Medical Treatments, Hospitals, and Medical Professions

When humans contract diseases or sustain serious wounds, they need medical attention to heal properly.

A demo video of a doctor setting a broken bone. The patient automatically proceeds to a hospital and occupies a bed. The order for setting the bone is automatically created, the doctor gets a splint, and performs the necessary actions.

Summary

  • Humans in Outer Colony can suffer from two main sorts of medical conditions.
  • Humans with diseases need to have a cure administered by a doctor in order to be healed.
  • Humans that have suffered wounds need treatment from a doctor.
    • Some wounds, like muscle tears, require no-invasive wound treatments.
    • Some wounds, like abdominal evisceration, require surgical treatments.
  • All treatments must be administered by doctors to patients who are occupying hospital beds.
    • Hospitals are an area type, like any other.
  • Any human suffering from an ailment that requires medical attention will automatically go to a hospital bed (if it can walk) or request that he be carried to a hospital bed by someone who’s able.
  • Medical care orders will automatically be created for any patients occupying hospital beds. So long as you have the necessary medical items (covered below) and a person with doctor activities enabled on their work shift, the order will be addressed.

Medical Conditions

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Durop Ensten, suffering from a broken arm (highlighted).

Humans can suffer from two primary sorts of medical conditions: diseases and wounds. For more details on these conditions, see their respective articles. Diseases and wounds can vary greatly in severity, from conditions that mildly impair physical properties to life threatening problems. If a human deems its medical condition sufficiently serious, it will automatically go to a hospital and wait for care. If no care is given, the person will wait there until the condition heals naturally. If no hospital is available, the NPC will stumble about its daily routine, trying to tough its way through the problem. In the case of serious conditions, this will end in death.

Hospital Areas

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An example hospital area, visible in green.

Hospital areas are easy to construct. They work like any other sort of area designation. I’d recommend the following steps for making a hospital area (these apply to most any sort of room):

  • Create a room in some interior space.
  • Make sure it has plenty of beds / sleeping items. Cots and futons can suffice.
  • Give it a lamp or light source to ensure that the room can achieve an adequate grade. People will likely sleep in there at some point.
  • Furnish it as necessary to increase the room’s desirability. Make the hospital stay as pleasant as possible.
  • Use the area designation tool to specify the room’s interior as a hospital rea.

Medical Items and Treatments

Medical treatments require medical supplies. Without the requisite items, a doctor can’t apply a cure. As such, either trade or medical equipment manufacturing is a prerequisite to healing NPCs. The activity for medical equipment manufacturing and the associated skill are both under the doctor profession.

To treat a disease, you’ll need the specific cure for the disease of the patient. For example, a person suffering from corpse rot needs corpse rot cure, and a person suffering from the plague requires plague cure.

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Corpse rot cure.

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Plague cure.

Disease cures have very specific material requirements, which can make them difficult to manufacture and highly valuable. This makes them prime targets for off-world trade exchanges. The disease treatment skill type increases the likelihood of successful cure application, so doctors with this specific expertise are useful during disease outbreaks.

To treat a wound, you’ll need the right sort of item to repair the body part component that sustained the wound. Each sort of wound treatment These are described below.

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Bandages are needed for certain types of non-invasive wound treatment. Generic tissue and muscle injuries require bandages.

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Splints are needed for bone and ligament injuries.

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Disposable surgical kits are needed for all other sorts of injuries. Wounds to guts, hearts, lungs, or brains call for treatment that requires a surgical kit.

The surgical wound treatment skill is used whenever surgical kits are needed. The non-invasive wound treatment skill is used for all other sorts of healing.

Alternate Outbreak Control Strategies

This video shows a difficult scenario in Outer Colony, forcing the player to make a hard decision.

Sometimes, Outer Colony forces the player to make difficult, moral choices.  In the case shown in this video, Kent Harland, a resident of this colony, has contracted the plague. No plague cure is on hand, and the colony lacks the resources needed to manufacture cure.

What can you do in this case? Plague is almost always fatal, and if you leave Kent alive, you run the risk the other NPCs will enter the hospital and contract the infection, potentially spreading it to everyone. He’ll be dead long before you could trade for any medical supplies, and if he dies of the disease, you’ll have to deal with disposal of his corpse.

The decision made in the video is to set the hospital on fire. Fire will purge corpses of any diseases, thereby containing the plague and avoiding a potentially serious outbreak.

But what are the costs of this decision? Kent Harland isn’t just some nameless, faceless NPC to be mowed down in an FPS. He’s got a rich social network, and all the people in it will be affected to varying degrees.

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Partial readout of Kent’s social network.

He’s got a lifetime of memories and experiences that will all be lost forever.

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Kent has his own personality and a myraid of other properties that make up his tiny, virtual life.

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Kent’s personality readout.

There are consequences to snuffing out a life like Kent’s, or any life, in Outer Colony. It’s my hope that making decisions like this are a bit more thought provoking here than in the average game. Knowing the right thing isn’t always easy, and difficult scenarios in Outer Colony might force you to weight the safety of a colony against the life of an individual.

What’s the right choice, here? I can’t give any authoritative answers. As a player, it’s up to you to decide.

Posted in Game Design, NPCs