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I was thinking of how applying Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs to the Long Dark could be fun! I know there as been talk of adding morale to the game or willpower, but this is a way for a player to experience Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs through there character with little to no mechanical incentive. Instead, the mechanics could organically generate the fulfilling sensation of meeting certain needs.

Physiological Needs

Breathing, Food, Water, Sex, Sleep, Homeostasis, Excretion

These needs are met in the survival mechanics themselves. In alpha so far you need to eat food, drink water, sleep, and find warmth/shelter (homeostasis). Breathing will probably be introduced when water submersion comes into play, excretion and sex (reproduction to maintain population) probably aren't on the table. As it stands, TLD has a pretty solid grasp on physiological needs.

Safety Needs

Security of Body, Security of Employment, Security of Resources, Security of Morality, Security of the Family, Security of Health, Security of Property

These needs are and will be met by static effects and the reliability of the system. So long as TLD gets to the point where the protagonist can find everything they need to survive by hunting and gathering from the land (see physiological needs) and reliably secure them, these safety needs will be met. Some of these needs, such as security of employment, morality, and family might come into play later once NPCs are introduced, but so long as the game mechanics are static and persistent, there will be a strong foundation on which to build.

Love/Belonging Needs

Friendship, Family, Sexual Intimacy

These needs will be met by NPC interactions and communities of survivors (if they exist). By interacting with non-player characters, the protagonist could theoretically build alliances, form bonds with individuals or communities, and maybe even play out a post-apocalyptic family scenario. Sexual intimacy would probably be off the table or only eluded to in cut-scenes.

Esteem Needs

Self-Esteem, Confidence, Achievement, Respect of Others, Respect by Others

These needs are and will be met by the skill system and game achievements (such as surviving X amount of days). Being able to see skills improve and becoming more likely to succeed in their use helps build the protagonist's self-esteem and confidence. Achievements outside of the standard survive X many days would also add to the character's esteem needs being met. Much like in Skyrim, a way to simulate this would be NPCs complementing or commenting on the protagonist's skills. High fire starting skill "I bet you could rub two wet socks together and have a roaring fire in no time." Also, allowing a character to value NPCs, giving them skills or access to abilities the protagonist does not possess, would also help to simulate respect of others.


Morality, Creativity, Spontaneity, Problem Solving, Lack of Prejudice, Acceptance of Facts

These needs could be met by including jobs, missions, or quests to the game, either inherent to the character's survival (find the plane, find shelter, start a fire) or given out by NPCs (bring us X amount of meat, find medical supplies for the community, clear out a nearby den of wolves). Well developed quests will give the protagonist different ways to meet the requirements for completion as well as include moral decisions, problem solving, and creative freedom.

All in all, TLD has the potential to be a fully realized survival simulator. All the pieces are there or could be there. I hope the devs are thinking along these lines because that is the sort of game I would really love to play.

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