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Problem with skills


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#1 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3995

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Posted 21 October 2011 - 07:03 AM

The player is a craftsman (low production volume) and spends stamina (which represents time) and resources to make things (let's say, bricks). The items are always identical quality.

Now, how to make skills effects (like brickmaker level 3)? The skill can not affect quality (bricks are always the some quality), can't affect resources spend (not very realistic, plus the numbers are low) and letting the player do it "faster/easier" is not good because stamina cost is low too (stamina cost is like 3).

In short the basic formula is like that: 1 clay + 3 stamina = 1 brick. Not much to work with...


The only solution I see right now is to add a chance to "refund" a bit of stamina. Like each level of brickmaker skill gives you a 5% chance to -1 stamina cost when making a brick (so level 3 means 15% chance for 2 stamina cost and 85% for 3 stamina cost). Any other solution?

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#2 ifthen   Members   -  Reputation: 820

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Posted 21 October 2011 - 07:13 AM

I wouldn't complicate it and go with lower resources spent. For example, a skilled carpenter needs only a half of wood needed to build stars than someone who has never held a saw in his hand before.

#3 Zethariel   Members   -  Reputation: 310

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Posted 21 October 2011 - 07:23 AM

A more skilled person uses up less material comapred to an apprentice. I would also go for volume inrease -- and your idea with stamina refunding is good, but I would make those numbers higher -- if level 3 is max, make it worhtwhile and have a 50% chance of reagining up to 2 stamina points. The person needs to feel compelled to actually increase his skills.
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#4 Katie   Members   -  Reputation: 1375

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Posted 21 October 2011 - 08:05 AM

Bricks aren't all the same.

Some bricks are tough bricks which you can use to make kilns and furnaces. People pay extra for high quality bricks like that.

Lower quality bricks you buy in a stack but some of them will be crumbly. The better the brickmaker, the less chance of getting crumbly bricks.

#5 FLeBlanc   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3117

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Posted 21 October 2011 - 08:21 AM

I made a brick once. It turned out really, really crappy. I'm sure someone with more skill could make one that wasn't so crappy. Any reason for arbitrarily limiting quality to be the same across the board?

#6 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3995

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Posted 21 October 2011 - 09:16 AM

... Khem, this is a GAME, you don't expect anyone to make different shapes/quality of bricks? :D What, you want the player to have 50 types of bricks in inventory and then selecting which one use in building a house? :) Come one, people, please retain at least a bit of sanity when replying.

That's true you can use less resources in some cases (like carpentry), but you can't use it for bricks (no matter the skill, you always use the same amount of clay to make a brick).
Volume increase won't work also for things like milling (changing grain into flour). Also, sometimes I need a very specific ratio (to make a healing potion you need 1 bottle per potion, there is absolutely no way to get 1 bottle and make from it 2 bottled potions).

The skills system will be used for crafting a lot of very primitive and standarized things (bricks, flour, bread, linseed oil).

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#7 ifthen   Members   -  Reputation: 820

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Posted 21 October 2011 - 09:50 AM

That's true you can use less resources in some cases (like carpentry), but you can't use it for bricks (no matter the skill, you always use the same amount of clay to make a brick).
Volume increase won't work also for things like milling (changing grain into flour). Also, sometimes I need a very specific ratio (to make a healing potion you need 1 bottle per potion, there is absolutely no way to get 1 bottle and make from it 2 bottled potions).

The skills system will be used for crafting a lot of very primitive and standarized things (bricks, flour, bread, linseed oil).



I think that it is a matter of commodity. If you are working with wood, you use more material. If you are making a bread, however, there should be a fixed percentage of bread being burnt (for skill level). For potions and bricks, I would go with the second approach. You will make a lot of bad bricks and undrinkable potions in beginning, but as time progresses, you find yourself making good bricks 99% of time.

#8 FLeBlanc   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3117

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Posted 21 October 2011 - 11:34 AM

Okay, so if you don't want to implement different quality levels; you don't want to modify the quantities used based on skill; and you don't want to modify the quantities produced, then why the fuck bother with having a skill level at all? And what's with the ""Come on people please" condescending bullshit? Are you out of your damned mind?

#9 Dancin_Fool   Members   -  Reputation: 621

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Posted 21 October 2011 - 12:10 PM

That's true you can use less resources in some cases (like carpentry), but you can't use it for bricks (no matter the skill, you always use the same amount of clay to make a brick).




Not Necessarily true. An unskilled brick maker might use 3 times as much clay because the first two don't turn out. You don't have to show to the user that the first two didn't turn out but you can infer it by the fact that it takes more materials.

#10 Khaiy   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1342

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Posted 21 October 2011 - 12:58 PM

You aren't thinking like a game designer with all those "can't"s in your OP. If you want skill levels to matter you can easily tweak or add features until they do.

