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Have creature longevity based on consumption, habitat conditions, byproducts.

Assigning a fixed cycle age death is ignoring the living conditions in favor of simplicity.

For example, hungry things might expire sooner, or if they are glum and cramped, may go into a sort of age or output stasis. ( not aging while asleep being the simplest example ).

Dynamics between metabolic output and age would foreshorten lifespan while grooming and better diet would lengthen this. Age could be indefinite and rather tied specifically to some other parameters such as number of molts, eggs produced, consumption, or some totality of output.

Ideally, a cared after creature could live indefinitely or in stasis as well ( spawn cramping/entombment ). Creatures exploited for their resources would need balanced conditions for their persistence ( non paradoxical outcomes ). Those creatures not being cared for would become less productive but would maintain virtual homeostasis until they can be properly utilized as an element of gameplay. As such, a creature could also enter into hibernation and halt its death countdown ( and be easier to move as a result ).

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