Current Version: Blue Rot Broken and Suggestions

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Current Version: Blue Rot Broken and Suggestions

Some people may have noticed the diseases in Neo Scav, or one disease in particular, have gotten particularly nasty this last update. Well about the third character I tried who experienced the exact same death, (Where in previous versions I have yet to die, except once by taking all traits, no skills, and then by chance failing to find a lighter before cholora set in) I decided to investigate. As luck would have it, the third character had blown through to the DMC and my last save happened to be immediately after fighting the Blue Rat that got him. This is the story of my first experiment with save scumming, and my doomed attempt to salvage a perfectly healthy character.

Terminating the program via task manager, and reloading to just after the fight, I immediately applied a nano-kit, two antibiotics, and quaffed a liter of tanning tea. The "fight" had been my only encounter with a possible infection vector, my only meeting of any kind for the past few days, and corresponded well with the onset of symptoms. I was only a few hours from the DMC, so I hoofed it, setting up my medical center in a skyscraper just outside of the gate.

Over the course of four different retries, I kept my character continually under the influence of tannin tea and antibiotics. The first time I used my full nano-medical kit, one injector after another, then was lucky to find another three suspensions at the junk market, which I snapped up and used one at a time, injecting each as the last wore off. For several days my character stayed in the skyscraper, making a single trip to stock up on bark and water, and buying pre=purified water and food in the city. After a few days, this tough, high-metabolism medic with all bars full developed phase two Blue Rot. Undeterred, I sold my armor and both rifles and began going to the clinic for nano-boosters, replenishing my antibiotics (Which I had been doubling up on) at the first visit. Soon enough, the rot responded to this barrage of treatment by moving to stage 3. I decided to revert to just after the fight again.

The next time was fairly similiar. Some people had said they survived with tea, so I immediately donned a gas mask moved to the DMC, setting up a tarp shelter next to a lake nearby. I kept a fire continuously burning with sled-loads of wood from the adjacent forest, and spent the entire time, still hopped up on nano-robots and antibiotics, continuously boiling tannin tea to see if the effect could somehow stack. Overall, I estimate I made and consumed around 600 units of tea, which was exactly as tedious as it sounds. This did not stop the infection from reaching stage 3.

The third and fourth times, I corroborated the first experiment, reaching stage three each time. By the fifth, I had read somewhere that a person (not sure it was this version, in hindsight I know it wasn't) had survived without nano or antibiotics by holing up at the ATN. I bought a half-dozen bottles of water, geared up, and hiked straight there. On arrival, I sold the pelt of a dogman I had killed along the way (no injuries, since I used bow, arrow, and trapping) picked up a fistful of dog root (Or whatever they call it) and asked joe to treat me. I had dragged my modern medications along and used them too, finding an office building to hole up in a bit away from the Enclave. I proceded to repeat the procedure from before with the addition of roots and steam treatment, which I assumed had a small percent chance to directly remove the ailment. Unfortunately, the ATN has become much more stingy with their medicine, and (the pricks) refused to allow me into Joe's lodge after I had the gall to ask for two treatments only a day apart from each other. Creating a new branch point, I was unable to find any duration or circumstances within reason which would allow a second visit. I decided to follow through on this one, keeping every bar maxed out all the way through stage three, and died right on schedule, albeit with an impressive list of buffs reaching almost to the words "Blood Supply"

The combat which began this, and which is the only reasonable explanation for my infection, consisted of a Blue Frog Preacher coming onto my square as I was scavenging and starting five spaces away. I sprinted back to 8 squares and picked up some large stones. The preacher stood and threatened me, then immediately began running as I scored a bruising hit to his abdomen. According to the forums, the max range of aerial transmission for Blue Rot is 4 squares, so I have to assume I was mistakenly infected by the attack I landed.

