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About Subsurface Games

Subsurface Games is an independent game developer focused on making awesome dynamic games. We are working on Survive, a first person zombie survival shooter set in a massive procedural open world for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Survive, is the first true open world zombie survival game. The idea of the game is what would you do in the zombie apocalypse. You are put in a random house in a huge world that is entirely procedurally generated. You have to explore the procedural world to find the food, water, and guns you will need to survive the zombie horde. You can follow the development of Survive on the Subsurface Blog below. You can also follow us on Facebook or subscribe to our YouTube channel for more updates.

Subsurface Blog
March 27, 2014 By: David Tse

The second video showing whats new in the first build of the Survive Pre-Alpha is up! This video is mostly about the new graphical features while the first video focused more on gameplay and zombie spawning.

If you want to know more about he update you can go here: Survive Pre-Alpha Update Page

You can Preorder Survive for just $19.95 and download the latest Pre-Alpha build of the game right now! If you preorder Survive you will also get all future builds of the game up to release and a free steam key right now.

You can subscribe to email updates for the blog on the right side of this page, subscribe to our YouTube channel and like our Facebook Page to stay up to date on the development of Survive. If you would like even more frequent development news about Survive you can follow me on twitter @Subsurfacegames


March 26, 2014 By: David Tse

One of the videos showing whats new in the first build of the Survive Pre-Alpha is up! There will be a second video showing the rest of the changes tomorrow.

If you want to know more about he update you can go here: Survive Pre-Alpha Update Page

You can Preorder Survive for just $19.95 and download the latest Pre-Alpha build of the game right now! If you preorder Survive you will also get all future builds of the game up to release and a free steam key right now.

You can subscribe to email updates for the blog on the right side of this page, subscribe to our YouTube channel and like our Facebook Page to stay up to date on the development of Survive. If you would like even more frequent development news about Survive you can follow me on twitter @Subsurfacegames


March 25, 2014 By: David Tse

The first official Pre-Alpha build of Survive is now available to download for everyone who has preordered!

The update is uploaded to Desura as well, but its awaiting approval. I'm not sure how long it's going to take for the Desura approval, but last time it took about a week(ridiculous I know). On the new website all you Desura people will be able to download the game straight from me on an account page here. Your steam keys will be released to you on Desura and you will use them to create an account here and on the new forums. Unfortunately your steam keys will not actually work on steam until the game is officially released on Early Access. This is because they had to come from a different larger batch of keys instead of a smaller dev batch that works before release(what everyone who bought it here is getting).

Anyway, this update has an insane amount of changes, fixes improvements, and new features. For a detailed overview of everything that's new along with a bunch of new screenshots please see the update page:

Body Tint Variations
One of many screenshots on the update page.

For those of you who already read the changes when I posted the original update page last week there have a number of new things since then. I've added them to the update page, but here is the list of new stuff for your convenience:

  • I think I fixed a horrible bug that would cause the zombies to "Explode" or disappear after a random amount of time in game. This should also fix some random video driver crashes. I haven't been able to reproduce the bug after the fix, but it's possible that it's still there because it's very hard to reproduce. So if you experience this bug please send your log file and any other info that could help me reproduce it to
  • Fixed a bug that caused the bones to not update correctly during the zombie animations. The zombies no longer go crazy after death.
  • Zombie rigid body bones now have the correct forces from animations applied to them. So, for example, when you shoot a running zombie its momentum will cause its body to continue to move in the direction it was running realistically.
  • Reordered the post process chain so that tone mapping is at the end. The result is more accurate post processing and more toned down bloom.
  • Added parallax corrected local cube maps so reflections are very accurate. You can see this if you look at the ground in the dev zone.
  • Tweaked bloom further
  • Fixed the sky rendering so it does the correct lighting around the sun. So parts of the sky near the sun are brighter than parts that are further away.
  • Bloom now effects the sky and the clouds.
  • Fixed the cube map generation so now it includes all the models in the world.
  • Tweaked lighting so shadows effect the specular image based lighting so that they are darker shadows.
  • Tweaked SSAO so it's more.
  • Fixed the flashlight.
  • Fixed the rendering of the version string so that it correctly places on the top right.

Like I said in the last blog post, everything is changing around here and one thing that I have admittedly been neglecting is support emails. With this update that is also going to change. If you previously had issues with Survive please try out this new build. If you still have any problems at all please tell me what's wrong and send me your log file. I'm actively trying to make sure the game runs perfectly on everyone's computer and your testing goes a long way in helping me make sure the game will run great for everyone. If you have no technical issues with the game, but you have suggestions on what you think would make the game better feel free to let me know. Just send all your feedback and issues to

There will be a new video showing off all the changes from this update and the last one tomorrow. I may even split it into two videos because of the ridiculous amount of changes I have to show off. I originally planned to post the video at the same time as this update, but I ended up working on the update all the way until the deadline. I'll make the video tomorrow and have it uploaded by midnight at the latest.

Thanks again for all of your support and passion for Survive! For those of you who have pre-ordered I thank you for your trust and for believing in my vision for Survive. This update like many before it have been about laying the foundation for the gameplay to come. This update marks one of the final foundation updates that was mostly about strengthening and polishing said foundation via bug fixes, performance improvements, and compatibility improvements. This first Pre-Alpha build is the beginning of the gameplay, and soon enough the vision that you all bought into will start to take shape. If you haven't already you can support the development and watch Survive evolve into the greatest zombie survival game by preordering.


March 17, 2014 By: David Tse

Let me start off by saying that I know I have not done the best job of communicating with all of you guys and I'm sorry. Many things are going to be changing very soon to fix this. The huge update I have been working on for the last few months is nearly complete, and once it?s released in a week there are going to be a number of changes to the way things are done around here. Clearly I'm not able to keep up with the 1 week update schedule. There will be quite a few changes to the way development is done to ensure a stable release cycle, but even with these changes the one week cycle is way too short. So starting with this coming update there will be a new update every month. I will do absolutely everything I can to make sure there is a new build every month no matter what.

Update Delays

There are a number of reasons that this last update and some of the previous updates have taken so long to be released. For this last update specifically there where a few unexpected events that took me away from development, like the unfortunate death of my great grandmother that resulted in me going to Hong Kong for a few weeks. The biggest reason for all of the updates taking so long is that I'm moving from one feature to the next without putting the finishing touches on the previous feature. These finishing touches are the last 10% of a feature that are required before the feature can actually be shipped. This usually means that after a week or two I have the core done for 3-4 new features, but I still have to go back and finish them up. Then after 3 weeks or so I enter an ohh shit period where I'm scrambling to finish all these new features that should have been split up into multiple updates. The primary reason for this is that I just love adding new features to the game, and the last 10% of polish just isn't as fun and usually takes the most time. Now that you know why it's taken so long, here are some of the things I'm going to be doing different to finish updates on time.

Development Changes

The most important change to development will be the strict focus on one game feature at a time. When this update is fully complete and wrapped up in a little polished bundle I will begin work on the next feature. If a feature is not done for the one month update cycle then it will be pushed to the next month and the features that where fully completed that month will be released. This change alone will go the longest in ensuring a consistent polished release cycle.

The second change is that I am now using Perforce (source code version control software) much more extensively. Previously I only used it after I had written a large chunk of code and made a lot of changes. Now that I've moved the server to my local machine I can commit after every small feature and fix because it?s much faster. Previously I ran the server on a ridiculously slow cloud server which made me want to avoid commits as much as possible. Because I'm making more use of perforce I can branch the code into multiple different versions that can be merged later. For example, I have one production branch that gets released to you all and one development branch that I can continue to work on. Then if one of you submits a bug I can fix it in the production build and release it immediately. Without this I would usually have to do the fix in the code I'm working on which would mean that you have to wait until the next big update for a fix. This is not something new in software development by any means, but now that I'm doing it I can push unfinished updates to the next month, give you hot fixes much quicker, and work much more efficiently in general.

The Future

This next update also marks the official start of the Pre-Alpha. All of the builds so far have been sort of Pre-Pre-Alpha. This update will be called Pre-Alpha 1 and all subsequent updates will count up until the game is ready to enter Alpha. Once the game enters alpha it will be officially released on steam early access. The Alpha will be ready when I feel like Survive is fun and at least worth the $20 you all paid for it. To me that?s going to be once the game has basic world generation, looting, inventory system and a few more weapons. That may seem like a lot to do before it?s in alpha, but it?s actually closer than you think. The world generation has already been started with this coming update and the looting/inventory stuff will be fairly straightforward to implement. I don't really want to give a time estimate on how long it will take for all this to be done because clearly I'm fucking horrible at making estimates, but I'm thinking 5-6 months for the game to have basic world generation, loot, inventory, and be fun to play for a few hours. I'm sure that estimate is completely wrong, but the only way to find out is to keep following the development!

