Title: Butchery Skill
mikloy - February 10, 2012 07:02 AM (GMT)
This is my opinionated concept for improving the aftermath of a hunt.
The current transition from animal to meat is rapid and anticlimactic at this time. When you kill an animal, it is almost as though you simply "open" their carcass and find neatly chopped steaks inside. While I can understand that people of this time period were efficient with their use of animal remains I believe added complexity can enrich the immersion and amusement of the experience. We should also assume that the player character is young and fresh, with limited abilities to start with -- only through years of practice will it seem fluid and simple.
Skinning animals should offer less predictable size and quality of fur. A talentless skinner may yield only 10 pounds of skin out of a bear's potential for 25, for example, as they may have poorly flayed otherwise useful portions. The most simple way to code this is to pull a skill/tool rolled item from the animal among those available: Inferior Skin (25% weight), Fair Skin (50% weight), Superior Skin (75% weight), Perfect Skin (100% weight). This may further add opportunity for a ritual to be of use here, which gives you a bonus to your roll.
Carving an animal should be in stages. First, a complete animal carcass should be an item that can be [m]oved or, if the size is small enough, simply carried. Next, small carcasses can yield 1 pound pieces but large carcases yield 10 pound pieces. The number of 1 or 10 pound pieces per carving depends on the size of the animal and the skill/tool of the player. More animal "meat value" variations should be implemented, such as starved, (this flag could also make carnivores more aggressive), old/sick, or smaller young. This will prevent any large animal kill from being a jackpot.
For example, 20 pieces of 10 pounds each could be the maximum for a large elk. At low skill the player may only be capable of effectively cutting 12 pieces due to both inability to identify what parts are acceptable but also lack of skill with a knife. For realism instead of a complete loss of 10 pounds, the yield could be reduced to 1 or 5 pounds as the player was not able to get a better cut. This still counts as one of the 20 elk pieces, reducing total yield.
10 pound pieces can further be cut into 1 pound pieces using a work surface and a knife. This could also result in loss, making some players prefer to carry larger cuts. Small pieces are far too convenient for how easy they are to produce, so I would like to make it no longer automatic for large game. This also makes food from small animals more practical and attractive as it is already in the most efficient size.
It could also be made that each piece is given by a carve action, so an elk requires up to 20 individual acts of carving in order to be empty. This may seem like a waste of key presses but when weight capacity becomes more realistic I believe it will make more sense. After all, in the current system I am able to carry 200 pounds of meet for miles without significant consequence. I am in real life quite strong and healthy, and I doubt I could carry 200 pounds for more than a mile without harming myself. In that case carving less from the carcass would be a strategic decision, leaving the rest to attract predators (lynx and fox come to mind), birds, or simply decompose and return to nature. On the topic of hauling weight, I also think that until animals need to eat or can more easily be wounded or perish, they should have their weight limit as a pack animal reduced by less than half. 40 pounds on tireless and virtually immortal cow is more than fair. Dogs should be at 0, perhaps sheep as well.
An entirely unnecessary feature that I've considered is that cooking should automatically place meat ON the fire, rather than under you, and in order to retrieve it you should need to press the ; key. This makes more sense why food being cooked can spoil, as in the current version your freshly cooked food can be placed in the same square as previously picked up cooked food and the latter will never spoil while the former will. Someday in the future I'd like to see that any item placed on a fire will cook/burn if applicable, and inflammable items like stones similar would be impossible to pick up unless the flame is extinguished.
That concludes my post-hunt presentation. Please criticize or expand as you please.
phantasm - February 10, 2012 10:48 AM (GMT)
It isn't really about moving the difficulty of a task into difficulty of player commanding the task. It may take more ingame time, but shouldn't take 20 key presses for "simple" task command wise. As for skil... I'm quite certain that on URW era, even the children were taught these things as they grow up. It is all normal for animals to be butchered every fall etc. As such, the skill would be quite okay from the start.
Sure you won't really get exactly 1 lb cuts from the animal, but it doesn't make much different in the usage if the cut is whole 1 lb or two parts totaling 1 lb. From any larger animal you will get large cuts of meat that will be extremely easy to cut into smaller parts of about 1 lb or whatever wanted. There should be no loss there. And it is very much of no use gameplay wise to have to separately cut them again.
