CRAFTING IN GAMES

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How do you all feel about crafting in games?
Personally I was never a fan. The few games that had crafting always annoyed me because I felt they were too intuitive and random.
But recently while playing Zelda BOTW I was introduced to its cooking mechanics which are basically a crafting system and you know what it actually works. I find it very intuitive. So these days I am in favor of crafting as long as its done in an easy to understand way.
Mirak
Stand back. Artist at work. I paint with enthusiasm if not with talent.
8823
The only crafting i found enjoyable was minecraft's.
I haven't yet played Minecraft partly because I worry I'd get addicted and for other reasons. I might play it one day though I've seen videos and it looks fun.
I played a short demo of a minecraft clone but it was a short demo so I didn't craft much.
I like crafting in games as long as it's not tedious and there's no annoying wait time (a la DQ8).
LockeZ
I'd really like to get rid of LockeZ. His play style is way too unpredictable. He's always like this too. If he ran a country, he'd just kill and imprison people at random until crime stopped.
5478
Maybe nobody likes crafting systems, and the entire video game industry has just been playing a fast one on us for the last ten years.
The thing about crafting is that it's so great in concept. The idea of MacGyvering together stuff to make more awesome stuff is an appealing one. The problem is that what it usually amounts to is good old hoarding. A player feels compelled to pick up every single little thing just in case it's an important crafting ingredient. And even if I know it's not an important crafting ingredient I will still pick it up. (my chests full of dirt in minecraft can attest to this)

I think this is why a lot of games want to have crafting in them because on paper it seems like such an awesome idea. And there's a bit of the zombie thing there. The idea that a lot of people think that "they" will finally get it right. Well Minecraftalikes are decent since they are often all about the crafting. Looking for materials and whatnots. But in games where crafting is just another part of the whole it's usually unnecessarily fiddly and usually not worth the effort. Cracking that nut could probably be quite a goldmine. Possibly.
Dragon Warrior Builders has a use for that chest full of dirt! You can convert certain wall/floor tiles into cladding/flooring, a consumable that converts dirt around you into the appropriate wall/floor tile. It's incredibly efficient to use all that dirt, make a house, make some floor/wall tiles and convert it to cladding, and just convert the dirt into the appropriate floor/wall tile.


My experience with crafting systems is that nine times out of ten it's a shop where the cash is a horrible grind to obtain and the UI is overwhelming garbage and the output is predetermined. My favorite example of a disastrous crafting system is the Tactics Ogre PSP remake. It starts inoffensive enough, buy base materials, convert into intermediary materials, craft into some weapon+1. There's the potential for problems, like you can only craft one thing at a time so if you need two iron ingots you gotta make them in two crafts including a seconds-long crafting animation of a pot lid moving. There's also the suspicious craft success chance which early on is always 100%. Surely it can't get all bad, right?

Over the course of the game crafting better gear starts to require bigger crafting trees. Here is my quick and dirty example: The Damasc Sword + 1! It's a lv19 weapon, I don't think it's endgame but probably late-midgame (it's been ages since I've played the game). Here's what a player needs to craft one:

Damasc Sword +1
1x Regular Damasc Sword. You can buy these
1x Steel Ingot
1x Wootz Steel
1x Baobawood Wood

All of these are intermediary materials, what does it take to craft them?

Baobawood Wood
3x Logs (base material which you can just buy so this isn't bad)

Steel Ingot
2x Iron Ingots
1x Graphite

Iron Ingot
3x Iron Ore

Iron Ore
2x Inferior Ore (base material)

Graphite
1x Inferior Ore (base material)

10 crafts for a steel ingot (1 graphite, 6 iron ore, then 2 iron ingots, then +1 for the steel ingot itself) then the steel ingot) and baoba wood (1 craft), already getting obnoxious, but what about that Wootz Steel?

Wootz Steel
2x Baldur Ingot
2x Steel Ingot

That's 20 crafts just for the 2x Steel Ingots. That's a pain, what about the baldur ingot?

Baldur Ingot
1x Baldur Ore
1x Krystellos Ore
1x Silver Ingot

And breaking this down again to:

Krystellos Ore
1x Baldur Ore

Baldur Ore
2x Inferior Ore (base material)

Silver Ingot
3x Silver Ore

Silver Ore
2x Inferior Ore (base material)

So that's 4 crafts for a silver ingot, 2 crafts for the krystellos ore, and 1 craft for the baldur ore, +1 to actually craft the damn ingot for a total of 8 crafts. All this to craft our Wootz Steel, which we need two of these. Let's review!
Wootz Steel
2x Baldur Ingot8 crafts each
2x Steel Ingot10 crafts each
For a total of 37 (don't forget +1 for making the steel itself) crafts! What were we crafting with this thing anyways? Our Damasc Sword +1:

Damasc Sword +1
1x Regular Damasc Sword0 crafts
1x Steel Ingot10 crafts
1x Wootz Steel37 crafts
1x Baobawood Wood1 craft

It takes 49 fucking crafts to make this thing and a ton of inferior ores. This isn't even the worst weapon, a few levels above it are Damasc Claws that need two of those 37 craft Wootz Steels. I didn't include a fail chance either, I don't remember when they showed up (although this being a mid-late game weapon it'd probably be on the final craft or wootz steel) that any sane player would savescum through after spending 10 minutes working their way up. iirc Jewelry is far worse with crafting trees and fail chances too.


