Dreaming, Stamina and Health


AmericanSteel

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I think a dream mode needs to be implemented. Hear me out. When the player sleeps for more than say, 4 hours they have a dream mode for half that time. It is a randomly created zone where the player can hunt for supplies and what not. How well you survive determines how well you "rest". The disclaimers, no weapons and the player can only walk. Getting attacked by an animal is just waking up from a nightmare.

I would give player the options of "passing" this mode, but to it gives a chance to get a better or worse sleep. If the player had a fever and went to sleep, survival in this mode may be the only way to break the fever (the mind overcoming the body).

This would give the player something "new" to do that was within the confines of the game that would not require a ton of additional programming.

For this to really work well though, the Stamina system needs to be changed. We need to have stamina and health. Stamina is how much energy we have to do a task while health is the condition of your body. Sprinting makes you tired, get exhausted and your health suffers. Don't eat enough and your stamina take a hit. Let this go long enough and your health takes a hit. Get attacked by a wolf and you health suffers more than your stamina. Here is the kicker, health takes days or weeks to recover. Stamina uses the same system in place now. Players would natural heal with plenty of rest, food, water and shelter. Take some of these away and your recovery is slowed, stopped or even reversed.

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I'm not 100% sold, but it's an interesting idea.

This could be a unique way of introducing the player to certain game mechanics in a lower risk environment-- sort of a tutorial but not.

I think the drawback would be that if you spend time 'surviving' in the dream, it might be tedious to wake up to do the same thing. Perhaps the dreams could take different forms, like challenges? E.g. kill X number of wolves in 30 seconds. That would be different than the usual gameplay, and allow players to become familiar with the rifle (and/or other weapons? ;) ), and could be a lot of fun also (or at least cathartic!)

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Yes, definitely interesting. I feel bad about saying this but you might want to read my, albeit lengthy, idea for a variable length day/night cycle. Dreaming could be one of effects of "longer" or "shorter" days. Or maybe you find something there that would fit your vision for how dreams would be.

The way I see it, adding a way to skip it would break immersion. Having no way to skip it might become annoying because whatever plans and momentum you had, everything, effectively stops until you finish the dream. And for this interruption of pacing to happen there should be an exceptionally good reason. At least in my opinion.

Also, the way you've described it, my concern is that it would feel too gamey, if you permit the term. A sort of, playing well the game within the game to get an advantage at playing the game.

But I find the simple idea of dreaming absolutely wonderful.

I think that, especially given the setting and art direction and style, if implemented, dreams would have to fully live up to their reputation. They should be something that's completely different and have absolutely nothing in common in terms of gameplay with what the player does outside of dreaming.

The typical dream logic we all know and experience is unique to dreams. You cannot reproduce or replicate it in waking hours. Keeping a dream diary quickly makes obvious the fact that, even as a writer, explicitly sitting down and writing even the shortest story or fraction of a story "as a dream", trying to replicate dream logic, is exceptionally hard and is always derivative, always based on previous dreams. Creating new and unique dream logic is impossible any other way except by dreaming. Which is why I have doubts it could be created procedurally.

So instead of a "this is the best we could do in terms of making dreams dreamlike in a video game given A B and C" kind of thing, perhaps the way to go about it would be to steal from Kafka. Ignore the dream entirely and focus on its effects.

You wake up, but, to what do you wake up to, exactly? In Kafka's stories, The Trial, Metamorphosis, The Burrow and so on, it's not about the dream, which is never revealed and essentially of no importance, it's about waking up. Waking up as a crucial, dangerous moment. If something happens upon waking up there is a danger that something from the dream will escape and remain with you outside of the dream.

In Metamorphosis the main character wakes up as a cockroach type of insect and continues his life in this manner. It goes without saying that this would be another game entirely. Of course, you could have it such that the player would wake up and not know it's a dream, with everything being seemingly normal. But over time this would quickly turn into something you'd do every time upon waking up, finding out if you're in fact dreaming or not. I don't think this would be the way to go.

Consider the case of The Burrow, where just the most simple, unassuming sound from within a dream remains with the character upon waking up. It could very well be just like that. You go to sleep and when you wake up, as a rare event, something is changed, or "something exists now". The tiniest, most unassuming, unimportant thing. Something akin to the beautiful specs of dust you can see in the game. Something totally useless, totally pretty, or "completely horrible", something you can easily not notice if you don't want to, again, the specs of dust being the best example I can think of.

The prospect of this being permanent is terribly appealing. Even if they would rarely happen, the longer you would survive the more these tiny things would accumulate and would sum up have a great overall effect. Which could hint perhaps at a declining mental state, and, why not, the simple beauty this could bring. Just as long as the end result doesn't look like another game or a Dali. But the change would most probably be temporary, which may be a better approach.

