Explaining Scarcity? Need suggestions

So, we need scarcity. But a zombie apocalypse doesn’t exactly lend itself well to the idea when we’re playing in the days immediately afterwards. So how do we enforce it?

Possible ideas

Zombies eat. The food is gone because the zombies devoured it. This is also where all the pets went. The zombies in the game don’t eat people, they just kill them and revivify them, but there’s no reason they wouldn’t be omnivores devouring everything edible they come across beyond that, right?
Cockroaches. Mutant cockroaches with mandibles that can chop right through metal containers and get to the delicious food inside.
The fungus and beyond. Perhaps food CAN be everywhere, but most of it is contaminated and useless thanks to some X-infected microorganisms?
The Evacutation. People stockpiled it in their vehicles and took it with them when they left.

Obviously booze should not be covered and should be plentiful! :wink:

The Evacuation. People took them with them when they left. But… an awful lot of people clearly stayed behind as zombies, so how well does that work?
Metal Eaters. Monsters that eat metal and destroy vehicles (along with other objects, such as breaking into gunshops and eating many of the weapons).
The Future! Cars just aren’t as popular thanks to the auto-taxi system and subways making public transport the way to go. Also we should totally have buses.

What else, folks? Have any ideas to share?

That works fine if the zombies left are just the first lot of victims, the ones that died while everyone was trying to clear out, explains the small numbers too.
It also allows a mechanic for the further out you go from the source the more likely you are to find burnt out cars and roving hordes, after all everyone got infected, it’s just some died quicker.

As far as vehicles go, I’ve always thought they should be a lot more common, found everywhere on roads and stuff like that, but be so damaged only a mechanic with a welder and lots of time would be able to fix one up.

Makes them easy to find, but hard to get, while removing some of the luck.

Regarding food scarcity, I think you only need to shift the start from “the day after” to “a couple of weeks after”. I can come up with a few reasons. Maybe you were hiking with your buddy only to return two weeks later and the world has gone to shit. Maybe you woke up from a coma in a hospital, a la walking dead. Or maybe you have holed up in the evac shelter for weeks, waiting for rescue, but now you’re running out of food, and you need to get moving.

Without power most fresh food will have gone bad or be on the verge to, after a few weeks. The only thing left is canned and dried food, which would normally be quite abundant… but not when people have already looted and scavenged for weeks trying to survive.

No zombies I know eat any food that isn’t meat, anyhow. Not that you have to follow zombie lore; whatever; but I think food scarcity is conceivable without it.

As for cars: I think cars should be a common sight, but very rarely functional. I imagine highways filled with cars to the brim, corpses all around, and zombies as well. The cars are all rusted to shit because of the acid rain, but they may well contain some goodies if you can clear out the zombies! Maybe a few functional parts, maybe some food and clothes in the boot. Whatever isn’t fucked by the acid.

I don’t think the food in cities or towns are a huge problem, the problem is all the renewable resources like hunting, beehives, and anthills. I think we should make beehives and anthills a bit rarer and produce less food.

Also, animals like squirrels, rabits, and deer should be less common and much much faster than they are. Making hunting take a lot more skill, planning, and stealth than it does currently. As it is right now, a fresh character with a few speed bonuses can chase down multiple squirrels and punch them to death, which should be pretty much impossible.

That’s sort of different from this - this is just an attempt at lore explanations for already current states.

I consider the lack of wrecked cars more a bug than a design issue, there SHOULD be wrecked cars all over, even traffic jams full of them on some highways.

To balance this of course, we’d need to make scavenging parts from wrecked cars less productive, so that you CAN cobble together a working vehicle from a traffic jam, but it’d be a lot of work.

Also traffic jams would be packed to the gills with zombies whether they’re in a city or not… :smiley:

Scavenged parts should have a (rusted) tag, which means at random intervals it damages itself. Making the few scavenged parts alot less useful but alot more deadly fun!

Also: wouldn’t the zombies start starving then?

I really think the Metal Eaters idea is perfect for this, too. For explaining WHY all the cars are so wrecked you can only get a few whole pieces from each.

My idea is cool too, un-reliable parts that randomly damage themselves and put you in dangerous situations.

It’s a give-take thing, sure you got that part (fairly) easily but it isn’t as good as something you might find on a working vehicle.

Also when random parts stop working for no reason and you have to repair them with nothing, wasting time to get your vehicle running is scary fun a good thing for interesting situations.

Or have them completely break upon any reasonable trama.

