Hibernation is a community term now used to describe any course of actions that combine benefits taken from condition drain when needs are not met with restoring condition by satisfying needs briefly while sleeping. Primarily, it is a method to conserve limited resources.
- Needs cannot be drained below zero. Once a need reaches zero fulfillment, it stays at zero until some satisfaction is again available.
- Game actions like harvesting or traveling or even being awake drain needs.
- Game actions like harvesting or traveling or even being awake do not require needs to be satisfied to be taken.
- Drain on needs is lowest during sleep. Further, sleep actually replenishes the needs of fatigue and warmth when used properly.
- Condition loss from most unmet needs is slow relative to how quickly sleep replenishes.
- Activity is difficult at night with no natural light, so most nights include sleeping.
- Sleep often requires no resources. Satisfying needs usually does.
2800 calories would be consumed during 14 hours harvesting carcasses. But if no calories are available (Hunger is empty), about 15% of condition would be drained instead. Only 600 calories are required during 10 hours of fully replenishing sleep. So eating only 600 calories prior to sleeping can maintain a character with only briefly lowered condition taken as a trade-off. This is a great reduction from the 3,400 calories that would have been required to keep hunger satisfied the whole day.
The name 'hibernation' comes from this tactic's most common early use: to extend survival time to earn high placement on community leaderboards. Players would stock pile food and water and then procedurally starve then replenish themselves. Sleeping until condition reached as low as they dared, they would eat just enough to then sleep 12 hours, recover back to 100% condition, and repeat the cycle until all food and water was exhausted. Eating little staying in one place and sleeping lots, along with the game's winter setting and inclusion of bears, granted rapid acceptance of referring to this practice as 'hibernation'. The term is now used for any tactics that similarly use condition loss and sleep to replace satisfaction of needs.