What features/options do you look for in an item crafting system?

Discussion in 'Game Mechanics Design' started by Mr. Bubble, Jul 23, 2012.

  1. Mr. Bubble

    Mr. Bubble Makes stuff. Member

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    I'm just about to begin production on an itemcraft script. However, the one I'm making is based off an existing RPG's crafting system. It is very unlikely this system would be a "one-size-fits-all" in terms of itemcraft systems so I want to gauge users on what they want in a crafting system.

    Here are some questions I'd like responses on. You do not need to answer them all. Just answer what interests you:

    • What are some existing examples of good crafting systems/features in video games?
    • What are some existing examples of bad crafting systems/features in video games?
    • Do you prefer crafting systems with a simple/small ingredient requirement (2~4 items) or a complex/large ingredient requirement (5~8+ items)
    • Do you care about "success chance" for crafting an item in single-player RPGs? (That is, if you fail to craft the item, you lose all ingredients/gold/catalysts.)
    • How do you prefer how itemcraft recipes/formulas are discovered?
    • How do you prefer where crafting is done? (In a shop by an NPC/event? From the menu? Some other way?)
    • What kind of tedium should be avoided in an itemcraft system?
    • Any other comments/experiences with itemcraft systems.

    Just to be very clear:

    • I'm not taking suggestions on what my first crafting script will feature. I'm building it the way I want. But after I'm done with it, I might be interested in making another itemcraft script depending on the responses.
    • I'm not skilled enough/interested in making a random enchantment-style crafting (e.g. Diablo item prefix-suffix system).
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 23, 2012
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  2. Espon

    Espon Lazy Creator Veteran

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    I like them to be easy to use and search. Everything you need is just shown to you, you don't have to check other menus to make sure you got enough items and it's easy enough to look up where you can find such items if you're missing them. Should also have a way to look at what you can make when you're away from town.

    Good examples that usually come to mind are Atelier games. They can be a little complex though since every material can have it's own quality and traits but that can always be simplified by giving materials set characteristics.

    I can't think of too many bad examples unless it's almost entirely money based; then all you do is grind cash for hours. The items should also be worth making. I guess I'd point at Diablo 3 since most items you can make have really high level requirements for when you first learn them and are quite expensive to make (especially since 90% of the time you'll just end up making a piece of crap). A few times I dropped a small investment to make a decent item only to realize I'm too low to equip it then end up finding something better as a random drop before I level up.

    I generally prefer if requirements are a small number of different items. Those items can be of any quantity, but it gets a little mind numbing having to run around the world to collect 20 different items, easily making you lose track and focus as you repeatedly bring up the item menu and try to remember what you still need.

    100% success rate. I hate it when making items have a chance to fail. Players will just save their game and repeatedly attempt to make an item until it succeeds.

    Anything works unless it's rare drop from monster X or entirely missable. New ones can become available as you progress in the story, increase your Synthesis Rank (if you're using a feature), finding them in chests or by doing side quests, etc.

    Some place in town usually makes the most sense but doesn't particularly matter to me.
     
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  3. Mr. Bubble

    Mr. Bubble Makes stuff. Member

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    Whoops, I guess I should've been direct about what I actually want to discuss (crafting system scripts from a developer's viewpoint). Rather than try to reshift the discussion, I'll just move this to Game Mechanics Design forum. This can be good to talk about in any case.
     
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  4. Tsukihime

    Tsukihime Veteran Veteran

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    Really depends how easily obtainable the materials are. Complex recipes indicate that the item may be rare, but I don't want to spend 12 hours trying to collect them like how MMO's usually work.

    Not a real issue when you're not actually losing anything except time. Unlike MMO's where you may be spending real money to get materials.

    Your script should be flexible enough to handle all scenarios.

    When it takes too long to tell the game which items you want to make, what product you want to see, etc.

    Make it easy to reference existing recipes and make it easy to select materials and options.

    Provide options for setting up the system aside from note-tag parsing in Ace.

    A decent size crafting system will be too much of a hassle to manage, especially if you have a dozen other scripts also using note tags.
     
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  5. Necromus

    Necromus Veteran Veteran

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    Good or bad is probably pretty biased, depending on who you ask.

    Too complex would be bad for me, everything that's fun is good.

    If you can create a system that is fun to use, able to create decent useful results already early in the game, then i'd say you're on the right track.

    Ingredients should be based on what you're trying to craft, and not set in stone in general.

    Few ingredients for minor stuff, more and more for the better stuff.

    Doesn't have to be 2 ingredients for every recipe, the ammount should vary imo.

    How you actually learn recepies should be up to the person using the script, it should just have a command to actually learn something, how that is acchieved ingame shouldn't be something you need to worry about.

