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Crafting mechanics: Lessons learned from prior games?


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Thanks! Didn't know! I'd still like them to try to reutilize as many components as they can to make the crafting trees as deep as possible.

My blog is where I'm keeping a record of all of my suggestions and bug mentions.

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/  UPDATED 9/26/2014

My DXdiag:

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/2014/08/beta-begins-v257.html

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Okay, first of all, I'm just curious why there have been so many worries expressed over the fact that one couldn't POSSIBLY become a skilled craftsman without spending decades practicing, day in and day out, YET everyone seems to be entirely fine with the idea of a Level 1 (which pretty much literally means your character is a trained nooblet) adventurer can, in the span of a single game, progressing enough in his combat abilities to take on ANCIENT LICHES AND LEGENDARY WARRIORS AND ENTIRE BANDIT CAMPS? 8)

 

"Well, a couple months ago, it was difficult just to slay a goblin. But with RPG90X, after just 90 days of experience-gaining, I can single-handedly dispatch no fewer than 3 trolls and 7 orcs, simultaneously! THANKS RPG90X!"

 

Haha. In all seriousness, though, my only point is that, we only want as much realism as is reasonable for a game, the purpose of which is enjoyment. We don't want our character to ACTUALLY require 30 years of played experience just to be as good as some notorious villain. Sure, it doesn't quite make sense, realistically, but it's just a bit of exaggeration. You get better as you go along, and the more effort you put into the things, the more quickly you progress (in general). Therefore, since we have limited amounts of time to play video games, we accept a degree of hyperbolic progress.

 

Getting back to crafting, while I definitely believe that the best possible equipment relative to whatever's available (through any method of procurement) at a given point in the game should not be player crafted (as I agree that you would never be THE single most skilled craftsman who ever lived), I ALSO believe that crafting has a definite place in a single-player RPG. Which, of course, brings me to the question "Well then how should it be done?"

 

Well, to answer that ideally, I ask you this: Why isn't combat a chore? If you look at it from the right angle, all you're really doing is grinding your way through hostile creatures in order to reap rewards in the form of loot and skill advancement/experience points, right? Yeah, but it's engaging and enjoyable, right? If it isn't, your RPG's probably a failure... Heh.

 

So, what makes combat fundamentally different from crafting, in almost every game? Well, going back to the "from a certain angle, combat is a chore" idea, what if, instead of actively fighting battles, you simply collected enemies? What if you just carried around 5 goblins, and you had to gather up 5 iron short swords and 3 healing potions (because that's what it took you to deal enough damage through combat whilst keeping your peeps alive), then you clicked a button, and an invisible, magical equation ran, simulated the entire battle without providing you with any information save for the outcome? You automatically won or lost, then looted everything. Voila. Not too much fun, is it?

 

So, if it's unacceptable for combat to be reduced to a simple collect-and-click (and maybe pretend?) interface, why is it pretty much the norm to do crafting like that? Why can't it be active and immersive? Whenever I ask that, it always comes up that "You don't want it to take 30 seconds to make a sword." But, I say to that, "That's because you're still thinking about mundanely combining ingredients into a sword 50 times a minute to mass produce them for no other purpose than to make money or improve your crafting skill, like in current, boring, mundane crafting systems."

 

Now, there's nothing wrong with "here are some materials... oh good, you made them into a cool piece of armor for me, Mr. Blacksmith NPC!" crafting. But, people are right when it comes to the fact that having to go try and scrounge up everything on a shopping list, all to come back to an anvil, click and drag everything to yet another interface box for no apparent reason, then click the "I'll take the item that this stuff comprises, now, please" button is nothing but a chore. I mean, the immersion level of you having to have those materials and get them to an anvil, and "actively" click a button to craft them is about .07%. So, chore-to-immersion ratio is pretty horrendous. At this point, you might as well just have the materials magically fuse together into a sword/breastplate/amulet whenever they all reside in your inventory, like in DOTA. Heh.

 

But, anywho... why not make it some sort of mini-game-type interface (for lack of a better generalized description)? You've got... iron, say. So maybe it takes 3 bars of iron to get a bar that can be forged into a blade. So...

 

Step 1: You stoke the forge to get the right level of heat. This would only take 5-10 seconds, really. It starts at a low temperature, and rises with each bellows pump. Easy to do, but difficult to do perfectly. Basically, there would be a sweet spot, and an element of randomness to the starting factors (and perhaps the stoking amount of each pump), so that it would feel dynamic each time. There wouldn't be any equation for the perfect iron sword, i.e. "pump the billows 3.5 times for an iron sword"). The closer you get to it, the closer you get to making a "perfect" (though still basic) iron sword, in the end. Maybe it's got higher durability, or a greater amount of armor piercing chance, or chance to cause bleed. Whatever weapon facets are in the game, you'd get a little boost to them for doing well. An incentive to go for the "perfect."