New Website Coming

Speaking of following the development, I'm working on a new completely revamped website that will make that significantly easier and more enjoyable. In addition to a full design overhaul, the new website has a couple of big new features. The biggest is the new full development roadmap page that has a live description of what I'm currently working on for the next update and a bunch of other stuff for you to see where Survive is going and how it?s getting there. The "community" section on the current website is a little bit of a joke and has been long overdue for an update. if you don't already know it?s just one massive disqus comment block with over 400 comments, so that's why this new site also has a sexy new forum! There will be more details on the new site a little before it?s launched sometime after this coming update.

The final change to the way things are done around here is to how updates are announced. I feel like the old way of just copying the blog post from the previous update, adding some update details, linking to a video, and dumping a massive changelist is quite boring. So from now on I'm going to be trying out new ways of communicating to all of you what's new in an update and what's coming. A lot of this is dependent upon the new site so this coming update will only be a little better, but there are many improvements and experiments to come!

The big huge update is very close to completion and I only have a few more things to polish before its set to be released in a week. Until then you can check out all the new stuff that?s coming on the new update page!

Big Huge Survive Update Page!

I truly appreciate all of your support and dedication to Survive, and I promise that everything is going to get much better after this next update with the launch of the new website. I can also assure you that all of you early supports will be rewarded as development continues.


December 23, 2013 By: David Tse

The long overdo update to Survive is finally done! This is a massive update that includes new material/shader system, material layering, New Post processing system, GPU particle system, a main menu, and a lot more!

I also ported the game to mac. The mac port will be released soon and will most likely require a minimum of OSX 10.9. This update is largely about polish, graphics, and fixes. The next will be about game play and animation.

There will be a video after the next update, Until then here are some screenshots:

snowy road

snowy road

snowy road

Here is a full list of changes in this update:

  • Improved cube map rendering significantly
  • Added cube map lighting so the lighting from the cube maps fits with the current world lighting conditions
  • Fixed most of the post death crashes and glitches, some can still happen if vegetation is enabled.
  • Reworked the shading to do better more accurate physically based shading
  • Implemented a physically correct specular image based lighting BRDF, Which just means the game correctly uses cube maps to render different levels of shininess and it looks a lot more realistic.
  • Created a brand new GPU particle system that can efficiently render hundreds of thousands of small particles very efficiently. In the future this can very easily be extended to do per particle collision using the depth buffer.
  • fixed some glitches and crashes that where caused by the decal system.
  • Restructured the way the engine handles shaders and materials to make it significantly more robust, efficient, and easier to use/expand upon. Now each entity in the game gets its own custom shader/material so there can be a lot more variation and effects.
  • Changed the material model so now the game uses cavity maps instead of specular maps.
  • Each non-metallic object now has a default specular of 0.004 and all metallic materials have a different spec depending on the type of metal
  • Created a material layering system so that each object in the game can use premade materials from a global material library. This system layers up to 5 different materials per pixel using a texture mask. This increases realism and lets me reuse the same materials giving the game a more consistent look and making the creation of assets for the game much easier.
  • Each Mesh now loads a .Material file that describes how it uses its textures and what materials it uses from the global material library.
  • Added an RPG to test the material layering system. It?s not functioning, but you can spawn them by pressing CTRL.
  • Everything in the game now uses the new material layering system.
  • Changed all the normal maps so they only use two channels so they can be compressed without artifacts. This will reduce memory usage of the game a good amount.
  • Rewrote the post processing system to efficiently use as few off-screen render target textures as possible to save memory. This reduces the memory consumption of the game a lot. This fixes crashes on lower end hardware and helps the game run faster on higher end hardware. This system also lets me add new post processing effects extremely easy.
  • Redid some of the debug output to make it easier to read.
  • Added a shader include system so that different shaders can share functionality without requiring me to copy code which is very very error prone.
  • Added a global shader uniform buffer object so that I can update global parameters for all the shaders one time. This helps with performance and makes getting values to all the shaders in the game a lot easier.
  • Fixed a ton of memory issues, bugs, and opengl misuse to improve the stability and performance of the game overall.
  • Ported the game to mac out of necessity because there is a great tool for debugging memory issues that is only available on the mac. The mac port will be released soon.
  • Fixed a bug where text would render using a random texture if debug draw was enabled
  • Particle effects correctly occlude godrays now
  • Improved god ray performance by using a buffer that is half the screen resolution and using a special downsampled depth buffer so there is no ugly halo.
  • Added slope scale depth bias so everything self-shadows correctly and there is no more shadow acne.
  • Modified the shoot animation a little bit, but this is just the start in the next update I?ll be revamping the weapon animations.
  • Improved player movement a little. The player now has correct fall speed that increases as you fall like it should and the jump doesn?t suck as much as it did. All the movement is much smoother and now you more gracefully come to a stop after moving. There is still a lot I want to do to the player movement and controls and that will be a large part of the next update.
  • Improved text rendering so now there is not an ugly black halo around all the text
  • Finally fixed the vertical placement of text characters. Now the text rendering works with lowercase letters like y and g, and the text doesn?t look so jumbled.
  • Added Font reloading so that when the screen is resized all of the text atlases are rerendered. Now text scales properly to whatever resolution you are using.
  • Created a full GUI system that is used for the menu and will be used for the rest of the game UI in the future. The system is fully saleable to whatever resolution the game is running at and supports buttons, labels, drop down boxes, check boxes, and sliders.
  • Created a menu system! It is a very early version of the menu and it?s mostly there to be functional not pretty. There will be changes to this in the future.
  • Added an options menu that has video, control, and audio options. Many more options will be added in the future including the ability to rebind control keys. If you have any requests for options that you would like added just let me know.
  • Added a dev test area that has a house I made in 2min, some random particle effects, and the material balls. K will spawn a zombie and pressing CTRL will spawn an RPG that I added to test the new material layering system. In the dev test area the RPG and some parts of the M4 are made out of a gold material further showing off the material layering system.

You can Preorder Survive for just $19.95 and download this Pre-Alpha build of the game right now! If you preorder Survive you will also get all future builds of the game up to release and a free steam key right now.

Every week there will be a new Survive Pre-Alpha update so stay tuned!

You can subscribe to email updates for the blog on the right side of this page, subscribe to our YouTube channel and like our Facebook Page to stay up to date on the development of Survive. If you would like even more frequent development news about Survive you can follow me on twitter @Subsurfacegames


November 14, 2013 By: David Tse

The first new zombie model is done! This zombie will officially retire Carl(the fat zombie) and is the first of many new zombies that will make up the zombie horde in Survive. Here are some screenshots showing some of the different tint and blood variations:

Body Tint Variations
Zombie body tint variations.

Head Tint Variations
Zombie head tint variations.

Body Blood Variations
Zombie body blood variations. It will be brighter and more pronounced in game.

Head Blood Variations
Zombie head blood variations. It will be brighter and more pronounced in game.

Even with just this one model there are already 9,437,184 different zombie variations! Let me break that down so you can see exactly how there is so much variation already

  • 1 body model
  • 1 head model
  • 4 head blood variations
  • 4 body blood variations
  • 32 tint variations for the tshirt
  • 32 tint variations for the shirt
  • 32 tint variations for the pants
  • 18 tint variations for the skin

Every time a zombie is spawned it picks randomly from the available models and tint/blood variations to create a zombie. So if we multiply all the different possibilities we get the number of possible zombie variations: 1 x 1 x 4 x 4 x 32 x 32 x 32 x 18 = 9,437,184 possible zombies! When there are more body models and head models this number will only continue to multiply.

Right now Bojin(The awesome contractor who created this zombie) is working on another casual zombie and 2 more head variants. After those are in there will be 56,623,104 possible zombie variations and this is only the beginning!


October 31, 2013 By: David Tse

Happy Halloween! Here is a Halloween tribute video to Overgrowth and Super Meat Boy!

This video is also a great way to show off the footsteps I did for the snow and then cut when I switched it to grass. It also shows off the new animated tillable detail normals on the zombies. If you look close you can see the blood sort of oozing down the zombies using the detail normals with animated texture coordinates. I also added a film grain effect, desaturated the final output a little bit, and lowered the exposure to give it a little more of a creepy feel.

You can Preorder Survive for just $19.95 and download the latest Pre-Alpha build of the game right now! If you preorder Survive you will also get all future builds of the game up to release and a free steam key right now.

You can subscribe to email updates for the blog on the right side of this page, subscribe to our YouTube channel and like our Facebook Page to stay up to date on the development of Survive. If you would like even more frequent development news about Survive you can follow me on twitter @Subsurfacegames


October 30, 2013 By: David Tse

Survive Pre-Alpha v0.70 is now available to download for everyone who has preordered on their account page and on Steam! I got a little carried away with the tweaks I was making for the last video and it turned into a full new update. In this update I implemented an efficient 1 pass environment map generation system, added texture hot loading, added a flashlight, and tweaked a bunch of stuff to add more polish to the game.

