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Interview Food and Water in Eschalon: Book II

DarkUnderlord

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Tags: Eschalon: Book II

<a href="http://www.basiliskgames.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=1580">There's a question of the week thing happening on the Eschalon forums</a>. <a href="http://www.basiliskgames.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=1581">People are asking questions</a> and they're getting answered. Water is also wet. Here's question #1:
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<blockquote><b>[VPeric] We all saw the thirst and hunger bars on the screenshots, could you elaborate on them? Features like these are usually tedious*, so how will you be implementing them?</b>
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Great question, actually. Well, as far back as I could remember, my "dream RPG" always had a food/water requirement (FWR). This definately comes from Ultima 2, the first RPG I ever played. I remember fondly how cool I thought it was to need to buy food before heading out into the wilderness. That really deepened the experience for me. Later on, games like Dungeon Master and Eye of the Beholder further showed me that a FWR could enhance the whole gameplay experience. How many people played Dungeon Master where as you played and your character began to starve or dehydrate, finding an apple or a water fountain was more exciting than finding a super new weapon! :D
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So, for that reason alone, Eschalon was always supposed to have FWR as part of the gameplay. Some of you remember the poll that originally led us to remove it from Book I, but months after the decision was made, the poll actually swung back the other way! So, with Book II I really want to put it back in there not only for my preference but also because of the poll results.
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As for how to keep FWR from being tedious, we'll just have to play with it a bit and see where to set the default "consumption rate". Not too fast, not too slow...
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There are some conditions where food and water consumption would be affected: being in the desert would quicken your thirst bar; one of the diseases you can catch in Book II is "Tapeworms", which will cause your hunger bar to drop much more quickly. Starvation and Dehydration are both results of zero hunger and thirst bars, and while death isn't instant, both conditions will slowly tick away your HPs.
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Above all, I completely agree with everyone's concerns: if I (or the beta testers) feel that it is an annoying feature, we'll gladly take it out before the game is released. It makes no sense to add a feature unless it enhances the role-playing experience, not take away from it.</blockquote>
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Tapeworms, the new dieting fad for computer games.
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Spotted @ <a href="http://www.rpgwatch.com">RPGWatch</a>
 

Zeus

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My take on food/water consumption is it's swell as long as it's self-sufficient.

In other words, don't lock me in a dungeon at the start of the game and starve me because I couldn't find the one room with a fountain. What fun is that?

Instead, drop me in a wide open forest and have me catch game or fill up my canteen in a spring. Let me be a crazy old hermit who only makes treks into town when he wants to sell salted meat of dubious quality and questionable origin. Hell, let me catch merchants, drag them to my lair and turn them into sausages.

I'm getting a little off track here, but I seriously think that, if done right -- if the game lets you live off the land, without ever setting foot into town until you want to -- food and water can be a good thing.

And, hell, if it's really such a problem, give us an option to turn it off. If RPGs can have a toggle for combat difficulty, why not a toggle for this?
 

Zomg

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Optional toggles are the seeping anal fissures of game balance discussions.
 

Zeus

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Just think of it as a "hardcore" mode. Sort of like how Mount & Blade has an option for Realistic (Quit & Save Only), thus killing the save/load cheese that turns 99% of RPGs into cakewalks.
 

mondblut

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Zeus said:
Instead, drop me in a wide open forest and have me catch game or fill up my canteen in a spring. Let me be a crazy old hermit who only makes treks into town when he wants to sell salted meat of dubious quality and questionable origin. Hell, let me catch merchants, drag them to my lair and turn them into sausages.

UnReal World is your game.

Ontopic - not particularly fond of. Trucking an full inventory of supplies or scavenging for "iron rations" in secret dungeon rooms doesn't sound like my kind of a game. It may have a meaningful context (like keeping track on water in the second Ravenloft game set in the desert... which can be skipped if you've got a priest with "create water" spell), but having starvation and thirst for the sake of it... meh.

Now if any killed enemy can be sliced and cooked, that might restore some fun to feeding. But "you will die from hunger if you won't eat and NO, you CAN'T consume a part of that evil bandit you just killed, only specially approven Iron Rations (tm) are licensed for consumption" crap can fuck off. If I am supposed to eat in order to survive, I sure as hell will eat anything I killed as long as it's organic and known as non-poisonous.
 

Jasede

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Insert Title Here RPG Wokedex Codex Year of the Donut I'm very into cock and ball torture
Someone tell this basilisk-scalie that, if he truly wishes a food system, he ought to play both Betrayal at Krondor and Ultima 7 and take many, many notes.
 

Saxon1974

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I dont know about the Star Trail game, as much as I like detailed state based games, that one went a bit too far even for me. I found there were too many thing to keep track of that it became tedious for me.
 