 

Step 2: You heat the bar of metal. For simplicity's sake, we skip to the part where you've heated the proper quantity of metal together into a bar so that you can make a sword blade out of it. All that would just be busy work, and not really contribute to the "engaging" factor of the crafting. So, with this step, you get a little bit more active (Still pretty simple, but, in theory, it could get as complex as you want it to). You've got an indicator for the sweet spot on the heat of the bar, and you can hold the bar further in, or further out, trying to keep the heat at the proper spot. This would also take only about 10 seconds, tops. Long enough to not be rushed.

 

Step 3: You've heated the bar, and now you've got to hammer it into a sword. So you hold it against the anvil (automatic), and you have to hammer it in the proper spots (indicated by different levels of heat glow across the surface). Point-and-click, you hammer where you click. Again, the closer you hit to all the right spots before the metal cools too much (and the step ends), the better the end product.

 

Disclaimer: You're going to be capable of crafting a sword that is better than random, low-quality, dull bandit swords you keep finding lying about, but isn't as good as the Ridiculously-Skillfully-Created Sword that the blacksmith nearest you will make for you. BUT, it also costs a good bit less than what's offered by the blacksmith. It therefore becomes a DIFFERENT way of better equipping your party.

 

I just want to emphasize that the above example is PURELY to illustrate how an active crafting system COULD work. I am, in no way, claiming that the above is a fully-hashed out system. So, if you've got thoughts on it, please feel free to criticize that TYPE of system, rather than that specific system (please don't go telling me that it should probably be 7 seconds instead of 10, or that swords shouldn't have armor-piercing. I will not even be arguing against you in the first place.)

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Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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@Lephys: Full ack.

 

The problem with mini-games is (at least in my experience) 9 out of 10 get on your nerves after the first 2 plays, and 1 out of 10 is mildly fun. If it was easy to make interesting mini-games they would be published by the hundreds as separate apps on smart phones (which they are, but again there is a ratio of one good game for a dozen or more miserable ones)

 

I also would add that the majority of PE backers don't like real-time/reaction/fast-click challenges, otherwise we would have wanted an action-RPG. So this mini-game should not consist of clicking at the right moment but should engage your brain. Here some simple ideas:

 

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1. a traditional puzzle. You find small pieces of the recipe/construction plan and have to fill in the puzzle. The more you have of the plan (and it should be hard to find ALL the pieces) the better the change of getting a good item.

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2. For every recipe a different heat curve of the furnace has to be followed. The closer the better the chance of an exceptional weapon. You have 8 rounds and in each round you can do one or more of these actions: 1) add some amount of coal (this drops temperature this round, but increases temperature the following rounds. Also if too few coals are left the temperature falls sharply) 2) use the poker (slight temperature increase, more coal gets burned) 3) use the pump (sharp temperature increase, more coal burned). The coal you can have in the fire is finite so you have to put in coal at least twice, temperature increase or decrease is always plus a random factor to make it non-deterministic.

If this is too simple, some other actions (dipping the weapon into the water basin for example to cool it, hitting the weapon a few times with the hammer) or another parameter you have to keep in line (the elasticity of the metal) with help of the actions makes it more complex.

In a way this is a more complicated version of the really old computer game lunar lander (see wikipedia) where you had to type in the thrust of the rockets to get the landing module to the moon surface without crashing. The player should be encouraged to train with a few simple recipes before trying the important ones so he doesn't need save game reloading to train.

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3. You have an above view of the weapon. The weapon is parceled into small squares with a number in each square. That is the thickness of the weapon at that spot (this should initially be a random value). A sword for example would have its highest thickness along the middle and going thinner at the corners. You can hammer on any square which will decrease the thickness but increase it in all 4 (or 8 ) surrounding squares. To prevent a simple algorithm from solving the puzzle this thickness distribution to neighbour squares should probably be a bit random.

Edited by jethro
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I understand what your saying here, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't also be good at something else. Your perspective makes it sound like someone who plays the piano can't do anything else well. What if that guys also an accountant or successful day trader? What if he also is a gifted singer? It's not like you're starting off as a champion, the more you work at something the better you get at it. There's only so many math books you need to go through in order to be a math wiz. Given you have a desire to learn, it doesn't take 3 years to master division for example. and even simple math can be used in many ways. Neither does it seem that unreasonable to me that over a course of an epic game that with proper resources, books, or materiels that your hero comes upon, he should be able to read the instructions and craft something great if he has some level of training or skill. Maybe it's not the very best item in game, but certainly if he has quality components it should be reasonable to assume he could craft a really nice item.

