Current health system has 5 more or less major flaws:
[ol][li]Food health value becomes obsolete once you acquire vitamins[/li]
[li]Optimal gameplay (popping pills once every x hours) is tedious rather than skill-based[/li]
[li]Changes take long time, meaning recovering from low health can take years[/li]
[li]Very low health totally disables regeneration during sleep and this can be highly dangerous for some characters[/li]
[li]It heavily rewards the kind of game knowledge a regular player is unlikely to have[/li][/ol]
Since vitamins give whooping 50 point of health mod, one pill can undo enough alcohol to get wasted. No regular food can do miracles like this.
My idea is: popping vitamins opens a menu
[ul][li]Pop a single pill[/li]
[li]Start taking pills regularly[/li]
[li]Stop taking pills regularly[/li][/ul]
Taking a single pill would give a vitamin disease (or boost existing one’s time if it’s below cap), which would boost health or health mod separately from food, but only if it’s low enough (“supplements aren’t a substitute for a varied diet”).
The second option would add a disease/mutation/state/whatever that would make the player pop pills at optimal time (maybe even during sleep) for no move points (to avoid “I automatically grabbed pills and tank smashed me, thanks devs!”) like inhaler works for asthmatics.
As for points 3 and up: if you’ve played a survivor with the leaky bionic (bionic monster has it AFAIR), it keeps health_mod low (unless you eat lots of vitamins). If it manages to bring health to -100, your character will stop regenerating during sleep. At first I thought this is was bug, I had to read the source to understand what is going on.
My idea of fixing this would be:
[ul][li]At very low health, player gets informed why regeneration is slow (“You’re very malnourished, your body heals slowly”)[/li]
[li]Extreme values move towards 0 during sleep regeneration[/li][/ul]
Quick google search shows that part of treating malnutrition is bed rest, so this makes sense to me. As for high health going down - this one could be changed to only trigger when you’re wounded, because wounds aren’t healthy. Or maybe it should stay, so that you get out of that damn bed and go for a jog.
I can write all those changes myself, I just need to get them approved. It doesn’t sound like much work, but as with all projects, it will take much more time than it looks like it will.