Author Topic: Brainstorming Thread: Food System.  (Read 7166 times)

Offline x4000

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Brainstorming Thread: Food System.
« on: November 28, 2011, 07:29:00 PM »
While I'm posting brainstorming threads here today, I figured I'd lob out one more.  The idea of some sort of food system, whereby player characters have to eat or even sleep, is something that of course a lot of people find really attractive and interesting from a distance.  After all, anything that makes the characters feel more like people and less like little boardgame chits is a good thing, right?

The trouble is, and the conclusion that Keith and I always seem to arrive at whenever we talk about food systems, is that food systems are annoying.  There are some exceptions, and I hear that -- for example -- the food system in Skyrim is really interesting and extremely fun.  But that's in the context of a much slower-moving western-style RPG, and that's just a really different sort of game flow in general.  I've seen some food systems work out pretty well in some other western-style RPGs myself, again largely due to the general pacing and structure of those entire games.

Those games are a far cry from AVWW in almost every gameplay sense, though.  So the question really is: in the context of an action game, like Zelda or AVWW or Minecraft or whatever, is there any system of "you periodically have to eat" that wouldn't be just an annoying chore of "time to press this button every so many minutes?"

Keith and I sure haven't been able to think of anything, so it's the sort of thing we just would normally lay to rest and forget about.  But since I'm in a brainstorming mood today (apparently), I thought I'd pose the question to the forums.

As a side note: One of the cool things about having a playerbase that remembers games from the 80s and 90s is that there were all sorts of cool or almost-cool systems used in some obscure game but then never used again.  Those sorts of things were definitely an enriching influence on AI War in particular after 1.0 came out, but it's not something I'd really sat back and thought about until today.  It's kind of cool to be able to call on this "obscure game mechanic encyclopedia" that exists in the forum, if you think about it. :)
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Offline Coppermantis

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Re: Brainstorming Thread: Food System.
« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2011, 07:38:48 PM »
I personally don't like food systems like in Minecraft, but that's just my playstyle. I prefer building (but legitimately, so creative mode isn't really an option) and having to go out and hunt pigs to get food is annoying. Especially during the time period of 1.8, when once you killed something, it was gone for good. Now that you can breed animals it's more acceptable, but I still consider it less fun.

That said, AVWW isn't in the same vein as MC the way I play it. IT is an adventure, not a building game, so a food system wouldn't interfere with that as much. However, having to periodically go out and craft/hunt foods doesn't sound like very much fun. I don't know what to do with this. I'm starved for ideas at the moment.


Sleeping, though, sounds like it could be good if done right. I like the way that it is in Minecraft: Optional, but a benefit for doing it. Perhaps in bedrooms of buildings you could find beds (and in settlements) which, when slept in, give some sort of benefit. (partial stat recharge, or perhaps your spells decrease in power slowly over time, and sleeping resets this. So, you could theoretically go forever without sleep, but would become very ineffective and vulnerable if you go too long.
I can already tell this is going to be a roller coaster ride of disappointment.

Offline Olreich

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Re: Brainstorming Thread: Food System.
« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2011, 08:01:57 PM »
The reason we enjoy food in real life is that it's a sensory experience. Eating actually gives us pleasure, and takes away pain when we're hungry. Without something hurting and food being completely bland, eating in life is just a chore too. Video games can't feed us, nor do they take away hunger pains, so you'd be hard pressed to find a way to put in our system of eating into the game.

The only way to make food fun would be to have it be that you're hunting for food, and have to do something fun to get it, then you eat it and your counter restarts. But that seems unnecessary because you can just get rid of food and have the fun stuff without the monotony of "I'm doing this on my daily schedule", instead giving better rewards.

So, scheduled eating, that's really tough to make fun. Unscheduled eating... well, if you have an interesting and useful ways to get food, then all you have to do is make that food something that's desirable but not required. You'll have OCD people stocking up for nuclear winter, but for the most part, you should be able to have people enjoy food.