 

What part of "adventurers don't have time for this" did you miss?

 

Blacksmithing in as art that takes YEARS - if not decades - to truly master.

And I somehow doubt the game will span years.

 

Sure, the PC could learn some of the basics....But crafting great items? No way.

 

Maybe dont everyone agree with this sentiment. Usually in fantasy stories, the heroes weren't born adventurers, but had jobs before they were thrust into the adventuring life because of different events. Master smiths in fantasy, where they are also heroes/adventurers, include: Perrin Aybara, Alvin Maker, Elof, Bruenor Battlehammer etc. I don't know where the "adventurers never do anything but quests" idea comes from, but that is not the norm, but rather the exception usually seen in computer games and pnp rpgs where many sadly create characters with no background.

Edited by HansKrSG
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I don't have that much experience with old RPG's, but here are some:

 

Dragon Age: Origins

Haven't used the crafting system (there is one via some mod I have, I don't remember, it's called enchanting I think), mostly since either my characters use a mod item (it's an item/armor set) or new and better loot is sufficient for me.

 

Kingdoms of Amalur

Wanted to use the blacksmithing system, only to be dissapointed that NOTHING I could make after disassembling EVERY excess item I got in a campaign into components (and getting all flawless components from the DLC diplomacy trade mission) would beat a random item drop/unique weapon. Utterly useless. Also crafting and trying to sort through which component is actually useful vs junk components takes way too much time and effort.

 

KOTOR (playing it free online as a pure "single player" game instead of the MMO they are trying to sell)

Don't use it. Waste of time getting components, and I keep finding better gear after every mission everyway. Also annoying how components take up inventory space and aren't explicitly marked as separate from the hundreds of "This item has no use, sell me" drops.

 

Recettear (http://www.carpefulgur.com/recettear/)

You craft most good things and can also find them. Crafting is fairly useful to get better gear, although the need for such gear is dubious (mostly just getting enough health items seems to be the key for me, I never have enough food). Collecting things takes too much grinding though, and a lack of in-game reference for where to grind (+ the very RNG) makes looking up a wiki mandatory.

 

Fire Emblem(s)

You can spend money on improving gear which is useful I guess although I didn't exactly use it until relatively late since items break way too easily in the game. I did play around with it since I abused the gladitorial/arena system by purposely not finishing levels and cycling characters in and out to farm them to level 20 (turn 500 on some levels+).

 

Kamidori (Not Safe For Work)

Yes, I know it's a Ero-game. It's also a TBS RPG with (via the unofficial english patch) a superb (imo) crafting mechanism and (could be improved somewhat in integrating the information when viewing items instead of making it be a separte menu but still okay) in game reference that is much better than the other RPG's above. While you do get good item drops, they don't appear until late game, and many times you do want to craft additional weapons anyway which may be situational beneficial (due to affinities) as raw stats are not necessarily the best (not to mention custom crafted items are often better than the rare drops, rare drops are good mind you, just that custom ones are even better). Late game the crafting list becomes a bit hard to manage (since some earlier tier items become essentially trash), and the non-weapon furniture stuff is kind of...pointless since every drop late game is better than what you can create. Still, it remains useable due to good grouping of similar items in one spot.

 

So, to sum up, crafting has usually proven to be a big waste of time in most RPG's I've played, unless crafting is an integral part of the game (Recettear, Kamidori), so I don't have much hope for it in PE unless they take the time to integrate it into the rest of the game well. Simply put, I need to have a reason to craft an item instead of knowing that I will get a purely better drop the next dungeon via loot anyway. Also, transferrable stats could be useful (similar to Fire Emblem improving items) if I like an armor set but want to upgrade. Staring at all those unique armor sets in Amalur I never use since they are non-optimal.

 

Things I would like:

-In game reference of drops (toggleable in settings revealed as you find them/ all the time), locations (toggelable in settings revealed as you find them/all the time), and uses (toggelable in settings revealed as you make/all the time) instead of forcing me to go to wikia to look up where everything is.

-Actually useful things to create. Perhaps with unique abilities that help turn the tide in combat.

-Separate from regular items in inventory

-Organize components well, into tiers or something (maybe even a filterable list!) I don't want a long list that's mostly unorganized (a la Amalur or DA:O)

-Improve armor/weapon/etc system so my armor sets don't become useless.