Here is a video showing the changes in this update!

Here is a full list of changes in this update:

  • Implemented one pass dynamic cube map rendering. Right now it?s being used to generate environment maps that you can most see on the gun because it?s metal. This system will be used in the future to improve ambient lighting and for reflections on cars and other shiny stuff and to render point light shadow maps.
  • Changed the snow to a snowy grass
  • Modified the terrain shader so that the planes are grass, and the mountains are still snow
  • Added texture hot loading, so now pressing T will make the game check all the loaded textures to see if they have been modified since they were loaded. Then if they have been changed it reloads them in-place.
  • I finally fixed the algorithm that generates tangents and bitangents for normal mapping; this will fix a large number of lighting glitches. The most obvious one it fixes is one that was on the left side of the M4
  • tweaked the gloss and specular maps for everything to go with the new environment maps
  • tweaked the sky textures to move the sunset so it?s visible over the mountains
  • tweaked the sky textures to make the night darker
  • added a really sexy flashlight because the night was really dark after I tweaked everything. Press F to turn it on and off.
  • added simple particle lighting so that particle effects are dark at night and fit in better with the environment, in the future there will be more advanced particle lighting and shadows.
  • added new grass footsteps
  • made it so that walking of different materials uses different sounds, works for both zombies and the player.
  • added new pavement footsteps for the road
  • improved the blood splatter particle effects when shooting zombies, but it is still nowhere near what I would like it to be.
  • Fixed initial zombie spawn distance from player so it?s not so easy to die right when starting the game
  • added anisotropic filtering as an option in the config file

You can Preorder Survive for just $19.95 and download this Pre-Alpha build of the game right now! If you preorder Survive you will also get all future builds of the game up to release and a free steam key right now.

Every week there will be a new Survive Pre-Alpha update so stay tuned!

You can subscribe to email updates for the blog on the right side of this page, subscribe to our YouTube channel and like our Facebook Page to stay up to date on the development of Survive. If you would like even more frequent development news about Survive you can follow me on twitter @Subsurfacegames


October 21, 2013 By: David Tse

Survive Pre-Alpha v0.60 is now available to download for everyone who has preordered on their account page and on Steam! The biggest thing in this update is a new very efficient zombie instancing system! This system can render hundreds of zombies with different body models, head models, body textures, head textures, skin tints, clothes tints, and blood textures. This system will allow for literally thousands of different zombie variations. Not only does this system render a larger variety of zombies, but it renders them over 10 times faster than before. This update also includes frustum culling, zombie LOD support, 375% less video ram usage, and a ton of other things that increase performance and compatibility.

Right now the system uses the placeholder zombie model(carl) and a set of placeholder textures I made to test the system. I just started working with an amazing artist that worked on guild wars 2 and Destiny as a character artist. He is going to create the real zombie horde for Survive to do this new instancing system and the engine justice, finally.

I know its been awhile since the last update, but this update marks the return to the weekly update schedule. There will be a video showing all the changes in this update soon, in the mean time here is a screenshot of the zombie instancing system at work:

snowy road

Here is a full list of changes in this update:

  • Zombie attack sounds are now 3D so you can tell where your being attacked from
  • added zombie walking sounds
  • added zombie snow footstep sounds
  • added zombie yelling sounds for when they notice you
  • added zombie yelling sounds for when they are running after you
  • added zombie idle wail sounds
  • added zombie death sounds
  • created new modular zombie instancing system that very efficiently renders large numbers of zombies with different variations of head models, body models, head textures, body textures, body tints, different clothes tints, and blood textures. It Improves performance of zombies by an order of magnitude(x10) and will allow for thousands and thousands of zombie variations when I get the new zombie art.
  • improved vegetation performance, it still has some issues on some AMD graphics cards
  • frustum culling for all zombies! This coupled with the new instancing system this makes rendering a ton of zombies really fast.
  • the new zombie rendering system supports full Level of Detail fading, but the game is not using the LOD system yet because I don?t want to spend time creating LODs for carl when there are a lot of new zombie models coming. Once the new zombies are in with the correct LODs for different distances there will be a huge performance gain again.
  • removed 20 bones from the zombie skeletons hand that where completely useless to improve performance
  • enabled DXT compression for most textures to greatly reduce video ram usage. This fixes a number of crashes that where happening because of the high resolution textures of the new terrain not fitting in video memory.
  • A number of improvements that reduce video ram usage in addition to the DXT compression. I Reduced vram usage from a ridiculous 1.6GB to about 440mb. This is just a very broad level optimization and is still using high res textures for everything. There will be many more optimizations to come, and options to use lower resolution textures for lower end hardware. The minimum requirement on vram on release is most likely going to be 512mb.
  • zombie rendering, and zombie ragdolls are very fast and can support hundreds of zombies at once, but there is a bug with the character controller so alive zombies can take up a lot of performance. That?s why there are still only 150 zombies in the world right now; this will be fixed in future updates.
  • fixed a bug where resizing the game above 1280x720 would result in a black screen. This was because the game was running out of vram. There is still an issue when resizing to bigger sizes depending on how much vram you have. These will be fixed soon, and they really should only affect you if you?re trying to go over 1920x1080 with less than 2GB of vram.
  • fixed graphical issues caused by increasing the game resolution
  • fixed camera drift issues caused by increasing the game resolution
  • terrain now casts self-shadows so it actual gets dark when the sun goes behind the mountain
  • tweaked a lot of textures and lighting
  • fixed an issue with a large black box flickering with the terrain
  • profiling stats are no longer displayed by default. You can enable them in the config file. This can cause crashes for AMD users.
  • zombies cast shadows again

You can Preorder Survive for just $19.95 and download this Pre-Alpha build of the game right now! If you preorder Survive you will also get all future builds of the game up to release and a free steam key right now.

Every Sunday there will be a new Survive Pre-Alpha update so stay tuned!

You can subscribe to email updates for the blog on the right side of this page, subscribe to our YouTube channel and like our Facebook Page to stay up to date on the development of Survive. If you would like even more frequent development news about Survive you can follow me on twitter @Subsurfacegames


September 23, 2013 By: David Tse

Steam keys are now up! If you preordered you can log into your account page to get your key! If you haven't tried Survive yet you can preorder here to get your Steam key immediately!

The game is not actually for sale on steam yet because it?s still too early to be released on Steam early access, but you can buy it on our website and use steam to get the updates. Once the game is in alpha it will be officially launched for sale on Steam.


September 23, 2013 By: David Tse

Survive Pre-Alpha v0.45 is now available to download for everyone who has preordered on their account page! This update is not that big, and I mostly focused on making the new scene look and sound better.

This update is also uploaded to steam! Right now I'm working on getting everyone who preordered a steam key on their account page, but until then you can download it the normal way from your account page. The game will not be launched for sale on steam yet because its still too early to do a full on launch on Steam Early Access, but if you preorder it here then you will get a steam key.

snowy road

Here is a full list of changes in this update:

  • fixed the god rays so that they render all the way up to the base of what is casting them
  • tweaked the sun and brightened it.
  • fixed vegetation and re-enabled it by default, it still has performance issues if the game is slow press J while playing or change "EnableVegetation" in SurviveConfig.ini to 0
  • added new snowy trees
  • created new shoot show particle effect
  • created a new shoot snow decal
  • created new snowing particle effect
  • added new wind ambient
  • added new snowy footsteps
  • added a road winding through the trees
  • added new text disable switching so you can cycle between different levels of text rendering. You can press I to cycle through the text rendering.
  • added a new health bar
  • made the zombies not spawn too close to the player initially so you don?t die immediately after starting the game

You can Preorder Survive for just $19.95 and download this Pre-Alpha build of the game right now! If you preorder Survive you will also get all future builds of the game up to release and a free steam key(coming in the next day or two).

Every Sunday there will be a new Survive Pre-Alpha update so stay tuned!

You can subscribe to email updates for the blog on the right side of this page, subscribe to our YouTube channel and like our Facebook Page to stay up to date on the development of Survive. If you would like even more frequent development news about Survive you can follow me on twitter @Subsurfacegames


September 15, 2013 By: David Tse

Survive Pre-Alpha v0.40 is now available to download for everyone who has preordered on their account page! This update has the new snowy mountains, but I had to disable vegetation because it broke and I need to fix it. The update also has a ton of useability improvements and fixes like weapon spread, fixed jumping, and new config/data files.

There will not be a video this week because there is not that much new to show in this update. It was mostly to make the game better for the pre-orderers. The only thing I could really show off is the new scene and its still not done yet. I don't want to show the scene without the trees, new particle effects, decals, and making it actually snow.

