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Survival Sandbox

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"This is like a fucking sandbox with landmines."
Anonymous on Rust

In the wake of the incredible success of Minecraft and DayZ, many games sprung up that incorporate some of their mechanics. The survival genre that emerged from these games is based around a few core principles:

  • Usually, the player is dropped into a Wide-Open Sandbox with almost no resources. The sandbox can be either fixed or procedurally generated.
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  • Most, if not all, of the environment, can be broken and picked up, which the player is expected to do in order to craft all or almost all of their own equipment and shelter.
  • There is a heavy emphasis on Resources Management Gameplay. The player will usually have some sort of hunger meter that constantly drains throughout the game and must be regularly replenished.
  • Death is permanent, and the primary objective is simply to survive as long as possible. When Death doesn't completely reset the world it will still be a massive setback.

There is considerable overlap here with the Roguelike and Survival Horror genres. It also shares its emphasis on Emergent Gameplay with the Immersive Sim, but those tend to be much more focused in terms of scope and narrative.


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