For a more realistic addition for butcher skill... It would vary the time it takes and ability to properly extract every useful part and not to cut any unwanted places to let bacteria out to good parts or so.
|QUOTE (mikloy @ Feb 10 2012, 09:02 AM)|
|Skinning animals should offer less predictable size and quality of fur. A talentless skinner may yield only 10 pounds of skin out of a bear's potential for 25, for example, as they may have poorly flayed otherwise useful portions. The most simple way to code this is to pull a skill/tool rolled item from the animal among those available: Inferior Skin (25% weight), Fair Skin (50% weight), Superior Skin (75% weight), Perfect Skin (100% weight). This may further add opportunity for a ritual to be of use here, which gives you a bonus to your roll.|
Wasted part of the skin/fur should go in for suitable for other uses. Perhaps less wasted parts as rope and rest as cord or bandage material.
Dark_Art - February 10, 2012 05:54 PM (GMT)
I think mikloy is making a very good point and it is not about simply complicating "easy" things. While 20 actions may be a bit excessive, I do believe that some sort of "butchering" activity is badly needed.
I think one way of dealing with it would be taking "tanning" approach - a fresh kill would require a set of 5-6 timed tasks, instead of simply one.
While it is true that anyone can take a knife and cut a piece of meat from a carcass, it does require certain skill to do it efficiently. A poor butcher would not take forever to prep the meat, but will definitely do it wrong mixing meat with shards of bone, hair, bile, urine/dung and rest of amazing things that can be found in dead and slightly decomposed carcass and therefor reducing eatable gains. Another thing - if you take too long, insects, worms, some parasites and rest of your friendly neighbors will surely join you successfully reducing the gain as well. Oh and there is of course a full bouquet of wonderfully poisonous carbon–nitrogens that will happen about if the carcass is rotting.
All in all, butchery by far not as easy as it seems, so its quite irrelevant what era we are talking about, as it req's proper anatomy knowledge and fair amount of practice.
mikloy - February 10, 2012 09:42 PM (GMT)
20 actions is an example only, but not an unreasonable one. What means does the player have to carry 200 pounds of meat? The future of this game seems to strongly lean toward increasing fatigue and further penalizing mobility based on excess carry weight. Why would your player spend 2 hours cutting 200 pounds of meat when they could spend half an hour cutting the 50 pounds they can carry at maximum? If we simplify it to say, an automated maximum of 5 cuts per command, then we could reduce the key presses from 20 to 4. That would still serve a reasonable purpose in my mind, and perhaps satisfy those that worry it would be too laborious.
Even with pack animals, which will someday be as much a liability as they are a boon, I find it difficult to see how 180 pieces of meat are neatly stacked on a cow's back without being individually bagged or otherwise. The current process for butchering, preparing, and transporting meat is missed potential for strategic opportunities.
Even if phantasm's certainty of URW era people having nearly flawless butchery skill is correct, the game does not offer the player all of the strengths and abilities of an extremely competent adult person of that time. Lacking expertise is what makes it fun, and provides progression. The purpose of the game is not to exercise your mastery of nature but develop it as you go.
Does anyone prefer keeping it as simple and easy as it currently is? Or have a different perspective on how to increase the depth of this process? Erkka, I assume would have great input being a man who handles livestock. Perhaps we could have some firsthand insight when he gets around to it.
erkka - February 10, 2012 10:05 PM (GMT)
|Erkka, I assume would have great input being a man who handles livestock.|
I bet we have more experienced people on the forums than I am. In my life I have killed three of my sheep, skinned them and cut the meat. But yeah, I think this thread is pretty much on the right track.
From the practical real-life point of view, I think, one of the major factors is blade sharpness. With low skill one will quickly get ones knife dull. And with a dull knife the work becomes harder and slower and more unprecise. For example, it is bit difficult to neatly clean an animal, if you don't cut its head off and chest and pelvis open - with an iron saw or an axe. No matter how skilled you are, the axe will get dull when you chop some animal bone.