    If you're really looking for specific ways to learn, then well...recepies as drops, learned/bought from a npc, discovered by some kind of research or just by trying different ingredients, to name a few.

    Where you can actually craft is a good question, i like some sort of "realism", as in, not just in the main menu, but at a forge or the like.

    Just however you do it, it needs to be easily accessable from anywhere in the game, no long travels between your current position to where you can craft, aside from special crafting sites (story events, or crafting the most powerful things from the forge of ultimate...craftyness or whatever, you name it).

    Successrates blow, the difficulty should be gathering ingredients, not hoping for luck.

    The overall UI structure should be clean and fast to use, no uneccessary long crafting progress bars or stuff like that, fast and easy.

    It's not exactly exiting, when you need to stare at a progress bar for minutes on end, just because you want to craft a lot.
     
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  6. Helladen

    Helladen Deviant Designer Veteran

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    The best crafting system I have ever seen is the one in Final Fantasy/Kingdom Hearts - Synthesis.
     
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  7. Chaneque

    Chaneque Prince of Strange Things Veteran

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    I hate success chance. There's nothing worse than spending ages gathering all the materials, eagerly tapping in the commands aaand...

    Synthesis failed!

    Makes you want to destroy the computer.
     
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  8. Levi

    Levi Veteran Veteran

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    I like complex and simple.

    Simple "recipes" should equal simple results. Complex recipes should equal complex results.

    Example [Alchemy]:

    Simple -

    [Add 'Apple' to 'Carrot'] = 50HP

    Complex -

    [Reduce Blue Mushroom] -> [Reduce Fire Weed] -> [Add two 'reduced blue mushrooms' to one 'reduced fire weed'] = 100HP + Resist Fire 50% for 5 turns

    If you have both, then you can (mostly) satisfy both. Some people want to spend as little time as possible crafting. Others want a game where all you do is craft.
     
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  9. Helladen

    Helladen Deviant Designer Veteran

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    I agree, but other than that Synthesis system rocks. This can be made into an option to not have a chance to fail.
     
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  10. Chaos17

    Chaos17 Dreamer Veteran

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    Mmorpgs usually have a good and simple crafting system.

    It's usally like this: 3 reds herbs+ 1 empty bottle = 1 HP potion.

    Atelier Rorona has a bad crafting system to my taste.

    You need to craft for example: 1 canon+ 1 armor + 1 weapon = X item.

    The problem is that each component needs its own ingredients and the recipe book is simply annoying to go. This does not facilitateuse of the system.

    I prefer simple crafting but with the option to use an upgrade version like in Atlantica online.

    Example: you need 2 normal potion to craft a High potion.

    No, I don't and find this feature really annoying but I understand that it help for the replay value.

    Ragnarok Online have this feature.

    Alchemists and Blackmisth have to farm a lot ingredients, it leads to a no life gameplay, imo.

    I prefer to learn from a master or a shop but usually you drop it on monsters.

    In most mmorpgs, they give the freedom to craft anywhere you want so from a menu.

    I like this way because usually in Rpg, you don't have a teleport to teleport you back to town so people will probably not use this feature.

    A bad recipe book like in Atelier Rorona.

    A bad HUD, the menu have to be simple (like in Zelda Skyward sword), so the user will understand in one look what he needs to do.

    Make categories in menu because it can become tedious for user to search what he can or cannot craft and know for who he can craft it.

    Be able to make a +10 sword.

    Make an option to fail or not when crafting.

    Be able to enchant equipements.

    Be able to use materials from your dismantle scripts.
     
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  11. Indrah

    Indrah Megane Berserker Veteran

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    What are some existing examples of good crafting systems/features in video games?

    The Atelier series is the first that comes to mind. Gather raw materials and process them. Chances of failure, traits, crafting experience and levels, etc.

    Some games also had the option getting a bonus or a change in the crafting minigame by pairing up with another character, and each gave different bonuses. Ah, and some had a small minigame involved in crafting (a roulette of sorts, but I didn’t particularly like that).

    What are some existing examples of bad crafting systems/features in video games?

    Anythign with a clunky and long assed interface and process to craft, or low, LOOOW success chances (omg please no). I can’t remember particular examples now, sorry.

    Do you prefer crafting systems with a simple/small ingredient requirement (2~4 items) or a complex/large ingredient requirement (5~8+ items)

    Small, by far. Unless they are items such as equipment or very high level items. I prefer gathering many different materials than to have to make big recipes (also remembering recipes is a headache).

    From the Harvest Moon games: not exactly the same, but some sort of feature to select what TOOL (or system, whatever) to craft the item with and get different results would be nice (in a cooking example, using a pan or an oven would get different things, or simply different recipes).

    Do you care about "success chance" for crafting an item in single-player RPGs? (That is, if you fail to craft the item, you lose all ingredients/gold/catalysts.)

