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Discussion: Resource Gathering as a genre


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#1 Lexadrik   Members   -  Reputation: 168

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 04:49 PM

Hello Gamedev, I would like to talk about a topic that interests me very much, and that in my opinion goes overlooked some times.

 

With the advent of Minecraft, people in general started to really notice the survival/sandbox genre, in where you collect things to survive and modify the world around you to fit your needs. As in other similar games, the gameplay revolves around building, resource gathering and fighting. This in my opinion spawned a lot of things to focus new games on, allow me to bring some examples to the table:

 

In Terraria, the focus was changed to accomodate to people who liked adventure games in the style of Castlevania and Metroid, but still mantaining building as one of the core mechanics.

 

King Arthur's Gold focuses more on PVP combat, while again; maintaining platforming building and resource gathering.

 

The game Don't Starve took out the "Endgame" part of the Sandbox, and brings you an adventure in where you are always at the verge of dying, because you can never do an impenetrable fortress as in Minecraft, for example.

 

So as you can see, we have games focusing on aspects that, don't misunderstand, Minecraft did not invent by any chance, but that made the general public turn towards to more than before, one focusing on combat, one on adventure and fighting mobs, and one in surviving.

 

But what about Resource Gathering?

 

I may be part of a very small niche, but the very fact that you must search for, collect and organize small bits of useful stuff makes the game very fun to me. Is it possible, at least in theory, to come up with a game in where resource gathering plays a big role?

 

My bet would be that it is, but the focus would in this case be economics. Real economics based on simple supply and demand, or any other method (I apologize for my lack of knowledge in the area). Is it possible to play the role of the citizens of your average RTS in where you are tasked to collect things just to sell them back to a big pool of player-earned coin?

 

What are your thoughts? If you wish to support the discussion, I would be very glad if you could answer some of these questions:

 

  1. Would it require a big number of players to maintain a less-fluctuating economy?
  2. Would it be better with a final goal? or just making the personal enrichment of the player the final goal? (A lot of people have this one in real life so...)
  3. And most importantly: Would it be fun?

Whatever point you can bring to the table will be most appreciated.

 

Thanks for your time.



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#2 3Ddreamer   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2902

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 05:26 PM

My bet would be that it is, but the focus would in this case be economics. Real economics based on simple supply and demand, or any other method (I apologize for my lack of knowledge in the area). Is it possible to play the role of the citizens of your average RTS in where you are tasked to collect things just to sell them back to a big pool of player-earned coin?
 

In real economics, the management of gathering and giving is what improves the economy, both local and national. Hording or saving without spending or giving slows the economy.  This can be caused by greed, fear, habit, or all of the three.

 

I would love to see your game concept involve rewards for giving and spending as well as gathering, because that brings joy in life more than keeping things. "It is more blessed to give than to receive."
 



What are your thoughts? If you wish to support the discussion, I would be very glad if you could answer some of these questions:


Would it require a big number of players to maintain a less-fluctuating economy?  People love the unexpected in games, right?  AI and randomized event scripting can fill the lack of players. In the case of randomizing the event scripting, this is easier in general than creating AI.


Would it be better with a final goal? or just making the personal enrichment of the player the final goal? (A lot of people have this one in real life so...)I feel that personal enrichment is shallow without giving or contributing value.  Perhaps the goal would be acquiring things to give the most at the end.  Small achievement could mean only reaching the end but great accomplishment means that you saved the village and made everyone's life better in various ways.


And most importantly: Would it be fun?  If it is well made with surprises and "feel good" things, yes - this sounds good to me.

Whatever point you can bring to the table will be most appreciated.



Thanks for your time.

 

 

 

Game to real life discussions fascinate me.  I like to dabble into the "psychology" of game development.  biggrin.png

 

 

Clinton


Personal life and your private thoughts always effect your career. Research is the intellectual backbone of game development and the first order. Version Control is crucial for full management of applications and software.  The better the workflow pipeline, then the greater the potential output for a quality game.  Completing projects is the last but finest order.

 

by Clinton, 3Ddreamer


#3 AltarofScience   Members   -  Reputation: 920

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 01:43 AM

City builder games somewhat work with economics. Gathering resources exists as a critical mechanic in many game genres. They generally aren't very popular compared to FPS themepark MMO RTs and RPG games.



#4 DtCarrot   Members   -  Reputation: 325

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 01:55 AM

Personally, I enjoy MMORPG with have a well-structured economic system since I enjoy trading in game. Buying and selling items as well as giving finding ways and means to earn more money such as buying items beforehand and wait till an event which increases the demand starts so that I can earn a lot of money. 

