Resource Gathering

Ellie Jane

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How have you dealt with resource gathering in your games?

I never got into crafting in Guild Wars 2 because resource gathering was so dull. Find a node, click the node, get an item, that's all there is to it.

That's pretty much like oldschool RuneScape - click a node, wait a few seconds, get an item. Difference there is you get some EXP for doing that, which levels you up and gives you new nodes to work with.

I want to try and make resource gathering more interesting, without going down full minigame route. More like mini tasks. You have to complete an action, that requires some thought, to get your resource.

This is similar to RuneScape 3 - with the Mining and Smithing update - where while you could just AFK your node, if you want to mine efficiently you have to think about what you are doing, and there are stat bars telling you various things - how far through the rock you are, how long since your last click, etc.

I've begun to implement one type of node and I've done it with a couple of bars that fill and empty at random. This is for mining, to get rocks and other rock-related items.



So basically, if all you're after is rocks, you only have to watch the green bar. You have to click when the bar is full (20% leeway). Click in that time and you get a rock; misclick and you lose it.

If you're after more important materials, like diamonds and other gems, or rare elements like gold, you have to be more accurate (green bar). How close the two match decides what you get. You still have to be over 80% power, but depending on how well the bars match decides what item you get. If they match perfectly, as in 100% accuracy, you get a diamond, and then going down in chunks of 5% you get other materials.

So if all you're doing is farming metalworking materials like ores, you just use the green bar, but if you fancy a challenge and a money making opportunity you can work with the two bars.

Trouble is I don't then want every node to just be a repeat of this.

The resources I need so far are: fish, meat, rocks, plants and wood.

Wood could be a similar system to mining but I don't want it to just feel like a clone.

Fish I'm thinking I could have a whack-a-mole-like system where fish pop up in the water and you have to click them before they disappear. This won't even need a node as such, you're walking past a river and see a flying fish, click it in time and you catch it.

Plants - could just appear as items on the floor that you "pick up"?

Meat obviously can just be enemies that are actually livestock.

Anyway, I'm curious for some ideas on how to implement different resource gathering nodes, so I can make this all more interactive and a bit more interesting than "click the rock ... ... ... you gained an ore!".
 

Heirukichi

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To be honest, this kind of system might sound good, but it has too many attached disadvantages in my opinion. What I mean is that what designers define as "interesting" in mechanics such as the one you described, is too often perceived as "boring" when a player actually experiences it in-game.

To give you an example, in the GIF you attached to your post, 28 seconds pass before the player finishes to gather everything. If you have to gather 10 minerals (or other things with a similar system), it means that you are spending 3 whole minutes for a very repetitive task.

Of course, it could be good if you reward the player properly and do not include too many recipes that require a lot of resources. Do not misunderstand me, brainless random encounters can be as boring as a complex gathering system. In general, whenever you have to wait too much to do something that you have to repeat many times, it becomes annoying, not just in games, it applies to any kind of software.

That said, clicking a rock and getting the resource you need might sound basic, but it is the most efficient way to handle such a repetitive task.

A possible option, if you really want to do something different, is that of using any system that you can think of, and then give the player a choice to memorize the best score. Whenever he or she clicks the resource, a choice pops up allowing the player to use the previous stored result or try again to see if the stored result can be improved. If you want, you could even let the game store the last result instead of the best one, but forcing the player to repeat the same task that takes 30 seconds is not a good idea, at least not in my opinion and not considering the game-play experiences I have made so far.
 

TheoAllen

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Do you know what's fun in resource gathering? Blow up the resource node and you see all the resources object scattered around and you gather it. Then you upgrade your character to get even more resources when doing that.

There're woods you need to chop down. You use a wood ax. Later in the game, you learned a more efficient way to gather woods. Then you learned how to blast the entire forest in a single click. That's a power RPG, which basically just like how you deal 2 digit damage to million damage. But instead of damage dealing with the enemy, you do it in resource gathering.

Except while this sounds good, it may not be that good for replayability. I've been trying to replay Starbound and I hate that the Matter Manipulator just started at awful mining speed that you have to find the material to upgrade it. In the end, I just use a cheat console to upgrade it.

Granted, resource gathering is basically grinding. People who don't like grinding and chore will probably never like it. And I personally don't want a resource gathering tied with my personal skills (such as score high to get more resources). Don't mix grinding and skill test into single gameplay.
 

gstv87

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I never got into crafting in Guild Wars 2 because resource gathering was so dull.
same for me, in Oblivion.
there is the possibility of becoming a master brewer and potion distiller, but I never managed to get anything significant from plants.
yes, occasionally while travelling I'd grab whatever fruit I'd recognize in hopes of selling it or eating it later so I wouldn't have to use potions; but if I had dedicated myself to being a brewer, I wouldn't have had time to build my main abilities.

so, from there, the question arises: what is actually the point of the game?
is it to gather resources? then make resource gathering interesting.
is it not to gather resources but to do something else and resource gathering is more of a side task? then make it simple and rewarding, so that people doesn't spend more time on it than they need.

if the point of the game is to fight the bad guy, then you'll need weapons and tactics.
if on top of fighting the bad guy you want to gather resources, you'll need a tool.
*can* your character carry the weapon and the tool at the same time?
you see how that becomes into limiting the inventory, which controls the carrying.
*can* your character carry both the weapon and the tool? then they can't possibly be as effective at using either as somebody who only focuses on using either one.
*are* they equally effective? then they can't be a young character, as mastering both skills takes time.
 

Aesica

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Depending on whether you're making a normal RPG or some kind of odd MMO, the approach to gathering is probably going to be quite different. That said, I think having the player do a bit of extra stuff, no matter how cool it might seem to you the developer, is going to get old and fall into "obnoxious minigame territory" after the 20th, 50th, etc node no matter how you try to implement it. I sometimes play Star Trek Online, and all of the game's harvesting stuff forces this kind of crap on players:

Standard resource nodes: There's this waveform matching "minigame" that I suspect rewards you based on how quickly you solve it, but dunno. It's trivially easy, annoying, and feels completely unnecessary.

Dilithium mining: It has this really obnoxious laser calibration thing that actually deters me from doing it most of the time. I absolutely hate this minigame.

Omega molecules: You use your mouse to catch particles as they scroll by. I hate this one almost as much as the dilithium minigame.

See the recurring theme here? None of these "make resource harvesting more interesting" mechanics are actually all that enjoyable. If anything, they make me want to just opt out.
 

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