Let's quickly discuss the core gameplay loop of Shardpunk, shall we?
We start with the "combat" phase. Characters need to reach the end of the map, avoid getting killed and try to find stuff along the way. The "stuff" includes resources necessary to craft items that can help in combat and food supplies that are necessary to, well, survive.
After the exit is reached, characters enter a safe place (if they have a Fusion Core - I described it in my previous entry) or simply they quickly rest. Entering a safe place allows them to perform some extra stuff (like healing, recovering stress, possibly upgrading their weapons as well).
After a mission, characters need to select the next location, and the loop starts from the beginning.
However, there's still that food feature thing. The trick is that characters need to eat after each mission. If they don't, they suffer penalties.
Now, in my previous entry I said I introduced a hunger bar.
The hunger bar was going down with every mission, and the player was suffering from penalties. It turned out however that this is not working well - or should I say, it was not really fun.
You see, I have introduced another stat to take care of (like HPs or Stress). What was more, there was no clear indication of where a character would start becoming hungry, then Starving. Sure, a nice UI design could take care of that - but I started to think that this stuff was too complex.
I considered dropping the food feature completely. Characters would not be gathering food and there wouldn't be any food-related penalties. This sounded tempting, but I wanted to give this one more try.
Right now I am busy changing this system into a simpler one. Food will still stay in the game. There will still be a food distribution phase after each mission. However, not eating would simply deal damage to characters.
As simple as that. No "hungry" statuses that reduce your aim (which can become very frustrated).
There is one issue with this approach: even if we assume that not eating deals you 1 HP of damage, there is a possibility that not eating will kill your character. This might become too punishing so I'll have to keep an eye on that feature.
Anyway, we will see how it goes.
Oh, and I need to find a different name for "missions". When you're travelling through the city overrun by vermin and trying to get from point A to point B, you don't really want to have a "mission completed" text displayed. It sounds too military-ish...? It's not an "expedition" nor a "quest" as well... I'll keep looking!
Take care, everyone! My next entry should be out on 1st of January, so I should prepare some yearly summary post, I guess.