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Jaylach

Creating a fun, simple, yet complex crafting system....

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Hi Everyone, I'm currently working on, what I call, a mult-single player RPG. The basic premise is the game world is single player but there are interactions and outside forces that effect this game world. The biggest interaction is with the economy. Everything is going to be player created - potions, weapons, armor, everything. Combat does not reward the typical items, but instead rewards money and resources that can be used to buy new stuff and/or craft new stuff. There is also a pretty in-depth harvesting system planned - more on that later. Since crafting and harvesting are as big of a part as combat, if not bigger, I decided I'd start the programming there. I have the whole game designed out, but now that I've got into creating the crafting system I've started to wonder if it's as good as I envisioned it. With that said, I hope to turn to the members here for some feedback on the system I'm creating. I'm going to keep the harvesting description a little high level. If anyone feels more information is needed on that subject please let me know. Harvesting Players must harvest their resources for crafting. The harvesting is not like the typical harvesting system you see these days. You don't go to a node, click a button, and wham - you have resources. Instead it is sort of reminiscent of the SWG style of harvesting. Players can buy and/or build gathers. These gathers take fuel (besides Water gathers, they are powered for "free" by the water) to operate. These gathers can be placed anywhere in the world, and where they are placed defines the type of resource that's gathered. Players can survey the land to determine which resources are near by, the quantity of that resource and the quality of that resource. The gatherer then sits there, on the world, gathering resources. The speed at which the resources are gathered is determined by the fuel used and the gatherer used. These gathers are not stationary. Instead they travel a few squares on an invisible grid gathering resources from each square. Each harvest from the gather depletes it's durability. It is up to the player to retrieve the resources from that gatherer before the durability is depleted or when all the resources have been gathered. Resources There are many different types of resources: Metals, Woods, Fabrics, etc. They are gathered from different areas on the world map. Resources also have three different stats that effect the final crafted item: Quality, Refinement, and Element. The quality is a randomly generated number (from 1 - 100) that's generated when that resource is generated. The refinement value determines how many times the part that the material is applied can be refined. More on this later. The element attribute determines which element the final item will have. The element of the resource is determined by the weather at the time the resource was gathered. For instance, if it's raining when the resource is gathered it will have the Water element. Likewise, if it's stormy out the resource will have the Thunder element. More on elements later. Crafting - The System Crafting starts with a Plan. The Plan defines the item being made. It's important to note here that there are very few "base items" that can be created. These base items are very vague, things like a Gun, a Bow, Chain Armor, etc. Each of these base items have a set of base stats that they start out with. These stats are then modified based on the resources used, the player's skill, and the crafting process. A plan is made up of Components. Components are made up of Parts. Parts - Each part has a Primary Material and (if required) a Secondary Material. The materials used here determine the final quality of that Part. Each part also has a stat that it governs. This stat can be things like Min Attack, Max Attack, Armor, Dodge, etc. The final quality of the part determines how much the stat it governs gets modified. Components - The final quality of the Component is determined by the sum of the final quality of it's parts. The final quality of the Component further effects that stats that are governed by it's parts. Plans - The final quality of the Plan is determined by the sum of the final quality of it's Components. The final quality of the Plan further effects the stats that are governed by it's Component's parts. The element of the final item is defined by the element attribute of the resources used. The most prominent element found is the element of the final item. The strength of that element is determined by the percentage of that element found in all materials. For example, if 100 materials are used and 25 are Water, 25% of damage dealt with that item will be Water damage. Refinement is the process of refining a part to further increase the amount it modifies it's governed stat. The number of times a part can be refined is determined by the Refinement stat on the resources used in that part. The total amount of refinements allowed by a plan is determined by the MAXIMUM refinement value found on the materials used. For example, if materials with the refinement stat of 0, 0, 1, 3, and 2 are used the number of refinements allowed would be 3. Each refinement decreases this value by one. This means that a character can only refine, in this example, a part (or different parts) 3 times. The player must chose careful which stats are most important in this item. A player can chose to take skills that increases his/her refinement of a certain stat. For example, a player can chose to specializing in refining the Max Attack stat. This would increase the player's success rate at refining that stat and the amount that stat is modified by. Crafting - The Process The player opens up the crafting interface and selects the plan. He/she then applies materials to each part required by that plan. He then clicks the "Craft" button. This starts the first cycle of crafting. The length of this cycle is determined by the crafting time defined by the plan, which is modified by passive skills and player skill level. After the first cycle is complete, if there are refinements possible, the player is then given 10 seconds to chose a part to refine. A crafting cycle starts again. This continues until all possible refinements are used up. In the example above this would be 4 cycles (the initial cycle + 3 refinements). Each cycle has a chance to fail. The initial cycle's success rate is determined by the player's skill and the plan difficulty. The refinement cycle's success rate is determined by which refinement cycle the craft is on (the higher the number the less success chance) and the player's skill. On failure the player is forced to chose which resources are lost. The number of resources lost is determined by the level of failure. A level 1 failure would result in less resources lost than a level 5 failure. Once all the cycles have been completed, the player can chose to add things called "Crystals" to the Plan. These crystals can add actual stats to the item. Things like +10 Accuracy or +100 Hit Points. These crystals can be gathered and/or won during combat. The number of crystals that can be added is determined by the player's skill in that craft. The success rate of adding these crystals and the amount added is determined by the player's skill and the actual crystal used. The item is now created, branded, and can be used and/or sold. Branding an item just adds a "Built By: Player's Name" tag to the item. Invention Because of the vast amount of customization allowed in this system I have decided to compliment it with an invention system. This system is actually fairly system. If the player is the first to create an item (an EXACT item.. stats and everything must all be unique), each subsequent item that is an EXACT copy of that would also be branded with an "Invented By: Player's Name" tag. If the player is lucky enough to invent an item he can also name it. Naming the item is also a simple task - he selects an item name from a list of canned names. From that point forward that item would be known as that name in the game. I have one major question I would like advice/feedback on in addition to feedback/advice on the actual crafting system. In a system like this do you think it would be best to have crafting by a separate skill set that compliments the combat character or should crafting be an alternative to combat? Basically, should a player be able to craft fully and combat fully or should a player be forced to chose between a combat or crafting character? ANY thoughts, advice, and feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!!