In conclusion: Blue Rot as it stands is as untreatable as it is unnavoidable. It is the only credible danger, by virtue of it's infinitely greater severity and consistency, to an experienced scavenger, but lacking any kind of counter (gas-masks run out too fast to ward off surprise encounters like mine) represents an artificial and frustrating limiter on the lifespan of any adventurer unlucky enough to encounter the Frogs.

Apologies if this report contains spoilers. I will happily add a tag to the title if that is the case.

Also, love the game. I hope to get a sporting goods store at the DMC soon. There's something wrong when I can buy nanobots, fresh cabbage, and cloned meat on demand, but would gladly trade a $400 high-end medical kit for a $50 backpack and can't find anyone in the city to do it. :)

Wow, I caught Blue Rot for no reason too! In each the those encounter I knew of, I stayed far away. Though when my character caught Blue Rot, I was next to DMC and managed to cure it.

Hell No!

Are you on Version .9226b? If so how were you able to cure it? I would like to test and see if it is possibly just my copy that is so badly broken.

If it helps, I am using the Mighty Mini Mod (Of Doom) and that may have caused some glitch or other. Perhaps it overwrites the code that actually checks whether conditions are right for the illness to cease?

I used v.9922b and used the Nanorobot therapy at the Haggerty Health Clinic. The Mod might have been the culprit. Get an unmodded version and try the Clinic on both as my game only has the skill adjustment.

Hell No!

Thanks for the detailed run-down! I think this may be a feature in need of tweaking, as you point out.

The problem here may be a few things combined. First, I'll outline the way it's designed, so things are clearer.

Blue Rot 0 - This is the "carrier" stage. It transfers at a max range of 3, with a higher chance at closer ranges. It has no penalties, but once you have it, there's a 50% chance every 24 hours of advancing to Blue Rot 1, and a 100% chance of this carrier condition re-applying.
Blue Rot 1 - Disease officially incubating. No penalties yet. One-time 95% chance (each) of pneumonia, headache, vomiting, and Blue Rot 2 after 24 hours have passed.
Blue Rot 2 - First symptoms present. Zero or more of the aforementioned symptoms will present, as well as reduced immune system and encumberance stats. Immune to Blue Rot 1 for the duration of Blue Rot 2. 90% chance of advancing to Blue Rot 3 in 24 hours.
Blue Rot 3 - Worsening symptoms, plus fatigue. Immune to Blue Rot 1 and 2 for the duration of Blue Rot 3. 75% chance of death after 72 hours pass.

As you can see, it's a pretty nasty disease. 95% of the time it's at least painful, and 64% fatal (95% * 90% * 75%) if untreated.

The trouble is, Blue Rot has no known cures. In NEO Scavenger, it's supposed to be a new disease that nobody's cured yet, similar to the "Bubonic Plague" in medieval times. The bacteria is immune to antibiotics and too strong for tannin tea. And things like nanorobotic medkits only work on things they're programmed to fix. Since there isn't a ready cure for Blue Rot, nanokits can't do anything for the disease.

Currently, the only way to cure it is to become a Blue Frog. Somehow, that cult has managed to carry and spread the disease without dying from it. Otherwise, one must use prevention to avoid it. Staying away from carriers is the main way, though a working gas mask is effective, too.

There's more to this plot, of course, but I won't spoil it here.

Now, the situation you're running into is that you already have the disease, and are trying to survive it. As you can see above, the prognosis is grim. You basically have a 36% survival chance unless the Blue Frogs help you, and that's going to be tricky to do in the time you have left.

That said, contracting the disease should be rare in the early game. I recently changed the transmission chances to scale with range, so only range 0 is 100% chance of infecting. Plus, I reduced the frequency of Blue Frogs appearing in the south.

However, Blue Frogs can still infect other creatures which infect the player. Perhaps that's what happened here? You may have been out of range of the Blue Frog, but someone else he fought recently was closer to you?

In any case, it's something I'll have to monitor. It could be a case of Blue Rot penalizing previously dominant strategies (e.g. melee builds), which may not be a bad thing, or it could be a case of Blue Rot replacing strategy with randomness, which is a bad thing.

