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Food spoilage?

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There has been a lot of talk on the forums about food spoilage, and it got me thinking. Here's my brain dump.

I think that spoilage is a good idea, because it would make the collection of food an interesting decision. Right now, it is always a good thing to get more food. More food is always better, so you get things like people grinding farms and berries. The game rewards grinding these resources by giving you an unlimited source of food.

If foods expired (with properly tuned values), you would have to balance hoarding behaviours with your expected rate of consumption. Collecting more food than you can eat would be a waste of time, like it is in real life. Expiry makes grinding pointless, and makes it so that you can never have complete food security.

If different foods last for different amounts of time, and there are ways to slow down expiry, it opens up a whole new set of strategies to explore. How will you survive winter if your food stockpile is slowly expiring? You'll have to rely upon hunting and resource-intensive prepared foods. Canning! Salting! Jam!

Ahem. So now for details. Let's say that food health and hunger values are as they are currently, but we introduce a new value called "freshness" that decreases linearly with time. Combining stacks of varying freshness results in a new stack that has a freshness that is a linear combination of the two source stacks. Splitting a stack results in two stacks with the same freshness as the source stack. Freshness can neither be created or destroyed via inventory manipulation. You can hide one stale morsel in your stack of 10 morsels, but the overall units of freshness will remain the same.

Health and hunger values can be modified by some function of freshness. This might be linear (to a minimum percent of the original value), or it may be a step function, with distinct phases of freshness. I think I like the discrete phases method better: ie, something like:

100% - 80% : Fresh! full values! Yum!

50% - 79% : Almost fresh! 75% values!

20% - 49% : Stale! 50% values!

1% - 19% : Nasty! 25% values! Gross!

0% : The stack expires and becomes a stack of wet goop.

Freshness would be indicated on an item's inventory icon, either with a small iconic indicator for each step of freshness, or as a percentage (like tools).

The total expiry time would vary depending upon the food type.

Raw Meat: ~5 days

Raw Veggies / Fruit / Berries: ~7 days

Cooking or crockpotting might reset the timer to a new value, which can be prorated based upon the freshness of the ingredients.

Cooked meat: ~5 days (with all fresh ingredients)

Cooked veggies: ~5 days

Special 'preserved' recipes: longer!

These base times are multiplied by the following multipliers depending upon where the food is:

On ground: x1

In claypot "fridge": x2

In other container / inventory: x1.5


So how does something like this sound? Would this make you think more carefully about your food production, or is it too micro-managey? I would probably also make crocked foods stackable as a part of the same change, to try to keep things simple.

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I think it definitely takes away the hoarding factor. But how long would the preserved foods last? Are we talking a couple weeks? Or just a few extra days? Because there are days when I need to go gather resources like wood and charcoal, or go on expeditions away from my camp to gather various materials (silk, pig skin, stone, etc.), and I must rely on my food surplus to get me through. Mainly because I don't have the inventory space or the time to gather food on the road. As it stands, it is way too easy to load up chests full of veggies and meat, so I like the idea of food not lasting forever, but I just hope there is a healthy balance. Especially with winter and longer nights coming.

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I really like your take on food spoilage, but an alternative to showing 'freshenss' as a percentage like on tools, you could identify the 'freshness' of a food by examining it like you would a campfire and then it would give you feed back as a sentance with a bit of personality telling you the approximate state of the food.

Edit: just realized this would require a way to actually examine food...

Edited by Prancelot
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I'm a huge fan of food being able to spoil in Don't Starve, and that looks like a good way of handling it. I'm hoping that such a system could come before or with winter, as it seems that the challenge of winter will partially rely on food being difficult to find. If the player can stockpile food then like they can now, that danger can be completely averted and the player could theoretically turtle their way through all of winter.

Also, I think (think) that, in real life, honey only has the longevity its known for if certain precautions are taken, like sealing it in a jar. I'm pretty sure that if it's exposed to air for too long, it will still spoil. Perhaps long-term storage of honey in Don't Starve could require something similar to keep it from being stockpiled in massive numbers.

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bye bye berry farming.....i must admit i c this one coming XD and i'm such a hoarder too lol......like the idea but i think the honey should be the same, it doesn't get u a lot of hunger in the first place anyway, the only thing that it is good for (by itself) is healing, which in my opinion is good because we don't really have anything that we can eat that heal a decent amount beside mandrake which is kind of hard to fine....if anything, nerfing bee box honey rate is a good way to approach this?.....guess i will start eatting the honey ham now lol

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Also, I think (think) that, in real life, honey only has the longevity its known for if certain precautions are taken, like sealing it in a jar. I'm pretty sure that if it's exposed to air for too long, it will still spoil.

I looked to the SCIENCE forums for an answer. http://www.scienceforums.net/topic/38169-does-honey-go-bad/ SCIENCEEEEE!!!

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I like this idea. I do think it would be great to create a trash/garbage dispenser to dispose of rotten food quickly. (and anything else that cannot be burned, consumed or fed in science machine. example-backpacks)

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I like this idea. I do think it would be great to create a trash/garbage dispenser to dispose of rotten food quickly. (and anything else that cannot be burned, consumed or fed in science machine. example-backpacks)

Rotten food should be as some have suggested and used for compost.

