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Wavinator

Sleep and the level up lottery

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I''ve got a very bizarre approach to eating and sleeping in an RPG that just might make them something more than an inconvenience. Players start the game as refugees at a central location and as such are innoculated. Storywise, they''re injected with nanotechnology which regulates their bodies and builds an implant in their brain. Nanotech helps them to stay healthy as they explore wildly different alien environments or interact with aliens, and the implant helps them store and recall more knowledge than a human normally could. Gameplaywise, eating and sleeping restore health, as in many RPGs. If the player is in any kind of civilization, and doesn''t have food but has money or property, they''re assumed to be eating and sleeping. A minimum stipend is automatically deducted each eat and rest period, unless they have property or a ship, inwhich case its free. The stipend scales with their reputation, but is overridden if the player uses facilities on the map (like a fleabag hotel). Items like stimpacks and nutripills help them ignore their needs and keep functioning. Wild / Hostile / Destitute If they''re marooned on an unsettled world, too poor, or behind enemy lines however, they have a timed meter for eating and sleeping which kicks in. This creates goal based gameplay no matter what map their on. Eating
  • Players not equipped with food must eat or all healing effects become capped.
  • Not eating in 5 days caps healing to 75%, 15 days after that to 50%, 30 days to 25%.
  • After 35 days without food, the player is reduced to one hit point as their nanotech cannibalizes their tissue to keep their vital organs and brain alive.
  • Players can beg for food at the cost of a lowered reputation and negative social reaction
  • Players can break into locations or mug other NPCs for resources to buy food
  • Players can click on dumpster disposals and risk lowered reputation if witnessed and the possibility of disease
Sleeping
  • Players must find secure shelter and sleep when their sleep meter runs out or all skill tests they try will be no better than 50/50, even if their skills would make the test higher.
  • Every time they try an automatic skill, like aiming, a red reminder quietly pops up over the skill result.
  • All minigames (which rely on player skill) are set to maximum difficulty
  • Sleeping in a socially unsanctioned place, like a park bench, earns lowered reputation due to the social stigma, and opens a player up to attack by brigands and fines or jail by police on some worlds.
  • Some worlds have shelters for free. Interesting NPCs can be met there, just like any other place on the map.
Normal / Level Up Even though they don''t need to eat in civilized areas when they have money, leveling up might give them the incentive to maintain the role-playing feel. But in this case it''s NOT mandatory: Their nanotech system can be configured by eating, their implant "familiar" by dreaming. The system can assimilate new material every few hours, coinciding with the player''s normal hunger cycle. The implant can synthesize new information every so many hours, in time with the player''s sleep cycle. Eating
  • Eating different vitamin/nano enriched foods raise resistance to one element or disease while always lowering another. Zelenae Brainwheat, for instance, allows them to configure their nano so that the get +2 vs. electrical damage, but -3 versus heat damage.
  • The amount raised or lowered depends on the type and quality of food.
  • Certain alien foods, like Kovaunn Bilemeal, would require a Will check, depending on the species. Failure would result in an inability to eat the food for that time period.
  • Alien/incompatible foods would have the biggest gains but most risk associated, as in temporary poisoning, paralysis or stat loss.
  • The quality of the food relates to the ratio of positive to negative effects, as well as its expense
  • Cooking food would change nano-properties, and there may be some room for genetic experimentation and cooking gear.
  • Civilied areas would contain roaming robot kiosks, restaurants and dives which had varying types and qualities of quisine. Some places in the universe would be more reknown for certain dishes than others.
Sleeping
  • Sleeping allows the player to train in their dreams, improving skills
  • The player plays a minigame to improve their skills
  • Skills don''t become hardcoded in memory until the player wakes up
  • They can play one round of the minigame once for each hour they sleep
  • They can only sleep a maximum of double the species average (16 for terrans)
  • The better they do at the game, the more points they get (from between 1-3 per round)
  • The higher their skill, the tougher the game becomes
  • Failures in the minigame can erase successes of previous rounds, by so many points
  • Players can make their skills go up by more than 1-3 rounds by risking up to 10 points in an existing skill they previously learned. This buys them 1 extra point, but if they lose, they lose 10 skill points. (Their brain is reorganizing neurons and memory).
  • Different facilities and gadgets modify the number of rounds they can play. A cot near a noisy machine, for instance, is -6 rounds, while a Dreambed gives +2.
Comments? -------------------- Just waiting for the mothership...