I was gonna post about ff14's crafting minigame and my own thoughts but true to TO crafting style this took forever so I'll post again later maybe.

e: also want to say this is for one weapon in a tactics RPG with big parties (10 per map iirc?) and multiple classes that use different types of gear. However bad this is "there is always more and it is always worse" holds true here just though sheer volume if crafting one didn't break your soul.
Honestly, my favorite crafting systems are the ones that give you an incentive to keep your own weapons around, and upgrade them with a small pool of obtainable materials. Tales of Symphonia comes to mind, because it wasn't in the way and you weren't picking up dozens of different materials.

But if a game dumps 99 rocks, twigs, and animal skins in my inventory within the first few hours for no real reason, I just get aggravated.
Personally, I think crafting systems are at their best when its a way to improve player choice. If you have X, Y, and Z materials, which can craft A, B, or C, and you find A and B, it lets you craft C. Its a great way to include random drops, but also include methods to reduce the randomness.

I play a lot of Granblue Fantasy, and while they aren't pure 'crafting' systems, they follow the same concepts for a lot of things, turning various items into upgrades or items from events. If you need a new earth summon, you can turn the event items in for the event summon, but if you don't, you can turn them in for character upgrade items, or exp items, or skill ups, etc. The only difference between that and a crafting system is there's no 'hammering item into new thing'.
Marrend
Guardian of the Description Thread
20053
Probably what I dislike most about crafting systems is that there's always, without fail, some way to make the player grind for the materials. So, like, while I like the idea of Vagrant Story's crafting system where you take what equipment you have and make better equipment with it, there's also no way to buy equipment in that game. What equipment you do get is based on what you find in chests (which is sometimes hard-coded, sometimes random) and what enemies drop, assuming they even have equipment to drop!

I dunno. I guess I feel, as a player, that it's a waste of my time. I'd rather just straight-up buy equipment, or use something like Suikoden's sharpening system.

Or hack equipment via cheat codes 'cause I'm like that.
Apart from Minecraft, I never liked crafting systems. I see crafting items the same as buying them from a store, except 1000x less convenient. Just give me what I need and let me get on with the game.

In Minecraft, it works, because first, there are no shops. Also, the interface is super easy to use - unlike some of those games that have menus within menus within menus within menus and require you to scroll like 10KM down through a list of useless items or recipes just to get what you need (Guild Wars 2 comes to mind). Gathering items is one of the core gameplay aspects of the game, and it's fun to do because it also alters the landscape (not just press E to pick respawning herbs or whatever from the same spot every few hours), so whatever you take has a lasting impact on your surroundings. Crafting not only gives you tools that you need to survive, but you can also use it make nice build materials to upgrade the look of your house and make it look really fancy by using rare materials.
If crafting is optional (as in, an alternative to buying things), increases player choice with a wider range of options, and doesn't require grinding, sure, I'm all for it. Some games do manage to pull this off and turn crafting into a fun side thing that the player can mess around with.

A lot of people say "I don't like crafting systems" but I've never really seen that in practice when people actually talk about games they play. If crafting is done right, it's just another system of a game that they already enjoy. Rather, crafting is one of those things if done poorly is really noticeable.

GRG already brought up Tactics Ogre (PSP) where crafting is fucking awful. But with some pretty simple design changes, it could have been an awesome way to snag alternative gear.
InfectionFiles
the world ends in whatever my makerscore currently is
4640
Fallout 3 and New Vegas crafting comes to mind. It just really isn't needed and really is only an extra to fun and powerful weapons. But ultimately not needed. It's there if you want to fuck with it but doesn't hinder anything. Which I like as a good medium to a crafting system.

edit: Fled in before me, but I believe we are on the same page. :)
author=InfectionFiles
Fallout 3 and New Vegas crafting comes to mind. It just really isn't needed and really is only an extra to fun and powerful weapons. But ultimately not needed. It's there if you want to fuck with it but doesn't hinder anything. Which I like as a good medium to a crafting system.

edit: Fled in before me, but I believe we are on the same page. :)

New Vegas in particular is an excellent example of what I mean. The crafting/cooking/etc in that game is unobtrusive, uncomplicated, and ultimately just just an addition for an enterprising player to take advantage of for extra resources and bonuses, especially in higher difficulties. It's helpful without being too weighty in any respect.

