Making Food meaningful & simulating taste

aozgolo

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I've always felt that in most RPGs that have food, it's terribly done. Often times it's simply a restorative item that is less impactful than a potion, sometimes there are no "potions" and all restoratives are food, sometimes the potion is instant restore and food is time based, at any rate in most cases food is a pointless addition that doesn't really work well.

For one thing, nobody "eats" in the middle of a battle, even in a high fantasy steampunk supernatural world, it still feels too much of a logical stretch to be stuffing marshmallow jam cakes down your gullet while swinging a battle axe.

Of course some games use food as a survival mechanic, which is okay but survival mechanics drastically alter the flow of a game, often they are limited to games specifically built around them. If you take a game like Skyrim for example, which is all about exploration and questing, and add in survival mechanics where you have starvation, dehydration, exposure, fatigue, food spoilage, illnesses, etc. then you drastically cut down the pacing of the game.

The other aspect of food I have never seen simulated is taste or flavor. Basically everyone has different tastes, some people are vegans, some are meat lovers, but you never see Character A gets a bonus from eating his Cherry Poptart where Character B throws up and skips a round for eating a Cherry Poptart.

Realistically food gives us nourishment, but only a few of those things are instantly noticeable, so to me Food seems more like it ought to be about statistical advancement than arbitrary health/mana modifiers.

I'm thinking of it being similar to the potion system of the Witcher series where you eat specific foods every time you camp and it provides specific bonuses to certain stats which carry over through the next several battles. Which would still allow you to have a traditional "instant reward" potion system if you so choose.

I'm eager to see some other ideas of cool ways to implement a meaningful use for food in a RPG (particularly of the RPGMaker variant). So share some of your ideas!
 

xein

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I prefer eating food than drinking potion especially when battling with stress, anxiety and depression attacks.


No seriously.


The only game I know that uses food as restorative frequently albeit lesser potent than potions is the atelier series. Ok, that was a lot.


In a game I dropped there's a feature where the party can choose/buy food/breakfast/lunch/dinner once a day. It'll have effect until the player leaves the dungeon which would pass a day.


Maybe I should make it in the current game I'm developing.
 
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TMS

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I think there have been a few games where a character's food preferences are taken into account, but I can't remember what games they were.

If I use food in my RPG Maker games, I'll probably have it only available to eat outside of battle. I think it would be cool to have food give a character TP or something like that - they need the energy from food to perform demanding physical attacks.
 

hiromu656

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The Tales series of RPGs use a cooking system, its very minimal but can be useful. Characters can learn different recipes and use ingredients bought from shops or found from enemies to craft foods with effects ranging from HP, TP (mana) restoration and curing ailments like poison. Tales games seem to put a high value on Potions, so using the cooking system saves you a ton of money at times.

Although I never really put too much effort into using the cooking system in the Tales games that I've played, its a good alternative to spending money on Potions. I know in Tales of Phantasia (I can't remember for the other games), you could only cook once between a battle. So if you cooked and ate the food, you can't cook again until you've finished another battle.
 

omen613

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I like to see food being used for restoring HP or MP outside of battle and potions are during battle only. That gives each its own use.

Can easily make character preferences come into play with that as well. Billy the warrior like sweet cakes and it heals him for 100 HP but if you feed him broccoli then it only restores 25 or 50 HP.
 

wallacethepig

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If I remember correctly, Paper Mario had an elaborate cooking system you could utilize if you wanted. And, also if I remember correctly, I think Earthbound had a "spices" mechanic where adding the right spices to a food would improve its healing power, and adding the wrong spice to a food would weaken it (i.e., adding ketchup to french fries would make them taste better). There was some other game I remember playing where certain party members were allergic to/liked certain foods, but I can't remember the name of it now...

Think about it, though: in the long run, it's a lot of work for an essentially minor or even useless system in most RPGs. Food wouldn't do much more than add status effects or heal a bit of HP, so why bother? I mean, if you stockpile the best potions, you'll beat the final boss regardless of food, and since beating the final boss is the ultimate goal there doesn't seem to be much of a reason to worry about little things like food.

