I guess I should start out by saying that I'm genuinely sorry to be bringing this up again, as I've just finished reading old forum posts on the subject for about an hour and a half. Through my (admittedly not robust) research on the subject, it's become clear that food is (or at least has been) a subject of contention on the forums, hence my reluctance to make this topic. However, I feel this genuinely needs to be said, and said from the standpoint of someone who is not a seasoned veteran (I have, at the moment, only four drive kills under my belt).
The food system detracts, significantly, from my ability to enjoy the game. To start off with, it genuinely seems esoteric. It has the feel of something that was specifically built as a barrier to those who aren't willing to spend a significant amount of time to figure it out, which for me, and I suspect a significant portion of my fellow newbies, is not fun. Before I came to the forums, I spent at least an hour attempting to understand first through experimentation, then looking through the FAQ, then googling, how you add items to a menu when they aren't immediately sold there. I did not succeed in figuring it out. As best I can tell from the forums, it has something to do with finding ingredients while traveling, but I still have no idea how I'm supposed to determine what I'm looking for. While I'm sure that a comprehensive explanation of how the food/menu-availability system works, it's useless to me, because I can't find it. And while I will not claim to be particularly good researching, I know that I am not that bad at it either. Additionally, I have no idea what the hunger bar actually symbolizes, since it apparently doesn't show you how fat you're becoming, or how well nourished you are, but I wasn't willing to sink any more time into a probably futile attempt at figuring that out. The long and the short of it is that I really think there should be a guide to eating somewhere that isn't completely buried in... wherever it currently is.
Secondly, beyond feeling esoteric, the food system is simply difficult to use for a newbie. I remember reading the argument that a true newbie human can get free grenades (one per day) sell the grenades, and (roughly every 3 days) have enough cash to buy a meal. Now I could be wrong, but I'm fairly sure that one meal every three days will relatively quickly render you in the starving category. Not to mention that it seems like those grenades are really intended to be used in combat. Basically the argument, as it appeared to me, that kept popping up was basically "it's not impossible, therefore it's easy." That's just not true. I suspect that part of why it's difficult for veterans to identify with newbies on food difficulties is that newbies only have two chronospheres, and, thusly, each day counts for significantly more.
Now the astute of you may have noticed that I registered this account all the way back in 2011, and may thus (reasonably) be calling my newbie-ness into question. Honestly, I'm starting to think that the line which separates a veteran from a newbie is their ability to feed themselves reliably, which I most decidedly lack. Regardless, I'd call myself a newbie since there's still a lot I haven't done on the island, and I'm far from having my DKs feel easy (even when they're only rank 3). Honestly one of the biggest reasons I haven't played Improbable Island a lot more over the years since I found it is the food system. I quickly realized that, if I wanted to make the most of the game (read: not be penalized) I'd have to work for it. "Wait a minute, I have to work the system just to avoid being penalized?" I thought, "Well, I guess it's off to do something else then."
Honestly I'm not mad, I'm not indignant, looking back on the reasons why I chose to write this I just feel sad and defeated. Improbable Island is a great game; it's got great writing, a great premise, fun mechanics, lots of content, and I really wanted to love it and enjoy it... but a small part of it that shouldn't really matter that much feels so broken and unpleasant that I genuinely just can't work up the enthusiasm to play it any more. And I honestly think that's a bit of a tragedy. It's a small, quiet one that not many people will ever know about, but it's also avoidable and that makes it all the worse. Far sadder than my personal loss of interest is the fact that there's got to be at least a small portion of the people who are just discovering the site, and who will be turned off from it by the same reasons as I have been. They probably won't get to enjoy it even as much as I have (which is no where near its full capacity), and it's saddening to think about what they'll miss out on. I don't know if saying this will change anything, but I just felt it needed to be said. Sorry if you were felt cheerful when you started reading this and now you don't. Here, have a gif of some dizzy hamsters.
I'm honestly surprised that food is such a contentious topic. From my perspective, I only started playing a couple of days ago, and after a little bit of initial confusion of, "Hunger? Huh?" I had no issues figuring out how to feed myself efficiently within a handful of game days. In fact, I'm having to worry about accidentally OVER-eating now. I'm sure there are better choices compared to what I've been doing, but I simply consider food to be a bonus source of extra stamina everyday and not a source of stress at all.
I think some kind of poll would be good on this question.
I started writing this post by explaining how I dealt with the food system as a newbie (first ignoring it, then rat packs, then KH steak and NH Twitchers when I'd maxed out my gear) - but decided that was irrelevant, as the fact that I didn't find it anti-fun as a newbie does not cancel out the fact that other people might. LOTS of people might. We have no real way to tell as people don't tend to leave comments on their way out.
