Solace Crafting

Solace Crafting
Redefining the Crafting RPG

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Monsters, Programming, and Epiphanies

As a crafting heavy game I've spent hundreds of hours thinking of, taking notes, and testing ideas about how to make crafting more controllable. One thing that I knew I wanted to improve on from the beginning, though I didn't figure out how until this week, was a problem made very clear in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. I love the Elder Scrolls series and of course enjoyed crafting my own gear in Skyrim, however, with limited resources and a little testing it quickly becomes clear that repeatedly crafting daggers is the best way to level up smithing.

Now, we're not trying to make a "realistic" game, this isn't a simulator, but crafting 300 level 1 daggers to become a master smith just seems silly. But how do you do better? Game development is not easy. I tried requiring five different items crafted per level. I tried requiring different categories within a profession to be leveled up individually. I tried many things. But ultimately it comes down to how much metal did you bend. If a 3 metal dagger gives 3 exp, why not make a 6 metal sword give 6 exp. We also have tiers of metal, and other factors, but I'm finding this to be a -now- obvious system, though it took a long time to stumble across.

Speaking of crafting, I rewrote all of the crafting code this week into a much more compact system, in some cases reducing over a thousand lines of code into roughly one hundred. How? I'm now using what are known as machines in the code. Rather than "hard coding" the stats for a Sword, a Longsword, and a Shortsword each individually, several variables are input and the machines outputs what is needed. The greatest part of this method is that a new item can be added into the game with one a few lines of code. I hope that this eventually leads to opening the door to community created items by the dozens.

Monsters are in and working well. Spawning with different, skills, stats, and colors based on their biome. They're not the brightest when it comes to pathfinding, but pathfinding in a procedural world is never easy. If anyone is a genius in that field please let me know ;p

The UI has improved a lot. I hope to get more tooltips in over the next week to show information when requested rather than filling the screen up with levels and stats.

My wife and I are buying a house! So I've been pretty busy. And Terrain Composer 2 has been delayed, so I'm not currently working on level graphics. I hope to have more flashy graphics to show off soon =]

Friday, May 6, 2016

Refining and Crafting

Over the past few days I brought the refining system and the facilities used for refining raw resources to a much more robust and interactive system. Though the basics of the refining system were in and working, setting up all the ifs ands ors and buts required quite a bit more time. It's always amazing how simple a concept can seem until you really start hammering it out. Even now there is a fair share of things put off for later.

As all facilities, items, buildings and everything are player crafted in Solace Crafting, there needs to be a recipe, a model, icon art, defined capabilities, and other settings for pretty much everything. If Smithing was the only profession just programming a forge and an anvil wouldn't be that hard, but we've got
Hunting / Skinning / Leatherworking,
Forestry / Woodworking,
Reaping / Tailoring,
Quarrying / Masonry,
Divination / Enchanting,
and Mining / Smithing.

Starting out we're allowed to do pretty much anything besides Smelting, Smithing and Enchanting with just a workbench letting players get early armor, weapons, and tools before the night gets cold. This only works with the first Tier (levels 0-4) of resources and limits item quality to a maximum of 40%, so getting proper facilities setup can make a big difference, but isn't required early on.

Refine raw wood into lumber for building your first house and some chests. Refine raw stalks into yarn for clothes and a new bag. Gather enough stone to build a forge and refine ore into metal for a shiny sword. A level 0 sword isn't an awesome weapon, but it's a lot better than no weapon. Or maybe your more of a magic staff kind of person. And there's sure to be some enchants waiting to be found just over yonder.

Once you're equipped well enough to handle the first few kilometers of the enormous world that is Khora, the starting dimension, you can head out to find rare resources and recipes, special encounters and quests. A flaming weapon enchantment from the desert towers, or maybe an ice reflecting shield from the mountains? With 10,000 visible kilometers the freedom of what to seek and where to look is yours.

Setup your Solace (your main Dimension Crystal) and travel as far as you want, knowing you can recall home at any point. That way you can work on upgrading your base if you like rather than building new ones as you go. I personally like to build bases all over, next to waterfalls (we don't have waterfalls yet), atop mountains (we have really big mountains), one can be a castle, one can be a summer cabin.

Ahh for the days when I get multiplayer working =]