As I slowly work on the design of the pirate MUD I'm planning on, I've decided to remove hunger/thirst being "required" and instead making eating/drink give you a temp buff, much like most MMOs out there. Nothing would be more annoying than being out on the open sea without food and constantly passing out.
But then I thought why just temp buffs? Doesn't it make sense to have food give you a tiny bit of improvement as well? If milk/calcium builds stronger bones, shouldn't this increase say your endurance in the game? I'm not really sure how I would do this though (in terms of design). If say endurance is a stat with a max of 1000, well I can't give +1 endurance every time they drink milk. Thoughts?
Well, in real life, it's not that continuously drinking milk or otherwise getting calcium will make your bones stronger and stronger indefinitely. It's more that the body needs calcium (etc.) to build structure, and without, the structure will be built less well.
Realism aside, wouldn't this just give people an incentive to spam "drink milk"? Surely the benefit must stop somewhere?
BTW, the image of ferocious milk-drinking pirates is kind of funny to me. :tongue:
One thing I would change with food/drink, if I had the ambition to work on my code more, would be to make it automatic. That is, you still need food and drink, but you just need to have them in your inventory. Much like using the bathroom, it's assumed your character is smart enough to eat when hungry and drink when thirsty, provided they have the ability to do so, and the materials to accomplish it.
That would also give you some opportunities for RP, since certain illnesses might prevent you from eating, and certain conditions (being tied up) might also keep you from actually being able to eat or drink.
Here's a potential idea. Have the stats increase by diminishing returns if you eat and drink more, and decrease by diminishing losses if you go too long without eating and drinking.
For instance: My character starts with 500 rating in bone strength (0 = brittle bones that break easily, 1000 = nigh unbreakable bones) and drinks some milk. I get +57 (arbitrary number) in bone strength. I try to drink more milk, but am not really thirsty. I force myself to drink more milk anyway, and I vomit. I decide to wait a while. I get thirsty again, so I drink some more milk. I get +41 (again, arbitrary) in bone strength. Now, I'm out of milk. I'm too lazy to go buy more. After a certain duration, I take a -39 penalty to bone strength. A certain duration later, again, I take a -26 penalty to bone strength. I break my arm in combat while parrying a blow that I had no trouble with after I first drank all that milk. I think it's time to get more milk!
Anyway, the numbers I chose are arbitrary. And I'd make the losses formula diminish faster than the gains formula. This stacks it in the player's favor, and should help prevent situations where the player feels he or she is being forced to eat or drink something to keep from being penalized (because, technically - the amount you've gained over 500 is a bonus, and that amount going back down is akin to a magical buff wearing off).
The primary goal of food is to provide energy. So instead of making food consumption purely time based, make activities consume calories, food replenish calories, and for the sake of playability assume a hungry player operates on their fat reserves, possibly with a penalty, like slower stamina recovery. Lyanic's suggestion is interesting as well.
It's tempting to just do away with things like that, but it appears that deeper immersion is the biggest draw of MUDs over MMOs nowadays.
BTW, the image of ferocious milk-drinking pirates is kind of funny to me. :tongue:
lol'd irl, good one David.
Interesting idea Zeno. Frankly, in Smaug based MUD's I see no real reason to eat/drink at all except the code forces you to or else sends you to the evil Puff to have a mushroom shoved down your throat. There's currently no benefit. A temp buff might be nice, but wouldn't that detract from potions/scrolls/etc? (Unless you don't have them, I suppose.)
I like the idea of long term improvement although that entirely depends on your concept of stats and atts. You could do 100 drinks of milk = +<x> endurance, or 100 eat fish = +1 perm wisdom until they eventually hit max. Spread out over a long period of time would prevent the 'spam milk' (maybe).
The fact it would be a choice and not being forced is a design improvement to me.
I plan to use hunger and thirst, not as a negative to HP, where one can die of starvation, but rather it will affect the regeneration process.
Base regen is 2HP, 2MN, 2MV per game heartbeat. Hunger or Thirst reduces it a percentage, for now, lets use 50%. Starving or Parched causes no regeneration, or a 1%, just in case they completely run out of move, eventually they could get back to a food supply.
So, as it will not kill your character, it will make it a pain in the @$$ until you find food and water.
On that same note though, rest by fire increases the regen rate. Same with a bedroll, bed, covered building, good weather, and so forth. While bad weather, outdoors, extreme cold or extreme heat will have negative affects.
As I think about this more, I'll will probably start with a base 5, and +/- from there using environmental and physical stimuli.
As a side note, implementing Scurvy would be an interesting twist. Food was incredibly important in pre-modern seafaring. Imagine having to keep food at a central location, knowing someone is going to die of starvation because the wind hasn't been blowing for days, that sleeping in the crow's nest is going to conserve calories as long as you do not get caught, and stealing food is likely to result in being tossed overboard - or being eaten by your fellow pirates.
It would be impossible to implement however, what happens while a player is logged off, what do players do to entertain themselves during long voyages, etc. You'd have to compress time significantly for it to make any sense, or somehow implement variable time. One workable option would be having the entire MUD be one or two ships with a load of mini games to keep people busy.
In real-life there are plenty of effects food has beyond preventing you from getting deficiency diseases. Eating sugar, for example, will give you a short-term energy boost, followed by an energy trough, followed by eventual normality. That could be a useful tactical effect - trade-off a short-duration increase in strength, dexterity or intelligence against a below-normal recovery phase. In addition, if you eat too much sugar over too long a period, this leads to obesity (reduction in movement points, perhaps) or perhaps even, in the long term, type 2 diabetes (serious detrimental effects if you try and take advantage of the energy boost too often).
Eating low-GI carbohydrate can be useful for a medium-term increase in endurance (carb-loading); this is less dramatic than the short-term boost you get from eating sugar, but also has fewer side-effects.
Over the longer term, a high calory, high protein diet (and, in particular, eating protein every few hours day and night) is necessary if you are trying to build muscle. Just eating the protein doesn't make the muscle appear by magic, you have to exercise too; but exercising without sufficient protein intake won't build any noticeable muscle at all. Non-steroid body-building is about 30% exercise and 70% correct nutrition. So, if a character is training to increase his strength attribute over a period then his diet might have a significant impact on that.
However, there's no reason to limit yourself to real-life biochemical mechanisms - if this is a fantasy world then food can have any effect you like, including a magical impact. So, as with absolutely any other MUD feature, if you start by saying "what sort of effect should food have?" then you're asking the wrong question! What you should be doing is asking "what effect do I want to produce on gameplay and game balance?" - then, once you have decided that, consider whether or not food would be a good way of achieving the effect you want, and, if it would, design the food and drink system accordingly. If you start by thinking about a mechanism (e.g. food) and then try and work from there to an effect, you're designing backwards.
IMHO, frankly, if you spend too much time on the complex and varied effects that nutrition can have, you'll end up with something more like nutritional edutainment, not a MUD about swashbuckling, booty-hunting, milk-guzzling pirates of the seven seas.
I agree that the question is first "what effect do I want", and not "what do I want X to do". The ends should be planned before the means, after all. It's what's known as a solution in search of a problem. :wink:
Final Fantasy XI. The only MMO I play, partly because it's not dumbed down as much as a lot of MMOs out there. But yeah, there's over complicated stuff. I enjoyed EVE Online too, although a bit to herf derf math and graphs for me.