Edit: Oh, and these stats are quoted from v0.9931b. v0.9922b and v0.9226b are older versions of the game.

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games

Thank you very much for your reply. I had no idea it was meant to be incurable to be honest. I had always assumed the trick was meant to be in spotting it early.

As regards nano-kits: I had always assumed that they performed general maintenance on the body. Is this not the case? I had this picture of nano-machines tripping hormonal switches and repairing damaged tissue while the disease tore it apart. I also assumed that antibiotics were meant to give a general immune response boost, which would normally affect all bacterial diseases (Which would be the most likely to cause growths) equally by making the body better at fighting them.

As for Tannins, I wasn't sure how they worked, but assumed they stirred up some kind of cytokine storm while causing the body to purge itself. This could actually cause more harm than good with an infection that goes after the lungs like Blue Rot (See Spanish Influenza)
I have never built a melee character (Except once to be a caveman... ooga ooga) My attitude is that if a strategy requires me to assume someone will one day swing a crowbar at my head, it isn't survivable enough to use.

I know there are a lot of proposed solutions, but the one thing I haven't seen is to me the most fun and elegant. Why don't we have the Blue Rot kill by injury and stat-depletion instead of automatically? The status effect could cause any food/drink beyond a certain amount per turn to be vomited up while rapidly depleting those stats (Say... as fast as they can be replenished in ideal conditions) At stage three, why not have Blue Rot inflict blisters on the body and bruising on the lungs, with the blisters removing blood and posing risk of secondary infections as if they were open wounds. The player's fatigue could go down nearly as fast as it is recovered by resting. This would give people a good reason to use the replenish options at the Clinic. Have it take around three days to die of the disease, maybe four with rest and plenty of food, bandages and water, and have the disease take three to seven days to be cured, tending towards seven but with a slight increase to each day's odds based on immune system boosts like antibiotics and bark. Medical nanites would be very useful in this situation just for treating the blisters and keeping the lungs from filling with fluid as they rupture.

I like the idea of a disease that can break the bank of a fully built character, and leave a weaker character with a full screen of red statuses. Thre should always be a way to weather any storm though. Even Bubonic and Pneumatic plague can be dealt with in First World countries when they are caught early. The society in Neo Scav seems advanced enough that -not- having machines that can replace entire aspects of the body's function is actually unthinkable. It's really just a matter of price...

And I completely agree on the backpacks. The latest update makes it again possible to find them, and I'm thankful for that, but it would be cool if there were somewhere we could go in the DMC to buy rare/high-end stuff. maybe some knock-off DMC armor, high-end backpacks, rifles, ammo, parts. I can see a 50%-100% markup due to demand. Maybe even have some of these higher-grade things like parts to repair the laser, best-quality backpacks, and high-quality firearms be only obtainable through the DMC version of Academy =(^.^)=

Playing as a ranged character and keeping my range (for all opponents), I still get infected. What's worse, I also did savescumming to get a diagnosis at the DMC to see if I had already had it at a certain save point, even before I had encountered any blue frog members. It was there. I did aggressive treatments with nanobots both DMC clinic and a nanobot kit I had. Kept fed and watered and rested. Still gets to stage 2 and 3.

It's a problem disease in that even trying excessively hard to avoid it you can still get it, and even the richest and well-stocked survivor is still completely unable to get themselves out of it. It's unfun. Like the complete inability to buy backpacks ever. I get reduced looting chance, but I have never seen them for sale since a certain update. Ever. Ridiculous.

It's a stupid disease that makes the game unfun.

ya.... I can get the whole 'new plague without a cure' thing, and can respect it. but it's annoying how i purposely avoided battles, constantly ditching my vehicle to do so, only to have a blue frog appear in front of me at infection distance right at the start of a battle.