All that should be ready next week if GTA5 doesn't take over my life too much.

snowy night

Here is a full list of changes in this update:

  • added the new snowy mountain terrain
  • added weapon spread so the weapon is not 100% accurate anymore
  • firing from the hip without aiming is less accurate
  • added a silencer to the M4 and changed the shoot sound
  • fixed the iron sights being off at distances away from the start.
  • iron sights are now working perfectly at all distances
  • zombies won?t disappear if you kill them while they are transitioning from a walk to a run anymore.
  • further improved ragdolls
  • added a toggle ADS option - if there are any other simple options you think should be added please let me know
  • added comments to the config file and reorganized it so its no longer a nightmare to look at
  • split the config file into two separate file, one for personal things like invert mouse called SurviveConfig.ini, and one for engine constants called SurviveData.ini. This way you can keep your preferences between updates
  • fixed a few other bugs and improved performance
  • fixed unlimited jumping and tweaked jumping a little
  • re added the player land sound after jump
  • player walk sound doesn?t play while jumping anymore
  • disabled SSAO on terrain because it looked like crap
  • added a new death screen
  • disabled trees by default until I get them fixed, don?t try to enable them in the config because the game will crash.
  • time of day is now
  • added a new headshot sound and increased its frequency

You can Preorder Survive for just $19.95 and download this Pre-Alpha build of the game right now! If you preorder Survive you will also get all future builds of the game up to release and a free steam key when the game released on Steam Early Access.

Every Sunday there will be a new Survive Pre-Alpha update so stay tuned!

You can subscribe to email updates for the blog on the right side of this page, subscribe to our YouTube channel and like our Facebook Page to stay up to date on the development of Survive. If you would like even more frequent development news about Survive you can follow me on twitter @Subsurfacegames


September 9, 2013 By: David Tse

Survive Pre-Alpha update v0.35 is now available to download for everyone who has preordered on their account page! Zombies can now run!

This update has a completely revamped animation system, new zombie sprint animations, Beginning of the new zombie AI, zombies can see you and will run at you once they notice you, start of a new spawning system that puts zombies all over the world, and animation motion extraction so the zombies speed is determined by the animation so its feet don't slide on the ground.

In the next update there will be a sexy new snowy forest mountain scene with a road going through it. This new demo scene will be the last one before the world generation is started! World generation is coming soon and I cant wait until we can walk around the random world killing Carls(more zombies to come later obviously)!

Here is a video showing the changes in this update!

Here is a full list of changes in this update:

  • Added new M4A1 and Arms.
  • Rewrote animation system.
  • Implemented Animation motion extraction. So now every animation that goes into the game will control the base entity correctly. Basically the speed of the zombies run animation will control how fast the zombie entity in the game moves. The primary reason for this is so the zombies feet don't slide around unnaturally on the ground.
  • Zombies now smoothly turn with no jitter.
  • Implemented a new Zombie wander algorithm so zombies can wander the world more randomly and more efficiently.
  • Added a debug draw for rendering the paths of the zombies.
  • Added a debug draw for rendering the targets of the zombies.
  • Added new zombie sprint animations.
  • Zombies now fade smoothly from idle wander animations to attack sprints.
  • Zombies have a new arrive behavior where they gradually slow down when they reach their target in the next update they will fade to an attack animation as they reach the player.
  • Zombies can now see you, it's a very early version of the AI, but the zombie can now see the player if you get into its Field of view.
  • If a zombie sees you he will sprint after you with the new running animation.

You can Preorder Survive for just $19.95 and download this Pre-Alpha build of the game right now! If you preorder Survive you will also get all future builds of the game up to release and a free steam key when the game released on Steam Early Access.

Every Sunday there will be a new Survive Pre-Alpha update so stay tuned!

You can subscribe to email updates for the blog on the right side of this page, subscribe to our YouTube channel and like our Facebook Page to stay up to date on the development of Survive. If you would like even more frequent development news about Survive you can follow me on twitter @Subsurfacegames


September 1, 2013 By: David Tse

Survive update v0.30 is now available to download for everyone who has preordered on their account page! Starting today there will be a new update to Survive every Sunday with the possibility of small bug fix updates throughout the week!

In this update you can finally die from zombie attacks! This update has a lot of internal changes and polish, in the next update I will work on the new zombie spawning system, AI, and attack/running animations so its more fun and challenging to fight the zombies.

Here is a video showing the changes in this update!

Here is a full list of changes:

  • Added new M4A1 and Arms
  • Added player health and zombie attacks
  • zombie attacks play player hit sounds and zombie attack sounds, animations will come in the next update.
  • When the player dies the world resets
  • The world reset is not perfect and can sometimes cause crashes after a few deaths these bugs will be fixed as development continues. So basically the penalty for death is the game don't die!
  • jumping works again
  • Created new Procedural shoot animations
  • Significantly improved bloom quality
  • Pressing ctrl will now spawn a dead zombie ragdoll
  • Fixed ragdolls going crazy and added some mass to the ragdolls
  • Implemented an FBX model and animation parser so I could get the new gun, arms, and zombie in the game more easily
  • Added gloss maps to most things so specular highlights(how shiny something is) can be changed per object and per pixel
  • Fixed it so things don't cast shadows onto the front of things where they are not supposed to
  • Zombies and other objects now cast accurate self shadows
  • There are no more specular highlights in shadows, now the night looks more realistic.
  • Fixed timing issues so the game doesn't go into slow motion at high frame rates
  • Fixed a lot of memory issues and decreased memory allocations so the game now uses less memory in general and should crash less. There are still some memory leaks that cause the game to crash after playing for a while, but those will be addressed soon.
  • Fixed muzzle flash so it fully attaches to the front of the gun in all procedural animations
  • Fixed aiming down the sights so it is more accurate.

You can Preorder Survive for just $19.95 and download this Pre-Alpha build of the game right now! If you preorder Survive you will also get all future builds of the game up to release and a free steam key when the game released on Steam Early Access.

Be sure to subscribe to email updates for the blog on the right side of this page, subscribe to our YouTube channel and like our Facebook Page to stay up to date on the development of Survive. If you would like more frequent development news about Survive you can follow me on twitter @Subsurfacegames


August 28, 2013 By: David Tse

Survive has been Greenlit! Survive will be released on Steam early access when it enters Alpha! Steam early access will allow you to buy the game on steam and download it before its done.

When the game gets on Steam all of you preorderers will get your steam key on your account page so you can automatically get updates from Steam instead of manually downloading patches.

There will be a video showing the new update in a few days! The update will include a new gun and arm model, new procedural animations for the gun, fully fixed ragdolls, fixed shadows, player death, zombie sounds, and a ton of internal changes. Here is a screenshot of the new gun and arms to tide you over.


If you can't wait for Survive to get on Steam then you can Preorder Survive to try it out right now! When you preorder the game you will also recieve a free Steam key when Survive is launched on Steam.

Thank you for all the support and yes votes, you guys are awesome!


August 14, 2013 By: David Tse

Survive Pre-Alpha v0.25 is out! If you have Preordered Survive then you can download this update from your account page. The biggest changes this week are deferred decal blood splatters and fixed zombie ragdolls.

Deferred decals are a very efficient way to draw thousands of decals on any object in the world. These decals perfectly conform to whatever is in their projection box. In this update I used the new decals for bullet holes and to draw a blood splatter on anything a zombie corpse hits with enough force. This decal system will also be used for dynamic roads, spray painting, vehicle drop shadows, and explosion craters just to name a few.

Right now I'm working on getting the new zombie in the game, fixing a memory problem that causes random crashes on some hardware, and creating a better spawning system and AI for the zombies.


Here is the full list of changes in this update:

  • Fixed an issue where some people where seeing red lines instead of particle effects. If you still get this bug please send me your log file(SurviveLog.txt) to
  • Fixed a bug where shooting while in the fly cam would cause a crash.
  • Fixed the zombie ragdoll so its stomach and some other bones don?t get twisted up anymore, but the ragdoll can still go crazy. That will be fixed when the new zombie is added.
  • Implemented Differed Decals so now decals will morph to fit everything in their path.
  • Added blood splatter decals that are placed when a zombie's corpse hits an object with enough force, you can lower the amount of force necessary to add a decal by changing "ForceDecalThreshold" in the SurviveData.ini file. The smaller this is the more blood there will be.
  • Added a particle effect that playes when boxes or zombies collide with things in the world
  • Added ambient music
  • Vegetation is now enabled by default, but grass count is now 0 in the config file. Grass still has performance issues, but you can increase the grass count with the "ST_GrassMainCount" variable in the SurviveData.ini file if you want.
  • Pressing alt will now place a debug decal on the ground so you can see the decal system in action, press X to see the bounds of the decal volume.
  • Pressing K will now spawn a zombie in the world
  • Fixed the particles being white when the zombies where killed with the vegetation on
  • Pressing O to disable post processing will not disable tone mapping, text, or particles anymore
  • Added a "SoundVolume" and "MusicVolume" Options to the SurviveData.ini file the values can range from 0.0-1.0
  • Some bug fixes that where causing crashes for a few people

You can Preorder Survive for just $19.95 and download this Pre-Alpha build of the game right now. If you preorder Survive you will also get all future builds of the game up to release and a free steam key when the game gets greenlit.