An example of something "completely horrible", and probably impossible to do from an art standpoint, even with the best intentions, would be pareidolia. Which is seeing the markings of the Moon as a rabbit, faces in our bathroom tiles and clouds "obviously" shaped like cats or who knows what. There is an example I can think of in Amnesia AMFP where a texture for the most unassuming thing, a box, was, I have no idea if accidentally or not, a "completely horrible" pareidolia. I think that if at all possible, done delicately and subtle enough the game would have complete plausible deniability with regards to the fact that "it's just a texture".

Another equally impossible idea would be to have something happen rarely when you turn your head, in your peripheral vision and in the area you turn your head away from. Done in such a way you could not trick the system with jerky movements or pausing the game to get a better look at it or whatever. Something that would seemingly be part of the world, as opposed to the "jam smeared on the screen" type of effect that's sometimes used for blood in games. Something about which the only thing you could say is that it exists. Like the specs of dust. Which already are totally unrealistic, totally useless, totally Kafkian, and totally worth it. It would be a different game without them.

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Dreams could be representative of certain things that happen to the player throughout the day that the game tracks.

So what I'm thinking I guess is that if you were attacked by a wolf during the day, perhaps you have a nightmare of being killed by a wolf (and nightmares could even mess up your sleep? I dunno). I imagine it could wake you up as if being attacked for real, but fighting is useless, but there are so many possibilities on how dreams can be done. The worry there would be having repetitive dreams, but you could have multiple scenes prepared and dreaming could actually be something pretty rare in game. As waking up and remembering your dreams is relatively rare anyway.

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Introducing dreams is a fantastic idea. I would like to see the occasional dream in the story mode. For the sandbox, I am not sure, maybe it would distract from the basic theme. But I would like to see a game where dreams play an important role. Maybe a completely different game.

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I am not out to make The Long Dark another Silent Hill or similar "horror" experience, though I do love the genera. I was look for some way to bring your "will" into the game without giving it a numeric score. Those who survive survival situations make it out because of their will, their perseverance, their moxy in the face of nature. You can really see this play out on the new treand of survival shows, especially Naked and Afraid. Some people just lose the will and tap out. In the wild though, taping out equals death. Not everyone has it and not everyone can cultivate even if they do have it. The few who do, with the wit and where-with-all, come out on the other end but different. Making some sort of nightly mini-game with the results impacting the players waking moments would indirectly impact them, giving them a bit more to carry on.

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Or a bit less it it doesn't go well :roll:

Nobody said anything about making TLD Silent Hill. We have nightmares in our lives too, lives which do not subsequently become horrors because of them :roll:

The idea is good. I love it. But having a game within a game would break immersion and pacing. In my opinion at least. Of course, maybe there are ways to do it delicately so that it would not.

Read this where I argue for a mechanic that gives the player an advantage or disadvantage the next day or the day after that depending on how he plays today, without the need for a game within a game.

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Good dreams that end positively could mean that the player is more focused the following days, or have a greater chance at succeeded in starting that fire or repairing that coat. Bad dreams could give a penalty towards repairs, tasks and even longer craft times.

But you should have to sleep for more than 4 hours, like maybe a least 6 hours any longer you run the risk of dehydration and starvation state in the more difficult settings. But dreams also allow for more surreal elements. Strangely colored skies. Giant animals chasing you. White Wolves. Or you can find yourself being chased by deer who stalk and attack you like wolves do. Underground buildings like the new interiors of the dam.

Walking through a foggy forest you come across a corpse, as you walk away it speaks "Hello? Can you help me? Im looking for my daughter. Ive been wandering for a while now. Have you seen her?"

The interior of a fishing cabin, where your shrinking

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I am really sold on the idea of a dream sequence. It could really add to the brooding and lonely atmosphere of the game. Just making it more of the same hunting and scavenging would be dull.

This would also work marvelously in single player, since you have a defined character with his own motivations and history. So it could really work well for story and plotting.

Come to think of it, I really like JErosion's idea with the talking corpse. One of the best moments in the original XBOX Call of Duty was when you were playing the role of a soldier slowly dying of radioactive fallout.

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I really don't want anything that happened in the previous day to impact the player the next day (except a sleep cycle and the base stats you bring along). Otherwise, once things start to go bad they could easily snowball down hill. Also, who is to say a day went good OR bad. For instance, I could sacrifice some health and take some damage to shoo a wolf off of a kill. I then get the meat from the deer. The game may say going to bed hurt was a negative while I think going to bed hurt and with a full stomach was a positive. Later on I may have sacrificed necessary supplies to explore and forage in a new area. The game may see the absence of supplies as a negative while I see an area explored and not worth searching anymore a boon.

