Author Topic: Brainstorming Inventory: Radical Other Ideas.  (Read 6149 times)

Offline x4000

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Brainstorming Inventory: Radical Other Ideas.
« on: November 28, 2011, 04:55:29 PM »
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Inventory

The less inventory I have in the field (to a point), the more creative I need to be in selecting what I bring with me.  You've already touched on this with the spell ammo concept.  But an important part of making inventory selection interesting is to make the costs interesting.

For example, if I can carry an equal number of 10 types of items and they each solve a different problem, I'll carry an amount of each type proportionate to how often I encounter those problems.  If there are 30 item types each of which solves three problems, I now am burning solutions to two other problems each time I use an item.

Further, if I had extremely limited in carrying capacity for any item I haven't increased my max capacity, things become more complicated and interesting.  Each player is now making decisions based on what he is capable of carrying.  Somewhat similar to the limitation of starting ship types in AI Wars.  Implicit here is you can never max all your item types capacity.  I actually would say to a degree, item types would be similar to ship types in AI Wars, with certain core items being like the triangle ships.

So... how about it?  If we went a bit more toward the survival-horror direction in terms of limited abilities inventory, that could be interesting.  We already have the concepts of different kinds of inventories, so this wouldn't affect ammo inventory (which is already planned to be separate) or commodities inventory (which is already separate, too).  Just thinking here about the main ability bar and the inventory that's related to that.

Right now you can store up to 10 abilities per ability bar, which you can then cycle through.  You can have up to I believe 10 ability bars, which thus lets you have access to up to 100 overall slots.  That's really handy in some respects, but it also makes you a walking armory.  What if we changed the design like this:

1. Instead of 10 slots per ability bar, there would be 14.

2. You can only open your extended inventory at a special armory type building (or whatever similar thing) in settlements or other special locations.  When you are actually out and fighting, you're limited to just those 14 abilities and that's it.

3. With the planned changes to health and mana, healing/mana-restoration spells and potions could be a thing of the past anyhow, meaning that you're using those 14 slots for mobility, lighting, defense, and offense only -- which seems like a pretty fair mix to me.


It's a really radical change in a lot of ways, so I thought this deserved its own thread.  It seems like it could be a really interesting thing.  Thoughts?
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Offline TNSe

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Re: Brainstorming Inventory: Radical Other Ideas.
« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2011, 05:02:37 PM »
Limited inventory games is not something I am very fond of. It was very refreshing to have an "unlimited" inventory system for once.

Offline Baleyg

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Re: Brainstorming Inventory: Radical Other Ideas.
« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2011, 05:34:36 PM »
As much as I enjoy such systems, I don't think it's a good fit for AVWW.  Since the player can freely warp back and forth between chunks, it would just add a few steps to switching your load out.  So I don't think this change would work without reworking the teleport system.  I do not recommend doing that, for the record.

Offline Teal_Blue

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Re: Brainstorming Inventory: Radical Other Ideas.
« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2011, 06:04:52 PM »
At the risk of offending others, i would say that i like the idea of a limited inventory.

As for quick teleports back to settlements?

Well... just a personal thought, but yes it is tedious to travel out and spend a long time coming back. But to be honest, it feels more 'real'. 

And what if i run out of food in the wilderness on the way back? I guess i am saying that having to contend with the environment and not just the monsters i think would be interesting as well.

Just my two cents,

-Teal



Offline tigersfan

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Re: Brainstorming Inventory: Radical Other Ideas.
« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2011, 06:59:15 PM »
At the risk of offending others, i would say that i like the idea of a limited inventory.

As for quick teleports back to settlements?

Well... just a personal thought, but yes it is tedious to travel out and spend a long time coming back. But to be honest, it feels more 'real'. 

And what if i run out of food in the wilderness on the way back? I guess i am saying that having to contend with the environment and not just the monsters i think would be interesting as well.

Just my two cents,

-Teal

While not being able to warp back would be more "real", it would also be more boring. Dreadfully boring, in fact.