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Overall, it seems like a pretty sweet system. Just to make sure, the dream mini-games are optional, right? I'd hate to have to spend a few minutes rerouting my potassium gates when I am in the middle of an important salvage mission. It would break up gameplay too much.

The only real problem I have with the system is the penalties for not eating. I recomment that you make the system a little bit more sophisticated. After all, if I've been starving for twenty days, and I have the 50% penalty, and I eat a cheeseburger, I'll be back to zero days without eating, and 100% combat effective status.

Besides, a month is probably too long a time. Can a non-yogi actually go thirty days without nourishment and survive?

Here's an idea: Use a five-day system. Those fifteen meals are the ones that are actively affecting your current ability. If you miss five of the fifteen, it knocks you down ten percent on all your caps. Ten is 25%, and at fifteen you are down to the 50% level and the damage begins to become permanent. For every few days of starvation your attributes dowgrade in a semi-permenent way, maybe a little bit like the skill atrophy system. If you're really emaciated, your muscles will waste away and your senses will be dulled, so it's fair that your stats for strength, perception, etc. would be hurt or at least penalized, but you could probably rebuild them with some nutrition and effort.

To recover, you have to actually get back into a healthy eating pattern, so when you start eating again, it takes five days of better eating to get you back to 100%. The skill atrophy stops as soon as vitamins re-enter your system, and after that meal you're in the 1-5 meals in the last five days bracket, and then you get into the 6-10 bracket, and finally the 11-15 peak, where all your faculties are fully intact. Any atrophy that occurred in the interim can be regained at an accelerated rate, like the skill atrophy system.

[edited by - Iron Chef Carnage on May 7, 2004 12:34:29 PM]

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well what can i say ? Other then rocksolid haha..

Only one thing is that Iron Chef is right about that if you would not have eaten for a long time and you eat something it doesnt mean that you would be reset to 100% vitality but it would just be added to what it was..

And about starvation, my fiance studies for being a doctor/nurse, the correct stats for starving and such are that :

you can do almost 80 days without food, but not even 30 days without water of some other kind of fluid.
Our body depends more heavily on water and keeping yourself fluid sustaining that on food which we can do longer without ,
but that would just be if you want to keep it realistic otherwise just ignore that.

Good luck again, cya when i cya !

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Just want to mention, dehydration begins at around 3-5 days, after which you would lose any concentation and ability to work, or even lose conscienceness. You might live for 30 days total without water, but you''ll be in a coma for 25 of those.

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quote:
Original post by Iron Chef Carnage
Just to make sure, the dream mini-games are optional, right? I''d hate to have to spend a few minutes rerouting my potassium gates when I am in the middle of an important salvage mission. It would break up gameplay too much.


You got it. Even sleeping and eating are optional when you''re aboard ship or at a settlement, which is where I''m thinking the player is going to be spending at least 75% of their play time. So for 3/4 of the time, they only sleep or eat if they want to improve their character.

I''m also thinking that the minigames, for variety''s sake, will be the same minigames in normal skill tests. When the player is lucid dreaming, they''ll just play the game on a fade to black screen and get a dialog asking them what skill related minigame they want to level up.

quote:

Here''s an idea: Use a five-day system. Those fifteen meals are the ones that are actively affecting your current ability. If you miss five of the fifteen, it knocks you down ten percent on all your caps. Ten is 25%, and at fifteen you are down to the 50% level and the damage begins to become permanent. For every few days of starvation your attributes dowgrade in a semi-permenent way, maybe a little bit like the skill atrophy system. If you''re really emaciated, your muscles will waste away and your senses will be dulled, so it''s fair that your stats for strength, perception, etc. would be hurt or at least penalized, but you could probably rebuild them with some nutrition and effort.

To recover, you have to actually get back into a healthy eating pattern, so when you start eating again, it takes five days of better eating to get you back to 100%. The skill atrophy stops as soon as vitamins re-enter your system, and after that meal you''re in the 1-5 meals in the last five days bracket, and then you get into the 6-10 bracket, and finally the 11-15 peak, where all your faculties are fully intact. Any atrophy that occurred in the interim can be regained at an accelerated rate, like the skill atrophy system.



