Prodigal Son

Two-Lines of Code to Fix Hibernation

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A popular topic, but having read the forums I have a take on it that I haven't found here yet. It's a minimal solution that would only affect gameplay at higher difficulties in Survival Mode.

Before I get in to it, I'd like to pitch the main benefits of the idea:

No new game mechanics are required.

No changes to the UI is required.

No change in the numeric values or descriptions of items is required.

The proposal does not require complex mathematics or changes to any formulas currently used in TLD.

The change will not effect WinterMute  - as even on 'Hardened' calories are plentiful.

The idea uses mechanics that HL clearly wants to be a part of the experience, and has made moves in the past to emphasize. It increases the meaningful choices players can make, but without mentally taxing them, adding things to keep track of, or upsetting the current balancing of the game.

So it sounds like a magic bullet! Probably because there is some flaw I haven't noticed but will soon be pointed out.

Here is the alteration proposed:

When a player is starving, and takes an action with a calorie cost, those calories are deducted from the player's condition as a 1/100 percentage.

This does not eliminate hibernation as a strategy, but it does confine it. A player may cook, boil water, gather sticks, forage, and in general do all sorts of low-intensity activities while starving without exacting a higher cost than s/he already experiences now. If the player is afflicted or in very poor condition, and needs to save their food for rest and recovery, I personally would want this kind of hibernation to be viable. There is plenty of this game that would be silly in life, and HL says as much in their loading page. That's because this is a game first. No one is going to play a bad game just because it's more realistic; introducing realism over time without breaking mechanics is a necessity and I laud HL for understanding this.

By making calories a price on condition - when starving - the player is met with a transparent choice. Let's say an Interloper is in full condition, but starving, and heads out to a ravaged deer he knows is nearby. Simply existing, he will lose 16% of his condition but can gain ~22% with sleep. He has 600 calories in cat-tails in reserve for when he sleeps that night for just that purpose, which means he has an 8% surplus of condition. After an hours walk (270cal/hr) he arrives at the deer and - with the change implemented - has lost 2.7% condition for his trouble. The walk back will exact the same toll if he remains starving, for a 5.4% loss. (These costs are already at work in the game, it's just that they cease to function once a player hits 0 calories, and don't currently impact condition.) This means his remaining surplus for hibernation is only 2.6% 

He'd like to take everything off the deer, the cost is 262 calories; thus a penalty of 2.62% condition for doing this while starving.

The player is now met with several choices, but the costs are transparent and are the kinds of choices made all the time in TLD:

1) Take the penalty - he can just squeak by so long as no surprises are in store for the rest of the day and he sticks to basic activities until going to bed. If he has to sprint at any point (400cal/hr) he'll be waking up tomorrow feeling a little poorer than yesterday.

2) Eat his food reserve; after all, the harvested meat can replace what he's losing when he cooks back home - but the price paid is he'll have to go out again tomorrow and hope his luck holds out. But eating the reserve also buys him more time to explore today, he can walk around for another 1hr15min free of penalties and even gain a bit of condition.

3) Harvest just the meat, and leave the guts and hide. This leaves the player with some surplus condition at the cost of resources left behind. If he's playing it safe for hibernation and healing up - this may be the best option. Going straight home, the deer meat will buy him an extra day of rest.

4) Take the penalty and continue exploring while starving. After all, the 'loper started the day at full health. Maybe a rabbit warren isn't far away. Does he take the risk that the weather won't turn, or a wolf head him off? The rewards are obvious, but now there is a price for failure - wandering around for five hours while starving will take away an additional 13.5% condition. It's hardly a death sentence - but it does force him out of the hibernation strategy after a few days.

None of these choices or dynamics are in consideration when the player can freely starve and take only the base penalty. They go home empty-handed but no worse off for their trouble. With the change in place, they are gambling risk vs reward, and can only afford to gamble so many times. But none of this factors when food is fairly abundant - as it is in the Wintermute, Pilgrim, and Voyageur.  The calorie mechanic still works exactly as it did before, but since players on these difficulties and game-modes hardly ever starve, it won't enter their consideration. Thus this tweak only affects players in late-game or higher difficulties, while sparing others the grief.

I have read a lot of suggestions for fixing/nerfing hibernation - including how the ReVamped Hunger mod worked - but they all boiled down to new mechanics, adding information to the UI, changes to item values, or increasing the base starvation penalty in a way that sledgehammers the problem. All of them demanded a lot of back-end work on Hinterland's part either in coding or game-balancing. I feel my suggestion threads the needle.

Thank you for your time.

Edited by Prodigal Son
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On ‎9‎/‎12‎/‎2019 at 2:28 AM, ManicManiac said:

I'm good with the system as is.
The great news is that this game is all about player choice.  If there is something in the game we can do, but we don't like it... we can just opt to not do that

However, it is does make a certain amount of sense to be able to do this...

