Inactive Crafting

Discussion in 'Suggestions' started by ironchefpython, Apr 17, 2012.

  1. Cervator edit 2015: Moved to Suggestions as inactive. We have multiple crafting systems, either at the idea stage, working, or even used to work, so the threads are getting a bit messy
    Cervator edit: Moved to Incubator, added header, renamed thread - old name was specific to the over/under system proposed here by ironchefpython

    Skaldarnar edit: Updated header: Changed curator to Adeon as main contact person. Changed phase to "Implemenation/Maintenance". Added some information to the summary field.

    Name: Crafting System
    Summary: A module that provides a crafting feature to create (new) things in-game. The creation process is based on recipes.
    Scope: Core Content / Module
    Current Goal: Maintenance and bug fixing.
    Phase: Implementation/Maintenance
    Curator: Adeon (started by ironchefpython)
    Related: TerraFirmaCraft as a good example of where we might want to go more than vanilla MC, Wiki Page

    ==> Crafting System Video and explanations by Adeon

    So I've been spending some time thinking about how to create a unique crafting system, one that isn't completely derivative of the system used in Minecraft, yet still retained some of the feel of creating items by manipulating very basic raw materials.

    It should also be easy to describe the "recipes" for this crafting system, to make it easy for people to modify and communicate recipes.

    So, without further ado, here is my idea, which I am nicknaming "over-under"

    Let's say you wanted to make a high quality "pickaxe". It is made from metal (for the head), wood (for the handle) and leather (to wrap the handle). To make a handle you need cut leather into strips, and then you need to cut wood into the proper shape, and wrap the handle with the leather strips. To make the head, you need to take metal ingots, heat them on the forge, hammer them into shape. Then you assemble the handle and head together, and voila!, you have a pickaxe.

    The crafting area would be in the shape of a plus sign, with a cubbyhole in the center that starts active, and up to 4 other cubbies (above, below, and to the left and right) that may appear when an item or resource is placed in the center. When an item is placed in any of the cubbies, the empty cubbies disappear the two cubbies with items will combine, and up to 4 new cubbies will appear around the combination. There will be an output cubbyhole where the results of the crafting can be pulled out of. All of the blocks within interaction distance would also be visible on the crating screen, such as a forge, anvil, water, etc.

    The way you make leather strips is to put leather in the central cubbyhole in the crafting area. Then you place a tool that can cut fabric (a knife or shears or scissors) in the cubbyhole above the leather. At that point, you would be able to extract leather strips from the "output". Thus the recipe for leather strips is "leather under cut".

    The way you make a wooden handle is to take a block of wood, and place it in the crafting area. You then place an item that can shear wood (an axe or saw) above the wood. When the shear item and the wood combine (making wood slabs), you then place the shear item above the combined creating items to create wood planes. You then put the shear item below the combined items to create planks, and then again you place the shear item below the combined items to create rods. You then take one rod from the crafting output and place it to the left of the current combined items, and you have a handle. Thus the recipe for wooden handle handle is "wood under shear under shear over shear over shear as rod by rod".

    The way you make a pickaxe head, is "ingot over forge under hammer under hammer as spike by ingot by spike"

    Thus the final recipe for a pickaxe would be written as: "leather under cut with wood under shear under shear over shear over shear as rod by rod with ingot over forge under hammer under hammer as spike by ingot by spike".

    Here are a sequence of UI wireframes as each item is added to the crafting UI, and the final view







    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 6, 2015
  2. woodspeople

    woodspeople Member

    1. Do I understand this right in that things placed OVER cut and things placed UNDER combine? Or is that an illusion? I like the idea of over/under placement but it would be easier to remember if it meant something. It seems like separating/uniting is a simple and universal distinction. Kind of yin/yang.

