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TUG is a multiplayer open-world sandbox-RPG using new technology and social sciences to directly involve players in the game’s design.
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Feeding & Caring For Your New Seed

Posted by Nerd Kingdom (Creator)

Performing actions and perfecting skills can improve your Seed’s overall abilities, but you won’t be able to see all of those abilities floating conveniently in space above your Seed’s head! Instead, in TUG, we’ll be using much more visual identifiers to measure your Seed by.

The easiest example we can use to start with is body mass, since the changes to your Seed’s body are so obvious. The math behind body mass in TUG has a lot to do with what your Seed eats -- and Seeds will eat a lot, to replenish health or stamina, or even add special abilities in rare cases. While we don’t intend for everyone’s characters to have to stay on crazy crash diets in order to keep looking fit, have a look at these examples for an idea of what we mean:

Looks familiar, right? A TUG-world Nutrition Facts label! Looking at the numbers, this apple doesn’t add anything to the Seed’s overall body fat, and gives a Seed 6% of their overall health back, as well as 1% of their stamina. Additionally, it has 10 calories, so your Seed will feel less hungry! But watch out, that warning at the bottom isn’t just for show. If you eat too much at a given time, even something as relatively healthy as this apple can have some adverse side effects!

Now lets look at a food that has a little more complexity to it.

Mmmm, crunchy amphiburgers! Satisfying and great for restoring your health and stamina-- but also a bit fatty! This tasty amphiburger gives us 40% of our health back, 10% of our stamina and 40 calories to satisfy our hunger -- but it also gives us a whopping 25% of our daily fat intake! That said though, it also gives us a temporary boost to our jump height, so it’s not all about a quick health boost, either.

So what happens to a Seed when he or she starts adding fatty foods to his or her diet? Let’s have a look at four examples: Joe, Roland, Hauser, and Mac.

Joe "The Newb"

Joe’s an average guy. Maybe he’s only just reached adulthood, or maybe he’s just been really good at staying a generalist, but he probably hasn’t specialized in any skills, he probably hasn’t seen too much combat, and he’s kept his diet simple. Or, maybe he’s a big eater, but he’s a bigger explorer, and he regularly gets out and travels the world.

Joe probably won’t be able to deliver any single huge hits in combat, but he can still be a challenging adversary since he’s able to dash in and out of combat and move quickly -- and he can run like mad to get out of the way if things start to go wrong.

Roland "The Hunter"

Roland’s been around the block a few times. He’s been in a few scrapes, started working with crafts, and put some thought into how to use food to his advantage, though he’s probably not using the skill-boosting fatty foods much -- only when he needs a quick boost for a hunt or a special item he wants to craft. He’s probably living an active life -- maybe as a hunter, tracking beasts and hunting them for food and skins.

Roland’s well-suited for ranged combat, since his melee attacks won’t be overly strong, but even so he’ll probably be a more dangerous opponent than Joe in melee because he’s sacrificed a bit of speed for survivability and strength. He’s probably dabbling in a number of skills that interest him too, which means he’s pretty well-rounded and fun to play.

Hauser "The Bruiser"

Hauser’s not the kind of guy you want to mess with. He’s probably used to wearing heavy armor and using heavy tools or big weaponry, and given his size he’s probably accustomed to eating a lot of fatty foods to give himself skill boosts and special abilities. Hauser isn’t the kind of guy who’s going to be firing arrows from the woods or doing fancy footwork -- he’s going to be wading into battle like a juggernaut and leveling the enemy.

Aside from battle, though, Hauser probably enjoys his free time around town. Unlike some of his fellow warriors who train hard or explore the world in between battles, he enjoys hanging out in the tavern, drinking ale and socializing with his friends, and those habits combined with his love of fatty foods give him his distinctive girth.

Mac "The Big Guy"

Mac’s a big dude. He’s probably been using heavy tools for a while now, and he might have some really advanced smithing skills under his belt, but the heavy costs of endurance his trade exacts on him force him to eat more often than other folks, and the fact that his profession keeps him in one place means he’s not burning off a lot of fat.

