I'm hoping for a contemporary word to use in a computer game I'm developing that describes a person's ability to continuously find the best locations, paths that avoid danger and maximize protection and security while traveling through unexplored and dangerous terrain, or to find and use natural defenses during a modern combat situation (to lessen the chance of being discovered or ambushed while still being able to shoot at the hostiles).

"Survival" is too generic (no need to find edible plants and avoid poisons or cure illness/wounds) and "Tactics" doesn't focus on the terrain aspect enough and is too mixed with giving orders to a team regarding combat formation.

A ninja, for example, would be at an "extraordinary" or "superhuman" level at this skill.

  • You are combining too many different concepts for them all to be encompassed by a single word. For instance, there is no single word for both pathfinding and defensiveness. At best, situational awareness could apply, but it's not clear if that would be too general. (Although it could be used as a game-specific term, especially if defined as a particular skill within the game.) Still, with the current question, any answer seems too open to interpretation. – Jason Bassford May 5 at 16:09
  • @JasonBassford -- you're right, and "situational awareness" sounds like a good compromise. Please post it as an answer so I can accept it. Thank you! – Wabbitseason May 5 at 18:15
  • Sounds like the skill of fleet-footedness or agility me. – Yosef Baskin May 5 at 19:11
  • How about "exploitive"? – Hot Licks May 5 at 19:34

After some clarification in comments under the question, in the context of using a phrase in a game, and then defining it within that game to cover a list of related skills, a reasonably appropriate choice is situational awareness.

From "10 Ways to Improve Your Situational Awareness":

Situational Awareness is the ability to identify, process, and comprehend information about how to survive in an emergency situation. More simply, it’s knowing what is going on around you. It is dynamic, hard to maintain, and easy to lose.

From "How to Develop the Situational Awareness of Jason Bourne":

As the names implies, situational awareness is simply knowing what’s going on around you. It sounds easy in principle, but in reality requires much practice. And while it is taught to soldiers, law enforcement officers, and yes, government-trained assassins, it’s an important skill for civilians to learn as well. In a dangerous situation, being aware of a threat even seconds before everyone else can keep you and your loved ones safe.

Finally, from Wikipedia's more general description:

Situational awareness or situation awareness (SA) is the perception of environmental elements and events with respect to time or space, the comprehension of their meaning, and the projection of their future status.

Situation awareness has been recognized as a critical, yet often elusive, foundation for successful decision-making across a broad range of situations, many of which involve the protection of human life and property, including aviation, air traffic control, ship navigation, health care, emergency response, military command and control operations, and offshore oil and nuclear power plant management. Lacking or inadequate situation awareness has been identified as one of the primary factors in accidents attributed to human error.

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Another possibility is resourceful.

From Cambridge:

resourceful: skilled at solving problems and making decisions on your own

From M-W:

resourceful: able to deal well with new or difficult situations and to find solutions to problems

A Jason Bourne or a ninja would be at the level of extraordinary or superhuman when it comes to resourcefulness, i.e., being resourceful. One might say that they are super resourceful in every possible situation, no matter how challenging.

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Adaptability describes a person's ability to successfully handle new situations that they have not experienced before. This could be a good "catch-all" term to describe success at a wide variety of activities that aren't regularly performed. Adaptability would improve a person's chances to find cover in an unfamiliar environment, or improvise their way into a heavily guarded compound, or survive in a hostile environment. It allows one to come up with a plan on the fly, and respond to circumstances that could not be planned for, using skills that aren't rigorously practiced.

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