Conservation of Mass - Corpses and Batteries

It dawned on me while I was musing to myself how to best rush through the lower levels of an Ice Lab with a climate control CBM that batteries, once consumed, just…vaporize. Realistically you’d have the spent battery, but there’s no support for this in game. Batteries are just a 100 charge and when spent, they’re just spent. No waste, which is one of the bigger downsides of having disposable batteries in the first place. Matter is lost in the process of reloading a battery-powered device - which is, of course ,not possible. Zombie apocalypse hasn’t turned the laws of physics in on itself.

As I thought about it, I realized the same situation was happening with corpses: when you butcher a corpse, you take some of the stuff off and leave the rest. At low levels you’re lucky to get anything at all, whereas at higher levels you can use every single inch of the corpse that you just created. Which is nice, of course, but where are the bodies that you made between level 0 and level 20? What happened to the meat that you weren’t skilled enough to retrieve, and the bones, and the skin and hide and muscle? Where’s the corpse gone? Shouldn’t there be remains that you can pick clean later for meager but still useful bits and pieces, save for what’s rotted?

I’m not sure how one would go about coding these things, but it makes sense in a real situation. Spent batteries can be broken down for the absolute minimum materials (maybe a scrap metal and a weak acid water) at sufficient skill levels, and corpses leave behind various degrees of “husks” based on your initial skill when starting to butcher. If you’re high enough a level and the corpse is still fresh enough, you can go back later and butcher what’s left, though you’re probably bound to get things like bones, especially if it’s an older corpse. I’ve seen corpses deteriorate and disappear in the field before when they weren’t butchered so it seems like there’s something in the code that could at least indirectly be used to keep track of what should be on the corpse husks. And when you’re through butchering THAT corpse, you get a heap of gore, or a nice big splattering of tissue fragments, because what’s left has to be somewhere and conservation of mass is a thing.

Just something to consider.


…also, individual organs. I want a pickled liver, dammit. That shit’d be awesome.

I think the corpse disappearing sorta models the fact that due to your lack of skill, you managed to mutilate, contaminate, or otherwise render unusable the extra portions of flesh.

As far as the battery, I sure don’t want to carry craptons of discharged batteries around.

Good points though, the husks and spent batteries could at much higher skill levels be used in some way. I wouldn’t mind being able to use the spent batteries like pebbles and load them in slingshots or throw a handful in a sock for an improvised weapon.

I think the reason so much stuff just vanishes is more conservation of detail. It’s assume a lot of the trash is simply… discarded, so to speak. A lot of trash is just sort of ignored due to the fact there are too few uses for it.

More conservation of work really, it takes a non-trivial amount of code to handle waste like you’re suggesting.
not that it won’t happen, just hasn’t been a priority yet.

There could “mangled flesh”, “cotton shreds” and other similar items to account for the stuff you couldn’t properly gather, but for it to make sense, there should be uses for those. Dwarf Fortress style “let’s add an extra item for shed pubic hairs” doesn’t really add anything to the game.

Mangled flesh and bones could be used to prepare some sort of poverty food soup or head cheese or something like that.
Mutated carnivores have it harder than vegan master race (who can eat acorns and later biscuits), so they could use an extra boost like that.
One item already does this kind of thing: when you chop logs, your construction skill determines whether you get planks or splinters.

As for spent batteries: waste isn’t the survivor’s problem. The ecology after cataclysm is getting royally wrecked by otherworldly stuff and a pouring gallon of mercury into a lake won’t make a big difference in the long term. So batteries are truly disposable.

Rechargeable batteries have been proposed and aren’t a bad idea. Coding them could be a bit problematic, though. DDA doesn’t think of ammo as contained in magazines and batteries are considered ammo here. Spent ammo disappears.
When (if?) spare magazines become actual items and not attached gun mods, rechargeable batteries will naturally follow.
Recyclable batteries have similar problems to rechargeable.

A big “no” for individual organs from me. If someone really cared and wanted to mod it in (as in, did create jsons for it), I could help with adding the support for it. But I wouldn’t like having it forced in vanilla game.

