Human Life Cycle Part 3: Life Stages

From the cradle to the grave, humans in OC progress through various life stages. They grow, learn, peak, regress, and die, if they’re lucky enough to last that long.  These life stages not only govern the physical characteristics of humans experiencing them, but they largely dictate human behavior. Effectively managing your population through all these phases is a key to running an efficient expedition.

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Some human sprites from various life cycle stages.

Summary

  • During their lives, humans in OC grow as they age and progress through various life stages.
  • These life stages profoundly affect a human’s physical and mental capacities.
  • Life stages also govern the sorts of behaviors that a human is capable of performing.
  • Life stages include infancy, childhood, adulthood, and old age.
  • Infancy occurs for a few galactic standard years at the start of a human’s life.
    • During infancy, a human can do almost nothing. It can’t even move without being carried. Its only capability is crying, and it has to be given everything by other, older humans.
    • Infants are also very tiny and have almost no strength at all.
  • The childhood stage follows the infant stage. It lasts until an NPC turns 18 galactic standard years old.
    • Children are far more capable than infants, and they’re technically capable of most things that adults are. This means that they can be directed into the labor force, but this usually isn’t a good approach.
    • A key difference between children and adults is that children can improve and grow in ways that adults cannot. For example, it’s very difficult for an adult to increase its intellect further than the point it’s already reached. Children, on the other hand, can improve their usable intellect by leaps and bounds over its base value.
    • As such, it’s often best to exploit this capacity for growth by training children via extensive education. This yields much more capable adults.
    • While children have a tremendous capacity for learning, they’re still physically smaller and weaker than adults. This ultimately makes them rather ill suited for most manual jobs.
  • Adulthood follows childhood. This is the life cycle stage when a human becomes most useful to an expedition.
    • Most of a human’s life is spent in adulthood.
    • Adults are generally better than children at all tasks.
    • Adults can engage in any profession.
    • Adults are the most physically capable humans, by a wide margin.
    • Adults can engage in all sorts of social endeavors that aren’t possible in other life cycle stages.
  • Adulthood is followed by old age.
    • Elderly people are like adults, but they’re almost universally weakened.
    • They’re slower, physically less capable, and lose their capacity to learn most new things and improve their stats.
    • Most elderly people, however, have accummulated tremendous skill sets by way of a full lifetime of experience. This wealth of knowledge makes them tremendous educators, and they can be key assets when employed in this manner.
  • If a person manages to live that long, old age is inevitably followed by death.

Overview

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A content baby, loafing on a cot. I love the plan that she’s built to satisfy the loafing goal.

In OC, the human life cycle stages are fairly intuitive and roughly correspond to their real world counterparts. Humans progress in a linear fashion from being babies to being elderly, and their capabilities and behavioral tendencies vary greatly in between.

Infancy

When a human is first born in OC, it comes into the world as a baby. Babies can do almost nothing and are entirely dependent on others for care. They do have requirements for eating, sleeping, and even socialization, just like other humans in OC, but they can’t satisfy them on their own. What this means is that you’ll need at least one human with the baby care activities enabled to attend to the infant’s needs. In most cultures, when a mother gives birth, these activities are enabled automatically and given a high priority for her child.

So, what can babies do?

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They can cry. And they will cry. This is how they satisfy their needs. Crying will create actual world sounds, which will attract the attention of a caring adult. The adult will then feed the baby, put it to bed, socialize with the baby, or do whatever is necessary to address its need.

Childhood

Once an infant gets older, it eventually enters the childhood state. At this point, it’s far more capable than it was before. It can now get food for itself, socialize on its own, and do all sorts of other things. As mentioned in the summary, a child is technically capable of performing most of the activities of an adult. For example, you can enable mining activities on a child and send it to work in the mines, if you are so inclined.

In an extreme emergency, this sort of management may be useful, but, in general, it’s probably a poor choice. First, that’s rather sadistic. Do you really want to run your expedition that way? Second, children are fairly small and weak. Their strength, stamina, and other properties required for mining are low. Consequently, they won’t be nearly as effective as adults. They’ll be very slow at operating mining equipment, they’ll be very slow in hauling ore, and they’ll perform relatively poorly.

The main downside to throwing children into the workforce is the foregone educational opportunities. This is covered more in the education system article, but children can be improved tremendously in ways that are nearly impossible for adults. Some key personality elements, like intellect, can’t really be improved beyond a certain age. A child’s usable intellect, however, can increase significantly as a result of education, playing with toys, or other nurturing experiences. A child can also rapidly increase various skills via instruction from skilled adults.

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A child improving its intellect as a result of playing with a chemistry set.

The main point here is that the childhood state represents a unique opportunity to grow and learn. A person will never be able to improve like they can in childhood, so it’s important to provide the best education and training environment possible for your expedition’s younger members. It requires an investment of resources, but can pay tremendous dividends in terms of a skilled, capable population of adults.

Adulthood

When an NPC turns 18 galactic standards years old, it reaches the adult age state. Most of an NPC’s life is spent as an adult, and this is the age state associated with nearly all productive gameplay. Since most professions are covered in other articles, I’ll keep the description of this age state brief, here.

The main things to remember about adults are that they’re as big, strong, and intellectually capable as they can be. Adults can still improve some stats by way of relevant activities. For example, strength and stamina can be readily improved as an adult. Sending an adult to work in the logging industry or subjecting it to military training will do just this.

Most aspects of its personality, however, can no longer be improved once an NPC becomes an adult. Intellect can’t really be trained much further, and existing neuroticism can’t be readily curbed. An adult is not as moldable as a child, and it’s precisely this inflexibility that makes the childhood stage so important from a training perspective.

Old Age

Old age is the final state a human reaches before death. This state occupies approximately the final 10% of a person’s life and is marked by regression in most features.

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The venerable Nornog Mendelev, 92 years young.

When a human reaches the elderly state, most of their useful stats are significantly diminished. This is especially true of physical states, like strength, dexterity, and stamina. Vision and hearing are also greatly decreased, which diminishes environmental awareness.

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Note the drastically decreased properties. Most are at least one standard deviation below normal, adult levels. Sight and hearing radii are halved in this case.

The decrease in stats significantly hampers a person’s ability to work at most jobs. However, their skill sets, experiences, and memories remain vast. This wealth of knowledge increases their effectiveness as teachers, making them ideally suited for child care tasks, and employing them in this manner can be a boon for your expedition.

Posted in NPCs