This is much better! Alright, I''ll use this and do some double checking on nutrition to set the outside limit, then add implants and items that will help extend it. I like the effects of malnutrition lowering stats as well, it has a ring of authenticity and can make some of the Robinson Crusoe / Pitch Black / Castaway scenarios I envision pretty challenging.


--------------------
Just waiting for the mothership...

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Thanks for the notes on nutrition and fluids, guys. Is this something you would even care to manage more realistically?

There are two approaches I can take:

1) Handwave and say the nano converts part of the food and air you take in into water. This means if you crashland, you''re looking at dealing with finding food every 5 days or your healing gets affected, then at maybe 20 days, your stats start becoming affected.

2) Make it sophistocated: Gadgets you could buy or rig would get you water, but there''d be different qualities, some radioactive, poisonous or bacteria infected. This would lead to items you could buy and carry around, like survival gear or a "still suit" (like in Dune), or rig, like a condensor or purifier.


You could also have different requirements for water, say as in none if you''re in colder regions of a planet, or more frequent if you''re on a blazing desert world.


Seriously, is this going off the deep end? You wouldn''t deal with it unless you''re shipwrecked, your systems on a ship have been damaged, you''re too poor in a city, or you''ve somehow gotten trapped inside ancient ruins. Part of me leans toward doing it because it''s gritty, but part of me is concerned that it''s overkill.

--------------------
Just waiting for the mothership...

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Mini-games while you dream? What like Pong etc (or the GamePig in System Shock 2?). Sounds fun.

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My god, i have the same dream system, i do this with every non activepart of my project. I make it so you still would have something to do, like when you dream, or when you craft, nice !

And I wuold love for a realistic nutricioun system, so it wouldnt be to complex...

in my system sleep also effects the next day you wake up, say your haveing lots of bad dream,s it would make you a bit grumpy and your concentration would go down, you would be less fitt and so on....

[edited by - Jamaludin on May 8, 2004 3:44:22 AM]

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I don''t think that you should have to click the "eat" button every few minutes or hours. On the other hand, if you''re going to be starving, you might want to be able to keep your guy from scarfing all the MREs on the first day. Perhaps you could have "victuals" as a commodity, like ammo, and so you''d have eight pounds of condensed cheeseburgers and Tang in your pack.

You could sett your eating rate like in Oregon Trail, to "Filling", "Meager", or "Bare Bones", and each of these would correspond to one of the stat levels. If you''re at "filling", you''re getting three meals a day. "Meager" is two, and "bare bones" is one. That way you can go with no stat loss, some stat loss, or more stat loss, but as long as you have food, you won''t drop down to the "skill atrophy" level of starvation.

It''s an easier way for the player to manage the rationing, especially when you''ve got two or three people with you, like after a shipwreck or during a long mission on a planet. I''m not sure whatscenarios you have in mind, but I envision things like dropping off a surveying team and then coming back a week later to pick them up with their data, or deploying a mining crew with a small group of riflemen to keep them safe, and swinging by once a month to resupply them, change the shift and pick up the ore.

I don''t know about water. It''s another deal entirely, but it seems less "playable" than food. I''d be inclined to just "magic" it away with some kind of still-suit/atmospheric condenser/recycling port-a-john that will guarantee that you always have water. Maybe on desert planets the condensers would be less effective and you''d have to build a "tele-well" that will beam water from under the planet''s surface to a reservoir, but since there''s no real benefit to water, simplify it.

I''m only going along with the food system because you have dietary effects, especially on training. I''d also like diets to be automated, like a menu system instead of individually preparing each meal. Characters could have "food preparation" skills, and when they cook morale goes up and food is more effective, so they could make a meal out of eight units of food instead of using ten.

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quote:
Original post by Iron Chef Carnage
I don't think that you should have to click the "eat" button every few minutes or hours.



Very much agreed, that would get annoying VERY fast. In the case of poverty and uncivilized space, I'm thinking more of a resource bars that show up onscreen, under an interface area called "Survival." The bar simply drops as time goes by.

If you've got a group, you've got 3 toggles: You can look at yourself, any other character, or the pooled resources of your group. There'd be a checkbox to the effect of "Share Resources," which would also help in sharing recovery items and ammo.

quote:

You could sett your eating rate like in Oregon Trail, to "Filling", "Meager", or "Bare Bones", and each of these would correspond to one of the stat levels.



