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Author Topic: More reasonable food system (aka Down with prepared meals!)  (Read 30516 times)

Jiri Petru

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Re: More reasonable food system (aka Down with prepared meals!)
« Reply #45 on: July 11, 2010, 03:39:23 pm »

Kohaku, I'm afraid I have to distance myself from your nutritional idea.  :P It would require overtly complex underlying mechanisms noone would be able to remember, and the only visible end result would be that one dwarf eats 3 foods per meal, while another one eats 5. Which is IMHO wrong! All dwarves need to eat 1 food exactly. The disparity would make the stocks screen and the number of stockpiled food completely useless. The player would have no way to tell how much food there is and how long the stocks will last. Making Dwarf Fortress more obscure is not what we want.

But I'm also afraid Toady agrees with you because I seem to remember he wrote somewhere he wanted to implement a nutritional system. My two cents are: I don't really care about nutritional system, as long as it works in the background, is completely automated and doesn't make the game any more complicated. All I am willing to do is to provide different food sources - if the dwarves handle the rest automatically, so be it. But if I'm required to monitor their food intake, carefully prepare recipes for a balanced diet and whatnot, I'm probably quiting the game.

Not to mention our modern understanding of diet and its components are only recent, and by medieval and whatever, people had no idea (in the better case) or a completely wrong idea (in the worse case) of what was healthy.

--EDIT:
Quote from: Ultimoos
There could be a couple of different nutritions. And a lack of something would make dwarfs more sleepy, lazy, less effective in combat or even make them easily fall for sickness.
This is what I'm afraid of. How would the player know their dwarves are weak due to lack of animal fats or whatever? Is there any simple way to tell them? Or would they have to browse through Thoughts screen or endless tables to find the information amongst dozens of random other numbers or stats? If the latter, don't bother implementing nutrition, it would only made the game worse.
--

And even if it is all invisible, there's a problem how to inform player about the nutrition. How would the player know something went wrong? The game really shouldn't have a system with a complexity bigger than it can meaningfully report to the player. Would there be a separate Nutrition screen that would list all dwarves' needs and consumed foods in a similar way how the Healthcare screen now? That would be horrible! A reasonable way to handle the system would be for it to be invisible all the time, unless there is a problem. Then some pupup or something would warn you: "There's a danger of scurvy! Quickly provide more fruit. If you don't do that in two seasons, dwarves might start to die". This would be allright, it's quite user friendly and also provides an interesting challenge.

Quote from: Ultimoos
Now we can feed entire fortress with strawberries with out having to bother with other food too much.

This isn't really a problem with nutrition, and you don't need nutritional system to handle this problem. Is is again a problem of the food units, and how much dwarves consume per year. How much is 1 strawberry? I imagine it would be something like a jar of strawberries. But how can that much be harvested from a single tile? And even if it could, it would just mean that 30 jars of strawberries provide about the same amount of food as a single cow. Which is ridiculous. One dwarf eats 8 times per year, which means that 8 strawberry bushes - or 8 jars of strawberries - provide for a single dwarf for a whole year. Farewell, economy!

The game simply needs better balance of food "sized" all over. And when the foods are balanced in between each other, you then need to balance adventurer mode and fortress mode, because as I've already says, dwarves eating only 8 times a year must consume much more per meal. We probably can't solve that now - we've tried to come up with a division based on how much a single cow would last, but our division wouldn't probably work for grain, cheese, berries, etc. The first step really needs to be to balance the foods so that "1 meat" is about the same amount of food as "1 grain" and "1 berry".

Thinking about berries specifically, I'm not convinced they can be kept in fortress mode. Gathering enough berries even for a single dwarf serving (= 1/8th of a year's food intake) seems extremely difficult, and it wouldn't be worth the effort. For a fortress of 100 dwarves or a human town of 100 people, berries might as well not exist - their effect would be almost nil. Unless, of course, you dedicated a large part of the workforce to gathering, but I doubt any player would want to do that. I see no reason for keeping berries in. They would probably be best as an adventurer mode only and just a cosmetic thing for dwarf mode (like pebbles are).

OR berries could be implemented the same way as spices, if we ever get to that point. I imagine foods like these wouldn't satiate nor decrease hunger, they would only create happy thoughts. (I know, you might argue you can get satiated by berries in real life. But fortress-mode scale is very different from real life or adventure-mode scale).
« Last Edit: July 11, 2010, 03:47:11 pm by Jiri Petru »
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NW_Kohaku

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Re: More reasonable food system (aka Down with prepared meals!)
« Reply #46 on: July 11, 2010, 04:05:45 pm »

Kohaku, I'm afraid I have to distance myself from your nutritional idea.  :P It would require overtly complex underlying mechanisms noone would be able to remember, and the only visible end result would be that one dwarf eats 3 foods per meal, while another one eats 5. Which is IMHO wrong! All dwarves need to eat 1 food exactly. The disparity would make the stocks screen and the number of stockpiled food completely useless. The player would have no way to tell how much food there is and how long the stocks will last. Making Dwarf Fortress more obscure is not what we want.