One place food shines (or can shine, anyway) is the land of Tabletop RPGs. There, the guy running the thing (Dungeon Master, Game Master, whatever) can tell the players "It's 40 days to get to the dungeon from here – that's 240 meals apiece, if you plan on coming back. Meals cost 3 gold coins each, so I hope you saved some money from the last trip...of course, you could opt to forage, but then you run the risk of bear attacks or just plain starvation. The choice is yours..."

The best food system I've seen is in The World Ends With You. You had meals that filled you up more if they were bigger, and were digested as you fought battles. Once the meal was completely digested, you got a permanent stat increase – which basically means you can grind past level 99 and make your stats as high as you please. It would have worked – if you cared about anything other than bravery (the thing that allowed you to wear crazier clothes the higher it got). Since the best way to increase bravery was with drugs (of course), you ended up with a very brave, very high Neku who probably should go eat some actual food for once. It also factored in different tastes (the street kid likes burgers, the girl likes healthy stuff, etc.) which had some effect that I can't remember.

If I had to design a really good food system for an RM game, I would probably make it so that you could only eat so much food in a day (like TWEWY), and food would give small, temporary benefits depending on what you ate – or bad side effects. If you ate something bad, you might end up vomiting in the midst of battle, something that could easily get you killed (by monsters – humans wouldn't go near you). But eating healthy foods consistently would probably result in higher LUK – not because of actual luck, but because you're healthier and can score better hits as well as dodge better. Of course, not eating anything would be bad – probably resulting in a slow death. Eating foods like caffeine would give a boost in speed temporarily, eating foods like steak might give an attack bonus, etc.

Of course, some characters would have preferences. Certain foods might make some vomit, but others can give bigger bonuses.

A really fun thing to do would be to make the TP bar a "healthiness" bar. It would give more benefits the higher it got, and wouldn't be affected by damage at all (might require some scrpiting). It would stay the same between battles, and food (that could only be eaten outside of battle) would cause it to go up or down. If it got to zero, the character would die.

If you're planning on making a food system in your game, I wish you the best of luck!

-Wallace
 

Sharm

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I seem to remember the second Star Ocean had a fun food system. You had to forage for ingredients and cook them and everyone had favorite foods. I think eating gave permanent stat bonuses and foods the character loved would be a bigger boost and if they hated the food it would do nothing or gave negative effects. I don't remember clearly though, it's been a long time since I played it.


It'd be interesting to make food part of a sub game of some sort. Like maybe it's how to change stats around in the party relationships or if there was some side quest about foodies. Or maybe you could make specific foods be key items to the way a character leveled up or changed classes.
 

Tai_MT

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The major issue of "eating" and "drinking" in games is that the player can't taste them.  Because of that, it divorces the player from the major factor of consumption in a game.  Our interaction with food and drink is in that it tastes good, because it tastes good, it sends little pleasure jolts to our brain.  This is why people can eat out of boredom or because of depression.  The joy of eating or drinking something delicious is so pronounced in our biology and brain chemistry that to completely remove that physical joy makes the act of eating "meaningless" except as a means to get rid of the biological need to consume "fuel".

Now, in an RPG, there's not a lot of room to try to simulate that and make it an interesting or useful mechanic.  I can imagine something sweet, sure, but it means nothing to me without the actual sensation of "sweet" upon my tongue or in my nose.  There are a few reasons why things like "Potions" tend to be prominent in RPGs.  The first reason is that Potions are "magical" and have "instant effects".  Food, in real life, does not heal you at all, does not supplement natural healing, or have any real effects.  No, we're not talking about chemicals like "caffeine" either, as you can toss that into a "Potion" and does little more than make you hyper and then give you "burn out" later.

It's really really tough to make "eating" and "drinking" an interesting mechanic.  That's just how it is.  Just like it would be hard to make "the feel of clothes" an interesting mechanic.  You are completely divorced from the sense and it's tough to emulate that in a world governed by stats.  But, it is what it is, nature of the beast.

I've found that some of the most interesting things food can do are often in "role playing" or in "experience boosts".  A full 100% experience boost could be gained by eating a "full meal", for instance.  Eat a meal that has all major food groups in it and a good drink, and you could gain a good Experience Boost that would last until the character is "hungry" again.  Starvation could even lead to losing Experience gain and even character death.  Perhaps you could even make certain types of foods or flavors give characters boosts to certain parameters, or resistances to certain ailments.

