Under review

(Radiation) Medicine rework

Mr. Fusion 2 years ago updated 2 years ago 9

Currently, anti-radiation meds appear to just instantly remove any (or at least a very high) amount of radiation, which doesn't involve any planning and tradeoffs, generally not really interesting and also not "realistic" (as much as a radiation removing "wonderdrug" can be to begin with).

A more complex, but also more interesting implementation could be as follows:

  • The amount of radiation removed per use is limited. I'd say one dose should remove at most somewhere between 1500-1800 units, maybe not even that much.
  • The removal happens over time. Once a dose is taken, a small amount of accumulated radiation is (attempted to get) removed every in game minute, and the remaining capacity is reduced by the effective value for that tick regardless if there actually was any radiation left to remove (so that the capacity gets depleted and doesn't carry over to an exposure a lot later). The amount removed per tick should be qute small, for the total amount suggested above I'd say 2-3 units per in game minute. Yes, that means that the full effect of one dose takes 8-12 hours to apply, during which organ degradation continues / regeneration is impacted. If you have a high exposure and take the meds too late, you may still die due to the continued organ degradation while the meds work. This may sound a bit too punishing, but forces players to take exposure as seriously as it should be and plan ahead accordingly (also, see a bit below for a possible counter). This also means that you could preemptively take radiation meds for a situation where you absolutely must go outside for a prolonged period, to slow down the accumulation rate while you are outside.
  • Doses do not stack. Taking two doses means the second is simply lost, not that it doubles the amount removed or the effect time. This, and/or the fact that a previous dose is still in effect should be communicated somehow so that the player doesn't waste doses. Alternatively, taking a dose while a previous one is in effect would reset the remaining removal capacity to the maximum provided by a single dose. This would probably be the better solution, actually?
  • Resting increases effectiveness. When the player is not resting, removal progresses at the nominal rate. During a rest period, the removal rate is somewhat increased, maybe by 50%? (Im not sure if it should impact the effect period, or boost the effective amount removed? As in, when resting, an 1500 dose still removes 1500 radiation and capacity at 3 per minute instead of 2, which means it takes 500 minutes for full effect instead of 750 minutes, or that an 1500 dose removes 2 units from the removal capacity to keep the effect period, but it removes 2 * 1.5 = 3 units from the actual exposure so that 2250 radiation is removed during the normal 750 minutes duration.)
  • During the effect period, exhaustion builds up faster, sprint time is decreased and sprint recovery time is increased. It could also noticeably increase water consumption rate for the duration.


To go along with implementing this change, it could be a good time to also flesh out the regular medicine (the "red pill box") to actually do something (I'm not sure if it currently does or does not, I don't think I ever actually tried to use it).

What it could do is basically the same as the radiation meds, only with organ integrity. It would, over time, add a very small amount per tick to it (either to improve a degraded condition faster or partially counter an ongoing integrity loss), up to a maximum capacity per dose or until full integrity is reached, except it wouldn't have a side effect (unlike the exhaustion / sprinting impact of the radiation meds).

This would mean that it could be used, for example, in combination with the anti radiaton meds in a high exposure situation: it takes time for the radiation meds to reduce exposure, during which time organ degradation continues, which could be countered/slowed by taking a dose of "normal" meds too so that you don't die of organ failure before enough radiation is removed for the integrity impact to become manageable without further doses of normal meds.


On a marginally related note: I think radiation induced organ degradation starts to become noticeable a little too late and progresses a little too sharply from there. I recently had am exciting combination of a dust storm immediately followed by a radiation storm, which forced me to accumulate a nice dose of radiation while restoring power generation and fixing things after the dust storm, however, for a while organ integrity didn't really change even as the exposure built up rapidly, then past a threshold (somewhere around 2000-2500 units or so?) it dropped from the immediate step below normal (yellowish green) to poor (orange) in a matter of maybe two hours tops. This rate of change makes it really hard to react to, or even just recognize the danger, so I think the impact should start sooner and ramp up slighly more linearily through the early stages of exposure and then speed up as it does now as exposure becomes really high.

