Gathering and Foraging

Thanks for the kind words. I normally avoid killing off the player unless it is very early in the game, as is the case here. Apart from getting killed by wandering around in the acid rain without any protection, you can also get killed by drinking it, tasting it, taking it or touching it. Having learnt the danger of the rain very early, if you do any of these things later in the game, then you only have yourself to blame.

I just checked the code and the only other way to die is if you open the cage after giving the banana to the gorilla. That’s a bit harsh. I should change that. I have ported it to PunyInform and will do an update this year. I will make a browser-based version and make it available to lots of retro platforms.

Now, back to gathering and foraging…


If you use a natural environment, you can nest things fairly deep and combine things without listing things explicitly. For example, if you have a tree, snowman, log, eagle nest, and beaver dam, people might infer “branch” and try to take it — at least some of the time.

With that in mind, you could advance the story automatically after a set amount of turns and have it be a survival game. In this case, it might be easier to have the players apply items to themselves rather than to other objects. eg. Instead of building a fire from branches, have players wear collected leaves to make clothes.

Alternatively, you can advance the story when certain goals are achieved. In this case, you want players to create specific objects just once, and to make it slightly challenging because there is less chance of losing.

My Spring Thing game last year (“Bigfoot Bluff”) had a similar system where the main goal where players had to create certain things with a variety of materials. The main goal was achieved when a certain point was achieved, but that system could be adapted for multiple goals (hunger, thirst, warmth, etc.)

My game was partially inspired by the concept behind the point-and-click game Return to Mysterious Island, which allows you to craft items and solve puzzles in multiple ways. That approach is a good idea but I never got very far in that game…IMO the items are a bit too scarce despite the large amount of possibilities.


Don’t mind me if I’m not responding much; I’m literally writing down notes as people reply so I can do more brainstorm iterations with the new ideas being presented. :smiley:

Just testing for my own understanding here: Do you mean that it’s more intuitive for a player to make tools or personal items from crafting materials, and so the survival objectives should be based around that? Or do you mean that this intuition can be used to make a “soft tutorial” that eases the player into the mechanics, until they start making other items as well (such as a campfire).


I mean that it is probably easier to implement on the developer’s part.

Taking warmth for example: if you force players make fire, you might need to make them consider wind and water and the amount of time that a fire will stay lit for. But you can have players wear improvised clothes made from leaves for warmth anywhere, even in wind and water.

Or consider food: it would take a fairly complex system to have the player hunt and cook animals that run away from them. But if you have the player just eat nuts and berries etc., you just have to hide lots of fruit-bearing plants and food caches discretely.

The closer that the effects of the actions are to the player, the less that you have to model an entire world. It might be less immersive, but it is easier to scale up.

You might want a few big “set pieces” to build for fun though.


Ah, that makes sense! Thanks!


I feel like there might be a potential headache for foraging in the more Fallout 4 sense, i.e. 12 pieces of rubber, 15 daylilly petals, 4 pints of water, etc.

When you have plurals of the same object like that, isn’t there some problem that crops up in parsers differentiating between them? I seem to recall a discussion about something like that within the last year.

Obviously, if all of your scavenged materials are unique, this isn’t an issue, but if you’re trying to create a game that is more about the accumulation and use of resources, perhaps building a settlement, I suspect there’s a gremlin hiding here.

Anyone else clearly recall what I only half-remember?

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TADS 3 Adv3Lite has absolutely no issue if you have multiple of a kind of object, and will refer to them with counts and allow you to move specific amounts in and out of inventory. This was a major anxiety of mine for a bit so I ran some tests. :grin:


Again, my memory is hazy, but I clearly recall this being some sort of an Inform issue. Not sure which version, again half-remembered.

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I only spent a few years writing in Inform before moving to TADS but I don’t think I ever figured out how to create multiple instances of an object. It might be possible because I vaguely remember it being a thing in Lost Pig, which I’m pretty sure is an Inform game.

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Yeah, it can be a pain in Inform – it’s easy to just make something a kind and then put X undifferentiated instances of the kind lying around, but there can be disambiguation issues if you ever need to refer to a specific subset of them (like, in my first game the climactic puzzle involved hiding each of ten or so identical things in a room, and I sometimes ran into a couple weird bugs where trying to take one from under the bed would instead give you one from some other hiding place). You can also just make these quantities, so the player isn’t actually holding X distinct objects, but a single object with a value indicating how many of the things it’s supposed to represent – which often works better, but takes a little more effort to set up.

Anyway, I like the ideas in this thread! I haven’t played a lot of survival games so don’t have too much to add, but I do think hybridizing traditional parser-game object puzzles with the more systemic gameplay opened up by crafting type games could be lots of fun. One thing I’ve often found fun when playing things like this is the ability to sort of leapfrog your starting constraints by unlocking shortcuts or more efficient ways of doing early-game stuff; I think an IF version where the foraging/crafting stuff largely plays out using survival-game mechanisms, but then solving puzzles in the traditional IF paradigm helps get you those more quantum-leap type upgrades, could lead to an engaging gameplay loop.