Offline x4000

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Re: Brainstorming Inventory: Radical Other Ideas.
« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2011, 07:06:42 PM »
While not being able to warp back would be more "real", it would also be more boring. Dreadfully boring, in fact.

I can confirm that from my own experience with this game in earlier states, actually.  Feeling "less real" with the warp system as it currently stands is something that bugs me, but I've not thought of or seen any other model that meets all the criteria for actually retaining fun gameplay without boring stretches of repetition, so less real is the unfortunate side effect.

In terms of the warp system kind of putting the kibosh on the limited inventory idea, that's a really good point.  Probably the inventory system really does need to stay quasi-unlimited the way it currently is, and the strategic options just need to be built around that premise (which they already have been, so far).  Sometimes it's good to do a sanity check on this sort of thing, though, especially after the game has really evolved a long way.

Much as the idea of a finite inventory in the field attracts me in some ways, I don't think it would be a workable thing for this game.  Link is always a walking armory by the end of Zelda games, too, and that works out quite well.  Or any of the Final Fantasy titles, etc.  Having a lot of strategic options at any given time, ala FF games, can actually really open a lot of interesting doors.  The main problem in this context is that in an action game you have significantly less time to choose between your options.  So in one sense, your inventory during a boss fight IS finite, unless you find a corner to hide in and switch ability bars or rearrange things there.
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Offline FallingStar

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Re: Brainstorming Inventory: Radical Other Ideas.
« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2011, 08:01:04 PM »
I agree that warping back to redo inventory slots makes that particular aspect a bit weak, and I'd worry about hitting enemies that had random resists that I couldn't bust with the 4 spells on my quickbar (or whatever) but I also do like some concept of limitations.

The quickslot bar already feels a bit like equipment slots in most games, and I don't think that's a bad thing.  If anything I would reduce the hot slots (perhaps severely if health mana pots/scrolls are gone) and make mobility spells be required to be in a hotslot to be used.  Could still switch things out on the fly, but would limit what the player could do at any one given time.  If I only had 4-5 slots, picking my spells and if I want a shield or a double jump or a dash, or a scroll spell/ light/ trap/ whatever could be a lot more interesting (perhaps scrolls useable anywhere in inventory to make light spells less annoying).  Especially if combos come into play and if I need to mix and match on a very limited bar, choosing those bonuses for combos vs having utility . . .just thinking aloud now.

But AVWW  already has some built in systems to reduce the feeling of having everything at once - namely spell tiers--and once more spells are fleshed out the time to gather mats vs out leveling what you craft will likely mean focusing on several spells/spell lines down the road . . or so I'd imagine.

Ultimately I do think that locking the player down a bit more will be good long term, needing to decide between mobility and ranged DPS or shield spells and melee . . .that sort of thing feels interesting.  Maybe crests will do it, or balancing in gem availability vs crafting recipes, or maybe the limited hotslot idea.  But I suppose the idea of having different playstyles and choosing to do one or two things well is a lot more appealing than doing all things at once.


Offline Bluddy

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Re: Brainstorming Inventory: Radical Other Ideas.
« Reply #7 on: November 28, 2011, 09:18:04 PM »
I think limited inventory would work really well with another idea. I know you didn't like the idea of timed turns, though I think that still has potential. How about making it such that every time you enter a settlement, a turn advances? From a narrative perspective, going back to a settlement is equivalent to resting between expeditions. You're welcomed home, you get to sleep and catch up with the NPCs, and time passes.

You get to make all strategic decisions during this visit (ie. no turn is lost), and every outing becomes an expedition where you have to consider what to take with you. You then have to consider (given limited inventory): What do I take with me for this expedition? What am I planning on doing out there? What do I really need to do before the next turn?

I think this connects the action and strategy elements in a really good way.

Offline x4000

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Re: Brainstorming Inventory: Radical Other Ideas.
« Reply #8 on: November 28, 2011, 10:02:23 PM »
Problem is, that breaks down completely when you go to multiplayer; players need to be able to individually leave and enter settlements at will.  Not only that, but a server needs to be able to stay up and running whether or not people are doing anything productive in it, much as an FPS server does.  This is part of why there absolutely cannot be any automatic passage of strategic time, aside from the fact that it puts an onus on players to play the strategic part of the game when they might prefer to do more adventuring, or vice-versa.