That said, Mac’s not just a great smith, but he’s going to be a real bear in a fight. His movements will be slower, but you’d better hope he never connects with that massive hammer he uses, because if he does you’ll feel it for weeks -- if you’re lucky!

One important caveat after all these examples -- we’re ONLY demonstrating the results of food consumption and illustrating some very specific examples that might result in a character looking like these guys. If you want to be a powerful warrior, you don’t have to look like Mac or Hauser to do it -- remember, Mac sits in his forge all day, and Hauser lounges around the tavern. So what can your Seed do to look and play more like a battle-hardened warrior of legend?

Naturally, Seeds will have the option of adjusting their diets to reduce the amount of fatty foods, but this option can affect the Seed’s general health too. The other option, then, is exercise! Engaging in many of TUG’s more active skills will count as exercise, as will extended travel and combat, and engaging in exercise will not only remove fat from your system, but build muscles in a very visual way -- biceps will swell, legs will grow thicker, and so forth. Of course, it’s best to remember that not all exercise in the world of TUG is safe. Running from a wild beast may be great for burning off the fat, but doing it wrong won’t be pretty!

In closing, these examples show just a couple of the ways we plan to display and affect player stats in the game. While the systems are complex, the formulas and the design is complete, and we’re working hard to implement them in our Beta phase -- and then adjust accordingly with your help and feedback!



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    1. Nerd Kingdom Creator on

      @Max, we're obviously going to be using a simplified version of how nutrition and calories actually work in real life... obviously weight and health are tied to WAY more things than just "how fatty is this food," but we do want even this simplified version to reflect accurate approximations of real life nutrition while still being fun and not overly complex or difficult. Your input is great appreciated!

    2. Missing avatar

      Max Nordlund on

      This is an interesting mechanic in a game, but I'm a bit worried about the game giving the wrong impression towards fatty food. Ive tried LCHF recently, and while not perfect it certainly work. The combination of fat and carbohydrates is the real killer, not one of them, if you believe in LCHF theory.
      What I'm trying to say is that before you settle on a model, make sure it's backed by current research and not just "common sense" which might be true and then again might be false. This goes for LCHF or any other diet theory as well.

    3. Nerd Kingdom Creator on

      Guys, we totally intend to do lots of testing to make sure we balance realism and fun here. We don't want this to be too micro-manage-y, just something that'll add a layer of depth and customization to gameplay, and another way to make your Seed truly your own.

    4. Missing avatar

      Amanda Lemaster on

      I love food determining things in games. They can fairly easily make a game so much more intense and complex at the very least in feel while also making the game feel so much more real and breathing. I super love it, promise! But... Whenever I go to play a game that intensively involves it, I get a little frustrated, bored, and panicking. I stress an amazing amount over something so little for fear of my character becoming unfit or dead or something, and it eventually turns me away from the game, sadly. Love it in theory, hate in practice. SO, I would love it if this game kept it simple/easy going enough that I will not panic (I admit that is just a personal problem, so it is understandable if you do not want to take my opinion too deeply or really at all), but will be able to thoroughly enjoy the practice as much as the theory. =)

    5. Missing avatar

      Spirit_Guardian on

      Sounds a bit like Metal Gear solid "Snake eater" :O

      You have to eat and treat wounds and stuff; but it was fun and didn't feel all micromanagement-y.

    6. Christian on

      That sounds pretty micromanage-y to be honest ...

    7. Thomas Johansen on

      One think that would be Totally awesome!! Would be if your mounts and companions would benefit from this system as well xD
      like the mounts getting more muscular, stronger and faster xD

      Was thinking if the Golems would degrade over time and get plants growing all over it ^^
      battle scars and permanent marks on the stone Golems and stuff xD

    8. Missing avatar

      deleted on

      This user's account has been deleted.

    9. Kjetil Kverndokken on

      Molyneux'd - that rat bastard promised the heaven and gave you dirt.
      I seriously doubt this will happen; any game designer knows who he is and probably never wants to do what he have done.

    10. Missing avatar

      Scott on

      Blood!? and other ailments that you have to treat?!?! I am SUPER PUMPED!!! Onward, TUG! ONWARD TO 215K AND BEYOND!!

