The Jank That Is Morale


Another specific example of The Jank That Is Morale that I experienced recently.

I was doing the lab challenge, and had broken an arm. I had fortified a living quarters area and was resting there to heal. Food supplies were running low, so I brought myself from famished to full with something profoundly unappetizing (I don’t remember what it was). Naturally, this tanked my morale. I did have a novel on hand, though, so I read that to get my morale up, and managed to get my morale positive again. I then read some textbooks, but was interrupted when my morale buff from the novel wore off, making me too depressed to study. I read the novel again to bring my morale back up, and then read some more of the textbook before being interrupted again. I alternated beteween the novel and the textbook this way until I was tired, and then slept.

Now, the way I play, alternating between novels and textbooks is pretty normal, and I don’t really see a problem with that. What was weird was just how far my morale oscillated. It was probably the combination of boredom from the textbook and disgust from the food that brought my morale so low. We’ve already established that food morale is especially wonky, but the situation gave me another idea.

What if positive and negative morale stimuli were allowed to occupy the same category, thereby cancelling each other out? What if reading the novel made first removed the morale penalty for being bored of reading the textbook before starting to add its bonus? For food, this means that tasty food could be used to get rid of the taste of bad food.

Maybe some stimuli could mitigate negative morale, but do not grant positive morale. For example, clean water might have an enjoyability rating of 0, but it could possibly be used to wash away bad flavors from the mouth, raising food morale toward zero.


I think the list of morale being changed is less important than the what makes your toon happy/sad.

I like a list of what does what. I like to know why my toon is happy/sad. I like this to know what I have to do in order to correct a problem. You just got run over by a mack truck. Sure my toon is now unhappy. I save the game and load up a month later and have no clue as why they are unhappy. Then I can’t fix the problem.

Purely example sake. The flip side to this argument is also a problem. Just eat lots of candy to feel better. But you never get fat or thin. Implement the fat/thin system like GTA San Andreas :wink:

We already have treadmills and other crap to exercise.


Um. You do know that ‘v’ brings up a list of your current morale modifiers, right? Or are you talking about something else?


Reading through everything I was under the impression that was the topic of conversation. To consolidate the V list in just red/green positive/negative groups minus the list.


Ohh okay. No, that was not what I was thinking of doing. What I was proposing was that morale modifiers be categorized. You know how if you eat a sausage and then some pizza, it says both “enjoyed sausage” and “enjoyed pizza”? Under the current system, you have a pizza cap and a sausage cap, and a cap for every food item in the game. This lets you get a huge morale boost from binge-eating on many different kinds of food. This same goes for morale penalties – every possible source of morale loss in the game has its own cap, and if everything goes wrong at once, you end up in the negative hundreds D8 zone.

A related but distinct problem is the fact that all those morale modifiers wear off at different rates, leading to bizzare fluctuations in morale as your pleasure from reading a book wears off, letting your displeasure from having eating something nasty (which lasts way too long) dominate your psyche again and submerge you in crippling depression.

My proposal was to collapse similar morale modifiers into one – not just on the ‘v’ screen, but under the hood as well. You would have a single “enjoyed food”, a single “enjoyed reading” modifier, a single “enjoyed drugs” modifier, and so on.


Ahhh…ok. Yeah I can dig that. So eating similar crap will just top off that group? So let me draw up a small system and see if this is what you want.


Ate a snack = XXX --> adds up depending on what the number was per snack item + hidden timer. Eat more and you add to the number and adds more time back to the timer.
The number is how happy this makes you with a capped amount for the snack grouping and a timer is added to this that diminishes the number(slowly lowering over time).

Same for all other groups. Examples:
Ate a lite meal(PB&J?). Ate a meal(anything larger than PB& J?). Stepping in water and being in rain already in “wet” group.

Just getting into specifics. Could you draw up a system or add to mine if I am gauging the topic correctly?


Alright, here’s the general idea:

  • There should exist some number of morale modifier categories. For example,
    – Food
    – Drugs
    – Books
    – Comfort
    – Guilt
  • For each morale modifier category, there is a hidden variable Intensity, a visible variable Enjoyment, and a hidden constant Coefficient.
  • Whenever stimulus associated with a given morale modifier category is received, Intensity is altered by the enjoyability rating of the stimulus.
  • Whenever Intensity changes, Enjoyment is set to Coefficient × log(Intensity / Coefficient).
  • Your base morale value is equal to the sum of the Enjoyment values of all morale modifier categories.

Exceptions to this system might be allowable, such as in the case of drug withdrawal or mood-effecting disadvantages.


I was under the impression Intensity is the Enjoyment #?

I like a chocolate bar. I know it will make me a little happy. So I understand the part about it being hidden because irl I have no idea just how happy it will make me. But what is it that would be same/different, compared to having them as the same as 1 number?

Not for the sake of arguing with you. I just do not understand the complexity part…for what purpose?


That’s the opposite of how we want it to work. It leads to things like short term effects displacing longer term ones, or if we prevent that, it becomes unclear which effects interact. Having everything overlap is much more consistent.


Ancient humans had a word for this phenomenon. They called it “feasting”.


Morale bonus cap for food should indeed be higher if theres a variety of it, as long as it doesn’t reach the level of a heroin high.


Its an occasion, such as festivals. But yeah, u got the point.


What if you instead got sick of eating the same thing?


I couldn’t agree more. I feel bad but my survivor eats either meat or veg pie 9/10 days. Im not sure if it would be a coding nightmare to keep track of all of this but it sounds like one to a non coder.


The thing that interests me here is the way that a displeasurable food is apparently causing such a longer lasting mental trauma than the enjoyment one gets from reading a novel.
Does this mean that certain intense modifiers inherently (or at least are supposed to) last longer because of their singularity and intensity, while less intense ones fade off all at once because even if they added up to so and so, matching the nasty food, the enjoyment is less and therefore fades out quicker and more suddenly, or is that duration a separate value, unrelated to the intensity?


For some cases (though certainly not all) that’s exactly how it realistically should work. If you’re bored from reading a textbook, reading a novel should end that boredom. How morale wearoff is implemented might change the effect of this, but boredom in particular is a form of discontentment that is very easily mitigable. That makes me think there should be a “bored” modifier that a wide variety of things can mitigate, possibly including things that don’t otherwise boost morale!


The morale penalty from reading a textbook is not, “boredom”, it represents the mental fatigue from studying.

Morale and focus are closely interrelated concepts in the game, it would be fair to call morale “all long-term effects that impact focus”, but that’s a terrible name, so we call it “morale” because it’s pretty close. Some of the effects interfere with focus because they put you in a bad mood, but others are more closely akin to fatigue.

As for bordeom per se, it’s considered neutral, it only exists in the negative when you’re doing something fun.


It could be called “motivation”.


That… while possibly truer would also be a longer, and less intrinsically self descriptive, while mood feels like it doesn’t imply enough relation to focus. hmm… well maybe not.

either way Its been that way since whales and I get the feeling a ‘search and replace’ run through the code would find a way to break something between hard code and jsons.

Don’t really see any gain. Its descriptive enough probably… although I’m trying to think of anything in the screens the player sees thaat tells/ implies the importance of focus, and itts relation with morale, and cant think of anything. I might have learned that purely from the forums.
The closest I can think of are the morale too low mesages the player can get, but those don’t mention anything about focus.

Should some in-game messages hint at/ give a brief glimpse of the importance of focus? Maybe crafting menu telling the difference between 100 focus and current focus effects or something?


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