~The Survival Games Thread~

Ok, here we go:

I played the demo a bit last night. Technically, things were quite smooth, no issues or stuttering on my laptop ( i7-10870H CPU, 3070 laptop GPU, 16 GB RAM).

The aesthetic was clean and appealing. The default keys for the UI felt strange with tab being ‘combat lock on’ and the escape key being ‘show inventory.’ I didn’t feel the need to immediately re-map those but coming to this from a lot of time in Palworld and Enshrouded, I kept hitting the wrong buttons. If I purchased the game and was playing for real I would definitely remap those buttons.

Did not have any issues figuring out what to do, and the gathering/crafting mechanics were easy to figure out.

I was a little unclear on the ‘co-op’ aspect until I logged into a world and saw that there’s 4 spots for bedrolls so it immediately became clear that you can play this with up to 3 friends.

I was a bit surprised to have a partially constructed base. Maybe that was done for demo purposes, but i found it a bit strange. People like organizing their base in their own way. I built a couple of items including the tank (that’s what you call the chest yes?). Interesting that you can only build one of those storage containers, since storage is typically one of the issues people have with these game (or maybe it’s hoarding!).

You can craft with materials in your chest. Big thumbs up!

I feel like crafting needs either a slight delay or some sort of visual and audio feedback. Right in the beginning I crafted an axe, but because there wasn’t any feedback I thought I hadn’t done it, so I crafted another one. If there was a little progress bar or a sound I wouldn’t have thought that.

I don’t understand item respawn mechanics. None of the items I harvested respawned while I played so I was unsure if respawns happen on a set timer or if it only occurs when you quit and relaunch. Tier 1 materials were a bit sparse around the initial base, and since nothing regrew, I had to eventually range far and wide to harvest them (is this a forced exploration mechanic?).

Item decay seemed to be a bit overtuned, especially without a way (at least initially) to repair items.

The hunger mechanic was fine. I was able to understand that food both fills your stomach and restores your hearts. I guess it’s ok that when your stomach is full you can’t eat any more, but if you still need hearts it’s a bit annoying. Plus, when you’re full the ‘eat’ option disappears from food. I understand the design rationale for that (only put things in the right click menu that people can do) but what that design does is make people think “I was able to eat before but now I can’t. Why not?” Rather than do that, I think it would be clearer if you left ‘eat’ in the right-click menu, but popped up a message saying you can’t eat when your stomach is full.

I found combat the smallest bit frustrating. While there’s a lock-on, trying to melee the mobs was a bit tough since a lot of them run away from you at every opportunity. Fighting 4 or so of those little guys that look like Ewoks, the ones who throw the little ‘bombs’ or whatever they are, was especially frustrating. I actually preferred the frogs/boars, who run right up to you, since it’s then easy to down them.

When getting downed myself, I was confused when I respawned on the beach, and not at my base. Feels like most builders have a respawn mechanic that puts you back at your base when you die. I do like that you don’t drop your stuff when you die.

I wanted some sort of popup or encyclopedia to catalog the mobs in the world. There’s no highlighting of them aside from combat and I wanted to find out some of the mobs names and learn more about them, but I couldn’t (apologies if there IS an encyclopedia in-game, I didn’t really look for one). Also, since there’s no hover text or info presented when you hover over a friendly NPC, when I got to the first big town to complete the “speak to X” quest I basically had to run around and click on every NPC until I hit the jackpot. That doesn’t feel good.

I did a fair bit of exploration and the world seemed pretty interesting but I did not see a ton of variety - of course the demo area is pretty limited so I attributed the lack of variety to that.

Feels like there’s an overarching plot to drive things along, but I to be honest, I sort of glossed over stuff since I was only spending a bit in the game and I wanted to get to the crafting and exploring. So I was doing stuff but often not sure why! I’m sure the game will launch with a full-blown intro that sets up the plot and so that won’t be an issue.

I was strongly reminded of Grounded when I made and equipped the leaf armor.

To summarize: Oppidum seems like a perfectly good cozy type builder/survival/exploration game. While the demo seemed decent at showing off the general game loop, I think the demo will suffer from comparisons to Palworld and Enshrouded, two insanely popular survival games that people are currently playing. At the two-thousand foot point of view, this game reminds me to Grounded and My Time At Sandrock. I didn’t play Grounded and only played Sandrock a few hours. I’m not a super fan of this aesthetic so I don’t think I will be playing it at launch but I could change my mind if I saw some interesting progression, or if I find out more about the plot and it hooks me.

Wow! First of all let me thank you from heart for this thorough feedback. I really didn’t expect that! Sounds like over all you enjoyed your time with the demo even if the aesthetic is not super up your alley, so that makes me happy :) Let me go through your feedback real quick!