Be sure to subscribe to email updates for the blog on the right side of this page, subscribe to our YouTube channel and like our Facebook Page to stay up to date on the development of Survive. If you would like more frequent development news about Survive you can follow me on twitter @Subsurfacegames


August 8, 2013 By: David Tse

Here is the new Survive Pre-Alpha update video! In this update I implemented soft particles and added the first really really really early version of zombie killing. I'm going to try and start doing shorter more frequent update videos like this at least every two weeks to keep you all more up to date on development.

Here is a full changelist for this update:

  • You can now shoot and kill zombies, the ragdolls need significant work and are only placeholder. The ragdolls can sometimes go CRAZY and send stretched zombie parts all over the world, this will be fixed as ragdolls are improved. There will be much better hit reactions and ragdolls in future updates.
  • Camera now accelerates and decelerates smoothly while flying
  • Fixed the particle system
  • Implemented soft particles so now effects fade into the environment smoothly
  • Added muzzle flash effect
  • Mouse Cursor is now hidden while the game is active
  • Added invertX and InvertMouseX InvertMouseY options to the config file
  • Disabled decals on zombies for now They will be back soon.
  • Pausing the game time now stops zombie movement
  • You can now shoot boxes to move them again
  • You can now press I to toggle the text system to see some performance stats.
  • Shooting boxes and zombie corpses will apply a force to them based on the shot direction. There is a bug where some zombies are not effected by this.
  • Added a simple zombie spawning system.
  • Vegetation is disabled when the game starts now. To re-enable press J
  • Added a DisableSound option to the ini file
  • Added an in-game help menu that has some important controls

You can Preorder Survive for just $19.95 and download this Pre-Alpha build of the game right now. If you preorder Survive you will also get all future builds of the game up to release and a free steam key when the game gets greenlit.

Be sure to subscribe to email updates for the blog on the right side of this page, subscribe to our YouTube channel and like our Facebook Page to stay up to date on the development of Survive. If you would like more frequent development news about Survive you can follow me on twitter @Subsurfacegames


July 29, 2013 By: David Tse

There have been a lot of questions on the steam Greenlight page about Survive, so I am going to try to address some of the most frequently asked questions here and go into more detail about the features on Survive. This post will also show how Survive is going to be different than the other games in the open world zombie shooter category (The Dead Linger and DayZ Standalone).

I have been getting a lot of questions about why Carl (the fat zombie with the tie and unbuttoned pants from the videos) is the only zombie in the game. He is just a placeholder zombie being used for development. There will be many different zombie models and variations. It will not just be a bunch of Carl zombies. I have also gotten some questions about Mac support. Mac Support is coming. The only reason Mac is not listed on the Greenlight page is because the pre-alpha doesn't support mac yet.


The Apocalypse

In Survive you will be able to pick the time that you want to play relative to the start of the apocalypse. You can also have the game pick a random time when you start a new so it will be a surprise when the apocalypse hits. So you could start a few days or minutes before the apocalypse. You could also start 10 hours or 15 years after the apocalypse. Everything in the world including Survivor npc's and loot will be generated completely different depending on the time you start.

Traps and Barricading

Because zombies will always be knocking at your door you will need a way to keep them at bay. There will be various ways to do this. The first and most simple will be using the dynamic world movement system to physically move stuff in front of doors and windows. So you could drag a dresser in front of a window to stop zombies from coming in.

When moving a lot of stuff in front of doors and windows is not enough you will be able to do some basic construction to build barricades. You will be able to find tools and supplies for basic carpentry in some people's garages and at home improvement stores. In addition to being able to board up windows/doors you will be able to dynamically construct walls, forts, and anything else you can think up with this system. To get more wood to use for this construction system you can chop down trees, and rip wood from other houses.


Now that your safe house/building is properly barricaded it's time to add traps to protect your stuff from zombies and would be thieves. In single player survivor NPCs might try and break into your house and steal your stuff while you are away or sleeping. In multiplayer other players will most certainly try to steal your things. To protect them while you are away you must use traps. There will be two types of traps. There are passive traps and active traps.

Passive traps are traps that are camouflaged and generally active by walking into them. An example of a passive trap is a spike pit. Active traps are made up of two parts: A trigger and then the trap itself. You will be able to mix match different traps and triggers. Some triggers that will be in the game are trip wires, motion sensors, and pressure plates. You can attach various things to these triggers to create a trap. You can put your crossbow or shotgun on the other end of a trip wire so whoever walks into a room gets shot or you could attach some explosives to a pressure plate. You could put some rocks in a basket and then drop them on the head of the person who activates the trip wire attached to it. If you want a more deadly trap you could attach the pin of a grenade to a trip wire. Some traps will require electricity from a battery or generator, and others will be mechanical requiring no power.


There will be a few different ways to play multiplayer in Survive. In Survive the multiplayer will just be exactly the same as the single player game, but with other players thrown into the mix. These other players can either help you or hurt you. You will have to decide who to trust, just like if it were a real zombie apocalypse.

The main multiplayer mode will be the classic big server based multiplayer. So each server hosts one world for a specified number of people. It is too early to tell the maximum number of people per server, but it will be at least 32. The maximum number of people will ultimately be decided by technical factors, but I would like to fit as many as possible in a server. This multiplayer mode is about trying to survive a more realistic zombie apocalypse with a lot of unpredictable real people to deal with or help you.

The game will also support a co-op mode for both the single player and the server multiplayer. So what I mean by that is you can easily play with your friends in a few ways. First you and your friends join a lobby together. Then you have two options: regular co-op or online co-op. You can create a new world together for only you and your friends to play in, or you can join another server (like the ones I talked about above) as a group. Whenever you start in a new world for the first time you will all start in the same house, as if you were a family before the apocalypse and now you are all waking up to survive together. Regular co-op will not require you and your friends to set up a server and will just work. Sort of the way left 4 dead lets you and your friends just join up and start playing. The Regular co-op will also be playable over LAN.

Procedural World Generation

In Survive the entire world is procedurally generated. From the placement of the buildings and the roads to the actual buildings themselves, everything is procedurally generated. When you start a new game you will be put in a random house in the world. The game will not use cookie cutter buildings repeated over and over. Each building in the game will be created from a procedurally generated blueprint. Once the base building is created it is filled with random furniture, various loot/supplies, dead bodies, survivor npc's, and other things based on the type of building. The world generation is started with a seed. This seed, like in minecraft, will determine the world generation. If you like that world and want to play in it again just use the same seed. Some of the buildings that will be generated in Survive are Skyscrapers, Malls, Schools, Farms, Prisons, Police Stations, Office Buildings, Houses, Shopping Centers, All kinds of Stores, Gun Stores, Gas Stations, and Libraries.


Survivor NPCs

Survivor NPCs are driven by one goal. All of their actions are controlled by both their need to survive and by their stats. Each survivor has various randomly generated stats that control its behavior and survivability. Some of these stats are morality, aggressiveness, trusting, deceptiveness, greed, Intelligence, awareness, speed, strength, and accuracy just to name a few.

Morality will determine if an NPC will shoot another NPC or player in the head and steal all of their stuff without thinking about it. Greed will determine how much supplies the NPC tries to gather after they are satisfied. The trusting stat determines how easily this NPC trusts other NPC s and the player. The deceptiveness stat will determine how much an NPC will try to deceive and trick other NPC s and the player. Aggressiveness determines how aggressive it is when approaching various situations. Intelligence determines how good the NPC is at determining what it needs to do, and how smart it is in combat. Perception determines how well the NPC sees and hears zombies and other survivors. Speed determines how fast the NPC runs, and accuracy determines how accurate they are with ranged weapons. All of these stats have big impact on the survivability of an NPC.

These survivors will go about their normal business just trying to survive. They will scavenge for food and supplies from the world while will trying to kill any zombies that threaten them. The intelligence and other stats of the NPC will determine if they go guns blazing attracting all the zombies in the area or if they silently sneak past them. When survivor NPCs encounter other survivors or the player they will react based on their stats and the other survivors actions. Based on their stats, some survivor NPCs will join you and fight with you if you invite them to.