Additionally, I think the exposure count never really changed color to indicate severity, at/around 3000-ish it was still green while I was dying from it at an alarming rate. Given how severe the effect actually was at that point, it shoul'd ve been deep red by that time, and possibly having been turned yelowish at around 500 or so and going towards red from then on towards the 3000 range.

Hmm... an interesting premise. I could get behind this suggestion, but if we plan to do any type of modification to radiation and Aspirin pills, we should also take a look at how food and water effect the player when they're very low.

Because the same thing is happening there as well... being at 0% hydration and with poor organs or very low on calories... all I had to do was drink 5 bottles of water and stuff 1500 calories in my body and instantly everything is green and doing fine again... well, the poor organs were still there, which should be, until it to over time gets better since the consumption of food and water.

As of right now, I feel like food and water is some sort of magical healing potion, returning my health bar to full green.

If recovering from starvation, I think that it should say something else when you've packed in several pounds of food (when you've finally found some) and not indicate green either. Not until your body is back to feeling a 1500 to 2500 calorie diet again.

Your "health" is your organ integrity, not your calories/thirst/exhaustion stats. You don't die when you reach 0 calories or 0 hydration, you die when you reach organ failure state a lot later (several sols) due to not having kept up the other vitals for a prolonged time.

The lower those vitals get, the more rapidly organ integrity will degrade (health is lost) over time. If you restore the vitals, organ integrity starts to improve over time. Eating/drinking/resting immediately retores the stat that represents the level of that specific need, not your health itself, and that restored stat will impact how organ integrity will change over time from then on. That's why they get (correctly) restored instantly when eating/drinking. You could argue that digesting food to get the nutrients into the blood stream does take time, but that stat simply tracks your calories intake, not how much of that has been processed by your metabolism so far. And as a matter of fact, metabolism is kind of simulated/represented too. The top tier stat in each 3 vitals changes instantly upon replenishing the stat itself, but the 3 lines below them will only gradually return to green one after another, and those represent how much leftover impact letting that stat go down still has on your health, or if you want, how much of your recent intake has been processed so far.

Radioactive exposure, however, works differently. It's accumulated over time (at least the kind of exposure you suffer in the game), and it should be removed over time too instead of being instant, because it's a metabolic process unlike downing a bottle of water or eating something, which happens "instantly" and adds the consumed amount to the intake tracker.

I think you're missing the point... I know I don't die when I reach 0 calories or 0 hydration... I've been there...

I'm saying that consuming from 0 or low levels and you're instantly at green again, that it makes it FEEL like a health potion.

If you're starving, haven't eaten, and then all of sudden stuff yourself to get back up to 2400 calories, do you think your vitals should go back to being green? I think there should be some extra measures to instill some sort of realism in it.

Maybe remain at orange and slowly get to yellow after a few hours, and then go to green only if your continuing to ingest food. Otherwise, I think that your calorie count should be consumed twice as much as normal if your eating from a less than 500 calorie diet. Because your body is so starved, it's using that energy right away to replenish what you have missed.

Same thing with hydration, you're body has a majority amount of its fluids, hence peeing orange juice. If you you suck down water, you don't instantly become hydrated... you're body is using it right away to replenish the muscles versus storing it. So you'll have to drink twice as much over time to start retaining water again.

And yes, those other stats under calories and hydration, instantly turned green for me as well, not just the main stat. Yes, Organ vitality stayed at its color depending on if it was poor or not. I'm talking about the overall consumption and reflection to your stats.

Maybe I'll just refrain from responding to your posts in the future... I don't feel like getting my head bitten off every time I make a comment/suggestion. You're more argumentative towards correcting me as if I'm constantly wrong when this is just a suggestion/discussion XD

Which I think is funny... because I agreed with your OP

Hmm, maybe there was some unintended change regarding how the vitals display works now, but how it's supposed to work is exactly how you say it should, how it did, and how I tried to describe it above. It was one of the early design decisions about the whole health system, that instead of a simple number/or percentage saying "you are exactly at 49% health", it should be more of an organic, "moving average" kind of thing where satisfying the immediate needs, which happens instantly (you don't eat for the whole duration it takes for consumed food to pass through your digestive tract, you eat "now", and then it gets processed; the calories intake changes instantly to reflect the fact that you have eaten, not that it has already been processed in an instant and "healed" you, which it didn't), trickles down through a series of affected parameters over time to eventually impact your "health". Calories/water intake and exhaustion has four "tiers", you can only directly infulence the topmost one (I ate/drank/rested right now, the calories/water is in my system, and it'll have some impact on my health over time as it gets processed and the linked vitals below the topmost line stabilize), and the other three react at different speeds, getting better when you have satisfyed the need and worse when you didn't, the change trickling down from the top line to the ones that are below it, and eventually affecting organ integrity one way or the other.