The suggestions you've gotten so far would work, namely the ability to make better products (this approach keeps more of your current design intact than others). You don't have to have fifty types of bricks, but you could have ten without a lot of hassle, as long as the type or quality is meaningful.

Or you could have higher skill allow the player to use better equipment which in turn produces more things with less stamina. Or other options. The bottom line is that if your current design doesn't allow for different quality of products or rates of production, then it probably doesn't allow for different skill levels either. So either be willing to adjust the design or ditch the idea of skill levels, but don't imagine that the constraints your design places on you are in any way absolute.

#11 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3995

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Posted 21 October 2011 - 01:26 PM

Okay, so if you don't want to implement different quality levels; you don't want to modify the quantities used based on skill; and you don't want to modify the quantities produced, then why the fuck bother with having a skill level at all? And what's with the ""Come on people please" condescending bullshit? Are you out of your damned mind?

That's why the title is "Problem" :) I can't think of a good solution either. Just checking if I have not overlooked something obvious here.


That's true you can use less resources in some cases (like carpentry), but you can't use it for bricks (no matter the skill, you always use the same amount of clay to make a brick).

Not Necessarily true. An unskilled brick maker might use 3 times as much clay because the first two don't turn out. You don't have to show to the user that the first two didn't turn out but you can infer it by the fact that it takes more materials.

Failure rate... OK, maybe for low level brick maker it would make sense (still, I don't see how average brick maker could waste any brick, therefore there won't be any difference between average and excellent), but what about other activities like milling grain to flour or threshing? You can't really really waste resources there :)

Typically, in games the crafting system is about making complex stuff (swords, armours) and there quality and failure rate works. But here, with these very primitive products it can't be used...

You aren't thinking like a game designer with all those "can't"s in your OP. If you want skill levels to matter you can easily tweak or add features until they do.

The suggestions you've gotten so far would work, namely the ability to make better products (this approach keeps more of your current design intact than others). You don't have to have fifty types of bricks, but you could have ten without a lot of hassle, as long as the type or quality is meaningful.

Or you could have higher skill allow the player to use better equipment which in turn produces more things with less stamina. Or other options. The bottom line is that if your current design doesn't allow for different quality of products or rates of production, then it probably doesn't allow for different skill levels either. So either be willing to adjust the design or ditch the idea of skill levels, but don't imagine that the constraints your design places on you are in any way absolute.

No matter how I would think, I still can not imagine any game (even a building simulation) where 10 brick types are present :) There has to be one type of brick. That's the nature of bricks. Only one type of brick exist in the real world. I really shouldn't make a game more complex and detailed than reality :D Games are supposed to be simplier than reality, not more complex.

if your current design doesn't allow for different quality of products or rates of production, then it probably doesn't allow for different skill levels either

Now you are not thinking like a designer. We can't give up so easily :D Some solution should exist.

Or you could have higher skill allow the player to use better equipment which in turn produces more things with less stamina.

Yes... Production with less stamina (time used) is logical and realistic in all cases. But here I have a small problem with the numbers. The crafting action use between 3 and 5 stamina, that's not enough to make any discounts... With 3 stamina -1 is equal to 33% and -2 equal to 66%. That would be enough for 2 levels of the skill only (alse these skills levels would be very powerful ones).

- I don't want to make stamina non integer, the confusion and ugliness of this solution would make me prefer to drop the whole skill system
- adding one digit (so 30-50 stamina per action) would solve it but the stamina numbers would go higher in the whole game (and I have to display them as numbers for that project) and no other system in the game need the higher precision of stamina, so I'm very reluctant to do it
- making a percentage chance to refund 1 stamina after action completion is a bit strange one but would work

Are there any other options how to modify stamina?

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#12 FLeBlanc   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3117

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Posted 21 October 2011 - 01:40 PM

I visited a brick works once, and the failure rate is actually quite high, and was very much higher back in the days when they would cook bricks in huge stacks, kindling a fire at the center and letting them bake for a couple weeks. The "over-cooked" ones were often called clinkers, and were the glazed-looking blackened bricks you can sometimes find if you are doing demolition on older buildings. They were used on non-visible applications, being structurally sound but ugly. The good bricks were graded and priced according to their finish.

Also, the clay going into a brick has an effect, as does the temperature it is kilned at, etc... If you think the real world doesn't have multiple types of bricks, then might I recommend you take a job with a stone-mason for a summer? That'll set you straight. Try building a high-temp fireplace with a basic red-clay structure brick sometime, then play a fun game of "dodge the exploding fragments of overheated brick."

Now, from where I sit, the skill of a craftsman would come into play in every single area which you seem determined to exclude:

1) Material consumption. To follow the brick analogy, a lesser-skilled brickmaker might not screen his clay carefully enough, resulting in a spoiled batch here and there that is unsuited even for non-visible usage. He might be sloppy in filling the forms, resulting in lost clay during the moulding process. He might botch the firing and burn too many bricks, resulting in spoilage.