    2. When you make a recipe to cook, you don't just place things in juxtaposition, you DO something to them. So the crafting equivalent should include both putting things together and choosing what ACTION or TOOL is used on the combination. For example, if you are making say cake you might BEAT the eggs, then CREAM the butter and sugar and eggs together, then SIFT the flour and salt and baking soda, then MIX the whole thing, then BAKE it. With a tool you might HEAT then HAMMER the metal then then CUT the wood then WRAP straps around something then AFFIX screws or whatever. (Obviously I know the cake example better...) You seem to have been thinking in a similar way about the actions being more than just putting things in position? Because you mention tools being in it? I like that part.

    3. Need a different word than "craft". Construct, build, fabricate, fashion? Do you know, manufacture used to mean "build by hand" - "man" meaning hand (le main)? And early factories were called manufactories because people made things in them with their hands. Also a different word than "recipe" would be good. Plan, design. Or here's another idea, the tech-faction would have different names than the magic-faction: fabricate vs conjure, design vs ritual or convocation. THAT would be cool....

    4. Need balance between interesting/intriguing and confusing/difficult. May be a bit on the too-difficult side? Although a range of difficulty would be VERY cool. Nearly all MC recipes are equally simple - you can imagine a range of designs/rituals from three parts used in one step to thirty parts in ten steps.
  3. Cervator

    Cervator Project Lead and Community Wizard Staff Member

    Yay interesting discussion on crafting! :D

    I can't see the mockups from work... :cry:

    (Will have to save this one for a little later)
  4. I was seeing the over/under distinction as somewhat arbitrary, and used by the person defining the recipe as flavor to make recipes interesting and disambiguate similar patterns.

    So "ingot OVER forge UNDER hammer" alludes to the iron being place on the fire to heat it, and the hammer coming down on top to shape it. If you were casting rather than smithing, you might have a recipe like "ingot over forge over forge over mold", indicating that the ingot is made hot, and then made hotter to melt, and then poured into a mold. If you were stamping, you might do "ingot over forge under mold under hammer", indicating that the mold is placed over the hot metal and hammered to shape.

    When cutting wood, over vs under was indicating a change in cutting direction. "wood under shear" (again, where shear is a saw or ax or sawmill) produces half a block of wood, or a 1 x 1 x 1/2 block slab. "wood under shear under shear" would produce a quarter block of wood, a 1 x 1 x 1/4 block plane. "wood under shear under shear under shear" would produce a eighth block of wood, a 1 x 1 x 1/8 block sheet of wood. However if you make some of those overs, it changes the direction of the cut.

    "wood under shear over shear produces a 1 x 1/2 x 1/2 block column
    "wood under shear over shear under shear produces a 1/2 x 1/2 x 1/2 block corner
    "wood under shear under shear over shear produces a 1 x 1/2 x 1/4 block plank
    "wood under shear under shear over shear over shear produces a 1 x 1/4 x 1/4 block post
    "wood under shear under shear over shear over shear under shear produces a 1/2 x 1/4 x 1/4 block brick
    "wood under shear under shear over shear over shear under shear under shear produces a 1/4 x 1/4 x 1/4 block chunk

    Placing a tool in juxtaposition with a resource is doing something with the tool. Putting resources by or with other resources is mixing or combining them in some way. So the recipe for cake could be: "container under eggs under mix by sugar by butter under mix by flour by salt by baking_soda under mix under bake". Container could be anything from a clay bowl to a metal cake pan, the action "mix" could be provided by a spoon, a whisk, or an electric mixer, and "bake" could be provided by an oven, etc.