    I like them if they are tied to EXPERIENCE or a variable you can increase, definitely NOT a fixed percentage you can’t influence. Leveled percentages however are fine, as long as the average crafting is around 75% at the LEAST for success (at suitable levels).

    Tho to be honest with the save/load function it’s pretty much moot point. A nicer feature would perhaps be being PROHIBITED from crafting things too over your skill level, and/or having a percentage of getting a BETETR THAN AVERAGE item instead of a fail/success.

    How do you prefer how itemcraft recipes/formulas are discovered?

    Definitely not ONLY by leveling. A mix of buying books, learning from quests and getting from normal level progression sounds the most appealing.

    Also modifying existing recipes is nice, but that may be a hard thing to implement, I dunno.

    How do you prefer where crafting is done? (In a shop by an NPC/event? From the menu? Some other way?)

    Hotspot. Save point, home, the alchemy studio’s cauldron, whatever. I prefer it not be “everywhere from the menu”, but I guess any “rest point” will do. Depends on the game, to be honest.

    Also some of the crafting games I enjoyed the most had some “shops” let you craft different recipes at their place (multiple places to craft), which gave room to extra scenes and stuff.

    What kind of tedium should be avoided in an itemcraft system?

    Low success rates for normal items, cluttered item lists for recipes and materials (being separated in different windows or tabs is way cleaner).

    Having to repeat EVERY RECIPE EVERY TIME. A feature to simply “clone” a craft you’ve already done once would be great (use same materials but without the tedium of selections or minigames or whatevers).

    Any other comments/experiences with itemcraft systems.

    As I commented already, the companion feature (getting help in the crafting process to get a bonus). Different outcomes for recipes (a normal and special version, for example). Experience levels that affect success rate…no I think I’ve pretty much said everything.

    This probably is already counted on, but having one recipe give MULTIPLE items is an excellent feature (for making bulk items such as potions and usables from few materials).

    Overall my best experience with crafting systems are by FAR the Gust games (Ateliers and Mana Khemias, etc).

    Great to hear item crafting skills are coming up, more than glad to rant and rant about crafting even if it’s ignored later on. Eager to see the result, good luck with it!
     
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  12. Kaelan

    Kaelan Veteran Veteran

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    Vanguard: Saga of Heroes - Probably the best crafting in any game I've ever played. It's based on your skill in a little mini-game, rather than on random chances or just hitting "OK" on a menu over and over again. Crafting is a process and you have to actually know what you're doing to get something done. If you do really well, you make higher quality versions of the same item. If you do poorly, you make a low quality item (or nothing if you do really badly).

    Unexpected random events (which the game calls "Complications") happen as you're crafting, and you have to solve them (again, through the crafting minigame) to finish crafting the item. It gives a nice sense of every time you craft an item being unique, even if you craft the same item twice, without feeling random or unfair (because even though there's randomness in there, it's your skill in the game that ultimately determines whether you succeed or fail).

    Final Fantasy XIV - Gets an honorable mention. They did a simpler version of what Vanguard did and it was still pretty great. I have some minor issues with it (mostly that they don't explain what everything in the dayum system does, and that unlike in Vanguard, sometimes the results of actions feel completely random), but the overall system is good enough that I'd still use it as an example of going in the right direction with a crafting system.

    Final Fantasy XI - Failure chances are a terrible idea. You can spend ages trying to get some rare materials, then fail because the game's random number generator decided it doesn't like you. That's BS. I wouldn't mind it if there was some skill involved in it and you failed if you somehow didn't perform the process properly. But failing "just because that's what happens 5% of the time" is completely unacceptable. Even if you move this to a single player game rather than an MMO, losing materials for no good reason is still terrible.

    Star Ocean 3 - Once you actually figure it out, they do actually do some pretty interesting stuff with their crafting system. Unfortunately, most people will never get to that point, because this game has what is probably the most confusing and obtuse crafting system (and the interface only makes it worse) I've ever seen. If you have a complicated crafting system, make sure you make an effort to help people understand how you're supposed to use it.

    Recipes that take large amounts of materials, and leveling systems that require you to make "generic throwaway item #1" 500 times so you can gain enough experience to level up your crafting skills. Oh, and if you're going to spend a lot of time crafting, you should have some kind of "Quick Recipe" list that you can pick from, that just stores the last X recipes you've used, so you don't have to go through the whole list every time if you decide you want to make 40 potions for whatever reason.
     
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  13. Ksi

    Ksi ~RTP Princess~ Moderator

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    • Do you prefer crafting systems with a simple/small ingredient requirement (2~4 items) or a complex/large ingredient requirement (5~8+ items)

    I like to have a small amount but parts of that can be supplemented by different items. So, say you need a flower for a healing item, it doesn't matter which flower you use as long as there's one. So you could use the rose OR the daffodil OR the primrose. Preferably there'd only be about 2-6 items that were necessary in a recipe. Too many more than that is just crazy.