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Not exactly, AmericanSteel. While I don't agree with the idea of dreams as it is being discussed, I do support the idea of what happened in the previous day impacting the player the next day, and I have developed it a bit.

The cause for this impact would be calorie burn rate and fatigue computed over time ( entire day or longer). Have them low, day type A, have them high, day type B. Each type of day has advantages and disadvantages. Now, imagine there is no A and B, and that's it a completely gradual process.

It would allow for a borrow-now-and-pay-later-at-interest type of mechanic or a kind of because-you-gathered-wood-for-8-hours-straight, this is happening, type of mechanic.

You can read more about it here.

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Not exactly, AmericanSteel. While I don't agree with the idea of dreams as it is being discussed, I do support the idea of what happened in the previous day impacting the player the next day, and I have developed it a bit.

The cause for this impact would be calorie burn rate and fatigue computed over time ( entire day or longer). Have them low, day type A, have them high, day type B. Each type of day has advantages and disadvantages. Now, imagine there is no A and B, and that's it a completely gradual process.

It would allow for a borrow-now-and-pay-later-at-interest type of mechanic or a kind of because-you-gathered-wood-for-8-hours-straight, this is happening, type of mechanic.

You can read more about it here.

The only problem is with limited resources it can snowball to quickly. Negative heaping upon negative. As soon as you start going to far down that hill there is no turning back. Like trying to escape quicksand. The penalties for the environment, hunger, thirst and health are enough to simulate the pressures. It takes time to build positives, while one negative can crash it down around your ears. You are on top of the world. You are not stocked up with food and supplies but you are doing well. You then get mauled by a bear and knocked down to 10%. Before you can stop the bleeding you are at 8% and have trudge back home in a weakened state. Clothing torn to shred you are also more exposed to the weather. You find some place to shelter and get back a bit of health. You finally manage to make it home cold, hungry and thirsty with 15% health. You then have to rest at home for a few days, burn up all your reserve food, take a chunk out of your resources to repair what you have. You could either say this is the day I carve out the rest of my life from this wilderness or you could give up. You made it all the way back after the bear attack, if you were going to give up... you would have just laid in the snow and bled out. Does the game say this was a negative or a positive?

1. Does getting your clothing torn to shreds in a blizzard count as a negative? Maybe. But maybe I did it to haul a load of supplies from on camp to another and feel a sense of accomplishment. Or what if I just got caught unaware and got skunked by the weather?

2. Does taking damage in the cold harvesting a kill count as a negative? I would say no, because at least I have food. But what if that kill was only a few pounds left over after a wolf almost cleaned the corpse?

3. Is harvesting two rabbits a day a positive? Maybe. Can survive for long on two rabbits... but I can survive a bit longer.

4. Is searching a trailer coming up empty a positive? If I was getting out a blizzard, maybe just finding the trailer is a positive. However, if I am searching for supplies and find another place that comes up empty... it could be a no.

There are just far to many variables on what the player wants to accomplish and what they encounter to say X condition yields Y results. Besides, heaping up 80 lbs of food in the freezer is its own reward.

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1. The model does not care if your clothing is torn to shreds, in a blizzard or not, or if you have clothing at all, this has no effect on the model.

2. The model does not care if you take damage, ever, in any case, cold, hot, day, night, harvesting or not harvesting, this has no effect on the model.

3. The model does not care if you harvest two rabbits a day, it does not care what or how you do, this has no effect on the model.

4. The model does not care if searching a trailer came up empty or full or partly full or partly empty, this has no effect on the model.

Did you read my thread? Perhaps it was written badly and it's my fault for making it hard to understand. Like I have said, as far as the variable length of the day/night cycle and what advantages and disadvantages come with it, the game only keeps track of your calorie burn rate and fatigue over (a long) time, one day or more. I don't know how much simpler I can say it.

I've said that limited resources lead to an advantage, to help you get through it, not a disadvantage.

The model I proposed cannot snowball because it has inertia associated with it.

This model does not care about the situation you describe. Nothing would happen or change because of the series of events you describe.

Please take the time to read my thread and if it's hard to understand because I'm not a native english speaker, tell me, rather than suppose things which I have in no way said, as this kinds of misunderstandings/misinformations could have a negative impact on what could be a viable idea. Because I have never said nor implied it would work in any way shape or form the way you have described it.

Thank you.

Also, if this is considered as derailing the thread, I apologize, I had no such intention, I just felt the need to address this issue in the place it took place.

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