Colds seem too common, don't they?

My character kept getting colds, so I tracked through the source to find out how to prevent them.

It looks like u.get_sick() is called every half hour of in-game time. You have a one in (900 + health + bonus from disease resistant) chance to catch a cold (or, 1/6 of the time, the flu). Health starts at zero and is modified up or down over time. This means that an “average” person, who is not particularly healthy or unhealthy, nor particularly disease resistant, gets sick about once every 18 days. If you know someone who gets sick every three weeks, you probably think they’re notably frail, don’t you?

You might think that you could prevent disease by living a healthy lifestyle, but I’ve been striving to only eat and drink things with positive health values and it hasn’t done a lot of good. The health values from comestibles accrue to a health modifier, which doesn’t actually make you healthier on its own. Every hour, the game picks a random number between 1 and 100 and compares it to (health - health mod). If it’s higher, your health goes up by one point, and if it’s lower, your health goes down by one point, and either way your modifier is multiplied by 3/4.

So no matter how much you strive to eat right and stay away from junk food and toxins, your modifier stays very small (unless you’re binging on non-food items like vitamins), which means the chance of gaining or losing a health point stays very close to 50-50, and you’re unlikely to ever shift it enough to make a large difference in how often you get sick - and even if you somehow managed to reach and keep 100 health, you would only go up to 20 days on average between sick days.

This seems like a lot of work for relatively little gain, considering that if I understand correctly you can prevent getting sick anyway by always wearing something with high environmental protection on your mouth, like a gas mask.

I’d propose that instead of a random chance, your health should always trend toward the modifier, the modifier should decay slowly enough that making a conscious effort to remain healthy is worthwhile, and the frequency of the get_sick() check should be modified by season length (less than once a season is reasonable, but with 90 day seasons you currently get sick something like 18 times a year). And maybe health should play a larger role in determining if you get sick at all. On the other hand, I think a lot of things currently don’t negatively affect your health but probably should (going a long time without food, drink, or sleep, getting poisoned by giant wasps, getting covered in boomer bile…)

If this is something people are interested in seeing overhauled, I can get to work on a PR.

Sounds good, I have influenza in my current game despite having disease resistant, eating all healthy food, taking vitamins, AND having given myself a flu shot, and not even 2 weeks into the game!

Mind you, that three weeks in cata are much longer than three weeks in real life. I think the default season length is 14 days, so you’d get sick around 3 to 4 times per year…, which is still much, I guess.

I didn’t know that the health stat is actually not that useful, people always kept praising vitamins to no end.

On the other hand, it is also not good to increase the importance of the health stat too much, imho. Mostly because there are specific “treatments”, like the flu shot, which just increase health in general instead, therefore leading to strange results.

Ideally, we need another stat “hygiene” (as discussed in another thread), which would also interact with those things.

Also, chances of catching the flu should be somewhat lower than today, considering that human-to-human infection is impossible after the cataclysm.

Human to human infection is not impossible your not the only survivor.

Hygiene plays a realy minor role in contracting the flu. Your bound to get in contact with these diseases one way or the other if they are arround.

A healthy body is prety much all that protects you from getting sick… if it doesn t work properly maybe the health system should be reworked … i don t know.

From my experience i can say: My character who takes his vitamins once a day hasn t had a flu in a whole year.

You are getting out there killing zombies, eldrich horrors, and robots in the rain and don’t expect to get sick?

Usually among the first things I craft for myself is a bandana, and I grab better mouth-covering gear as soon as possible. Illness has yet to be any sort of issue for me ingame. I find this a little silly. Some diseases are communicable through water or injury. I realize we do have food poisoning, parasites and tetanus, which is great, but those are event-specific chances as opposed to ambient ones. I am able to avoid those in a very literal way.

I don’t mind that filter masks prevent airborne illnesses, what I find odd is the possible 100% success rate attainable (unless I am wrongly informed?). Considering one would technically still have to remove the mask in order to eat, drink, smoke, vomit, or take medications, one is never going to truly wear the mask 100% of the time.