    • Do you care about "success chance" for crafting an item in single-player RPGs? (That is, if you fail to craft the item, you lose all ingredients/gold/catalysts.)

    If you're going to use success chances then it should be a slight chance only of losing the items. That said, I prefer a system where you don't have to worry about failing, or, if you DO fail, you at least get something back from your effort, even if it is just a dud item that you can sell.

    How do you prefer how itemcraft recipes/formulas are discovered?

    I don't really have a preference. From reading books to learning from a master to finding notes, each is a valid way of learning. I do like the Dragon Quest way of reading books and having them fill out a predetermined slot in a list, but don't like the whole 'letting you experiment' thing. Especially if there's no hints as to what would work together or not.

    • How do you prefer where crafting is done? (In a shop by an NPC/event? From the menu? Some other way?)

    Again, not much preference. I do like to be able to use in a menu, though a shop is good too.

    • What kind of tedium should be avoided in an itemcraft system?

    Allowing for multiple instances is nice. If you have enough ingredients to make 22 healing potions, you should be allowed to make as many of them as you want in bulk, providing you have the necessary amounts. One by one just doesn't cut it.

    Also, keep everything to as few pages as possible. If all the information is on one page it's easier to deal with.

    KISS - Keep it simple, stupid. Over-the-top menus and processes are both annoying and tiresome. Simplicity is where it's at.

    • Any other comments/experiences with itemcraft systems.

    Personally I like simple, easy to use and understand systems. If you can't figure it out without a manual, it's too complicated. Also, allowing for a bit of customisation is very nice.

    I'd like to see the ability to choose which items you actually use and have them change the created item in small ways, but that has the ability to get too complicated.
     
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  14. HamPants

    HamPants Ayyy! Member

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    I can get used to almost any crafting system, but the biggest thing I like the most is Being able to name the item.

    That's my favourite thing. If you can name the items you make, you can cater to whatever mood you're in.
     
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  15. Zasian

    Zasian Advanced N00B Veteran

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    Theres aspects of the Star Ocean crafting system that I absolutely adore. Such as refining items you to create to increase thier effects. Like boots of prowess (+5% atk + def) + boots of prowess yields you a boots of prowess +10% atk/def increase. combine two refined boots of prowess and you get a pair with +30% atk/def. But Atelier and Kingdom hearts are probably the best examples of a well balanced crafting system. (Star Oceans could drive you up the wall at times) lol. I really like the recipe concept.
     
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  16. exoticrings

    exoticrings THE MASTER MUICIAN Member

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    i like EXACT customization. im hard to handle
     
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  17. Jaide

    Jaide "This guy are sick." Veteran

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    I personally hate when I've taken the time to gather all the necessary ingredients, and then I have a chance to fail and lose some or all of my hard earned ingredients. I enjoy crafting and trying to gather the necessary items to do so, but having a chance to fail and make it all for naught really kills my desire to even bother in the first place.

    But, that's from a player perspective. Since you're talking about a script, I can see developers wanting the option to have a fail rate built into the script. I personally wouldn't use that aspect of the script were I using it in my own game, but it's nice to have options.
     
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  18. Mouser

    Mouser Veteran Veteran

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    The very best crafting system I have ever seen is the one used in FFXI (the first FF MMO).

    EVERYTHING could be used to craft something. And the crafting chains could go on and on.

    Monster drop seed which can be grown in your garden to make milloncorn, which can be used to make fishbait. The fish you catch can be crafted into food that gives you timed bonuses. Or you could use the milloncorn in other food recipes, that would yield different bonuses (maybe one is better for a fighter, another for a mage). Low level rare boots could be crafted to make higher level rare boots.

    Crafting required crystals, which were a fairly common drop from monsters. There was always a failure chance (although eventually they removed that for very rare items), but since you knew that when you started, you kind of got used to it. The day, the hour, and even the direction you were facing all had small impacts on your crafting (the days and hours cycled through elements, and each element corresponded to a compass direction).

    It was a bit confusing at times, but once you got the hang of it, crafting became a very integral part of most players games.
     
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  19. Julien Brightside

    Julien Brightside Veteran Veteran

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    I think Paper Mario had a good method when it came to "crafting".

    OKay, it was more cooking, but anyway.

    First, do a quest to retrieve a cooking book for an old lady.

    After that, she cook stuff for you.

    "Give one item" recieve "something" back. You didn't have to buy recipes, but you discovered through test and fail, or by listening to NPCs around the town.

    One could also use two items, and possibly recieve items with more effect, or end up with something that was a failure.

    There were no random failures, if you gave an item, you could always expect the same result.
     
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