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Wavinator

No inventory limits?

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"Where would I put this?" Grrrr... I got some ideas, pal... Does a cRPG lose something if there are no inventory limits? I was thinking of using a "transporter buffer" idea where all inventory items could be broken down to energy and saved in a techno equivalent of a "bag of holding." This idea would prevent "shuttle back to town to sell stuff" tedium. But I can''t help but think the limit is good in some ways. -------------------- Just waiting for the mothership...

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Of course there should be some measure of inventory maximum, or the idea of encumbrance at least must be accounted for.

After all, with sufficiently advanced tech, what''s wrong with having a Motherbox sort of thing for you to drop little boom-tubelets with? The Motherbox could be the portable part of your "vessel of much", or even go straight to the merchant''s place, maybe in your own "locker".

In fact, one better... you make a deal with a shopkeeper that you use a boom-box he loans you to sell your stuff ONLY to him. As you move into different cities and territories, maybe you encounter merchants who want one particular type of item, or will pay you more for some items that the merchant to whom you''re currently "uploading" your pickups. This means that if you think you''re getting hosed by Bob the Sonic Axe Hawker, maybe it''s time to drum up a more profitable business relationship with Mike who runs the Sonic Axe and Force Sword Emporium in the next town. :D

It''s just like e-commerce and just-in-time delivery, but you''re on the supply side, now

-----------------
-WarMage
...I gotta date to make snowmen with satan.

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Well, my theory is that there''s no reason to adhere to the conventions of the RPG genre. These conventions were created to solve gameplay problems, so instead of thinking about the common solutions to the problems, think about the problems themselves. In this case, what you might do is implement an encumbrance system that allows players a generous inventory limit at the cost of reduced agility and such. Then allow players to buy the transporter buffers you mention to extend their inventory, but limit the buffers in some way - limit the available energy that is used to store/retrieve objects, or require coffee-filter style objects that are used up for each storage/retrieval and can be purchased in stores; something like that. Overall, I''d say it would work best if you made it clear that the buffers are devices used by the characters, not just another page in the characters'' inventory. Just my two cents.

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Well...

1. Finite storage space
2. Finite weight of objects

The first one isn''t so much a consideration as the second one. You can carry an elephant sized backpack if it''s filled with air, or packing peanuts, or feathers, etc. But there''s no way at all that you can say you''re carrying around 800 pounds of gold on your back, unless you play a weightlifter in the game

The energy/mass thing seems like a good idea to get around the problems. Even better if you can turn yourself into light to go from place to place...

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quote:
Original post by WarMage
After all, with sufficiently advanced tech, what''s wrong with having a Motherbox sort of thing for you to drop little boom-tubelets with? The Motherbox could be the portable part of your "vessel of much", or even go straight to the merchant''s place, maybe in your own "locker".



Hmmmm.... how about an automated probe you could load up and shoot back home? It would unload, and come back to you.

quote:

In fact, one better... you make a deal with a shopkeeper that you use a boom-box he loans you to sell your stuff ONLY to him. As you move into different cities and territories, maybe you encounter merchants who want one particular type of item, or will pay you more for some items that the merchant to whom you''re currently "uploading" your pickups. This means that if you think you''re getting hosed by Bob the Sonic Axe Hawker, maybe it''s time to drum up a more profitable business relationship with Mike who runs the Sonic Axe and Force Sword Emporium in the next town. :D



Weird! This could be some kind of a deal with a really sophistocated merchant, maybe. Gotta think about this one...

quote:

It''s just like e-commerce and just-in-time delivery, but you''re on the supply side, now


Hahaha! Now I''m thinking "Worm-Ex", the intergalactic Wormhole Express delivery service...

Actually, with long range communication and a future interstellar internet, why not have something like this? *retreats to Design Cave to think*

--------------------
Just waiting for the mothership...

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Hello all!

Inventory and equipment! My favorite topics!

In a fantasy rpg design of mine I do include restrictions to how much the player can carry around. He has some "slots" where he can equip items of certain size and weigth, i.e. throwing knife on a heel strap is ok but a broadsword or a box of cookies are not, because of their weight and size. So far it''s classic.

Also I have a system that defines what time is needed to access an item in a backpack or on a slot, depending on its placement. Let me explain this one. You could order the items in your backpack, putting some of them on the top, some lower and some at the bottom of the backpack. This allows to have faster access to lifesaving means (healing potions and beer) and slower to not so important ones.

It''s some kind of stacking system, as far as I know something about programming. If you want to get Item A, which is under Items B, C, D and E, you''ll have to put those out first, get A and put B, C, D and E back in their place. This is done automaticaly, of course. The player just points which item he wants to use and the system calculates the time needed.

Hmm, this has become a bit off topic I guess. So after all I use some burdening system.

But I''m not bothered with inventory space at all. IMO, player should not be stimulated to collect every single item he finds in the world. It''s not an old school adventure game, where every piece that was highlighted overonmouse was important.

So what solutions we have for this?
You could make every single object in the game highlighted overonmouse, so player gets some kind of description, or help with those, but that''ll discourage him to pick up everything.
Better solution, IMO, is leave all objects as is. Don''t highlight, don''t make them stand out in certain way (mouseovers, sparks, sound alerts). Instead, provide enough detail, so that the player can judge what''s useful for him and what not. Or, if detail is not achievable in your game, add a special "Examine" command, which will forse the character to take closer look at the pointed object. And maybe, if not clicking on specific object, character would examinee the surroundings in radius, depending on some characteristic.