The Evacuation idea can explain a lot, assuming it went roughly like this:

People left in panic, vaguely organised by the military, so that although vast portions of the population were already zombified, many others left the cities in cars, packing them full to the brim with food and supplies which were deliberately handed out to civilians in the hopes that they’d show up at refugee camps and be redistributed there. Because the cars were packed so full, it was often one civilian per car, which meant that a lot of vehicles were used by relatively few people. Special personnel stayed behind for as long as possible before being evacuated (e.g. scientists and military).

This explains:

Lack of parked vehicles
Lack of food
Lack of other supplies
Lack of survivors
The random groups of dead soldiers and scientists where there are no dead civilians

I don’t think I like gtaguy’s idea of unreliable equipment. That takes control out of the player’s hand. Instead can’t we make it so that there are plenty of vehicle parts and vehicles lying around, but the limiting factors are:

Technical ability (i.e. A new character can’t just make a deathmobile. It takes a month or two to reach that skill, and significant dedication to training!)
Fuel (Seriously. This needs to be a limiting factor asap, otherwise vehicles will remain OP!)

Make pumping gas cause noise, then it’s balanced.

But then how is anything in cata in the players control? Food spawns, zombie spawns, or CBM installing?
If you don’t like the randomness then make rusted parts take extra damage, so the player has to be smart with rusty old parts.

Hmm. That’s still open to abuse, though. It’s more than worth the trade-off of fighting a small horde to get a whole tank of fuel.

I reckon there are two solutions:

Limit fuel available in gas stations (random variance between 1/4 to 2 tanks full)
Make gas more abundant, but require power to pump it (i.e. a few batteries in a generator before you can get a tank-full, and technical skill required to adapt the generators for battery power.)

Guys, not relevant to the topic of this thread.

Well, except for the fact that resources like gas and water are going to be getting a bit rarer soon, thanks to the end of infinite containers. so run with that assumption, rare resources, as a base.

I think acid rain is a perfectly fine way of explaining the cars being rusted away and whatever, especially with garages (which could be one of the few places that actually have working cars if they were to be made scarcer), plus I guess -with it being the future- a few cars could be made out of acid resistant material which explains a few other working ones around.

In terms of food scarcity it could also be that in the weeks leading up to near total infection, the food/transport networks went down as everyone got gradually more sick/some people started turning. This would pretty much explain it, as my supermarket has pretty much run out of stuff after a few days of snow.

Or, more far fetched, It could be that most people had recycling bionics so they didn’t need to eat much (hence a lot less food around, combining that with survivors already having picked through most stuff and some stuff going off/destroyed in the panic).

Good point, on the gulf coast when a hurricane is approaching the grocery stores VERY QUICKLY empty out and look… well pretty much like a cataclysm grocery store. On the other hand people’s homes are crammed full of food, but if it were a protracted emergency that would start to disappear too.

I really think the Metal Eaters idea is perfect for this, too. For explaining WHY all the cars are so wrecked you can only get a few whole pieces from each.[/quote]

Yea that’s certainly a viable explanation. I need to take a close look at the metal eaters thread, the only thing that concerns me about it is if they were to eat the player’s vehicle, that would be hitting below the belt in my opinion. don’t know if that was even suggested though.

I have kinda the same thoughts on the vehicles on the roads.
But make it easier to make cars from the wrecked ones, because cars don’t tend to last long anyway.
As for the penalties with scavenged parts, They should be dependant on your mechanical skill, Say if you had a mechanical skill of 1, and you pulled an engine from a car, the engine would suffer serious speed/fuel consumption/health penalties for your crappy labour on it.

Putting that said engine into another vehicle would make it worse even more, So it would be really easy to make a crap car, but quite difficult to get something going that will last for more than half a day.

Anyway, How hard would it be to have the game spawn shitloads of randomly damaged cars across the roads everywhere? Sooner it is in, sooner we can fiddle about with the details and see what’s best.
(I may attempt to make this myself but I will undoubtedly break something and give up after a few hours of brain melting bug hunting)

The memory requirements would be terrible, offloading every single piece of car and every 50+ so cars would most probably break the game and make traveling on roads neigh impossible due to memory requirements. just take up a lot of resources and time.

I was modifying the game yesterday, and I had a car spawning on each tile of road, every tile. There was literally thousands of vehicles overlapping and spawning.
I don’t think memory will be a big issue even if the game has to track individual parts.

I personally don’t think more cars would be a good addition, I mean, it’s currently a bit unrealistic that there are no cars about but I’d hate to see them become commonplace or easier to build.
I think a few more on the roads would be good from a flavour perspective, probably horribly destroyed from the panic/fires/acid rain/shockerZ’s/Boomers and whatever, and maybe you might be able to scavenge a few parts from them which you could normally find in garages anyway.

Car’s are just too powerful currently to have easily available.