Tuesday, October 19th, 2021

Eternal Cylinder: Survival Mechanics Design for the Destroyed Planet

Overview

  • Huge cylinders shattering the entire game world, forcing us to change some of what is commonly found in survival games.
  • All builds and collects apply to a family of moving Trebum characters rather than static structures, as players must constantly move to avoid cylinders.
  • Making it easier to recognize the actual level of danger in the gaming world really helps players sometimes get into more exploratory thinking.

Hello readers. My name is Edmund Bordeux. He is one of the three brothers who founded the ACE team. I’m also one of the designers working on our latest bizarre and ambitious project. Eternal cylinder — Available today on the Xbox Store for Xbox One and Xbox Series X | S.. Today we’ll talk about some of the most difficult design challenges we faced in adapting the mechanics found in survival games to beautiful and bizarre alien planets with very different rules.

The first thing you need to know about the game is that the biggest threat to the game is the Eternal Cylinder itself. It’s a huge structure that rolls over the landscape, crushing everything in its path. You play as a small but witty creature called Trebum. They start their lives in the game at the bottom of the food chain, but somehow they must be able to survive on this dangerous exotic planet.

Cylinders change a lot of things you would normally expect in a survival game. For example; if the cylinder is finally trying to grind it, what’s the point of collecting materials to build a home base?

Build your abilities and become more witty.

Given the nature of our adorable and bizarre protagonist, the problem was easy to solve. It’s not the base camp that you’re building in this game, but the Trebum family. By eating resources that are different from the natural environment, Trebum can mutate and acquire new abilities, so you can be more witty by increasing the group of characters. In a typical survival game, you might create a chest to store more items, but here you might change the trebum to one with a larger body that can store more items in the belly. I have. Another trebum may process minerals and another trebum may have the ability to ward off predators. In this game, your chest, refinery, and tools are not inside the building. They have legs and move with you as a group of nomads.

Encourage exploration in a world that is constantly irreversibly destroyed

The more difficult problem we had was to balance the moment of exploration with the moment of facing danger.

We have done a lot of experiments on the size and speed of the cylinder. It was clear that if the unstoppable cylinders moved too fast, it would be very stressful to constantly escape. However, I’ve also noticed that no matter how late, players rarely stop seeing something interesting or trying to interact with creatures. Knowing that the cylinder is constantly moving and crushing creates constant psychological pressure to move forward.

Eternal cylinder

I created Zooshgarg to stop players from leaving the cylinder too fast to leave behind. This creature patrolled the landscape in front of the cylinder, vacuumed it, and ate all the little creatures that had adventured far away. We experimented with how large the distance between Zooshgarg and Cylinder was to control the level of tension a player would experience between these two dangers.

I wasn’t happy with this solution because I felt the line between danger and safety was still blurry. The typical structure of a survival game is free to gather resources during the day, but at night it is always tense due to nocturnal creatures. This is an obvious change in tension, so players can know when it’s safe to explore.

I decided to use one that can be clearly distinguished, one that can temporarily stop the cylinder, and an anchor tower. These were built by previous generations of Trebum and can pause the ever-increasing danger represented by the cylinder. If you want to add slow-paced puzzles or objective driven areas, you can place them near the tower so players can experiment as much as they like. After leaving the area protected by the tower, the tower itself is destroyed by the cylinders. To make the threat really feel, the music changes as the cylinder moves and glows a fiery red as it gets faster. If you see the fiery colors illuminating your surroundings, you’ll know that the cylinders are nearby!

Eternal cylinder

The lesson here is that safety does not necessarily have to be guaranteed. It can be good to throw something dangerous to the player unexpectedly. No, the lesson of the actual design was to make it easier to recognize the level of danger that actually exists. This really helped players sometimes get into more exploratory thinking.

The alien world should be filled with dangerous and unexpected things after Al! Understanding how these unexpected things work is an experience I really enjoy in the game and I hope players will enjoy it in our game!

Xbox Live

Eternal cylinder

Good Shepherd Entertainment

★★★★★★★★★★

$ 29.99

In The Eternal Cylinder, players need to control a swarm of adorable creatures called Trebhums to explore a strange alien world full of exotic creatures and surrealistic environments. In the constant threat of cylinders, a huge rotating structure of ancient origin is imminent that crushes all of its path. This unique alien ecosystem combines real-time world destruction, animal AI, organic exploration, and puzzle design to offer an unforgettable adventure. Your trebum starts at the bottom of the food chain, but by eating a variety of flora and fauna, you can change and evolve new physical attributes and abilities. Discover and evolve dozens of mutations, including new traverse skills such as flying and swimming to reach new areas, and new sensations that help you overcome puzzles and dangers. Many of your trebums can all have different mutations, allowing you to create unique herds. Each mutation also changes the physical appearance of Trebum, which, when combined, creates an amazing new creature design that players can discover organically as they explore this diverse alien world.