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oke good idea but i got 3 questions

1 . If i leave the berry,s on the berry plants ( will it spoil or keep fresh ? )

-cus i could leave the plants alone till i need the food-

-and if it spoils how can u make sure i can get berry,s ( cus they can be spoiled every where )

2 . If i don't loot the farm ( will it spoil or will it be fresh for ever ? )

-cus i could leave the farms alone till i need the food-

3 . How can i go out of my base whiteout getting a food shortage ?

-generally i stock food 5 day,s and leave for 10 day,s-

for winter maby an idea to be able to make dried turky :) ( fresh for 50 day,s ) hard to get cus only turkey legs will do

Edited by Dragnar
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Sounds really good and make sense to me. Yes this will affect my food choice for sometime at least until we figure out all the freshness values for all types of food to make the better choice between meats, fruits and vegetables.

You guys always begin slow with new updates to not scare all players. Maybe the freshness values could be higher a bit. When we used to it I think it's ok to decrease.

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How would this work in the winter part if that gets put into game play? I'm assuming some stuff won't grow at all or take longer, as it does in real life. However in real life farmers were able to can and preserve a lot of their food for over the winter months. I know my granparnts owned a farm. Will you be bringing in the ability to can food for preservation?

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Take note this is from the perspective of being a complete and utter nooblet, and coming from more of the perspective of a very casual gamer (who can barely make it past day 20 on good days), I hate this idea.

This food spoilage thing feels more for the seasoned veterans who've played this game for a while and have an abundance of resources they need. Its just a kick in the bum for newer players (or nooblets like me who have to restart constantly), making early game an even bigger (and a slower) pain to get through. (Good food is difficult to come by at times- monster meat tastes awful D:). Since the fun factor (again in my opinion) isn't really in the collecting resources/maintaining but more so in the combat and kicking the butts of the mobs that bullied you in early game.

This idea instead of making me feel all YAAAAAAAAAAAAY I wanna play this game :3 !

is instead making me feel "ugh" another annoying chore to keep up with.

It feels a ***** much since later one we have to juggle the sanity meter as well

TL;DR- Feature will make it harder for casual players/noobs (e.g. me) to get into the game and keep playing.

This new feature makes me feel 'ugh' about getting back into the game since it feels like an added chore.

My two cents I suppose, and its already hard enough getting into this game since its rather niche imo.

(R.I.P my second copy of don't starve which will rot away on a friend's account)

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I like the idea overall, though (in my opinion), there should be a stage beyond 0%/Wet Goop, where if something hits -50% (or whatever percentage) the goop would turn into a 'creature' and attack you/everything or something. Not sure how well it'd fit in with the rest of Don't Starve, but it'd certainly be incentive to make sure you deal with spoiled stuff rather than just tossing it on the ground.

Also, food during Winter should last 2-3x as long on the ground / in a chest / etc compared to their original values without doing anything, seeing as the cold would naturally do that realistically.

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would this effects on meat effigy?

Holy crap, not only would this update be fun, but it would also nerf hoarding food and make meet effigies go off :D (At the same time the meat inside does of course :D) And cooked food could go off quicker which means you'd have to choose when to cook your food, instead of cooking it all at one time :D

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I registered finally so I could reply to this. I like the idea of food spoilage as a mechanic especially in a game called don't starve. However I'm a little iffy on your proposed implementation though. Although realism in games is not something I advocate for it's own state I think with a game mechanic that is closely related to something that people are familiar with in real life it should track with people's real life experiences because otherwise it won't feel right to them. Extremely fresh food vs marginally less fresh food is not really any less nutritive. Instead I and I think most people tend to judge food spoilage on a kind of ok -> iffy -> bad -> not food anymore kind of scale. And as food spoils I'm not so much worried about it losing it's ability to feed me as the likelihood that it will make me sick. The other thing about food spoiling is that once it starts the food quickly becomes inedible. A piece of fruit will be fine in a bowl for several days then one day it looks a little soft and the next it's covered in mold.

With that in mind I think a system with the following stages would make more sense :

Good to eat : No danger of food poisoning. This stage would last for most of the time it takes food to spoil say 80%.

Starting to turn : Starting to smell feel a little off. Slightly reduced food value with a low chance of food poisoning.

Definitely Not good to eat: Moderatley reduced food value but a good chance of food poisoning.

After that it turns into goop or whatever.

Food poisoning could result in you throwing up emptying much of your hunger meter and possibly causing health damage. That way when you have food spoiling you need to make the decision of should I risk it or throw it away like you do in real life versus just eat all the spoiling food because there's no danger it's just less effective. Eating spoiled food should also have an adverse effect on your sanity IMO.

You could later add cellars that require a lot of work to dig out but can keep food fresh for a lot longer.

Also don't forget fermentation on your list of methods to preserve food. Nothing like some good old homemade kraut. :)

PS: Thank you for this game I have been enjoying it greatly.

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I think...this a REALLY great idea. It makes the game so much more realistic... but I think this should be like added into some kind of difficulty, like easy, medium and hard...OR it should be an option where you can turn it off or on.... overall great idea!

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