One thing is for certain:  If you've got potions in the game that heal you, food had BETTER NOT do the same thing, or you've just relegated it to pointlessness.
 

aozgolo

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Thank you everyone, I've had a lot of good feedback.

The major issue of "eating" and "drinking" in games is that the player can't taste them.  Because of that, it divorces the player from the major factor of consumption in a game.  Our interaction with food and drink is in that it tastes good, because it tastes good, it sends little pleasure jolts to our brain.  This is why people can eat out of boredom or because of depression.  The joy of eating or drinking something delicious is so pronounced in our biology and brain chemistry that to completely remove that physical joy makes the act of eating "meaningless" except as a means to get rid of the biological need to consume "fuel".
This was always my biggest concern with trying to simulate taste. It seems food quality in games tends to be ordered by nature of it's rarity and/or complexity, with things like vegetable stew, apple pie, and cheesesteak sandwiches all having the exact same effect despite the items being completely different in reality.

Think about it, though: in the long run, it's a lot of work for an essentially minor or even useless system in most RPGs. Food wouldn't do much more than add status effects or heal a bit of HP, so why bother? I mean, if you stockpile the best potions, you'll beat the final boss regardless of food, and since beating the final boss is the ultimate goal there doesn't seem to be much of a reason to worry about little things like food.
This is why food in it's current state in RPGs would need to change, I want to have a food usage system in a RPG that feels really dynamic and adds a lot TO the game without feeling like a tacky superfluous add-on for realism or immersion sake. Obviously if you just try to use the same system that's already IN games and make it more detailed, well you're not solving the problem, but instead exacerbating why it's a poor implementation to begin with, who cares about increase health regen when you have a plentiful stock of instant-cast potions? (not trying to knock your post btw just using that quote as an illustration, I liked your other suggestions).

One aspect I thought you could do would be adding fatigue to a game, similar to how Baldur's Gate worked where time moved relatively slow on a map, but transitions from one area to another took so many hours of walking which advanced the time considerably, you could even add time without 'adding time' by having battles, shopping, etc. advance units of time, and if your party is up too long they get a debuff called fatigue that diminishes their combat effectiveness up until they rest.

With a fatigue system forcing regular resting (without it becoming as burdensome as a true survival mechanic) you have the option to implement food into a resting system. So when you go to an inn or campsite, and choose rest you are given a choice to eat something from your pack, and that adds a resting bonus of some kind that's unique depending upon the type of food eaten. You can either eat food you have in your pack, buy it at the inn you're at, or go to bed without any supper (which may even incur a penalty to your resting bonus since you are hungry). This resting bonus could be simple stat buffs, it could have passive effects like improving your "mood" so you get different responses from NPCs, or it could have a long-term effect where if you've been eating right you get permanent bonuses when you level up. Of course you could also have it where you can eat at any time (outside of battles) to incur a temporary benefit or negate a penalty for not eating, but eating at rest time (dinner) is where you get the most benefit.

The real thing to look at though with food's benefit is that you can divide it into 2 categories: short term and long term. If you drink a protein shake you aren't going to instantly get stronger, but if you maintain it, then you should over time become stronger. Short term though you might get an energy boost, which lets you go longer before getting fatigued, and your mood will increase making you more sociable. There's other short-term/long-term effects of course but you want to clearly divide them so that you don't get a +5 Strength boost every time you eat something but you can get that for eating certain things consistently.

Now taste is a lot trickier, you can't truly simulate how something "tastes" but you can simulate how a character reacts to it. You can have one character who loves steak get serious benefits from it but a vegan might not even have that as an option to eat, or if they do (are forced to) then maybe they will get sick and incur a penalty where-as the meat lover gets bonuses. Tastes can change over time, so something a character dislikes if eaten enough they can develop a taste for it, and likewise if there's an item a certain character loves but eats it non-stop for a month, they can get sick of it. There's also absolutes to that, some dishes people never get sick of because they are favorites, and some dishes people will never grow to like because they hate them.