I''d like to finish the post with the Arcanum demo gameplay example. It uses the system described above: highlight items overonmouse. So I played with a magic-preference character. When I walked around the first location, I found many items lying on the ground (from a zeppelin crash): metal plates, mechaincal parts, fillaments, wire, etc. As much as I was aware that those items are useless to me, as I was a spell caster (hense no thechnical skills), I continued to pick them up, because that highlighting systems is like placing a huge "PICK ME UP!!!" sign on each item. Later, when I got burdened, I stopped picking up every item, but it became even worse, as I started wandering about sell prices and which one costs less, so I can leave it!

As conclusion: limitless inventory has sense if you have countless items to put in it. You will have tons of items if your economy system is Diablo-style - collect everything-and-sell it. If it''s for gameplay enchancement - go ahead and have a "Bag of Holding", a "Pad of Teleportation-to-the-Merchant-and-get-great-prices", a "Mule with 5th generation Merchant-detection system" to run back and forward from you to the nearest trader.
Otherwise have a system that does not stimulate the player to vacuumclean the area for items.

Boby Dimitrov
boby@shararagames.com
Sharara Games Team

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I definately think your design choice should stem from how you want to stimulate the player. Approach the way you deal with inventory items not as a simulation of the real world but as another aspect of strategy directing how the player plays the game.
With BobyDimitrov''s example (which I like), the stacking order becomes important, the player has to make good decisions as to how to place items that could later effect whether they live or die (do you place the 10ft of rope above or below the anti-venom serum). This is good if the game you''re playing is based around micro-management, it''s obviously bad if there''s more mindless hack and slash than strategy, or even if the games playability comes from fast action not (possibly) tedious organisational procedures.
How you approach the gameplay should answer your question about inventory limits. What does the player gain from having no inventory limits? The ability to concentrate on the main aspects of the game, which are not based around micro-management. If so, then have it.
If part of the gameplay _is_ orientated towards the player''s strategic abilities in managing all aspects of their character, then a well thought out, limited, inventory could provide extra stiumlation and strategy, increasing gameplay.

Mike

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Hmmm, I''m kinda divided on this issue. Personally, when I play an RPG I vacuum clean an area. Even though all my characters have Magic Broadswords I still pick up every Stone Knife to sell later for 3 gold pieces. But, most of these RPG''s have some kind of inventory limit, so eventually I give up picking everything up and just worry about the good stuff. I don''t think having no limit detracts from game play; you don''t even have to explain it. What I would suggest is allowing for some way to move the items around on your item list. Otherwise, you might have to look through 150 items to find one that you use all the time.

If you do want a limit, that''s perfectly fine too. It can be annoying at times, but if you''re going for realism that''s OK, I often find the real world to be annoying. The only thing is, items you''re using (i.e. armor, boots, gloves, weapons, etc.) shouldn''t count towards the limit, and the limit should be explained (i.e. backpack space, carrying pouches, etc.). Finally, I don''t think money should count towards the limit. Often times the limit is based on weight, so realistically you couldn''t carry around 20,000 gold pieces, but I think you should be able to carry around as much money as you want.

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Sooo, that''s what it''s all about - money.

Player collects tons of items to sell them.
Player sells tons of items to get money.
Player gets tons of money.

Too Diablo-ish for me.

That was discussed many times here, and even found its place in the FoRPGpedia, but anyway. We need a economic system, maybe a barter system or else, which is not based on money. Those are just few of the better sides:

1. Player don''t have to carry quite unreal amounts of cash around (gold, silver, copper pieces, gems, etc).
2. Player is forsed to use his brain (wait, players do have brains?) and consider which item is more useful to which NPC, so when selling (or bartering) the NPC would give more in return.
3. Player don''t have to collect every single item, as he knows it''s gonna be hard to sell it later. Which items to take is left to player''s consideration and that will add to the gameplay, because the more you get accustomed with the game world, the more you gonna know what people value most and what least.

So back to inventories. Now we don''t have 10000000000 gold coins to hang around in your pockets, and we got ridden of the "Dirty Rags" and "Rock" collecting.

If player really, really wants or needs to take many items or one big item from point A to point B on, he''d better find some transportation. Pay to the caravan master to transport the goods, buy a mule and escort it to point B or hire a wagoon - it''s up to the player. Providing options for transporting goods lowers the ugre of the player to carry holy anvils around in his backpack. Combine this with elegant encumburance system and there you have it!

Another way to counter the "collecting fever" is to make everything in the gameworld "collectable" - every plant, stone, chair, table, etc. Soon the inventory will be full and the player will start to build up a priority system: what''s more important for surviving - a food ration or that huge and heavy carpet.

Enough for now, i''ll stop by later and dump some more nonsense

Boby Dimitrov
boby@shararagames.com
Sharara Games Team

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Boby, most of what you say is related to dumping

just kidding, you know we love you, you crazy Bulgari!

I had your same idea of beign able to pick up most everything in the game world as both an immersion factor, and a deterrent to vacuum-cleaning.

In a fantasy RPG, there is also the need to collect seemingly mundane items with which to create arcane potions or unguents. What if you needed a rock that only the warlock back in town can identify as an ingredient, yet all rocks look essentially the same to you? Same with plants!

If the vacuum-cleaning were more hunter-gatherer devised, I think it would work out great...

---------------
-WarMage
...asses to asses, butts to butts.

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