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Cocteau

Crafting Minigame

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Following the discussion here:

http://community.crowfall.com/index.php?/topic/4795-mmo-crafting-the-bane-of-my-existence/

 

I decided to make a sample minigame for blacksmith crafting. Not only to test it out, but I'm also learning how to use Unity, and that seemed like a good starting project.

 

The game consists in a 3-part crafting, from heating to hammering. Do read the instructions in-game.

 

All art, models and animations were free assets taken from Unity's page. Do not consider the graphics when considering the game under the implications of the thread linked above.

 

Here is the game. I suggest you try with the Tips Off first:

 

http://www.kongregate.com/games/cocteau1/blacksmith

 

I uploaded it to kongregate because a site like filedropper would possibly raise some eyebrows. But if you want the .exe file, PM me your e-mail.

 

 

TL;DR of the 'MMO Crafting, the bane of my existence' thread:

- Clicking craft is not engaging, nor skill-demanding

- Crowfall wants crafters to be recognized. But doing that without a mini-game will only be a short-term solution, as recipe knowledge will eventually reach most of the land

- Clicking craft isn't immersive, you don't imagine yourself actually forging something, nor are you proud of a RNG-based high quality weapon, you're maybe happy that you got lucky, that's it

 

That's the short version, I'm not gonna re-read all 8 pages of that thread, feel free bring up those points again in this thread

 

 

Add-ons

 

The game above is a sample, a test to see how a minigame would work, but in the context of a larger game such as Crowfall, the following things could be added:

 

- Crafting skill

Other than player skill, a player could select 'Blacksmithing' as a skill and raise it as he works on blades, that could allow him to maybe pinpoint a smaller range for the hammer hits, or get a hint whenever the fire was exceedingly hot, or get more accurate tips in the end.

- Material quality

Material quality could directly influence the final quality. By changing the balance levels of each category, you could make it easier to make a high quality weapon out of a high quality material. And really hard to pull it off from a low quality material

- RNG

Don't freak out!! RNG could be added as different values for the fire decay during the 2nd phase or even a different speed for the loading power of the hammering. This would make the game harder, but also make for less bot-like crafters. RNG should not, in ANY case be the reason why your weapon was high or low quality

 

 

FAQ

 

- This is a grind. I can't see myself crafting 50 swords every day, it's WAY too time-consuming.

 

Regarding Crowfall, they already covered this problem. You can make a single sword, and your thrall would make a number of copies. Say you make one sword, and the thrall can copy it 9 more times. Now you're doing the process 5 times. Not too much of a grind now, is it?

 

- Fine. But now it's all luck, one guy lucks out a perfect sword, he's getting 10 of them.

 

It's still skill. Someone will luck it out eventually, sure. But if that guys sucks, he's dishing out 40 low quality swords as well. One day that you lose the market to a lucky roll isn't going to disgrace your crafting experience.

 

- So... Mass production? I get a bunch of resources and turn it all into weapons in 3 minutes?

 

See the unused grindstone in the left side? After finishing a blade, it would go to an automatic grinding period. That is the most time real blacksmithing takes place, and it's boring as hell. So why not, after the blade is done, it goes into a queue, and has a set production time, established depending on game balance? So you're making 10 swords, but each takes 10 minutes to complete. But you only took 20 seconds to make all of them. That's the way to go here.

 

- That game isn't realistic at all. You just added a forge and an anvil...

 

Yeah, I'm aware. But crafting has to be simple. I can't bring in the levels of complexity that real blacksmiths have. I'd love to to add heat treatment and the proper hammering technique, but I don't think most people would understand tempering as they understand that the fire needs to be that intense. The purpose isn't to make a game for engineers, you know?

 

- I can't craft the Masamune, it's god damn impossible...

 

Yeah, it's meant to be like that. Crafting a legendary weapon should be extremely hard. And if you pull it off, it's probably going to be a high quality. If you get a PERFECT Masamune, post a screenshot here, I'll be shocked if you pull it off.

Edited by Cocteau

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Just going to come out and say a crafting mini-game detracts from the focus of the game itself. It's like God of War quicktime events. They may look interesting but they're ultimately lacking in any depth of gameplay or skill. There was a feature not unlike this in Fable 2 or 3 that was totally optional and served little purpose other than an achievement/timesink function in a very thin, quick game.


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Just going to come out and say a crafting mini-game detracts from the focus of the game itself. It's like God of War quicktime events. They may look interesting but they're ultimately lacking in any depth of gameplay or skill. There was a feature not unlike this in Fable 2 or 3 that was totally optional and served little purpose other than an achievement/timesink function in a very thin, quick game.