 

On a side note: the list reminds me how useless shops are in Amalur, DA:O, and KOTOR since everything is overpriced on buying and I make do perfectly with the drops I find anyway. It's sort of an immersion breaker since it makes me wonder how DO the merchants make a living, and also makes me wonder how come my enemies have so many high gear armor/weapon when they are so expensive...the enemy army must be bankrupting someone based on the prices in the shops.

Edited by limith
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I understand what your saying here, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't also be good at something else. Your perspective makes it sound like someone who plays the piano can't do anything else well. What if that guys also an accountant or successful day trader? What if he also is a gifted singer? It's not like you're starting off as a champion, the more you work at something the better you get at it. There's only so many math books you need to go through in order to be a math wiz. Given you have a desire to learn, it doesn't take 3 years to master division for example. and even simple math can be used in many ways. Neither does it seem that unreasonable to me that over a course of an epic game that with proper resources, books, or materiels that your hero comes upon, he should be able to read the instructions and craft something great if he has some level of training or skill. Maybe it's not the very best item in game, but certainly if he has quality components it should be reasonable to assume he could craft a really nice item.

 

What part of "adventurers don't have time for this" did you miss?

 

Blacksmithing in as art that takes YEARS - if not decades - to truly master.

And I somehow doubt the game will span years.

 

Sure, the PC could learn some of the basics....But crafting great items? No way.

 

Although it's seldom stated in games, the progression of time is implied that days, weeks, or more has elapsed in the couse in 10-80 hrs of game play. If people have the information and resources available why can't they craft something nice? Just look at how the internet works? You can solve almost any problem in seconds, or maybe a few hours because someone or teams of people before you already solved the hard questions if you know what question to ask, or where to look.

 

Maybe it would take a few weeks or more to craft something really nice, but as a designer in real life, I can tell you often the time it takes to do the work is marginal compared with coming up with the concept and finding the assets I need to design with. You have to remember we're not playing the sims here, its a game. There's no way I'd be able to do the 200 or however many quests I did in Skyrim in a week it took me to beat the game and make level 48, not a chance. I don't even think I slept in that game. It's no different for crafting in games either.

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^Right... it's an abstraction. And it doesn't have to do with brain or computer processing power. It has to do with not having us being bored to death everytime our characters need to relieve themselves or sleep or anything else that's mundane because duh realism. These are artistic choices the developers make to make certain parts of the lives of our adventurers stand out and other parts to fade into the background of oblivion.

Edited by Hormalakh

My blog is where I'm keeping a record of all of my suggestions and bug mentions.

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/  UPDATED 9/26/2014

My DXdiag:

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/2014/08/beta-begins-v257.html

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I had an idea for crafting, what if they made certain things classes could craft to assist in game play, like maybe one class could craft torches as an innate ability, another could craft repair kits because of their lineage as foragers or what have you, one could craft generic ammo, etc. These aren't meant to be anything great, but potentially they could be practical things that could be used in a pinch to help out.

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Anyone play the game Jack Smith? I would like that as a mini-game. Check it out here: http://armorgames.co...14015/jacksmith

 

YES! I had no idea there was a flash game! But yes, the mechanics of that are EXACTLY what I was talking about! And see? That's pretty darned fun. And it's not twitch-timing based. It's a simple system that rewards the amount of effort and care you put into the crafting process by improving the quality of the weapon.

 

The other beauty of that system is that you can work the weapon customization directly into the crafting system! You could either use completely different blade molds when forging a sword, for example, OR simply replace hilts and pommels, etc. I think that, at the very least, whatever system is implemented should allow you to make your equipment your own.

 

Since many have agreed that you shouldn't be able to craft uber dragonscale flaming ressurective equipment (only master smiths should get you all the best stuff), maybe the amount of a typical crafting system that WOULD have gone to all that highest-quality equipment should go, instead, to customization. Maybe you make your Iron Longsword with a design that's lighter than the usual, allowing you to attack once more per "round" (still not entirely sure on how the combat system will be in P:E, but they've stated it won't really be turn-based, hence the quotey marks) at the cost of losting cutting/knockback power. I mean, the strongest guy in the world would have trouble knocking you down with a funoodle. Or, you put a better hilt/guard on there, allowing for better parrying. OR, your pommel is different, allowing for more useful melee striking with the pommel in combat. Of course, worked in with that would be aesthetic changes.

 

You just don't want too many purely aesthetic customization options. But the aesthetic differences are very nice.

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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Crafting is a pet mechanic of mine, so I want to get in on this.