    11. Richard Deck on

      I'm starting to get really worried about this game. Almost every day I get an e-mail about what this game will be in the future, and it all sounds fantastic... but I'm worried I'm about to get "Molyneux'd". Can we get some updates on the CURRENT development? What is currently being coded, created, and tested?

    12. Caolan Harrington on

      It's an interesting idea, that if done well, adds an extra layer of depth and helps to establish a connection with your seed.
      We've seen something similar in GTA3, where if you ate too much, your character would become overweight and have reduced running speed and shortness of breath/stamina. It was a very basic mechanic that didn't really affect the game too much.
      I would certainly like to create a character and be able to implement many of the things I do in real life into it (I'm a bit of a fan of wielding an axe for wood chopping) and seeing how it affects my character in-game.
      I've just recently kicked into this with 2 friends, so I look forward to the future.

    13. Missing avatar

      Todd Moegerle on

      Love the concept. I think there are far too many games out there that just plunk you down inside the stereotypical "Brok Hardbeef" body type, assuming that the entire player base wants to look the same, sound the same, and in all other respects play the same character. It is tragically rare for a game to offer the player some degree of creativity in this respect. The choice to break the mold; to step away from the herd and build a character and a story that's a bit more personal and - dare I say it - interesting.

      Where's the crotchety old rogue who's been holding out for that "one last score" for far too many years? Thin as a rail but still every bit as spry as a man half his age. Good ol' Stabby McGee - sneaking out once more into the night, certain that tonight will be the night he scores big. Or the farmer with the huge gut, born of too many biscuits and countless pitchers of sweet tea, standing watch over his land with a proud smile and a battle-worn spontoon slung across his back.

      These are the people I want to hang out with in a sandbox survival game. These are the heroes I want to take with me into the unknown. Its great to hear you're giving players the tools to build these kinds of characters. Even better - it sounds like you've decided to make the method of selecting these characteristics integral to the ongoing game play experience, rather than relegating them to the confines of a character creation menu. Love it.

    14. BdB on

      Finally a game that makes me think in a logical way.
      No meaningless point system that any theory wizard can abuse to make a cookie cutter build.
      No button smash pew pew nor spread sheet warrior .

      Brain stimulus I love it :)

    15. Archangel Beth on


      On the one hand, the notion of linking Player Character food to the idea of "that's more healthy than this" is interesting. People do absorb memes when they play.

      On the other hand, the overly simplistic models that a MMO can give -- and make no mistake; the intersection of health care, eating habits, genetics, and eating *disorders* can be extremely complex -- seems ripe for promoting *un*healthy attitudes towards eating. (Especially in your socialized-female audience.) I think you may want to give this aspect a *lot* more thought than the initial post suggests you've done so far.

      At the very least, I hope to high heaven that you're not going to use the official-looking pseudo "nutrition facts" as part of the UI. That's going up to the door, knocking, and asking the infernal on the other side for a subscription to drama-issues, I think.

      (So, what changes will happen to a *female* avatar, based on exercise?)

    16. Chaonic on

      This update is awesome by the way! =)
      I hope to learn more about a learning/skill system =)
      You guys are doing awesome stuff, really!! =)

    17. Chaonic on

      @Darren: You already commented in the inventory update and said, you are out of it. Then just go. This type of gaming is revolutionary. It seems to be mostly based on rewarding you for your hard work, it doesn't matter HOW you play it, you can enjoy it and perfect the way, you play it.
      In fact, I think, this more realistic way opens the gamer a whole new and more intuitive gameplay, where you just don't have to study weeks on the site's wiki.
      For those, who don't like it either, have the possibility to mod the game the way, they want it.
      Be patient, these people are working on something really awesome.

    18. Lorenzo Gaetani on

      food restore health too? there will be a system for wounds or it's just health? i mean if you have a bleeding wound it doesn't heal if you eat a amphiburgers i think.
      and for the campaign i reallly trying to spread the word but you know it's hard in my country, hope the campaign reach the goal, let's do our best community!