Zeus

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mondblut said:
UnReal World is your game.

Dude, I just bought that. :)

But I haven't played it yet.

First I'm writing an article called 5 Reason I Bought UnReal World, in a series of articles where I explain why I bought games "sight unseen" (i.e., no demos, even if provided.) The first in the series was 5 Reasons I Bought Mount & Blade. Reason #5? "You can mount, *and* you can blade."

If Eschalon II winds up keeping the Food/Water requirement, I'll probably write a "5 Reasons I Bought Eschalon II" article. *grin*
 

elander_

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Zomg said:
Optional toggles are the seeping anal fissures of game balance discussions.

A good game is one that adapts itself to the players challenge level.
 

DarkUnderlord

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I suppose I better fix that. Mind you maybe I should've changed it to "Echelon" just to annoy you further.
 

youhomofo

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BaK had a great system. Food was consumed automatically. No constantly opening my inventory and searching for that damn apple I found on a dead rat. And the characters ate a reasonable amount of food. Most games that include food and water consumption are made by morbidly obese people. Why else does my character need to eat every half hour or suffer from starvation?

If done intelligently and responsibly the system could be fun. Or it could suck the pleasure right out of the game by being annoying and punishing instead.
 

Sovy Kurosei

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Uncharted Waters II had an interesting food/water requirement system. Infact managing your logistics properly was half the game if you are a trader or explorer. Do you bring more food with you on an expedition and forage for water? How many men do you bring with you? More men mean you can find villages with lost treasures from further away and explore more area quickly but it also uses up more food and water. How many days of supplies should you bring with you? Do you bring more incase you get trapped due to some event like a storm or dead winds? The more supplies you bring mean fewer trade goods you can hold on your ship. Should you risk giving away all your food to natives so that they befriend you and show you their lost secrets?

If it is just something where you buy X amount of supplies that will last you Y days and you forget about it for the most part then the best you can hope for is putting in an uninteresting and non-interactive game mechanic; at worst it makes the game grossly tedious.

A food/water requirement in a game should be given a fair slice of the developers time and interest. It would be like making an action-RPG with one type of sword and one attack spell. Why even bother if it isn't fully fleshed out?
 

SilasMalkav

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The problem with Food/Water systems is that for some reason most RPGs seem to have the time sped up alot. Which is actually amazingly pointless. Unless you want me to wait around for six hours just so I can meet a certain npc at a certain time, in which case just give me a wait command that skips me forwards in time.

If I have to find food, catch food and kill food in real time, at least let my character enjoy a real amount of time before I have to do it again. Otherwise it's even worse than a chore. Or even let it all be automatic. Hmm.... that gives me an idea....
 

Oarfish

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Jasede said:
Someone tell this basilisk-scalie that, if he truly wishes a food system, he ought to play both Betrayal at Krondor and Ultima 7 and take many, many notes.

Preferably Krondor, as actualy having to put the food in their mouths is going a little too far for me,
 

mondblut

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SilasMalkav said:
The problem with Food/Water systems is that for some reason most RPGs seem to have the time sped up alot. Which is actually amazingly pointless.

It is pretty pointful since in most RPGs you can cross the continents in several minutes of real time. Unless the ingame time is likewise scaled, it would make for an awfully small world.

Either that, or a huge world is due, with cities that take an hour to get across by foot.
 

SilasMalkav

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If your character is moving at a realistic speed, and he crosses a town in a few minutes, then that town is small. Having a clock that shows that it actually took three days does not somehow make it seem large. It just makes the clock seem wrong.

This is just the case of trying to fix something that isn't realistic (crossing continents quickly) with something else that's unrealistic (stupid clocks) when you might as well just have fixed the distances instead. Trying to add extra realism to something that is already flawed as far as realsism goes generally only magnifies the flaw.
 

Claw

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SilasMalkav said:
This is just the case of trying to fix something that isn't realistic (crossing continents quickly) with something else that's unrealistic (stupid clocks) when you might as well just have fixed the distances instead.
Except for the fact that fixing the distances isn't trivial, and the clocks are actually a much easier solution, so they might, in fact, not as well have fixed the distances instead.

Besides, fast clocks are as old as RPGs. I know a few where you literally consumed a ration on every step you took, based on the idea that every step represented a long distance. RoA, Fallout and other RPGs also had greatly sped up time, which is just as well when you're travelling using a world map to give the player a sense of scope that wasn't actually achievable.

Another reason to speed up time is to create believeable circumstances for certain events. AoD does this by simply switching to night maps when required.

Overall, I don't think it's a bad thing per se.
 

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