I definitely didn't dislike his suggestions and in fact it might be quite fun but the problem is that MMO's are harder to sustain if the hype for events are over quickly. ACE did say that they integrated the idea of marriage between MMO and Strategy game to avoid players from losing the interest in exploration, and by creating new combat rules for every campaign, Crowfall can avoid players from getting bored of the combat.

 

I like the idea of having mini games for specific features of Crowfall but if it is not exactly following the line of work for crafters and Crowfall's crafting system, I'm not sure if people are willing to spend a fair amount of time playing the mini game. If a mini game can be in line with the gameplay such as having player effectively dodging telegraph marks to reach for treasure which can be applied in PvP, people will eventually lose interest because it has no benefit for the main structure of the game.


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No, thank you.

Crafting mini-games stink.

Even the best are like the best crayfish, great at first, ok for a while, and they stink to high heaven after a couple of days.


I think the K-Mart of MMO's already exists!  And it ain't us!   :)

 

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I guess I'll be repeating much of what was said in the other thread here...

 

Andius compiled all those 'similar' minigames in a thread, not long ago, but neither of them are suitable for crafting inside a MMO.

- Dark Messiah: There is no skill-based interaction. It just mimics a blacksmith, but making a good sword or not isn't part of the minigame

- Fable 2: As with everything else in Fable (besides 1), it sucks. That's just a timesink. There's no difficulty in that bar going up and down, no way to mass produce, not really skill-based, since it's so easy to hit the green mark...

- LoZ OoT: I guess if you ever want to make fishing, that system is good. So are the systems for some other fishing-only games out there. But I'm not even sure if having minigames for gathering professions is a good idea. We're talking crafting here.

 

What my minigame is supposed to show, is that interacting with a new material or trying to make a new recipe is a challenge. And getting perfect ratings after you 'master' a weapon is still a hard thing to pull off. This was done because Crowfall says they want to make crafters recognized, and there is no other way than through skill. Any other way is just a matter of time before the other crafters reach the point that you've reached.

It is not a timesink because of the way you can use thralls. Did you even read the thread?

 

As for making it similar to PvP, I guess a system like EQ isn't entirely bad. I dislike it and prefer something that isn't combat related, since if I want to have combat, I'll equip my sword instead of making it. But it STILL beats click-crafting. By a mile.

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Just going to come out and say a crafting mini-game detracts from the focus of the game itself. It's like God of War quicktime events. They may look interesting but they're ultimately lacking in any depth of gameplay or skill. There was a feature not unlike this in Fable 2 or 3 that was totally optional and served little purpose other than an achievement/timesink function in a very thin, quick game.

 

The entire minigame discussion is in-line with the focus of the game, in that Ace's vision includes elevating crafting as a valuable role.  It is a support role, and as such, if players are busy crafting while others are in combat, it needs to be as engaging (and fun) as PvP combat.  It definitely won't be for everyone, which is what also separates CF crafting from being a side function that all players do.  Crafters will be focused on completely different passive abilities, disciplines, and relics from those that are more focused on combat.

 

@OP: great job providing an actual concept and moving this forward from the discussion.  I'll check it out later when I have more time.


> Suddenly, a Nyt appears in the discussion...

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I'm firmly against minigames - all my reasons are in the other thread and no need to rehash them again here.

Went and played Blacksmith - tips off. If CF did something like this I'd be disappointed in the step backwards it takes from SWG crafting.  Anything that tries to use mouse click skill/requires that the crafter hit a button at a specific time in order to get a better product just dumbs down the game for me.  I understand that there's a "right" heat to click to get to and a "right" number of hits with a certain level of power but once these are discovered it's just a matter of clicking things in the right order at the right time and no more thought is required. It's all up to the RNG and your twitch skills & your FPS and your lag time.

 

Any time a crafter has to think about what they're doing and logic out how the resources they have on hand will impact the final product things start getting interesting.  Anytime a crafter can impact the quality of what they're creating by adding, removing, changing resources during the crafting process itself crafting starts getting fun.  I'm aware that it's not likely that I'll be poring over stats and charts for basic gear in the midst of a campaign but when I have time later on in the EK to explore crafting I want to have my brain and my choices make the difference, not my ability to get a bar filled exactly the right amount at the right time.

 

That having been said, thanks for building the example!  It was a very clear way to show your point.


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Let me make this clear, this concept and the complexity in SWG and/or the alloy system we have glimpsed for Crowfall are NOT mutually exclusive. I would still love to see a line of thought for which material you use for each weapon, and those materials would influence your forge variables in a very logical way.

The problem I have with SWG is that, as complex as it is, it's still not immersive or skill-based. With time, all those variables are crunched and someone makes a guide to how to make the faster or stronger blade, combined with the fact that all in all, you are just going through menus and clicking buttons and hoping for RNG.