Depending on the stats of an NPC any of the following things could happen. They can trick you into letting them help you and then steal all your stuff while you sleep. They could try to break into your house while you are away and steal your stuff. They could shoot you if you try to enter their area. You could be fighting a group of zombies with a friendly survivor NPC and start getting overrun. If you shoot the NPC in the knee and run, the zombies will eat him while you make your escape. You can point a gun at an NPC and force him to give you all his stuff or you can just kill him and take it. When all of these stats come together the survivor NPC's ai will be very unpredictable and create crazy dynamic gameplay. Based on the time since the apocalypse there will either be more or less survivor NPCs.


Crafting will be a large part of Survive. You will be able to craft a huge number of different types of things. You will be able to craft stuff as if it was real life. So you could use some duct tape, a mag light, and some tools to add a makeshift silencer to your gun. You could break a window and duct tape the shards to the broken leg of a chair to make a weapon. Want to burn the zombies? Then make a Molotov cocktail. You will also be able to craft things onto vehicles like battering rams, spikes, and machine guns. You can also customize your weapons with more classic attachments. You can find all types of gun attachments like red dot sights, silencers, and grips. These attachments will be findable around the world by themselves or can taken off of found guns. These attachments can be freely mixed and matched between certain guns like in real life. As the game development progresses, more and more logical crafting possibilities will be added to the game. If something logically should be craftable it should be craftable in Survive.

greenlight stats

Scavenging and Looting

The placement of resources and loot will be as close to real life as possible. So the right type of guns will be placed in the police department, wood and building supplies will be in the home improvement stores, hunting rifles will be in the more rural houses, and maps of the local area will be in the gas stations. This is so you can truly survive the way you want. Just go to the places you think things will be and they will be there. These resources will become scarcer as time passes based on the time you start after the apocalypse and as time passes while you play. This is to simulate other survivors scavenging these resources.

Game difficulty

The game difficulty will affect a few things in the game. The one thing I don't want it to affect is zombie killing. My goal with this game is to make the zombie killing as realistic and fluid as possible because that is one of the main things you will be doing in the game. Higher difficulties will not turn the zombies into bullet sponges, and it will not affect the way you kill zombies at all. The difficulty of the game will increase by decreasing the availability of supplies, increasing survivor NPC aggressiveness, increasing zombie intelligence, increasing zombie damage, increasing zombie count, increasing zombie alertness, increasing NPC survivor aggressiveness, and skewing the starting location toward a more difficult area. For example at a lower difficulty you might spawn in a beach house with a gun and a car. Then on the highest difficulty you might spawn in a small cabin in the freezing north with no vehicle and no weapons. This will make the game more difficult without compromising the gameplay of zombie killing.

Biomes and Weather

Survive will generate an entire planet sized world. It was originally going to be unlimited, but that is not very realistic and a little more technically challenging. The world will be effectively unlimited because it will be the size of earth or possibly bigger. The different biomes of the game will be determined by in-game geographical location. So the further north on the planet the colder it will be. Cold weather will cause you trouble, so living in the north will be more challenging. Trying to move south will make your life much easier, but traveling long distances will not be a walk in the park. There will also be many wilderness areas generated. Some of these areas are forests, lakes, rivers, plains, deserts, and mountains. The weather will change randomly and be based on the biomes, but will also be governed by the seasons. The seasons will be laid out over an in-game year. I don't know how long the days in Survive will be in real world time yet. That will have to be determined later through extensive play testing.

snow zomibe

Dynamic Item Moving and Inventory System

In Survive every single object in the game is able to be picked up and moved around the 3D game world dynamically. This will be a big part of scavenging and traveling. Say for example you are in need of something to barricade one of your doors. You could drive your truck down to the local store or your neighbor's house and physically load up a couch into the back of the truck. Then drive back to your house and use it to block your door. Your characters strength stat will determine how well you can move things, then moving more things will increase your strength over time. This system will have a big part to play in both the barricading and item management of the game. You can also use this system to loot more than you would if you could only store things in your backpack. So you could drive down to the local gun store and then load all the guns that are still there into the back of your truck.

This will allow for a more dynamic and realistic item management, but could become tedious for smaller items. So the game will use a hybrid system. Your character will have a certain amount of default storage space based on your current cloths to simulate pockets. You can then find different bags around the world to store more things. So by getting a backpack you can store a certain amount of stuff on your body in a classic inventory like system, similar ot most other games. The amount of space things take up in your storage items will be based on the physical volume of the object in-game. You can then use items in this inventory like you would in other games. All vehicles will also have hybrid storage. So you can store big stuff in the back of the vehicle physically and then you can store other stuff in the vehicle?s inventory using the inventory system. This simulates putting things in the glove box and center console.

Weapons and Zombie Killing

Killing zombies is one of the most important parts of Survive. Because of this, killing zombies will be fluid and fun. For more about the zombies in the game please go look at the zombies blog post. You will be able to use a variety of strategies to kill the zombies. Of course there will be a large number of guns to kill zombies with. Any type gun that you would be able to reasonably find in the real world will be in the game. There will be pistols, assault rifles, sub machine guns, shotguns, light machine guns, rifles, and snipers. No zombie apocalypse would be complete without a crossbow and the standard bow and arrow. So Survive will have both of those. You can be Daryl from The Walking Dead, silently taking out zombies and reusing your ammo. There will also be some different types of explosives that you can find in military bases and on fallen soldiers. These explosives include grenades, C4, rocket launchers, anti-aircraft missile launchers and claymores.

makeshift weapon

In addition to these ranged weapons there will be a ton of melee weapons. Most small objects in the game will be usable for melee, and will be throwable. You will also be able to craft with these objects, combining them with other stuff to make them more deadly. Traps will also be a very effective way to kill zombies (more in the traps section). The dynamic item movement system can also be used to kill zombies. So you could go to your roof and drop a microwave onto a zombie to kill it. All damage in the game will be dynamic and based on the weight and shape of the objects.

RPG Elements and Survivor Customization

Your Survivor will be very customizable in Survive. There are three different aspects to the customization. There are survivor stats, skills, and cloths/equipment. You will have various stats that effect how well you do different things in the game. Some of the stats your player will have are endurance, intelligence, marksmanship, archery, awareness, strength, and speed just to name a few. Intelligence will determine how well you learn and advance new skills. Endurance determines sprint amount and health. These stats will improve as you use them more. So the more you push around boxes and couches to barricade the stronger your character will get.

In addition to these stats you will be able to learn various skills. You do not know all the skills in the game but will have to learn them or start with them when customizing your survivor if you want to use them. So if you want to ride a horse you will need the horse riding skill. If you don't have the skill you could try, but you will fall off and most likely get hurt. You can learn a new skill by either reading a book you find or having another survivor/player teach you the skill. If you already know a skill you can increase it by using it more or finding a rare advanced book in that skill. Some of the skills in the game are horse riding, construction, electrical engineering, auto mechanic skills, and piloting. When you start a new game you will be able to pick a few skills and customize your stats to simulate starting in the life of different people.

hot fuz with guns

The third way you can customize your character is through the equipment you find. You will be able to equip things in the following slots: helmet/hat, shirt, jacket, pants, and shoes. This equipment can help you from getting infected and damaged by the zombies. It can also help protect you from the bullets of other survivors. In addition to equipping various cloths and equipment you will be able to equip different bags and holsters. You start with a base inventory size based on your cloths. Some pants and shorts will add more inventory space than others. So cargo pants will give you a little more inventory space than blue jeans. You will be able to equip different bags to increase the space in your inventory. Some bigger bags, like duffle bags, will also slow down your movement. Then you can equip all kinds of different holsters for different weapons. When you start, your character will have 2 holster weapon slots. This is to simulate putting 2 pistols into the back of your pants. You will then be able to find real holsters to equip more weapons that you can easily switch too. All of these holsters will take up a real spot on your body. So, for example, you could put a sword in a holster on your back, 2 pistols in waist holsters, another pistol in an ankle holster, and then have a shotgun in your hand.

Surviving in Survive

In Survive you will need food and water to stay alive. You will have to search the world for food and water in the places you would expect them to be. You can try and scavenge food and water from grocery stores, or get water from nearby lake or river. In Survive you will be able to survive completely off the land if you want to. If you want you can find a nice cabin in the woods and then just hunt and fish for food. You could also start a farm as a source of food.