In that case, make it 80 kilos of food a year

Personally, I don't see much problem with having a change in the amount of food you need to store.  If a dwarf eats 4 food on average, and eats 8 times a year, then instead of multiplying your current population by 2 to get a rough estimate of how much food you should have, you just multiply by 8.  That wouldn't even make it more obscure, as that's not even a number that new players would even be able to come up with.

In fact, personally, I never see much problem with it at all, since I tend to be so flooded in food that I'm typically more concerned with whether or not I need to be building more warehouses to hold it all or not.

This is what I'm afraid of. How would the player know their dwarves are weak due to lack of animals fats or whatever? Is there any simple way to tell them? Or would he have to browse through Thoughts screen or endless tables to find the information amongst dozens of random other numbers or stats? If the latter, don't bother implementing nutrition, it would only made the game worse.

Interface tweak to the rescue.  I've been thinking about it for a while, but I think that what we really need to do is start taking advantage of some of the transparency layers in the new graphics system.  We could start using a small overlayable icon that blinks to start telling you when something is wrong with a unit on the regular viewing screen. 

If we just have "look menus" that are capable of switching to one another, it would also be less of a problem.

Likewise, I don't think the guy who's running the Complete Interface Overhaul thread should be saying we can't tweak the interface to suit new demands.

And even if it is all invisible, there's a problem how to inform player about the nutrition. How would the player know something went wrong? The game really shouldn't have a system with a complexity bigger than it can meaningfully report to the player. Would there be a separate Nutrition screen that would list all dwarves' needs and consumed foods in a similar way how the Healthcare screen now? That would be horrible! A reasonable way to handle the system would be for it to be invisible all the time, unless there is a problem. Then some pupup or something would warn you: "There's a danger of scurvy! Quickly provide more fruit. If you don't do that in two seasons, dwarves might start to die". This would be allright, it's quite user friendly and also provides an interesting challenge.

Actually, while I was thinking of a loo(k)-menu page for nutrition, a z-menu page just for reporting nutrition (possibly reported by a medical officer, the way that the record keeper keeps the stocks page) could show you who was suffering from imbalances... especially since, generally speaking, if one dwarf isn't getting a balanced diet, odds are, ALL dwarves aren't getting a balanced diet (unless it's just the military dwarves that get stuck with large amounts of beef jerky).

This isn't really a problem with nutrition, and you don't need nutritional system to handle this problem. Is is again a problem of the food units, and how much dwarves consume per year. How much is 1 strawberry? I imagine it would be something like a jar of strawberries. But how can that much be harvested from a single tile? And even if it could, it would just mean that 30 jars of strawberries provide about the same amount of food as a single cow. Which is ridiculous. One dwarf eats 8 times per year, which means that 8 strawberry bushes - or 8 jars of strawberries - provide for a single dwarf for a whole year. Farewell, economy!

The game simply needs better balance of food "sized" all over. And when the foods are balanced in between each other, you then need to balance adventurer mode and fortress mode, because as I've already says, dwarves eating only 8 times a year must consume much more per meal. We probably can't solve that now - we've tried to come up with a division based on how much a single cow would last, but our division wouldn't probably work for grain, cheese, berries, etc. The first step really needs to be to balance the foods so that "1 meat" is about the same amount of food as "1 grain" and "1 berry".

I don't think that was what Ultimoos was talking about (I think he was talking about having all dwarves live on a single crop as their only food.)  Regardless, that just makes me plug  tracking everything by volume and mass again.

Thinking about berries specifically, I'm not convinced they can be kept in fortress mode. Gathering enough berries even for a single dwarf serving (= 1/8th of a year's food intake) seems extremely difficult, and it wouldn't be worth the effort. For a fortress of 100 dwarves or a human town of 100 people, berries might as well not exist - their effect would be almost nil. Unless, of course, you dedicated a large part of the workforce to gathering, but I doubt any player would want to do that. I see no reason for keeping berries in. They would probably be best as an adventurer mode only and just a cosmetic thing for dwarf mode (like pebbles are).

OR berries could be implemented the same way as spices, if we ever get to that point. I imagine foods like these wouldn't satiate nor decrease hunger, they would only create happy thoughts. (I know, you might argue you can get satiated by berries in real life. But fortress-mode scale is very different from real life or adventure-mode scale).

