Mini game to determine crafting success

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Mini game to determine crafting success

PostPosted by Mark Shaun Rushow » Sat Nov 02, 2013 12:28 am

I've like the idea of a mini game when crafting items to determine success and quality. A simple rythm game or some kind of timing mechanism maybe simmilar to that of Legend of Dragoon battle system or Gears of War while reloading to get that extra boost or even something like rock band. The system could still be based on stats to determine the difficulty of the mini game as well as if the action can even be attempted. I had this idea a couple of nights ago and thought I would share. I never like the idea of things like the success or crafting be solely chance. That is something I would like to have control over. Not sure if it is a fit for Frontiers but I thought I'd run it by you and see what you think. Take care. :monkey:
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Re: Suggestion

PostPosted by HittingSingularity » Sat Nov 02, 2013 1:11 am

I'm all for this, I think it would be great but I also don't know how well it would fit into the game. If anything it would make a great mod. Something I would be willing to work on actually.
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Re: Suggestion

PostPosted by Railboy » Sat Nov 02, 2013 2:11 am

I like the idea - the crafting in FRONTIERS is pretty vanilla - but it would depend on a lot on what kind of mini game it is. It would have to be relaxing, not tense. Maybe one of those bubble-popping minigames, where the more bubbles you pop the better your score? Just spitballing here.
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Re: Suggestion

PostPosted by Mark Shaun Rushow » Sat Nov 02, 2013 4:23 am

Popping bubbles with a mouse wouldn't be too difficult but with a thumb stick on a controller could be difficult. Frontiers themed Tetris would fit with the crafting theme. If you want to get real crazy

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Re: Mini game to determine crafting success

PostPosted by Gazz » Mon Nov 04, 2013 7:05 pm

I'm generally against whack-a-mole quicktime events, especially when crafting produces a wide range of different items.

Something with bubbles may make sense for alchemy but bubbles coming off that shirt you're sewing?

It would have to be something that works procedurally and makes some sort of sense.

Maybe the order in which you place resources onto slots can have an effect on the outcome?
The tip of the "dagger blade" increases damage. So if you put the first piece of iron there, the dagger is pointier and does more damage.
The 2nd slot would be the middle of the blade. Getting that first makes the blade lighter and decreases swing time.

Placing the 2nd item somewhere only gets you 1/2 of this slot's bonus and so on.
Basically you weigh the item towards the stats you want.
"filling up a power bar" is just meh.

Different recipes have different hidden boni in different slots so crafting a "good" saracen dagger requires a different technique than crafting a good redguard dagger... even though both are made from the exact same materials in the same quantities.

That is exploration. Not a random cookie clicker game. =P


(I had this browser window open and lying on my desktop for 2 days before I figured out something that wouldn't send me into a psychotic rage while crafting =)
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Re: Mini game to determine crafting success

PostPosted by Railboy » Mon Nov 04, 2013 7:36 pm

Maybe the order in which you place resources onto slots can have an effect on the outcome?


There's an idea. Hmm.
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Re: Mini game to determine crafting success

PostPosted by yarnevk » Mon Nov 04, 2013 11:44 pm

Gazz hit the nail on the head as he often does. This game is about exploration primarily, so should crafting be. It is not about wacking mobs, so should crafting be not. Those who love crafting love it because they get to explore for new resources, and come back and explore different combinations of recipes and procedures.

Indeed bring back morrowind style alchemy where the order of the icons of the pieces of gear and their quality had hidden depth to it, and how resources and gear have +/- features that vary your results depending on the strength and quality of their combination. I even invented recipe 'plates' in MW before Notch even thought of it and copied it, that was back before they added physics to the game and you could actually place ingredients on plates on a table. I really hate drag and drop windows though so if you plan to support VR systems, make it so I can click my crafting gear and ingredients on the table and not have to drag and drop windows. Shroud of the Avatar is cheating this by giving you a top down view of your table and bag, which are actually nothing more than unsorted windows with background art, but it makes all the difference in game immersion that your avatar is doing the crafting rather than the player and mouse doing it in Windows.

I am all for procedural complexity that adds depth to the process, but mini-games usually do mean whack the mole because the programmer realize there is a thousand possible crafts that he cannot possibly think of procedural complexity so he substitutes mini-games instead as if wacking the mole is the same thing and besides they already made crafting boring by recording all the known resources and recipes on an easy to follow wiki accessible from in-game.

I like Wurm Online and Mortal Online crafting because they are very detailed procedures (MO goes down to the core and coating on your spear grip even!) that you have to follow that make realistic sense and years later nobody has discovered all of the procedures because of the billions of combos and players can argue about optimal flavour of the month recipes forever. (MO alchemy is more complex than even Morrowind alchemy and remains still a largely unexplored system) Those systems have the downside they take a lot of time to implement and are impossible to test for OP bounds, and it makes the segment of population mad that want click to make everything you can out of everything in my pack buttons.

What I detest is because they are MMOs they put the procedures on very long timers to control production quantity and thus the crafter economy yet because they are indie they cannot afford animations like Skyrim to entertain me while I wait. But for the love of the game gods, put crafting animations in before you even think about writing mini-games.
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Re: Mini game to determine crafting success

PostPosted by Gazz » Tue Nov 05, 2013 12:38 am

There is no way to prevent players from looking up the "best recipe" on a Wiki.
And I don't see why the attempt to keep them guessing should even be made. "They" just plain aren't interested in exploration. They want to win the game.
Fine. Let them. They'll move on to "consume" the next game. No harm done.

While procedural algorithms can make crafting/research unpredictable, they are also terrifically hard to keep balanced and interesting. Especially if you want them to be logical and consistent, too.
This game has the entirely wrong setup for that so I'd suggest to design something that is consistent, works, and lets players "figure out" crafting.

It doesn't have to be a byzantine riddle. It's a game. Takes some effort but is solvable. Sprinkle a few weird recipes for good measure. Means more openings to use recipes / hints / books as quest rewards or random chest loot.
Taking the game too serious and making it your holy mission to keep players from figuring out bloody crafting would be a major waste of time. =P
That's why what I suggested is only one simple concept - but a consistent one. It can make sense for many types of items.
Maybe a lantern is brighter if you assemble it in a "logical" order instead of auto-dumping all the materials on it.
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Re: Mini game to determine crafting success

PostPosted by yarnevk » Tue Nov 05, 2013 1:08 am

I did not mean procedural as in terrain generation pseudorandomly generating infinite possibility, I meant procedural as in written down steps you need to find somewhere you are not supposed to be. In the case of MO that often meant bend the owners ear on IRC to divulge secrets, but I mean hide the secret stuff to find in game for all to explore and discover (and put on the wiki for those who give a rats ass)

But if minecraft style crafting with ordered grids is being used, the ingredients are already ordered as part of the default mechanic, and this game even shows you that order unlike minecraft that makes it a memory game (which sucks if you have not played for a bit). You could make it so the order the player places them into the grid enhances/nerfs the result, but then it becomes a bit unintuitive and illogical and arbitrary game of guess the order the programmer chose and it just as well be a random mini-game because who knows what the programmer was thinking (more likely not) that day. But if he instead has the writer hide lore books (cue Ryan saying damn good idea) of the hidden art and magic of crafting (this fits perfect for magic since it is supposed to be hidden!) that one must attach the wormwood handle soaked in the swamp before winding the grip made of spider threads stolen from the queen herself (in the shadow of the equinox no less no more), then hidden ordering can work out OK, and everyone who wants to just win and say next can slap iron down and call it good.

Skyrim had it where you could find recipes in the world, but it was purely background story and not mechanic, because the alchemy mechanic listing everything possible to make (or not), so no need for gathering recipes. spam click until your barrel was empty and see what if anything you learned. In MW you actually had to learn the recipes by trial and error if not books, and even though it did not remember that for you, that is what I used ingredient plates for. You make it accessible by having easily obtained books with all the basic needed formulas, you make it deep by hiding combos for the players to find and stumble upon rewarding trial and error exploration. (something MO finally figured out they started hiding scrolls around the world with hints since nobody had a clue and thought the system was broken - been forever since I played and I have no doubt the 'been there since beta' crafting guild that knew all the secrets somehow got that nerfed)

Yes adding recipes you need to find (blueprints, books whatever they are called) means they will get listed on the wiki, what I am saying that is not a reason to say crafting is boring so spice it up with mini-games. Its boring if you use the wiki, but that is a choice you make, to bypass the exploration part of crafting that is within the game itself that makes it more interesting than any mini-game can be.
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Re: Mini game to determine crafting success

PostPosted by Railboy » Tue Nov 05, 2013 3:27 am

Gazz wrote:There is no way to prevent players from looking up the "best recipe" on a Wiki.


That's the key / problem. It has to be something that's fun whether you already know the best combo or not, because that's just how people play these days. The idea of exploring for the right combo is a neat one but it only works in a pre-internet industry. :) I was imagining a choice between expediency->low quality and manual placement->high quality like Gazz.

One way to give each player an un-wikiable recipe be to randomize the 'best placement' order while keeping the components and layout the same, but that would also eliminate any logic in the ordering system...

Another option is to reward the player for using high-quality materials. Objects can be damaged in various ways and that damage could translate into the finished object. Finding sticks in the forest might fill the two stick spots in the axe recipe, but they're going to be weak as shit / half broken compared to the two finely cut pieces of wood you can buy in a shop. Of course at that point we're not talking about a mini game any more.
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Re: Mini game to determine crafting success

PostPosted by yarnevk » Tue Nov 05, 2013 2:43 pm

Exploring for combos works even if they are on the internet wiki if the blueprints had to be acquired as part of exploration, and fast travel only works in towns you have been rather than jumping right to hidden resource locations. You lose the element of discovery but you still have to explore and play the game to get them. I personally would prefer to read about the hidden thing in a game book, but if someone reads about it on the game wiki, the gameplay after that point is just as interesting for both of us.

Adding quality ingredients means crafting becomes more complex and interesting with massive amounts of combos to try. Make subtle differences in texture algorithmically (shades, colors, etc.) to indicate quality, there is little artistic effort, and programming effort is basicaly property lists.

You do not need any mini-games, since the entire premise of mini-games is crafting is boring. Fix the premise instead and do not make crafting boring nor make it annoying. If there was an interesting adventure in acquiring the recipe and getting the good sticks, then crafting was made fun even though at the end of the day you put an icon in a box.
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Re: Mini game to determine crafting success

PostPosted by DWMagus » Tue Nov 05, 2013 4:22 pm

Railboy wrote:
Gazz wrote:There is no way to prevent players from looking up the "best recipe" on a Wiki.


That's the key / problem. It has to be something that's fun whether you already know the best combo or not, because that's just how people play these days.


Even without a wiki lookup, some people will memorize things. Just becaue I know all the recipes in minecraft doesn't mean I'm not enjoying it. Making a meta game in the game might seem a bit of a stretch.
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Re: Mini game to determine crafting success

PostPosted by yarnevk » Tue Nov 05, 2013 6:30 pm

And there is no mini-game in minecraft for crafting, there is just the placement pattern easily found on wiki and it is not hard to remember a pickaxes pattern makes a pickaxe. What it is about is gathering resources, exploring to get all the good ones, taking risks of getting ganked, and getting the better pickaxe to get better resources to make better gear, crafts and stations and trying to do it before it gets dark out, for eventually getting a safe home base to expand your ranching, farming, manufacturing empire to make more better things.

I had countless adventures in Skyrim because I decided to chase butterflies and picking flowres which always distracted me from the beaten path and stumbling upon an ore node and getting chased by bandits in a hidden cave. A conspiracy that kept me out longer than I should have when it got cold and dark. Even though crafting in SKyrim was nothing more than click on resources from a window list of things you can make, all due to its console streamlining of removing all the mystery from alchemy that was in Morrowind, I had still had lots of fun 'crafting'. Morrowind would have been even better with crafting/resourcing beyond alchemy. crafting begats exploration begats crafting.

Since this game shows you the pattern, the existance of a pattern becomes pointless, you just as well make it a collection of boxes and a list of things you need like Skyrim. However if it is a pattern that you have to get, that there are standard blueprints from the carpenters guild for making tools, that if you are in the know of those practicing magic have secret scrolls with glyphs that require things to be placed with a ritual, then you are forcing exploration to do crafting to go get the plans and the resources, after all driving exploration is the entire point of the game isn't it so forcing people to explore is not a bad thing. Of course you can always have the optional purchase for those who want to skip exploration, but there will not be much to do in the game if you do not explore (i refer you to any youtube video that says Morrowind sucked because you can speed run the main quest in 10hrs, even though people still play it a decade later!) The crafting/exploration connection is even more important in a game that is not about ganking stronger mobs to get better loot so you can gank even stronger mobs.

It becomes irrelevant that it is on the wiki, because you still have to go out and get it, some of which you may not be able to even do on your character build, that hidden mage is not going to hand over his collection of secrets to a fighter type, but maybe the fighter pounds his head in and steals it from under the counter.
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Re: Mini game to determine crafting success

PostPosted by Mark Shaun Rushow » Thu Nov 07, 2013 5:10 am

Gazz that is pretty interesting idea. I was thinking something really quick and easy nothing tedious or boring myself. Like a simple balance gauge the longer you can keep the balance the better the quility Tony Hawk style. Or like reloading in Gears of War a simple timing press of one button on a meter. The closer to the mark the better quality. The worse your stats the faster it goes and the smaller the mark. Or a simple timing game that is only maybe 2 seconds. The last one would make sense in forging with the hammer swing.
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Re: Mini game to determine crafting success

PostPosted by Gazz » Thu Nov 07, 2013 11:47 am

I'm not entirely happy with it myself but it would have more than the zero depth of a cookie clicker game. =)

Even if you had crafted 2 daggers before, you could still discover a new way to craft one or a new material that mixes things up.
For instance, some hard metal might have a bonus property if added as the 3rd item in your recipe and another if used for the tip of a blade.
It would be a discovery of rules but you could always craft perfectly serviceable weapons whithout caring about all that jazz.
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Re: Mini game to determine crafting success

PostPosted by yarnevk » Thu Nov 07, 2013 2:03 pm

Mark Shaun Rushow wrote: really quick and easy nothing tedious or boring.


But crafters will find such systems annoying on the thousandth dagger. Gazz is on the right track with hidden depth and complexity that promote exploring different ways to craft, the trick in that will be avoiding nonsensical orderings that you only could possible discover by brute force try all combos or accident, it has to be combos that make logical sense. Since this game shows you the recipe template there could even be a question mark box indictating the player there maybe more complex ways to make something they should try (as nothing is worse than trying and learning nothing was programmed to respond)

Since you persist with this idea on multiple fora...cut and paste resposne from another forum....

Crafting is not about reaction and action. That is not why crafters craft. They do not want it to behave like a sports game or a combat mechanic, it is entirely the opposite type of game crafters like to play. Ask yourself why Skyrim or Minecraft do not do this, when they certainly have the resources to do such a thing. It is because they know it will never survive playtesting, thus both implement just click on the recipe and click on the resource systems.

The action part of crafting is in the gathering of resources and taking risks to do so. When it comes to the crafting part of stocked up resources, crafters just want to relax and think about what they want to make with what they have and figure out what they still need. They do not want to play a rhythm game, which will be forced upon them because crafters always want their crafts to be the best they can be and not suffer any missed bonuses. Do not take my word for it, go research the Skyrim crafting mods which will clearly indicate what crafters want. They are all about more resources, more recipes, more stations, more perks. They are not about more twitchy action.
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Re: Mini game to determine crafting success

PostPosted by Railboy » Thu Nov 07, 2013 4:31 pm

Crafting is not about reaction and action. That is not why crafters craft.


This is a good point. This could be a case of not trusting a fun mechanic to be fun.

I would love to bring something new to the table since crafting has already been done this way a bazillion times. I don't even think the impulse to add extra mechanics for the sake of novelty is wrong. But I'll wait for an idea to really grab me before I muck with the system. I think Gazz's idea comes closest. If I can think of a way to make the method discoveries personal / non-wikiable without resorting to randomness then I'm on board.
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Re: Mini game to determine crafting success

PostPosted by yarnevk » Thu Nov 07, 2013 6:05 pm

I would not worry about the wikiness, those who want to cheat themselves will. If you make the secret recipes require exploration or be the right build or guild to get, at least they still have to play the game.

A friend of mine is a video game strategy book writer for AAA games, and knows some use them for the fast run thru and done, others use them for a second pass replay to see what it is they missed with self-exploration. Even competitive crafting guilds in MMOs their secrets get out eventually, and often they are just pretending they have secrets to make you think they have something others do not.
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Re: Mini game to determine crafting success

PostPosted by yarnevk » Thu Nov 07, 2013 6:52 pm

Simply doing animations would make crafting more entertaining. SKyrim did this so well animating my avatar using the station I would forget to click on what to make. But where is the crafting action mod that turns that station into a invisible monster for doing timed hits, something entirely possible to mod, yet my pages of google search just revealed mods that gave moar crafts to do. If crafters wanted that it would be the most popular download.

I groan everytime Wurm Online reveals their new creature combat animations, while they constantly overlook promises to animate crafting more. You would indeed think the logical course after adding crafting animations is to add some timed mechanisms, but that is a mechanic that crafters will be in an uproar about it. If you are not sure about that, I suggest you go into your wifes sewing/scrapbooking room (not to exclude the guys painting their warhammer minis) and start talking about how you are going to spice up her activity since all she is doing is sitting there, that her needlepoint would be so much more fun if she had to poke it thru whenever you slapped the table.

Indeed myself I proposed a 'spot the gem' game for mining in WO so I did not have to stare at the wall for half an hour while I mine out a block, and still can feel the singe marks from the AFK miners saying hell no. Have not mined there since I got to Planet Explorers that has fully animated 3D mining. Yet the only mini-game there is searching for the nodes, upgrading your pickaxes, avoiding mobs and making sure to eat - just like MineCraft less blocky.

I include gathering activities in crafting simply because you cannot do one without the other. If I crave some action, I go in search of the risky resources instead of clicking on my inventory recipes. When crafters want a break from action, they go craft, which is why most will resist any attempt to add actions to craft. I just watched a MineCraft video where the guy spent an hour organizing his storage room chests. More complex procedures, more hidden recipes, more hidden resources crafters are all for.

Its not because crafters do not think rhythm games are fun, if they do not suck at them they will go play one when they are in the mood, which is not going to be when they want to bang out iron daggers so that their guild teaches them the secret to sharper steel dagger, nor are they willing to accept the quality hit by skipping the 'optional' action.

They want crafting to be about their characters skill mixed with a bit of player game, but not at all about the players skill.
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