DMC Medical Center

I worked on the DMC medical center today. So far, I've put together some intro text for first time and repeat visitors, and mapped out the services I expect them to provide. Since the tech-level in the DMC is pretty high, I wanted the facility to offer a pretty wide range of services.

However, I wanted to keep things reasonable. The clinic should represent professional-grade care, not necessarily a magic "reset button" for health. The nanorobotic medkit is already pretty fancy, and should probably represent the upper limit of what is available. Furthermore, I wanted the clinic to offer targeted services, for specific conditions, instead of a general "fix everything" option. I figured this would not only encourage players to be a bit more strategic, but also provide "a la carte" services if the major treatments are too expensive.

Here's the list I'm working with at the moment:

  • Pain Management - buying prescription painkillers
  • Sleep Disorders - buying sleeping pills
  • Core Body Temperature Regulation - recover from hypothermia or hyperthermia (i.e. heatstroke)
  • Rehydration and Micronutrient Therapy - oral or intravenous rehydration and nutrient solutions, to restore hunger/thirst (this is pretty pricey compared to eating diner food, but it's something medical facilities actually provide when treating cholera, etc., so I figured why not?)
  • Full Diagnostic Work-up - blood testing, imaging, full physical, and toxicology screen. I want to see if I can somehow make this list all current health conditions on the player, so they can better choose services to apply.
  • Clean and Dress Wounds - cleans and disinfects wounds, closes open wounds with sutures or Suturefoam, and splints any broken limbs.
  • Antibiotics - buy prescription antibiotics
  • Broad-base Nanorobotic Suspension Treatment - Like the medkit, this introduces a suspension of fluids, drugs, and nanorobots which are designed to attack or suppress many known bacterial, viral, and toxic agents in the body, as well as boost immune system and natural healing processes for a short time. Sufficient to treat several illnesses and poison, and speed up recovery. However, some illnesses are still untreatable, and existing symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, wounds, and infections usually remain, and must heal normally.
  • Blood Transfusion - Restores the patient's blood supply, by introducing a volume of compatible blood or synthetic equivalent to restore normal blood pressure. Extremely expensive procedure. (Currently, 13x the next most expensive service.) Blood is still a precious thing in the DMC, and the procedure takes considerable time, equipment, and manpower. However, blood has one of the slowest restoration rates for players under normal circumstances, and is a huge factor in recovery of other health issues. So if a player were nearly drained of blood, this might actually be worth the cost. Otherwise, rest and food/water is much cheaper.

Prices are all based on "parts and labor," so to speak. I'll probably need to adjust them over time.

I'm also considering making some sort of dystopian payment plan for healthcare. All of the above services are paid by cash, but there would probably be alternative payment options, given that most people couldn't afford the actual costs.

One idea that I've heard is an augmented reality (AR) healthcare sponsorship. The movie Hardwired mentions a sort of corporate sponsorship model, where patients are implanted with a chip that overlays advertisements on their vision, in exchange for treatments they cannot afford.

The film is pretty awful, so be forewarned. And they go a bit overboard with the killswitch/bomb bit. But I think there's some plausibility to the program. Sponsors would pay for a captive audience. Especially if that audience could be tracked and monitored, and the AR ads contextualized to fit their current activities.

I mean, imagine a dude with chronic migraines going in for treatment under this program. Pharmaceutical companies would be climbing over each other to get a chip into that guy's head, just to feed him Advil ads when his headaches started acting up. He'd be getting on the monorail after a day's work, and as he passes the turnstyle kiosk, an ad would flash up, "don't forget to stock up on Advil!"

It might only make sense to discount costs on such a program, rather than cover the costs entirely. But I think it might be an interesting thing to add, which not only helps players afford the service, but paints a bit more detail and atmosphere in the setting. And if I could find the time to write some ads, it could introduce some gallows humor if the player was dying of cholera out in the wasteland, and Chemico decided that was a good time to display an ad for their "AquaPur water purification tablets."

That Chemico. Always looking out for you! Even if it's the last thing you see before dying!

Comments

UltimaVirus's picture
UltimaVirus

If you're going to have blood transfusions, why not have the ability for the player to sell his blood? The system would check for an appropriate level of blood , subtract it and then pay back on it. The player would, of course, be at a level of blood loss which could have a varying payout. Whether or not the hospital might care if you survive the process is another story...

UltimaVirus's picture
UltimaVirus

*DELETE*

Scavenger's picture
Scavenger

I like the ideas of different services, I hope the prices will still be somewhat balanced in regards to their usability, not only the location, ie. if 100$ worth of painkillers or antibiotics allows character to keep on going for quite a long time, it would be weird if the service would cost most than 200$.

The idea of advertisement is interesting, but I hope the risks of being tracked/having some side-effets because of it will be underlined. Maybe even some doctor could point out that it will be good to pay the difference quickly in case of bigger discount as there are patients who at some point because of constant advertisement barrage develop mental problems and the clinic doesn't offer treatment in such cases. Otherwise I am quite sure many players will keep on stuffing themselves with advertisement chips on purpose, for the sake of altered location descriptions and situational messages. Which, while nothing bad on it's own, basically defeats the purpose of having 'regular' prices.

Kaaven's picture
Kaaven

In the spirit of UltimaVirus post, my first thought when reading "dystopian payment plan" was: selling your kidney.