    19. Dylan Johnston on

      Looks very interesting you will actually have to think about what you eat to get the best results all round ya im guessing those are just some examples im sure you can be very strong and fit as well as long as your not eating all the fatty foods haha

    20. Kjetil Kverndokken on

      Interesting, its very much like Fable but a bit more advanced.

      BTW - the big guy was big because he did not move to much, what if you eat hell of a lot and are quite active too? That will make a "heroic" muscled character?

    21. finallyanime on

      Can I just say I see what you're doing with the diet thing but it's not my opinion. What if i want my character to be stronger but not be big no offense. And plus you just have big being big. There are bigger people who look fit at the same time. Just seems like a flawed system

    22. Nerd Kingdom Creator on

      @Darren, we are very sorry that this project was not for you. We saw this as an opportunity to take something we do in games all the time (like eating) and actually make it impact your character and tell a much deeper story into who she/he is and really let people experiment with these changes to see how things work. Just the same your kind thoughts are appreciated.

      @Scott, we certainly are open to things like bleeding effects, some form or crippling or other ailments that need to be treatd in different ways!


    23. Missing avatar

      Scott on

      Will restoring health be as simple as eating food? Or will there be actual injuries and a necessity for first aid and such. If it is that simple, it would be a lot less immersive IMO. However, I can see how making it more complex than that could be too much programming or be too taxing for our computers. Regardless, I am super impressed with the system that you showed us in this update! It will be super cool to learn how to eat to get the optimal results for skills and combat:)

    24. Darren Steinheuer on

      Sorry guys I gave you a few updates to turn me around and you have actually gotten worse. I don't believe gamers want what you are trying to sell. Gaming is about escaping from reality, not trying to re-create it. I believe you are approaching this from the wrong direction.

      I take no joy in predicting your campaign will fail and, ironically, it will be because of the honesty in your updates.

      Good luck and I sincerely hope I am wrong, but our journeys part here.

    25. Devon Mullane on

      I realize it would never be done, but it would be interesting to see things that negatively shaped your character as well. In Chris' case, fattening is seen as such, but I meant perhaps to lose an eye, fingers, hands, arms, a leg, etc... There's too much emphasis on characters being this 'pristine' avatar, some sort of deluded self-reflection rather than a vessel for storytelling. So, I hope that the food system is HIGHLY reflective of your eating habits. I think it's terribly exciting that you would include a system that reflects character diversity through, well, character diversity.

      Any plans perhaps for other layers such as dirt?

    26. Nerd Kingdom Creator on

      @Chris, not to worry, its not a system that is supposed to act as a simulation, just to help paint a picture of who each character is and what they do. Its part of the signification of the narrative as well, each person has a story and it comes from their experiences or actions (eating being one). But it will not damage play, it will just be something that is a bit of extra for anyone to have fun with. And when architecture is completed on the system, it will be a LOT of food you will need to eat to get this big, which will have its own pros and cons ;)


    27. Kyle Ferrin on

      It would be interesting to see the female equivalents of the art shown in this update.

    28. BorgKitten on

      Also, I notice that Joe has the same muscle mass in his shoulders as Roland, Joes shoulders should appear a bit less bulky. Anyway, sorry for nitpicking, just a few things that I noticed. Love what you guys are doing so far.

    29. BorgKitten on

      This is cool but it's impossible to have a higher fat content than there are calories because fat contains 9 calories per gram.

    30. Missing avatar

      Chris Marshall on

      I don't enjoy counting calories to keep myself trim... I'm not sure I'll enjoy it for my Seed.

    31. Mathew on

      This game is making promises that The game Fable could never deliver upon im sure you guys will make it happen though and make a much better experience! :)

    32. Nerd Kingdom Creator on

      @Ellie, muscle is a totally segmented system, this is just a top down of how some morphing/changes will occur. So you could see a blacksmith with much larger arms, but a nice beer gloated gut. Or a slim runner with slightly more tone in legs, etc.

    33. Ellie on

      For a while there, I couldn't see any differences between Joe and Roland, and the further down it goes it seems like this system is using fat to represent muscle. Is that how it's going to work in-game?

    34. Lars on

      Body morphing in games always interest me! sweet new art aswell!

    35. Son Goku on

      Sweet update