Strawberries are a huge part of agriculture in the US, especially in places like California, you know...  According to a quick hit on Google, Americans apparently eat 5 lbs of them every year.  Compared to orchard fruits, you probably get more pounds per acre with strawberries.  Besides, we already have things like the potato knock-off, the bloated tuber, and the presumable sugar beet knock-off, the sweet pod.  Both of those are root vegetables, which require some serious labor, as well.  Hell, even things like rice and wheat require picking the kernels off from the stalks.  I don't see why you'd single in on berries.
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Jiri Petru

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Re: More reasonable food system (aka Down with prepared meals!)
« Reply #47 on: July 11, 2010, 04:38:52 pm »

Reply to an older post.

Nil Eyeglazed: I'm convinced our misunderstandings are just that - misunderstandings. You seem to be reading different things than intended. I'll try to explain better, please let me know if it helped, I'll eventually try to rewrite the OP.

Quote
Right, I understand that.  The problem is that the only remaining benefit for cooking is happiness, and the way the game works right now, that benefit is fairly small, especially if compared against something like increased risk of miasma.  So without these benefits, inappropriate as they might be, cooking ends up being pretty much irrelevant to game play-- there's no reason to pursue it.  Under the changes you're advocating, the game might be more realistic, but with the way I play the game, I would just stop cooking.  And I don't think I'm alone.  So then the question is, do you want changes that make cooking irrelevant?

How could you stop cooking? Dwarves would cook automatically by themselves before eating. Do you mean you would not build any "kitchens", thus forcing them to eat raw food only? But why would you do that, if eating raw food only would create unhappy thoughts? And really, all you'd have to do is build a (automated) "kitchen" and stop caring. It's extremely simple and there's no reason not to do that!

Quote
Currently, a stockpile of, say, 500 plump helmets costs me 50 squares and 50 barrels.  After I cook those plump helmets down to roasts, I only need 25 squares and no barrels.  That's because I can store those roasts.  That's why I cook.  That's how cooking currenty affects stockpiles.  If I were limited by some mechanic to a single roast at a time, say, by cluttering workshops, or because of prepared meal degradation, that same stockpile would cost me 47 spaces and 46 barrels.  It probably wouldn't be enough of a difference to justify cooking for me.  I don't consider that a purely cosmetic change.

But all of these are just minor details that can be changed easily. You say you store prepared meals to save space? And not being able to store prepared meals would mean larger stockpiles? Well then, we wave a magic wave and suddenly we can store 50 plump helmets in a single barrel instead of 10!

Quote
I don't think it'd really affect much if you renamed roasts as pickles, or biscuits as jerky.  I don't think it'd be bad to introduce food degradation.  I just wonder if there'd be any purpose to roasts in that situation.

This is where I think we don't understand each other. There would be no roasts any more, exactly because they wouldn't have a purpose! Not roasts as we know them now. There could be something named a roast, but that would be only cosmetic, and the item would exist just for a couple of seconds in after being cooked (or taken out of a "pot") and before being eaten.

What I'm trying to say: forget about kitchens as we have them now. Forget about prepared meals as we have them now. Neither would exist any more. Instead, dwarves would automatically cook ingredients just before eating (or automatically retain a small supply of cooked food in a "pot").

Quote
Individual cooking is the worst in terms of the way you changes would affect the impact of qualtity, but your changes would also affect communal meals.  If a meal has to be eaten now, you can't make a dedicted cook and tell him to cook everything in the fortress, then forget about him until he eventually shows up idle.  Doing so would invite famine.  That slows down skill progression, which means less of an effect from quality.

Why can't I make a dedicated cook? On the contrary - a communal "pot" would require a dedicated cook. He would cook food as needed, not continually, but that doesn't matter. As the "pot" would be automated, you would only have to assign the cook and then you could happily forget about him. The cook's skill would still apply to the food.

You could not create famine, no matter how hard you tried. Cooks would not cook more food than needed. (You could still create famine by dumping all your stocks, though  ;)).

Skill progression is a detail that can be changed. If afterwards cooks cook less food on average, simply make skill progression faster.

---

Hope this was helpful.
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Jiri Petru

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Re: More reasonable food system (aka Down with prepared meals!)
« Reply #48 on: July 11, 2010, 04:55:59 pm »

Kohaku: My issue with nutrition is not that we can't display it. We could, of course. My issue is it adds another layer of complexity and I'm not sure I want it. Wait... I'm sure I don't want it. If I had to choose where to add a new layer of complexity, it would be up, like commanding armies or kingdoms, not down, tracking more information about individual dwarves.

I'm not strictly against the idea of nutrition, but my opinion would heavily depend on the actual implementation. The system would need to be next-to-invisible and all actions required from me as the player would need to be simple and easily understandable. Something like happiness works now. "Have a beautiful fortress, use decorations, statues, have nice rooms and quality items = your dwarves are happy". That's something I can handle. "Have meat, grain and fruits = your dwarves are healthy" is something I could handle too. But nothing more. If you wanted me to care about precise food rates, I wouldn't like it.