Control re-mapping will be a feature for final release, so that’s covered. You’re also right that the constructed base is just a demo thing. We wanted to give a taste of everything for this demo, so we chose a specific moment of the first hours of the game in which realistically you’d already have built the basics needed. That way any player can decide what to focus on, and we also wanted to encourage a bit of story and exploration. You will have to build them yourself in the final version tho!

Happy to hear you appreciate using materials from the bank, it’s also a pet peeve of mine when you can only use your inventory for crafting. And you’re right that the feedback for when you craft might not be super clear!

Regarding item respawn, it happens on a set timer, although we already detected that some of the resources are to scarce for they’re respawning time. That’s one of the things a demo helps figuring out in this type of games haha. I would like to hear how did you feel about the ‘forced (not really cause it wasn’t intended) exploration’, though. Did you find anything cool while you did, if you did?

Good catch on the hunger note as well, I’ll be sure to tell the right people. And about the combat, we detected that same thing you’re talking about. We’ve working on it and, for example, sequential strikes on a same enemy will be easier to land before they get away. In any case, these creatures are supposed to be slightly annoying at least :)

There’s also a lore reason for the fact that you respawn on the beach. It will be explained during the first minutes of the game, although the camp is just next to this respawn point. I can also see your point about the mobs are NPCs being a bit hard to track. We want to encourage exploration and discovery, but we might need to give this another thought. And yes, indeed the story is a BIG part of the game :)

Can’t thank you enough for taking the time to tell me all this. I hope you keep an eye on us, I’m sure you will find reasons to play the final version when it releases. So look forward to it and, why not, leave us a wishlist to keep updated :)

I ran into a couple of NPCs and got a quest from one of them, a few skull level enemies (I didn’t try them because I had gotten steamrolled earlier by a similar mob). I don’t recall much else.

Oh yeah, your comment about combat reminded me that I assumed that right click was ‘block’ (since I had a sword and shield equipped) but when you’re just standing around and right click, you don’t make the block animation. I did get it to work, but I think it only happened when I had a creature targeted and was in combat. I thought it was unusual that I couldn’t ‘try out’ the block when just standing around.

Good luck in your continued development!

The devs said re decay:

“We are changing the Decay mechanism. When we launch EA edition, you can adjust almost all the settings in the single-player mode, including Decay. We hope you can enjoy our game in the near future!”

(Re Soulmask, for anybody wondering).

I expected something like that was going to be implemented. I’ll keep following it but it’s certainly not a day one buy for me.

[happy gamer noises]

Put a few hours into the SoulMask demo. I like it. Feels kinda old-school, and looks fairly deep. Looks like it’s still a long ways from release, and while I’m looking forward to it, it does a couple of annoying things that I notice all survival games are doing now.

  1. No pausing in single player. It’s 2024, why are we still doing this? When playing Enshrouded recently, I had to abort an elixir well mission when I got a work call. You can’t pause, and you can’t just hide in a corner somewhere while in the shroud, so I had to kick out to the main menu and start over again later. In Ark, you can pause in single player. Ditto Valheim. Now that’s too tall an order for some reason. But I suppose it falls under the larger umbrella of single player in these games always either being “PVE but by yourself” or “non-consensual PVP”.

  2. No more diagonal walls. You could make these in Ark, Conan, Rust, and Valheim, but not in Palworld or Enshrouded, and apparently not here nor in the upcoming Nightingale. Enshrouded is using a custom engine that seems to hard-lock all building on the NESW axis, so it may not even be possible there, but Palworld, Soulmask, and Nightingale are all UE games, same as Ark and Conan. Again, feels like we’re going backwards here. I guess most people just make big box bases, so no one cares all that much, but it’s super disappointing if you like building, especially after Valheim raising the bar.

Oh, no, its annoying the shit out of me in Palworld! But considering the game’s planned and actual release date into EA was “bank balance is zero” I’m thinking the situation might improve…

I’ve run into this in all the drop-in style single player games. I think forcing the player to choose at the start, “I’m single player this session and do NOT WANT DROP-INS!” might be able to let the devs add something like this as it’s a very good quality of life thing, especially for people wanting to solo game because they have things going on at the house. I guess the flip side is that someone will also complain that they can’t pause in multiplayer when they are the only ones on their own server, but that’s another argument that simply explaining the game options from the start would allow modification of those per choice of game type.

Enshrouded’s ability to take over in-game already established areas and buildings is amazing. And the ability to modify them afterward is like the chef’s kiss. Why don’t more games do that? No clue why it’s locked on the four axis though. I’m guessing they tried to oversimplify rotational building within their in-game build system but it might be an engine limitation for all I know.