I suppose if you absolutely have to have a garbage item for every 100 ‘charges’ spent on a battery you get a “dead battery” item with the description of “Even though they’re dead these batteries hold a small, but currently unusable charge. Gather enough of them and you might be able to get a useable charge.” So you get x number (100?) dead batteries, and you can make one fresh battery. You’re still dealing with lost mass I guess, but I personally see no reason to have useless items. Even the joke survivor notes can be disassembled into paper which can then be used for shotgun shells, or more importantly rolling papers.

This would be pretty simple with butchering corpses, we can easily apportion the corpse into ratios of flesh, organs, skin, bones, etc, with one waste item that takes up the rest, then as your butchering ability get higher, it gets closer and closer to retrieving the full complement of different items, and any shortfall is returned as the lower value item type, possibly ‘mangled flesh’ or similar.
Batteries are a bit more of a pain since they automatically restack, you already have conservation of mass violated when you combine two half charged batteries into one fully charged one. Resolving that is going to mean having to micromanage partially-full batteries, and I’m not particularly interested in partially resolving the problem by keeping merging but otherwise trying to maintain conservation of mass.

Would taking away deletion of spent items create the same problem we have in Dwarf Fortress where tracking the ever increasing number of items in the game eventually renders it unplayable?

AFAIK most of the lag in Dwarf Fortress is actually pathing but if it keeps Cata running smooth I like that useless crap is deleted.

We’re just now wrapping up a big item processing overhaul that avoids processing non-active items, and only processes active items when necessary, so there is nearly no impact to having lots of clutter items around.
It was only noticeable with tens of thousands of items anyway.

I suppose I could teach myself to overlook the thing with the batteries…I mean, it’s a dead battery. What are you going to do with it? Just drop it and forget about it.

But at the same time, a tiny OCD part of me wants there to be some thing where it’s like ‘for every 100 batteries spent, upon reload you get a single scrap metal’ or something. Still sounds a little arduous and I guess it’s not all that important.

I still think that the corpse thing is a good detail to include. Bones are strangely hard to come by and I would very much enjoy being able to go past the bodies I’ve made later on and peel the rotted flesh remains off and get some of the bones if I’m talented enough.

…also the clean butchering (besides the blood smear upon the creature’s death) bugs me. Lol I just want to see gore generated from certain things, and butchering in particular would certainly create a lot of it. Sloppy butchering = lots of wasted meat and heaps of flesh everywhere? Proportional to the size of the creature, of course; squirrels leave like nothing and that Zombie Hulk you just cut up is definitely gonna make a mess. This would also help push players that care more about clenliness to not butcher corpses close to camp, or to have a specific butchering area that they can inventory management-juggle the body over to to apply another layer of red (or green or gray) paint.

It’s the little things that really add some atmosphere, I feel.

I do like the idea of unskilled butchering resulting in heaps of blood and gore strewn about in the surrounding tiles.

‘aw yeah time for food and then eat time’
touches corpse with stone knife; corpse explodes into a paste across the ground and you get like one meat from it
’what the fuck man’

[quote=“Kevin Granade, post:9, topic:8450”]We’re just now wrapping up a big item processing overhaul that avoids processing non-active items, and only processes active items when necessary, so there is nearly no impact to having lots of clutter items around.
It was only noticeable with tens of thousands of items anyway.[/quote]

Oh wow, that’s really cool.

[quote=“Okiemurse, post:13, topic:8450”][quote=“Kevin Granade, post:9, topic:8450”]We’re just now wrapping up a big item processing overhaul that avoids processing non-active items, and only processes active items when necessary, so there is nearly no impact to having lots of clutter items around.
It was only noticeable with tens of thousands of items anyway.[/quote]

Oh wow, that’s really cool.[/quote]

Oh thank god, I was just starting to notice this really bite me as I moved from area to area in my last game. Fantastic character, 90 days in, lost patience cuz it was getting so choppy. Did too well for even the game to handle.

I guess if that battery thing ever got worked out it wouldn’t be too awful, if you had stacks of batteries with individual charge instead of having them work like ammo. Still kind of a pain but that’s kind of what you get when you have stacks of batteries irl.

Still rooting for the butchering thing. And gore. Always more gore.