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If you can see other people's gatherers, that could make the gameworld ugly fast. They have this problem in A Tale In The Desert, because players can see all of each others' buildings only one person can build on any site and the landscape gets cluttered, especially with the abandoned stuff of people who quit playing.

Are you making raw resources unsellable? If they are sellable their value will plummet to almost nothing really fast unless they are rare for some reason. If they remain valuable, you will get players creating mules and/or botting to get more resources and/or money for their main character.

Where do players get plans, and are they rare or common, single-use or infinite use?

Can you sell items to NPCs? To other players?

Can you disassemble an unwanted item to get materials and/or the plan back?

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Original post by sunandshadow
If you can see other people's gatherers, that could make the gameworld ugly fast. They have this problem in A Tale In The Desert, because players can see all of each others' buildings only one person can build on any site and the landscape gets cluttered, especially with the abandoned stuff of people who quit playing.

Are you making raw resources unsellable? If they are sellable their value will plummet to almost nothing really fast unless they are rare for some reason. If they remain valuable, you will get players creating mules and/or botting to get more resources and/or money for their main character.

Where do players get plans, and are they rare or common, single-use or infinite use?

Can you sell items to NPCs? To other players?

Can you disassemble an unwanted item to get materials and/or the plan back?


Ahh, I knew there would be details I left out. :)

You cannot see other people's gathers. The game world is single player - NOT a MMO. The concept is a little different. Once again, all crafting, gathering, and combat happens in a single player game. The selling and buying happens in "online" mode. The game will basically generate a list of open shops and show them to the player. There are no game controlled shops.

Resources can be sold. Because each player has a copy of their own game world, the resources available at any given time are different for each player. This means Player A may have resources Player B needs but cannot be gathered in his game world.

I'm worried about mules if I don't allow people to craft AND combat. The way I have the class system setup, each character can master each class. If I do this for crafting as well then there is no real difference between people anymore. This is the area I'm struggling with the most.