Some possible ways to make food desirable: status effects, making you stronger for a period of time based on the food and quality, bait and AI control, allowing players to change the behavior of enemies, or even tame them to help you in other systems. Both sound pretty good, and the first would create an obvious settlement management improvement of adding shops (which are hopefully planned already), to sell you some food items with food quality based on morale, happiness, and natural ability of the worker. And by sell, I mean "use X resources/shards from the settlement/character to make food items".

tl;dr No scheduled eating, that makes most fun things unfun in this style of game, where time is an essentially unlimited resource. Make food a commodity that helps you, maybe via status effects or AI adjustment (bait/taming come to mind).

Offline Ixiohm

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Re: Brainstorming Thread: Food System.
« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2011, 08:04:28 PM »
The only way I see a food system fitting with this game, would be in the strategic view. Somehow make the availability of food limit movement on the strategic map, similarly to how movement previously was restricted by the occurrence of wind storms.
If this resource was shared between the player and the NPCs it could potentially lead to some interesting scenarios. Manage the availability of food between player and NPCs, and how to extend your reach by establishing new settlements and outposts at which you can resupply. Build more farms to create supply for more frequent and longer expeditions. Use NPCs with slow metabolism to extend your scouting range within the limits of available resources. Trade of between inviting NPCs into settlements and using the excess food supply for further exploration missions.

Offline FallingStar

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Re: Brainstorming Thread: Food System.
« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2011, 09:41:23 PM »
Eating on a personal level can be good if you want to get more into the survival aspect, basically as a limiter of how long you can be out (or something to make being away from settlements seem harder/ more dangerous to keep going), or if there's some inventory management aspect (which I doubt you want to add).

If it was just a matter of a buff, it have a food item in your pack and have it reduce (or use) every x moments, it would be a bit dull, just another bonus to farm.  I suppose it could also be done like the malaria shots in Far Cry 2 - use every once in awhile, and when you run out you're forced back to settlement.  If done on a personal level I'd probably leave it like a rested buff in MMO's, eat (somehow) and get bonus to xp . . though it might not make sense as you're leveling your civ not your avatar.

I do think that you should always have food so long as your settlement does, would be weird if they were eating and you were starving.  As such, as others have mentioned, might work better on strat map level than during your fight with a miniboss having to eat a sandwich.  I guess that could be how you "carry" food- in settlements if you're closer to one with food, you eat too, if you're near one without food (or int he deep wild), you're going hungry.

Personally, there are enough elements in AVWW to make it have a good survival feel without having to make food an item to use, outside of its mention as an aspect of the strategic game.  I wouldn't hate it if it was put in interestingly, and I enjoy such tings in RP oriented games, just don't see it fitting in yet.

Offline Teal_Blue

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Re: Brainstorming Thread: Food System.
« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2011, 10:09:04 PM »
:)   As one who does advocate 'eating', i would like to quickly explain why, and how.  :)

... on the personal character pov, yes, it probably does turn into a click this button every 20 minutes.  :)

Which can be a pain.

But what if it is on a settlement scale... Our farms produce x amount of food for use by characters at x value for every x turn.

What this means is that food becomes a settlement enhancing or limiting factor. That bad guys can raid our caravans or our settlements and over run them. We can lose settlements, we can lose npc's, and we have the possibility of 'losing everything' if we lose all of our farms. Everything.

Like say, losing all our cruisers in AI War, when we are facing Starships, well... we have nothing to compete, we are moments or hours, away from losing the game.

For AVWW, what that cost may be, is we are  back to square one. We lose our empire, we have gambled and lost every npc and settlement we had in the game, we have had our head handed to us and we are now back out in the wild fending for ourselves, trying to stay alive.

Some mechanic, ANY mechanic that makes it interesting to keep my character alive is something i think adds greatly to the game.

