Health system improvements for Steam release

Hello everyone!

It’s Joonas (Regalis) and Ez (Chad Husk). We are going to take a few moments, before heading out of the office for the holidays, to shed some light on the new and improved…

First aid and character health system

The first aid functionality and medic class have been in need of more attention and depth to create a more engaging experience, in particular for those players who play as medics, but also for the crew as a whole. The management of the physical well-being of the crew is a huge aspect of gameplay in Barotrauma.

Crew members are more likely than not to break down over the course of a mission because of medical issues. These issues, or afflictions, can affect a player’s ability to function and perform their tasks in many ways, ranging from slight inconvenience to complete incapacitation. At this point we have implemented bleeding, burns, internal damage, hypovolemia (low blood volume), suffocation, stun, pressure damage, psychosis, husk infection, alcohol intoxication, opiate addiction, opiate overdose and poisoning –  with plenty more to be added soon!

To counter these difficulties, the Steam release will feature an equally complex medic and first aid system. All afflictions are managed with treatments that can be crafted from the many basic elements and raw ingredients found all over the world of Barotrauma.

Barotrauma Inventory Interface

Health bar over the Inventory interface

The overall health of the player is shown as a health bar over the inventory interface. In the extreme case, that is, once a player’s vitality drops to zero, they become unconscious and will die quite quickly unless revived with CPR. This leads to some really nice tense moments in-game and a real sense of accomplishment from bringing a teammate back from the brink.

The medic’s responsibilities are not limited to administering CPR, however. Attempting to treat another player brings up the new medical interface, which shows the patient’s overall condition as a mannequin. The interface also indicates any specific afflictions they are suffering and any possible treatments that can be administered. The medic (or anyone acting as a medic) may then treat each specific affliction as they see fit, stabilizing, curing, or even harming the patient.

Barotrauma Medical Interface

New medical interface

Since allowing all classes of characters to be equally proficient in all the different skills would diminish the role of the character classes in the game, not all crew members are skilled as medics. The lower the medic stat of a character, the less effective they will be in that role and will, for instance, get less help from the game in choosing the right treatment. This is particularly noticeable again in the extreme case, performing CPR. An unskilled medic will take longer to revive an unconscious character and may even cause them harm in the form of broken ribs (internal damage), which then must also be treated.

As with all things in Barotrauma, flexibility was the first thought when it came to design, and with this in mind, the treatments and afflictions are easily modified and expanded upon with plain XML by modders who want something a bit more specific for their particular game or just have a great idea that they want to share with the world. These new afflictions and treatments can then be published on the Steam Workshop and subscribed to by anybody else.

What do you think? We’d really like to hear your thoughts, and to that end, we are going to join you on the UTG Discord server soon for a chat. It will be an open discussion, but we still wouldn’t mind getting some questions in advance, so go ahead and leave comments here or on the forums. The time of the Q&A will be announced soon on Discord, so see you there!

In the meantime, take a closer look at some of the new features in this video:


  • December 8, 2018
    Steven Rodriguez

    I know you said that if you had less medical skill the game would offer less help in terms of what to do for certain statuses, I’m just thinking that in terms of selecting correct medicines that someone after playing medic a couple of times wouldnt need the in game help anymore as they would eventually commit to memory what medicines for what situation… so maybe unskilled crew members can only see items with incredibly vague labels such as “a syringe containing a liquid” “a bottle of pills” “A container labelled with some word too hard for you to pronounce”. I think SS13 randomises medicine effects which would work without a vague item description but only for round play as over a campaign it wouldnt make sense and again players would just memorise it over the course of time.

  • December 11, 2018
    Jonas Ceballos

    @Steven Rodriguez no. all medicine have labels. unskilled crew members could see the injures but not know in detail how to help the injured person.

  • January 2, 2019
    Dimitris koumousidis

    Correct me if i happen to be wrong, but i have a suspicion that the crew in the health improvements video is AI (Mainly because of the instant messaging and movements). I am deeply interested in the improvements of AI crew members in being something more than moving ragdolls and if they will be able to perform more complex actions such as picking up objects and using them or piloting the submarine. Unlikely but surely interesting.

      • January 4, 2019

        While it has been mentioned that the AI will have more functions inluding the ability to maintain a subamarine. It is questionable if the AI will be able to navigate around the vessel to repair “Hard to reach leaks” or prioritize assignments. During the alpha version i observed that the Bots had a significant difficulty in reaching leaks mainly inside the Ballast area or challenging to reach spots . If the AI has been improved as to been able to efficiently move in the submarine (even while running as barotrauma is a game of crisis management) , it would certainly be a massive beneficial impact to the gameplay. At least for me.

        Additionally…Will players be able to hire AI Crewmembers in multiplayer as the system that you mentioned seems ideal for combined Human-AI cooperation.

        I am looking forward for the release as well as good wishes for the launch.

  • January 12, 2019
    Nathan Banks

    Just gotta say this. Imagine limb amputations. That would be really fucking cool. Then we could have pirate Captains with the metal bootlegs.

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