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Update #58: Crafting with Tim Cain!

project eternity crafting tim cain

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#1
Darren Monahan

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Update by Tim Cain, Senior Programmer and Designer
 


pe-thecraft-timcain.jpg

 
I have been working on a lot of different gameplay mechanics since my last update about monks (Update #52). All of the classes are in the game now, along with their abilities and spells up to level 5. This should give us a good basis to test encounters in the game's early maps. So I have turned my attention to some of the non-combat skills, including crafting.

Crafting Basics
Crafting is the skill that you use to make equippable items like armor and weapons, and consumable items like potions and food. To begin crafting, you must find an appropriate crafting location.

  • Forges – these blacksmithing locations can be used to make all of the equippable gear. From helmets to armor to boots, if you can wear it, then you can make it here.
  • Labs – these alchemical tables are used to make any enchantments, as well as all alchemical consumables like potions, scrolls or figurines (which let you summon a creature that will fight for you). If you want to improve your gear or brew a potion, you need to find one of these labs.
  • Hearths – these cooking spots are used to make food and drink that can give you long-term benefits when you ingest them. Many rest areas will have hearths, so crafting of this sort can often be done “in the field”.

When you use the central object at these locations, such as the anvil at the forge, you will enter a crafting interface that displays all of your forge recipes, broken down into categories such as armor, weapons, boots, helmets, rings, etc. You pick a category and can see all of the recipes you know for that category. Each recipe has a set of ingredients needed to make its item (or items, as some recipes will make batches of items). Some recipes will have additional prerequisites, including requiring you or a companion to have a certain talent or ability or even skill at an appropriate level. Higher level recipes have more prerequisites and need rarer ingredients.

You may be wondering where you get recipes. You get a few automatically when you level up your crafting skill, and you can also buy them from vendors. Sometimes you will find recipes in the world, as loot on creatures or as rewards for finishing quests. There will be a lot of recipes in Project Eternity for you to find, so make sure you explore every nook and cranny of this world, especially the crannies.

Crafting doesn’t take any time. If you have everything the recipe needs and are at the appropriate crafting location, then you can make the item instantly. Usually the ingredients are used up, but sometimes they are reusable. And for recipes like enchantments, the main ingredient is not used up but is instead improved by the addition of a new bonus. For example, you might have a sword with high accuracy and a Flaming Sword recipe that adds fire damage to any sword. If you use that sword with that recipe, you will have the same sword with a high accuracy bonus but also with additional fire damage! Win win!

Crafting can also be used to repair items, but first we should talk about item durability in Project Eternity.

Item Durability
Most items don’t degrade over time. This means that boots, rings, helmets, gloves, amulets, cloaks, and belts are not worn down by use. However, weapons, shields, and armor (that is, chest armor) do have durability values and are worn down by use. Specifically, every attack with a weapon degrades that weapon by one unit, and armor and shields are similarly degraded when the wearer is attacked.

Items have lots of units of durability, and they do not suffer any negative effects until those units are completely gone. When an item has reached 25% of its maximum durability, it will become “worn” and appear that way in your inventory, but it will not behave any differently until the last unit of durability is lost. At that point, the item is “damaged” and the following effects will happen:

  • Weapons – damaged weapons do less damage and have less accuracy
  • Armor – damaged armor has lower damage thresholds and the wearer’s attack speed is slower
  • Shields – damaged shields lose part of their defense bonuses

Items can never become worse than “damaged”. They will not break or become more damaged. They just stay damaged until you have them fixed.

Vendors can repair items for money, so that’s a fast and easy way to keep all of your items in top notch condition. The cost of the repair is proportional to the percentage of the durability lost and the cost of the item, so expensive items tend to be more costly to repair than cheaper ones, especially if you let them lose a lot of their durability before repairing them.

However, let’s see how you can save your precious hard-earned money by bringing this discussion back to crafting.

 

pe-crafting-campfire-tn.jpg

A typical Hearth where you can craft food and drink.


