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Decay is a mechanic which can render food inedible, and render materials unusable, or change them into a different material.

How decay works

Decay is a percentage stored by an item which can decay. At 0%, the item is new, and at 100%, the item is decayed. This progress is represented by a filled in ring next to the item, along with the timeframe that an item of that type takes to decay from new (e.g. a year) in the current conditions (indoors versus outdoors)

Each item has a different rate of decay. This rate is also influenced by being indoors or outdoors - when an item is stored indoors, it typically has a slower rate of decay and therefore will take longer to decay. However, when an item is moved from outdoors to indoors, or vice versa, only the rate changes - the current decay progress remains constant. For example, if some flax was stored outside until its decay progress was at 50%, and then it was stored inside, the flax would decay at a slower rate, so it would take longer to decay the remaining 50%, even though there is the same amount of decay needed. However, it would still have 50% decay inside, and this amount would not reduce, so it will finish its decay faster than a flax stored inside at the same time, with less decay. This means that it is best to minimise exposure outdoors for food items to maximise time before decay, as this mii misses the average rate of decay and therefore maximises the time until decay, so the food keeps for as long as possible.