The wiki page is a brilliant addition. I'm wondering whether it's worth noting that you won't actually starve to death though. As a brand-new newbie, the idea of saving up 600 req for a Twitcher seemed impossible: I was earning 19 req for fights that nearly killed me, trying to scrape together enough to buy a meat fork so I'd stop dying. Ignoring the food system until I could afford to interact with it was the best idea I ever had.
So I've written a page and posted it in the wiki here. Following Trowa's advice I based it on the Advice page in the food info doc. Link repeated here for convenience.
If somebody would like to have a quick look at it and correct anything I've got wrong (in particular in the last couple of sentences under mass) then that would be great.
I've probably missed out more than I've put in, so if anybody feels an urge to add something then go for it. This goes in particular for cooking your own jungle kill* but I'm sure that there's plenty of other bits as well. Also, if you are seized with a passion to improve my grammar, style, or anything else, then please feel free.
*Yes, I know that it's all listed in that G-doc as Trowa pointed out. I've had a quick look and been flummoxed. If I leave it until I've understood and written up this then it will be several more months until there's anything at all.
Man, I haven't played this game in over a year, and my angry "shut up you dumb players" ranting echoes still today. Yeesh, and I thought I would never be haunted by my past on the internet. Aurom, you needn't be so apologetic about expressing your opinion! I promise that I no longer send hitmen after anyone who dissents with my opinion about digestive system simulations in computer games.
I hope you keep playing the game! (Because it's good! I just don't play it anymore because I realized it's simply not my speed. Like, literally, I prefer more action-packed energetic games and never engaged in more than cursory roleplay in my ~3 years here.) The document provided by Quinn and Budd should simplify a few strategies for optimizing stamina gains (which was, like, one of the central issues of the entire food system revamp, so this was possibly a very ironic statement (man, I hope no one tries to hold me to being more strict in my usage of the word 'irony')) so hopefully you can compartmentalize your dissatisfaction with that aspect of the game and get back to the things you like in it. (I felt this paragraph didn't have enough parentheticals (because I LOVE nested parentheticals (I actually was working on a monster submission that lived "two parens deep", and in the jungle encounter's description text, the only sentences where your character could strike it were tangents within tangents like this one. It was a difficult piece, though, so it never got finished) for some reason) so I just added this one right now.)
Also, it's pure chance that I checked my old email account and visited this forum so shortly after a thread was made referencing my contentious forum posts. My, how... improbable.
I also still hate the new food system. Here's where I'm coming from: I like games that rely almost wholly on skill rather than chance. Quake and other Arena FPS games, or board games. II is the antithesis of this. When I log in, I get: a random percentage of interest, random stats if joker, then random availability of food. Once I've taken care of all that, I can go in the jungle, find a random encounter, and hope my stats are such that I've successfully gamed the RNG into letting me win the fight. It's just rolling dice over and over. Granted, some of them are loaded, but it's still just so much randomness. A couple new mechanics have been added over the years to combat that makes it somewhat less random, but my internet/computer like to stutter so timed combat isn't reliable, and the targeting system pales in comparison to maxed-out taunts. It feels like any "strategy" is dumbed down to "just hope this variable falls into place", and the food is just one more big, obnoxious variable. It feels like the system serves no purpose other than to be a barrier to the abuses of the old system.
This topic made me wonder: Isn't this a thing that Corporal Punishment should be shouting to Newbies about?
I've just had a trawl through what Corporal Punishment has to say about food. It's not immediately obvious. I had to ask about the Head Up Display, then about Stamina, and then finally it would let me ask about food, and this is what he had to say:
Whoops, I didn't notice all the tabs down at the bottom there. Whether that's an example of my techno-numptyism or simply me being highly inobservant I shall leave for others to decide. That I have both of these traits is supported by plenty of other evidence.
And yes, the advice tab does look like a good starting point.
Sadly I don't have any hamster gifs.
As the original creator of that spreadsheet, I apologise for the death-by-numbers effect. I've just now gone in and tidied it up a bit, including moving the "Advice" tab to the front. Many thanks to all contributors.
I agree that a Wiki page would be a great idea. Short of the massive rewrite and reprogramming that a simplification of the food system would be - which is almost certainly Not Gonna Happen - it would be very useful (especially for newer players) to be able to find out more easily how to use it, so that people can enjoy the game rather than abandon it in frustration.
Also, hamsters unite! Dyslexics untie!
In my (personal) opinion, the food system isn't needed to enjoy the game as a whole! (And I'm not just saying that because I play Jokers who don't get stamina penalties for how they eat...) If you are playing the game more for the jungling/leveling aspect than the RP aspect, I can see where food might be useful. I think several have agreed that system is a little odd and challenging to work out, but I still like it.
Here is actually a decent guide to the food from number crunching and color coding to advice! I definitely suggest giving it a lookover. It's a lot to process, but there's good information in there and it's all compiled by other players.
The big thing about the food system is that menu items are random. Only a natural new day has the ability to change what you can and cannot buy that day, so if the Twitcher isn't up in NewHome (my favorite there, because it's curry), then you'll have to wait. No amount of ingredients will change what you can get.
Second, sometimes when you go to buy something, it needs those ingredients that you see when travelling (Twitchleaf on plains, Sneezeroot in jungles, scroteweed in swamps and steelseed in the mountains). Things like the Unrepentant in Pleasantville will need 10 of each, so it's a hard one to get when it isn't herbless. (Part of why Banter will sometimes mention that Unreps are up and herbless in Banter).
As far as affording food goes, the items available in NewHome are relatively inexpensive. Most of NewHome's items are under 100 req, which isn't too hard to scrape up, even without selling your eBoy's items. There are a lot of decently inexpensive food items, actually, just not all are healthy for you. But at least starving/malnourished/overweight are all minor stamina drains at the start of the day. Nothing too bad or no one would have fun!
First of all, thank you Aurom for raising this. It's very hard to see things from the perspective of a non-seasoned veteran when you're not one yourself, so this sort of feedback is valuable.
Quinn. That's a nice summary of all the food available on the Island there, but there are two problems with it.
First of all, it's on an independent G-docs page and not at all easy to find if you don't already know about it. We've told Aurom about it now, but that's one person and we want to be thinking about the "general rookie" in the future. I think that a page or pages in the wiki is called for here.
Secondly and more importantly, at first sight it's a huge table of numbers, which is pretty incomprehensible if you don't know what the numbers mean.
When you first walk into a restaurant, you're faced with a list of possible meals each listed with Mass, Fat Content, Nutritional Content and Daily Energy Requirement Score. What do these all mean? What relation do they have to your stamina and to how fat and well fed you are at New Day? These are not immediately obvious.
Again, what I think is needed is a wiki page with details of what this all means along with other details like only having some meals available on any given day, and the role that herbs play. This is before we even get to cooking your own meat taken from the carcasses of slain jungle beasties.
I've put writing such a page on my to do list, but it may take some while before I get round to doing it. Also, I don't have a clue what use herbs are in cooking your own meat. So if somebody else wants to get stuck in then that would be great. Let me know so I don't end up redoing it needlessly.
From another noob. I too think there is a lack of clarity with the food.
The rat pack description clearly contains "A contestant can reliably eat nothing but Ration Packs and survive for several weeks before dying of malnutrition. They are filling and contain very little fat." Yet I had what I recall as fat issues when I was brand new.
Now I cook most of my own meals. For the last several days I have consumed almost nothing except with I've cooked. With the large wok, I try to fill it before cooking. And yesterday, I did not even use any crap meat to top it off if I was short on Tasty and Half-decent. I use spices. I always go into the orange before cooking, but seem to have to stay above 55% Stam or the meals just burn. I even intentionally went into the red and did '4' in the jungle so that I could go to the Failboat (I needed to talk to the Watcher and the Improbable hadn't happened.)
Yet, I just logged in and got the: "You are looking... well, let's not mince words. You're fat. VERY fat. You look like you just ate a schoolbus full of well-fed orphans. You lose some Stamina.
Foods dripping in fat usually grant more immediate Stamina, but can cause Stamina penalties at the start of each Game Day. Running your Stamina bar well into the orange helps burn fat and gain Stamina bonuses." message.
I've been going to sleep in the orange and waking up having eaten a yellow bus? How much fat is in Tasty Meat and Half-decent Meat? I would not expect it to be much. Or is TwitchLeaf just concentrated fat?
Buddleia, if you see this, first: thanks for both the Food spreadsheet, and the Land Registry (which I've been poking around a bit; I added a note in the notes section and you're welcome to revert if you have strong philosophical differences).
After talking to Widdershins in Banter, we quickly established that there is, in fact, an herb bonus that seems to exist at every pan except for the Basic Pan: that is, a roughly half-half mixture of herb and meat will give you double the normal amount of stamina per piece of meat. This doesn't seem useful at first, since 30.3% from 15 pieces of Tasty Meat isn't that much better than 30% from 30 pieces of Tasty Meat, but if you have 30 pieces, cooking two of these meat-and-herb sets will get you ~60% gain rather than just the ~30%. Suddenly it looks like a better deal. (However, if you have only the Basic Pan, it seems - pending one last experiment I need to run - that the best thing to do is still to just cook as many full pans of Tasty Meat as you can.)
I didn't want to change the Meat section piecemeal until we'd established through systematic experimentation what seems to be going on. (Also, there might be some slight adjustments to make to the formulas - I'd love to compare notes with you if you're around!) But the effect seems robust and may well change some people's calculations about optimal ways to engage with Meat.