Durability and Crafting
You or any companion can repair items by using the crafting skill at a forge. More importantly, you can use materials instead of money, if you have the right ones. The higher your crafting skill or the more materials you have, the less money it costs to repair an item. Some items might even repair for free!
 
But wait...there’s more!
 
The crafting skill also decreases the rate of degradation on items used by a character. So if you have the crafting skill, when you hit someone, your weapon doesn’t lose a whole point of durability. Instead it loses a fraction of a point. And when you are hit, your armor and shield don’t lose a whole point each either. And the higher your crafting skill, the less durability you lose. We are assuming that if you know how to make an item, you also know how to use and take care of it.
 
So a high crafting skill means your weapons, armor, and shields degrade more slowly and you can repair those items (and those of your companions) more cheaply than a vendor. That is such a win-win situation, how can you afford to NOT take the crafting skill?!

I’ll answer that question in a future update about the other skills in Project Eternity.


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#2
Hormalakh

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Yay for a Tim Cain update.


Edited by Hormalakh, 02 July 2013 - 06:59 PM.

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#3
Sacred_Path

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Oooh, enchantments are in! I supported that. Will enchantments be permanent?


Now let those who complain that this game isn't like IE games step forward :p

#4
Nonek

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Food and drink, item durability, enchantments etcetera. A feast of positive information in my eyes, thank you very much Messrs Cain and Monahan.

#5
Elerond

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Nice update, crafting sounds to be very nice feature. And it also good to hear that you have added item durability in the game.



#6
Aedelric

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That was an image I could have done without seeing! I might have nightmares.

 

I am liking how this crafting process is looking so far, I am not a fan of arbitrary increments of time to craft objects, I would rather my time be spent exploring and enjoying the story. So it is good to see that items are crafted instantly.

 

The durability system looks good, again I get irritated by games that make me repair equipment constantly to such an extent that I would avoid wearing good gear for fear of the cost to repair. You seem to have struck a nice balance, no everlasting items, but durability that can last a long time if you are proficient in the appropriate skill.

 

I am looking forward to having crafting explained more in depth, to know what kings of things we can craft and to what use these items will be late early and late game. I do wish we would have a carpenter option so we could create decorative items for the player home and a nice feature would be if we could experiment with ingredients to learn secret crafting recipes unobtainable elsewhere.

 

Only one question how do we obtain ingredients for crafting? Will it be by vendor or harvesting/mining?


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#7
Gumbercules

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Ah, finally, information about crafting! Good stuff! It sounds like the item degradation could be a good way of making sure that money is scarce and useful throughout the game. Hopefully the degradation rate won't be too annoying.

 

I'd like to know more about consumables such as potions and food. It doesn't seem like standard replenishing potions will be a good fit, since health can only be regained through resting, stamina regenerates automatically outside of combat, and there is no mana resource. Will the potions be more like the ones in the Witcher games, providing various new abilities and enhancements? Will there be a Toxicity effect to prevent potion-spamming?

 

edit: I just remembered that most IE potions were for stuff besides replenishing health. I'd still like to know more about PE potions.


Edited by Gumbercules, 02 July 2013 - 07:21 PM.


#8
Hormalakh

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interesting...i can see this as a way to continue the use of lower level armor and weapons on "trash mobs" as the repair of them would be free.

 

i'm not a big fan of crafting as it remidns me too much of WoW but I'm willing to give it a try. hopefully crafting will generally stay out of my way...

 

Question: If one character in the party has a high crafting skill, will this reduce the durability losses for the whole party or just that particular individual?

 

Q2: will enemies also have durabilities on weapons and armor? if so how are you going to avoid cheesing by players who wear cheap armor/weapons and wittle down the enemies weapon/armor? after you defeat the enemy will you get the armor at that previous durability?

 

Q3: will durabilities affect costs of weapons/armor being sold?

 

q4: will crafted items be resellable?