I'm still not sure how far nutrition effects should go. Having dwarves fat/slim depending on what they eat sounds really cool. Its mostly just cosmetic. But having diseases, not so much. That's no longer cosmetic, that actually adds penalties and requires micromanagement. Penalties and micromanagement for something this "small" are bad! A similar issue would be if the personality system that's purely cosmetic now required you to micromanage things. Imagine two dwarves with a grudge couldn't meet, otherwise they'd murder each other. You'd have to micromanage the game, find them, and enclose them in separate burrows. Very, very, bad! Or if dwarves with certain personality aspects would disobey orders as soldiers, forcing you to micromanage and find suitable recruits. Horrible!

Unless we can handle nutrition without any added micromanagement, I say let's not bother.

As for dwarves consuming 3, 4 or 5 meals... I think I'll respond in your Volume and Mass thread, it's a connected issue.

EDIT: Having a "chief nutritional dwarf" is akin making the game into a fitness centre. Totally ahistorical, totally bland. Sorry, I don't mean to be rude, I just really dislike it.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2010, 05:02:40 pm by Jiri Petru »
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NW_Kohaku

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Re: More reasonable food system (aka Down with prepared meals!)
« Reply #49 on: July 11, 2010, 05:09:18 pm »

Actually, I tend to disagree, and think that this game needs to be refocused down on the individual dwarf.

The problem with the game as it stands, is that so much of it is focused on the blunt things the game can easily display - architecture, and large hordes of creatures.  I am actually working around trying to find ways to force players to care more about the lives of their dwarves, including social status, leisure time, and intra-fort diplomacy so that the game is not so much about fungible happy faces with stats as it is about individual dwarves.

Regardless, the purpose of a nutritional system as I proposed it would simply be to give a (perhaps highly complex) reason to make people want to diversify their food supply.  If you simply have enough meat and vegetables of enough variety, then you are done.  (I think a prevoius nutrition idea simply had a "what were the last 10 different types of foods this dwarf ate" system, rather than worrying about specific nutritional needs.)

That is to say, it would be an "If you have meat, fruit, and vegetables = dwarves are happy" system. 

As for particular rates, I wouldn't ask a player to track that (dwarves would simply favor what they need more of in their AI selection of what to eat), although if you had the ability to command certain recepies for the giant soup pots, I guess you could meddle in that if you really wanted.
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Nil Eyeglazed

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Re: More reasonable food system (aka Down with prepared meals!)
« Reply #50 on: July 11, 2010, 06:25:49 pm »

I made a really nice post and then accidentally hit back on my browser :(

1) I would stop cooking by not making kitchens.  Just like I don't make dyer's workshops.  The cost to eating raw food is a small unhappy thought.  The benefit to eating raw food is decreased preparation time, increased fortress space from no kitchen (or pot), and overall simplicity of the fortress.

And I want to emphasize this, because I feel like I've been going around in circles: happiness, as it stands, is insufficient reason to cook food for many of us.

2) Changing the space requirements of raw food does nothing to change the relative value of cooking to not cooking.  If my raw plump helmet stockpiles take up half the space they used to, there is still no benefit to stockpile space from cooking.

3) I was mistaken regarding skill quality and communal cooking.  I generally make a dedicated cook and turn off all other labors on him until things are cooked.  That wouldn't be possible, or rather, would leave him idle frequently, under your proposed changes.  So skill progresses slower, time-wise.  But the quality of the 1000th prepared meal is the same either way.  (It would be kind of a hassle to find make-work for my cook, but I could live with it.)

4) I have had a hard time understanding parts of your proposals.  I'm going to describe how I currently describe it.  I am going to be very specific, more specific than my understanding warrants, because it sounds like you want to know how to make things more clear.

When a dwarf gets hungry, he will check for the presence of prepared food.  If there is no prepared food, he will try to cook food.  If he can't cook food, maybe because of no pathable kitchen, he will eat raw food.  He will do this regardless of whether cooking is enabled on his labors.  Only after cooking (if possible) will he eat.

There will be a new kind of building which we'll call a pot.  When a built pot is empty, it will generate a cooking job at a kitchen.  This job will only be accepted by a dwarf with cooking enabled.  Once cooked, the food will be moved into a pot.

There will be no option to manually (through the manager or through the workshop) create cooking tasks.  If you want a cooking task, place an empty pot someplace.

Prepared food will disappear from stockpile settings.  Prepared food that is not in a kitchen or pot will rot.  Prepared food will not be able to be brought to a depot, or else it will rot quickly enough that there's no point to doing so.

