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Where is thump-thump?!

The heartbeat system is one of HellMOO's building blocks, and is critical to the game world functioning. It also has a very visible and obvious effect on gameplay, determining everything from how quickly you bleed to death to how often wild grizzly bears hump eachother.


Heartbeats are HellMOO's way of regulating things that happen at regular intervals. The mechanism is simple: everytime there is a "beat", anything that's set to happen every heartbeat is activated. Some of these things are very mundane, like determining how often mobs use random flavor emotes:

   The crimson giant ant clacks its mandibles together noisily.

On the other hand, some of these are crucial to the function of HellMOO. The respawn timer for mobs, for instance, uses heartbeats as its measure of time. All Drugs use it constantly - after enough heartbeats, the drug will wear off. Randomly getting horny, and having that horny progress without "stimulation", also happens on the heartbeat timer, as does getting hungry. Most obviously of all, if you are suffering from a damage-over-time effect like bleeding, burning alive or suffering from toxic exposure, you will take damage from that effect every heartbeat. If you're under the influence of all three, you'll get hit with all three in the same instant - on your next heartbeat!

Practical Effects

A truly massive number of things use heartbeats, so listing them all in one article would be pointless and probably impossible for players. Instead, any time you see "heartbeats" on the wiki, remember that the system described on this page is what that word is referring to. Some effects of the heartbeat system are so universal and essential that any player in any situation can take advantage of them, however. Here are a few of those:

  • Bleeding takes place every heartbeat. If you use lie, you will take less damage from your bleed when the heartbeat procs. You can use this to your advantage: wait for a bleed hit while lying down for reduced damage, then run closer to your nearest medic/safety/treatment before the next one hits. You can also save yourself with timely nanite uses between bleed ticks if you're near death.
  • Many stress sources (and cures) do not use the heartbeat system; the game doesn't wait for a heartbeat to destress you when you have an orgasm, it just gives you the destress immediately. Stress from mentals and other periodic causes do use it, however, as do periodic sources of stress relief like weed ingestion and sitting in a hot tub.
  • Lots of mutations make the heartbeat system, especially Zombie and Vampire. Note the effects of heartbeats on your hideously mutated in-game avatar!
  • Heartbeat effects process in the order in which they were introduced to the mob. In other words, if you heal yourself with a trauma kit and are receiving a heal-over-time from that, and then later sustain a bleeding wound, the heal will be applied before the damage is. If the reverse is true, the damage will come first, then the heal. Note that if you hit zero health, you die instantly, even if a big heal from a heal-over-time is due on the same heartbeat after the bleed processes.

Unusual Behavior

The heartbeat system sometimes behaves very strangely, and it's possible for mobs to get "frozen", the heartbeat system not processing for them. This happens most often when players disconnect from the game. HellMOO stops tracking players on the heartbeat system shortly after they disconnect from the server to save system resources; it seems that after this point, players get one or two heartbeats processed and then are cut off. During this "cut-off" time, if anything happens to a player to induce a heartbeat effect on them (such as receiving a bleeding wound, or being made to cry from an insult), that effect won't actually manifest until the player next logs in and gets a heartbeat

On top of that, timed effects that were already being processed while the player was connected continue to influence players until their last heartbeat after their disconnection. At this point, the effect is frozen in place until the player once again connects and gets a heartbeat. In other words, if you log off bleeding, you won't bleed (much) while you're logged off, but when you log back in the bleeding will continue where it left off.

This opens the door to truly bizarre behavior. Players can, for instance, log off on the ocean floor with a pressure suit and an oxygen tank. Under normal circumstances, they would drown after a few minutes, but since the game uses the heartbeat system to tick down the air supply in the player's tank, and since that player is disconnected, they'll only get one or two normal reductions in their air supply before being cut off, at which point they can linger in a disconnected state indefinitely at the bottom of the sea (which makes them really hard to find for PvP purposes).

This is an example; there are other weird quirks like it. Admin rulings on topics like this are inconsistent, rare and poorly documented, but be warned that using this behavior to one's advantage may be punishable as an exploit.