Sandbox Survival Game – Mechanics

List of Mechanics for Survival Game:

My game will have achievements in, that players will gain by completing certain tasks, or performing certain feats in the game. I believe that achievements will increase the longevity of the game, by providing targets for the player to hit, if they are lacking for direction.

Appointment Dynamics:
I will use appointment dynamics in my game, as the player only be able to complete certain tasks at night or during the day. For example, if the player wants to hunt a nocturnal animal, they will have to hunt for it at night, as it will not be around during the day. Similarly, the Martian Machines will have patrol routes that they will stick to almost religiously, passing through that area at regular times, giving the player the opportunity to learn these routes, and plan so as to avoid them.

Behavioural Momentum:
In order to become more skilled in certain areas, or better at certain tasks, they will have to perform those tasks multiple times, in order to gain more skills in those areas, rather than earning experience, levelling up, and assigning points in those areas without doing those tasks.

The player will be able to gain bonuses by finding and reading the diary entries that are scattered throughout the environment. These bonuses could be crafting recipes or bonuses for certain skills. They could also create markers on the map for points of interest such as stockpiles of resources or places to forage for food. This will mean that the player has an incentive to look for the diary entries and explore the environment.

The players will have to explore the environment to find and scavenge any equipment, clothes, and supplies that they can use to help them to survive in the Martian infested countryside. The player will also have the option to collect diary entries in order to flesh out several characters stories during the Martian invasion. Important locations that the player has discovered will appear on a map within the player’s journal.

Infinite Gameplay:
My game will be a sandbox game where the players one and only goal is to survive. There is no specific path for the player to follow, or story for them to complete, allowing the player to be truly free in their game. I want the players to feel that survival is the only objective, there are no other stories that matter to the player character.

The players will gain experience in the areas of whatever skills the player is using when they complete a certain task. For example, if the player picks a lock successfully, they will gain experience and level up their lock picking ability, to allow them to attempt to break into harder locks. However, the player will not gain general experience to level up with. I think that this will bring the game closer to reality as you cannot get better at skills you do not use.

Rather than having a set out quest system, I want to have the player discover quests through the discovery of notes and diary entries, and there will be no consequence to the player for not completing the quests, but there may be significant rewards for doing so.

It is my hope that the players will feel a certain affinity for the items that they collect and create, and feel like they own those items. I think that this is important as it means that the player will actually come to care for the items that they create and not want to lose them by dying stupidly by the Martians.


Arrowsmith-Cooper, J. (2015) Game Mechanics [online] Available from: [Accessed: 19th November 2016]


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