How accurate is that?  (I translated a lot of things like "Dwarfs should do this" into exactly how they will behave-- I think that sort of thing is necessary to really evaluate proposals like this, because the devil is in the details-- or rather, it's easy to miss exactly how things play out unless you spell out the details.  For instance, after writing this, I wonder: well, why not just make a stockpile of pots to store tons of prepared meals?)

Now, like I said, my problem with this is that I don't see a point to bothering with prepared meals under your system.  To be useful, cooking needs to solve a problem.  Here are some potential problems:

1) Gives dwarfs significant bad thoughts for eating raw foods.
    As has been said, if you do this, you need to make other changes to happiness as well.  You don't want to screw up beginning fortresses.
2) Require diversity in diet for health, which is easiest to provide through prepared foods.
    You've said you don't like this idea.

There's something else I see on review, which may be what you originally intended:

Kitchens are necessary in order to preserve food.  Once you have a kitchen, dwarfs will insist on using it to cook their food, whether you like it or not.  So the problem solved by cooking is rot, but prepared meals (and the labor they require) are an unavoidable cost of kitchens, rather than a function served by kitchens.

I know I've been wordy, especially considering losing my earlier essay :)  That's because I think that you and I probably play very differently.  I think it's important to see how a wide diversity of players would see these changes.  I represent a faction that would, for instance, see food preparation, in the absence of all current functions of cooking except happiness, as a net loss to my fortress.  It feels like you don't believe me when I say that.  Do you see how I could feel that cooking wasn't worth the benefit?
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Re: More reasonable food system (aka Down with prepared meals!)
« Reply #51 on: July 11, 2010, 07:09:51 pm »

I made a really nice post and then accidentally hit back on my browser :(
If all you hit was back, you could probably hit forward, and it would still be there.

1) I would stop cooking by not making kitchens.  Just like I don't make dyer's workshops.  The cost to eating raw food is a small unhappy thought.  The benefit to eating raw food is decreased preparation time, increased fortress space from no kitchen (or pot), and overall simplicity of the fortress.

And I want to emphasize this, because I feel like I've been going around in circles: happiness, as it stands, is insufficient reason to cook food for many of us.

I'm pretty sure I've said this before, but, the simple answer to that is to simply make the unhappy thought much more unhappy.

You said this is "the solution to a problem that doesn't exist", and I responded "So make the problem so that this will be the solution."

I didn't ignore that, I answered it.

3) I was mistaken regarding skill quality and communal cooking.  I generally make a dedicated cook and turn off all other labors on him until things are cooked.  That wouldn't be possible, or rather, would leave him idle frequently, under your proposed changes.  So skill progresses slower, time-wise.  But the quality of the 1000th prepared meal is the same either way.  (It would be kind of a hassle to find make-work for my cook, but I could live with it.)

The way I see it, the cook would be moving between individual kitchen/cafeteria/"big pot" workshops, and replenishing food stocks in them as they draw down.  It would largely mean that they would run from stockpile to more than one kitchen rather than from stockpile to same kitchen over and over.  (Of course, this is provided there was a large enough population for there to be relatively continuous food consumption.)

4) I have had a hard time understanding parts of your proposals.  I'm going to describe how I currently describe it.  I am going to be very specific, more specific than my understanding warrants, because it sounds like you want to know how to make things more clear.

When a dwarf gets hungry, he will check for the presence of prepared food.  If there is no prepared food, he will try to cook food.  If he can't cook food, maybe because of no pathable kitchen, he will eat raw food.  He will do this regardless of whether cooking is enabled on his labors.  Only after cooking (if possible) will he eat.

There will be a new kind of building which we'll call a pot.  When a built pot is empty, it will generate a cooking job at a kitchen.  This job will only be accepted by a dwarf with cooking enabled.  Once cooked, the food will be moved into a pot.

There will be no option to manually (through the manager or through the workshop) create cooking tasks.  If you want a cooking task, place an empty pot someplace.

Prepared food will disappear from stockpile settings.  Prepared food that is not in a kitchen or pot will rot.  Prepared food will not be able to be brought to a depot, or else it will rot quickly enough that there's no point to doing so.

How accurate is that?  (I translated a lot of things like "Dwarfs should do this" into exactly how they will behave-- I think that sort of thing is necessary to really evaluate proposals like this, because the devil is in the details-- or rather, it's easy to miss exactly how things play out unless you spell out the details.  For instance, after writing this, I wonder: well, why not just make a stockpile of pots to store tons of prepared meals?)

That's not exactly how I see it, but then, Jiri and I don't always agree.  I would say the pot IS the kitchen.  I would prefer something more like a cafeteria, so that there is more than one kind of food in a given workshop, but it can basically just be a giant soup bowl in the middle of the eating hall that the cook keeps adding more food into while dwarves keep eating out of it.  I would say that the pot doesn't have to hit empty to generate a job, it just has to be relatively low, but that's tweaking.