When I got the diagnosis from a clinic, I purposely closed the game without saving to fall back on an older code, only to have the same diagnosis.

When I saw this it made me feel like the blue frogs were just swarming around to rush people like retards screaming(in a retarded voice) "Ha ha! ure infected! tree days frum now, you're gonna have to quit your code and start oveeer! Den we can do this all again!"(this was prior to me realizing it's not 100% fatal. If you survive it, does it go away until new infection occurs or are you a permanent carrier?)

now on a PRODUCTIVE note:

I do feel that blue rot is a nice set of realism to the game when it comes to plague and whatnot. I do not feel it should be removed; however, It needs to be possible for people to do preventative measures beyond just running for their life and praying an infected creature doesn't come up and breath on them in the night. Here are my suggestions:

1) face mask. (not gas mask, that's good as far as I can tell) Make it possible to create something that reduces the odds and possibly range of contraction early on, without having to kill the blue frogs to get a gas mask. As with any item in a game that can be found, make it useable, regardless the skill choices. But, make it creatable with the medical skill(which I feel is underpowered at times, though I am new to the public test versions), and possibly give it a stronger bonus while being worn if the skill is present. Bear in mind, I am talking about prevention here, not cure. If it's possible, make it to where a newer one gives a better bonus as well, (promoting a player to change it often, or be careful when they use it.)

Now I am not saying this should be exactly like a gas mask in function, goodness no. It's more of a 'poor man's gas mask'. Even under optimum conditions, It shouldn't prevent it entirely( or whatever the gas mask does), only improve the odds. It's not like bio filtration materials grow on trees, It would simply be a cloth shield.

2) inoculation. Make it to where if you have survived it once, the odds of survival are greater (but not guaranteed) for future infections due to you're immune system becoming familiar with it. This effect probably should be a one time thing, and not something that improves each time.

3) TLC (or tender love and care) to where the better you are taken care of, by yourself or others, the greater your chances of pulling through. this should probably be only a minor modifier, and even if stacked with all others to optimum levels, there should still be a real enough chance of death. (prevention should still be the best kind of medicine.)

3.5) make it possible to have an area that has adequate medical facilities to isolate you and give an automatic max TLC bonus towards surveying the disease, at the costs of a hefty price tag and the permission to study you. This could also act as a "fast forward/just role the dice and get it over with" button. Mind you, the risk of death should once again be very real, just *slightly* less.

4) Awareness bonus on starting distance (something like this might already be in play, so sorry about that.) Make it to where selecting a good camp site and properly getting things ready to alert you of approach can aid in prevention. Make it to where a better bonus gives a better bonus role towards starting distance, thus giving you a better chance to get away from it.

Edit: 5) make it to where the chance of spreading during stage 0 is super unlikely unless at say 0 range, but keep stages 1-3 just as potent. this could make it to where the blue frogs can spread it easily, but their infected don't do it super fast, and thus avoid a wildfire effect.

(This might not make much sense, I don't have any drawing to back it up, so you may have to re read it a few times)With how it stands, I could see it spreading from just 1 blue frog, to a creature in a single turn. Then only turns later, not a full day, another creature gets infected just by being near them so on and so forth until every creature in the area is affected within a single day, despite all of them save the blue frog being level 0. It would be shooting through hosts like a nuclear reactor that reaches critical mass. it needs some carbon rods or something to slow it down.

I mean, if someone is sick, and another person is near them, that is fairly likely for the second person to get sick granted. but if the second person comes near a third freshly after they visit the first, that third person wouldn't be nearly as exposed as the second was unless time has passed for the disease to grow on it's new hosts. even less so for a 4th and 5th person continuing the same pattern. the way I see it now, it seems to spread like cooties. I think there needs to be a brief stage of a day or maybe half a day where they are 'getting' infected, but aren't shooting it out like perfume and would "require" a range of 0 to spread. I feel this would slow down the intimidate spread significantly to where it was no longer like wildfire, while keeping it somewhat realistic.

if you are afraid of this 'nerf'ing it too much because it wouldn't go to 1 automatically, then have a separate stat modify it. Such as keeping stage 0 working as it does now but also have them get a 'weak exposure BR' invisible stat make it 'Nerf'ed for one day then automatically remove itself whether 0 progresses or not.(provided they aren't already infected.) Sorry if that doesn't make sense and/or offends you, Kinda got an 'if this, then that' kind of brain and I don't have the best skill at explaining my thoughts when thinking like this. I realize there are other ways you could work with it. and there might be flaws I don't see with this.