It can be a really complex system but overall I feel it would bring about an interesting dynamic that if implemented WELL can make the game have more complexity without distracting those who don't want to mess with it. The real challenge is making it a fun system that feels optional, but for players really into roleplaying or min-maxing their characters, it adds a new layer of character development.
 

Tai_MT

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The issue with a "fatigue" system is that players will basically meta-game it.  Ever played Minecraft?

Okay, here's how food works in Minecraft:  Every piece of food restores different (or sometimes the same) amounts of "hunger" that is represented with a bar.  Now, there's a hidden statistic in the game that makes some foods more valuable by making some foods "last longer" on your meter.  For instance, eating a steak (heals 4 pips of the hunger meter) or 8 pieces of melon (4 pips of the hunger meter) do roughly the same thing...  Except, the cooked steak "lasts longer".  As in, your hunger meter won't deplete as fast as long as the game knows you're still under the influence of the "ate steak" hidden number.

Sounds fantastic on paper, right?

In practice, it doesn't work that way.  You see, Melons are some of the fastest growing foods in the game.  They also easily supply you with a LOT of food very fast.  The more "filling" foods take longer to construct, require more materials, and generally aren't worth the effort involved.  It's easier to simply spam all the low level common stuff as it's so plentiful that the "hidden fullness number" doesn't even matter.  Sure, players will get "hungry" more often, but hunger isn't an issue anymore, as you can carry around very large amounts of these cheap and easy to obtain foods, that it's pointless to do anything except that.

I can see a food system either ending up like Minecraft in which the "high tier" foods are basically ignored because they're a waste of resources, time, and maybe money...  Or a system in which all the "low tier" foods are ignored because the only "benefits" worth having come strictly from the best foods you can obtain and buying ingredients for anything else would be stupid.

My suggestion, if you REALLY intend to implement a "food system", is to implement it in its entirety.  That is... even if a character likes sweets, they can be "burnt out" on them and want something else instead (you can use variables and common events to track most of what I'm going to suggest here).  You could have perhaps penalties for not rotating out meals, or supplying the same flavors to the same characters too often.  You could maybe even implement some "moods" in there to denote what they'd rather eat (a la, comfort foods if they're depressed, or celebratory foods if they're ecstatic).  You could perhaps even have "variations" of dishes so that some characters have a "favorite way of preparing" a meal.  You could also implement a "quality" system in which baking a pie over a campfire isn't going to be as good as one prepared with an actual stove.

If you're going to go into "food" for an RPG, you should really flesh it out as much as possible so that it's not just a "feature", but actually a part of your game.  It needs to feel immersive and fun to any potential player.  They should walk their characters into any local tavern in town and immediately wonder what kind of food they serve, or if they would sell you some recipes or ingredients for other food.  It should be a good chunk of the game if you intend to implement it, otherwise it'll seem "tacked on" and "uninteresting" to most players.  It needs to be a system some players can "meta game", but not "cheapen" with their "meta gaming".
 

aozgolo

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I certainly see your point, and yes my goal isn't to "half-ass" it, if I'm goind to do it at all I want to do it right. The tricky part though is I want it to be something that while complex, can be more or less glossed over for players who don't want to worry as much about it. This may be too much trouble to balance so it could get scrapped, but I'm thinking similar to a magic system in a RPG, that can be super complex with various amounts of buffs, resistances, weaknesses, contingencies, regens, etc. you can still "beat" the game by only worrying about healing and offensive (direct damage) spells, obviously at higher difficulty though those things become necessary to a degree.

So while I still would make the food necessary if you don't want to deal with severe penalties of going hungry 3, 4, 5 days in a row (not sure if starvation is something I'd add or not) allowing players to just eat whatever and go about their business wouldn't prevent them from enjoying the rest of the game. Basically I want it to be a feature that works well but doesn't interfere, and at the same time as you mentioned, doesn't feel 'tacked on'.