2) Production quantity and rate. While the firing might take the same length of time regardless of the skill of the brick-maker, it is likely that the preparation phases (clay processing, forming, stacking) would go more quickly for an expert than for an amateur. Thus, a higher-skilled craftsman could feasibly have more stacks firing at any given time, resulting in more production for less time.

3) Quality. A skilled craftsman would have a better eye for good clay, and a better sense for the best way to stack, the optimal temperature to kiln, and the optimal duration of firing.

So from where I sit, instead of limiting the field you should instead try to implement everything you seem intent on excluding.

#13 Khaiy   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1342

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Posted 22 October 2011 - 06:48 AM

I think that you're at a point where you have to choose: modify your design so that quality matters or it makes sense for a craftsman to make more products with the same expenditure of time and stamina, or admit that making bricks is not interesting.

Bricks and other low level products may not be things where skill matters in your game. People have posted why a good brickmaker can do things better or more quickly or with less waste, but you "don't see it" and refuse to use those mechanics based on your assumptions about those processes. That's fine, but if the player cannot affect the quality, rate of production, or investment needed to make a thing, what other qualities exist in your current design that could be affected by skill?

I'm not sure why you're so resistant to failure rate or having even one other type of brick (why don't you make some yourself and tell us that there's no wasted material and every brick is of the same quality), but since you seem to be why not have making boring products where the skill of the crafter is meaningless be one-off skills? They wouldn't be glamorous, but if people need bricks or flour or whatever some people will learn the skill and use it from time to time, even if they focus on skills they can develop mostt of the time.

So there it is. Remove skill from jobs where your design dictates that it won't matter, or use any of the suggestions posted above (my picks would be failure rate and better equipment if you don't want output quality to matter), or adjust your design to allow for item quality or stamina modification. As it stands, it seems like you're just looking for some conceit that will allow you to imitate any of the above without having design elements that actually allow such a feature in your game, which seems like a very roundabout and difficukt way to address the problem.

#14 Rajaat   Members   -  Reputation: 100

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Posted 23 October 2011 - 10:36 PM

I made a brick once. It turned out really, really crappy. I'm sure someone with more skill could make one that wasn't so crappy. Any reason for arbitrarily limiting quality to be the same across the board?


Have to agree with that, then once you attain certain skill levels, you are able to make a different type of brick OR attempt to make a high quality brick - much stronger or something.
Instead of making the top level 3 you could multiply that by 10 - add a bit of grind.

#15 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3995

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Posted 24 October 2011 - 11:32 AM

As it stands, it seems like you're just looking for some conceit that will allow you to imitate any of the above without having design elements that actually allow such a feature in your game, which seems like a very roundabout and difficukt way to address the problem.

Yeah... The game is in the late design stage with most things already designed, so my options are highly limited :) Plus skills is a bonus feature, not a core one so I'm not very willing to sacriface other things to make it work better. I just want skills to spice things up, these don't need to be very good.

Anyway, I remembered about "digging clay". Here I can't make "quality" or "resources usage". Only time (stamina) to clay received ratio is possible. So, this way or another I need at least some skills to be based on stamina usage.

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#16 Suspense   Members   -  Reputation: 449

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 10:25 AM

The only solution I see within your given constraints has kind of been suggested already: success rate. All crafting attempts require the same resources, time and stamina; but low-level crafters could simply fail. They expend all the same resources but they mess up the process and don't get a usable product as a result. This is basically the system used in WoW.

#17 FLeBlanc   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3117

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 10:52 AM

So you're taking a fairly important design element (after all, if the player spends points or interacts with his crafting skill in any way, it should be considered "important") and haphazardly tacking it onto a late-stage design? Brilliant.

#18 Tiblanc   Members   -  Reputation: 560

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 12:00 PM

Instead of failure, I'd go with stamina cost reduction. Players react better to rewards instead of punishment. I'd also make it so your stamina cost is anywhere between 0 and 3 no matter your skill level. This is to break determinism. If players know exactly what they will get out of a play session, this gets boring. If they get lucky and end up with extra stamina, they will feel like they got more than their money worth. Of course, at low skill level you have a very small chance for this to happen.
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#19 Leartes   Members   -  Reputation: 177

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Posted 29 October 2011 - 03:50 PM

Why not simply make stacks of brick ?

Like the player can chose to attempt to make 10, 50 or 100 bricks for 30/150/300 stamina (or less due to skill level) and some clay. This removes the need to use a higher granularity on the stamina stat. Also it allows for a failure rate without the player succeeding or failing at every attempt. I won't like clicking 100 bricks one by one anyway, so just make it a package ...

The same works for other jobs. You can lose grain during the milling process if you don't care (just drop a sack of grain/flour ..) or it gets wet due to some mistake. But for jobs that totally do not allow for failure rates reduced stamina cost in conjunction with bigger bundles ( I won't mill one piece of grain for one stamina and then the next one anyway).




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