At least that's how it should work, and consistently did work over the course of development up to this point. Maybe something got broken and everything changes together instantly even though it shouldn't. If that's the case, then it needs to be looked at and fixed.

Actually, one thing I can think of that there was a balance / fix pass on it, which caused the "trickle down" to happen a lot slower now than it used to. Now even if you let calories/hydration to reach 0 (which takes about a day for food, and somewhat less for water) but immediately eat/drink just as it did, you won't really see much change as too little time went by without the topmost tier being satisfied for the negative impact to get further down the line. It was one recurring criticism that not eating for a day or two shouldn't have a significant impact on your health (previously you died in about 3 sols if you have not eaten for that long, at which point all food related vitals have gotten red one after another, and if you did eat in the last moment, only the topmost one went back to green, the rest took a day or two to catch up one by one). I think now the trickle takes up to about 10 days to reach all the way down, becoming visible only after the topmost tier not having been satisfied for days. It may feel more "realistic" now, but from a gameplay perspecitve it all but killed the tenson resultng from a much faster, even if less "realistic" degradation of vitals when going without food, water or rest for a while.

Oh, now you see, that right there makes a lot of sense. But it's not doing that for me. It'll do it to the organ integrity, but not to the stats under either calories or hydration. Those stats turn green as I consume the food/water.

How you described it, would be a far better way... an over time causing the (I guess we can call these tertiary stats) stats under your main vitals of calorie count and hydration level to move from orange to yellow to green.

Right now, calories is of course numeral count while hydration is percentage. I'm not sure what the maximum is, but I always seem to end at 2500, while hydration ends at 100%.

Drinking water gives me 20% hydration for each bottle, and if I'm yellow or orange in those vitals, drinking to 100% makes everything under hydration green, instantly...

Same thing with food... everything goes green when I go from less than 400 calories, to over 1800 calories in one sitting.

The bottom two squares indicating my exhaustion and organ integrity don't change instantly, but over time... I guess that part is working.

I'm on Steam's version, which is v0.64... so I'm not sure what the previous gameplay was like, I've only started getting back into all my Kickstarter items. I've been in medical issues for the past few years and have since recovered. So, reviewing what I had, I was like "OMG, I haven't done anything with LP since I pledged XD"

Ok, after having completed a test run, driving all the vitals down until organ failure warning then drinking/eating/resting, it turns yout you are right, currently everything, all lines in each category, except organ integity itself goes immediately back to green, which I don't think is the correct behaviour and I'm almost certain that's not how they used to behave earlier. That's why I insisted they shouldn't be doing that, but with the balance changes I haven't seen them go anywhere low-ish lately so I didn't know how they behave now.

Under review

I haven't changed anything with how health is calculated in a very long time. It has always been instant for each of the main categories, but overall health impact (organ integrity) is more permanent. Personally I feel like it might be too confusing for players that are used to more traditional survival games to not get some kind of feedback after eating/drinking/sleeping. I'm not sure what a good compromise might look like, but for right now this is a low priority compared to some other features I'm working on. I may return to it later.

I think what we discussed here should be relatively clear feedback, the top line being the primary parameter, and the other two below it the "derived" parameters in that category which lag behind when being restored, the same way they lag behind when the primary parameter is dropping.

I'll have to try not to eat for a few days to see how it behaves compared to how it used to, but it sounds like something might have become broken somewhere along the line, and (some of the) vitals no longer work, or at least display, the way they did and should.

With the previous balance and shorter (in real time) days it was easier to see all this in action and notice if there's something off with it since it happened naturally every time you went on a longer exploration trip, but now it's so slow that you need to deliberately create an "unnatural" test case to make the stats drop to a noticeable level.