Plans are learned by leveling up your crafting skills. There are also plans that can be found during combat and sold/used. They are infinite use once learned.

As I said, there are no NPC shops so items cannot be sold to NPCs. The whole "economy" (if it could be called that in a single player game) is driven by other players. Sounds strange for a single player game, I know.

I've thought about item deconstruction and am on the fence about it. Not sure if it'll be implemented or not yet.

On a side note, the back story ties in these different game world. There is a reason for them according to the story. There is also reason to buy/sell/trade with other players - story reasons and reasons built into the game.

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If the gathering is all single player, I think I would have more fun picking coconuts off trees and gathering reeds by a river and finding feathers where a bird colony nests than by having automatic gatherers. Also I personally would definitely want to be able to level crafting and combat on the same character - although I'm not entirely sure what the point of the combat would be if it doesn't get you any resources or gear. Do you get money from it? Faction rep that allows access to special plans or the right to wear special gear? But at any rate, isn't it lame if the 'real' difference between people is a single choice they make to be a crafter or a fighter? Instead, shouldn't the real difference between people be their chosen gameplay style? The more options you give people, the more diverse they will be in their choices among those options. Also if appearance customization and/or forum posting are part of your game, players will probably consider that the real source of their identity. (I'm thinking of Gaia Online now that I understand your game's structure better.)

Having a player's economy be dependent upon other players... Seems kinda odd that the one feature of traditional MMOs you left in is the hardest one to balance. It's a natural problem of all MMOs that the longer you have been playing the more money you have, and whatever brand new players can get/make to sell quickly becomes valueless (unless for some reason people who have been playing longer need it in mass quantities and/or can't get it anymore). Also if there are no NPC run stores, what is money for? If it's only for buying stuff from other players, why bother if you can gather the stuff yourself? Why bother selling if you don't have things you long to buy?

Actually, this sounds like something you could playtest if you could get 5 or 6 people to sit around a table for a few hours and pretend to play this game.

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Let me touch on some of the points you raised, and then I will go into some of the backstory and mechanics in the game, in hopes it paints a larger and brighter picture of what I'm trying to accomplish.

The automatic vs. manual gathering is some what of a personal preference choice. I hate going to a node, clicking a button, and gathering. I've never enjoyed that system. What I've always enjoyed is going out into the world and looking hard for the best resources I could find. I never wanted to sit around gathering those, though. I would much rather a gatherer do it for me. The others who helped me flesh out the game design felt the same way, so we settled on this system. Maybe it wasn't the best way to come up the system, but it worked.. for now anyways :)

Combat is not pointless. Combat will net you money and resources. Combat also nets you crystals, which play a much bigger role in the grand scheme of things - not just in crafting. I'll touch more on this soon.

I'm not sure I'm convinced being only a crafter or only a fighter is lame. In today's market, however, it may be lame. And, as I said, this is one of the biggest areas I'm struggling with. I want to make people support the economy by buying and selling from each other but I don't want to lock people into one play style over another.

I also want to create a unique crafting system where people can really effect the outcome of the final product. I envision a system where two crafters are NOT alike at all. They may both be Swordsmiths, but they both have different skills for refining different attributes. They both may have different skills for harvesting that allows one to gather different/better resources then the other. This could lead to both people crafting a sword, but one is more focused on attack and the other more focused on speed. I also want to allow each and every crafter to specialize in a specific area of crafting. Not just the item, but a stat or two on that item.

On an economy level, it's not the player's economy.. It's still a global economy with money sinks and all that you typically see in an MMORPG. You may understand better if you know more about the game.

The backstory goes something like this -

Three nations are fighting for control of the land (Typical, I know). They are all working towards building a super weapon that could knock the other two nations off the map. To build this super weapon they need to gather a resource that's been spoken of since the ancients. This resource is "Reality Crystal". These crystals are gathered by defeating enemies and harvesting in what is known as "Reality".

Reality is different for each and every character. Reality is also defined by each and every character. This means that you can have two players who see and play the game totally different. One may chose (through a series of questions) to have a more fantasy based reality - He has mages, and arches, and elfs, and all that stuff. One may chose a more sci-fi based reality. His reality will have gunners, robots, and explosions. The classes may sound different, but for programability, they are exactly the same under the hood.. just different names and different skill names.

