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cloa513

Want to be a menial inventory manager- sounds like fun huh

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All games with significant inventory management- rpgs, survival etc- never seem to have automation tool for the player to use beyond autopick-up, hotkeys, categories with sort. Automation tools are optional for the player  but could include pickup and equip equipment that is just plain better, don't pick-up certain types of materials (due to its weight or slot-filling), put some equipment together as set and allow you swap all at onces- the options are vast and depend on the inventory's and game's nature as what is appropriate. Are there games with automatic (player chosen) inventory management tools not mentioned before? Why do so few have significant ones?   

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Automation is hard. I've made a lot of money because of that, and on both sides. I've been paid healthy amounts to automate things, and I've been paid handsomely for things that only needed to be done because automation is hard. Not in games, just in general.

If you want an example in games, look at Rimworld. You can watch videos if you don't want to buy it as it is very popular to post videos. It tries to automate a lot of stuff, and often this means a character will run fifteen seconds across the map to start X job, get there and decide to immediately run back for food, get there and eat, then run back to resume job, then decide its time for sleep, and basically never get much done. And your person might decide to eat raw food X, then get sick or complain they didn't like it, instead of eating a different food that was two spaces further away that they would have liked. Or your person might run into a gun fight trying to repair walls catching stray bullets. It is a game still actively in development, so these things might get fixed. But it should display the difficulty, especially how all these interacting systems make things harder because of those interactions.

And on top of the difficulty, you are spending time developing code just to make sure the customer doesn't even get to play a certain aspect. That is often hard to justify. Imagine going into a meeting proposing you spend a week or two automating X, and the boss responds "but don't players enjoy doing that?" You better have proof they don't. RPGs being mentioned make me think of that. There is a perception, whether right or wrong, that players enjoy looking in their inventory and seeing awesome upgrade X and equipping it. The prevalence of loot boxes seems to imply the perception is correct for at least some players, and also seems to imply developers are more likely to add even more "let me see what I got" mechanics than automate them away.

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Auto equipping items could be for example - fairly easy to auto if the items only had a linear progression where X is either greater than or less than Y.

Problem is games don't tend to have that system - World of Warcraft for an RPG style of game that has huge weapon variation, they have multiple attributes, some gear is account bound when equipped. Automating that gear system to autoequip "better" gear would be near impossible. It would require the game to "know"  that the player is building in a certain way and weight what elements factor in to a good build for that style. Many games have a collection of attributes to keep gear from being a linear upgrade system because it adds some choice for the player on how they want to build.

A filter on picking up things that fill X space or have X weight however is actually just a useful feature in the way of stopping you from picking up crap you dont want - does run into the issue though of if an item stacks etc, you could have a larger, light item that stacks to a high limit so picking it up would make little difference so you might still want it.

End point really is - As richard mentioned, automation is something hard, unless something is very linear (which really takes the fun out) you end up with having to try an factor in an ever growing amount of possibilities which just makes the time scale to implement a system that players would actually agree with.. just not worth it ... plus it takes the fun out of dropping all the stacks of crap you dont want? ;o

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I can't find it but I remember a thread around here somewhere discussing Fast Travel and how some games have become walking simulators. In short, it came down to different people like to play games differently for different purposes.

I'm sure I've played and enjoyed arcade action games where you move over something and you automatically pick up and use it. So no reason you couldn't design an RPG around a similar idea. You'd just be trading off the viability of other mechanics for this one.

Personally, I kinda like item management in an RPG. I just usually tire of navigating the UI that comes with it.

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Such automation would be best for the minor stuff such as crafting and below current standard items- I only want 30 steel so I want drop anymore that I pick up and collect all the wood I can. I have the grade 2 boot and sure grade 1 boot is worth a tiny amount of money I'd rather save that space for gems so don't pick up more grade 1 boots.    I love Castaway 1 and 2 but the auto pickup of junk is a pain. 

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