But it's ultimately not necessary to progress through the game, but it's helpful and not annoying if you do decide to dabble in it. It works well, and therefore it's unnoticed. I sincerely doubt there's a person in real ass life stomping around, shouting obscenities about New Vegas' crafting system.
Craze
i bet she's a diva with a potion popping problem
13829
i will participate in this in a more elucidating capacity this weekend but for now

GRS
the Tactics Ogre PSP remake


is literally the worst crafting system in any game and i am glad it was brought up

GRS can you please talk about the time you tried to play odin sphere but you accidentally failed the crafting system tutorial
h


how do you remember that

(iirc my inventory was full, game gave it a material in a craft that I had to do, but I automatically dropped it due to inventory, and I couldn't find out how to / couldn't drop an item in order to pick up the material and do the craft and progress the game. This was a million years ago during the PS2 era though so the details are super fuzzy. After that and hearing about how laggy the game got I binned the game)


To apologize to craze for missing his post for ages I'll try a serious post. Thinking about FF14 crafting (it's basically a minigame that you repeat a million times) pisses me off but it's a lot more detailed and I never got into the expansion crafting so I'll refrain again. Instead I'll talk about a crafting system I didn't hate: Fire Emblem! It's actually pretty simple: You take a base item and throw gold at it to improve the stats of your choosing. Also you can rename the weapon.

It's the basis of what I think I'd like. Instead of just a shop there's some actual player choice and customization which to me is an important part of crafting. I know it isn't easy to balance but making something is all about somebody making something that they want, not just picking what hamburger combo they want at the drive through. Being able to name it what you want is good for this too for similar reasons. Gold as the universal currency is good too, there's no looking up obscure materials or grinding snotmonsters for x30 gooey ichors you need to make the Dingleberry Rod. Basically it has customization and it's streamlined without dumb grindy components to it.


Personally if I was making a crafting system for a game I'd use the above as a starting point. My change would be adding materials again but from a different angle. Crafted gear would start with the type of gear you're making and the base material which affects its base stats. Steel Sword is better than Iron Sword, for example. Base materials are either just a gold offset or quest rewards. The Iron Sword is just 500 GP because you have ∞ Iron, or because you did the Orcs in the Mine sidequest you have 1 Steel you can use + 600 GP to make a Steel Sword. Non-infinite base materials can be reclaimed so you can get your steel back if you find Steel Nunchuks would serve you better. Later story/side quests would simply make earlier base materials infinite so juggling steel isn't necessary when it becomes irrelevant.

Each piece of gear would also have slots in it that you can throw gold or upgrade materials into to further customize and improve them. Gold upgrades would be more basic, putting an upgrade material into gear would be for more unique effects. You can increase the crit chance of the Steel Nunchuks by 10% for +500 GP or add Reduce All Cooldowns by 1 Turn on Basic Attack by adding the Tower Lord's Gem to it. Upgrade materials would be handled almost the same way as base materials: Rewards from side quests or other related content and reclaimable as needed. Just probably no infinite Tower Lord's Gems.

Also naming. Naming is still super important. Just no RNG, no grinding, no time sinks, everything is plain and laid out. Do side quests to get what you need to make your Magic Murder Stick.


e: Also fuck The Way of the Samurai 4 crafting system. See, you can make your kewl samurai swords and spears from three base materials: A blade, hilt, and grip. There's some details about the blade, it's damage and size, but the real crick in the dick about it is when you want to add abilities to a weapon. Each of the three parts of a weapon can have three slots with words in them, like for example. The names are an ability you can add to a weapon, but _only_ if each of the three parts has the ability ordered to make a vertical or diagonal line. Life & Death is super fucking good in that game (stacking HP regen when standing still, eating takes time when you can't defend yourself and there's an inventory limit too) so to get that you need to get a blade, hilt, and grip that has a vertical line of L&D or a diagonal across all three, like:

[L&D] [???] [???] - Blade
[???] [L&D] [???] - Hilt
[???] [???] [L&D] - Grip
Now the odds of getting this shit is shit. There's quite a few abilities that are trash or just blank, and you need to get them all to line up. If the L&D on the grip and hilt of those two were swapped you wouldn't get shit.

To make a L&D sword one solution is to collect a shitton of them by killing a ton of dudes and getting their weapons and taking them to the blacksmith to disassemble them into their parts and praying the RNG was kind. It's boring and it takes forever. It doesn't help that L&D is the only ability worth a shit, nobody is going to care when they can make it so when you throw your sword away it does a bit more damage to Samurai#30 when there's another 70 to kill. Fuck RNG.

(but you get to name your swords so +1 there)


e2: i have many strong thoughts about crafting in video games
Like with anything that forces me to browse menus and selecting options instead of having an adventure, I don't like it.
Crafting is just a fetch quest with the middle man cut out. It's a useful tool, but if you're entire game is just crafting, then you have an entire game of fetch quests. You need to find a balance.
The Atelier series seems to do just fine being all-crafting. Sure, there's battles too, and a story, but the main component is the crafting.
Guess I haven't played any of that series. I'll have to give it a look.
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