Billy Mays wrote:
Hey, author from The Skull Embroidery here. Thanks so much for playing my game. I got a lot of really useful insights/criticism from your reactions, and from the live viewer comments. I think I'm going to...
Is there anyway you can get rid of the hunger system entirely? I feel it really hampers the game's potential. Thank you.
Yeah, I could do that. I did get that reaction from someone else. Although I suppose I disagree as a gamer. To me it provides an element of discomfort or more importantly that feeling of "I need to be efficient with my decisions" that belongs in survival rpg type games I was going for.
Before I remove it, could you elaborate on why it annoys you or is unnecessary? Also, I'm curious if you think there is another element that might be added to make it less annoying?
Lynnea: Please let me know if you would prefer that I cut and paste this over to my review section if this is interfering with what you are trying to do here. Thank you.
Jeron: Absolutely. As a side note I reduced my deduction from two points for adding a hunger system to one point as I felt my original two point deduction was excessive.
There are three basic ways I have seen hunger systems implemented in RPGs. This can best be demonstrated in tabletop RPGs, Ultima 0, and Might and Magic World of Xeen. Traditionally how a hunger system works in a pencil and paper rpg is that as long as you have the appropriate hunting/fishing/survival etc skills for a given environment, and you purchase rations whenever the option is available to you, you are assumed to be acquiring food passively during your travel. There are very few exceptions to this. The reasoning is because slaying kobolds and saving towns from dragons is more fun, also because combat systems are usually so unnecessarily convoluted that there is not much time for the more nuanced actions. I have played a lot of pencil and paper RPGs with friends, strangers, private games, pick up games at conventions, it is always the same so a hunger system never really becomes an issue. In Ultima 0 (from what I can remember) you had a hunger system, you purchased rations, you used them by moving, and you died when it went to zero, the hunger system was incredibly lame in that game, it was a pretty early RPG so some things worked well and others did not. The hunger system in World of Xeen was never really a problem because you would just buy a ton of rations when you were in a town, and you were constantly in a town to sell your loot and other stuff. I am pretty sure you would just be unable to sleep when you ran out of rations, and probably get a starving status which made you weaker, and it would take a while for you to die from this. You never had to worry about it though because you could either magic up some food or teleport into a town of your choice to purchase food, and you could even set a beacon to be able to instantly return to where you teleported from originally. All of this meant that in Xeen you really never noticed the annoyance of the hunger system. So you have one that is pretty much ignored in favor of convoluted combat, one that is particularly annoying, and one you really didn't notice, and at no point has a hunger system been considered a net positive to a computer RPG. They are actually pretty high on the list of gamer pet peeves which is why you don't see them that often in games, even the classic gold box RPGs didn't incorporate a hunger system and they were pretty advanced for their time.
The discomfort and survival aspect that you are trying to achieve is already represented by the hit point pool. You need to manage that by weighing risk vs reward in your adventuring, making sound combat decisions, and efficiently managing your healing resources. What you have done by adding the hunger system is essentially add a second hit point pool, except this second hit point pool drains over time through every action you perform: attacking, moving, even checking your status adds to your hunger (I just checked this last one just to make sure). It is the equivalent of starting a game off with the "poisoned" status and you have no way of curing it, it just becomes a constant chore trying to prevent your character from succumbing to it. It is also like those often disparaged games where using a special power drains you of your life. It is difficult to keep track of since pretty much everything drains your hunger meter, it costs you hunger to check your hunger meter, and depleting it causes instant death. I do like the food, and how your magician friend can make potions out of it, I would definitely keep all of that.
I am not a game designer or game programmer, so to speculate on what would be reasonable modifications to the existing game whereby all examples still keep food in the game for at least the purposes of crafting and sleeping
(and I will add more ideas as they come to me.):
1. You start the game with 100 in your hunger pool and die when you reach 0. You can consume food whenever you want to and that would raise your hunger pool based on the food value of what you consume. This would allow your hunger pool to exceed far past the 100 that it is now which means you would still have to collect food, and eat, and manage that resource, but you wouldn't have to interrupt the game so much to manage it. Maybe set the food cap at something like 5000, this would just represent food you have allocated for consumption. Also, many of the simpler tasks should not consume food.
2. My personal favorite: the hunger pool is replaced by a stamina pool. You start the game off with 100, and performing advanced combat actions depletes it by a predetermined value depending on complexity of action. You do not die when it reaches 0, you just become restricted to the very basic attack and defend options. Consuming food refills your stamina pool by the predetermined food value of the item consumed.
3. You keep the hunger system as it is, but get a penalty on your stats applied when it reaches 100 (max hunger) instead of death. This would still force players to manage it considering the dangers of combat with stat penalties, but at least it would be more forgiving on players. Consuming food would reduce your hunger pool as it does now.
4. No hunger pool at all. Food is used for crafting, and as the cost for sleeping to restore health, no starving to death. You need to use food to sleep at the cottage, and you can use a greater amount of food (2X, 3X, 4X, whatver, etc) than the cottage cost to set up camp and sleep in the wilds.
Thank you.My ideal solution would be a combination of 2 and 4.Bold sections are significant additions during editing.