Also I'm not in the camp of gamers or game developers that believes in simplification of stats, I think if there's a variable stat/skill that can be tracked it should be made available to be seen by the player, unless it's meant to be hidden for a reason (IE: luck based skills), so if you x number of hours til you get hungry again, have something to track that. I have played Minecraft, and while I understand the issue there, the big problem I see isn't so much that certain foods make you take longer to go hungry, but that it's a hidden stat. I'm not particularly partial to the idea of a true time based system in RPGs (I prefer an event-based time system, kind of like Recettear) so having a hunger bar isn't a big deal. I don't want it to feel like a survival game, but there's so many other cool systems that can be implemented around food (like Harvest Moon style cooking, or Suikoden style chef battles) that to make them really worthwhile the food system needs to be awesome, and complimentary but not get in the way.

EDIT: I do see your point though about certain foods being obsolete compared to others either due to complexity or scarcity which creates the same problem of food vs. potions, why eat a cabbage that restores 5 health when you can drink a healing potion that heals 50. I think that can be balanced though by making sure most foods are reasonably different from each other and not everything only affects 1 stat (IE: hunger) and you can add a penalty for overeating, so it makes more sense to go through the trouble and make 1 of a really good item as opposed to chugging 8 of a simple one and getting sick.
 
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Well for my game, i have been trying to workout how to implement a system for food to work,

what i want to do is have it that if you don't eat, your character gets hungry and wont recover mana or stamina, and the more hungry they get, different effects will take place, such as sleep, refuse to battle, stat reduce, though these effects would be random starting on encounter,

having it also that you can "snack" or set up camp, if you snack, you don't get a cooking bonus,but you can snack almost anytime, i also don't like the idea of eating during battle, unless your talking about pills, if you camp you can advance a cooking passive skill that will give a bonus to the hunger re gen, given though i would like to have it that if you over eat, it will also negatively effect your character,

in the case of taste, each of my characters that im putting into the game, all have a food that they like, from apples to raw meat, even things like blood and humanoid flesh or brains, (vampires, zombies and other monsters) if i follow my story line completely without altering it, i even have demons that eat souls as a snack, and living humans as a meal and gain skills from eating the heart of another character, at that point there would be different quality's of blood, flesh and age, making for having one of these as a pet, even a character, more difficult, if the character likes the food, or dislikes the food, they will have there hunger stat, fill faster, or slower,


the way I'm planning on controlling this stat is though variables, though ^^: as of yet don't know how to implement it, in the detail that i want,
 

BK-tdm

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  • You can make food part of the "healing items" either by buying them on inns/bakery or what have you, these healing foods can be either instant stuff or HoT effects to have a distinction from the standard potions.

Or you can take another route, buffing foods, some games take the approach of "steak: +50 max hp for X minutes" which adds a side thing to add besides your typical alchemical agility or luck potions, you can even stack them for your minmaxers.

You can either make these buyable or... Arceus forbid! Add a cooking system!! And worse yet! An alchemy system to complement it! i know i know, calm down Satamon...

Anyways if we can make Alucard (Castlevania symphony of the night) a vampire eat a pot roast that was hidden in a wall for who knows how many centuries while fighting an army of skeletons, see him recover hp and have this game be praised as one of the best metroidvanias ever, you can have your warrior eat a jerky while figthing a dragon.

Suspension of disbelief is part of playing an rpg, if people cant fathom the idea of using an apple mid battle to recover 5 hp then i doubt they can proccess the idea of said apple eater flinging a lightning to a dragon (and Skyrim is still considered one of the best open world rpgs mind-you) sometimes its not really "realism" more than nit picking so add some flavors of MP sodas and let people collect fallout-style nuka colas if you want.

  • So ranting away from the "realism of healing food in games where you can slap dragons" the "taste thing" can only be done in two formats game-wise "Looks" and "Description".

A nice example of these two factors used extremely well (imo as always) is the manga/anime "Food Wars"/Shokugeki no souma, pretty much iron chef - the anime, here you will see examples of showing visually appealing food paired with tasty descriptions, from texture to even smell.

Or in case japanese animation is not your thing, cooking shows can work well too for getting how to "describe food" well to people who cant taste or even smell it.

So you have to either be very good with food descriptions, giving details about texture, color, smell, ingredients and how they compliment each other, use very appealing visual images or both.

Its a very nice detail but if food is not the main theme in your game my advice is dont invest too much developing time on it, people will care more about "functionality" than "looks tasty" factors, and if you're making a Cookquest RPG by all means do it!
 