Pots can't be stockpiled, as that's completely defeating the purpose.  Hopefully, there should come a point where even the pot should spoil (Pea porrige hot, pea porrige cold, pea porrige in the pot nine days old?)

I would also like to see some sort of control over how a kitchen/cafeteria chooses its menu, though, so that you could push for certain recepies purely for flavor, if you so chose, but that would be totally optional.

I'm not big on the idea that dwarves cook their own food much, either, although the idea that a dwarven family might have home-cooked meals, or a noble might hire an in-house servant to cook meals does sound kind of cool.  I would put those down as "definitely optional", however.

Now, like I said, my problem with this is that I don't see a point to bothering with prepared meals under your system.  To be useful, cooking needs to solve a problem.  Here are some potential problems:

1) Gives dwarfs significant bad thoughts for eating raw foods.
    As has been said, if you do this, you need to make other changes to happiness as well.  You don't want to screw up beginning fortresses.

For the beginning fortress, I would like there to be a special tag for the original 7.  Just like how they all will "not mind being outside", the original seven might just be hardier survivalists by necessity, and not mind tougher, leaner fare.

Hopefully, however, it could be combined with a "social classes" update that I've been wanting, where, as your fortress becomes more wealthy, the wealthier middle-class dwarves would be more demanding in terms of food and other amenities.

2) Require diversity in diet for health, which is easiest to provide through prepared foods.
    You've said you don't like this idea.

Obviously not referring to me, there :P

There's something else I see on review, which may be what you originally intended:

Kitchens are necessary in order to preserve food.  Once you have a kitchen, dwarfs will insist on using it to cook their food, whether you like it or not.  So the problem solved by cooking is rot, but prepared meals (and the labor they require) are an unavoidable cost of kitchens, rather than a function served by kitchens.

I know I've been wordy, especially considering losing my earlier essay :)  That's because I think that you and I probably play very differently.  I think it's important to see how a wide diversity of players would see these changes.  I represent a faction that would, for instance, see food preparation, in the absence of all current functions of cooking except happiness, as a net loss to my fortress.  It feels like you don't believe me when I say that.  Do you see how I could feel that cooking wasn't worth the benefit?

Hmm... honestly, I'm the sort of person who will grow at least four tiles of every crop, even prickle berries, just so my dwarves have more food diversity.  I dye clothes just because I can.  I try to make sure everyone has decent furniture and a nice-sized room, and everyone is assigned to a job that involves one of their preferences.  I personally prefer to see happiness levels at around 200 average, or consider something to be seriously wrong in my fort.  Making that kind of fort is my goal, and I don't really give a damn about the military aspects of the game.

Still, as much as I am in love with the system, I try to make letting the system work be far simpler than trying to abstain from the system.
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Nil Eyeglazed

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Re: More reasonable food system (aka Down with prepared meals!)
« Reply #52 on: July 11, 2010, 07:32:01 pm »

Sorry, Kohaku, I was talking to Jiri :)  I hit forward, but it didn't work.  So I was lazy with quoting and stuff.

Kohaku, I should have acknowledged that I did misunderstand you earlier-- yes, changes to happiness can be the problem that cooking solves.  (Although I'm wary of that approach, because it doesn't let us compartmentalize suggestions-- happiness itself could use some adjustment, and if cooking changes depend on happiness changes, then it makes sense to talk about happiness first, get it right, and only then move on to cooking.  You know what I mean?  Also, it seems like it's really hard to get happiness right/interesting, in terms of balancing the numbers.)

Small, unimportant replies to stuff:

Wouldn't much matter if there were kitchens and pots, or only pots-- although if there were different workshops for preservation than for preparation, you couldn't do that "prepared food as a price of preserved food" thing I mentioned at the end.  I don't think it would matter much either if pots generated jobs at empty, at 1 food, at 2 food, or at whatever.  If at empty, you might need a few more pots than otherwise.
I wasn't thinking about literally stockpiling pots, but imagining that if pots were 1x1 buildings, you could just build 100 of them, and do the same thing we do now with preserved food, just at the cost of a little more labor.  If you really wanted to stop that, I can't imagine how you'd do it without rotting.
I find that even in a 200 dwarf fortress, a single cook can more than keep up with food consumption.
Part of what I like about what you were talking about with nutrition is that it has that built-in protection for early fortresses-- it's realistic to give a year's grace regarding nutrition to dwarfs, and more is reasonable if you want.
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Re: More reasonable food system (aka Down with prepared meals!)
« Reply #53 on: July 11, 2010, 08:00:16 pm »

Mmmm, well, I think that changes should be made to the happiness system, regardless, as it would help move the game away from solely being focused on silly things like combat, and would like to use this as part of a platform to help make that case, if I can.

