I think a difficulty bump would be appropriate to keep the game challenging for longer. More specifically, I have the following suggestions:
Fish (and bats) should scatter when you move near them. Perhaps they may return to swim around you if you remain still? This would make acquiring food much more challenging.
Meat should spoil before its harvested. This would stop me from stockpiling sharks and such.
Smoked meat should still spoil, though it should still last perhaps about a week. This would make food acquisition more important still.
Storms and sharks should damage your raft forcing you to keep it in repair.
Storms should damage your structures, requiring a greater re in.
Coral reefs should damage you and cause bleeding.
Reef sharks should still bite you and/or swim away. They should totally still be edible too.
Thanks for taking the time to read!
People do not come to such games for realism at all, my friend Realism is what they take a break from! If you want to get closer to realism, head to Green Hell. Or we need 2 different modes for lovers of realism and the current mode “for vacationers”, not everyone likes the constant grind of food, for example. I like to stock up and not think about food, making time for other tasks. I like to feel safe on a raft. I like the indestructibility of the base and I do not want to change it.
I think the game as it is invalidates itself a ton. Fish traps, bird traps, fishing rods, eggs, bats…all rendered irrelevant by uninteresting spear fishing. I dont for a moment think food should be a grind, but a degree of challenge would be nice and would make so many other sources of food viable outside of RP.
As for the raft and structures taking damage - this would keep sharks as a threat (even though a minimal one) and would give purpose to resources in the late game. It would also balance out the notion of stones, driftwood and random loot drops washing up on the shore (which would be an awesome feature, but currently a totally unneccessary one).
I dont really want to shoot for realism, but more belivability wouldnt hurt, challenge in the late game would be welcome, and mechanics backing up the various systems in the game would only make success more satisfying. Also, more chores in the late game would be incredibly useful as fodder for time.
As a side note, I totally believe that most players of survival games come for a more believable, more challenging experience, being as thats the whole point. If you dont want additional challenge, then why play a game with additional challenges?
You use a Spear to catch your fish?
I use an axe lol