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RachelTheSeeker

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I've been tempted. Very, very tempted, especially as there's an eatery in the first settlement of my game. And because my MC is pals with an eccentric cook. I'd do it either in a River City Ransom fashion where food gives permanent stat boosts, or as out-of-battle restoratives.
 

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If you want a good way to use food in a game. Read hardcore leveling warrior, it will give you a good idea
 

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NO HUNGER METERS!
Resist the temptation to add things like a hunger meter to an RPG (or any other genre of game that isn't primarily about Survival). When a player has come to play your RPG for activities such as exploring wildly cool new places, battling epic boss enemies, and experiencing great character interactions, they are not going to enjoy having to go to the menu every 15 minutes to feed (and water) everyone, nor will they enjoy having to backtrack to town in the middle of their dungeon run simply because they're nearly out of food.

Nothing about that is fun or satisfying, and unless the entire game is built around this kind of survival "treadmill" that the player has to overcome, it's going to detract from the experience rather than add to it. Even in a game like Steambot Chronicles, which merely slowed down the player's movement if their Hunger hit zero (rather than more severe consequences like a Game Over), the system was absolutely not appreciated.

SIMPLE, ELEGANT MECHANICS
It's also worth resisting the temptation to make your game systems too detailed or "realistic". There are a lot of nuances with food - everything from flavors to perishability - that would either be hard to represent in a fun and satisfying way, or would just detract from their ability to actually be useful to you, or wouldn't be worth the player's time and attention to consider. For example, if every food item in the game has different healing values (or especially different effects) for each character who might eat it, do you really expect the player to try and memorize what every food item does for every character? This would only work if you have a very limited selection of food (10 items or less in the game). And if food were to perish after half of a dungeon run, why would the player bother making it in the first place?

Ultimately the brainstorm for adding a food system to your game should start with "What Dynamic does my game need?", rather than "How can I shoehorn this system into my game?". Once you figure out what dynamics you need, you can theme your food system around that dynamic, even if it doesn't make a whole lot of "real world" sense.

A FEW OF MY OWN IDEAS
In one of my games, food is sort of the "counterpoint" to healing potions - they are both necessary and one can't substitute for the other. When you take damage from enemies, obviously your HP takes a hit, but your Max HP is also reduced by a small portion of damage taken (until you rest at an Inn, which restores your Max HP to its "normal" level). Potions (and healing spells) are the main way to restore your HP during battle. If you run into a particularly dangerous enemy, Potions help keep you alive. Meals can only be eaten outside of battle, and they restore Max HP that you've lost (and if you get too full, they become less effective). If you're fighting a lot throughout a dungeon, periodically eating Meals will allow you to start battles hale and hearty.

Another idea I have for a future (slice-of-life) game is to have food restore your stamina (so that you can do more stuff before returning home for the day). Food would come in a few different flavors ("salty", "sweet", "savory", "tart", etc.) and the type of meal you're likely to create when cooking is based on the flavors inherent in the ingredients that you use. The issue is what kind of satisfying mechanic could I tie to these flavors - I'm thinking of having a restaurant you can buy meals at, and the meals there would cause you to like certain flavors more. The more you like a flavor, the more stamina you'd restore when you eat a food that contains that flavor.

One other possible way to implement food and flavors into a game as a more "permanent" fixture would be to have the foods that you have eaten influence which stats a character earns at Level Up. Perhaps the food provides healing, but based on the flavor of the food, it also determines which stats you get more of when you Level (though the total number of stat points you earn remains the same). This kind of system could be cool, but you need to make it very clear to your player that the flavor of the food affects the stats a character gets, and also transparent about which flavors favor which stats.

STAR OCEAN: GOOD RPG FOOD MECHANICS
Star Ocean: The Second Story (as @Sharm mentioned) made some good use of food, too. It restored HP/MP (it didn't raise your stats), but each character had a Favorite Food (for example, normally Shortcake restores ~15% of your MP, but if you use it on Rena it will restore all of her HP and MP), and I believe each character had a different set of foods they could make in the Item Creation system. Additionally, the game's bonus dungeon required you to cook certain, specific foods for a gate guardian in order to progress.