I also tried some of the mistakes; once I accidentally bursted the urinary bladder, causing its content to spill on some of the meat. I decided to feed those parts to the dog =)
Anyway. I hope one day we have neatly simulated animals in UrW. Eating and drinking and breeding. Horses working, dogs hunting and the like. You know, we would like to have some kind of "animal lore" skill, which would effect the way your animals interact with you. With high skill you can let your animals loose and they will follow you anywhere. Things like that. They are coming in the future versions.
mikloy - February 10, 2012 10:38 PM (GMT)
Poor dog! Well, they eat their own "special chocolate" so I guess another animal's piss isn't much of a problem. No offense to anyone's dog, of course.
I am glad there is some consensus about the complexity of butchery. Surely with limited tools out in the wild there is great difficulty to produce neat cuts of meat and make the most efficient use of all animal parts.
Regarding more complex animal husbandry, I actually hope that the future limits the practical uses of animals as there is so much to be done by the player himself, and training animals can never be as immersive a process than doing the tasks they would perform by oneself.
As for breeding animals, because I have not yet played a single game that lasted over one game year, breeding animals doesn't seem feasible to me as from birth to adolescence would take perhaps 40-80 hours of real life game playing time!
Call me crazy, and of course most players would disagree, but I think this game could do without domestic animals. At least not until the distant future in which they can be more effectively balanced.
Dark_Art - February 10, 2012 11:25 PM (GMT)
What?? You are crazy! I completely agree with you - I never buy any kind of animals, it becomes just too cheesy. Plus, imho, the constant "MOOOO" is quite annoying. But hey, some like it, so let it be.
Actually, I like very much the idea of cutting off large chunks of meat of the carcass - makes perfect sense for transportation and to some extent for smoking purposes.
While it IS possible to carry 100 kgs of meat if its packed neatly, it is a real b!tch of a task. I think the carry weight cant stay the same, but the fatigue is a different story - with that load every few hundreds of steps would be a personal achievement and a feat of strength.
erkka - February 11, 2012 07:35 AM (GMT)
|Poor dog! Well, they eat their own "special chocolate" so I guess another animal's piss isn't much of a problem. No offense to anyone's dog, of course.|
Oh well, urine is not poisonous. The content of rectum tends to have nasty bacteria in it, but if the animal is healhty, its urine is sterile. In emergency situations, if there is no pure water available, one can use ones own urine to clean wounds.
Survival is savage business ;)
BobZombie - February 11, 2012 08:23 AM (GMT)
How about with higher survival skill you will be able to cut more chunks of meat at once?
So it will become easier for the character and the player the more skilled you are.
Thoranius - February 13, 2012 04:43 AM (GMT)
I like both the difficulty factor mildly affecting time and greatly affecting usable returns when carving the meat from the carcass and the choice of how many large hunks to carve at a time from larger kills.
The carving of the larger pieces into smaller ones could be handled as optional, with a range of 1-10 per attempt. However, until smoking/drying meats/fish gets an overhaul to by-weight instead of by-stack limitations, I doubt anyone would cut the meat into those smaller chunks, lacking incentive. Other than needing smaller bits for precise trading ventures, of course.
I also applause the skinning idea, though the 25/50/75/100 seems a bit extreme percentage-wise. Perhaps a range of 60/80/90/100 for poor, fair, superior, and perfect aspects would be a bit nicer, as there are generally a lot of fairly large, easy to cut sections on most larger game, with the more difficult areas comprising a smaller portion of the overall flesh, head, legs, tail, etc. Remember, they also stand to lose a portion of the hide in the tanning process. It's easy to carve a large square of hide from the side of an elk, but keeping that hide intact while cleaning the skin...that can be another matter entirely. Perhaps the loss due to poor finished tanning quality could be adjusted upwards a bit instead.
Sami Maaranen - February 13, 2012 11:39 AM (GMT)
Mikloy, thanks for the well-structured post - I agree with you pretty much completely.
