• Advertisement
Sign in to follow this  

Tetris inventory.

This topic is 2252 days old which is more than the 365 day threshold we allow for new replies. Please post a new topic.

If you intended to correct an error in the post then please contact us.

Recommended Posts

I have somewhat of a dilemma, I quite like the idea of the infamous 'tetris' inventory (Best example to my mind is Diablo I & II). To me in provides a way to portray bulk as well as weight, adding a dash of realism and strategy for the player.

From the complaints I hear this isn't really the problem, its having to stop and play, hence the name, a minigame of tetris, sorting your inventory to maximize space to fit in new items.

I was wondering if anyone had any ideas around this issue, the best that comes to my mind is a quick-sort button - 1 click for maximum overall space - 2 clicks for maximum height - 3 clicks for maximum width.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Advertisement

If the game can automatically pack your stuff well, does that remove the strategy and interest of having such a system?


I personally don't think so, shifting around gear for just the right amount of space was ever the intention of that kind of inventory system.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

[quote name='sunandshadow' timestamp='1324203031' post='4894969']
If the game can automatically pack your stuff well, does that remove the strategy and interest of having such a system?


I personally don't think so, shifting around gear for just the right amount of space was ever the intention of that kind of inventory system.
[/quote]
To be honest, when using a sorting button your inventory system gets pretty pointless. Inventory management is an important mini-game in RPGs, diablo I/II use size as additional limitation in a visual way. Deus Ex Human Revoluation has a similar system (with auto sorting ?). You could add several limitation to represent a more realistic approach or to make it more complex (weight, size etc.), but as always, more complex or more realistic ways to represent something doesn't make it any funnier at all, often people tend to moan over such features.

In my opinion, WoW has one of the best inventory systems:
1. simple setup
2. stack system
3. multiple bags to expand your resources
4. no automatically sorting

The reason I prefer the WoW system over Diablo system is, that in WoW I choose to sort the items in a way I liked (poitions in bag A, weapons in bag B etc.), in Diablo1/2 I was forced to manage the inventory to pick up more items.

This is all you need to have some fun while manageing your inventory. Always keep in mind, that this is some kind of addtional mini-game and not the core-game, so be careful with too complex handling.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Personally I find inventory management fun if I only need to carry items I need to use but if I need to haul around truckloads of loot prefer a simpler inventory system.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm in the 'Inventory Tetris is Evil And Wrong' camp, myself.

I see no positive aspects to it whatsoever. It makes items difficult to find, difficult to add, forces you to periodically shuffle the whole thing around in order to try and make space/sense of the whole thing, and offers no actual gameplay benefit.

Adding buttons to help rearrange it will not help, and will merely waste dev time. If you want to model bulk, give items a bulk value and use that in addition to weight to determine carrying capacity. Display the inventory itself as a sortable list.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm in the 'Inventory Tetris is Evil And Wrong' camp, myself.

I see no positive aspects to it whatsoever. It makes items difficult to find, difficult to add, forces you to periodically shuffle the whole thing around in order to try and make space/sense of the whole thing, and offers no actual gameplay benefit.

Adding buttons to help rearrange it will not help, and will merely waste dev time. If you want to model bulk, give items a bulk value and use that in addition to weight to determine carrying capacity. Display the inventory itself as a sortable list.


Yeah, although myself and a few others like the setup it seems to be largely unpopular ... personally I hate scrolling through a list of items myself, I enjoy seeing a my 'loot' in one big picture I guess. So, I'm thinking maybe I need to sacrifice my choice but still look for a good example of a well implemented inventory system.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I personally don't think so, shifting around gear for just the right amount of space was ever the intention of that kind of inventory system.
IMHO, forcing players to play the "tetris minigame" was likely a deliberate intention, otherwise they would've used a different inventory mechanic, like simply assigning a weight value to each item, and a weight limit to the inventory. In such well designed games, I don't think such a meticulous game mechanic would've arisen simply by chance -- or if it did, they surely would have noted during development the emergence of such a mechanic and chosen to keep it.

If you like the visual design of the grid, but want to use a simpler-to-manage mechanic like a weight counter, then just add a scroll-bar or a next-page/prev-page button.

