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Should we support basic crafting?


MirceaKitsune
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I was thinking about the differences between modern AAA titles and ones like TDM. One of the games I watched playthroughs of on Youtube but never really liked was the Resident Evil series. Despite being a boring consumer game for the most part, it had one modern mechanic I did consider interesting for a 1st / 3rd person shooter: Crafting. Obviously nothing complex like Minecraft where you form patterns out of items: You're just given special items which can be dragged on top of one another in the inventory, causing them to be combined into a new item.

I was wondering if we should have a vanilla implementation for this sort of thing in some form. I'm thinking of an equally simplistic system which doesn't waste the player's time: You drag items on top of one another in the grid inventory menu, in which case they're combined into one new item. Items meant to be used as ingredients in crafting would only require two new sets of spawnargs, determining what you can combine that item with and what the result will be. For example:

inv_name "herb"
crafting_1_item "atdm:water_bottle"
crafting_1_result "atdm:health_potion"

That's for one item I'd think of implementing with this: Red herbs which on their own offer little healing to the player, but if combined with a water bottle produces a health potion. I was also thinking of arrow heads for all arrow types being available as separate items, which combined with a common arrow body produce ammo for that type of arrow.

This sounds simple enough for me to be able to implement. Granted someone tells me how I can make the inventory GUI call a script function when you connect two items together, and where I should write the script for this in the first place. Do others think this is a nice thing to have in a basic form?

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I am in doubt, because i have never seen this in the thief series. But at a moment when you need arrows, when there are nothing around, this would be a nice feature.

Like, smashing up a wooden chair for long wooden splinters and carving coins for arrowheads, to combine this for arrows, would be realistic.

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I think this could be an interesting idea.  It's also something straight out of classic puzzle adventure games, combining strange things in the inventory to produce some essential item for progress.  Of course, could be truly annoying (some of those puzzles were ridiculous), but guess that's up to the mapper!

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Maybe I do not understand correctly, but the mixing of different objects to new ones is not that new now, it was already in the old Silent Hill and Resident Evil games.

A newer game that comes close to our Dark Mod is probably Dishonored, and this game doesn't have such a system either. I wouldn't want that as well, because then I can play Skyrim right away.

However, TDM is mainly about sneaking, and therefore - if new play elements are considered for implementation - this aspect should then be in the foreground. Apart from that, as a mapper you would have to be very careful that players don't want to generate advantages that you don't want to have at all (because you did not take it into account). So I would definitely not use it in my next missions; After all, there are already enough things to consider.

One a different note:

For you (as with many of your other suggestions) it always sounds so simple.

You have probably already noticed that many problems arise with every update of the Dark Mod (and fixing is tried during beta testing), because the insertion of new features is not as easy and problem-free (and above all sometimes absolutely not predictable because of too many parameters involved) as you make it appear.

So I've always found it not really helpful when you always claim that this or that can basically be easily implemented if you only take one or the other simple thing into account.

If so, then I would suggest that you really think things through and work them out yourself, then it would show whether it is so easy to do or not. As you know, there are a lot of open construction sites here (missing animations for characters, new characters in general, problems with path finding, leaking lights through brushes, etc.). If you have the skills to work on any of these really fundamental problems/improvements then that would be great and valued.

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@JackFarmer Just looking to make things even better and more fun. Been working on a new FM and it got me paying attention to all the nice new things happening and wanting to further them. I offer to implement some features where I can, testing them in the process to the extent that I can at the surface.

One idea with combining items is giving the player certain tools if they found the right components in different locations, which among other things would encourage exploration. Players could also choose to create different items out of different mixtures made available in the world, thus it lets the player choose what to give themselves when they have multiple components and options. It's also a little satisfying to know you make your own stuff.

As with other things I can do it as an addon first if I decide to give this a go. Though if I do I'd likely implement it via an item, such as a crafting kit: Using it opens the GUI for crafting and stuff can be done there. Can try it sometime if anyone else finds this suggestion interesting, would rather spend time on other ideas too if not.

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As someone who barely uses any single-use equippment, i obviously would have no use fgor crafting in the missions we currently have...

But: If you can pull off Arx-Fatalis-level crafting and design missions in a way that single-use equippment is actually useful or even required for success - that would probably be some fresh gameplay i would like.


Maybe it would be best to start small though:

- Could start a mission with creating some picks on a workbench from metal scraps.

- The original blackjack is just some leather sock filled with sand or granulated lead. Surely a textile sock and some moist sand could work for a night too...