 

q5: will you make sure that inns and bars have hearths that can only be used after you purchase a room for the evening? so that inns actually have a use in one of these games outside of the useless drinking?

 

q6: will every in-game item be craftable? As in, will Battery armor be craftable? What about epic level items? Will they be craftable? will certain epic level items be ONLY-craftable and so only high-level crafters can get those items?

 

finally: last question: You are taking notes from Arcanum and putting trash cans in the game where junk can be turned into amazing stuff right? Right.


Edited by Hormalakh, 02 July 2013 - 07:22 PM.

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#9
GeorgetheGreat42

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This sounds great, especially if I can pick up resources along the way rather than take boring time to search them out.  I especially liked running across ore bodies in NWN2 along the way that yielded materials, rather than trying to find a bunch of mats.



#10
Tuckey

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Okay crafting sounds hassle free so that is a plus. However I would much rather find epic items than make them myself ~ or why bother getting excited when you find a weapon?

 

I hope you can find better weapons and armour than you can craft so there is some reward for finding loot.


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#11
Eiphel

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All sounds pretty straightforward, but none the worse for it. I just want to raise one point:

 

To begin crafting, you must find an appropriate crafting location.

 

I've always found it really bizarre and silly in games that you can just wander up to some blacksmith's forge, elbow him out the way, and start working. I'd really appreciate it if you actually had to gain the right to use these locations from their owners (options could be owning one yourself in player housing, paying to rent the use, included with board at inns, or being allowed access from a friend, for a few examples).

 

Oh and, mentioning no Skyrims - I mean names - can you please make sure crafted loot is balanced against the overall loot progression in the game. I'd like to be able to find loot in the field which can compete, rather than being able to simply craft items objectively better than anything anywhere else. Where's the point in recovering a legendary longsword if the one I made and enchanted is just better?


Edited by Eiphel, 02 July 2013 - 07:22 PM.

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#12
mcmanusaur

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So just to be clear, we're talking about a single "crafting" skill, rather than an array of crafting skills (smithing, alchemy, cooking)?



#13
Sacred_Path

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As an aside, how will you make the JRPG-y food crafting not be ridiculous? No ancient recipes that allow you to combine ham, salad and a slice of bread into a health-refilling sandwich plz
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#14
curryinahurry

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Great Update.  I hope that potions are primarily used for hurling at foes or possibly utility purposes (like a potion of stone-tar to climb a cliff face).  My concern with imbibing potions for temporary bonuses is that it may lead to a barbarian replicating a fighter's ability to regen stamina or a thief's ability to escape, etc.  


Edited by curryinahurry, 02 July 2013 - 07:32 PM.


#15
Lephys

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Hoorah for crafting details!

I shall toss my plea at you: Please go nuts with the recipes. I realize that no matter how you do it, there's still technically an actual recipe for each and every individual crafting product, but I'd really like to see things that are somewhat dynamically affected by the specific crafting skills/skill-values you have at hand.

What I mean is, maybe the same basic recipe ("Iron Broadsword") can be produced with varying durabilities, and/or varying sharpnesses, etc., based on skill levels and the specific skills/materials used. Or, even some material variance. Maybe an ingredient within a recipe for, say a hilt, is simply "cord," and maybe there are various different types of cord throughout the game, that are all blatantly identified as the same ingredient type.

What I hate to see (because it's so overly done) is the entire crafting system being presented, in-game, as little more than a giant spreadsheet of recipes. It doesn't feel like you're really discovering or dynamically affecting anything at all at that point. It feels like you're making ramen noodles in the microwave. "Okay, iron noodles + water + seasoning packet + forge = BROADSWORD! 8D!"

Making 50 simple Iron Broadswords that all come out a bit different would be stupendous. That would provide room for subtle customizations and such. *shrug*

I just think that's something a LOT of crafting systems could use: a sense of your specific choices mattering, rather than adding pre-existing items to your shopping cart, then clicking the crafting equivalent of "check out."