Also, yes, perhaps I said it a little too indirectly, but we definitely shouldn't be leaving pea porrige in those pots for nine or more days, no matter how historically accurate it might be - food in pots should still spoil, too.
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Toast024

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Re: More reasonable food system (aka Down with prepared meals!)
« Reply #54 on: July 11, 2010, 09:03:22 pm »

Prepared food that for what ever reason, are not eaten, could be sacrificed to the God of the food's recipient's choice.
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slink

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Re: More reasonable food system (aka Down with prepared meals!)
« Reply #55 on: July 11, 2010, 11:41:06 pm »


...

  • Fruit, mushrooms and vegetables: spoil, cannot be preserved (optionally, depending of how many subsystems we want to implement, can be preserved by canning and pickling... with difficulties and in small amounts)

...

Spoiling after two seasons sounds about right... this would mean that eg. humans would be able to live off autumn harvest od vegetables through the winter but come spring they'd be reduced to eat bread only. Unless they had stocks of salted fish or smoked meat, of course. This sounds reasonably historical and prevents you from hoarding huge amounts of food (or at least makes it harder) which is good for game balance I think.

...


I see in my mind's eye my eldest aunt's cold cellar.  It was under her house, where most people had a basement, but you could only get there from outside.  In it she kept home canned fruit and vegetables for an entire year after their harvest.  That did not happen all at one time, so it was perfectly practical to can cherries in their season and green beans in theirs.  This was not difficult nor did it happen in small amounts.  Even I, born and raised in one of the largest cities of the USA, am able to can food.  When we moved to this house from our previous one, I canned all the frozen rabbit meat I had stored in the basement freezer so that it would travel reliably.  I canned it in pint jars and it supplied us with two meals a week for half a year.  It is not difficult to preserve food by canning, especially if you count fruit mixed with suger which is called "preserves" for good reason.  :)  My aunt fed a husband, two sons, and two daughters with preserved food from her garden and her henhouse, plus preserved woodland fruit and salted venison, and day-old bread from the town store.

That completely overlooks dried fruit, vegetables, and mushrooms, which are also possible.  I've never been much on dehydrating because I have always lived in humid places, but I once dried hot peppers with a borrowed electric dehydrator.  Surely people who can smelt on a magma-heated anvil can dehydrate food.   :P

At any rate, historically people did their best to preserve as much food as possible simply because they didn't want to face spring with nothing but crusts of bread and rinds of salt pork.  Sometimes they did end up that way, but it was not for lack of methods; rather it was for the lack of food available in autumn to be preserved.
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Re: More reasonable food system (aka Down with prepared meals!)
« Reply #56 on: July 12, 2010, 12:49:11 am »

I'm against a complex nutrition system. Why? It makes the game too realistic. While some would say nothing can be too realistic, i contend that we play games because they don't accurately model life. Why? As the famous sayings go, "life is hard" "life is unfair". If you make the game very realistic, then it becomes hard and unfair. Not that it isn't that already, but we don't want it even more hard and unfair.
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Re: More reasonable food system (aka Down with prepared meals!)
« Reply #57 on: July 12, 2010, 02:05:01 am »


...

  • Fruit, mushrooms and vegetables: spoil, cannot be preserved (optionally, depending of how many subsystems we want to implement, can be preserved by canning and pickling... with difficulties and in small amounts)

...

Spoiling after two seasons sounds about right... this would mean that eg. humans would be able to live off autumn harvest od vegetables through the winter but come spring they'd be reduced to eat bread only. Unless they had stocks of salted fish or smoked meat, of course. This sounds reasonably historical and prevents you from hoarding huge amounts of food (or at least makes it harder) which is good for game balance I think.

...


I see in my mind's eye my eldest aunt's cold cellar.  It was under her house, where most people had a basement, but you could only get there from outside.  In it she kept home canned fruit and vegetables for an entire year after their harvest.  That did not happen all at one time, so it was perfectly practical to can cherries in their season and green beans in theirs.  This was not difficult nor did it happen in small amounts.  Even I, born and raised in one of the largest cities of the USA, am able to can food.  When we moved to this house from our previous one, I canned all the frozen rabbit meat I had stored in the basement freezer so that it would travel reliably.  I canned it in pint jars and it supplied us with two meals a week for half a year.  It is not difficult to preserve food by canning, especially if you count fruit mixed with suger which is called "preserves" for good reason.  :)  My aunt fed a husband, two sons, and two daughters with preserved food from her garden and her henhouse, plus preserved woodland fruit and salted venison, and day-old bread from the town store.

