Disease messages encourage and require immersion-breaking behavior

I agree that the cryptic messages are not immersion-breaking themselves, and that the conditions being hidden is actually more realistic and immersive than spelling them out for the player would be.

However, the fact remains that players must turn to information sources outside of the game in order to understand these messages and deal with the conditions they signify, and anything that literally takes players out of the game does, by definition, break their immersion in it.

If these messages are supposed to inform a player’s behaviour, they should provide sufficient information to inform a player’s decisions; if they are not supposed to inform a player’s behaviour, they serve no purpose.

While I disagree with your premise and the tone of your message, I think the idea of the character being able to self-diagnose does sound interesting. The choice to stop playing and look up info on a wiki is a player choice, not a dev one. I play DF too, and on the forums there you see a lot of people who complain that they spent 60+ hours reading the wiki and learning how everything worked before trying anything, and the game didn’t seem like much fun for them at all – and I always tell them, they choose to spend the “fun” in the game on the wiki, not in the game.

If it bothers you this much, it would be trivial for you to make a “mod” that includes a pile of survivor notes describing what symptoms to watch out for and how to treat them.


Some sort of in-game medical details would be preferable. I have no significant IRL medical skills, and if my veins started itching, I wouldn’t know what the hell to do. I’d also be hard pressed to believe that months of practical medical skill (so the players medical skill) would allow them to diagnose weird and specific medical issues like fungus in the blood.

What I’d like to see, optimally, is the player has to find a wasteland doctor if its something particularly exotic, and pay for that diagnosis. Especially when dealing with alien infection, reading old world medical textbooks probably won’t help you diagnose a fungal infection of the blood or whatever madness the other dimensions throws at us. Whereas a doctor (or player with a profession trait of doctor I guess) would be more suited to diagnostic work considering a presumed depth of experience. Perhaps the autodoc could also perform such diagnosis, for loners and people with static NPC’s disabled.


When an average survivor Joe feels bowels ache they can’t magically know if it was caused by a tapeworm without a medical specialist and some tests. That is an immersion, not the break of it.

Having some cybernetic autodoc analyzing Joe’s blood and instantly telling Joe what’s wrong is an immersion too, but that is from a bit different game.

Player not knowing that eating raw pork and drinking non-clean water was a bad idea and googling to learn this is not an immersion break.


My apologies for the tone of my original post. I didn’t realise how brusque it sounded until I re-read it.

It’s true that breaking immersion by checking the wiki is a player’s choice… But I don’t understand how the gameplay of these diseases is supposed to work without doing that. Generally, Cataclysm DDA allows players to learn how things work through trial, experimentation, and error: When you first encounter a shocker zombie, you don’t know they can spit lighting and don’t know that getting zapped slows you down, but you learn pretty quick if you try to fight. I don’t see how it’s possible to learn how these diseases work, though, since the game doesn’t give you enough information and feedback to learn.

Take blood worms, for example. As far as I know, they have two symptoms: “Your veins itch” and a reduced rate of natural healing. There is no indication in the game that these things are connected, and no indication that either of these things is a symptom of parasites; unless the player somehow knows from an out-of-game source that itchy veins are a symptom of bloodworms, there’s just not enough information to guess.

This sounds like a pretty good solution.

I agree. That’s not the problem: The problem is that the medical specialist and tests don’t exist in the game.


I’d assume that all these specialists are probably either dead, dead with a hunger for your flesh or got evacuated/relocated.

However, since there are books that can teach you how to mix, build and use military grade explosives, I’d also expect to find some books or at least some notes hinting the existance of parasites and some of the common symptoms to the player or the character.

Side note: You could have reused (rephrased and recategorized) your previous topic to keep the things from having to get discussed here again. Also, personally I wouldn’t declare this as a “bug” for The Garage but rather a feature request (“The Drawing Board” may suit it more?), but that’s just my opinion.

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Although i don’t agree with that going to the wiki to figure out what you have is nessecerily breaking immersion. I do agree with your point that there should be ways in game to diagnose your character in game either through character knowladge (start with a medical knowladge or have a NPC diagnose you) or through books or have the player be able to do it themselfs via item discriptions.

We have Blood Analysis CBM, I guess autodoc could do the same work?

While I would absolutely like to see the autodoc gaining additional purpose, maybe even scanning for parasites, scrubbing radiation and treating deep cuts & infections and stuff, at the moment it is designed to be a machine for surgery (going by that it can only implant bionics and fix broken bones), not for “trivial” stuff (it can’t even bandage you up or treat your infection, so how or why should it contain a test set for parasites/fungites?).

I’m not sure if that is the case lore wise or if no one took the time and decided to code more things into it yet.

Roguelike. You’re supposed to learn from your mistakes. Come on, man.