 

Atlantica Online and Goonzu Online by nDoors have one of the more interesting economic system in my opinion. In Goonzu, you can somehow trade with other players from other servers. Atlantica Online has an elaborate crafting system which helps to create a dynamic economy. 

 

However, I feel that players generally do not enjoy the economic principle of the game. They would rather grind to earn the money, maybe it is just faster in the short term and require less thinking as well. 

 

Fluctuation is an inevitable part of an economy. I feel that how serious it becomes depend on how well structured the economic system is. 



#5 Lexadrik   Members   -  Reputation: 168

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 04:03 PM

Personally, I enjoy MMORPG with have a well-structured economic system since I enjoy trading in game. Buying and selling items as well as giving finding ways and means to earn more money such as buying items beforehand and wait till an event which increases the demand starts so that I can earn a lot of money. 

 

Atlantica Online and Goonzu Online by nDoors have one of the more interesting economic system in my opinion. In Goonzu, you can somehow trade with other players from other servers. Atlantica Online has an elaborate crafting system which helps to create a dynamic economy. 

 

However, I feel that players generally do not enjoy the economic principle of the game. They would rather grind to earn the money, maybe it is just faster in the short term and require less thinking as well. 

 

Fluctuation is an inevitable part of an economy. I feel that how serious it becomes depend on how well structured the economic system is. 

 

Hadn't heard of those games before.

Events that change the cost of items sound like an interesting mechanic to keep the players' attention span and decision making.

 

I am sad to hear that you feel players generally don't like the economics in a game, but I have to agree. I do not have a problem with grinding, in fact, I see it as one of many ways a developer can show the world to a player, the problem is that it has been overused to the point in where people want change.

 

@3DDreamer: I would guess the "feel good" mechanics of the game would depend on the game itself. I wonder if one can run a game based solely on this; merchants trying to cover their routes, perhaps the action comes when bandits try to rob you.

 

Another point I find interesting is how some games manage to keep the resource and money gathering through a different approach, I.E. most facebook games. The fact that you can just come back after a few hours to loot the results of your previous work (like in Farmville) and repeat the process, while decorating your environment sounds like a good idea. Sadly enough, it doesn't seem to fit correctly in a real-time environment.

 

Thanks to everybody who replied, and if you wish to keep talking about the subject just keep posting i guess.



#6 Unduli   Members   -  Reputation: 722

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 06:04 PM

I doubt if this involvement of 'invisible hand' in game makes sense. It makes people to await for 'unnatural' changes to make profit without a reason.

 

What I will use in my game to counterbalance lack of a proper economy due to low number of players will be a game controlled seller bound by simple laws of trade as well. This seller will ensure availability of all items (at a higher cost so players can easily compete) and prevent other players from spoiling 'scarcity rent' too much.

 

And for making resource gathering the center of gameplay, I think it broadens your target players unless you invent a way of making resource gathering more sophisticated and fun.



#7 ShiftyCake   Members   -  Reputation: 416

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 07:17 AM

"Make a game that focuses heavily on resource gathering"

 

You just listed some there, Terraria, Don't Starve and Minecraft all rely very heavily on resource gathering. The reason the games aren't defined as such is because resource gatherings is only considered part of games  no matter how big a part. Instead, they are given the label "survival", which means pretty much the same thing. Survive by gathering resources is the basic concept of well...every survival game out there basically.

 

Creating a game that is ONLY about resource gathering would be boring. So I rather enjoy what we have, that resource gathering-holic fun with the survival concept to keep you intrigued.

Or, in other words, survival sandboxes.

Now I am ranting.

I must stop doing that.


If, at any point, what I post is hard to understand, tell me. I am bad at projecting my thoughts into real words, so I appreciate the knowledge that I need to edit my post.

 

I am not a professional writer, nor a professional game designer. Please, understand that everything you read is simply an opinion of mind and should not, at any point in time, be taken as a credible answer unless validated by others.

 

I do take brief bouts of disappearance so don't worry if I either don't reply to you or miss certain things. I am quite a lazy fellow.


#8 Orymus3   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 6122

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 04:18 PM

Well, gathering games are essentially farming games where you don't choose the crop.

They are the indiana jones "adventurer-style" of the farming game.

The resources you harvest are not those you planted, but those you find and choose to pick up.

 

Not only is it a viable type, but it already exists, in a number of occurences.

 

I've personally played 4 or 5 titles on Kongregate that dabbled with this concept and nothing else.

I remember one of them being digging the ground, buying upgrades to dig faster, deeper, etc. All in all, you just dug all the time and took resources, and it was fun. The exploration part was important though. A big part of minecraft is uncovering wonders. Before villages, wonders were the natural cave you found at an unlilely place, or the large lava network exposed at some place, or the odd cliff, etc. They are the places you wanted to focus on because the scenery was interesting.