 

I'll start by saying that the best crafting system I have experienced is Arcanum’s. It was simple and I think that's why it worked so well. Each recipe only needed just two items, and that allowed you to start crafting literally instantly. You could craft 4 or 5 things in the first 2 maps if you had the right skills. Latter on the system would totally brake the economy, but the game didn't really use money as a way to balance things, so I didn't brake the game just the bank.

 

Tided for the best crafting system is the one in dead rising 2. The core is the same, You take two items together and get a third. The difference is that items no longer require a recipe and that allows for a level of exploration. The system is also integrated as a core mechanic. The game literally revolves around crafting. The inventory system also played into the crafting very well. You are limited to just a hand full of items and have to make choices of what to carry based on where your going and what you might be able to craft along the way. The whole system was just so tightly integrated.

 

I think the reason I like these two systems is because they don’t push crafting back like most do. They make it take so long to gather the supplies, that your crafted items can’t keep up with your loot.

 

I’ll also make a note about fallout 3. It dose push crafting back, but it also made the items you craft unique and powerful so they would still useful no matter when you actually got the chance to make them.

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I think the reason I like these two systems is because they don’t push crafting back like most do. They make it take so long to gather the supplies, that your crafted items can’t keep up with your loot.

 

I’ll also make a note about fallout 3. It dose push crafting back, but it also made the items you craft unique and powerful so they would still useful no matter when you actually got the chance to make them.

 

Your note about Fallout 3 makes a good point: The balance of gathering and crafting is relative. Well, in a way, at least. Obviously you could just go crazily overboard, putting 7,000 components in the game and making crafting take 15 minutes for a simple healing potion. BUT, assuming you don't go blatantly ridiculous with it, the only reason something becomes "too much" a lot of times is that whatever is supposed to counter balance it is not heavy enough, so to speak.

 

You've got one side of a scale for Gathering Difficulty (this includes inventory space, finding the items, getting them to where you need, etc.), and you've got one for Crafting Enjoyment/Reward. Once you've decided that each thing is individually within reason, you weigh them against each other. The Gathering Difficulty could be almost nill. Gathered components could be easy as pie and plentiful as potatoes, and if you craft some healing items, only to find that the only one that's better than things you've already found (or can buy very cheaply) is only about 10% better, then, is it really worth it? And if the crafting isn't worth it, then the system's still defective.

 

The systems you've pointed out are very effective ones. And, you're right, they are very simple. I don't think they're at the threshold of complexity or anything. BUT, it was difficult and cost precious inventory space to gather components in DeadRising 2, but it was balanced by the value of the weapons you could make (extra EXP gain from using them, utility in combat, sheer fun of playing around with things like the drill bucket.) It wasn't "Craft this bat, and it's 10% better than your other bat!". No, they did things that other weapons you found didn't do. And they were damned useful. No one in that game just said "Meh... I'm just not gonna make anything." Or, if they did, they were simply lazy and/or just didn't like the game, or were going for some sort of challenge.

 

When your crafting system is pretty simple like that, it's not too difficult to do, really. Not from a design standpoint, anyway. Make some things combine into useful things. No big deal. But, when you get a bit more complex, it starts to get more difficult to balance it, AND to keep all the factors balanced against other aspects of the game, and effective.

 

For example, you're the ONLY person who can craft things in DeadRising 2. There aren't towns and artisans anywhere, so you have to make player-character crafting work with such a factor (as has come up in this thread). Also, since you're basically MacGuyvering stuff together, it makes sense within the context of the survival story of the game.

 

Of course, I think such factors can be addressed in PE, or any game, really, to make an awesome crafting system, the likes of which has never before been seen. I just hope they do something pretty interesting with it, even if it's not perfect. I don't like it when crafting feels like an unnecessary hoop to jump through to acquire a generic range of things resting comfortably on a spreadsheet.

 

Again, I say that if combat was like that, everyone would complain to no end. "Oh, let's see... you've got Power Attack, Dodge, and a Steel Longsword +1? Those seem to be the proper things you need to defeat this group of enemies. If you'll drag those items into these battle slots, then click this 'Combine' button real quick, you'll have made a COMBAT VICTORY! 8D"

 

I realize how silly that sounds, haha, but that's basically what we get with crafting in almost every RPG. Heaven forbid it be dynamic or engaging. Recipes and components? Check. Welp, there's our crafting system. *dusts hands together*

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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You bring up a lot of good points about crafting, but I'll only talk about one of them so I can keep this post short.

 

Setting plays a big role in how crafting gets implemented. Arcamum is a setting about the emergence of science and the player gets to play a part in that through their own inventions and creations. Fallout 3 is about taking the ruins of the old world to invent a ironic new world. Again you do exactly that through crafting. Ditto with dead rising 2, it's about seeing the trappings of every day life changing into killing weapons. These settings all work really well with crafting new and exciting items. (This is also why fallout NV dose crafting so poorly (in my view), it doesn’t have this idea of reinventing and transformation.)