The separate strategic and action parts (where you can do each for as long as you want independently of the other without ill consequences in the neglected side), but where the strategic and action side enrich one another if you choose to play both of them, is one of my and Keith's core design goals for the game.  I really don't think there's any way that auto-incrementing strategic turns would ever fit with that, or with multiplayer.  Part of the reason for no auto-incrementing turns is that this isn't an RTS game, it's a TBS game.  Having time pressure to do something before something else happens is absolutely counter to where I'd want to take this.

You're right that making it so that only having it auto-increment when you go back to settlements would handle most of those complaints, except multiplayer would be badly broken by that, but even in solo play that would lead to some undesirable consequences.  Having to avoid town when you're low on supplies or just need to craft something new, because there's something bad that will happen when the turn auto-increments, creates a really unpleasant situation and I think that would be extremely common.  Especially once there are multiple settlements, or other things of that nature.

It's not that I don't think that could be a good game, but the decision to add time pressure to the game is something rather major that would affect all other aspects of the game, and it's really counter to the general feel we're going for.
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Offline Hearteater

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Re: Brainstorming Inventory: Radical Other Ideas.
« Reply #9 on: November 28, 2011, 10:31:34 PM »
To make the limited inventory work, you'd really need to use a system something like the Unlocking Chunk Warps I also mention in that post.  As long as there is a series of chunks (maybe 3-5) that a player needs to complete with one load-out of inventory and warping back to town requires him to restart that chunk, then it could work.

To simplify, you could even make it in most areas you have full access to your inventory, but in "locked" areas you get only the first few rows and the rest is grayed out.  You never actually need to get back to town, just outside the locked chunks and you are free to drag whatever you need down into those first few rows of personal inventory.

Offline x4000

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Re: Brainstorming Inventory: Radical Other Ideas.
« Reply #10 on: November 28, 2011, 10:57:14 PM »
It could be that the locked inventory thing isn't a global condition, but rather something local to some specific areas.  Basically that inventory continues to work as now, but when you go into some special kinds of zones it would lock your inventory to just your current bar and would also prevent you from warping in or out.  That could be an interesting variant on the standard game mechanics, and something that only shows up in some optional sections of certain regions, presumably leading to some special challenges and rewards.
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Offline Martyn van Buren

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Re: Brainstorming Inventory: Radical Other Ideas.
« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2011, 11:16:09 PM »
The quickslot bar already feels a bit like equipment slots in most games, and I don't think that's a bad thing.  If anything I would reduce the hot slots (perhaps severely if health mana pots/scrolls are gone) and make mobility spells be required to be in a hotslot to be used.  Could still switch things out on the fly, but would limit what the player could do at any one given time.  If I only had 4-5 slots, picking my spells and if I want a shield or a double jump or a dash, or a scroll spell/ light/ trap/ whatever could be a lot more interesting (perhaps scrolls useable anywhere in inventory to make light spells less annoying). 

I think this might actually make some sense .  Even tho you can you switch up your inventory with no penalty --- tho this could be disallowed except when you're in the new-room invincibility state, or when there's an enemy on screen --- I find I tend to spend a lot of time thinking about my quickslot bar.  It probably could be shorter now, and that would make this feel more like an issue.

Offline zebramatt

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Re: Brainstorming Inventory: Radical Other Ideas.
« Reply #12 on: November 29, 2011, 10:11:51 AM »
Personally I'd prefer a less free format approach to equipping types of spell - a slot for defensive stuff, a slot for mobility stuff, a slot for your main attack, a slot for your secondary, etc., etc. - and allow unlocks of greater capacity, ability to switch to different sets for specific slot groups only... that sort of thing.

A less MMO style, and more hack-n-slash / action RPG style, approach as it were.

But I presently get the impression I'm in the minority there!

