How to cook a nice gammon (a.k.a. too much meat in NS)

11 posts / 0 new
Last post
#1
How to cook a nice gammon (a.k.a. too much meat in NS)

There seems to be a balancing issue with the amounts of food in the game, that started with introduction of corpses and big chunks of meat. That made obtaining food very easy for fighting characters, as the game is filled with relatively easy to kill creatures (namely: Looters and Melonheads).

Also, since the change of a way enemy spawning works (they road instead of appearing while scavenging) there seems to be a lot more in-fighting between them, or at least bodies staying behind made it more noticeable. And those bodies can serve as a steady supply of meat as well. Found an interesting one while reading through a particular post on NeoGAF forums, where a guy, when discussing the food situation, said: "Food I struggled a bit on, but I found enough corpses to keep going."

And that kept me thinking: there is something wrong here. However, since NS is, at least to some degree, trying to stay realistic with it's mechanics, I decided to do a little Google research first. And I did found two... issues, when it comes to the way game is handling it's meat :D

First of all, how long the body (of any kind) can be dead before the meat is spoiled? I found some hunter's site where people were discussing this issue, and it stood on such: in rather hot weather a clean-killed deer needs to be gutted before 2-6 hours, otherwise it's internal warmth and humidity will spoil the meat fast. In the game it is cold, but there are rarely a clean deaths and the bodies are loosing 2% per turn (50 hours).

Secondly, how long it takes to actually prepare a piece of meat? It occurred to me, since not so long ago I was preparing a nice piece of ham and it took a long time to cook it nice and juicy (and not raw) :D. So I checked a recipes around the internets and it seems that estimated 20 minutes of cooking for every half a kilogram of ham is required to roast it good. In a modern, pre-heated oven. Now, NeoScavenger is a game about resource and time management, and yet cooking a 3 kg piece of meat, on a stick, over a small campfire takes only... five minutes (0,4 move).

So, my two propositions, to lover meat's impact on game-play, are:
- cut "useful" time for corpses by 30 turns (maybe a new item called - Bloated Remains could replace them then to still litter the landscape with some corpses, without endlessly feeding the cannibals);
- cut the "medium" chunks of meat size (and nutritional value) in half (to 1,5 kg) and rise preparing time a lot (preferably to 1 hour (5 moves) but since there is no such recipe as of yet, one move would have to do;

TL:DR - there is too easy access to too big amounts of meat in game and it have to be limited somehow to keep balance.


<--Mighty (mini)Mod of Doom-->
DeviantArt Gallery of MoD Sprites

As you know, there is a limitation to be introduced - or rather, an unpleasant surprise for people living on corpses of fallen humans as their main or sole food source. I'd rather first wait how that will work out before introducing additional balancing.

Especially since, for the sake of playability - some prolonging of the meat spoil rate is important. I am quite much against cooking things to take 5 moves - not only when I think of characters with health issues and weight penalties who aren't even given 5 turns. Thus, I can agree with bigger chunks of meat taking one whole turn but for different reasons. I also don't think any recipe should take more than 1, to be honest, though more complex devices would benefit from necessity of several steps of construction - each taking a turn. Cooking I don't consider one of such.

I also think that going to 20 from 50 turns is quite a long leap. 30 - 35 would be better. Condition percentage passing down from the corpse to the meat would assure though that some half-rotten body wouldn't provide anything edible that would last for long with such time limit anyway.

To clarify some things: Firstly, condition of the body already stays with the meat (body of 23% gives 23% meat chunks) but the condition is nothing more than a countdown to spoilage, 3% is as edible as 100%. Secondly, 20 turns of spoiling from 100% to zero is the rate that meat chunks goes bad (5% per turn). Corpses for some reason spoil slower - 2% per turn. Now if I were to believe materials provided by numerous hunters on the web, in real life it is exactly the other way around - bodies spoil faster than pieces of meat, because of all the liquids, gasses and heat in them accelerating rotting processes. Also, shortening "life-span" of corpses is not to hit the players hunting, only to prevent people from finding random heaps of edible meat on their way.

Now, as far as I understood, Dan only prepared some way to prevent trading human flesh into market (which is reasonable, professional traders should be able to tell the difference) but I was more worried about the fact that players are generally OK with eating corpses, which is badly influencing the balance: fighter builds became even more universal, as now they can not only defend themselves well, but also have access to big amounts of food that tech-heads, survivalists and sneakers have not.


<--Mighty (mini)Mod of Doom-->
DeviantArt Gallery of MoD Sprites

Firstly, condition of the body already stays with the meat (body of 23% gives 23% meat chunks) but the condition is nothing more than a countdown to spoilage, 3% is as edible as 100%. Secondly, 20 turns of spoiling from 100% to zero

That I am aware to and with that in mind I suggested slight adjustment of proposed values.

Now, as far as I understood, Dan only prepared some way to prevent trading human flesh into market (which is reasonable, professional traders should be able to tell the difference) but I was more worried about the fact that players are generally OK with eating corpses, which is badly influencing the balance

You understood the recent post well, yes, but I refer to the whole of the plans for human meat and general balance. As per my search-fu:

dcfedor[/url]]As for the human meat, I've currently got it setup such that once or twice won't hurt, but eating it regularly will cause some problems. And trying to sell it at the junk market is not advised :)

Thus I assume that gameplay involving not only finding but also consuming human meat is undergoing balancing process, so we may be set in that regard.

