Scaling for Hardcore Characters

I’ve started playing hardcore characters recently and I noticed a couple of things regarding damage/healing that are not especially balanced.

First of all, healing occurs much too rapidly in hardcore characters. You can regain almost all your health with just a few hours of sleep. Presumably because sleep heals just as quickly for hardcore characters who have much lower health, but my presumption about hardcore characters is that they don’t just have lower health; everything else is just more dangerous. Which makes the fast healing a little excessive.

All healing also seems to have not been adjusted for hardcore, and a first aid kit even with almost no medical skill can pretty much bring a near-dead character up to near-full health. This kinda makes the first-aid skill somewhat useless except for bionics.

Second is smoke damage.

I was actually kind of glad to see that smoke was nerfed in 0.8, but nonetheless, my recent (hardcore) character who was doing very well for herself still coughed herself to death after just a relatively short exposure to smoke, despite wearing a dust mask the entire time.

Taking damage from smoke inhalation long after you’ve left the smoke area is a pain in the ass and it makes it pretty much impossible to predict how much smoke exposure is going to be ‘safe’ for a hardcore character with little margin for error. Mouth protection is supposed to help but it’s impossible to tell how much it is helping. The smoke/damage system is very opaque right now and as a game mechanic in a roguelike that can be monumentally frustrating.

One suggestion; put a limit on how much damage you can take from coughing unless you are still inside the smoke. For example, your character coughs. First it checks whether or not you are in smoke currently. If you are, damage is applied. If not, then it checks your health; are you above 25% health? If yes, then it damages you. If not, then it does not damage you.

Another suggestion; scale smoke damage for hardcore characters. Right now, thanks to the fact that it is extremely difficult to kill smokers with projectiles, they are nearly unassailable on hardcore without a full gas mask. A small amount of smoke exposure can pretty much kill a hardcore character, which is kinda wacky. This smoke is pretty much more effective than sarin gas where it comes to hardcore characters.

Yet another suggestion; make the inhaler reduce coughing. Although I can’t find any research or information on the subject of using an inhaler to treat smoke inhalation/exposure, I think it’s not an unreasonable leap to make for the game. Inhalers relax the smooth muscles in the lungs, increasing surface area and allowing the lungs to extract more oxygen from breathed air. Although I can envision a scenario where this might be very bad for you if you have a lot of smoke particles in your lungs, I think for the purpose of the game it would make a sensible treatment option. And give some use to inhalers, which are right now reserved for asthmatics alone.

Generally, my point is, if Hardcore is meant to be a relatively complete difficulty-level above and beyond the normal Cata difficulty, perhaps a little extra work should be put into balancing out damage and healing where it makes sense.

[size=7pt]Teh Hazardy Cloads of Deadly Smoke[/size] [size=4pt]TM[/size] are really weird, and in fact is really unbalanced, even if it was nerfed. They still give lots of “Smoke” stat wich kills you in just some minutes. If i remember well, no one ever died for being next to the smoke for 3 seconds and then coughing and coughing. My suggestion isto make it just take half bar of HP, and in hardcore, a bar in extreme cases. And not to take half bar by X time, i say to take half bar entirely.

Or even better, to make it so that the MAX hp that the smoke stat can take of you is half bar EVERY 20 minutes. Or depending of the smoke type:

Tiny smoke: half bar
Big smoke: a bar
Black cloud of deadly smoke (deadier than bears): Bar and half.

The hardcore trait is just low HP, probably needs a better name, like “fragile”. It would be really disruptive to change how healing and taking damage happen (which is what’s required to deal with your hardcore-related requests) to support one niche trait.

I’m a bit confused about people taking the “pretty much any damage is going to kill you” trait and then complaining when things kill them. The original concept was to give you 1 HP, but that doesn’t work because various things like crawling through a broken window can cause minor damage and take you out, so it was extended a bit to make it remotely playable. Maybe a better way to implement it would be to leave HP alone, but if you took damage above a certain threshold it would KO you.

Re: smoke inhalation, pretty much the only treatment for it is a oxygen supply, which would supress any damage for the duration of its use, and let you wait it out. I’d be fine with someone adding that, and they have lots of other uses. An inhaler isn’t going to help.

I’m not complaining about dying easily. I just said that healing should be nerfed for hardcore in the same post. That was a bit knee-jerk, don’t you think?

I like the world to be more dangerous, to make risks inherently more risky, but simply reducing health isn’t adequate. Certain things like the damage you receive from smoke should be pretty much relative to your maximum health, and not a constant damage that harms one person more than another. It’s not something that is cutting away at your flesh like zombie teeth.

Just because I want combat with zombies to be a Big Deal doesn’t mean I want to kill myself crawling through a window (as you said) but that also applies to smoke inhalation. When deaths stop making sense, it’s not interesting to me. Maybe this means hardcore isn’t for me. Which is a shame, because really all I want out of it is a dangerous world. Not a wildly unbalanced one. So yeah, maybe ‘Fragile’ would be a better term, but I’d still be missing the option to play a more dangerous world where the hordes of zombies aren’t less dangerous than clouds of smoke.

Re: Inhalers, Oxygen Machines, and Smoke inhalation;

Oxygen machines increase the amount of oxygen in the air supply. Inhalers consist largely of a bronchodilator medication. As the name implies, bronchodilation dilates the bronchial pathways and increase the amount of oxygen the lungs can absorb from the air, and are particularly effective when the lungs are blocked with mucus or are constricted - both of which tend to happen with exposure to smoke.

