I’m still alive!
Barely! Haven’t had the time to do a proper suggestion post in forever (thanks a lot, uni), so this oughta be a minor one in terms of quality or length compared to what I’d ideally like to do. The ideas hopefully still carry the same weight, though!
In another push for survival-centricism, I’d like to turn our attention towards a huge topic that has seen surprisingly little scrutiny IMO, one of U3’s biggest failings; a proper representation of metabolism. I don’t think I need to explain myself much here. Actual survival in U3 was ridiculously easy because all you had to do was top off 2 bars by consuming items you’d literally find on the fly. Naturally, since UII is moving the focus back towards survival again, metabolism has so many possibilities for drastic improvement. Here’s a few (hopefully) straightforward ideas I’ve come up with, admittedly they’re mostly on the immersive/hardcore side so I’m expecting a lot of criticism.
Sadly this suggestion contains no pixel art.
Basis #1 - Units, Values, and You
Changing units and values to be less arbitrary and behave more realistically.
For starters, it always irked me a bit that the nutrition and hydration bars in U3 were just % bars. I suppose it’s fine for U3, but definitely too arbitrary for UII since it just doesn’t make all that much sense other than to be extremely simplified. Proper capacity values and units of measurement will be a lot more versatile.
In a real world survival situation, your main struggle at any given time is the intake of enough calories to fuel your bodily functions as well as daily tasks. Therefore, the nutrition system should be entirely measured in calories, with appropriate consumable items (including beverages) having a caloric value. Ideally, the nutritional information of a consumable should be displayed somewhere in or near its description.
Appropriately, hydration should be measured in litres. This hopefully also allows for us to have a universal fluid system where all containers that can hold liquids will share the same measurement, making it incredibly easy to keep track of quantities rather than the nightmare that % values would pose.
Generally, the amount of calories/water your belly can hold should be a lot higher. Capacity and drain rate for both calories and water will be two separate values that fit in with the stat multiplier system of UII.
Rather than hitting a hard limit on your nutrition and hydration bars, you should (obviously) be able to eat or drink a bit more than you actually need to make your feelings of hunger/thirst go away. You will, as a result, enter a state of satiety which can grant additional bonuses (albeit being unable to stuff yourself any further).
Portioning consumables rather than eating them all at once. Drinking beverages, you should automatically only drink as much as you need, never wasting any extra fluids. Certain food items can be eaten fractionally (e.g. slices of a pizza), while others such as packaged MREs would act more as nested storage with different components of the meal inside.
Basis #2 - Calories, and Conserving Them
Calories as a mechanic in the game
I could literally have made an entire post for calories alone, but for the sake of simplicity, here’s some main points and perhaps interesting ideas instead.
Calories are constantly being depleted, but physical activity and certain other conditions (e.g. illness) will cause you to burn calories faster. You can run everywhere around town like a macho mall cop and you’ll probably get a good workout, but be ready to replenish all those calories you just used up.
You can perform certain actions and use items in your environment to get comfort, reducing calorie drain rate. For instance, kick back and relax on your couch to conserve energy even more than normal. Lounge next to your AC unit and stay cool during a hot summer day to further boost this effect. This also gives beds an alternate use as opposed to just respawning and skipping the night.
Basis #3 - Making Debuffs Impactful
Reworking hunger, thirst, and other debuffs.
Hunger and thirst were pretty lackluster and quite easy to counter in U3 to be quite honest, assuming you ever got to that point. (Note: I’m using these timeframes as examples, things are subject to change if UII’s day cycles or timeframes are different than U3’s)
Since we’re switching over to the calorie-based system, hunger will manifest when you haven’t eaten anything in over, say, an ingame day. You’ll start to notice your aim getting a bit shaky and your tummy will occasionally grumble, audible enough to be heard by players and zombies in a confined radius around you. The onset of thirst may occasionally and briefly blur the player’s vision slightly in a similar manner of timing.
If you run extremely low on calories or hydration, then stamina regeneration, movement speed, and carrying capacity (assuming weight returns to UII) will be substantially affected. If you let them decrease further still, your vision will turn to grey and then you will die. (I’d rather not use direct damage as this can be briefly stalled by medical items that really shouldn’t be effective.)
When you’re suffering from hyperthermia or the flu, a sweating debuff will cause increased water loss. When suffering from hypothermia, limb manipulation will be impacted, affecting dexterity-related actions such as manipulating a weapon (e.g. making you melee slower or more weakly, lengthening reloads and recoil recovery).
Basis #4 - Unique Consumable Mechanics
Various consumable tweaks and new characteristics/mechanics to improve diversity.
U3’s consumable variety was a bit bland. Everything more or less did the same thing, but in different amounts. Let’s mix that up a bit, shall we?
All food, depending on their volume, will “saturate” the player for different amounts of time, briefly slowing or stopping hunger. E.g. a hearty soup or a slab of steak will keep the player saturated longer than a candy bar. You could argue that this isn’t very useful if you can just tweak caloric value, but it does create yet another factor that can be used in balance of consumables, especially in modding.
Confirmed feature, but worth a mention: keeping track of various nutrients and vitamins (but not going super overkill mode like SCUM and similar titles). However, as opposed to a penalty of some kind for not meeting umpteen different quotas, maintaining a healthy balance of these in the long-term should grant minor passive bonuses. For instance, vitamin K would be associated with blood clotting rate.
We could take the above one step further, even having this system work in tandem with the Skill System Overhaul by employing skill multipliers! For instance, keeping a high protein intake would be perfect for muscle development, thus granting a boost in various physicality-oriented skills such as sprinting.
Sugary drinks will give you a notable amount of calories in addition to quenching thirst. However, there’s a catch: consuming large quantities of sugary drinks (say, over 1 L) will cause temporarily increased rates of water loss! This encourages players to source pure or natural water rather than their (historically OP in U3) artificial alternatives.
Various beverage containers are now reusable when empty. You can also boil water in glass or metal containers!
Speaking of beverages, overall, they should be higher capacity in accordance with portioning. I don’t think anyone normally consumes an entire 2 L pop bottle in one go. Except brave souls.
Certain drugs and medical items can affect your metabolism. Multivitamins, IV drips, appetite suppression pills, and more. Certain items may also have side effects that affect metabolism, such as having powerful
berriesantibiotics make you hungry/thirsty faster. If we were to go one step further still, overdosing or spamming certain types of medicine repeatedly in a short time can screw you over this way too.
You made it to the end!
You did it! I might be back in a bit, or I might instead fade away into obscurity. In the meantime though, I’d love to see your feedback. There’s definitely still plenty of room to expand on this suggestion.
Thank you to the absolute madlads of Pineridge for constant motivation and support, and to the Suggestion Squad (in memoriam) for the inspiration a fortnight ago. You guys are the best.
Comments in all cases are strongly encouraged! Thank you!
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