Also some ideas:
As I have imagined DMC as more like tightly state-controlled place with hardly any free market or corporations competing with each other and so no need for advertisements. State issued "citizenship" chip, on the other hand, constantly reminding wearer about how important it is to obediently work hard for the well being of DMC, would be awesome.

Or some sort of city issued bonds for health-care as a population control technique? You work for them, you get 100$ medical bond every month. If you don't work, simple visit at the doctor's office costs a fortune. And player, as a unemployed guest, would have to do all sorts of magistrate's shady work / corrupt city's clerks to get those bonds.


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Scavenger's picture
Scavenger

Personally, I'd prefer if DMC would stay close to Bladerunner's metropolis - where there was great domination of corporations but citizens still had theoretical freedom and a drive toward consumerism (happy worker is efficient worker). Not to mention how much possible options and features strictly-controlled place would limit.

Xevelous's picture
Xevelous

Huzzaaah, there's hope for victims of Poison 3!!!

Nickboom's picture
Nickboom

I think you should add a massage therapy or something along those like for fatigue. what it would do is basically allow to you to carry more things and increase the number of moves you have for a while. Of course this would only by available to the more wealthy clients.

Also i would like to see a "life insurance policy" basically its a extra life if that makes any sense when you take enough damage to die the DMC hospital will send a vehicle to retrieve you and resuscitate you. But only after the enemies have left so will be missing stuff. The way this could work is that the hospital will charge a TON of money and implant a chip to monitor your life signs. keep in mind that this can fail lets just say that there's a 10-20% of failing and having permanent death. Having a recovery period after being resuscitate will also help balance.

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dcfedor's picture
dcfedor

Selling blood and/or organs is an interesting idea. There's definitely a black market vibe in selling fluids and organs when you're hard-up for money. I'll add that to my notes, in case I have time after basic services are added.

As for the payment plan and advertisements, I'll have to give it some more thought. I agree that it could imbalance things if the benefits outweigh the penalties. Plus, the service list is already pretty crowded, so duplicating each option for a payment plan version would mean doubling that mess. I'll have to let that stew in my brain for a bit.

Re: DMC being totalitarian vs. capitalist, I'm keeping the DMC more on the capitalistic side. There's still a lot of room for oppression, corruption, criminal elements, and power-mongering in a capitalistic democracy. Besides, I'm pretty sure residents of Detroit would respond pretty poorly to an overt power grab by the government :)

Re: poison 3, it's true! Though you'll have to get to the clinic fast enough...

Re: life insurance, that's actually something I've been thinking about lately. As the game's plot gets longer, death is going to become a much bigger setback. On the other hand, permadeath is one of the hallmarks of NEO Scavenger, and why many of its players like it so much.

I think the main problems with permadeath are frustration with unfair death, and having to replay parts of the game that get boring after a while. The former can be addressed by making sure the player has the tools they need, and that the game doesn't unfairly kill the player (e.g. random death rolls). If that's the case, the player should feel like they died as a result of bad strategy, not bad luck.

The latter issue is a matter of making sure the early game has fun stuff to do, and options to explore, so restarting the game is less boring. If restarting the game is a chore, then the early game has a problem.

There may still be room for limited resuscitation, though. I've been thinking a sort of emergency airlift and cybernetic reconstruction could be cool, especially if it was a "one shot deal." I.e. if the player can get access to the airlift plan, they get one second chance, but their new life has some perks and quirks (like mechanical endurance, but a failing power supply). I haven't fully committed to that yet, but I think it'd be an interesting experiment to try.

As always, thanks for the input!

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games

Nickboom's picture
Nickboom

I thought about the life saving stuff and thought that you can be resuscitated if your "death" wasnt too bad (aka not geting mauled by a dogman and geting shot in the face but hey if fallout man can do it so can you :D). What about the ability to bring dead bodys to the Hospital for money or even better unconscious for a higher price. (medic perks maybe too?) This is kind of unrelated but I recently gave hatter a certain item you can get from the cyro area to beat the quest and i loved how some thing from the beginning of the game can help you later plus the text was funny as hell.

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Scavenger's picture
Scavenger

Cyborgification/emergency resuscitation could be interesting idea. Though I'd hope that there could be different 'packages' available to the player. For example one could pay just a high price for rescue and mechanization or a small fortune for transplantation of new, freshly grown/harvested organs in which case there could be slight debuff for a considerable period of time affecting character's capabilities but it wouldn't be permanent.

As for power supply, I am not sure. Depends in what way it would fail - if it would result in sudden death or drop of capabilities then we get back to the point of 'random death'. I'd rather just have such operation provide constant modifiers - like increased endurance/strength for decreased mobility and dexterity.

Also, when it comes to selling organs, maybe buying/performance-improving surgery on some could be possible? New eyes/laser surgery to treat myopia? Or affecting brain chemistry to treat insomnia? I am all for it. Of course, for the sake of balance every negative trait would need a way of being dealt with and even then it should cost a real fortune (dozens of thousands of dollars?).

Heh, look at us turning news' comments into another suggestions thread. Guess that's a side-effect of excitement caused by new, interesting updates. Keep them coming!

But anyway, I do expect the medical-facility update eagerly. Especially as I hope it will allow me to save my future characters if they'll stumble upon inevitable-heatstroke bug which still, even if quite rarely, shows up.