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Freezing is a game mechanic which makes surviving Winter more difficult. Freezing can also occur during the last night of Autumn or during heavy rainfall in Spring, in Don't Starve: Reign of Giants. Whenever the player is away from a heat source for too long they will begin to freeze.
Freezing occurs when body temperature drops below 5° for vanilla or 10° for Reign of Giants. The edges of the screen will become encrusted with ice, as a warning to the player that they are about to freeze. The player should seek a heat source as soon as possible when this happens. If a source of heat cannot be found, a second layer of ice crust will form over the edges when body temperature drops below 0°, causing the player to take damage of 1.25 Health per second. Freezing stops soon after the player finds a sufficient heat source.
The drop in body temperature that results from Freezing can be slowed by carrying a charged Thermal Stone, wearing insulated Clothing, growing a Beard or equipping a Torch. Freezing is negated altogether near a sufficiently warm heat source, such as a Fire.
The best way to have a reliable and steady source of fire is by having a Campfire, Fire Pit or a Dwarf Star. A Torch won't provide much warmth but can buy a limited amount of time before freezing actually settles in.
In emergencies, objects and even creatures can also be set on fire for an immediate source of warmth. A single flammable item can be dropped on the ground by holding the CTRL key and clicking the LMB. Once on the ground, such items can be lit on fire with a Torch to provide a small, but limited, amount of heat. With enough fuel, small fires like this can provide enough warmth to get to a better source of heat. This might be dangerous (or advantageous) however as nearby flammable objects can catch fire as well.
One of the best options for traveling away from a fire during Winter is to wear clothing that provides insulation. These items increase the amount of time a character can be away from fire before Freezing begins. Having several items equipped at the same time provides a cumulative bonus. Insulated clothing only delays Freezing, however, and sooner or later the player will be forced to return to a source of warmth. There are three tiers of clothing, each allowing the player to be away from a fire longer than the lower tiers.
- Thermal Stones can be used to store heat.
- Wilson's and Webber's Beards provide additional insulation, depending on their length.
- Werebeaver has additional insulation.
- Willow's Lighter produces a very small amount of heat, but can also be used to light surroundings on fire for emergency heat.
Freezing mechanics are based on the temperature implementations in the game. A player character has a body temperature, which ranges from -20° to 45° (80° in Reign of Giants). Any time body temperature falls below 0°, the character will take 1.25 damage per second.
Ambient temperature is a key factor influencing a character's body temperature. Body temperature will attempt to match the ambient temperature, this rate is dependent on the ambient delta.
This rate can be any value between +5 and -1. It is given by the function:
max(ambient_delta, -30 / (30 + total_insulation))
Total insulation is the sum of all insulation worn by the character (see table below).
This rate takes into account the total effect of all heat sources affecting the player, including weather (the current air temperature), campfires, Thermal Stones, and lit torches. It is also a function of the player's current temperature.
The net temperature effect of a heat source depends on its distance from the player and its raw source temperature (listed in the Heat Sources table below), referred to as its source temperature:
- If the source temperature is positive and above the player's body temperature, it will contribute to the ambient delta
- If the source temperature is positive but below the player's body temperature, it will have no effect.
- If the source temperature is negative (e.g. it is a "cold source" such as the Chilled Amulet), it will contribute (negatively) to the ambient delta.
In other words, the net temperature effect for each source is given by the equation:
net_temp_eff(source) = max(source_temperature - body_temperature, 0) + min(source_temperature, 0)
For each heat source, the player's body temperature is first subtracted from the heat source's source temperature, and then added to the ambient delta. Carried or equipped heat sources have a source temperature equal to its raw source temperature. For environmental heat sources (e.g. Fire Pit), source temperature will decrease as the distance between it and the player increases.
If the ambient delta is greater than 0 (i.e. the environment is warmer than the player's current body temperature), then the maximum increase of the player's body temperature will be +5° per second while the player's body temperature is below the freezing point of 0°, and +1° per second once the player's body temperature is warmer than the freezing point. Note that the increase of the player's body temperature cannot exceed the ambient delta, so the actual rate may be smaller than +5° or +1°.
