progress in the sustainable living area on the top of several buildings in the city.

However, you realize that the demands of maintaining this space are bigger for more than one person, so you need to recruit help.

You're not that great of a fighter, so you have to figure out how to use your network of building to stay safe while you gather information on potential members while dodging zombie attacks.

One more.

You're a former special ops soldier that has moderate PTSD, so you're fighting effectiveness is not consistent. This leads to you not being able to consistently find food, water, so you struggle w/ getting daily needs met.

One day you stumble into an old hotel and find a trio of zombies crowded around a crumbling door w/ a person crying for help.

You manage to dispose of them to discover the person is a therapist, who stabilizes​ you over time making you a lethal combat specialist

@Xaxifrax Kinda, but not so impersonal. Ha, and not in space... well initially anyway.

@Xaxifrax Oh yeah, absolutely. It stands out in that regard because those mechanics matter not only in the short term​​ but in the long game as well.

Being able to craft a silencer is definitely a good skill to have, but so is being able to rebuild a car engine or designing and planning an urban garden on top of a ​building.

There are so many aspects that are just straight up ignore in games for who can be the best killer.

And that's so boring.

@Are0h state of decay is *approaching* that, with the. Ain thrust of the game being gathering resources and survivors for your growing settlement.
I haven't played it myself but it looks like it's starting to use these ideas!

@Eldritch_Horrorgirl Yeah, it's close. The first one was really unpolished, but it had some great ideas. I just thought it didn't go far enough and everything was generally based around individual defense mechanics working together with a bit of crafting thrown in.

All in all, it wasn't a bad effort.

@Are0h This is *exactly* the kind of game I've been looking for for a while. Brought me to State Of Decay, Fallout, etc. But I agree none of them go far enough. Let me know if you ever find/make something like this.

@shoofle You got it. That's on the money. If one wants to play as a brutal mercenary, one can, but that choice has consequences, especially when the need arises to join a community.

@Are0h Have you played "NEO Scavenger" or "Sheltered" yet? Each in their way goes at least substantially in the direction you're talking about; survival in the post-apocalypse being about a lot more than just violence, and surviving alone being an incredibly perilous project that's likely doomed.

Probably others I don't know about too!

AAA games are unlikely to enter this field anytime soon, but indie game developers are definitely starting to explore this space.

@Are0h From what I hear Frostpunk also sounds like it deals with some of this, although I haven't played it personally since it's Windows-only, sadly.

@keithzg Yeah, someone else recommended​ this as well. I gotta check it out.

@keithzg Yeah, I've played both. Sheltered in particular is what I want to see more of but in a more expansive. There aren't many games that explore the value of skills and education in the post-apocalypse beyond gun crafting.

I think weapon crafting is important, but we need that same depth of options applied to community building aspects as well.

If we can learn how to build an assault rifle out of the car parts, we should be able to learn how to build autonomous​ robot farming units too.

@Are0h Surviving Mars is interesting in this way, although it's not a post-apocalypse game it's definitely a *survival* game.

@keithzg Yeah, I like Surviving Mars, but it just feels so impersonal to me, especially when you start out using drones.

I do think it has some interesting explorations in management​, but if that's what I want, I usually play something else.

@Are0h Yeah that's fair. I'm hoping that it's the tip of the spear for more, err, non-violence-focused strategy games.

@Are0h Somewhat relatedly, I got really into Northguard a little while back, which is admittedly in many respects a fairly classic RTS game, but there's also a huge PvE side, and if you turn up the environment difficulty it can become far more about managing things so your people don't starve or run out of wood during a harsh winter than about doing battles with others. I'd love a game that was basically the same thing but not PvP at all.

@keithzg I've seen​ that one, but I'm a bit worn out on Norse themed games. I'll check it out at some point.

It's encouraging to hear it's pretty good though.

@Are0h Yeah I almost passed it by too, under the glut of Norse/Viking games, and I'm glad I didn't. It has a lot more personality than one might expect, and the little details all add up to really make it quite charming.

@keithzg Hm. That's a strong endorsement​. I'll add it to the list.

@Are0h rimworld x this war of mine, built in unity. i would play the shit out of this game

@garbados Another person mentioned Fallout IV and Stardew Valley, but I think this could work too.

This War of Mine is DARK, ahahahah

@Are0h @garbados

Have you looked at The Long Dark? Solo, but no zombies, only winter.

(I haven’t played it yet: too cold.)

@suetanvil @Are0h i liked it! very minimal; strong storytelling.

@gekitsu unsure! it’s actually been a minute since i played it

@Are0h Sounds like something you could do with a few Minecraft mods and some tweaking.
(but of course that would probably be multiplayer only. and no vehicles. well maybe vehicles but i'm yet to see non-shitty vehicle physics in Minecraft. ....ok Archimedes' Ships is cool.)


That sounds so good and would actually reflect real world survival.

I really want a Civ game that is much more focused on city building than Empire building. Like yes, there would be a military aspect but it would be extremely time consuming and would result in you neglecting important works in your city. You always could form a map wide empire, but your own city would suffer immensely from having so many workers out fighting and a lack of proper focus on utilities.

@Melisandre I like this idea. I would take it back even further and just start at the individual level where you would have to learn basic survival first and in your travels, you meet people that give you the idea that building a city is possible, after you figure out how to survive on your own, then in an encampment, then a communinty of encampments, etc etc...


I really like the implication of agriculture and permanent housing not being automatic attributes of society. Maybe it would even be possible to never build permanent settlements and instead you have your own specialised tech tree.

@Melisandre Exactly. And that tech tree is based on who you are able to recruit for your settlement.

That way you could end up with a community that is really good at repairing electronic equipment, but not so great with building sanitation systems, which would enable people in your settlement to work more effectively which would lead to technological​ breakthroughs​.

The permutations are endless if the basics are deep enough.

@qwazix This comment is a great example of what could be ​explored in the game I'm talking about.

@Are0h this reminds me of a chapter in Mismatch (book on inclusive design) where the author points out that gamers with motor difficulties are totally into those aspects of gameplay, working on producing goods, etc, in WoW and the like. They’d eat up the strategy and task work like that. Let them be the civil engineer, let them raise crops. Shit, I’d be better at that type of gaming, too.

@Are0h I was wondering what it would take to get me interested in a serious survival zombie game and I think you've just about found it.

Maybe something like "The Postman: The Video Game of The Book That The Movie Was Based On" where you are just some lowly ex-con who can only offer the illusion of hope and stability of a person in a (stolen) Post Office uniform, corralling disparate groups of once expert folks back into to some semblance of a community out of ugly, desperate chaos.

@Are0h Ultimately to find that very community you helped assemble doesn't really need you as anything more than a symbol any more, because your only real skills are killing. (Maybe you'll get to go off and complain about it to Tom Waits at that point.)


Eco seems similar to this. More minecrafty than zombie survivaly but it's all about community building and community management.


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