I see no positive aspects to it whatsoever. It makes items difficult to find, difficult to add, forces you to periodically shuffle the whole thing around in order to try and make space/sense of the whole thing, and offers no actual gameplay benefit.
Challenge (difficult to...) is play. It adds a skill-based difficulty curve to carry weight -- carrying a few items is easy, but as you near your maximum capacity, it becomes harder and harder to succeed at a mini-game to reach that potential. It also affects the pacing of the game, giving the player a reason to stop hacking and slashing for a moment and shift their attention elsewhere.
You don't have to agree that things are positive gameplay aspects, but it's obvious that they are gameplay aspects nonetheless.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Challenge (difficult to...) is play. It adds a skill-based difficulty curve to carry weight -- carrying a few items is easy, but as you near your maximum capacity, it becomes harder and harder to succeed at a mini-game to reach that potential. It also affects the pacing of the game, giving the player a reason to stop hacking and slashing for a moment and shift their attention elsewhere.
You don't have to agree that things are positive gameplay aspects, but it's obvious that they are gameplay aspects nonetheless.


s/difficult/tedious/g

I tend to see inventory screens as part of the user interface, not gameplay features in their own right, and are therefore subject to usability requirements. They should work to help the player, not impede him. Give me tools to find what I am looking for, and present key information in the most informative way possible.

Of course, it might be interesting to try and challenge that and make some real gameplay out of inventory management. Maybe make it literally tetris: items drop down into your pack, you can rotate them to slot them in better. Tie it into the hotkeys, so the keys 0-9 reference the first item in each column of your backpack - whatever that is, and prevent the user from accessing his inventory any other way in combat. If you overflow, your pack splits and everything falls on the floor, and you must buy a new pack in order to carry anything. Could make some entertaining scenarios as you frantically yank out piles of junk before you eventually get down to the item you want in the middle of a boss fight. Or perhaps you have to think more carefully: do I pick up that awesome new suit of armour, and run the risk of my pack exploding?

I'm not convinced, myself, but YMMV.


Yeah, although myself and a few others like the setup it seems to be largely unpopular ... personally I hate scrolling through a list of items myself, I enjoy seeing a my 'loot' in one big picture I guess. So, I'm thinking maybe I need to sacrifice my choice but still look for a good example of a well implemented inventory system.



I do't really mind the Table Of Icons approach, although in systems with a fixed size pack it seems kind of dumb that a suit of full plate armour takes as much space as a single gemstone. Still, I'd rather put up with that silliness than the endless item shuffling of inventory tetris. At least it can be partially alleviated with item stacking.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
There's an old Windows game I played called Castle of the Winds. Items were represented by icons, like Wow. But each item had weight and bulk attributes. I don't think there was stacking in that game, but I expect it would be easy to implement. In general, I really liked the system. Items were easy to identify visually without having to deal with different shapes. Containers didn't have a limited number of slots, just total weight and bulk limits. You can implement sorting on several different attributes. They even had specialized belts with slots that could only be used for certain types of item.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's an old Windows game I played called Castle of the Winds. Items were represented by icons, like Wow. But each item had weight and bulk attributes. I don't think there was stacking in that game, but I expect it would be easy to implement. In general, I really liked the system. Items were easy to identify visually without having to deal with different shapes. Containers didn't have a limited number of slots, just total weight and bulk limits. You can implement sorting on several different attributes. They even had specialized belts with slots that could only be used for certain types of item.


I definitely know which one your talking about, maybe it would be a good model to base one off.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Like Sandman said, why not just add a "bulk" or "volume" characteristic and restrict players in that way? If you want to spend dev resources to make the inventory an engaging and immersive element of gameplay, I've always been a fan of having a bunch of "slots" in your inventory for different item classes, so you'd wear a scabbard for your sword, a quiver for your arrows and a holster for your pistol, and then you'd have a "satchel" or something with generic item-storing properties. It feels good when your bandolier is "full" of cartridges, and the matching item type feels like a fun and intuitive "bonus to shotshell encumbrance" when compared with the ungainly heap of shells you might otherwise have had rattling around in your knapsack, and the associated penalty to reload time. I still haven't seen it in a game, but I'd prefer a minigame where you collect empty pistol magazines after a fight and recharge when with cartridges before they become available for quick reloads again. I doubt I'm in the mainstream on that one, though.

But having gear that customizes your modular inventory could go a long way toward making the inventory minigame feel lees like busy work and more like character customization. I guess you can have three swords rattling around on you, but the associated penalties to stealth and agility might make you think twice. Having a freaking halberd is cool, but you can't exactly holster it when you want to climb a fence or do some swimming, so you might wind up leaving it behind. The same goes for a bazooka or magic staff or iron breastplate. If "encumberance" become a complex and engaging element of gameplay instead of just being a switch that turns of your ability to run, people might take the inventory more seriously, and enjoy your innovations more.