I like those suggestions, reflective vagrant, and most of those seem doable within the game's structure.

#1 is something I've been considering, and maybe a rag worn over the face is the way to go. Easy to come by, but only offers partial protection. There isn't a way to modulate the transmission chances (other than range), but I could add an immunity condition to the rag when worn on the face, and have that condition alternate periodically from "working" to "not working." (E.g. 100% effective 60% of the time, and 0% effective the rest of the time)

#2 is good, too. In fact, I thought I had done this. So if it isn't there, I'll add it. Basically, one should be immune if they survived it before (basically, vaccination).

#3 and #3.5 may be a different story, though. It's a good (and realistic) idea, but there may be no mechanics in the game to hang this on. Namely, the game has no way of differentiating disease progression from other time-sensitive conditions (e.g. wendigo, mission deadlines, etc.), so being in good health might prevent quests from getting completed. A better system could be made to avoid this, but it's something that will have to wait.

#4 this may already be the case, but if not, it should be. I'll look into that.

#5 is another case of "logical, but may be hard to do." Right now, conditions can only transmit themselves when within a certain range. So Blue Rot 2 can only transmit Blue Rot 2, which is not how diseases work. What you're saying is that Blue Rot 2 should transmit Blue Rot 0, which makes sense; it's just not the way the code works.

One kludge might be to make invisible "carrier" versions of each stage, which have no penalties and only matter for transmission. E.g. Blue Rot 0 (BR0) leads to BR1 and BR1a. BR1 is the normal disease and doesn't transmit, but BR1a does transmit with a higher chance than BR0. BR1a leads to BR0, so this is a vector for a new person getting BR.

Furthermore, BR1 could lead to BR2 and BR2a, while removing BR1a. BR2a would have higher transmission chances, but still lead to BR0. And the removal of BR1a makes sure that people who survive and pass BR1 don't continue to transmit BR1.

Like I said, a bit tricky, but I think it'd work. Plus, I like that this mixes realism with some player strategy for mitigating danger. I'll probably get started on this today, since Blue Rot is still one of the major issues players are running into in recent builds.

Thanks again for your input, guys!

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games

umm... It's flattering that you are taking my ideas into consideration, by all means, don't let me stop you; however, there is one thing I feel wouldnt be fully balanced if you did it the way I think you are describing

namely #2

Immunity is cool, but it could imply that it is simply 'no longer a factor' if this were the case, then anyone with the strong/tough build would once again have an unfair advantage provided they survive their first exposure/contamination/sickness.

I feel that it should still be a sizable thing after vaccination. I feel the player should still be wary of the effects of getting sick again such as vomiting, as well as the effects being of the same potency to the first illness. I also feel that the survival rate for vaccinated creatures—including the player— should *not* be 100%. This would make it to where the disease still poses some threat and a penalty/risk to close range encounters. Pneumonia can be caught multiple times, where as the chicken pox is not. Try to think about what kind of disease this is.(I haven't really read any on site lore or whatever, it's pretty new to me) Even if it is one that is 100% survival after vaccination, other penalty's such as not being allowed into towns might be applicable.