 

As for my concept being a 'just master it', when you put in perspective every material and combination of materials you can use, you'll need to experiment quite a bit, and you won't always have the resources you need. Play the game with Tips On, Oridi, and see how many highQ titanium you can make (Not even telling you to make them perfect). The idea behind this concept is NOT to be a master and get perfect always, but to stop making low quality once you master.

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Crafting mini-game sounds neat to me, but i'm not a full time crafter so not sure. Also if you're crafting massive quantities using blue prints like they mentioned might become tedious. It might be cool if you could use the crafting mini-game to add a small very minor bonus like +1 durability or something.

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Spinning off Oridi's idea of having a more cognitive rather than twitch centered gameplay for crafting. I'd like to throw in Wildstar's crafting system as something to discuss/improve upon.

 

Wildstar Crafting Image

 

To sum that up quickly, each craft has a variety of results but you have to first find them on the crafting window by using various materials to 'push' the crafting point towards different regions of the window. Once you're close enough you'll have found how to make x item. However, there's only a limited number of materials you can spend to push that point and each material has a degree of variance in how accurate it moves which usually leads to hardly ever being able to spit out the same combination and receive the same result.

 

Expanding on the way the system works, instead of using tertiary ingredients, possibly the crafting reagents themselves and possibly even prerequisite pieces (say hilts or shafts for weaponsmithing) could be used while the quadrant system could be used to define moreso what you're making (say forging an axe head or a blade).

 

Anyhow, just throwing an idea into the mix. What do you guys think?

Edited by Chrinus

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Let me make this clear, this concept and the complexity in SWG and/or the alloy system we have glimpsed for Crowfall are NOT mutually exclusive. I would still love to see a line of thought for which material you use for each weapon, and those materials would influence your forge variables in a very logical way.

The problem I have with SWG is that, as complex as it is, it's still not immersive or skill-based. With time, all those variables are crunched and someone makes a guide to how to make the faster or stronger blade, combined with the fact that all in all, you are just going through menus and clicking buttons and hoping for RNG.

 

As for my concept being a 'just master it', when you put in perspective every material and combination of materials you can use, you'll need to experiment quite a bit, and you won't always have the resources you need. Play the game with Tips On, Oridi, and see how many highQ titanium you can make (Not even telling you to make them perfect). The idea behind this concept is NOT to be a master and get perfect always, but to stop making low quality once you master.

Thing is I'm not sure many agree that crafting HAS to be skill based. I certainly don't. Crafting and by default gathering should be effort and time based. If you put in more effort and more time then your reward will be being able to make better products and getting a reputation among fellow players.

 

The thing about SWG that made its crafting system so revered and remembered as one of the best to this day wasn't the actual part of making something, it was everything else around it. It was mainly the gathering process of mats that really made the system what it was.

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Thing is I'm not sure many agree that crafting HAS to be skill based. I certainly don't. Crafting and by default gathering should be effort and time based. If you put in more effort and more time then your reward will be being able to make better products and getting a reputation among fellow players.

 

The thing about SWG that made its crafting system so revered and remembered as one of the best to this day wasn't the actual part of making something, it was everything else around it. It was mainly the gathering process of mats that really made the system what it was.

 

That would be like crafters telling PvPers that combat shouldn't be skill based... rather effort and time. Walk up to the enemy and push a button.... and wait for the server to play out the combat sequence.  This would turn PvP combat much like some of the RTS have... e.g. Civilization or Endless Space.  How does that sound for CF?

 

Ace had envisioned to break the traditional crafting mold within MMOs, so we've been trying to help define what possible ways this can be done.


> Suddenly, a Nyt appears in the discussion...

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Thing is I'm not sure many agree that crafting HAS to be skill based. I certainly don't. Crafting and by default gathering should be effort and time based. If you put in more effort and more time then your reward will be being able to make better products and getting a reputation among fellow players.

 

The thing about SWG that made its crafting system so revered and remembered as one of the best to this day wasn't the actual part of making something, it was everything else around it. It was mainly the gathering process of mats that really made the system what it was.

 

I think it kind of does, though. To some extent. To accomplish the whole crafter distinguishment thing. I'm sorry, but as great as robust resource systems are, they don't distinguish crafters. Imagine how disgruntled fighters would be if gear were the distinguishing factor between fighter-types. "Oh, that guy's really great because he wears the best stuff!"

 

And no one's asking to make it 100% skill-based. Like, if you sneeze while crafting, you waste all your Legendite and fail that sword. horribly.

 

This is just a prototype minigame that he made. He's not going to make the whole, ready-for-Crowfall minigame in his spare time. But, this concept could easily be adjusted. For one thing, you could allow some random variance for the goals, so that you didn't need the exact same amount of heat-adjustment every time (like Cocteau said in his OP, he could adjust things like the forge fire decay with RNG, so that it's not static).