- Vine and moss arrows could be made by combining water arrows with some (enchanted? maybe we are somewhat pagan?) vine roots or moss.

- Water arrows could be made from a regular blunt arrow (do not exist in the game yet, just a broadhead without the head) and some small water container (noisy on impact) or water crystal (magical?).

- Basic cooking should be easy to pull off and giving away food is a pretty rare objective in current missions.

- Copying keys could make sense when guards would actually start searching for missing keys and basically make other guards start searching too (not a real alert but effect is sorta same). Would need beeswax or clay for making the mold. Then put key back before it is noticed missing. Then get to some workshop, heat metal and cast it or file down a blank. Use copy to open (or lock) something.

- Copying documents might also make sense in some missions.

- Currently almost no social stealth exists in TDM. Disguises could change that. Maybe steal some clothes, adjust them to your measures and then be recognized as someone else (like in Hitman, but you have to alter the clothes somehow before you can use them successfully).

- Making poisons and applying them to your broadheads or sword could replace the gas arrow and mine.

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In one of Sotha's Thomas Porter Missions (I think Lich Queen's Demise, but am not sure) you had to brew a potion by using items on a kettle. A similar system could be used for crafting, if it could be advanced a little further. E.g. you have a container into which you have to drop the items you want to use to craft. A script checks, if these items are suitable to create something and if they are, they are created. If not, they could removed again from the container. You could place a manual on how to use this (written by the Inventor's Guild if it is supposed to be mechanical or by a Mage if it is supposed to be magical) near it and even spread a couple of recipes around the mission. This would be kind of like the new Prey, where you can create different elemental cubes from scrap and then combine these cubes to create items. You could even consider to use the element part as well: A script checks, which materials are used on the model dropped into a container to create the respective elemental cubes (or spheres or something like that). For crafting the elemental items are used. It could also limit the use to certain moveable items: If they are too big to fit into the container, you cannot use them. This way, you would not affect any earlier missions, while the setup could be saved as a prefab for use in future missions.

19 hours ago, Abusimplea said:

As someone who barely uses any single-use equippment, i obviously would have no use fgor crafting in the missions we currently have...

I think some crafting system would decrease the hesitation to use single-use equipment. I am also an RPG-player, who usually finishes the game with hundrets of potions, because I always keep them for the right occation, just to realise later on that I could have used tons of them without affecting my game later on. I found the Witcher games to have a nice workaround for that. You had a limited amount of potions that you could use at a given time, but could produce them quite easily. This way you could use them without having to fear that you would miss them in the next fight, but still had to give some thought about which ones to use.

19 hours ago, Abusimplea said:

- Currently almost no social stealth exists in TDM. Disguises could change that. Maybe steal some clothes, adjust them to your measures and then be recognized as someone else (like in Hitman, but you have to alter the clothes somehow before you can use them successfully).

There already are some scripts that check if the player is allowed in specific areas (e.g. in Fieldmedic's "No Ordinary Guest"). These should be quite easy to modify to check for certain items in the inventory as an addition to the current location. As usual it would just require a mapper willing to implement it...

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TDM doesn't have a limited inventory so I'm not sure what crafting would really add. I know I tend to be a naysayer, but adding things due to spur of the moment ideas and novelty seeking is what leads to bloat.

In T1 there was a mission where you had to make a holy symbol for a ghost, but it was a part of the mission and wasn't just having a bunch of miscellaneous items clutter in your inventory so you can get a roundabout reservoir of water arrows. Consumable item crafting would just add extra tedium to the current method of getting more consumable items, picking them up in the map.

The best implementation of this would be for each of the base resources to make multiple kinds of consumables, and for the FM maker to carefully curate the number of base resources, so the player has to pick and choose if he wants to make more of one item or another, making the consumable items still limited. This doesn't address the issue some of the other people in this thread have with the limited resources, but managing limited resources is a major aspect of TDM and Thief. However, even with this best implementation, it's still adding little more than tedium to an established mechanic in the game, picking up consumables in the map.

Also, why do you want TDM to be a disposable AAA game?

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Speaking of limited equipment, it always squeaks me a bit that, when it comes to loot, our character obviously has no problem carrying half a ton of gold bars, chandeliers, fifty paintings and pocals, among others, and that he can still upload to a rope or jump from one building to another.
Perhaps it would be indicated, as I have seen in other games, to reduce the movement capacity, as these things accumulate, which force to deposit them temporarily, to pick them up later.
A certain approach to this problem, so far I have only seen in Air Pocket mission with the gold lingot that makes the protagonist drown, therefore I think that it may not be so difficult to implement, with which the game gains realism.

