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methulah

Sheaths, holsters 'n' stuff

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I would like on some feedback for a sytem I am thinking of implementing into my MMORPG. Characters have a slot in their inventory for "belt". A character can buy a belt and put it in the slot. The belt then has a certain amount of "slots". Character can choose what they put in these slots (sheaths for weapons, coin pouches, acid flasks etc.). When in combat, a weapon that is in the inventory (not on the sheath) would not be instantly changable in combat, whereas a weapon that is in a sheath on the belt then it is instantly interchangable in combat. Feedback/Suggestions would be appreciated.

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I like it. It's a good way to avoid going to your inventory in combat, which is always a little shady (I fondly remember using the "combine" command to instantly reload my guns in Resident Evil 2). It also lets you use your weapons and items appropriately, without having 147 stimpaks, 50000 bullets and eighteen different guns active all at the same time. I think this system could be very good. You could present your "utility belt" in the inventory subscreen, and place things on it. Then they would be "equipped" during play. Make sure you don't make the system too easy to abuse.

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No, I would have a system where it takes a certain amount of time to equip an item on a belt slot - more time than it takes to use it straight from the inventory - both provoke an attacks of opertunity, though changing between to sheathed weapons doesn't. That covers that area of abuse.

Perhaps the best way is to indeed make a quick bar with slots for all the objects on the belt. Different belts have different amounts of slots, so perhaps a unique inventory bar for each belt. Players can of course use hotkeys to use the items in the slots.

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This came up before with someone asking how to more realistically depict drawing weapons from holsters/backpacks etc. I like the utility belt idea for drawing items small enough to fit in the pockets or be attached to the belt. Along with the belt concept, you could also have holsters etc. where weapons could be drawn from, with corresponding timed animations where you see the character drawing the weapons/items from the belt or holsters etc.

You could use this system for gameplay where you want to restrict the number of weapons to be more realistic. Or, you could adapt the same system to allow for multiple weapon inventories also. Simply make it so that if the player chooses to use a weapon not equipped that is buried in his inventory, there is a timed delay (with or without an accompanying animation of rummaging through a pack depending on the situation etc.) where you see the characters holster/sheath/belt combination change to the proper new configuration before the animation to draw that weapon begins.

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Two places I've seen this used are the Diablo games and Deus Ex.

Diablo lets you have your "belt" filled with potions or disposable items (like scrolls). 1-4 trigger them in gameplay, saving you a trip to the inventory for a quick heal.

Deus Ex had more items/weapons than could fit on the ten-slot HUD hotkey bar. You could assign items from your inventory to the bar, and access them with hotkeys. Handy.

I envision your idea as being something like Deus Ex, but with more rules regarding what can be on there.

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You are right, or course about Diabolo and deus Ex, I had forgotten that about both of them. yes, my system would be similar to DX's one.

The difference lies in the belt itself. The belt has X slots (depending on how good a belt it is. You can attach a sheaths to those slots, as well as bags, puches and potions. So the slot would be a multi-purpose "quick inventory" which would have drastically reduced time for using items from that the full inventory.

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I've encountered the same situation. But how do you suppose that your belt items have faster access? Does your game not pause while in inventory? If it does, then your inventory is going to be just as fast. If you decide to only play animations when belt items are equipped, then inventory access will be even faster.

Even if you don't pause the action, it's possible someone could press I and click the mouse somewhere just as fast as pressing a belt key. What I'm saying is that you need to program in the advantage. You can't just assume it will be faster unless you have a clumbsy GUI.

The only way I know to do so is to create longer animations for using items from your inventory instead of the belt. And depending on the game, that could be a nightmare.

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there are a few ways around this, and I hadn't thought of that, so thank you.

I think that one way to do it would be by simply having a timer for whenever you use anything. Ever item has an inventory timer and a quickbelt timer.

With this, imagine that you hit "i" to open your inventory window. From there you click on the item you wish to equip. It slides into the slot for that item and a window pops up in the bottom right saying "equipping $item, $time seconds remaining" gameplay continues and the creature you are in combat with gets an extra attack.

This would address the need for timed animations of rumaging through a backpack, which could cause all sorts of problems and still keeps the time faster for the quickbelt.

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Since you mentioned making an MMO i'll reply.

Its pretty rare in MMO's to be forced to change weapons in the middle of combat. Only a reletively few classes do it. And mostly its due to the player switching from a long range to a short range weapon. The belt slots therefore will end up being used for potions and other items instead of weapons. While this is partially what you are wanting...the idea of readying weapons for quick access won't be there in most MMO's.

For you to get the most out of your Belt idea I would suggest creating a system where players have alot of inventory options during combat. (Dust, smoke bombs, flash items, etc) This will make loading up thier belt a much more strategic decision than it would be in most MMO's.

The idea has merit. But with the way games are going at the moment...its a good idea that circumstances just don't require. So make you're game use it to its advantage.


Just a few other ideas though following on you're same train of thought.

What are the social effects (if any) of wearing weapons in towns? what are the chances of being attacked in town?

If there are negative social effects (prices go up, people won't talk etc) and you have the chance of people attacking you.

Then it might not be a bad idea to create a few single weapon holsters for other parts of the body. This way players can always have that dagger/knife up the sleve or down by the ankle.... These would be very limited in the type of itme they would hold...so no sneaking in a extra healing potion...

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In Fallout, you could have two weapons/items/whatever "equipped" and switch between them instantly. Using your inventory cost a few action points. That forced a disadvantage on the inventory.

How about a general animation for accessing the inventory. If you hit "I" in the game, your character stops, slings his pack off his back, drops it on the ground in front of him, and kneels down to reach in. That takes maybe two seconds, and then the inventory is available to you. When you're done, it takes another two seconds to cinch up the drawstring and sling it back onto your shoulder.

From the belt/boot/sleeve/whatever, there's just a simple half-second or do (depending) of your guy sheathing one weapon and whipping out another. No sweat.

You could go a step further, and give players the option of dropping their backpack before a big fight. They lose access to anything that isn't strapped to their person, but they gain a big boost to agility, strength and speed. They'd get up faster after being knocked down, have steadier aim with ranged weapons, run faster, and maybe have access to certain grappling moves that the backpack would preclude. Something like that.

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