    The basic recipes are *very* simple. The first thing you need is some kind of item that provides hammer. So pick up a rock from a gravel block. Now you can work recipes that require blunt impact (or hammer). Now you need to be able to cut. Find some flint. "flint under hammer" gives a basic flint knife, that provides (low quality and slow) "cut" and "shear". Now you can start shaping wood.
  5. Cervator

    Cervator Project Lead and Community Wizard Staff Member

    Rai and Jiri at Lungha. Rai of Lowani. Lowani under two moons. Jiri of Ubaya. Ubaya of crossroads, at Lungha. Lungha, her sky gray

    Sorry, couldn't resist, that "language" was going through my mind reading the complicated recipes :laugh:

    To those uninitiated that's a line from a Star Trek episode with a race speaking in metaphors - "Darmok" - very interesting episode :)

    The way the recipes are written is perfect for computers, and I like it. Very similar to what I was thinking (find blunt object, get hammer action available, upgrade tools for better quality, etc), fleshed out a fair bit more. I especially like the inclusion of tools if they're within range and available for use (within a workshop). That way you can realistically come up with different sets of tools and items that make up a given workshop, without having to hard code exactly what goes exactly where to make a blacksmith's workshop. And it gets you a dynamic yet functional interface.

    And you should be able to flavor it by faction pretty easily, which is also nice. Both in terminology and style of the work area.

    I like!
  6. Thanks. It took me a while to come up with a left-associative, deterministic context-free grammar to represent an extensible two-dimensional crafting metaphor that was evocative of the process for creating real-world 3d objects. While I thought Minecraft's system was simple and compact, I disliked that it was inconvenient to unambiguously communicate recipes as text, and I didn't like the absence of tools, and the limitations of the 3 x 3 crafting square.
  7. woodspeople

    woodspeople Member

    Agree on tools as major improvement. On the over/under thing, I would think it would be hard to remember them if they don't mean anything: and that it is an opportunity to make it more memorable and interesting to have whether you place it over or under mean something memorable and interesting.
  8. Cervator

    Cervator Project Lead and Community Wizard Staff Member

    I suspect we could tweak the UI with some simple pointers. I'm actually very excited about how far we could take such a dynamic approach :)
  9. I'm open to suggestions. Keep in mind if we assign rigorous semantic meaning to over and under, we need a way to disambiguate similar combinations of resource and tool that produce arbitrarily different results. (i.e. does using a saw with a 1 x 1 x 1/2 slab create a 1 x 1 x 1/4 plane or a 1 x 1/2 x 1/2 post?)
  10. woodspeople

    woodspeople Member

    Ah yes the arcane details. Open source means that those who labor and are heavy laden earn the right to make the decisions (not the blatherers in the fora). BTW Cervator Darmok is the 2nd best STNG ever (by such marks are we identified)
  11. Immortius

    Immortius Lead Software Architect Staff Member

    This reminds me of a Business Process' course I went to for work, where a process diagram called an IGOE diagram was introduced. Specifically this diagram was about showing that surrounding a process are Inputs (which are consumed/converted to something new), Outputs (what is produced), Governance (rules that effect what is allowed, such as Health and Safety guidelines) and Enablers (which are used for the process, but not consumed)

    Discarding governance, basically we have materials as inputs, tools as enablers, and the results as outputs. And you chain each "process", taking the outputs from one and using it as the inputs to the next.

    I think this is a solid basic design, and I like it.

    One thought is that as the player makes valid combinations the output could be shown. just a small thing to make it easier to see what is going on.

    Another thought expanding on use of tools, a slightly different system would be to make the tools themselves the central operators. Something like you start with a single slot, put a tool in it and the relevant boxes for that tool appear above and below it. So you might start by dragging adding the anvil, and then a slot will appear above (with a greyed out hammer icon?). Then you add the hammer and the two boxes move apart with a slot appearing between. If we can classify materials into rough types so that we can guide what sort of items work with what tools that may also be nice - an anvil works with reasonably refined metal, but not raw ore or cloth or a basket of eggs.

    Although I could totally see dwarven bread being prepared on an anvil.

    Might lose too much that way though, over the more generic grammar.
  12. Cervator

    Cervator Project Lead and Community Wizard Staff Member

    Can we tie that to the coordinate system?

    A saw cuts a block in half along one axis - x, y, z. Show a mockup of the coordinate system in the UI (add a diagonal line?) and have the user place the saw along the appropriate axis? And work in appropriate terms (height, width, depth)?