This might be why bronchodilators are actually used in the the treatment of smoke inhalation.

So while oxygen supplies would work, they are only part of a full treatment which also includes bronchodilators. Which is what inhalers are. So yes, I do think they would help.

Specifically, when the lungs are exposed to irritants it results in what is called a ‘bronchospasm,’ which is essentially a constriction of the bronchial pathways. It dramatically reduces the amount of air you can breathe. Presumably this is a defense mechanism to prevent inhalation of dangerous particulates by physically making it harder to breathe. In theory when the particulates are gone the lungs return to normal function, but after a large amount of exposure the lungs can remain constricted well beyond the point where the actual danger has passed. Bronchodilators specifically remedy this effect and allow a patient to breathe normally. This increases the amount of air the patient can breathe and thus the amount of oxygen they can extract from the air.

There are asthma inhalers which include corticosteroids (or are primarily made up of them) and these would not be effective, but for the sake of the game it doesn’t matter unless you want to distinguish between the two. It’s not a huge abstraction to say that inhalers all consist of bronchodilators for the purpose of helping with smoke.

Maybe gasmasks should use filters.

Air filters for gas masks and filter masks would be kind of interesting, yeah. Just fill them up like batteries in a flashlight. I like that idea. They could spawn in hardware stores and military surplus stores, and also be removed from other found gas masks/filter masks.

Lets think of ways to make them!

I can see your point, you want the “serious” dangers to be more dangerous, without the less dangerous stuff being more dangerous, and you don’t think smoke inhalation should be a “serious” danger.

Ok, my research into smoke inhalation stopped at “rescue inhalers don’t do it” because that’s what we have in the game. As that’s a thing I wouldn’t have a problem including a bronchodialator in the game, though I think merging a common item (steroid-based rescue inhaler) that specifically doesn’t work for this kind of thing with a much rarer item that does is a bit too far, it’s not an abstraction, it’s precisely counter to reality, you know?

Actually I think you have it backwards; the ‘rescue’ medications are all bronchodilators, at least from what I can tell. Bronchodilators provide fast-acting relief by rapidly making it easy to breathe, while corticosteroids are essentially an anti-inflammatory and provide long-lasting symptom control by preventing flare-ups.

Granted, I am also doing this research on the fly.

But yes, spot on with the dangers etc. It might be too much work, I admit. I do think people often use Hardcore as more of a ‘hard mode,’ sort of a difficulty toggle. I’d be curious to see how many people use it and if it’d be worth putting work into, but it’d be tough to get that information.

You guys ever consider gathering metrics from the game? :wink:

I may have a small solution, yet convenient enough to convince you into considering it with Hardcore trait.
You have a regeneration rate (which is tied to a mechanix other than generating, increasing and implementing change in HP, like when due to mutation) and a minor issue that calls itself “Smoke kills you vile enough you can’t seem to heal at enough pace”. Other than that, you have items that correspond with HP, and that’s that. As far as sleep is mentioned, I don’t think that the recovery should be split in half just because of the trait - it’s a roguelike and you’re ought to continue playing after resting, not because it’s supposed to be like that anyway, but because there’s no need to regard sleeping as such if you heal mere six hit points out of a hundred or so.
First, you need and change how the game handles the recovering agents hp-wise once they’re introduced with Hardcore. Currently, you have Medikit > Disinfectant > Bandages that could be suited for such a character, just lower the bar towards the less potent of items, which will actually make bandages viable once you get to sleep (and make the game more of a realistic challenge). To avoid any further abruptions over smoke inhalation effects (and for a Hardcore character there are more and more lethal things than, well just fire that eats you up in seconds and mentioned above smoke) you should introduce the Adrenaline Shot. If a character rapidly loses health due to heavy smoke inhalation this should help enough to get him out of trouble, find a safe spot and rest for healing. Just to sum up, when adrenaline wears out and you start losing health again, you should be sleeping and, hopefully, saving yourself from death.

I’ve considered letting a character go into shock if the damage taken is thorough and fast-pacing, but it seems much of a hassle to actually process since pretty much anything will cut you up when it finds your character in the supposed state, whereas unable to defend him/herself.

I suggestd an option where the world can scale with you and get harder as you get stronger and throw stuff at you. basically the game is out to screw you option. like most roguelikes when you get to a certain point, you are basically the terminator.

I think you’re right, I was getting albuterol and cortisteroids mixed up somehow. (don’t ask how, I have NO idea). Erm… ok, inhaler to supress smoke inhalation symptoms, done. When I’m wrong I’m wrong :slight_smile:

My main focus in the dificulty scaling area is ratcheting up monsters (optionally). I am interested in adjusting things on the player side too, but the code to do that tends to be much more complex and error-prone.

See :slight_smile:
This is the harder part on the client side, just going through and instrumenting the code, packing it up and firing it off at a server is relatively simple. Most likely what I’ll do is package a second app with the game that can optionally fire off your memorial data.
The ACTUAL hard part is spinning up a server to do something useful with the data. Ideally we could have a social aspect like leaderboards, challenges, etc.
So yea, I’ve put a few moments of thought into it :wink: