The slightly non-intuitive part is that you have a single indicator that is reflecting TWO states:
- Need for calories
TL;DR - if the panel doesn’t say ‘Very Hungry’, ‘Famished’, or ‘Starving’, you can functionally ignore it. You don’t need food currently.
For those more inclined towards details:
If you are full (of cookies, cabbage, water, booze, tainted meat, sand, whatevs…), then you list as ‘Full’ or possibly ‘Bloated’ or something along those lines. Doesn’t matter if you are calorically starving.
If you are NOT full, then the panel may display values like ‘peckish’ or ‘hungry’, meaning that you have plenty of room in your tummy, but you don’t really need more calories, so you don’t really need to eat. However, if it displays ‘Very Hungry’ or ‘Famished’ or ‘Starving’ then you DO need calories, and certainly should eat when you get the chance.
That’s it in a nutshell. If you want more detail you can pop open your character panel and there’s a section that shows your current body fitness, which will be something like ‘Normal’ or ‘Overweight’, or presumably values like Obese or Skinny, or Anorexic or whatever. These indicate your overall caloric status, completely separate from how your tummy is feeling. So if you are currently ‘overweight’ but ‘hungry’, then really you don’t need to eat for a while and can just ignore it.
Honestly the one thing I would change right now in the system is to have the ‘hungry’ text changed from yellow to grey, and only have it go to yellow at ‘Very Hungry’. That would make the feedback quite a bit more intuitive for most people, I think. In CDDA, Yellow means ‘you may want to do something about this’, and red means ‘do something about it NOW’, while grey means ‘nominal’ - and the Hungry status in the game right now is a nominal status, not a warning.