Human Needs: Food, Drink, Sleep, Socialization Overview

There are a great many ways that humans can meet their demise in OC, and failure to satisfy basic needs will inevitably result in death. Hunger, thirst, the need for sleep, and the need for companionship – these primal needs are all strong drivers of human behavior.


Viewing state data of a content Freighters League pilot.


  • Humans need to eat food, or they’ll starve to death. Going long times without eating results in a progressive increase in hunger. Various impairments, like loss of dexterity and strength, accompany serious hunger.
  • Humans need to consume drinks, or they’ll die of thirst. Going long times without drinking results in dehydration, which is also accompanied by various impairments.
  • Humans need to sleep above all else.
    • Extremely sleep deprived NPCs, even those on the verge of death from starvation or dehydration, will desperately prioritize sleep above everything. Although humans in OC can eventually die from sleep deprivation, they’ll go insane long before reaching that point.
    • These extreme effects of sleep deprivation are generally moot, as NPCs will collapse and sleep under almost any circumstances before reaching them. You would have to intentionally contrive circumstances to deprive an NPC of sleep long enough to achieve these states.
  • Humans need to socialize in order to stay sane.
    • While lack of socialization can’t directly kill an NPC, total isolation will eventually break them.
    • Extreme loneliness leads to a variety of impairments, but they’re different from those resulting from lack of food or water. The results aren’t reductions in physical capacities, but anomalies in mental functionality. The affected human’s environmental awareness may start hearing sounds that aren’t there, their planning logic may start to calculate action weights randomly, leading to bizarre behavior, or other generally undesirable things.
    • It’s important to make sure that everyone has access to a socialization area, socialization partners that they like, and enough leisure time to satisfy their socialization needs.
  • Building a settlement that can provide for these basic needs occupies much of your energy when starting out!
  • Neglecting basic needs of people will eventually lead to their deaths.

Turl Kro, knocking on death’s door. A true Kelgonian, she maintains an even mood and has grimly accepted her fate.

Eating & Drinking


Torle Xorin ate food.

Humans love food and drink, and the mechanics of eating and drinking deserve an article of their own. Providing agreeable food and drink is an easy way to improve the mood of everyone in your expedition, as eating good meals will yield good experiences and pleasant memories.

During leisure hours, when humans are hungry or thirsty, they’ll seek out the best available food and drink from the expedition and consume it. Food and drink items have hunger and thirst reduction values, and these are what are important for keeping your people alive. Luxury is universally liked, and people enjoy luxurious meals. Different recipes have different sweetness, savoriness, and spiciness values, and these are further influenced by the materials you choose when manufacturing foods and beverages. Customizing ingredients to meet the tastes of your people can go a long way to improving their dining experiences.

An article on personal preferences and tastes will be coming shortly, but the details of this are a bit outside the scope of this article. The main point here is that keeping your stockpiles filled with food and drink will prevent starvation and dehydration.


Properties of a packaged meal made from synthetic materials. These are available as supplies at embarkation, and they’ll feed your people, but it’ll be a joyless experience. Picture bad MREs in space.



Sleep is another basic human need in OC, and sleeping conditions have a tremendous effect on an NPC’s well being. NPCs can sleep in many different ways, but they obviously prefer to sleep indoors, in comfortable conditions.

  • If space is available on sleeping furniture in a room, a person will always opt to sleep indoors.
    • Sleeping furniture includes cots, simple beds, luxurious beds, and stasis sleep chambers.
    • The easiest indoor sleeping solution for your people is a large room with plenty of cots. Even these simple accommodations are greatly preferable to the lesser alternatives.
    • Excluding the most egalitarian cultures, humans will prefer to sleep in private rooms, if possible. For people in cultures that highly value individualism, private rooms (and sometimes private houses) are a must.
    • Stasis sleep chambers stop the aging process while NPCs sleep in them. They’re expensive, complex, and difficult to manufacture, but they can significantly increase the longevity of your most valuable personnel.
    • Whenever an NPC sleeps indoors under any circumstances, they’ll judge the experience. Sleeping on luxurious, comfortable furniture in lavishly adorned rooms will yield very positive experience. Sleeping on crummy cots in barren tents will be less positive.
  • If an NPC has to sleep outdoors, a sleeping bag is essential.
    • Sleeping bags are man portable items that improve sleeping conditions in adverse circumstances.
    • Sleeping bags will make sleeping outdoors more comfortable, when circumstances demand it. Combat situations that isolate NPCs from buildings or ranger work that takes NPCs to remote areas are examples.
    • Sleeping outdoors in a sleeping bag can be rough (especially if it’s cold or raining), but it’s better than the last option.
    • Training, discipline, and experience can lessen some of the negative effects of sleeping outdoors. It’s still always a much better option to get NPCs sleeping indoors whenever possible.
  • If an NPC has to sleep outdoors and has no sleeping bag, it can sleep on the ground. This is the absolute worst option. NPCs can rest this way and won’t die from sleeping on the ground, but they’ll be left in a terrible mood.

Several people, fast asleep in a communal hut.


Of all the human needs, the need to socialize is the most complex. Socialization will be covered in more detail in a separate article, but a brief overview is provided below.

  • Social isolation itself can’t kill an NPC. Its effect of driving NPCs to madness, however, can indirectly result in death, either from deranged decision making or suicide.
  • Socialization mechanics are mostly driven by personality traits, although some physical traits (like physical attractiveness) and societal modifiers (like profession type and accomplishments) are also very important.
  • Whenever two NPCs socialize, each one judges the interaction independently. Usually, they’ll share the same assessment of the situation (they both liked each other, they both disliked each other, or they were both indifferent). Sometimes, though, assessments can be one way. One NPC might really like another one, while the partner in the interaction might be ambivalent.
  • Some NPCs have traits that make socialization difficult. Extremely neurotic NPCs rarely have positive socialization experiences and need compassionate NPCs as socialization partners. Managing leisure shifts so that the right people can socialize is important.
  • As long as NPCs interact in some form, loneliness will be decreased. Even hostile interactions decrease loneliness. However, hostile interactions have various other negative effects, and NPCs that dislike each other should be separated as much as possible. Once your population grows, you’re going to have NPCs that don’t get along. It’s nearly unavoidable, and dealing with these sorts of conflicts (especially when they erupt into damaging actions) is a very important part of managing large settlements.

The friendly Turl Kro, befriending Turl Dur.

Posted in NPCs