#9 sunandshadow   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4538

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 05:05 PM

Hmm, I like resource gathering for the purpose of crafting with the resources, like in A Tale in the Desert, Wurm Online, and Stranded II, but I don't think gathering resources to sell is satisfying; for example in Skyrim I rarely bother harvesting crops or chopping wood.


I want to help design a "sandpark" MMO. Optional interactive story with quests and deeply characterized NPCs, plus sandbox elements like player-craftable housing and lots of other crafting. If you are starting a design of this type, please PM me.

#10 3Ddreamer   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2902

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 08:41 PM

@3DDreamer: I would guess the "feel good" mechanics of the game would depend on the game itself. I wonder if one can run a game based solely on this; merchants trying to cover their routes, perhaps the action comes when bandits try to rob you.

 

 

There are many ways to add action without bandits. Life is full of unexpected things.


Personal life and your private thoughts always effect your career. Research is the intellectual backbone of game development and the first order. Version Control is crucial for full management of applications and software.  The better the workflow pipeline, then the greater the potential output for a quality game.  Completing projects is the last but finest order.

 

by Clinton, 3Ddreamer


#11 Lexadrik   Members   -  Reputation: 168

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 12:38 PM

I guess the main focus of the topic would then be HOW does the player interact with the things he has collected.

As Orymus3 mentioned, the game became dull because the formula of the game revolved around improving the same mechanic that gave you the resource.

 

Maybe the thing to do would be to gather resources which can be used in a wide variety of ways, such as wood. Wood has the potential to become furniture, fuel, buildings, weapons, tools; many things which could be useful in other ways.

 

I guess the challenge is to code a lot of interactivity with the things you create.



#12 rpiller   Members   -  Reputation: 651

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 12:38 PM

I'm currently making a casual MMO (non rpg) game based around this very idea. In my game players can buy plots of land (it's a 2D tile game so each plot is a tile). Once they purchase land (which has rules around it to avoid people boxing others in, and other issues that could happen) they can then gather resources on their land, building housing, or other buildings.

 

There are zero NPC's in my game. The entire economy is player driven.

 

Players can build things like lumbermill (for processing wood to lumber), marketplace (for other players to buy/sell goods), bakery (to turn flour, eggs, etc into food), etc. The player owner of these buildings doesn't need to be online for others to use the building to make their goods. The owners set a fee for using their buildings, in the case of the marketplace it can be a % or a flat fee.

 

The players have needs that they must meet for their character to perform at optimal levels (you can't ever die in my game though). These needs is what drives people to basically make a civilization. I randomize the map once with all the resources the game has to offer and the first set of players will just appear on the map with some money, some gather tools, and the clothes on their back. I want them to create a civilization with the world I present them! Every server will look drastically different.

 

To start with I'll introduce some basic things, but over time the patches will add more and more things to the game. Resources that nobody cared about to start with will suddenly become important to craft new things that get "invented".

 

I have the streaming map to the clients with multiple clients able to connect finished (I'm very proud of the streaming map :)). Next I'm working on buying land, and then on gathering resources starting with wood & seeds from trees (you can plant trees with the seeds to grow more trees). Then the sky is the limit!



#13 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2897

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 04:05 PM

"Minecraft, Terraria, King Arthur's Gold" - All these games are about constructing things, not about resource gathering. Resource gathering there is merely an extra, an not even required in same cases at all (Minecraft classic do not even have any form of resource gathering).


Europe1300.eu - Historical Realistic Medieval Sim (BETA)


#14 rpiller   Members   -  Reputation: 651

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 05:40 PM

(Minecraft classic do not even have any form of resource gathering)

 

Mining blocks is resource gathering. Gathering anything that can be used to do something is resource gathering. Those games wouldn't be "fun" unless you had to work at getting resources to build. Otherwise it's just a modeling tool.



#15 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2897

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 04:35 AM

(Minecraft classic do not even have any form of resource gathering)

 

Mining blocks is resource gathering. Gathering anything that can be used to do something is resource gathering. Those games wouldn't be "fun" unless you had to work at getting resources to build. Otherwise it's just a modeling tool.

Minecraft classic had no resource gathering (permanent creative mode). It was just a modelling tool as you said. Yet, it was exptremely popular even then.

 

Sure, resoucre gathering, fighting, crafting are all nice things and adding these enrichted the game and many people would not play it without these. Still, in its core it's just a modelling tool. That's the primiary source of fun in that game.


Europe1300.eu - Historical Realistic Medieval Sim (BETA)





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