So,... i have to nurture my settlements, i have to choose carefully the kinds of settlements that i create and where i put them and how i recruit and who i recruit (is it possible i have recruited a spy?)  :) 

Anyway, 'food' fits that role, i have to have it to keep my settlements and my npc's and my characters viable, and functional and useable.

Its not a click this every 20 minutes mechanism, its a click this every once in a while for your character , or your settlements or you are going to die and NOT make it.

That it interesting.

What hoops do I have to jump through to make things worthwhile? What must i do to expand, or defend, or just maintain the status quo?

Food fits a lot of those circumstances.
And fits it very well.

Not in a boring way.
But in a do i 'castle before i move my pawn?'  Or do i move my pawn first, and reap the consequences of not preparing beforehand? way.

Action can be quickly  paced and intense and filled with on screen slaughter, but the preparing our loadout,  building buildings and jobs and skill sets for my npc's, building new settlements and focusing on their specialties and what resources are used and where is all strategic and slower, and thoughtful pondering of the lay of the board, so to speak. Food and what it represents to continuing the survival of characters and settlements fits into that overview very easily i think.

That is my opinion,

I think it could work, and work well and bring some new and interesting twists to how things play out.
Whether or not it will, however, depends on what everyone else thinks.

:)

But a game that gives players 'different ways of playing the same game' make for a wider audience of players, and the game a multiple style kind of game.

Thank you for listening,


-Teal



Offline Hearteater

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Re: Brainstorming Thread: Food System.
« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2011, 10:24:14 PM »
Consider one of the below totally separate ideas:

1) Combine this with the health tank idea.  Somehow your health tanks get damaged and eating food repairs them.  If health tanks get damaged easily enough, you'll want a good supply of food when exploring.

2) Food buffs you with a damage reducing benefit (-20% damage) that lasts until you take X damage.  Scale damage so what we take now is what we take with the food buff, so not having it increases damage taken by about 20%.  Optionally add a time duration to the buff as well.  Optionally add a cooldown to eating, so heavy damage in a short period forces you to go without the damage reduction buff.

3) Exploring (entering) each new chunk costs you 1 food.  Returning to town restores a small amount of food at minimum, but can be developed to supply more later.  Some chunks might require more food to explore.  The penalty for entering a chunk without food could be a large hit to health (but never fatal).

Offline Martyn van Buren

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Re: Brainstorming Thread: Food System.
« Reply #7 on: November 28, 2011, 11:42:48 PM »
I'm pretty sure I'm against eating.  It's either going to be just another item you have to click on, or something terrifying like Teal_Blue's suggestion of having to manage your economy well or starve to death --- that would be great in some game, but not one where the strategic map is supposed to be all-but-optional.

Basically, I don't think these are going to add anything if you just have to keep track of them and push a button once in a while --- if they're going to be there, they should be involved enough that you really have to think about them.

I could see sleeping, though.  We were talking in the first brainstorming thread about "towers" and no-warp zones --- it seems like it could be an interesting challenge that would fit into the game well if you had to build yourself a little safe place in order to sleep.  I don't think I'd want to have to do this regularly, but it would make sense if it gave you a short buff that you could use for a difficult fight, so you could get a bonus if you could make yourself safe for a few "hours" first.

Offline Teal_Blue

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Re: Brainstorming Thread: Food System.
« Reply #8 on: November 29, 2011, 08:06:01 AM »
:)   @Hearteater,  :)  I like your ideas, very nice, and well said. 

@Martyn Van Buren,  although i think eating can and should add depth and consequences to the game and not just be a clickfest, and has a place in a game, in this game as a mechanism that makes player decisions and choices interesting and different for different 'style' players, I also like your idea of sleep.

Having to build your own shelter out in the wilderness in order to stay alive when you have journeyed out more than several tiles distance from the settlement can be interesting, and adds consequences for going to far, or for getting caught out in dangerous territory. Which is in my mind more interesting than having the run of the map for whatever period of time without consequence.