The next Star Ocean game, Til the End of Time, also had a pretty cool mechanic where not only did foods restore HP/MP for the entire party, but each food had a specific bonus (such as x2 Gold or +25% STR) that they'd get for the next several battles after eating.
 
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Diretooth

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In Final Fantasy XV, food is an important mechanic in that it gives you various buffs. There are a lot of foods of varying kinds, made with varying ingredients, of various buffs that can cater to specific characters (which iirc allows the buff to last longer for said character.)
The low-tier foods offer a relatively small buff but are easiest to acquire ingredients for, while the high-tier foods have larger buffs, but are much more difficult to acquire ingredients for, sometimes requiring you to hunt down relatively dangerous monsters to get.
Throughout the tiers, each food mixes and matches specific buffs or varying length, (5 minutes vs. 30, for instance,) Yet, they are all still useful throughout the game depending on how long you will take to achieve X goal.
There are also restaurants you can go to where you can simply buy a quick meal for a buff, so you aren't necessarily required to go to a camp and make it.
 

aceandbacon

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I'm using food in my game as part of a gifting system- where giving food to various characters can boost or lower their affection or cooperation rates (though the game also has dating sim elements and is very story heavy). It also works as an alternative to potions since the food gives you a much higher boost and often boosts MP and HP at the same time.

I'm also using TP as AP, as in "Action Points" to use throughout the day. You start with 5 and after you use those 5 you can't do any more quests that require AP. However, if you buy a coffee or a type of tea, you can get an extra AP or two for the day, the same goes with some foods.

With the food, I'm using Yanfly's item synthesis to make a cooking system, so you can cook the food yourself or buy it. You can get ingredients either from monster drops or from the grocery store, and it essentially is a good way to conserve gold for enhancement items while you cook for yourself and the party. I'm trying to figure out how to let the food have an effect for a number of turns starting in the next battle if you give a character a food they like, but I'm not quite sure how to do it yet. Basically I'm going to try to add a buff effect to it like Diretooth said.
 

CrowStorm

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I am just so struck by how much this is the ONLY context in which the phrase "Making Food Meaningful" makes sense.

As for simulating tastes...*prepares to be stoned by the crowd*...I think I kinda like how FFXV did it? Or maybe I just like that one of the Four Musketqueers, the Totally-Straight-Bros-For-Life-Entourage-Boyband-Members that make up the PARTY (woo! party!) was a chef and that like eating bulettes or w/e was a thing.

Holy **** I never thought about it before but DAMN you play as the freaking Privilege Squad in that game: , three rich white, pretty men that don't have to work for a living. His really, totally, straight bros/SERVANTS.

Esp. compared with say, FF7. Hmm, actually let me think about this for a second.

  • FF7: dirt poor scrappy resistance fighters that are black and female respectively are two of the starting party members.
  • FF8: harem anime.
  • FF9: scrappy kids with tails and/or black mage hats vs fat opera Queens.
  • FFX: ...
  • FF10-2 Idorus deska
  • FF XV: Richboy McWhitey and his Definitely Straight HBO's Entourage starring Jeremy Piven.
Well I guess I have to give them this: they sure know how to switch it up! I think they probably landed on this misguided idea through random misunderstanding than malice.

wow.
sorrysorry.
so sorry.

ok back on topic I guess waht Im saying is that I want to eat monsters
 
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kairi_key

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Most games seem to use food as bonus-over-time consumables.

From reading the comments, I have an idea of a time-based/mission-based game that each day/mission you can eat limited amount of food. The food would give you some buffs depending on the taste, but the main point of the food is after you go to sleep. Your characters will gain some stats depending on the food. I'm not sure if tying stat boosts to level will be a good idea, like the amount of bonus stats gain from food would be permanent but how much stat gain is proportional to how many levels you gain in a day.

Tho if talking about food, I like the Odin Sphere way a lot, but not in a mechanical way. It's simply one way to boost your level further and increase max HP. The selling point for me is seeing the food freshly cooked and served to your table and viewing the character eat them, which is pure food-porn. I like that. When I can't push through the boss and need some quick levels, I resort back to food(they are some ingredient farming involved, but it's not really a hard work). I just need more levels and HP to survive the fight and it was great.
 

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