    So saw above wood + saw beside wood + saw along wood = 1/4 x 1/4 x 1/4 or something. Probably better terms than that.

    What's your 1st pick? :D
  13. woodspeople

    woodspeople Member

    Inner Light of course. Which is kind of the point of games like this, to live lives within lives :)
  14. dei

    dei Java Priest Staff Member

    Great Idea with this above grammar, although I like Immortius' idea for helping the user find out what's possible.

    With this thing of grammar it could be possible to record some basic recipies (in scrolls or books) to simplify things to input and output and 'use' these recipies as one block with material/Tool-inputs and some material-output for crafting or other recorded recipies.

    This way it also would be possible to employ some bots to fabric basic materials/tools based on the recorded recepie, so later on the player don't loses that much time crafting basic stuff like pickaxes and arrows etc.
  15. eleazzaar

    eleazzaar Member

    Why? It's not as if Minecraft copywriter the term, or even gave it a new meaning. "Crafting" is a common game term long before minecraft came along.

    There's the difficulty and also the time required to get your end-product to consider.

    It took 7 mouse-clicks to make a pickaxe in MC, plus a click and a key press to get in and out of the crafting grid. For me that much started to feel tedious after a while. Because making a pickaxe is just a means to an end-- for me to build/excavate something cool. The act of making a pickaxe in itself isn't rewarding after the first few times when i have the infrastructure in place to graduate to stone, iron and diamond.

    So, no matter how cool your concept for crafting is-- once the players get to the point where they are repeating the same familiar formula to get the desired result, the efficiency of the process is going to be very important, maybe even the most important, element for player satisfaction. It is all well and good that a basic hammer is quick to make, but it's just a tool to make a tool, not a player's end-goal. The whole process up to getting what the player wants needs to be considered in figuring how efficient the crafting model is.

    I'm not saying that crafting should be as simple and basic as minecraft's. I'm just cautioning you to consider very carefully how many steps it will take the player to craft what he wants.
  16. Cervator

    Cervator Project Lead and Community Wizard Staff Member

    On "Craft" - yeah it isn't just minecraft, it is everywhere. I like the idea of using multiple terms appropriate to each activity, some novel or fresher, more than a generic global concept name. Craft could be relevant to one or more of them, but maybe not :)

    As for efficiency in the system - yes and no on making it convenient for players. You hit it on the nail with

    And our solution to that is minions (or helpers, etc, whichever term) - you do it the few times you need it, but then employ others to do it for it so you can go enjoy whatever you prefer. So not super optimizing for player use might hold merit, to encourage the player to move on to manufacturing via minions. Not that it is an obstacle either, it is just detailed content you might only want to consume at that level for a short while.

    You could argue that the game should cater to what the player wants in a situation like that, which might mean super easy crafting (thinking GW2 here - which is just getting silly). I'd say that's a different game mode, like creative/sandbox where the express goal is to simply build something crazy and cool, not so much the activity of progressing to the point where you can do it :)
  17. More than that, because you had to turn timber into planks and planks into sticks. And you always carried wood as timber, because for some reason you can carry 18 cords of wood in a single slot, but only 64 sticks.

    You hit the nail on the head. Minecraft (in my opinion) misses the sweet spot with crafting. It's not interesting enough the first time, and it's too annoying the subsequent times.

    I wanted a system that was more complicated (and hopefully more interesting) than Minecraft's.

    Some of my considerations:

    - Crafting should take time, and by incorporating things like cutting and hammering, we can introduce animations into the crafting process automatically. This is especially important when you have minions, as you want to see them move from table to furnace to forge to anvil, swinging hammers or axes or saws.

    - Making the *first* of any item should be an accomplishment. Making subsequent copies of it should be simple. For example, you could put your damaged or broken pickaxe back into the crafting result cubby, and if you have the materials, when you pull it back out, it will give you a new or repaired one. If you keep pulling pickaxes out of the crafting target cubby after you pull your repaired one out, you continue to make new ones and consume materials. So if you have some extremely complicated recipe, you can put the finished product into the crafting target cubby, and pull out as many as you want.