How big a role will your inventory play? Can you go out there with a bedroll, a bowie knife and a pack of cigarettes and be okay for a few days? Will you have to stop between boss fights to take off your horned platemail of fire resistance and put on your kevlar riot gear of bullet deflection? Will a good strategy include fifteen glass bottles of health potion, twelve frag grenades and a guitar? Will it be wise to pack up the contents of an enemy base and cart it all back to town to sell to the local fishmonger?

One of the reasons that inventories get so much use and abuse in normal gameplay is the character's role as a courier/packmule. Many mission rewards take the form of commodities that can be traded for currency, and that means we'll routinely ignore our personal loadout and focus instead on hauling merchandise and spoils back to town/base/camp. Introducing a mechanic for that, like the dog in Torchlight or the town portals of Diablo can do wonders to keep personal inventory lean and efficient. What if, after clearing a dungeon, you could sell salvage rights to some NPC, who would go back there and gather up the phat lewts, then pay you for them and/or allow you to sift through them in his showcase and grab the stuff you want. Imagine how much time would be saved if you didn't have to search every dead rat for magical scepters.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Like Sandman said, why not just add a "bulk" or "volume" characteristic and restrict players in that way? If you want to spend dev resources to make the inventory an engaging and immersive element of gameplay, I've always been a fan of having a bunch of "slots" in your inventory for different item classes, so you'd wear a scabbard for your sword, a quiver for your arrows and a holster for your pistol, and then you'd have a "satchel" or something with generic item-storing properties. It feels good when your bandolier is "full" of cartridges, and the matching item type feels like a fun and intuitive "bonus to shotshell encumbrance" when compared with the ungainly heap of shells you might otherwise have had rattling around in your knapsack, and the associated penalty to reload time. I still haven't seen it in a game, but I'd prefer a minigame where you collect empty pistol magazines after a fight and recharge when with cartridges before they become available for quick reloads again. I doubt I'm in the mainstream on that one, though. But having gear that customizes your modular inventory could go a long way toward making the inventory minigame feel lees like busy work and more like character customization. I guess you can have three swords rattling around on you, but the associated penalties to stealth and agility might make you think twice. Having a freaking halberd is cool, but you can't exactly holster it when you want to climb a fence or do some swimming, so you might wind up leaving it behind. The same goes for a bazooka or magic staff or iron breastplate. If "encumberance" become a complex and engaging element of gameplay instead of just being a switch that turns of your ability to run, people might take the inventory more seriously, and enjoy your innovations more.


This is somewhat implemented in the above mentioned Castles of the Winds, you buy bigger and better backpacks to store your stuff, you buy belts with more 'quick slots'.

I was toying with the idea if you actually jump in a lake in full plate armour you will sink to the bottom and be forced to 'walk' along rather than swim, the idea that certain armour 'clanks' when you move (though I'm not sure if that would just be annoying sounding).

How big a role will your inventory play? Can you go out there with a bedroll, a bowie knife and a pack of cigarettes and be okay for a few days?[/quote]

Maybe, hunger, thirst and sleep where one of the things I have been considering including, so as long as you can supply yourself along the way, that maybe restricted to a 'hard-core' mode however.

Will you have to stop between boss fights to take off your horned platemail of fire resistance and put on your kevlar riot gear of bullet deflection? Will a good strategy include fifteen glass bottles of health potion, twelve frag grenades and a guitar? Will it be wise to pack up the contents of an enemy base and cart it all back to town to sell to the local fishmonger?[/quote]

The other factor I had in mind is you could, if you wanted to, play the game simply like you would say a space trading sim (except in a fantasy world) ... so depending on merchant skills maybe you could simply not sell all that stuff to the locals? They might buy your first five rat tails but than have no more demand for them unless your a really suave businessman.

One of the reasons that inventories get so much use and abuse in normal gameplay is the character's role as a courier/packmule. Many mission rewards take the form of commodities that can be traded for currency, and that means we'll routinely ignore our personal loadout and focus instead on hauling merchandise and spoils back to town/base/camp. Introducing a mechanic for that, like the dog in Torchlight or the town portals of Diablo can do wonders to keep personal inventory lean and efficient. What if, after clearing a dungeon, you could sell salvage rights to some NPC, who would go back there and gather up the phat lewts, then pay you for them and/or allow you to sift through them in his showcase and grab the stuff you want. Imagine how much time would be saved if you didn't have to search every dead rat for magical scepters.[/quote]

Another aspect I was thinking, among Daggerfall style horse and cart options, Dungeon Siege pack donkeys etc was the ability to sweet talk/bribe npc's into becoming 'followers' ... if anyones played Might and Magic 6 and 7 that might give an idea, perhaps the ability to leave them to search for loot as well as having their inventory space could add to that?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Advertisement