The reality also defines the resources that can be gathered and the items that can be crafted. It doesn't make sense for someone playing in a fantasy reality to craft a gun, likewise it doesn't make sense for someone in "sci-fi" to craft a bow.

These crystals I spoke of can be gathered in your "Reality" and brought back to the here and now. They can then be donated to your nation or used in crafting. They can also be broken down into currency. You must chose wisely how you want to use your crystals.

Every week the national tally will be calculated and the nation in control will have new areas and plans open up to their players. For the next week players from that nation can explore those new lands, gather items, and craft the new plans. Once that nation loses control, the plans are no longer available and the items they have that were made by those plans are destroyed. There is a story reason for this, I'm just trying not to get too deep into it :)

There is also a "sink" for these crystals. In order to power your reality generator you must supply it with Crystals. Your nation donates you enough to power your generator enough to bring yourself and four other people (controlled by you, not actual player characters) to your reality and back. You don't HAVE to pay this debt off, however the donation comes from the nation reserve so not paying it off means your nation could fall out of control.

The areas, resources, and plans that open up to the nation in control will be random. I plan to create a bunch of "un-used" maps, resources, and plans that will then be unlocked randomly when a nation takes control. If you are in control one week, and in control next, the areas that were previously opened stay opened AND new ones open up.

The incentive to fight AND gather AND craft is pretty big, I think. Now, the real purpose of the game is just to get more loot.. as it typically is. There is story to follow, but it's a completely open world and it never ends (much like an MMO).


As you can see, I'm attempting to do something a little different. I'm really trying to create an MMORPG atmosphere without the over head an MMO requires. What I'm really trying to do is take the idea behind web RPGs and turn that into a living, breathing, single player world.

I was trying to avoid getting into the whole mechanic behind the game, as I think that's a little off topic for the question asked.. but I'm hoping knowing how the game will run/act will help shed some light onto the how and why of the crafting system.

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In a system like this do you think it would be best to have crafting by a separate skill set that compliments the combat character or should crafting be an alternative to combat? Basically, should a player be able to craft fully and combat fully or should a player be forced to chose between a combat or crafting character?


I didn't read your post word by word. I think you have these design goals:
o Interaction among players, especially trading of materials
o Combat is significant part of gameplay

The following are parts of a particular design:

1) The PC can level up crafting skill by both crafting and by combat, in the sense that all crafting skills are derivatives of combat skills. For example, to refine something in 3000oK temperature, the game requires a fire power that a PC with high fire-type combat level would naturally have. The player would still need to transcent that skill (which was trained through combat) into a crafting skill. This detailing of skill for crafting purpose is the crafting skill training. But it can only occur when the PC has the fire power to begin such training. In some situations, you could imagine that crafting involves the PC bring the item to a powerful monsters, and that the PC would borrow the power of the monster to do crafting. Only the players strong enough or skillful enough could get back the item (without getting KO). Players who can fight are candidates to perform intense crafting actions. But they are not automatically crafters.

2) The game world evolves as the game progress. This could be that resources deplete. Or that certain types of monsters would be cleared as the game progress. Depending on how the player chosen to play the game different type of resources would be depleted from the world. For example, some resources can only be found in the world of a low level PC while those low level monsters last. The objective is to require a diverse materials and crafting skills required to complete an object (from start to finish), such that it would be normal for a player to buy and sell parts and processed but incomplete parts online.

3) A player can only transfer material from one character to another that do not share the same physical game world through the online market. The meaning is that, while you are playing in your own world, you could create as many characters as you like and let them level up at different speed. You could transfer items among them all you want. However, if you start another world you cannot transfer the stuff from your old world without going through the online market. When you put something online, there is a chance that some other player could buy it.