 

And the thing that made SWG so revered wasn't the fact that player skill had no impact on the crafting process. It was that the crafting preparation and resources system was super intense and involved. Which is great. As has been said a billion times already, these two things are not mutually exclusive. You can have amazingly awesome resources and formulation to work with, AND still get to actually do more than click "Please make a good weapon and not a failure" every time you want to make something.

 

Crafters are called crafters, not "crafting logistics supervisors." So, isn't it about time we actually got to craft, and not just have that represented by a dice roll? In a practical, simple way, that is.

 

Here's another possibility I propose: Maybe you can do more than a single cycle on a given item. What I mean is, if you come out with a low-quality blade, you could maybe reheat it, rehammer it, and re-quench it, to come out with a bit better item. But, the longer you spent working the same item, the lower the maximum potential quality would sink, AND the more resources you would use. Something like that. And your character's Blacksmith skill (for example) could determine how much reworking you could do to any given item (depending on the materials you're working with, etc.).

 

No one wants a way to override the awesome, complex SWG resource system with a silly minigame that lets you win every time. We just want crafting things to be more fun than "click... awwww! Click... YAY!" Click.... awwwww... click... yayyyy!" I want to have fun making even a low-quality item, dammit! The result of the item being created shouldn't be the only enjoyable part of the crafting process.

Edited by Lephys

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Well if i have to chose between RNG and a mini-game, I'll take RNG. At least RNG makes sense to the system of crafting then some kind of twitch based quick time event to determine a craft. Because in RNG I can put in effort to reduce a failure chance, but with a mini-game you get a bad lag spike or something and you fail.

Edited by pang

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Because in RNG I can put in effort to reduce a failure chance, but with a mini-game you get a bad lag spike or something and you fail.

 

So true. It would suck to have something completely beyond your control determine your failure. Oh, wait...

 

:)

 

Seriously now. I get it, I really do. But, you can't keep comparing isolated things to other isolated things as if that's how the whole system will be. "Twitch" based? really? Have you even played Cocteau's minigame? You hammer 7 times. If you FUBAR one hammering, your overall hammering is still pretty darned good. You don't start the hammer power bar until you press the button in the first place. Not only that, but it could easily be adjusted so that the bar hits the top, then starts over at the bottom. Or, if you hold it too long, it just resets, and you have to press SPACE again to start an actual hammering.

 

I don't think people realize what "twitch" means anymore. Using the going connotation, crossing the street is twitch-based. "I have to look around to make sure cars aren't coming, then casually stroll across the street? OMG, TWITCH TIMING!" Like you've got to blink-strike across the street or something. Jeez. If heating a blade in a forge and having to press SPACE to pull it out is twitch-based, then heating up a meal in the microwave is twitch-based.

 

Besides. The active-crafting design can pretty much work the RNG in. Due to limitations in human capability, you're never going to get the EXACT same forge heat every time, nor maintain it perfectly every time. Sometimes you'll be a little too hot. Sometimes a little too cold. So, some percentage of the time, you'll get a perfect sword. Some percentage of the time, you'll get a high quality... some % average, some % low, etc. That's basically RNG, only it's natural. It's the thing RNG is meant to simulate. Sometimes you get "lucky," because in your guessing, you estimate the perfect forge temperature, and/or just-so happen to keep the forge at the right temperature the whole time, and/or leave the blade in the fire for just the right amount of time, etc. RNG isn't needed when you no longer need to simulate luck/fluctuation in activity, because you're doing the actual activity with your own skill and effort.


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Well if i have to chose between RNG and a mini-game, I'll take RNG. At least RNG makes sense to the system of crafting then some kind of twitch based quick time event to determine a craft. Because in RNG I can put in effort to reduce a failure chance, but with a mini-game you get a bad lag spike or something and you fail.

 

lol.. you must love lag in skill based PvP combat.


> Suddenly, a Nyt appears in the discussion...

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Combat lag = Crafting mini-games = Wasting rare resources from RNG fails

 

The only difference is that Developers try to reduce Lag in combat with better programming.

 

Please, ACE, try to code CF without any of the above.


I think the K-Mart of MMO's already exists!  And it ain't us!   :)

 

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I think too many people have grown too accustomed to the crafting "status quot" of it being a secondary role/profession to combat and should be a simple button push with little effort.  They're having difficulty in envisioning an alternate system where crafting is a primary role and require skill and time like other primary roles (e.g. tanking, dps, or healing).  They want to retain the focus on being the ultimate fighter during the day and master crafter while on break... all with the same character.

Edited by Nyt

> Suddenly, a Nyt appears in the discussion...

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"status quot"

 

Is that the same thing as "status quo" plus a nice cup of tea?


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