I am beginning to realize that i play differently than many players here, but i hope that doesn't rule out the possibility that this game can be fun to play in many different ways. Not in a single way alone. But i'm not the one making this game.  :)  So i have to temper my requests with an understanding of what everyone else, and what Chris and company see as what is interesting for them.  :)

That i can chip in my own two cents i am grateful for at all, so even though i am passionate!   :)  I  still feel I am only one girls voice.  But thank you for listening.

:)

-Teal



Offline tigersfan

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Re: Brainstorming Thread: Food System.
« Reply #9 on: November 29, 2011, 08:20:03 AM »
I hate the idea of having to eat. I think that eating can have a place in the game (such as, sitting and eating will heal you, or eating will buff you in some way), but being required to eat will just add a degree of monotony, and likely add to the desire to farm, no pun intended. :-)

Offline x4000

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Re: Brainstorming Thread: Food System.
« Reply #10 on: November 29, 2011, 09:52:09 AM »
If eating were a system of buffs, then that really kind of does double-duty with what enchants are already planned to do (and will do in a more structured, choice-based fashion).  So... yeah.  This is why Keith and I haven't been able to come up with anything for this specific game.  There are lots of great ideas, which would fit with all sorts of games, but most of them don't fit with the core design goals of this specific game.
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Offline Gallant Dragon

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Re: Brainstorming Thread: Food System.
« Reply #11 on: November 29, 2011, 09:55:18 AM »
What exactly are the core design goals of this game, again?  Maybe those would give me some ideas; I 'm high and dry atm... ::)
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Offline x4000

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Re: Brainstorming Thread: Food System.
« Reply #12 on: November 29, 2011, 10:57:40 AM »
What exactly are the core design goals of this game, again?  Maybe those would give me some ideas; I 'm high and dry atm... ::)

You know, that's a really good point.  Here ya go: http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,9524.0.html :)
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Offline Dizzard

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Re: Brainstorming Thread: Food System.
« Reply #13 on: November 29, 2011, 05:49:04 PM »
Well I do sort of like the idea of needing to camp and eat food.....but it seems like something that would be great when you're in the mood and absolutely horrible when you're not. Food in theory is a great idea...but it just seems to get annoying too easily when you HAVE to eat it. On the other hand if you don't HAVE to eat it then what's the point of it?

It needs looking at from a different angle. Maybe we shouldn't think about how we (the player) use the food but focus on how others (npcs) use the food instead. We won't care if npcs are slaved into having to eat food/dealing with food. Then we can look on from the outside and sort of monitor it but not have to be pulled into having to do anything ourselves if we don't want to.

How about from a cooking/baking perspective. Npcs in your settlements could have jobs as chefs or bakers. They could have some kind of cooking skill that they develop. As for uses, well let's imagine you have a VIP from another civilization coming to your settlement for talks....you should assign one of your best chefs to make them a meal and really suck up to them. Or you could always make the chef toss poison in the soup. Then of course there's the obvious better cooks = more happiness for the settlement. Hey, how about a cook-off between warring civilizations? :P

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Offline superking

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Re: Brainstorming Thread: Food System.
« Reply #14 on: November 29, 2011, 06:24:54 PM »
I dont see much room for a food/stamina system in a world where I can magic myself back to full health or mana in about 3 seconds. In any case, this isn't the kind of game where you furtively carve a nook in the monster population of of an area, light a campfire, set defenses, eat dinner and sleep- its the kind of game where you magically dash across the landscape at 100 mph firing lightning and fireballs from every orifice, then just teleport away. The difference in tempo between a survival game - where resource management is crucial - and AVWWs headlong charge of damage, hp/mana boosts, items etc suggests to me that a food system has no place here, for player characters at least. I mean, player characters are rarely in a chunk for more than 30 minutes - I dont see how they would grow hungry and starve in that time.
« Last Edit: November 29, 2011, 06:27:42 PM by superking »