I don't see a need to change this when it's easy enough for a player to simply decide not to that.  I don't necessarily think it's the right answer to want to take away option from everyone, just because some don't like that it's a possible option for play. 

:coffee::fire:
While I can respect your opinion on it... it still remains that if some folks don't like that, they can just choose not to play that way.  Since it's a single player game, there's also no harm in folks who do choose to play that way.

If Hinterland feels that it's an issue, then I'm sure they'd address and patch it...

Edited by ManicManiac

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If the game was structured differently and didn't have scarcity and trade-offs in needs as a core part of its gameplay - I'd agree with you. But I'm talking about adding a dimension to hunger that currently doesn't exist - and that people can avoid by adjusting food availability upwards. The only way I could artificially impose this at present would be to

1) raise resources, then restrain myself from using extra matches etc. in a game where I must make use of all I find.

2) impose a sleep limit or alter recovery rates in Custom, which affects my ability to recover from all other forms of condition loss

3) never slip below zero calories and call it quits when I do, which would be constant at high difficulties, 

4) lower the hunger rate, which would excise a big chunk of the food gathering/hunting parts of game-play.

So you can see the self-imposed solutions are all imperfect relative to one that Hinterland could implement, and which players could choose to avoid.

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I've taken the well fed buff and never looked back, i can climb ropes at over 30 kilos! (which we used to be able to do by default but they removed) the extra mobility works wonders!

@ManicManiac, the problem with the "dont do it" stance on exploits is that players have terrible willpower. Players will suck the fun out of their own gameplay if it means being more safe/efficient when playing them. 

Before the well fed buff rewarded me for playing "right", I would hibernate. I didn't like hibernating being a part of the game but i did it anyways because I wanted to be more efficient and didnt want to die from starvation on a super long sandbox run.

Now, people can play their own way and starve for efficiency, while I enjoy the little gift I get for keeping food relevant in the survival experience. Combine that with the malnourished debuff that still allows a couple days of hibernating when food gets low? It's genius! 

I do like OPs proposed model, its a step above my old standing of making calories go negative again. But the current system has already fixed it for me at least. 

 

 

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14 hours ago, MarrowStone said:

the problem with the "dont do it" stance on exploits

But now it seems there is a misunderstanding on what an exploit is...

Just because something is possible to do that some don't like, doesn't make it an exploit.  If the systems are behaving as they were intended... then it's not an exploit. 

-For example: being able to harvest small pieces of meat... and cooking small peace of meat... that's not an exploit because both systems are functioning as intended.  People calling it an exploit because they don't like it, doesn't make it an exploit. 

-Another example:  Raph has said that decoys were not intended to function as a hunting tool... so the mechanic was not working as they intended.  That's an exploit.  When Hinterland determines something's not working properly and is thus an actual exploit, they fix it.

My point here is this.  It's perfectly reasonable to be able to ration your food how you want.  The condition recovery systems are working as intended... ergo, the "hibernation" technique is not an exploit...  In this case, it seems to me that "don't do it" a perfectly legitimate solution for those who don't like it.  I don't think it's the right answer for people to want to take away gameplay options for everyone just because it's an aspect not liked by some.  That's why I say, it comes down to player choice.  I say we let folks play how they want to...

If Hinterland determines this is not the way the systems were meant to function, then they would address it and change it.

Until then, I say it's just creative play.  Folks that don't like that it's an option, can choose not to play that way.

:coffee::fire:

 

Edited by ManicManiac

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I myself used to starve most of the day and just eat a couple of pieces of meat before bed to recover the little bit of condition I'd lost through starvation. The reason being it just made sense. Why keep your character's belly full all the time when there's no real reason to? And from a game play vs realism aspect it seems realistic that in that survival situation you would ration your food.

But now with the well fed buff I keep my characters from starving because I just love the extra carry weight. I honestly don't how many players actually still use the starvation method but, I would guess that it's not very many. So personally,  I would rather see the devs continue down the road of using buffs as a reward instead of punishing players, if their aim is for the game to be played a certain way. 

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On 11/7/2019 at 11:35 PM, MarrowStone said:

 

@ManicManiac, the problem with the "dont do it" stance on exploits is that players have terrible willpower. Players will suck the fun out of their own gameplay if it means being more safe/efficient when playing them.

 

I don't think a game should be altered because of a lack of willpower.  I personally don't want a game changed because someone thinks I might not be able to not starve myself. Maybe I am misunderstanding what is meant by this.

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I'm not 100% sure what this about, is this about preventing players from starving themselves?

I'm not saying they should do this but... if they wanted to stop players from starving themselves wouldn't they just have to raise the amount of condition you lose when starving?

On 11/7/2019 at 8:28 PM, Prodigal Son said:

Here is the alteration proposed:

When a player is starving, and takes an action with a calorie cost, those calories are deducted from the player's condition as a 1/100 percentage

Doesn't this already happen? when you do anything while starving you already lose condition.