    - There should be a builtin, searchable recipe list of everything you know how to make. You should be able to filter this list by materials, and by materials owned. You should be able to learn a new recipe by making it the first time, or by having an NPC teach you, or reading it out of a book. Some recipes could be marked "unknown", so you cannot use it in game until you learn it in-game, allowing you to gate crafting progression even if a player looks up all the recipes on a wiki.

    - And of course for a mod that includes minions, you should be relying on your minions for most of your crafting needs.
  18. B!0HAX

    B!0HAX New Member

    The Book & Recipe System was thought & intended for applying that concept.
    Happy to see other people like the idea.

    Once you learn a Recipe fiscally it wouldn't consume, so you can trade with it.
    Maybe some NPC is interested in a specific potion recipe...∞ possibilities....
  19. Cervator

    Cervator Project Lead and Community Wizard Staff Member

    On a semi-related note, did I ever hawk Legend? It had a super neat magic "recipe" system, especially considering it came out in 1992: ... ing_system

    That reminds me of this discussion a fair bit since you were putting together Runes in this case and getting a final product that was the sum of the parts in the order you put them together. There were both directional runes and effect runes, like we have tools and materials. Magicka took a note from that nearly 20 years later with their elemental magic system.

    I've also been talking about it with Stuthulhu, who is not really a fan of involved crafting, especially if the output item isn't sufficiently "substantial" in use and effect vs other products. We've talked about merging materials and tools here to create a product, but what about recipes that just differ by material? Would that risk repetitiveness as you climb materials rather than a tech tree (entirely different objects or ways to create)

    I'm probably wasting that thought as I figure material will really be a side-thought to the layout of the recipe anyway :)

    Also, I realized one of the positional elements earlier might be quirky - namely whether you use position to determine whether you'd cut a piece of wood by the x, y, or z axis - when any of those creates a product you could get from just cutting one way and rotating the block :geek: Might get trickier when you're making a flatter object rather than cutting it in half each time.
  20. eleazzaar

    eleazzaar Member

    Well, that certainly lessens the importance of efficiency -- assuming that your minions can craft stuff without guidance/supervision once you get them started. If not, you are just trading one kind of inefficiency for another.

    On the other, you don't need a slow crafting system to encourage or validate minion craftsmen. If they are competent on their own, having a minion craft something for you is always going to be less work than making it yourself. Assuming its the kind of thing that you will want a lot of, so they are already working on it. Even if it takes fewer clicks, or less time, it may not be more fun to wait for a minion to craft a single item that you just told it to make. That depends on personality.

    To play the devils advocate:
    Seeing the minions work would be cool. But it is not going to be any harder to add steps and animations to the minion's process if those steps aren't used as part of the recipe. It may be easier, because some actions that may be simple on a crafting interface, may not easily translate to a 3D action.

    Even with minecraft's easy crafting, i already feel like it is. The accomplishment is in acquiring the materials, and learning the recipe, and often building a whole infrastructure to get to that point. Making the "learning the recipe" component much more involved may increase the sense of accomplishment for some, but would increase the sense of annoyance for others.

    Here's an important point to consider: Time delay of crafting multiple items.
    With MC you could make 64 or more items instantly (once you set up the recipe). If you can do a similar thing in TS, then the value of minion-crafting labor is much decreased. Presumably they work slowly enough to keep them busy, and can't turn a full chest/stockpile of raw materials into a completed product in seconds. So if it works as you describe, it will always be quicker (usually much, much quicker) for you to make stuff in quantity.

    So do you choose a recipe and *poof!* it's done, or is it just an in-game version of the minecraft wiki?

    If it is the former, then yes, that answers the concern about efficiency, but on the other hand, why go through the trouble of designing a complicated crafting/recipe system, if the player will probably use it only once per item?

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