The Eternal Cylinder: Designing Survival Mechanics for a Planet Being Destroyed


  • Having a big Cylinder crushing the entire sport world compelled us to vary a number of the belongings you usually discover in a survival sport.
  • Since the participant must at all times be shifting to keep away from the Cylinder, all of the constructing and gathering shouldn’t be utilized to static constructions, however to your shifting household of Trebhum characters.
  • Making it simpler to understand the true degree of hazard within the sport world actually helps gamers go into a extra exploratory mindset infrequently.

Hello there, pricey readers. My identify is Edmundo Bordeu and I’m one of many three brothers who based ACE Team. I additionally occur to be one of many designers who labored on our newest bizarrely formidable mission, The Eternal Cylinder — out there right this moment on the Xbox Store for Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S. Today, I’m going to speak about a number of the hardest design challenges we had adapting mechanics present in survival video games to a fantastically unusual alien planet with very totally different guidelines.

The very first thing you want to know in regards to the sport is that the most important risk in it’s the Eternal Cylinder itself, which is a big construction rolling over the panorama crushing all the things in its path. You play as small however resourceful creatures referred to as Trebhum. They begin their lives within the sport on the backside of the meals chain, however should someway handle to outlive on this harmful unique planet. 

The Cylinder adjustments a lot of issues that you’d usually count on in a survival sport. For instance; what can be the purpose of gathering supplies and constructing a residence base, if the Cylinder goes to crush it will definitely?

The Eternal Cylinder

Building your talents and turning into extra resourceful.

The resolution to that downside was straightforward given the character of our adorably unusual protagonists. What you might be constructing on this sport shouldn’t be a base camp, however a household of Trebhum. By consuming totally different assets from the pure surroundings, the Trebhum can mutate and earn new talents, so having a bigger group of characters is what makes you extra resourceful. While in a typical survival sport you would possibly construct a chest to retailer extra gadgets,  right here you would possibly mutate a Trebhum into one with a larger physique who can retailer many gadgets in its stomach. Another Trebhum would possibly course of minerals, and one other might need a capability to scare off predators. In this sport, your chest, refinery, and instruments usually are not in buildings: they’ve legs and journey with you as a nomadic group.

Encouraging exploration in a world continuously being irreversibly destroyed

A harder downside we had was balancing moments of exploration vs dealing with hazard.

We experimented a lot with how giant the Cylinder needs to be and how briskly it ought to transfer. It was clear that if the unstoppable Cylinder moved too quick it was extraordinarily annoying to be continuously working away from it. However we additionally seen that irrespective of how a lot we slowed it down, gamers would hardly ever cease to take a look at one thing fascinating or attempt to work together with creatures. Knowing that the cylinder is ceaselessly shifting to crush you creates a fixed psychological stress to maneuver on.

The Eternal Cylinder

To cease gamers who would transfer away from the cylinder too quick and go away it behind, we created the Zooshgarg. This creature would fly patrolling over the panorama forward of the Cylinder, vacuuming and consuming each little creature that ventured too far forward. We experimented with how giant the gap between the Zooshgarg and the Cylinder needs to be, managing the extent of stress the participant would undergo sandwiched between these two risks.

We weren’t proud of this resolution as a result of we felt the sting between hazard and security was nonetheless too ambiguous. A typical construction in survival video games is that in the course of the day you might be free to assemble assets, however at night time you’ll at all times be tense due to nocturnal creatures. It is a clear change in stress so gamers know when it’s safer to discover.

We determined to make use of one thing which might additionally create a clear distinction, one thing which might briefly cease the cylinder: anchor towers. These had been constructed by earlier generations of Trebhum and may pause the ever advancing hazard that the Cylinder represents. If we needed so as to add extra slow-paced puzzle or goal pushed areas, these could possibly be positioned close to the towers, so gamers can take their time wandering and experimenting as a lot as they like. After leaving the realm protected by the tower, the tower itself would then be destroyed by the Cylinder. To actually make the risk be felt, the music adjustments each time the Cylinder is shifting and it additionally glows fiery pink when it’s going sooner. If you see a fiery shade lighting the encompassing space, then you realize the Cylinder is shut!

The Eternal Cylinder

The lesson right here shouldn’t be essentially that there must be assured security, as a result of typically it’s good to unexpectedly toss stuff harmful on the participant. No, the true design lesson was about making it simpler to understand the true degree of hazard there’s. This actually helped gamers go into a extra exploratory mindset infrequently.

An alien world must be stuffed with harmful and surprising issues after al! Figuring out how these surprising issues work is an expertise I actually take pleasure in in video games, and one thing I hope gamers will take pleasure in in ours! 

Xbox Live

The Eternal Cylinder

Good Shepherd Entertainment



In The Eternal Cylinder, gamers management a herd of cute creatures referred to as Trebhums and should discover a unusual alien world stuffed with unique lifeforms and surreal environments. All while the fixed risk of the Cylinder, a gargantuan rolling construction of historic origin which crushes all the things in its path, looms. In this distinctive alien ecosystem, real-time world destruction, animal AI, natural exploration, and puzzle design all mix to ship an unforgettable journey.

Your Trebhums start on the backside of the meals chain, however can mutate and evolve new bodily attributes and talents by consuming a number of wildlife. Discover and evolve dozens of mutations, together with new traversal abilities, like flying and swimming to succeed in new areas, and new senses to assist overcome puzzles and risks. Your many Trebhums can all have totally different mutations, empowering you to create a distinctive herd. Each mutation may even change the bodily look of a Trebhum, and mixing these will generate shocking new creature designs which gamers will have the ability to organically uncover as they discover this numerous alien world.


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