In Survive there will be all types of vehicles. The vehicle types currently planned are, cars, trucks, SUVs, 18 wheelers, buses, small private planes, large commercial passenger planes, military planes/jets, commercial helicopters, tanks, boats, military helicopters, and bikes. Each vehicle type will have many different variations and models. Then each of those models and variations will be spawned in various different colors. The gas to power these vehicles will be scarce. The availability of gas will start off high at the beginning of the apocalypse and then fall as time passes. To get gas you will have to siphon gas from cars around the world or use a hand pump to get gas from gas stations. You could also use a portable generator or batteries to power pumps to get gas faster. When you don't have gas there will be more natural modes of transportation. You will be able to ride horses you find if you keep them fed. You will also be able to find carts and wagons to hitch your horses to for transporting your stuff. Your Survivor will need the required skills to handle and ride the horses.

zombie truck

Throughout the development of Survive we will be very open to your suggestions. If you have any ideas for a new vehicle, weapon, crafting possibility, skill, trap, or game feature please feel free to share it with us. If you still have any questions about Survive please leave it in a comment below.

If you Preorder Survive you will get access to the pre-alpha. Right now it is a buggy unoptimized build with little gameplay. By preordering now you are helping test the early builds of the game on a wide variety of different hardware. By the time the alpha rolls around the game will be a lot more stable and compatible with more hardware thanks to your help. If you pre-order you will be able to play the latest builds of the game all the way up to its final release as these features are implemented.


July 25, 2013 By: David Tse

Survive is now on Steam Greenlight! You can help support the game and get it on steam by going to vote yes on the Greenlight Page! When Survive gets on steam everyone who has already preordered the game will get a steam key.


Survive has been on Greenlight since last night and im pretty happy with its progress so far. Right now it has over 5,000 votes with 67% being yes votes and the Steam average is only 57% yes votes! Thank you to everyone who has voted so far, and if you havent voted please go vote yes! Here are some of the detailed stats of the greenlight so far:

greenlight stats


July 23, 2013 By: David Tse

This update will be last major update to the graphics of Survive for awhile so I can focus all my time on gameplay. Survive is our zombie survival shooter that is set in an unlimited procedural open world.

Most of the work I did in this update has to do with post processing effects, but I also spent a lot of time laying the ground work for the zombie AI. I completely reworked the entity system to use components so that implementing different AI's and game objects will be significantly easier and faster. Here is the update video showing all of the changes:

Here is a full list of changes I made in this update:

  • Zombie Locomotion
  • Implemented a Component Based Entity System
  • Full Dynamic Day Night Cycle
  • Light Shafts
  • Implemented CIE Sky Rendering Model
  • Implemented a Post Processing System
  • SSAO
  • FXAA
  • Bloom
  • Filmic Tone Mapping
  • HDR Rendering
  • Gamma Correct Rendering
  • Added a PhysX Implementation of the Physics Wrapper
  • Started Oculus Rift Support
  • Many other small bug fixes and tweaks

Right now im working on the gameplay and the next video will show Zombie AI and Zombie killing.

Be sure to subscribe to email updates for the blog on the right side of this page, subscribe to our YouTube channel and like our Facebook Page to stay up to date on the development of Survive. If you would like more frequent development news about Survive you can follow me on twitter @Subsurfacegames

You can now Preorder Survive for just $19.95 and get all future updates of the game up to release. Survive is currently in Pre-Alpha, and when the game enters alpha it will be available to download for those who have pre-ordered. The game will enter alpha after the gameplay is added which I am working on now.


May 5, 2013 By: David Tse

Because zombies are the focal point of Survive I have put a lot of thought into how they should behave. What are the best zombie rules for Survive? Should zombies be really fast and strong super humans like in I am legend or should they just run at the average human speed like in Left for Dead or The Walking Dead. Maybe they should be very slow and shambling like in Call of Duty: Nazi Zombies or the classic George Romero movies.

lady running from zombie

For Survive I want to have zombies that are as realistic as possible, but gameplay is most important. The zombies need to be very fun to kill and they need to make you fear for your life. There are a number of different attributes to think of when designing zombies. How fast can they run, How can you kill them, How smart are they, where did they come from, and how do they spread? This is a break down of the attributes for the zombies in Survive.

Zombie Origin

There are many different ways that zombies are created in movies and other media. The dead could rise because of some magic, a viral outbreak could turn people into flesh eating zombies, or possibly an alien infestation of zombie like creatures.

I think the best origin for the zombies in Survive is a virus that turns people into zombies. I think its the most realistic origin and will be best for gameplay. By realism I mean that if there where ever to be a zombie outbreak in real life it would most likely come from a viral outbreak, not the raising of the dead.

lady running from zombie
In Survive if you get blood in your eyes or mouth you could get infected.

The origin of the zombies doesn't really have an impact on the gameplay of most games, but in Survive it will. In Survive you will have to be weary of blood splatter and contaminated food and water, because you could become infected. Wearing face masks and filtering water will help to protect you from the infection. When you become infected it is pretty much the same as dying, but you will be able to continue playing as a zombie if you want. In single player you could go on a survivor npc killing rampage until you get killed and in multiplayer you can attack and kill your friends if they didn't have the foresight kill you before you turned.

Zombie Movement

From a gameplay point of view The speed of the zombies will directly effect the pacing of the game, should the player be constantly running for his life, or slowly creeping through a corridor trying to not alert zombies. Slow zombies are deadly in their numbers, while fast zombies are deadly by themselves.

In Survive the best fit will be fast zombies that run at the speeds of an average human. This will be much better from a gameplay perspective because it will allow for both slower paced gameplay of sneaking around zombies when they don't notice you, and the extremely fast gameplay of running away from and killing fast zombies after they notice you.

lady running from zombie

This will also be easier from a performance perspective because there will not need to be as many zombies on screen at once. Don't get me wrong there will still be ALOT of zombies on screen at once, but with fast zombies there will need to be less. That extra performance from having less zombies can then be spent on smarter AI, and more dynamic environments.

From a realism and story point of view fast zombies make more sense for a viral outbreak because humans can normally run, and when the symptoms of a zombie virus are extreme aggression and a desire to attack and possibly eat living people then I think that these infected humans would do everything they can to catch there prey. Even if they are dumb they would still know how to mindlessly run after something they want(human flesh).

Zombie Intelligence and Perception

Survive will have relatively dumb zombies who are attracted to sounds and lights. The sound system in Survive will play a big part in the zombies AI. Every sound you hear out of your speakers, not including UI sounds or music, will be played in the world for any near by zombies to hear and react too.

Even though the zombies are fast, there is still a large stealth element in Survive. You will be able to sneak through groups of zombies and assassinate them if you want too. There are also plans to have zombies form herds and roam the world in large groups, similar to what they do in The Walking Dead(show).

lady running from zombie

Not all of the zombies in Survive will be mindless eating machines. All of the zombies will have a variable level of perception. Some rare zombies will be smarter and have better senses than the other zombies. These random variations in intelligence and perception will make zombies more unpredictable and random. Some rare zombies will know how to open doors and follow and track you more accurately. While other zombies will simply bang on doors, head in the general direction of a sound with no real clue where they are going, and be easy to lose when they are following you.

Zombie Killing

There are usually two ways that zombies can be killed in movies and games. Either they can die like a normal person would die, or they can ONLY be killed by being shot in the head. Based on the origin in Survive where zombies come from a viral outbreak, I think going with the headshot only route is the most accurate and fun gameplay wise.

When I say head shot only I mean that only shooting or stabbing a zombie in the head and destroying the brain will kill it. Even though the only way to kill a zombie in Survive is to destroy its brain, that is not the only way to deal with them.

If you shoot a zombie in the chest with a shotgun its going to go down and its not getting backup because the brain cant send signals to the body anymore. The head may still be alive on the ground, but the zombie is effectively neutralized. To actually kill the zombie you just have to go put a bullet in its head. You can only kill a zombie by destroying its brain, but If you put enough bullets of the right caliber in the chest of a zombie or blow its legs off; it will go down and stay down. Zombies who are put down without a headshot will still be deadly and you have to finish them off or carefully run around them.

zombie torso

All of this could change after its implemented, nothing is set in stone. If something is too realistic and not right for gameplay then it will be changed. I am very open to feedback and will be throughout the development of Survive so if you disagree with something about the zombies or have any ideas please feel free to leave a comment!

I am working on implementing these zombies right now and will be posting frequent updates to facebook and twitter about my progress. So follow the twitter @Subsurfacegames and like the facebook page to see the zombies come to life! You can preorder Survive right now for only $19.95. The game is currently in pre-alpha and when it enters alpha it will be downloadable to people who have preordered it. So if you want to help support development of Survive and receive all future updates to the game please Preorder Survive!


March 20, 2013 By: David Tse

This is a major update to Survive. Survive is our zombie survival shooter that is set in an unlimited procedural open world.

One big thing I would like to announce is that Subsurface Games is now a proud licensee of SpeedTree! SpeedTree is the industry standard for rendering trees and other vegetation. SpeedTree is used by Battlefield 3, Halo 4, Grand Theft Auto 4, the Unreal Engine, and many other triple a games and game engines. SpeedTree integration is going to allow for a huge number of tees and vegetation to be rendered in Survive, which will really make both the forests and city areas look great. The level of detail system in SpeedTree will also allow for huge draw distances in Survive thanks to its efficient usage of distant tree billboards.

