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Extra Food Bars


Omega Haxors
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Right now literally everyone and their mother's ashes can agree that the hunger system is annoying as heck. You need to have food on your person pretty much at all times and if you forget even once you can be out in the middle of nowhere starving to death. This leads people to stack so much food in their inventories that the hunger bar may as well not exist. It's less of a challenge and more of a chore.

The current system is based on real life values and in a lot of ways it's completely rational. You start with a good amount of food, it lasts a good amount if time, you can tell at a glance how full you are, though where the differences become clear is the size of the food bar. A freshly prepared meal with meat in it will completely fill up the bar often more often than leaving a reasonable amount of food left in the bowl. Not only that, but the instant your food runs out you start starving to death which can happen in as little as 1 day. That's ridiculous.

So as a proposed solution, I have a suggestion which draws from video game bosses: Multiple food bars. You still start out with the green bar which is the lowest level bar. When it empties you starve like normal. However, if you eat healthy it will 'level up' changing color and giving you an extra bar to fill. You can level up all the way to 5, with each one coming with a benefit. If you die, you get sent back to Level 1.

You're still limited to how much you can eat at once like under the old system, but now you're given more leeway for intermittent fasting which will make the game more enjoyable to play.
 

Proof of concept of an almost filled Level 5 bar. A small notch of every previous level shows what level you're at, with the previous level in the gap like so: image.png.870f00b39bac89556b109d8bbb48e8a7.png In this example Green is level 1, Blue is Level 2, Purple is level 3, Orange is Level 4, and Red is Level 5, but you can probably pick better colors.

Edited by Omega Haxors
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5 hours ago, Omega Haxors said:

Right now literally everyone and their mother's ashes can agree that the hunger system is annoying as heck.

I don't agree. Please don't generalize your own personal opinions to everyone else.

 

5 hours ago, Omega Haxors said:

Not only that, but the instant your food runs out you start starving to death which can happen in as little as 1 day. That's ridiculous.

This, on the other hand, is something I can agree with.

On one hand, the food bar represents your stomach contents. So in a way, it is sensible that once it runs out, you'd start feeling hunger pangs. And perhaps it is an intentional game design decision to have a hard fail state there. Vintage Story is not meant to be a RL simulator, it's meant to be a survival game. There's no point in trying to survive if there are no consequences for doing nothing.

On the other hand, there may be room to allow the player to starve for longer periods of time, so long as there are still consequences attached to it. I don't like your suggestion, because it has pretty much no consequences. Distilled down, all you are essentially asking for is "I want to be able to binge-eat a dozen things at once and then run around the rest of my gaming session ignoring the hunger mechanic entirely". That's not only uninspired design, but actively lessens the survival aspect of the game, and is even more unrealistic than starving in the span of a day. Humans don't have stomachs the size of a camping backpack. And even though the player in VS is not human, I doubt that part of their physiology differs so radically.

Instead, let's look at what existing mechanics we have that revolve around nutrition, beyond just the contents of your stomach. Oh, right, we have those five extra bars that, based on the quality of your nutrition, give you extra health. They represent being well fed and physically at your peak. Why, that sounds like the very thing that should probably degrade before you die of starvation! Technically, having more health already extends the time you can spend starving, because there's more HP to go through before you ultimately keel over. But we can do more with this.

So how about: the moment your main food bar is empty, instead of starting to drain health, it starts draining your nutrition bars at a greatly accelerated rate. The drain rate is split up among bars that have something in them; as some bars start to empty, the other bars start draining faster. Only when all of the nutrition bars are empty, the player starts taking actual HP damage. The drain speed can be tuned to whatever the game needs in terms of consequence for the player starving.

Thus, you get a setup where regularly eating well and healthy makes you more resistant to starvation - just like you asked for - but still makes you actively lose something valuable the entire time you are starving. If you carelessly burn through all your nutrition, you'll be more vulnerable to both combat and repeated starvation for some time, as there's no quick way to build the nutrition bars up again. Their growth is capped by how much you can eat at any given time, even if you have infinite food available.

You could also have the food bar/counter go into the negative while the player is starving, requiring that amount of extra food intake before the player stops starving. Could perhaps be represented by the bar filling back in in a different color. This mechanic could balance out the fact that it is now easier to avoid dying from hunger, creating additional consequences and keeping starvation scary. And, well... binge-eating a little after being really, really hungry for some time is certainly believable, even if not entirely realistic ;)

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In terms of a realistic hunger model, I like systems where the player has a body weight/body condition stat; going hungry doesn't directly hurt you but it causes your weight/condition to slowly drop, and the lower your weight/condition gets the weaker and less resistant to injury/illness you are, until you eventually hit a maximally emaciated state and die. That means that you can go a very long time on little or no food if necessary, but in order to stay healthy, you not only need to eat enough food, you need to also eat regularly and avoid being hungry for long periods, in order to keep your weight stable.