 

Now the medieval fantasy setting doesn’t support crafting as well. There is nothing left to invent. It’s all been invented long ago. That means the player is limited to just remaking the items they find in the dungeon or at the blacksmith. Crafting really serves little point because you can just buy it instead.

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Now the medieval fantasy setting doesn’t support crafting as well. There is nothing left to invent. It’s all been invented long ago. That means the player is limited to just remaking the items they find in the dungeon or at the blacksmith. Crafting really serves little point because you can just buy it instead.

 

True, to a degree. It doesn't really support innovative, Leonardo Da Vinci type crafting. However, the medieval fantasy setting ensconces (that word popped into my head and I'm totally using it mostly because it's probably the only time I'll ever use it, heh) people who's expertise at artisanry (artisanship?) is almost directly tied to their success/status in life. Steve the Master Swordsman isn't using a sword he picked up on aisle 5 at SwordCo 20 years ago. He's most likely learned a lot about what makes a good sword (not just the fact that it's made out of mithril instead of iron), and even if he doesn't forge his weapon himself, he certainly comprehends how it is forged, and what to tell a blacksmith when he needs it reforged or needs a new sword. Any accomplished archer almost ALWAYS knows how to take care of his bow and bowstring, and what makes a good bowstring, and what makes the best arrows, etc. I would say that crafstmanship is what basically separates the "adventurer" types from the peasant folk. If you don't know how to produce a product, you perform menial labor for someone who does. But, almost anyone had a "trade."

 

So, I wouldn't say that crafting, itself, is not supported by the medieval fantasy setting. I understand that technological innovation isn't exactly nurtured by it. But, you've got limited resources, and everyone's responsible for their own survival, be it banded together in a village or on their own. You learn things. You use your resources wisely. You might have 50 different healers in a big city selling salves, but maybe 47 of them are all generic "I'm simply meeting demand from people who know nothing about making salves" potions, and 3 are actually significantly different. Varying effectivenesses, varying side effects.

 

I think it's that idea that everyone's surviving, and some people are doing it REALLY really well, that drives crafting in the medieval fantasy setting. Also, of course, the fantastical. The "It was very, very difficult, but, over the last year of travels, I found this crystal shard, this dragon claw, and this chunk of golem. Ralphonso the Legendary Craftsman claims he can fashion these into a weapon that hasn't been seen for 1,000 years" crafting.

 

So, while combining things into entirely innovative things probably shouldn't be 90% of the crafting system, I believe the prospect of honing your ability to manufacture something with much skill and care while wisely making things out of what you can get your hands on is a good one. From a game terminology standpoint, the crafting system in medieval fantasy should probably be much more customization heavy and less invention heavy.

 

That, of course, doesn't mean that invention and innovation are prohibited from having any part in a medieval fantasy world. Just, the typical world doesn't inherently include it.

Edited by Lephys

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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Dragon's dogma. I wanted to give this one some thought because it's doesn’t work and it's hard to describe why. It's again the 1+2=3 system that I so loved from arcanum so it should be just as good right? Well I already told you it doesn’t work and after a lot of thought I think I know why. It's completely insular. The system in arcanum fed off of the character creation system and then into every other aspect of the game. You had to invest skill points into your different skills and that kind of informed you about how cool crafting was. Dragon's dogma doesn’t have any skills that relate to crafting. You can very easily go through the whole game not realizing that their is a crafting system. It also doesn’t help that the system feeds in on it's self. You can combine a dirty cloth with a flask of water and get a clean cloth. Then combine that clean cloth with a rock to get a dirty cloth again. I basically spins around and around without interacting with much other then it’s self. The system just dosen't impact the game.

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Arcanum anybody? Seems to me like one of the very few games, where crafting actually made a difference instead of being an inferior alternative to looting and buying stuff in shops. Same goes for Witcher, where craftable-only potions are an integral part of combat. New Vegas had good recipes, but after a while hunting for scraps to make the stuff and keeping track of what you need became too tedious. While it may be more of an interface flaw, it still damaged the experience a lot.

 

Seems like the take-home is that crafting first and foremost should be useful. When devs add a pattern or crafting ingredients, they want to make sure that it will make a difference and that it will look attractive to the player. Crafting should not necessarily be easy, but it sure as hell should be rewarding. There aren't too many enthusiasts who would engage in crafting just for the sake of crafting itself.