The final equation for calculating Ambient Delta is given here:
ambient_delta = min(warming_cap, sum(net_temp_eff(source) for all sources))
Where warming cap is 5, if the player's body temperature is below 0° and 1 if the player's body temperature is above 0°.
Insulation only becomes a factor if the ambient delta is less than 0 (i.e. all ambient heat carried and in the environment is still colder than the player's body temperature), in which case it operates per the ambient delta formula above. Insulation provides steadily less and less protection from cold, so the first item worn makes the biggest difference by far.
|Tam o' Shanter||120||Head|
|Magnificent Beard (affected by length, Wilson only)||0 / 15 / 45 / 135||Face|
|Silky Smooth Beard (affected by length, Webber only)||0 / 11.25 / 33.75 / 101.25||Face|
The warmest combination is a Puffy Vest, Beefalo Hat and fully grown beard (if playing as Wilson). This will add up to a whopping 615 points of insulation and would take 16.67 real time minutes to freeze (with a fully charged Thermal Stone). With a fully charged Thermal Stone and a Torch equipped, it is possible to have a mobile heat source almost as hot as a stage 1 Campfire.
For the purpose of calculating a Thermal Stone's own temperature loss, a fixed insulation of 120 is used. This value is not added to the player's total insulation, nor does the player's insulation affect the Thermal Stone in any way. A Thermal Stone cools at the same rate on the ground as it does in the inventory.
10 minutes in
(affected by rain)
|Small character fire||50°||6 seconds|
|Medium character fire||65°||8 seconds|
|Large character fire||80°||10 seconds|
|Small burnable object||70°||3 - 30 seconds|
|Medium burnable object||120°||10 - 30 seconds|
|Large burnable object||180°||15 seconds|
|Burning Evergreen||220°||15 seconds|
| Campfire (level 1)
Fire Pit (level 1)
Obsidian Fire Pit (level 1)
Chiminea (level 1)
(affected by rain)
| Campfire (level 2)
Fire Pit (level 2)
Obsidian Fire Pit (level 2)
Chiminea (level 2)
(affected by rain)
| Campfire (level 3)
Fire Pit (level 3)
Obsidian Fire Pit (level 3)
Chiminea (level 3)
(affected by rain)
| Campfire (level 4)
Fire Pit (level 4)
Obsidian Fire Pit (level 4)
Chiminea (level 4)
(affected by rain)
|Dwarf Star||100°||2 minutes|
3.5 days in
|Thermal Stone (stage 4)||40°||8 uses|
|Thermal Stone (stage 5)||60°||8 uses|
|(Willow only)||20°||4-8 seconds|
See also: Fire for information on flammable items
- Thermal Stones only work while their temperature is greater than the player's body temperature; once the Thermal Stone cools to below that level, it has no further effect on the player's body temperature.
- Torches only emit heat when equipped (as one would expect), although they appear lit in inventory.
- Willow in Don't Starve Together will freeze when her Sanity is low enough, immediately to a degree that she starts taking damage.
- In Reign of Giants, eating one of the following food items will temporarily warm the player up by 1°/second for various amounts of time. Eating even stale or spoiled food can also warm the player up.
- Hypothermia is a loss of body heat due exposure to cold or freezing water and can cause death.
- Frostbite (or frostburn) is a cold injury which commonly occurs at the soft tissues in the hands, feet, and nose due to severe freezing.
- While in-game, Wilson's beard provides insulation, realistically, a beard can cause problems in severe weather, as moisture from one's breath freezes on facial hair and can cause frostbite.
- Wilson's in-game beard, however, may become sufficiently "Magnificent" that it effectively becomes a blanket. It is unknown why Woodie's beard is not similarly useful, save that it remains shorter despite the fact that "a real lumberjack never shaves".