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How, though? To learn from a mistake, the game has to provide with information about what went wrong. There’s no way in the game to learn why you started getting “Your bowels ache” messages, or to know what effect they’re having on your character.

Most of these diseases don’t even kill you; if they did, you’d at least get a “killed by parasites from a bad enchilada” message that you could use to identify the disease for future characters.

The only way to get that information is to leave the game and look it up online. It seems weird that the only way for a player to cure parasites is to use a walk-through.

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It’s not because autodoc intended to be only the surgeon, it’s because no one added additional functions to it yet.

If it did, it wouldn’t be a roguelike. You’re supposed to use your powers of deduction to figure out the reason why picking up that cockatrice corpse turned you to stone, not complain on the forums that there was no warning and that your character’s death was “immersion breaking” or whatever.

Given that we have also a mister stemcel wouldn’t it make more sence to add a new machine that uses the same technology as the blood filter cbm (blood filter cbm being a more advanced down scaled version of this technology) to diagnose what is wrong with you and give treatment advice. (Patient has worms, perscribe anti paracitic medication. Patient has bacterial infection, prescribe antibiotics.)

Mr. Stemcell was obsoleted a long ago. Its functions were translated to an Autodoc.

as the blood filter cbm (blood filter cbm being a more advanced down scaled version of this technology) to diagnose what is wrong with you and give treatment advice. (Patient has worms, perscribe anti paracitic medication. Patient has bacterial infection, prescribe antibiotics.)

Good idea. In fact, just right now I’m working on adding abilities to treat wounds (stop bleeding, disinfect and inject antibiotics) to Autodoc.

Do you actually know what exact infection/parasite killed you, or do you just get generic “your limb breaks” message? Because if it’s the latter then there’s nothing to “learn” from “your mistakes”. Except the mistake in question was the lack of preventative googling.

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Well that’s the point. Oldschool hard mode. Some times you just don’t know what’s going on and then you die. You get pissed off, you tell yourself that the game did you wrong… and then you start a new character since the game is fun anyway. Eventually you figure it out. Either by mistake or by deduction. I’ll agree with you in that medical books/skill or character intelligence upping diagnostic skills could fit in with the theme but then again, that’s old world knowledge. New world has a lot of mysteries.

  • “You think about your current situation.”
    “It’s difficult to focus since your itchy arm keeps bothering you.”

  • “You attempt do diagnose your ailments.”
    “Runny nose. It’s cold out here. No wonder.”


  • “You attempt do diagnose your ailments.”
  • “You remember getting impaled by a disturbingly unhygienic looking tentacle. You suddenly feel alarmed.”

In the end it’s the same thing as “Your ass fell off.” You have a vague idea of what’s going on and then it’s up to the player to figure out what happened. Been playing this for so long that I just expect some things to not make a lot of sense. “Why does this show up on the health screen but the other thing doesn’t?” To keep you on your toes, I’d imagine.

OK I’M RAMBLING. Forget it.


As I’ve said:

Now, may I ask on a source on that?
Because all I can find in the code are hints that it is indeed intended as just a mechanical surgeon:


Welp, I’ve asked the author of it for a source. Perfect :man_facepalming: .

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Not sure that’s a very good faith argument. I understand your point, but if you expect the lore to refer to a functionality of the machine that literally doesn’t exist and has only (in my knowledge) been recently proposed, then you are going to be waiting for a long while. Even if someone wanted to write in additional function for it in the lore, it’d probably get rejected because “yea but it can’t do that can it, it’ll confuse people”

I think it’d be better to step back and ask why would we not want the functions in the autodoc. As far as I can tell, assuming the intent is to have medical services for diagnosing mystery diseases, it’d be because we want some sort of NPC doctor or player profession doctor involved, or anticipate situations where a machine would have the functionality, but should not be where an autodoc can be found.

Considering I am mostly aware of them being in labs, hospitals, and doctors offices, those are all places I would check for medical help. Unless we want to go through and add another machine ala Mr Stemcell (Dunno why he was merged, but my guess is redundant machine), I’d imagine that it’d be just part of the autodoc functionality. Maybe even some autodocs have it, some don’t. We have a Mk9, why not a Mk10, not like hospitals are ever keen on replacing equipment so long as it works, so both would be around.

Well, I didn’t actually made a point, all I wanted to know was, if it ever was intended to be more than a surgeon. There were no comments in the code that indicated that (or I just didn’t see them), and just someone saying that it was is not helpful, as anyone can say anything they please.

…unless, of course, if it’s the author. I’ve checked the first commit on it (or at least what I thought what was), and it wasn’t Valiant.
I only now realized, as I’ve rechecked, that it did not sort by the “Recently committed” I’ve set it to, and setting it properly and checking again shows that Valiant is indeed the author.

So yeah, I’m happy with that answer and stay to what I’ve said first: It would be a great addition to the autodoc.