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While I liked Arcanum's crafting system for the most part, I felt that it was very different than anything a P:E would have.

 

If you consider item crafting in Arcanum as the technological counterpart to spell-casting, you'll see that it was created to be an integral part to playing the game. The crafting mechanic was ultimately a spell-casting mechanic that utilized ingredients instead of mana. This explains the "either magic or technology" mindset in the game. Now, unfortunately, we don't have a technologist class in P:E, and this would not work.

 

This should be something to consider when dealing with crafting as a mechanic. I agre that it should intregrated as best as possible into the game, but at the same time it should not become a necessity. If it's either magic or tech then that could be a possibility (certain classes are less likely to use magic but more likely to be proficient in technology) but we cannot exactly replicate Arcanum's mechanic into this game.

My blog is where I'm keeping a record of all of my suggestions and bug mentions.

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/  UPDATED 9/26/2014

My DXdiag:

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/2014/08/beta-begins-v257.html

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Dragon's dogma. I wanted to give this one some thought because it's doesn’t work and it's hard to describe why. It's again the 1+2=3 system that I so loved from arcanum so it should be just as good right? Well I already told you it doesn’t work and after a lot of thought I think I know why. It's completely insular. The system in arcanum fed off of the character creation system and then into every other aspect of the game. You had to invest skill points into your different skills and that kind of informed you about how cool crafting was. Dragon's dogma doesn’t have any skills that relate to crafting. You can very easily go through the whole game not realizing that their is a crafting system. It also doesn’t help that the system feeds in on it's self. You can combine a dirty cloth with a flask of water and get a clean cloth. Then combine that clean cloth with a rock to get a dirty cloth again. I basically spins around and around without interacting with much other then it’s self. The system just dosen't impact the game.

 

I think that's kind of a case of getting a few factors wrong. You can actually have a pretty good system that's like 15% defective, and the rest of it won't work in the game. Think of it like a new vehicle design, but with square wheels. There's nothing wrong with the rest of the vehicle, or the engine, or transmission to the wheels. It could all be amazingly aerodynamic, economical to manufacture, and perfectly capable. But it's still not going to go anywhere very well at all with those wheels.

 

This should be something to consider when dealing with crafting as a mechanic. I agre that it should intregrated as best as possible into the game, but at the same time it should not become a necessity. If it's either magic or tech then that could be a possibility (certain classes are less likely to use magic but more likely to be proficient in technology) but we cannot exactly replicate Arcanum's mechanic into this game.

 

This is something that pertains to a lot of threads in this sub-forum. It needs to fit, but it can't be mandatory. BUT, it has to be significant on its own. Whatever your crafting system, if it's not unique (if you can pretty much get all the craftables from other means, or if all the craftables are relatively useless or arbitrary compared to the otherwise-obtained items), it's not going to work well. Or, at the very least, it's a waste of development resources.

 

I think a lot of games run into that. They kinda mess it up on both counts. They make their game, with all the item and equipment lists, then they say "Hey, wouldn't it be fun if the player could craft some stuff?" And they toss in a crafting system. It basically exists for the sake of having it exist. OR, they work it into the game pretty well, but they focus way too hard on the "what if people don't want to craft" bit, so they basically just make it an optional chore to obtain all the same (or equivalent, or better) stuff that one can already get via any other means in the game.

 

And sure, that means it's something not every player is going to experience. But the same goes for branching quests, and dialogue, and class mechanics. When you ensure that everyone who plays your RPG experiences all the content, you essentially break your game, unless you're just some kind of genius designer and figure out how to make the One Game to Rule Them All.

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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While I liked Arcanum's crafting system for the most part, I felt that it was very different than anything a P:E would have.

 

If you consider item crafting in Arcanum as the technological counterpart to spell-casting, you'll see that it was created to be an integral part to playing the game. The crafting mechanic was ultimately a spell-casting mechanic that utilized ingredients instead of mana. This explains the "either magic or technology" mindset in the game. Now, unfortunately, we don't have a technologist class in P:E, and this would not work.

 

This should be something to consider when dealing with crafting as a mechanic. I agre that it should intregrated as best as possible into the game, but at the same time it should not become a necessity. If it's either magic or tech then that could be a possibility (certain classes are less likely to use magic but more likely to be proficient in technology) but we cannot exactly replicate Arcanum's mechanic into this game.

 

I'll toy around with this. A big part of the setting seems to be souls. Maybe we should craft with that. Different souls have different effects. The soul of a master thief would be a sneak enchantment the soul of a old mage would give a mana enchantment. Kind of like TES, but you wont be killing people to collect their soul. You take a impression of their soul and use that to craft your enchantment. You could take an impression from someone alive, or dead, in combat or out. You can even take a impression when talking to someone. The impression you get also is varied based on what the person was doing at the time. If you snap a picture of a mage casting fireball, you get a different enchantment then a mage who has been made to feel stupid by a riddle he didn’t get.