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It seems most likely that if I do this I'll make it an addon first, FM's that want it can include its pk4. Maybe implement a Minecraft style pattern then... it's my addon so why not be crazy about it and make this even more fun 😄

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3 hours ago, Gin said:

Consumable item crafting would just add extra tedium to the current method of getting more consumable items, picking them up in the map.

I completely agree with that! I avoid crafting in most games and had no problems to e.g. complete Skyrim or Cyberpunk without ever crafting an item, so why would we need it in TDM? Rather the opposite, as with the new frob outline it would probably make old missions too easy as the authors calculated the available resources into their map design. Still it might be fine to be used in a special situation in a mission, but then I would rather like to finally be able to eat all the food that is lying around in many maps :). As for carrying capacity, I always imagine the player has some kind of magical loot pouch, it's a fantasy world with ghosts, zombies, wizards and more after all. Maybe we could add this into the official description somewhere!

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Crafting in TDM would suffer from the same crippling limitation that purchasing items with loot currently has: no persistent inventory between missions.

Just as loot has no actual value beyond checking off a mission objective, crafting materials found in game would have no use beyond the mission they were found in. This means the mapper would need to manually place all of the resources needed to craft in-game items, in which case, why not just place actual usable items instead and skip the entirely pointless step of crafting the materials into an item?

Crafting makes sense in RPGs where player characters exist for a long time (either on a server or in a long single-player campaign) and can accumulate a large quantity of materials and recipes. It is not a mechanic which makes sense in isolated, one-and-done TDM missions.

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5 hours ago, OrbWeaver said:

Crafting makes sense in RPGs where player characters exist for a long time (either on a server or in a long single-player campaign) and can accumulate a large quantity of materials and recipes. It is not a mechanic which makes sense in isolated, one-and-done TDM missions.

TDM has some quite massive missions. Some rival Arx Fatalis (the game with the most immersive crafting system) in size.

And while i almost never need healing, i still tend to eat food in missions - just because i can do so and it somehow feels good to get some healthy apple with your loot.

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13 minutes ago, Abusimplea said:

TDM has some quite massive missions. Some rival Arx Fatalis (the game with the most immersive crafting system) in size.

Really? I don't think this is true, Arx Fatalis takes ages and I know of no mission that even comes close.

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6 hours ago, OrbWeaver said:

Crafting in TDM would suffer from the same crippling limitation that purchasing items with loot currently has: no persistent inventory between missions.

Just as loot has no actual value beyond checking off a mission objective, crafting materials found in game would have no use beyond the mission they were found in. This means the mapper would need to manually place all of the resources needed to craft in-game items, in which case, why not just place actual usable items instead and skip the entirely pointless step of crafting the materials into an item?

Crafting makes sense in RPGs where player characters exist for a long time (either on a server or in a long single-player campaign) and can accumulate a large quantity of materials and recipes. It is not a mechanic which makes sense in isolated, one-and-done TDM missions.

IIRC items aren't persistent between campaign levels, so yes it would be per FM. If they were though the crafted result or component items would be retained.

The reason it could make sense in a simple form is encouraging the player to go to different locations to gain an item: You can just give them an arrow, but it might be more fun to have the player need to loot a bunch of arrow bodies from a guard's tower then find different arrow heads in homes and choose which to use with them for instance.

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1 hour ago, wesp5 said:

Really? I don't think this is true, Arx Fatalis takes ages and I know of no mission that even comes close.

Arx Fatalis excells in game design and manages to get way more fun playtime out of the rather small map areas. It takes ages if you explore carefully, try all the mechanics and don't quest in the optimal order. There also often exist multiple solutions to problems you might "waste" time trying out.

Arx Fatalis doesn't use modular building. And the level designers did an insane job in hand crafting the environment making every location look unique and interesting. They really succeeded in creating that feeling of a multilevel ventilation-shaft-encircling underground dungeons sprawl. But every level's mapped out area is probably smaller than the City in "The Painter's Wife" or some other TDM missions i forgot the names of.

Compared with TDM, the settlements in Arx Fatalis are a joke when it comes to size and count of rooms. But they feel big and you can walk almost the entire map area (way less unopenable doors and other gamey borders.

It can be speedrun without using glitches in 40 minutes.

The immersive design and mechanics (including crafting and automap) in Arx Fatalis make it bigger than the maps of its eight layers.
It is one of the old "open world" games where the world is rather small but packed with unique stuff and interactivity instead of huge and filled with repetition.

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