This month’s Hurley Access sees Leon take on Scum’s island, and its accurate digestive simulation.
Staying alive in Scum, a game of survival and bodily functions
Scum is an open world survival game about prisoners condemned to fight, scavenge, and craft their way across a massive island. Think Rust or Ark as you try to stay alive long enough to be the most dangerous thing on the server – although you’ve probably heard of the game because it lets you control your bodily functions. We condemned Leon to hard time testing what it can really do-do.
I'm not sure what worries me more as I fire up Scum for the first time and begin to build a character - the stern - looking setup of stat points and sliders that defines my skills, or the haunted look on the face of the man I'm creating. It's a face that has apparently already seen things. Perhaps that's why he's in chokey, eh? The whole time I'm moving numbers around to define his ability to flight, run, and just generally stay alive he looks at me, dead-eyed, his expression conveying zero confidence in my ability to help him survive the prison zone he's imminently going to be abandoned in. I'm guessing he may have read earlier Hurley Accesses. Nonetheless, I kit him out as best I can and hit the 'go' button. The game tells me he's guilty of arson, and fires him into whatever hell awaits.
Because this is a survival crafting game I start punching the nearest arrive, and it comes as a tree as soon as I shock when that doesn’t actually to cut down more let me make a wooden axe trees. For a little while I’m not punching sure what to do; it’s always been trees. Minecraft, Rust… everything starts with punching trees, and work your way up from there. you For a little while I wander in a do, until I realise forest, not sure what to I can search the ground for rocks. and then That soon gives me a stone knife I can start hitting trees. Before long that gets me some sticks, there a simple wooden spear. and from I’ve basically won the game already. craft some rope but my I also manage to options are otherwise limited, and, pointy so I find a town on the map stick at the ready, head that way.
I’ve completely forgotten I’m playing on a public server until I hear some distant gunshots. Suddenly I’m having DayZ/H1Z1- style flashbacks – two other survival games that taught me what people are really like in things like this. There are no nice guys here. Somewhere out there is a player with all the best gear, just waiting to find fresh meat like me to destroy. I can hear machine guns trading fire, and no matter how much I whittle this lovely stick to a fine point, I’m basically a tea-bagging waiting to happen if I’m not careful. It doesn’t matter whether I have any loot (hint: do you think I’d be making do with a stick if I did?), no-one here will let me live if they see me. I slow down, crouch, and carefully make my way towards the town. The guns don’t sound too close, so I head to the buildings and take the risk.
The town sort of pays off. As I explore I find clothes and a shovel. Before long I'm dressed less like a prisoner and I am ready to garden. There's also a weird grumbly, growling noise I keep hearing as I move from room to room, searching drawers and crates. At first I think it might be my stomach - I haven't eaten since the game began and I could be starving - but no, it's zombies. There are ZOMBIES. I learn a lot in the next few minutes. Mainly thinks like just how hard it is to kill a zombie with a small shovel. Some determined falling later, however, and it dies.. again, and I'm the proud owner of some new boots and jeans that no - one must ever know I peeled off the body of a decaying corpse I just bludgeoned to death.
1 hour 15 minutes
The zombie has at least taught me more about Scum's slightly terrifying approach to health. While health, stamina, energy, and hydration are all on the main screen, there's a another that looks like somthing Formula One mechanics might use. There's a full break down of nutrition - from calorie intake to vitamins and minerals, and even how full my colon and bladder are. I found some cheese in a cupboard earlier, so I'm currently 98% cheese according to this, a state I'd like to achieve in real life. I need to look after myself more, as I'm both starving, even with the cheese, and in phase of sickness, which means I need more food and something to cure my illness.
1 hour 30 minutes
One plus point as I struggle to survive, fight zombies, and work out how to make an axe is that Scum gives me the greatest gift a survival game can bestow: storage. As I find clothes to replace my prisoner’s gear, I get more and more spaces to cram stone knives and tinned peaches into. At one point I even find boots I can put things in. The real win, though, is finding a bum bag and child’s rucksack. That might not sound like much, but it feels like I’m living like a king now I don’t have to worry about dropping medicine to pick up some rocks. Yes sir, in this sort of game money means nothing; the real treasure comes in the form of a pair of cargo trousers with extra pockets.
1 hour 45 minutes
So far, my existence has been minute-to-minute. Apart from all the zombie avoiding, up I’ve mainly been eating everything and anything I can find to keep my energy drinks and and avoid starvation. It hasn’t been a great diet, mainly consisting of fizzy It all a bag of sugar. The nearest I’ve got to healthy for a while is a tin of peaches. not been catches up with me when another of Scum’s bodily features kicks in. I’ve this following my metabolism for a while but apparently it’s time to… go. I know cra… p… It’s because my character suddenly stops, pulls down his trousers, and sh… I really not pretty, and I wish I wasn’t so close to the screen. All I can think of is how want to wash my hands, and that I hope no-one kills me at that precise moment.
Despite the… incident… I’m feeling pretty confident. I’ve crafted a metal spear have supplies stuffed in and every space I can find, so when I spy some sort of the distance I decide to risk facility in it. It looks military, which means danger but also guns, and I need something more than a knife on a stick. However, other people, it turns out while my biggest fear is what I should have been worried about was the MASSIVE MECHS PATROLLING THE PLACE. Despite my best efforts one sees me, and me up onto a silo roof. On chases the plus side it can’t get me any more, but the sniper trees can. The sniper I learn in the about via the hail of bullets that kills me way faster than would like. Not that I have I a preferred speed of death, but you know what I mean.