I managed to get a cold twice and flu once in one in game year (14 day seasons). Which while being unlucky, is…well, not unrealistic if we accept that it’s a year.

Nice point about having to remove the mask every now and again, I never considered it.

It is not that you can get viral infection mile from the source. The distance without wind is like 10 meters and with wind is longer but chance to get infected drops sharply with distance. So, unless you are surrounded with NPC / Zeds - if they breathe, you should not need to wear a mask. Current system, where you can get cold from bad weather and from being unhealthy is nonsense.

If we’re looking to reality for a cue, cold weather doesn’t so much give colds as it just taxes your body, and thus your immune system has a harder time keeping up with already-present threats. Or so I’m told. I can see how with a drastically reduced population, flu season likely doesn’t happen like it did before the cataclysm.

Are zeds still valid carriers? I don’t know if they breathe, but some of them do scream, spew, smoke relentlessly, and blow up in toxic clouds.

You do realize that the cold and flu aren’t literally the cold and flu, right?
You think you’re living in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, at least part of which is caused by biological agents, and there won’t be side effects?

[quote=“Kevin Granade, post:10, topic:7689”]You do realize that the cold and flu aren’t literally the cold and flu, right?
You think you’re living in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, at least part of which is caused by biological agents, and there won’t be side effects?[/quote]

Nah, I did not realize that, mainly because it is named cold and flu, not viral infection.

That does not answer the question of what is the source of the infection and how it spreads. Unless viruses from other dimensions just teleports into your lungs, you need to be exposed first. Also, why commercially made pre-cataclysmic flu shot works against unknown infection?

a nit: cold and flu ARE viral infections.

It all depends on lore though. if we are talking about widespread super-flu viruses or mutations thereof pre-or-during-cataclysm, then it might make sense to make these diseases have even worse effects.

Otoh, if there is not enough lore, we could make the cold and flu real-life common, but add new diseases and (inside labs) the lore about them.

Indeed. That is my point, if it is not cold, why call it cold and not viral infection, which is general term for all of them.

[quote=“jcd, post:12, topic:7689”]It all depends on lore though. if we are talking about widespread super-flu viruses or mutations thereof pre-or-during-cataclysm, then it might make sense to make these diseases have even worse effects.

Otoh, if there is not enough lore, we could make the cold and flu real-life common, but add new diseases and (inside labs) the lore about them.[/quote]

Yes, but this not solve the mystery of them magically spreading. You can live like hermit and still get cold, which does not make sense. I am not complaining, just stating the fact.

i’m guessing that the current system abstractly simulates infection transferred via zeds, wild animals etc.

it does not get to the point where there’s got to be someone else to infect you, it just assumes that you generally interact with them.

may be a pain to make it significantly better.

It’s called a cold or the flu because your character doesn’t know what’s going on, as far as they know it’s just a regular infection, but if you know anything about the actual diseases, you’d know that depopulating humanity would also wipe out the common cold and the flu.
Why are you relying on the game telling you things your character wouldn’t necessarally know?

If UI tells me something, I take it at face value. I couldn’t believe anything UI states otherwise.

The game is also open source and changing, so it’s good to ask such questions if only to eliminate uncertainty as to whether or not the disease’s current design is in fact sensical/intended. I have learned a thing!

I actually didn’t realize it’s not supposed to be literally the flu, since it has flu-like symptoms and the flu vaccine helps protect against it. Well… it does a little bit. It maxes out your healthmod, which seems like a powerful effect at first glance. However, what that actually does is guarantee that your next few health updates are positive, which has surprisingly little effect on whether or not you catch the not-flu. Actually, since it’s not really the flu, I’m guessing the vaccine making very little difference is working as intended.

Never thought of that. Which makes me think - would it be possible to have different descriptors depending on your first aid skill?

Eg,
Skill 0 - "Sick"
Skill 1-3 - "Cold like"
Skill 4-6 - "Mutant Flu"
Skill 7+ - “Z1N1”

A changing description to let you know how/why you caught it and possible cures could be useful too.

Haha, now that’s cool idea!