<a novref=true text=@key href=pattern-survive.html>Survive</a>


The goal of trying to avoid being killed by actions of other players and events in the game.

Many games have effects that capture, destroy, kill, or eliminate game elements depending on the theme of the game. As these events are usually negative for the players who control the game elements, they have the expected goal of trying to make these units Survive.

Example: The players are, sooner or later, going to have all their ships destroyed in Space Invaders or Asteroids, but surviving allows the players to keep on playing to gain enough points to reach a high score position.

Using the pattern

Defining a Survive goal for a player includes determining what game element should Survive, what danger exists and what actions the player can perform to avoid having game elements eliminated. The archetypical game element connected to a Survive goal is an Avatar, but having a certain amount percentage of Units Survive (as for example in Lemmings) can also be used. Gaining knowledge of what dangers exist and how dangerous they are offers possibilities for Supporting Goals that can either support Stimulated Planning or make the goal to Survive easier in itself.

Actions that are used to fulfill the goal can be divided into those that primarily focus on the game element that is to Survive, e. g., improving values such as hit points or defense or moving to advantageous locations, possibly using Conceal as a subgoal, or those that primarily focus on the dangers, e. g., preempting attacks. Last Man Standing is a special case of Survive where the goal to Survive is combined with Eliminate and players have to judge the Risk/Reward Tradeoff between being offensive or defensive.

The consequences of failing the goal to Survive can range from not being able to continue to play, as in the cases of games with Player Elimination, to the penalties determined by the loss of one of one's Lives, to simply Spawning.


This is the Preventing Goal of Eliminate: to hinder another player or the system from Eliminating one's Avatar or Units. Games, e. g., old arcade games, that have the elimination of a player's Avatar as the end condition, use the pattern Survive as one of the high-level goals of the game.

The use of Survive is heavily connected with the use of Lives or Parallel Lives, and the level of threat can be used to modulate Tension.


Instantiates: Continuous Goals, Preventing Goals

Modulates: Eliminate

Instantiated by: Last Man Standing

Modulated by: Units, Conceal, Avatars, Player Elimination, Lives

Potentially conflicting with: