Individual Inventories?

Frostorm

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So I wanted to get people's opinions on individual inventories, as opposed to the default shared inventory system. It's simply where each actor has his/her own inventory. Thus in battle, each actor can only use items in their own inventory. How do you guys feel about such a mechanic? Would it matter if it was a Tactical RPG instead of a traditional RPG? I bring this up because I had a friend do some playtesting, and he asked "how are actors that are on totally opposite sides of the map accessing the same inventory?"... So I guess, it's an immersion thing. In a traditional RPG, the actors are all standing beside each other, so it's not much of a stretch to say they are going through each other's bags. Thoughts?
 

ATT_Turan

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Preface: while it doesn't automatically make an idea garbage, realism is also not an inherently good reason to put things into a game - a mechanic should serve a purpose.
How do you guys feel about such a mechanic? Would it matter if it was a Tactical RPG instead of a traditional RPG?
I feel negatively about it. I've played games where it's a thing, and for as infrequently as I usually use items, it just adds a small layer of annoyance when I have to restock each individual character's inventory of items. Knowing it's in a game wouldn't deter me from playing it, but it would be a negative point in my review.
I bring this up because I had a friend do some playtesting, and he asked "how are actors that are on totally opposite sides of the map accessing the same inventory?"
I mean, has he played other video games? The phrasing here does slightly indicate an SRPG, if there's a map for them to be standing on different sides of, and equipped items are more standard in that style of game. If that's not the case, and you have a JRPG-style party battle, that seems a very odd observation from him.
So I guess, it's an immersion thing. In a traditional RPG, the actors are all standing beside each other, so it's not much of a stretch to say they are going through each other's bags. Thoughts?
As my first point - immersion alone is not a good reason to add or change a mechanic. There are so many aspects of a standard battle system that don't make any sense if looked at from an immersion or realism viewpoint that it's just not a good metric to use.

(This is my preference...I mean, there are people in the Star Citizen community who say they want to be required to go to the bathroom in-game. To me, that level of "immersion" is just stupid.)

That being said, if you have an SRPG, it is more standard of that genre so your prospective audience might be expecting it. If it's a JRPG, then whatever you like. The Suikoden and Pokémon series, off the top of my head, have actors limited to what items are on them. I personally find it annoying, but the games have sold fine.
 

Finnuval

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Personally I'm on the opposite side then @ATT_Turan here (not a surprise xD) but I tend to be the type of player that prefers separate inventories. That said I do agree that realism and immersion are bad reasons in general.

However knowing a little more about your game I think it would actually fit and as it is a SRPG (as I understand it anyway) a wider audience is likely to expect it more-or-less.
 

Frostorm

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Yea, my project is a Tactical/SRPG, so the units are free to move around the map. Using items is just like using a skill, in that once selected, it will show the range/scope of the item. 99% of the time, I set the range to "1", as in an adjacent target. I guess it must feel odd if an actor can only "reach" 1 tile away when using a Potion on their ally, but can reach halfway across the map into another person's pockets lol.

Edit: I just realized there would be other issues w/ using an individual inventory system. For example, during the out-of-combat menu stuff. You would either have to change the default inventory system/UI or add an "item equip" menu of some kind, perhaps similar to Yanfly's Skill Equip system. I must admit, I can't think of a good reason to have split inventories outside of battle. But then it'd be such a chore assigning items to each actor...
 
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Sword_of_Dusk

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Simply put, it depends. It's both perfectly fine to share an inventory, yet also fine to not share one. You shouldn't really be asking what people prefer, and instead ask yourself what will fit better for your game. Since you're doing an SRPG, let's look at two separate examples.

On one hand, we have Fire Emblem. Everyone can carry only up to five items in most of the games, meaning you need to keep track of inventory space. However, the Lord unit can access the convoy at all times, so you technically have access to all your items, but if you want another unit to have something, they need to stand next to the Lord, or you'll need to get the item to the other unit by way of trading (if you wanna be real fancy about it, setting up a trade chain is always neat).

On the other hand, take Final Fantasy Tactics. Your item list is shared amongst your characters, and with good reason. Chemists, for example, would be really poor if they only had a few individual potions to draw from for their extended range on potion use. Same for Ninjas and their Throw Weapon skill. Aside from that, it helps that everyone can pull from the full item list when a clutch Phoenix Down is needed, or just general healing if you don't have a Chemist or White Magic using character nearby. There's also the fact that even being able to use items is dependent on having an action ability equipped, so restricting the number of items one could use would be counterproductive.

Ultimately, you gotta consider what your game is going to play like, then decide from there.


I feel negatively about it. I've played games where it's a thing, and for as infrequently as I usually use items, it just adds a small layer of annoyance when I have to restock each individual character's inventory of items. Knowing it's in a game wouldn't deter me from playing it, but it would be a negative point in my review.
If you honestly docked a game points for this simply because you had to pay more attention to restocking, that would be kinda messed up. It shouldn't be that big a deal.
 

ATT_Turan

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Yea, my project is a Tactical/SRPG, so the units are free to move around the map.
Then it's definitely an expectation of the genre to use equipped items. That doesn't mean you have to, but it will definitely prompt the question or observation from some people.
I must admit, I can't think of a good reason to have split inventories outside of battle.
If you're primarily an SRPG, how often is there a need to use items outside of battle?
If you honestly docked a game points for this simply because you had to pay more attention to restocking, that would be kinda messed up. It shouldn't be that big a deal.
Personal preference, yo. If a game forces me to spend time twiddling around in menus for no good reason (that is, no reason that has an effect on my strategy/choices during gameplay), then yes, I consider that a negative mechanic.

For as much as I like the Suikoden series and Fire Emblem: Three Houses, I absolutely list this as a con when I'm telling people about the games (particularly the Fire Emblem games with their weapon durability).

XCOM: Enemy Unknown implemented this well, where characters need to be equipped with items individually, but then the items simply have a limited number of uses per battle - they're automatically replenished afterward, no micromanagement necessary.
 

Sword_of_Dusk

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Personal preference, yo. If a game forces me to spend time twiddling around in menus for no good reason (that is, no reason that has an effect on my strategy/choices during gameplay), then yes, I consider that a negative mechanic.

For as much as I like the Suikoden series and Fire Emblem: Three Houses, I absolutely list this as a con when I'm telling people about the games (particularly the Fire Emblem games with their weapon durability).
First off, I'm not, in any way, saying you are wrong in your opinion. Everyone has their own. Just need you to know that as we go forward.

Anyway, I deeply disagree with FE weapon durability being a con. It's something that should be noted to a potential player, but not an outright decidedly Bad Feature. Perhaps Breath of the Wild's durability system is bad (still haven't played it, though I do think it is bad), but there's a reason for that: you never know when your weapon will break. It is highly annoying to not have any idea when a weapon is about to go poof. FE does not have this problem. You always know exactly how many hits you have left, thus you aren't blindsided if you pay even a modicum of attention. 3H even goes beyond simple item management and uses durability as a resource. It's well implemented, and I was happy to have it back.

Like you said, personal preference and all, but it's not so much a con as a feature that one has to consider if they like. Because if they do, that's a pro.
 

Frostorm

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If you're primarily an SRPG, how often is there a need to use items outside of battle?
Hmm, not sure why an SRPG be any different than a traditional RPG in regards to out-of-combat item usage?

Edit: I'm assuming all things equal, other than the combat style, ofc.
 

Dev_With_Coffee

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I believe that since RmXP they had already thought and created an additional Script that modified the game to work that way, but I myself have never played any game with a large inventory for each character.

But I played some SRPG, for example in "Final Fantasy Tactics Advance", you can use common healing items on undead creatures to destroy them, as long as it's within your area.

I know that's not the problem, but in general if both characters are close enough to be able to heal it's like they share the bag of items at this time.

If you are going to do this you will also have to limit the characters' items by total quantity, so before the player enters the fight he would open a manager and separate for some strategy.

Sorry for my English, it's not my first language.
 

Frostorm

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Yea, if an individual inventory system is used, it would likely be accompanied by some sort of quantity limiting mechanic. For instance, it could be an inventory weight system based on the unit's STR stat or some other parameter. I'll be honest tho, I'm not really a fan of such a mechanic. I mean, it's cool for "immersion" purposes, but gameplay-wise...it doesn't really add much. If anything, it detracts from the overall game imo.
 

Dev_With_Coffee

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The idea itself would resemble a war game where you have ammo and weapons you can carry, but in the view of any JRPG it would have to be well thought out.
I would particularly adapt easily as it is very similar to the skill menu.
 

TheoAllen

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Separate inventory is justified if you're using tactical battle with preparation phase each stage. So you know who is bringing what. It might even promote critical thinking that a certain actor has a healing item and can only heal one of several injured actors, you have to choose based on the tactical position.

Meanwhile for a standard RPG, with a turn-based battle in a separate scene, and also having exploration, it might be a mess. The micromanagement is going to take away the fun of the game.
 

Frostorm

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Is the presence or lack of an exploration mechanic a deciding factor on whether to use individual inventories? From what I gather, most SRPGs don't feature an exploration mode, usually opting for "stages" instead. However, my game purposefully retains that aspect cuz I wanted the full dungeon crawling experience, complete with puzzles and chests, etc... Combat just happens to take place on a grid via visible, on-map enemies.
 

ATT_Turan

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First off, I'm not, in any way, saying you are wrong in your opinion. Everyone has their own. Just need you to know that as we go forward.

Anyway, I deeply disagree with FE weapon durability being a con.
And that's cool for you. To me, it's a way to force the player to spend resources (which is fine, that's what potions and inns and such are, too) which simultaneously screws you over if you don't engage in sufficient micromanagement.

I'd be happy if rare/unique weapons had durability but standard ones didn't. And to be fair to Three Houses, they have the most tolerable implementation of it wherein your weapon isn't completely useless once it's broken.
Perhaps Breath of the Wild's durability system is bad
I think many things in that game are bad design...I truly don't understand why it's as popular as it is. I think I was able to put about two hours in before burying the cartridge :stickytongue:

Hmm, not sure why an SRPG be any different than a traditional RPG in regards to out-of-combat item usage?

Edit: I'm assuming all things equal, other than the combat style, ofc.
Well...what SRPGs are you familiar with? It is standard for units to be restored to full health/MP/whatever between tatics battles, and most of the uses for items in a traditional RPG are restorative, so they're not used.

Some games have items that can be used to increase a unit's stats, but obviously those are generally not in large supply, so in an SRPG one is typically not using items very much between battles.
 

TheoAllen

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However, my game purposefully retains that aspect cuz I wanted the full dungeon crawling experience, complete with puzzles and chests, etc...
As a disclaimer, I don't know your game and what fits with your design, so I can not say, a lot of factors exist, not just this particular topic. I have yet to play a game with a tactical battle that also has exploration. To give a full context, you probably need to drop a demo for people to give accurate feedback.

That said, I do know that I don't want to micromanage that much in standard RPG. This may or may not apply to your design.
 

Frostorm

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Yea, the less micromanaging the better, usually. Even micromanage-heavy games like RTS's have tools that make micromanaging easier for the player (i.e. hotkey shortcuts to select buildings or groups of units, etc...).

The biggest drawback of tactical RPGs, at least imo, is the slower pace of combat compared to a traditional RPG. The 2 most significant contributors to this are:
  • setup/prep @ battle start
  • having to move
There's not much I can do about the 2nd point, but I can at least avoid a "heavy" preparation phase. I'm even trying to make it so that the player won't even need to place units on the map. Ideally, as close to a seamless transition as possible. My aim is that any "party prep" would be done long before combat (in the out-of-combat menus) and only occasionally, not necessarily at the start of every battle. So the more I think about it, the more I'm thinking individual inventories is perhaps not the best idea, at least for my project. I'm trying to come up w/ a list of "pros" besides just for the sake of "immersion", but I'm kind of drawing a blank lol.
 

RCXDan

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Individual inventories genuinely depends on what the game is.

A normal turn-based RPG with individual inventories per character would honestly be pretty tedious, even if you did the Kingdom Hearts 2 thing where any consumables they use are automatically re-loaded with whatever's in stock. It's my one black mark with the Mother series despite everything else I like about them.

Fire Emblem has the individual inventory thing work because you at most have five items per character, but I do vastly prefer the FFT system where the consumables are shared.

That said I did interpret this topic differently due to how I use the idea in my own games. I switch between player character perspectives sometimes in my games, so it makes sense that Player Team A and Player Team B don't immediately have the same inventory at first. Like "what do you mean Bum We Never Met Before has the legendary sword we spent half of the game repairing, as well as all of our gold?"

Consumables are shared like a normal RPG and if Player Team A meets up with Player Team B, their inventories "merge" and they get all of each others things. That's as far as I'd go because having items stuck to specific characters and having to shuffle them around is the opposite of what I want :LZSlol:

tldr; I use a limited form of this where it functions basically like the default RPG Maker inventory but it saves me a lot of time from having to delete items and gold for POV shifts.
 
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AphoticAmaranth

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How big are the maps, anyway? If the maps are small enough it wouldn't be too much of a stretch to say they're throwing and catching their bags and stuff.
Alternatively, if it's a fantasy world, they can have magical bags of holding linked to the same inventory or something like that.
 

Frostorm

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How big are the maps, anyway? If the maps are small enough it wouldn't be too much of a stretch to say they're throwing and catching their bags and stuff.
Alternatively, if it's a fantasy world, they can have magical bags of holding linked to the same inventory or something like that.
That kinda reminds me of this item in Fell Seal lol.
But to answer your question, my maps are not too big, only 20x11 tiles.
1634806149191.png
 

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