4) This point is about balancing the economy. The fundamental idea is that the newbie world has the most important resources that deplete as the game progress, while the high level world has the most important processes in order to craft high quality stuff. High quality stuffs span all levels. For example, a level 60 PC (in a very battered game world), would place a buy order online requesting a herb to revive one of his other character in the same game world, but that herb would only grow in the level 5 world while the game world was still relatively peaceful. To complicate the matter, the part of the level 5 world that would have such herb was not normally accessible until the PC is about level 15, but by the time the PC would be level 15, those herb would have gone extinct. The resulting dynamics is that the high level players would craft high level items specifically to help other level 5 players in the community to take on the quest to adventure inside the realm of level 15 monsters to get those herb. Once those herbs are available in the community, the high level crafters could use their crafting skills to make the resurrection potions.

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Instead of inventing weird crafting mechanisms, why not try to be a little realistic?

For example, what matters for a chainmail is the material, the size of the rings, the type of weave, and its cut (whether it covers the whole torso, arms, and hood in a single piece or just the torso).
This will affect weight, encumbrance, joints, and protection.

For a two-edged sword, there a lot more of parameters, for the blade only: materials on how they were hardened, length, width, cross-section, type of fuller (grooves removed from the blade to lighten it without compromising strength), type of point, etc.
This will affect weight, rigidity, thrusting power, sharpness of the edges, etc.

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I think creating an "all-crafting" RPG in which all the items the player uses are crafted might be a bad idea. Don't get me wrong - it could be really fun and if there was a game that executed it properly then I would probably play it.

I don't want to insult anybody here, but I think a lot of people in the game industry (especially the art staff and level designers) will agree with me that a sizable part of the audience is stupid. Now, I don't mean that they all-around incompetent people, but when it comes games they don't pick up on a lot of things that others do. That said, if the crafting system is a large part of the game like you're proposing, then it needs to be somewhat simple so that anybody who plays the game can use it.
As far as I'm concerned, the potion crafting system in Oblivion was pretty much gimped. I hated it. But you didn't have to use it at all - you could buy, steal, or find potions throughout the game.

There are other forseeable problems when you make this sort of mandate.
Unless they just sell items to craft items, vendors will be pretty much useless.
Also, with games like Diablo, a lot of the "positive feedback" (if you will) for fighting monsters is a crapload of dropped loot and items, and the hope that with every kill you're closer to getting a great sword or wand or something. In my opinion, the combat needs to be visceral and visually/aurally self-rewarding if there are no dropped items and loot (besides components and materials).

On another note, the materials that are used to make a certain item need to more or less represent what is actual used to make such an item in the real world. I guess this is sort of obvious, but it helps not to stray too far. The player should be able to make an educated guess of what any item is made with.

It'd also be cool to have several "levels" of an item you can craft.
For example, say you start out with a steel longsword. It takes two steel plates (the blade itself) and 1 piece of leather (for the handle/hilt). Then you can add heavy gem to the pommel, which makes the sword more balanced and in turn adds to the damage rating. The player could also add a "frost gem" or something to cause frost damage on strike.


Yeah, I kinda went crazy there. Hope you can get something good out of that.

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I want to add some more to my own post.

About "The audience is stupid" - Well, I agree.. lol. I'm also not targeting the masses with this game. Maybe I should be, but I'm not. What I envision is having a little niche market - not unlike those who play web RPGs and/or text RPGs. I'm NOT expecting to bring in mass people. I'm more expecting to bring in the people who enjoy crafting and full player ran economies. That's the reason for the heavy focus on crafting and player shops.

One thing I've been tinkering with a lot and hope I can work it in is Plan's that actually level up. Say you start with a rusty sword. As your craft level increases, so the plan for the rusty sword - it's now a plan for a steel sword. The first "Rusty Sword" plan will require few components and the materials needed will be those that can be gathered by low level characters. As the Plan levels up, more components and more higher level materials are needed. However, the original components (complete with the low level materials) are still required.

Resources will also "level up" in a sense.. well, not really.. lol. The resources that can be gathered is effected by your harvesting level. Some resources will only be available during certain levels. As your harvesting levels up, you stop gathering the lower resources needed for plans and start gathering the higher level resources.

This is my attempt at basically keep everyone (no matter their level) an important part of the economy. The higher level characters count on the lower level people to get the materials needed for their plans.

Make sense?

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Does it bother you at all that you just suggested upgrading a Plan used to create a rusty sword into a Plan to create a nice new steel sword?

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