I remember this! This is a great idea! It gives you a bit more choice, and it would be reflected very simply by how far the survival bars drop.

I actually played Oregon Trail alot as a kid, and having to deal with supplies really helped suspend disbelief. It's something that I thought would have made a great element in Fallout or Morrowind because it would set short-term goals for you while you're out in the wilderness. It would (at least for me) also increase that "frontiersman" feel, whereby if you screw up by not bringing enough, you've got to either trade, hunt or steal your way back to safety. (Mmmmm... delicious sauteed radscorpion tail, can't ya just taste it. )

quote:

I'm not sure whatscenarios you have in mind, but I envision things like dropping off a surveying team and then coming back a week later to pick them up with their data, or deploying a mining crew with a small group of riflemen to keep them safe, and swinging by once a month to resupply them, change the shift and pick up the ore.


With these scenarios, you're on the other side of the equation, and the principals supply themselves. But I'm mostly thinking of this in terms of you out there exploring when something goes wrong, or crashlanded on a planet.

quote:

I don't know about water. It's another deal entirely, but it seems less "playable" than food. I'd be inclined to just "magic" it away with some kind of still-suit/atmospheric condenser/recycling port-a-john that will guarantee that you always have water. Maybe on desert planets the condensers would be less effective and you'd have to build a "tele-well" that will beam water from under the planet's surface to a reservoir, but since there's no real benefit to water, simplify it.



This would only apply in survival mode. The real question here is whether or not I should handwave for a completely unequipped character marooned on a desert world. If there was a "Survival" interface that popped up when you were in trouble, water could be a bar below food, and subject to the same rationing.

I'd add suits and gadgets anyway that would help take care of water, but what to do for the player who loses these items or doesn't bring them along? Does the meter just run out and they get a bleached bones cutscene?

Water could lead to interesting scenarios, like monsters guarding a watering hole, or cannibalizing equipement to make a condensor. On a desolate planet with no enemies and little interactivity, it MIGHT provide interesting gameplay as you trudge around the planet looking for some way off.

Or, given all the other factors in the game, it might be the straw that breaks the camel's back. It's a tough call.

quote:

I'm only going along with the food system because you have dietary effects, especially on training. I'd also like diets to be automated, like a menu system instead of individually preparing each meal.



Okay, I think we might be miscommunicating.

You only eat for two reasons: "survival mode" when you have to, or for character resistance alteration.

If you're in civilized space, or on your ship, you never see survival mode. You're assumed to be eating foods regularly, and not triggering your nano to change because of this.

Now, only when you want "resistance to electrical damage" or whatever do you go to a store, storeroom or restaurant and actually right click on the food and select something like "synthesize nano" or whatever. It would be like taking a potion in Morrowind, or consciously choosing to use a drug in Fallout-- only all foods are drugs if you want them to be.

The shipwrecked or destitute player in "survivor mode" doesn't deal with "synthesizing nano" unless they want to. Food is automatically deducted from their inventory. But if they choose to click on one of their foodstuff items, they could balance their character as well (maybe resisting heat in the desert so that they use less water?)

quote:

Characters could have "food preparation" skills, and when they cook morale goes up and food is more effective, so they could make a meal out of eight units of food instead of using ten.


Yes, cooking itself is again automatic onboard ship. You have food, you have facilities, you have crew whose needs are automatically taken care of (minus an energy and labor point cost).

The food prep for character configuration is an act of standing next to a food prep node and maybe clicking to use it. Like alchemy in Morrowind, it simply triggers a menu that allows you to combine items and get different properties based on your skill.

The only reason I wouldn't make the nutrition / nano configuration for resistances automated is because I don't see the player having to keep it up to keep up resistances. You eat meals, tell your nano to configure itself, and you get resistances. If you stop this gameplay, you're assumed not to be telling your nano to convert food you automatically eat behind the scenes. And you keep your resistances (and corresponding vulnerabilities)

Now, getting higher and higher resistances means that you end up clicking on the autochef or going to the sushi kiosk more and more, but this can be mitigated by quality of food, which give you more points per click.


--------------------
Just waiting for the mothership...

[edited by - Wavinator on May 8, 2004 3:17:16 PM]

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