On 11/7/2019 at 10:09 PM, kristaok said:

I'm confused :o 

Me too 🤔

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6 hours ago, Hilayla said:

 

I don't think a game should be altered because of a lack of willpower.  I personally don't want a game changed because someone thinks I might not be able to not starve myself. Maybe I am misunderstanding what is meant by this.

The point was that before the "well fed" buff I would starve myself to be more efficient even though I didn't like it and it made the game less fun. (It made food way more plentiful and irl if you burn more calories than you eat you would still be starving.) The devs used "well fed" as an incentive for players to keep food relevant in-game without removing the starving tactic entirely. It has worked for me and I'm never looking back. The food problem has been fixed already in my eyes. 

Maybe I shouldn't have said players have terrible willpower, it sounds accusative/generalizing and probably makes readers defensive. I'm saying if developers have a vision on how they want players to play a game, they get better results if they encourage "right" actions instead of punishing "wrong" ones. The well fed buff is a great example. 

On 11/8/2019 at 2:05 PM, ManicManiac said:

Just because something is possible to do that some don't like, doesn't make it an exploit.  If the systems are behaving as they were intended... then it's not an exploit. 

 We'd have to personally ask the developers about every quirk in the game since players have no way knowing what is intended or not. Taking arbitrary actions like cutting up your deer in a thousand tiny pieces and power leveling cooking may be possible in the game, but I don't think that is what they intended.

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7 minutes ago, MarrowStone said:

The point was that before the "well fed" buff I would starve myself to be more efficient even though I didn't like it and it made the game less fun. (It made food way more plentiful and irl if you burn more calories than you eat you would still be starving.)

But this was still your choice. You can choose to starve or not to starve. You chose to do something you didn't like. I just keep hearing my dad's voice in my head saying, "Life is all about choices."   We should make choices because they make things better/more enjoyable/whatever. I feel like you were saying because you got a cookie (well-fed) you were willing to make a more enjoyable choice. Without the cookie you would just make a choice that made the game less enjoyable. This does not seem logical to me.

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This isn't geared toward any individual and I do understand why a lot of players starve themselves but @Hilayla is right when saying" You can choose to starve or not to starve." Even on interloper there is more then enough food in the world to keep yourself fed from day one although I still sometimes starve myself the first day or two depending on my start location, I'm currently  on a 610 day loper run and my average calories per day is 2900.

Starving yourself comes from older versions of the game when there was only like 3 zones far less loot to find and not always a guarantee for the mag lens to spawn.

Edited by stay puft
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1 hour ago, Hilayla said:

 I feel like you were saying because you got a cookie (well-fed) you were willing to make a more enjoyable choice. Without the cookie you would just make a choice that made the game less enjoyable. This does not seem logical to me.

You're right, It's not logical. It's operant conditioning. I have weak willpower and am manipulated by psychological conditioning, sorry. 

I also did the controversial actions in the interest to save time and play it safe to be able to complete long term goals like the 200 day achievement, (that was removed when wintermute launched). 

I just wanted to say the current system in the game works well for me and give reasons why. 

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10 hours ago, MarrowStone said:

but I don't think that is what they intended.

Then they would have changed it... that's my point.  This tactic has been well known for years.  That means Hinterland is aware of it too (since this is their forum).  Also, the reason the Well Feed buff exists is because it was Hinterland's way for encouraging players to keep food in their stomachs (giving them an extra incentive), without trying to force a particular style of play.  I felt this was a stroke of genius, as it still permitted the player to chose to play how they wanted to.

So, since it's safe to say Hinterland is aware of it, and the tactic was not deemed an exploit... then it isn't an exploit and the systems are working as intended.  Now it comes back to the point I've been discussing for months (Player Choice):


Here's what I said back on June 5th:

Quote

I think being able to "practice" cooking by using smaller portions is perfectly legitimate.

We are capable to harvesting small pieces of meat, so it's reasonable to be able to cook those small pieces of meat.
Level 5 cooking only offers that food poisoning/parasite perk to cooked/processed foods (never mind that it covers pretty much all that we would normally eat anyway :P).

The good news is... this game is all about player choice.  If people don't like being able to eat ruined food or they don't like the idea of practicing their cooking skill... they don't need to call for the team to patch it out.  People can just choose not to play the game that way.  :)

Now if the Hinterland team wants to change those systems, then fine.  As of now I don't really see a need... to each their own.  I say let each person in the community play the game how they want.

The same applies to being able to ration our food how we want to, as well as when we eat and when we fast.  It's absolutely player choice on how we use and consume our resources.  It would take a lot away from this game if it dictated how/when we can choose to use what recourses we have.

I get that you don't agree, that's okay.  It still remains that I think a player should be able to choose how they want to play.  Just because it's possible to do something folks don't like... does not mean they have to do it.  We can choose how we play.  That's the player's responsibility. 

:coffee::fire:

Edited by ManicManiac
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