Recipe flexibility. That's what I'm advocating. The EXACT physical properties of the item you're creating should be able to differ, even with all the same (or functionally the same) ingredients.

Blarg. I always end up with like 700 more words than intended. -___-
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#16
Elerond

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As an aside, how will you make the JRPG-y food crafting not be ridiculous? No ancient recipes that allow you to combine ham, salad and a slice of bread into a health-refilling sandwich plz

 

That brought an idea to mind, we need Tim's Cook book as mystical artifact in the game ;)



#17
Eiphel

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Hoorah for crafting details!

I shall toss my plea at you: Please go nuts with the recipes. I realize that no matter how you do it, there's still technically an actual recipe for each and every individual crafting product, but I'd really like to see things that are somewhat dynamically affected by the specific crafting skills/skill-values you have at hand.

What I mean is, maybe the same basic recipe ("Iron Broadsword") can be produced with varying durabilities, and/or varying sharpnesses, etc., based on skill levels and the specific skills/materials used. Or, even some material variance. Maybe an ingredient within a recipe for, say a hilt, is simply "cord," and maybe there are various different types of cord throughout the game, that are all blatantly identified as the same ingredient type.

What I hate to see (because it's so overly done) is the entire crafting system being presented, in-game, as little more than a giant spreadsheet of recipes. It doesn't feel like you're really discovering or dynamically affecting anything at all at that point. It feels like you're making ramen noodles in the microwave. "Okay, iron noodles + water + seasoning packet + forge = BROADSWORD! 8D!"

Making 50 simple Iron Broadswords that all come out a bit different would be stupendous. That would provide room for subtle customizations and such. *shrug*

I just think that's something a LOT of crafting systems could use: a sense of your specific choices mattering, rather than adding pre-existing items to your shopping cart, then clicking the crafting equivalent of "check out."

Recipe flexibility. That's what I'm advocating. The EXACT physical properties of the item you're creating should be able to differ, even with all the same (or functionally the same) ingredients.

Blarg. I always end up with like 700 more words than intended. -___-

I definitely support this sentiment. My favourite crafting systems are ones where experimentation, deduction and discovery are rewarded.


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#18
ManifestedISO

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mmm ... nooks and crannies. Great update, thanks very much.  


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#19
Tuckey

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This update puts me in two-minds because I don't like crafting in general as I regard it as busywork for the player that takes away from the joy of exploring and discovering loot. However I'm not sure how I feel about crafting 'project eternity' style. I mean potentially I can imagine role-playing a character who knows how to take care of their armour as surely that would be a requirement for a medieval warrior. What I struggle to roleplay is being a warrior type who is also a master blacksmith and artisan as well.

 

Skyrim took it to a silly level, just didn't care about the gear I found at all. I did however like crafting my weapons and giving them names etc ~ so that became my found gear if you like.

(I would so love it if you could give your weapons nicknames for their feats in battle!)

 

Generally I prefer crafting to be something along the lines of improving equipment but not to the level of ancient sorcerors and master blacksmiths of old. This is because they were specialists who could focus their time on the creation of impressive items. Where-as the would be adventurer is partaking of it part-time and you wouldn't logically expect them to be able to get as good as those who worked at it full-time. Basically it would seem silly.

 

I would much rather find a sword or something at an end of an epic quest, which I could then improve if I found the particular sword pieces to improve it, rather than say find a piece of ore which is kinda boring. You of course should be able to craft basic swords and axes with aplomb.

 

In terms of obsidian games I found nwn2 too involved for me to bother with so the simplifying of crafting seems like a step in the right direction. I appreciate a lot of people like it through, I would probably like it more if it wasn't like an annoying collect-a-thon for ingredients mini-game. That just takes me right out of the rpg goodness character wise. But that's just me personally ~ I guess I will learn to tolerate it.


Edited by Tuckey, 02 July 2013 - 08:02 PM.

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#20
Maurdyn

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I demand that boots lose durability due to too much travelling by foot! :p


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