Buford, I can't quantify how much fat is in meat - anecdotally, however, I basically eat nothing but Tasty and Half-Decent Meat, cooked when I'm still in the green with various mixes of herbs, and I haven't been having a problem with being fat (I appear to be well-nourished and trim). It sounds even odder considering that you ran down your stamina that much and still ended up that fat; had you had much crap meat earlier that day?
The version of the workbook that I downloaded from the above link shows that there is not an increase from adding more than one of each herb, so I have not been. I use the Large Wok, so I'll try the 50/50 mix. Is there a newer version at a different url? I saved that one to my pc and added a tab with the table from the wiki page so that I would have it all together.
That game day I had eaten no Crap meat. The gday before I had eaten less than five pieces. The gday I woke-up from the orphan sacrifice, I ate no crap meat, did have a Mutant Steak, and that made me wake-up regular fat. I think there was a day then that I ate nothing but Tasty meat with herbs. I am back to being fit-and-trim now. I don't watch the hunger meter, but I don't recall seeing any black show up through all of that.
I have to say that the Restaurant and Meat guide is awesome. I conditional formatted a couple more columns on my local copy so that I could spot other things quickly(like stam/fat). Hope we can figure out the other values of the rat pack and meats.
Think there would be any support for a petition to get meat from Lions (those sneaky bastards)?
I think of "meat" in this case in the rather wider, and perhaps rather old fashioned sense of "food" in general. hence the aubergine.
Missing meat: What about Other You(x7?). Seems like it would fit in with the Past/Preset/Future Self series.
Back to food. The cake of Cake or Death says that you are full of cake. Has anyone seen any indication of any affect at all? I suspect it is just there for the gamblers, but thought I would ask.
Buford, I don't think it affects your fullness, but you've noticed the attack (and possibly defense) buff, right? That's the main effect, I think.
I haven't come across a Mini-Minotaur since you updated it. I'm looking forward to seeing what meat it has.
What about the Other Selfs. There gets to be a group of about seven. Seems like it would be the same as Present Self per each.
I've collected some data on cooking. Having at least one of each herb and Meat/herb ratio of 50/50 maximizes the Stamina produced.
My tests, using an improved pan, indicate each herb adds 0.01% stamina, I see no multiplication effect.
Further testing, with a different alt character and a different mix of herbs (even balance) did show the bonus in the Improved Pan, and I added this to the gDoc. I will try other mixes.
I added much more data on improved pan. From an alt. My main doesn't eat. Sillie robot, food is for kids! Oops, no kids on the Island, uh, food is for Humans. And Squats, ya fookin dickead! Fine, and it's for Kittymorphs, Zombies, Mutants, Jokers (optional), self-declared deities, angels, demons, etc. (gods know what they eat!).
I would have edited my previous post to add this, but the forum wouldn't let me. Filthy fuss-budget!
Hi Sillie, and thanks so much for adding Improved Pan data! (Widder and I, between us, have the other three pans, and a tester we'd been using seems to have been on a bit of a break recently).
For ease of reading, at some point, I might like to move some of the raw data into a separate tab, with your permission of course.
My intention (in order not to overwhelm newbies with data) was, when updating the Cooking tab to incorporate bonus information + information about the other pans, was to keep the front-facing Guide to Cooking Meat fairly limited (along the lines of what I've done for the Basic Pan and the 30-item pan: that is to say, an indication of what the best bonus is, as well as some indication of what the best raw stamina gain in the pan will be). Widder & I have been working out the bonuses of various herb mixes (the lowest number of herbs you can use to get a very minor bonus is 9; at 15 most herb mixes will get you the full 200% bonus; a 2-4-2-4 mix of 12 seems to be a fair tradeoff between economy of the rare herbs and the full bonus gain), but we've been doing it in a sandbox spreadsheet I created with my personal account and data transfer hasn't been full yet. This may not be optimal in the 20-item pan: it's not optimal (by the barest of whiskers) in the 30-item pan and I'd bet you would see a larger raw stamina gain, even without the full bonus, in your alt's pan.
That said, thanks for your work!
Actually 12 herbs (2:4:2:4) is no trade-off, but the minimum requirement to get the full 2x Multiplier Bonus.
When you're running low on rare herbs (or meat) then you can use a 1:5:2:5 mix (13 herbs) or 1:7:1:6 (15 herbs) for full bonus.
That way you use fewer rare herbs, but more herbs altogether, leaving you with less space for meat. Compare stamina for 15 versus 12 herbs:
Improved Pan ... 10.3% ..... 16.24%
Large Wok ......... 30.3% ..... 36.24%
Master Wok ...... 50.3% ..... 56.24%
If you're running low on meat and have 13 or 15 slots to spare for herbs, using more herbs is the better option.
If you're running low on herbs, decide for yourself if you want to go for stamina maximum or for herb economy.
The Improbable Island Enquirer - Forum