+1 for the make-shift masks, a really great idea and sounds easily implementable. The 60/40 percentages sound almost too much for me, but I'm starting to realise I may be in the minority with how unforgiving I like my game, so maybe don't mind me. ;)

NEO Scavenger: FAQ
10 Ways (not) to Die - A beginner's guide

@linibot, I did some digging around, and it appears that some tests have shown crude filters to be 34% effective at saline droplet filtering. So it appears you're right that 60% is too generous. I'll start with 34% and we can tweak from there.

@reflective vagrant, I see what you're saying, but there's one big "if" in your scenario. Blue Rot, if untreated, has a survival rate of 36%. So if you want to make a strong/tough character with the aim to naturally vaccinate yourself, you run the risk of dying 64% of the time. That's a pretty big risk :)

My guess is that most players, even tough ones, aren't going to want to play those odds, and will still aim to avoid the disease.

And, if it turns out I'm wrong, I can always change the natural immunization bonus to be something temporary, like a few weeks.

The towns and NPC effects, on the other hand, warrant more exploration. I kinda wanted to do something with infected players at either the gates or Haggerty Health. However, this might have to take a back seat to more pressing concerns, like final plot encounter.

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games

A child has it's mother's immunity for the 6 months of its life. Maybe something that tapers off in effectiveness, like how a disease or poison works, but in reverse could be used.

Still, a 'limited time' immunity wouldn't necessarily be super realistic, but potentially balance-able on the point you are trying to make.

I think if I push any more, it would borderline trolling, so I'll just keep it simple: try to keep the 'partial' immunity/saving_role/resistance thing in the back of your mind incase you ever figure out how to do it. Even if it's not for this, it could prove to be a useful mechanic for other things. I mean, do your range weapons work on a similar mechanic of on/off - will/won't strike? no odds?

with this, I bow out.

Nah, it's cool. You're making well-reasoned arguments, so no trolling here :)

I think that in the scope of the game, most players don't last more than a month or two anyway, so this might be moot. Ultimately, the best way forward will be to see how things feel in practice, and tweak from there. Things can change pretty wildly once we've altered more than one variable, and there may be bigger issues that arise!

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games

Like I said, I've never lost a character (Except that one time my only sleeping bag was stolen on day 1) to anything other than Blue Rot except when I was playing handicapped. The fact that you can almost guarantee a character's survival by using good sense and caution is one of the primary selling points of Neo Scav to me. I typically stop after a few months though, so I guess until we get the rest of the questline that statement holds true.

Also: Would it make sense for face-masks (not gas-masks) to provide complete protection at range for a certain time. That is, if you come into direct contact (Like a tackle) you are always infected. If you are in infections range, your mask gives you an invisible buffer, which goes down faster at close range, to protect you.

Example (Pardon my psuedocode): Blue Frog appears. if BreathMask then int BreathEasy =6

On Start Turn:

if BlueFrogDist <= 5
BreathEasy -= 1
if BlueFrogDist <= 3
BreathEasy -= 1
if BlueFrogDist <= 1
BreathEasy -= 1
if BlueFrogDist = 0
Run InfectionChance()
BreathEasy -= 2

if BreathEasy <= 0
Run InfectionChance()

Also maybe have severity of onset linked to transmission method. Maybe have direct contact (like a melee character might get from the Frog's blood) actually form a blister right from the start, and have existing blisters run checks every turn with a chance to skip to the next stage in under a day (Being normally stage 3 symptoms)

By blisters I of course mean whatever the blue growths are. Of course bare in mind also that (again, like H1N1) it is possible for certain things that would normally be beneficial to work against the player. Being strong might seem nice, unless the disease spreads through the protein-rich blood required to keep those muscles up. H1N1 did the most damage to the lungs of the most athletic people, since their immune systems responded so violently. Also remember that one immunity does not necessarily equal another. Survivors will probably be 100% immune to the airborne strain, but those growths sound like they could have some nasty structural tricks. Maybe contact could still be a vector even after fighting off infection. What if the growth gets on an open wound? Surely something as potent as Blue Rot can still make you a little sick even with your immune system up if it gets a high enough concentration.