There are a lot of changes in this update including the SpeedTree integration, a 3D audio system, Parallax Occlusion Mapping, Cascaded Shadow Maps, and a conversion to a deferred renderer. This video shows off all of the updates to our game engine and Survive.

Here is a full list of changes I made in this update:

  • SpeedTree integration
  • Converted the renderer in the engine to a deferred renderer
  • Implemented Cascaded Shadow Maps
  • Added Parallax Occlusion Mapping
  • Created a 3D positional sound system using OpenAL
  • Fixed the animation parser so that gun/arm animation load correctly
  • Created procedural weapon idle, walk, and aim down sights animations
  • Improved day night cycle, so the sky darkens and the lights turn on at night.
  • Many other small fixes and tweaks

Right now I am working on zombie AI, hit reactions, and rag-dolls. So hopefully in the next update you will be able to kill zombies in a realistic and satisfying way, finally turning this game engine into a game.

I am also writing a blog post about what type of zombies the game will have so be sure to subscribe to email updates for the blog on the right side of this page, subscribe to our YouTube channel and like our Facebook Page to stay up to date on the development of Survive. If you would like more frequent development news about Survive you can follow me on twitter @Subsurfacegames

If you like what you see you can Preorder Survive for just $19.95 and get all future updates to the game up to release.


November 7, 2012 By: David Tse

In this update to our open world zombie game, Survive, I primarily worked on the Decal and particle effect systems. I also did some improvements to the lighting and added point lights. These new systems go a long way toward making this into a real a game. Now you can shoot stuff with the gun and run around as a first person character instead of just flying through the world. Here is a video showing the updates to the game.

Here is a full list of changes I made in this update:

  • Created the instancing system for rendering large amounts of objects very efficiently
  • Dynamic Decal System for bullet holes among other things
  • Effect system
  • Created effects for fire, explosion, rain, concrete shooting, grass shooting, tile shooting, metal shooting, zombie blood shooting, and muzzle flash effect.
  • Created weapon shooting system
  • Added an impulse to dynamic objects that are shot by the gun
  • Improved lighting and fixed specular highlights
  • Added support for point lights
  • Many other small fixes and tweaks

Now I am working on fixing the weapon animations and creating a 3D sound system. I will also start posting more frequent updates to the game like this one, and I will be posting more blog posts about the game and other things. So be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel and follow us on Facebook to keep up on updates to the game.

You can download the latest builds of the game and try this update yourself by preordering Survive.


September 27, 2012 By: David Tse

You can now preorder Survive for only $19.95! Survive will only be $19.95 until the world generation is implemented. Once the procedural world is in the game the price will go up to $25.95, then when the game is released the price will be $29.95. This is our way of rewarding the early supporters of the game.

I have spent a little more time than I would have liked too on the user and payment system for the website, but now I am back hard at work on Survive.

The weapon system is almost done, and you will soon be able to run around and shoot at zombies. When the guns are finished and in the game I will upload the latest Survive alpha build to the Survive preorder account page for those of you who have supported us by preordering.

Thank you for all of your support!


September 23, 2012 By: David Tse

In this update I worked primarily on the animation system. I can now load animations from collada files and render skinned meshes. This system is vital to start making this engine into a game, which is close now. I made a video showing the terrain and outlining the new features which include:

  • Loading skinning data from collada files
  • Loading animation data from collada files
  • Animation and skinning system that runs animations on skeletons that are rigged to meshes
  • Dynamic particle system
  • Rendering point sprites with the geometry shader
  • Added a gun that is attached to the first person camera

Right now I am working on finishing up the weapon system and adding zombies. Once you can run around and shoot zombies Survive will be released for pre-order. The pre-order will be at a discounted price compared to the final release price. If you do decide to pre-order Survive and support it's development, you will be able play the latest versions of the game as it is updated.


September 16, 2012 By: David Tse

The multi-textured terrain system is now about half way finished. I did not create a video for this update because there is not too much to show other than the terrain. I will show the terrain in the text video with the animation. Right now I would say the current terrain represents about half of the finished terrain that will be in the game. Below are some pictures of the terrain in its current state.

Nice sunset over the new terrain with fancy shadows and lighting.

Shows the detail added by the normal maps and lighting on the terrain.

New terrain scene with the joker, who I am currently trying to animate.

A brids eye view of the new terrain.

The remaining things I have to do for the terrain are mostly for performance. first is to implement a level of detail system that simplifies the terrain as it gets farther from the camera, second is to split the terrain into multiple patches so that unseen patches can be culled, and third is to add a vegetation and grass system to make it look less flat. the performance can wait and I think it looks ok for now without the vegetation. My time is better spent on getting closer to game play rather than making the terrain run faster, or look just a little bit better.

The terrain will serve as the base for the whole world that is generated so it is important for it too look good. The I think the system is good enough for now, so I have moved on to the animation system. I will go back to the terrain later when I start working on the world generation. Right now I am working on loading animations from collada files and skinning the models to the skeletons that run the animations. The animation is a very important part of turning this 3D engine into an actual playable game. When the animation system is finished I will post a video showing off the terrain and the animations.


September 11, 2012 By: David Tse

This is the first update to the game engine for survive which for now I am just going to call the Annihilation Engine. In this update I greatly improved the rendering and lighting system and implemented the first half of a collada model parser. I say half because right now it just loads the static model and all of its relevant maps. The second half will be loading the skinning data and the actual animations. In this video I just go through the updates and the different layers that make up a scene in the engine.

Right now I am working on the milti-textured terrain system which should not take too long. Then after that I will start working on the second half of the collada parser and the animation system so this engine can start to actually resemble a game.


September 5, 2012 By: David Tse

Survive is a first person survival zombie shooter set in a procedural open world. The idea is simple, how would you survive the zombie apocalypse. It is a true open world survival shooter. There have been a lot of zombie games in the past, but almost all of them have been very linear. I am making this game because I have always wanted to play a game like this but no one has made it yet.

This video below shows the game engine for Survive in its current state. I have been working on the game, along with this website, for about 2 months now. The engine is written in c++ with opengl. So far I have implemented the engine architecture and begun writing the renderer. All of this can be seen in the video below.

Right now the engine has the following features:

  • Custom Opengl rendering engine
  • Per pixel lighting with normal maps and specular highlights
  • Shadow maps with PFC filtering
  • Integrated bullet physics
  • Custom .obj and .x mesh parsers

You can think of this game more as a zombie apocalypse simulator, if you think right now in your head your exact plan for a zombie apocalypse (which I'm sure all of you have thought of at least once) I want you to be able to do it in the game. The whole goal of the game is to simply survive. There are no quests, there is no story line, and there are no goals. The only goals you have are the ones you set for yourself to survive, such as find guns, find food, find water, or find shelter. Everything that you think should be possible in the game will be. If you want a natural source of fresh water then maybe you should find a cabin on a river, or you don't want to worry about food go to the nearest grocery store and barricade the doors. Think you will need guns (you will), then head to the police station or the nearest sporting goods store. Worried about the heavily populated areas like stores being invested with the infected (they will be), then maybe the cabin on the river is a better idea. The point is everything will be as true to life as possible to create a genuine zombie apocalypse experience.

The world generation will be similar to the system in this video(which is not mine).

The game world will be completely procedurally generated and you will start in a random house in a random person's life (you will most likely be able to customize you character and his/her attributes). You wake up to the dynamic sounds of npc screams and police sirens in the distance. You must do whatever it takes to survive. The second video in this post will give you some idea about what I'm talking about when I mean procedural world generation, But all of the buildings in my game will be full of props, the buildings will not just be simple boxes like in this video, and there will be more neighborhoods. The world needs to be procedurally generated for a few reasons. First, it allows for unlimited replay ability. The game will never get old because you will always play in a new world with new challenges and places. Second, it will allow for one of the most important parts of this game. It will allow you, the player, to enter into literally every single house and building you see without a loading screen. I really hate it in games when as the player you see a house or a building in the distance and really want to go inside it only to be disappointed and pulled out of the game world when you realize you can't go inside. It reminds you that you are just playing a game and not really running for your life in a zombie apocalypse. The only problem is that it's just way to time consuming to have an artist or a designer go though and lay out every single house or building in the world and fill them with props. So the only way to do this is to procedurally generate the world.

This is the first of many development videos and blog posts. I will be posting a lot more information about Survive and updates to it's game engine. Right now I am working on improving the rendering/lighting and the loading of collada models, which will be the default model file for the engine while I am working on the editor. I will post an update and a video when I finish these features soon. You can subscribe to email updates for this blog on the right so you can stay up to date on the games progress.


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