(...)but eating it regularly will cause some problems

I feel Wendigo (or other form of ghoulification) coming our way. And it is fine, in context of the setting, but I do feel a few natural ways of regulating the ecosystem could be beneficial. After all, player can theoretically only kill dogmen and deer (and whatever the new creature will be, if it's a monster/animal) and still be building huts from non-spoiled meat :D

Thus I assume that gameplay involving not only finding but also consuming human meat is undergoing balancing process, so we may be set in that regard

Since the process is on-going, a few ideas/hints might still be beneficial.


<--Mighty (mini)Mod of Doom-->
DeviantArt Gallery of MoD Sprites

I feel Wendigo (or other form of ghoulification) coming our way.

Yeah, I recall the thread. Wonder what form exactly it'll take once implemented.

And it is fine, in context of the setting, but I do feel a few natural ways of regulating the ecosystem could be beneficial. After all, player can theoretically only kill dogmen and deer (and whatever the new creature will be, if it's a monster/animal) and still be building huts from non-spoiled meat :D

True that, I'd just rather make the situations where you can acquire food a bit more rare (as in, a bit harder to track deer near ruins of civilisation/settlements) and source of the meat more important rather than make it quite hard to acquire and keep food once one will find a source of it.

Since the process is on-going, a few ideas/hints might still be beneficial.

Agreed; I plain add my input to said suggestions from the standpoint of how I see the balance, suspecting that adding too much hardships in keeping and using what one found/hunted will make the whole thing a hassle. Thus my suggestions, to make the whole thing hard(er) but fun and mitigate the number of players who'd just say 'Meh, diner it is'.

I get where your standpoint is coming from, and I do agree that meat needs to be harder to come by generally. I do find, however, the certain concept very "survival-esque", the concept of wasting the resources. Giving player a precious little stuff will keep them focused on preserving and managing what they have. However, giving him way too much and forcing him to waste most of his precious "score" can be a nice, possibly emotional, counter-balance.

There is the same basic concept behind weight limits, you have a really lot of stuff around, but can only take/utilize a fraction of it. Giving a player a ton of meat, especially if it does not happen often, and forcing him to discard most of it simply because the character does not have enough time and correct facilities (like smokehouse or even proper skinning rack) will have a impact on player and also give this kind of "take what you can and run", hasty/improvised feel that I find so appealing in apocalyptic fiction.

While writing this post I realized we had very similar discussion before here. The concept of food/resource wasting is, in principle, similar to over-stuffing the character with food. In both cases such a mechanic would put, in my opinion, a slightly more focus on actual simulation of "managing your survival" versus more gamey reaching objectives and doing quests.


<--Mighty (mini)Mod of Doom-->
DeviantArt Gallery of MoD Sprites

When you avoid cannibalism, games becomes much harder
Because it excludes any meat that comes from humanoid corpse (melonhead included)
So don't eat people, rather bury them with dignity those suckers deserved (by casually clicking on "Destroy" option and never remembering them again)

============================================
Children's backpack full of bullets? I see nothing wrong in that.

Blackrave - we are aware that you can avoid cannibalism to make game harder. However, the suggestion and following discussion is about making subsisting on meat balanced no matter the source of said meat.

Other than that,

I do find, however, the certain concept very "survival-esque", the concept of wasting the resources.

I do agree that the concept is of quite of value both from the standpoint of the mood and mechanics. I simply think that it shouldn't be dominating as it's also an aspect of gameplay which may devoid the player, not just character, of fruits of his labour making the whole gaming experience starting to lack satisfaction. Same with aforementioned food discussion - I understand that different players expect different levels of difficulty. Still - as we were starting to get quite some feedback stating that character gets hungry simply too quickly/easily for it to not be bothersome, some adjustments had to be considered. My 'sub-suggestion' is with that in mind - making currently unbalanced overabundance of meat more balanced (in case the new penalties won't be enough, that is), yet the feature and the experience taken from it still relatively pleasant.

I wouldn't mind hunting being as difficult as you suggest if there simply would be more ways of acquiring food. Right now, butchering corpses is the only - beside simply buying meals in DMC area - way of filling one's stomach (let's be honest, hardly any regular character will be able to keep on going on looted supplies and harvested plants without such activities consuming, say, 95% of the gameplay time). Maybe once there will be an additional restaurant, soup kitchen, or mess room for grunts of some corporation/organization player will be able to work for, making the 'wild' meat even less available will be a good thing.

There are many good points raised here, and I agree there's some balancing left to do. The changes that I've made to my test build should do two things:

1 - Make it less desirable to eat human meat. The game will still allow it, and players can do it in emergencies without ill-effect. But sustaining oneself on it regularly should make the game harder.

2 - Make it impossible to get rich selling human meat.

I also took the suggestion above of making corpses spoil faster than cuts of meat. That's a good point that I missed when designing spoilage rates. The next build will have corpses spoil almost twice as fast as drained, prepared cuts of meat.

Regarding turns vs. moves, this might be a bug in the recipe system. All recipes are specified in terms of hours, and if they're subtracting moves instead of hours, that'd make them easier to do. E.g. cooking 3kg meat should take 0.4 hours, not 0.4 "moves." That's still only 24 minutes, but at least that makes more sense than 4-5 minutes. Also, the 0.4 hours might've been a holdover from when I was tweaking out medium chunk sizes. This may require more tweaking.

Whatever the case, human meat has definitely thrown the balance off. So that'll take some adjusting!

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games

Check http://neoscavenger.wikia.com/wiki/Item_Crafting, 1 move (0.2 hours) is the maximum time for recipes. If some recipes should take more time there must be a bug.

Ran around with a clown mask before it was cool