Rations (aka hunger system)

Discussion in 'Game Mechanics Design' started by Lunarea, Mar 6, 2012.

  1. The Infamous Bon Bon

    The Infamous Bon Bon Executive Geek Member

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    I wouldn't use a hunger system per se, but a mechanic where you can't heal when you camp or stay at an Inn unless you have eaten adds realism, without the player having to constantly micromanage there food.

    It seems to me in an RPG where danger is omnipresent you would be more likely to be killed and eaten by something else long before you starve to death because hunger will lower your ability to heal wounds and/ or focus on that man eating bear/ plant/ fellow party member coming up behind you.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 16, 2012
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  2. Kread-EX

    Kread-EX You're all bakas Veteran

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    This is the kind of mechanic I would see more suited for a survival game than for a RPG. The problem with hunger (or thirst) systems is that, in a RPG, they are redundant. You already have your HP (and MP, most of the time) to manage, hunger just adds another layer of value management and nothing else. I guess you could design a hunger system where being hungry doesn't penalize you but being full boosts your stats, but in this case, why not simply make the buff items/skills available outside of battles (Growlanser 3 did it, and it was awesome)?

    Those kind of systems plagued several professional games because of its redundancy and overall uselessness.
     
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  3. mlogan

    mlogan Global Moderators Global Mod

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    I was thinking about this the other day, and why do most have all the potions to restore health and not just simply food? I guess it's to add to the mystical/magical element of the world? I can understand potions to restore MP, but was thinking of just using food for HP. I do kind of like the idea of scavenging for food and the possibility of it being spoiled.
     
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  4. ロリ先輩

    ロリ先輩 ロリだけど先輩だよ Veteran

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    Well, potions will generally have some sort of magical property or plant property that will heal, but food isn't going to do much about the burns that you got from fighting the dragon.
     
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  5. Reynard Frost

    Reynard Frost Designer Member

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    I agree with food being an item to restore HP (Like Suikoden did). There could still be health potions, but they would be super powerful. For basic healing though? Food would be an ideal and suitable replacement for red potions. One could also argue that water and beverages could be used for Mana. (Like they did in WoW, lol)
     
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  6. ロリ先輩

    ロリ先輩 ロリだけど先輩だよ Veteran

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    I'm a fan of what some MMORPGs do in relation to food- Potions will heal instantly, or near instantly, but food provides a regeneration bonus overtime, often weaker in total than using magic or potions.
     
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  7. Knightmare

    Knightmare Knight of the Night Veteran

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    I'm not a big fan of the idea. Although it might be more realistic I think that's one thing that doesn't need to be put in a game to increase realism. You can just pretend your party ate when they spent the night at the inn. I think its ok if its used in a specific part of the game but not the entire game.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 19, 2012
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  8. Jaide

    Jaide "This guy are sick." Veteran

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    I love hunger/thirst systems in survival games. In an RPG, they can have their place, but it needs to be well implemented so it feels like more than just a gimmick. But if I'm in the mood for a full-on survival game---eating, drinking, raising crops and livestock, player-run economies in multiplayer games---I thrive on that kind of realism, but only if that's the kind of game I'm playing, and I go in knowing that. RPGs tend to be far more story-driven, and such realism can interfere with enjoyment. The priorities as a player are elsewhere.

    However, in some games, that added realism is available without being mandatory. Like Fallout: New Vegas, where you can play "hardcore" mode, which requires your character to sleep to regain energy, your wounds are not magically mended with healing items, and you must eat and drink, and thus ration what supplies you have with you while you travel the wastelands. In that sort of environment, it works very well, but even then, the option to just play the game without worrying about all that extra guff is still there as well.

    I think a zombie apocalypse game would be an excellent setting for this kind of gameplay, much like the nuclear wastelands of the Fallout world. :3
     
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  9. Bob

    Bob Worldsmith Member

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    An alternative to a "hunger" system, might be a combat management system that rewards players for clever play. Creating a "hunger" (using whatever mechanic you want. Spiritual energy, Illness, Exhaustion meter, etc.) system where players can only fight a limited number of times before requiring the use of a special item or returning to camp can create an interesting game dynamic. Players can be rewarded for fighting battles smartly or exploration (which can lead to secondary plot exposition). Players that use abilities, exploit enemy weakness, or otherwise pay special attention to a fight might receive a bonus "food" ration at the end of the fight. Players that do more than button mash can be rewarded with nearly uninterrupted play (or in special dungeon situations, the ability to go deep enough to access special items/plot points). In order for a penalty based hunger system to work, it must reward players for playing smartly without simply becoming a tedious mechanic.

    By requiring smart play, you force players to take notice whenever they fight a new monster or enter a new terrain. Perhaps their fire spells provide spiritual fortitude while deep in caverns, while using water magic in a drought-ridden field can provide refreshment.

    I think that a hunger system CAN work it if it adds a level of depth and strategy to a game. If a hunger system is just an arbitrary mechanic that adds travel and/or grind time to a game, I personally feel that is a weak design choice.
     
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  10. pawsplay

    pawsplay Veteran Veteran

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    The thing is that a hunger system is going to be as involved as hp/mp/items. So, the question is really, how much do you want the player thinking about food? Is this more or less important than other goals you want them to pursue? The more I think about this, the more I want to make a Gamma World-inspired game with faulty equipment, food rations, unmarked radiation areas... but that would be out of place in a FF style epic big sword slamdance.
     
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  11. L.W. Flouisa

    L.W. Flouisa NumeroHex Veteran

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    I definitely have plans on doing this sort of thing myself. I might go even further and make it where you have to purify the water, unless you happen to find an energy drink. The only places that have pure water, would places you wouldn't want to be anyway.
     
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  12. Copywright

    Copywright Warper Member

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    I've actually never really heard of that; it's an interesting mechanic. I would use it in a more serious and consequential game like Fire Emblem. Maybe having low rations would lead to permadeath or something. I like it, but I can see it frustrating the player. There'd have to be great balance between receiving and losing rations.
     
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  13. servantb7

    servantb7 Servantb7 Veteran

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    I think a hunger system could be cool for one (brief) section of a game. For example, your party has to cross a desert and you have to manage rations for that trip. I wouldn't have it for the entire game though. I think it could be frustrating for most gamers.
     
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  14. ShinGamix

    ShinGamix DS Style 4Ever! Veteran

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    An real easy way would to be change the word HP in the database to Ration or Food. Easy and done. Now if you lose all your ration =you die.

    Edit- (I just want to say I am not trying to be a smart azz it was just a real simple way to easily accomplish this) Then you can make potions into food and so on. Cause in real life we don't have a HP bar to see how strong we are but if we don't eat we have no Energy ( I like Energy better now)

    Just an idea for us members who can't script.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 19, 2012
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