Unturned: The Basics



Unturned is an Unity based free-to-play multiplayer sandbox survival game, developed by an one-man-army, Nelson Sexton.

It is referred to as the child of DayZ and Minecraft, inheriting a post-apocalyptic atmosphere and simple graphics.

But the question is, is it any good?
You could say it is. I have developed that opinion after spending about three hundred hours into it thus far.
Although I know people that have up to ten times the playtime, it never gets old.



It has a fairly basic inventory system and easy to understand mechanics. Just like every other game, there’s a learning curve. Once you do pin down the basics, all there is left for you to do is to master them and overcome everyone. 

The trick is, it is all done by a single man, Nelson Sexton. He started the game’s development in 2013, aged at 16 years old, having earned previous experience in 2012, trying to develop Deadzone. It was meant to be a replica of DayZ, on ROBLOX.
He trashed the idea, and moved on to Unity, shortly after Deadzone’s disappearance. Unturned was meant to be an Unity version of Deadzone, and he soon discovered there was a lot more flexibility with the engine.

Nelson made the same mistakes, so he scrapped everything and started it all over again. It was published to the public and made it to Steam in July of 2014. From then on, it received daily updates and Nelson was listening to all the feedback he was receiving, and he still is.

It has come a long way, but Nelson Sexton has managed to develop a successful free-to-play game. But, how has he not declared bankruptcy by now? How does he earn his fair share? In a very modest way, offering a lifetime fee of five dollars to receive “Gold Membership”, which earns you some customization and nothing more.


Getting Started

To get into the game itself, I’ll list three tips that are the key of surviving:

  1. Don’t trust anyone. Self explanatory.
  2. Everything is useful. Found a shirt although you are already armed to the teeth? Rip it up and make a bandage.
  3. Make good use of the game’s mechanics. Skills, specializations, crafting. They are all there for a reason.

Although, no matter how well you know the game, you can’t always win alone. Playing with friends is always great, and the extra manpower is a very useful asset in Unturned. I have always played with friends, and trying to part off when they aren’t around, I have to say: It’s definitely tough trying to survive alone. Assigning people to gather specific items, to do specific tasks, to cover specific corners, gives you the upper hand. To sum this up, the more, the merrier.

Before getting into the actual game, configure your settings. Go for a good-looking game running the Ultra settings, or go for extreme performance (like me) and tone it all down. Change your sensitivity, as the game has combat mechanics and you will always need to be in your best form in needed situations.

Now, once you get in the game you are greeted by an invitation to a tutorial that covers the basic mechanics fairly well. Paying attention will definitely help you out in the long run. After that, it’s just a matter of doing things better and better every time.
The tutorial briefly covers:

  • Basic movement mechanics
  • Equipping and using diverse items
  • Using a weapon
  • Driving

A view of the tutorial area, seen after glitching out of it.

Mechanics & Controls

A short run-over of the heads-up display that is always displayed to you for your well-being:

  1. Health: Taking damage lowers it (duh).
  2. Hunger: Not eating for a while lowers your hunger, and you will eventually starve.
  3. Thirst: Not drinking for a while lowers your thirst, and you will soon become dehydrated and die.
  4. Radiation: Eating low quality food or stepping in a radiated zone will slowly kill you.
    • Being in a radiated zone will play the typical Geiger Counter sound.
  5. Stamina: Running or jumping for too long will deplete your stamina and render you useless.
  6. Lung Capacity: Being underwater for too long will slowly make you drown and die.
  • All these statistics can be skilled up which will make your life easier.

Health, hunger, thirst, radiation, stamina and lung capacity, in their respective order.

Ammo capacity is listed by the current amount in your magazine, and the maximum capacity the magazine can hold.

Items fall under one of six rarity options: Common, Uncommon, Rare, Epic, Legendary, and Mythical.

Although this statistic doesn’t really matter, it is an interesting way to track and classify general items.

Useful shortcuts and keys that might save you a lot of time are:

  • H: Switches your perspective from first person to third person.
  • T: Opens a menu which allows you to modify your weapon attachments.
  • V: Switches your fire mode.
  • B: Turns rail mounted attachments on and off.
  • G: Opens your inventory.
  • C: Opens the Gesture menu.

The Gesture menu allows you to perform actions, such as waving your hands around or changing your facial expression.

Playing the game

After the tutorial, you are left stranded without any guidance. What do you do? For this is a multiplayer game, look for a server. Decent servers are difficult to find. They all have different plugins, and the most common ones are:

  • Feasts
    • Loads of things spawn at a specific place in the map and a global message is displayed.
  • /tpa
    • The /tpa command directed towards a player requests a teleportation to them. Don’t do that to strangers!
  • Kits
    • The /kits command will list the available kits, which can give you weapons and miscellaneous assets. Once you’ve taken a good peer at what your options are, do /kit followed by the kit name of choice.
    • When a server advertises itself as having “OP Kits”, it’s a pure PvP server usually. Grabbing a kit gives you experience to level up everything you need, and gears you up with the best weaponry, all ready for war.

The usual game-mode you would play is simple Survival, but the Arena mode was implemented. It is pretty much based on the battle royale genre.

A brief view of the Server List.

By default, on any server air drops will occur at random intervals at random locations in the game. They have the best items you can imagine. Expect company, if you’re planning on looting it or camping it.

Now that you have a basic idea of the game, what is there to do in it? That is completely up to you. Gather up the best items and kill everyone in sight? Live an isolated life away from everyone stocking up on items? Or help people out and be a nice person (literally never pays off). The choice is yours, and only yours.



So, why pick this game over its older brother, DayZ? It’s completely different. Yes, it’s a survival game, and yes, there are zombies. But what Nelson had in mind should not be forgotten: he adds his own ideas and inventions to the game, and makes it better, as it is his own.

It started off as a replica, you could say, but it ended up being a unique and awesome game, and that is what it should be seen as.

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