Offline Hearteater

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Re: Brainstorming Inventory: Radical Other Ideas.
« Reply #13 on: November 29, 2011, 11:16:18 AM »
You are not the only one.  Limitations and restrictions done carefully can enhance a system.  A fully free-form system isn't really as open as it appears since some combinations aren't viable generally viable.  I don't know if spell type slots is needed, but it isn't a bad idea.  Reminds me of Final Fantasy Tactics in a way.

Offline Bluddy

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Re: Brainstorming Inventory: Radical Other Ideas.
« Reply #14 on: November 29, 2011, 12:46:52 PM »
Problem is, that breaks down completely when you go to multiplayer;
...
The separate strategic and action parts (where you can do each for as long as you want independently of the other without ill consequences in the neglected side), but where the strategic and action side enrich one another if you choose to play both of them, is one of my and Keith's core design goals for the game.  I really don't think there's any way that auto-incrementing strategic turns would ever fit with that, or with multiplayer.  Part of the reason for no auto-incrementing turns is that this isn't an RTS game, it's a TBS game.  Having time pressure to do something before something else happens is absolutely counter to where I'd want to take this.

You're right that making it so that only having it auto-increment when you go back to settlements would handle most of those complaints, except multiplayer would be badly broken by that, but even in solo play that would lead to some undesirable consequences.  Having to avoid town when you're low on supplies or just need to craft something new, because there's something bad that will happen when the turn auto-increments, creates a really unpleasant situation and I think that would be extremely common.
...

I hear what you're saying. My issue is that I don't see (in the current iteration) much synergy between the action and strategy parts. I think that a blend of genres needs to be justified in the sense that it needs to be more than the sum of its parts. Otherwise, separate the blend into 2 games where each could be better on its own. For example, the turn-based strategy in the game isn't really turn based. In a turn based game, the turns are your minimal time unit. So when a monster is next to a town, you better have some strategy to deal with that in the turn based realm because there's nothing else. The tension builds up over turns for that very reason. But in the current version, when a monster approaches the town, you have infinite chances outside of the turn-based space to eliminate said monster. Reacting to said monster is equivalent to a chore.

I really like the connection you made between exploration and the turn based game, since that connects the 2 parts in a way that enriches both: if I want to explore further, I need to move ahead in the turn-based game. The turn-based game gets a reason for you to play it (finish turns) and face the consequences of playing it (monsters, attacks, resource usage etc) and the action part gets new, interesting challenges as a result. However, if there's no feedback ie. if there's nothing within the action realm that will cause the turn-based game to advance, then all the turn-based game is doing is setting up static situations for the action parts to deal with. Within the action part, you can try as many times as you want to defeat the challenges set up in the turn-based part. The turn-based part then loses all tension, and the action part becomes a repeated loop.

I think it makes a lot of sense that going to craft stuff or heal fully will start a new turn. You're getting something you need, so there's a cost involved in terms of time. You can think of it as making the turn-based game more realtime, or alternatively, as putting the action into the turn-based realm. Each 'turn' then involves an expedition out into the world. More importantly, it makes the turn-based game relevant and intertwined with the choices of the player. Rather than seeing it as unpleasant, I see it as creating choices.

I think the critical point here is that it shouldn't be unpleasant because once the turn-based game becomes relevant, you're not going to try to fight a bunch of approaching monsters when they're right next to the town. That's something you'd never do in a turn based game because you'd know that you're not leaving yourself enough strategic depth to deal with the monsters in case you lose. It is something that's currently done in the game though, because the strategy isn't very relevant. What you'd do instead is go out there and try to nip it in the bud as early as you can (or as is reasonable) knowing that you need to leave yourself room to go back to town and heal perhaps several times, which could take a couple of turns.

I'm not sure what the plans for multiplayer are, but there are probably ways to translate this dynamic into multiplayer. For example, you could make it such that a turn advances every X visits to the towns, where X is the number of players. Alternatively, you could have it be such that if one player visits the town, all other players can have a chance to access the town's resources via that one player. It simplifies the alternative, which is one player taking gems from other players, then going to a town to craft it for them, and finally delivering the results to those players. Instead, each player gets a direct instant link to spell crafting.

BTW another idea (in general) is to enable you to visit each town once per turn. This creates a big incentive to find more towns.