However, I don't know if that system really fits the context and style of VS. I don't have a problem with the current food system. It's easy to stay fed, there's several viable choices for portable food (pies FTW!), and the satiation boost from cooked meals is substantial. In fact, I think the satiation values from meat meals/meat pies are maybe a bit OP; it would make sense if redmeat was scarce and hard to obtain, but you can get plenty from hunting and silly amounts from pig farms, so it just makes most of the vegetable foods functionally nearly useless except for balancing nutrition and feeding livestock (and pies).

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I like current system it works very well. But maybe it can be expand, like fat system in better then wolves (minecraft mod), As i remember you could survive longer if you character was fat but you moved slower. BTW has additional fat bar that increases when you eat much.

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13 hours ago, Philtre said:

In terms of a realistic hunger model, I like systems where the player has a body weight/body condition stat; going hungry doesn't directly hurt you but it causes your weight/condition to slowly drop, and the lower your weight/condition gets the weaker and less resistant to injury/illness you are, until you eventually hit a maximally emaciated state and die. That means that you can go a very long time on little or no food if necessary, but in order to stay healthy, you not only need to eat enough food, you need to also eat regularly and avoid being hungry for long periods, in order to keep your weight stable.

Vintage Story already has this. It's what the five extra nutrition bars do. Except they work in reverse - you have to build them up for a bonus, instead of degrading to give you debuffs.

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1 hour ago, Streetwind said:

Vintage Story already has this. It's what the five extra nutrition bars do. Except they work in reverse - you have to build them up for a bonus, instead of degrading to give you debuffs.

Personally, I like it that way. Once you are familiar with the game, you kind of have to go out of your way to be hungry on default settings, so it's easy to forget that it's not the base, it's a bonus. But kind of like the fact banks charge you more money when you run out of money, additional punishment when for whatever reason you are struggling for food just seems like kicking you when you are down.

Might be that more could be done with it. Add a 5% move bonus for every full nutrition bar. An extra inventory slot for every nutrition bar over, say, 75% to simulate the added strength and stamina. Bonus to mining/digging/chopping speed. Of course, that comes at a cost -- as you are removing more nodes, you are going to get hungry faster...

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I love games where I'm kicked when I'm down. Starvation should be a threat, at the VERY LEAST in the beginning of the game and during your first winter. The current system is pretty boring, IMO. Eat 200 berries or 200 red meats, it doesn't really matter as long as you eat a lot of the same thing. The extra HP is a bit nice, I guess.

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8 hours ago, Streetwind said:

Vintage Story already has this. It's what the five extra nutrition bars do. Except they work in reverse - you have to build them up for a bonus, instead of degrading to give you debuffs.

Not really. Filling your nutrition bars doesn't meaningfully extend the time before starvation (if you start starving you'll run through the extra HP in a couple of minutes at best), and there's no difference in the nutritional-buff benefit from infrequent large meals vs frequent small ones, as long as you consume the same net amount and type of food. The point of a weight/condition system is that it gives you a big buffer for not dying of starvation, at the cost of slowly degrading your overall effectiveness if you take advantage of that buffer too often or don't take adequate steps to refill said buffer if you use it.

Edited by Philtre
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Sorry, that's semantics to an extent. The system in Vintage Story doesn't work 100% as you described, but it was specifically created to represent the same concept (becoming physically healthier through eating well). It's just a different implementation. I mean, it's fair if you feel it doesn't go far enough. But it's there.

And as for it not interacting meaningfully with starvation - yeah. That's like, the entire point of this thread :P I wrote about this at length in my post further up, how the nutrition bars could easily (and IMHO should) be leveraged for this.

Every new feature idea has an opportunity cost in dev time. Leveraging existing systems makes it take far less dev time. And thus, far more viable.

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On 2/12/2022 at 4:53 PM, l33tmaan said:

Eat 200 berries or 200 red meats, it doesn't really matter as long as you eat a lot of the same thing.

How about a debuff system like "Not again! Can't eat anymore [food item] or you'll get sick" where you throw up if you eat the same thing every time.

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