Comments on few aspects:
|Skinning animals should offer less predictable size and quality of fur. A talentless skinner may yield only 10 pounds of skin out of a bear's potential for 25, for example, as they may have poorly flayed otherwise useful portions. The most simple way to code this is to pull a skill/tool rolled item from the animal among those available: Inferior Skin (25% weight), Fair Skin (50% weight), Superior Skin (75% weight), Perfect Skin (100% weight). |
And thanks for bringing this one up also, because now it's time for something rather hilarious/interesting:
I was a bit confused at first to read this because I had a hunch that it's already implemented - or at least it's not a new idea. So I went to check out the code - yes, it's clearly made so that success in hideworking affects the amount of skin obtained.
So I tested it with couple of wolves - but no, it was always the same size.
Hmm. Back to code. Ahaa! There was some stupid debug phase leftover that disabled the skin size modifying. Removed it - and this was the easiest feature to add for a long time :P
Weight ratios go up from 70% (worst failure possible).
I checked out from the newslist when this feature was added, and the year was 2008. It must have worked somewhere along the way, but don't know for sure for how long it has been disabled.
|Carving an animal should be in stages. First, a complete animal carcass should be an item that can be [m]oved or, if the size is small enough, simply carried. Next, small carcasses can yield 1 pound pieces but large carcases yield 10 pound pieces. The number of 1 or 10 pound pieces per carving depends on the size of the animal and the skill/tool of the player. More animal "meat value" variations should be implemented, such as starved, (this flag could also make carnivores more aggressive), old/sick, or smaller young. This will prevent any large animal kill from being a jackpot.|
Agreed. Butchery should be more complex and happen in stages.
The meat quality based on age/health of an animal is something I haven't thought about - an interesting idea! What I've had in mind is adding an option to hang the carcass to improve the meat quality. Of course meat could be utilized also without hanging the carcass but when you want the best and easily digestable meat (for a human) you wouldn't cut an elk before hanging it for a day or two - or even a week if the weather allows you to do that. Some kind of a rig would be needed AND to get a big elk hanging all by yourself would be very difficult, sometimes impossible -> more use of hunting parties to provide tasty meat for the participants.
About the size of meat chunks...well...at some point I'd like to introduce a whole new way of cutting things, be it wood or meat. So instead having fixed numbers, player could freely cut the meat to size preferred size; cut in half, cut to [x] pieces.
Of course the initial size of meat chunks from a large animal should be fixed. Maybe so that each animal would be initially cut to, say, 10 chunks. No matter what the weight of those, you could then continue chopping the way you like. If were about to bring lots of fresh meat to trade, then you wouldn't matter about the size. But if you were to smoke your meat, then you'd need more chopping.
curiousepic - February 13, 2012 04:25 PM (GMT)
Glad to hear you agree with these suggestions Sami, this is one thing I've thought needed more detail for a very long time. Sorting through offal, using bones for things, sinew for cordage, collecting bear claws and feathers for decoration... and I want to be covered in blood after butchering and have to wash it off!
Also, I think most characters should start with a short ritual to show respect and appreciation for any animal they've killed. I'm not sure if there is already one in the game, but I'd like to be able to do this from the beginning.
mikloy - February 14, 2012 01:01 AM (GMT)
Excellent news on the skinning topic!
As for my opinion on penalties for unskilled output, I honestly believe that a up to 75% loss of materials during the production process for lack of skill and general misfortune would greatly improve how the game feels. It would make the player more eager to build skills, and more active to make up for shortcoming. And when something is remarkably successful, it will feel fantastic.
Living in the wilderness is a less predictable experience that offers a mix of both excellent and unfortunate days. When the player becomes routinely successful in everything he or she does and is able to yield riches from the land on a daily basis, I feel that the game is effectively over. Don't you? URW to me is based on the journey to reach that point.
brian.shapiro - February 16, 2012 05:25 PM (GMT)
I would want to be able to get different types of meat from an animal. For example, the liver, the brains, the stomach, etc. These all have different nutritional value and different uses.
As for the muscle-meat, having stages of carving could require you to cut from specific animal parts. For example, the head, legs, rump, breast.
I would think you should also be able to collect moose or elk antlers and bone from all animals. I've read that antler and bone were used to craft a number of things; knife-handles, harpoons, fish hooks, drums, spoons, guksi.