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In a game like PE I'd prefer a relatively simple upgrade system to a full crafting system. For example, you can find certain rare items that let you improve the equipment you already have, with the type of item determining the bonus you get and what equipment it can be applied to. As nomotog mentioned, souls could be used for that. Upgrades should be permanent so the upgrade item will be consumed in the process, making when and what to upgrade a meaningful choice.

 

This could be combined with artisan NPCs which have the required skills for certain upgrades, but will only help the PC if they're on friendly terms.

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^Unfortunately, that's not what they pitched and not what most players expect. The crafting system has never been done too well IMO for a SP RPG but perhaps they can get it right this time. If not, I'll just ignore it. I'm hoping they don't screw it up though, as having to ignore a big part of the game would suck.

 

Bottom-line, outside of Arcanum's partially-well done (it is missing a certain je-ne-sais-quoi) mechanic, I haven't seen any crafting mechanics that I've particularly enjoyed or felt fit the rest of the game in a SP RPG.

My blog is where I'm keeping a record of all of my suggestions and bug mentions.

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/  UPDATED 9/26/2014

My DXdiag:

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/2014/08/beta-begins-v257.html

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^Unfortunately, that's not what they pitched and not what most players expect. The crafting system has never been done too well IMO for a SP RPG but perhaps they can get it right this time. If not, I'll just ignore it. I'm hoping they don't screw it up though, as having to ignore a big part of the game would suck.

 

Bottom-line, outside of Arcanum's partially-well done (it is missing a certain je-ne-sais-quoi) mechanic, I haven't seen any crafting mechanics that I've particularly enjoyed or felt fit the rest of the game in a SP RPG.

I think I know what Arcanum's crafting mechanic missed. The whole idea of tying crafting to character skills limited the application of crafting. As you said before Arcanum treated crafting as an alternative to magic, which it shouldn't have, even though it made sense in the context of the game's magic vs. tech dichotomy. In effect crafting became too specific with certain trees being much less useful than others.

 

Then again I believe that the main flaw was restricting crafting to tech characters, which shouldn't be the case in PE, I suppose.

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In regards to the logic of an artisan/craftsman being superior due to pratice and skill. How about adding in a time component for reagents, or the created item?

 

Some poisons for instance wont last forever, a poison may last for a day or maybe a few hours. Since traveling is a time consuming occupation, chances are you wont be able to use the poison bought in a store should the traveling distance be far enough. Whether the craftsmanship of a fulltime craftsman is superior, a poor quality poison would still be superior to none at all.

 

The time component could also be applied when crafting weapons and armor. What if a master blacksmith wants to craft a powerful blade with special properties yet it requires demon blood. Since demonblood goes bad after an hour or so, aswell as demons making poor company, would it not make more sense for the blacksmith to make the blade "base" and give instructions to the adventurer on how to apply the demonblood to the sword to gain the desired effect?

 

Also i´d like to see usable items such as wands, potions that on impact creates slippery grease on the ground and/or applies status effects on enemies etc, whether bought in store or crafted by oneself.

 

Oh and hi :-)

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Im with most of you with, Item crafting should not be done by the player. And hiring NPCs to craft stuff for them if they pay, gather the resourses and pay, giving and schematic, with the resourses and paying, depending on the Item.

 

And iron armor, should be done by any crafter and because the crafter should have iron in his stock he should be able to craft it.

A elven mithril armor or what not, should be done by any crafter if you bring the matials and maybe the blueprints for that item because this particular crafter has no expirience in the field.

 

And so on.

But the player should be able to craft small item, consumables for example. like gathering herbs and making a potion, or gathering wood and crafting arrows, mantianing the weapons and amor condition. and so on.

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Well.. I've never liked the player crafting option.

 

Things that effected my decision

 

- While you are gathering the necessary parts of an item, you can always have better from loot. And sometimes it doesnt even worth the big sum of coin to spend just to know you are going to replace it soon

 

- It's really annoying sometimes, why cant i just pay a blacksmith to make things, afterall this is his profession..I can accept the fact that if he needs ''unique'' parts that i can provide ( In order to get that unique part you generally end up killing a big bad thing which gives you better loot anyway...)

 

Truth be told i only liked the '' Kotor 2 '' upgrading / crafting system. I didnt even bother with BG2's craftable items

Edited by morrow1nd

Never say no to Panda!

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