That completely overlooks dried fruit, vegetables, and mushrooms, which are also possible.  I've never been much on dehydrating because I have always lived in humid places, but I once dried hot peppers with a borrowed electric dehydrator.  Surely people who can smelt on a magma-heated anvil can dehydrate food.   :P

At any rate, historically people did their best to preserve as much food as possible simply because they didn't want to face spring with nothing but crusts of bread and rinds of salt pork.  Sometimes they did end up that way, but it was not for lack of methods; rather it was for the lack of food available in autumn to be preserved.
Quite true. If you have an underground storage, even non-preserved foods will last a long time, especially when you consider that a cut of meat that a modern person would throw away as disgusting, someone from the time period would simply decide to cook first, as it's going to go bad soon.
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Re: More reasonable food system (aka Down with prepared meals!)
« Reply #58 on: July 12, 2010, 04:06:06 am »

Nil Eyeglazed: OK, we understand each other now. You last post was precise. Thanks  :) So the way I see it is you're against this idea because it adds no benefits, or the benefits are small. Something like dyeing. Even though both would be "build-and-forget" automated affairs, they would distract dwarves and reduce effectivity, and the benefit wouldn't be worth it. Well... I guess I can live with that  8) As Kotaku said, there are people less concerned about effectivity who build things not because they're effective but because they're pretty, cool, or whatever. I always use dyed clothes only because I can. I decorate as many items as I can. I build nice hallways and rooms, etc. etc.

So even if cooking added only small benefits, I think it's allright. Look at it from the other point of view: that would mean you wouldn't have to build a kitchen/pot/etc. The game would become easier to manage, and the only cost would be a minor happiness hit. Cooking would technically be optional, and made only for the sake of happiness - that's not necessarily a bad thing, is it?

(BTW, It would still be easy to find jobs for full-time cooks - remember they would have to dry meet, salt fish, pickle fruit, etc...)

The problem I'm trying to solve is not much of a gameplay problem, it's a problem of realism or believability. I simply don't like how we cook stews or roasts, then store them in barrels or sell them to caravans. It breaks my suspension of disbelief. This system was intended to fix that, make the game less bland and more interesting - the new cooking, the salting, drying, pickling... - though the end result is pretty much the same (dwarves are fed). As I've said, it's very much a cosmetic thing.

Quote from: Slink
I see in my mind's eye my eldest aunt's cold cellar (...).

Thanks. I'm a villager myself and we used to can pretty much everything  :) Still, I'm not sure if people in history could can as easily as we can ( ::)). I mean, you need glass jars to can things in, right? How common would glass jars be around 1400? Not much I think. So when I wrote "with difficulties and in small amounts", I meant that and should have been more direct. "Small amounts" is to avoid canning whole barrels at once, and "with difficulties" = requires glass jars you need to create in your glass smelter first.

However, that made me look up canning at wikipedia. Turns out it was invented in 1809, which means we might have to omit it completely. The problem is I guess that you need an air-tight container. While dwarves could probably invent something along the lines, I'm not sure how Toady feels about modern inventions in the game (he doesn't like steam power, though dwarves could invent that too).

Quote from: Slink
That completely overlooks dried fruit, vegetables, and mushrooms, which are also possible.

I omitted that to avoid too much complexity. If we could can/pickle everything, there would be no need for just another way of preservation, right? But now that we might have to forget about canning, drying seems the way to go. Although I'm not sure. You can't dry everything - you can dry mushrooms, but not carrots or potatoes. How to handle that in game and not make it confusing? Ideally, one way of preservation would apply to a whole category of foods, not to specific examples. That way, you would be able to dry mushrooms, but not fruit nor vegetables. How does it sound?
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NW_Kohaku

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Re: More reasonable food system (aka Down with prepared meals!)
« Reply #59 on: July 12, 2010, 09:05:20 am »

I'm against a complex nutrition system. Why? It makes the game too realistic. While some would say nothing can be too realistic, i contend that we play games because they don't accurately model life. Why? As the famous sayings go, "life is hard" "life is unfair". If you make the game very realistic, then it becomes hard and unfair. Not that it isn't that already, but we don't want it even more hard and unfair.

Then why are you even playing this game to begin with?

Toady's stated goal for it is to be the "most realistic fantasy (lol) simulator", and the tagline of the game is "Losing is Fun!"  Were you confused, and thought this was another game?

While it's possible to make a worthwhile argument against realism for realism's own sake (something I've done in the past), you are going to the opposite irrational extreme - arguing for abstraction for abstraction's own sake.  (That realism is evil in and of itself, with no rational explanation to back that up... again, while voluntarily playing a game where realism is one of the stated goals.)
« Last Edit: July 14, 2010, 08:26:01 am by NW_Kohaku »
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