Author Topic: Will Arcen ever make a Crafting/Building game?  (Read 7556 times)

Offline Cyborg

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Re: Will Arcen ever make a Crafting/Building game?
« Reply #30 on: May 03, 2015, 10:00:12 PM »
I don't really like most crafting/exploring games. Minecraft is okay because you can create things from your own imagination out of the basic building blocks you get from crafting. Other crafting titles don't come near as close because it devolves into an arbitrary timesink by the developer to gate content. Collect three of these, collect ten of those, make five of these, and then we will let you see the next part of the game. Takes too long, and I have too many other games for that to keep my interest. Doesn't work anymore in 2015.


I should add, the best games I know are the ones that make you forget that you are at the beginning of the game. They are the games that weave fun into the very game itself so it doesn't feel like work. World of Warcraft did crafting way before minecraft, and you may remember the work ethic by which people would collect reagents for crafting. Hordes of players would descend like locusts upon very small areas to farm pieces of whatever. You would see races to the spawn points for ore. Honestly, it wasn't fun, but we did it because it was the gateway to the next part of the game, and you didn't want to be left behind. Riches were promised around the next corner, and your guild was anxiously awaiting more players for molten core. And not just more players, well-equipped players!


Crafting can be miserable, and I can't say I'm all that excited about a crafting title because of the bad memories. But, seeing as this is an arcen title, I'm sure there will be some intelligent twist and bringing out the fun from what has been a fairly traumatic history for crafting games.



« Last Edit: May 03, 2015, 10:06:19 PM by Cyborg »
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Offline wwwhhattt

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Re: Will Arcen ever make a Crafting/Building game?
« Reply #31 on: May 04, 2015, 06:21:10 AM »
It's not not really a SHMUP at all anymore, heh.
Is the SHMUP base from TLF still there, or has that been left behind once more, waiting for the next game to grow up and leave it?

Offline MaskityMask

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Re: Will Arcen ever make a Crafting/Building game?
« Reply #32 on: May 05, 2015, 02:53:54 AM »
I dunno, Metroid style games are great exploration games and they are 2d :p

Anyhoo, I can't really talk about crafting much since I actually dislike crafting in all games even though I do like some crafting games, like Terraria for example <_< I just feel it makes things blander since things you craft are probably better than items you find and it just feels bizarre to me that your character is master of combat and smithy. Survival crafting games are little better in that aspect, but scavenging for scraps to make better stuff out of can get frustrating easily.

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Re: Will Arcen ever make a Crafting/Building game?
« Reply #33 on: May 05, 2015, 10:03:59 AM »
it just feels bizarre to me that your character is master of combat and smithy. Survival crafting games are little better in that aspect, but scavenging for scraps to make better stuff out of can get frustrating easily.

Hence why I think Minecraft does it well.  It doesn't make a whole lot of sense that smooshing some ingots onto a stick with your bare hands gives you a sword, but it matches the rest of the game's abstracted aesthetic.  Of the few alternate smithing methods I've seen in mods (notably TFC) I haven't liked in the long run.  It gets tedious and boring quickly.

Offline x4000

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Re: Will Arcen ever make a Crafting/Building game?
« Reply #34 on: May 05, 2015, 10:04:59 AM »
Crafting can be miserable, and I can't say I'm all that excited about a crafting title because of the bad memories. But, seeing as this is an arcen title, I'm sure there will be some intelligent twist and bringing out the fun from what has been a fairly traumatic history for crafting games.

I couldn't agree with you more on how horrible they can be.  Keith noted to me: "Though I thought you said you were done with crafting systems ;)"

And my response to him (and now you) was:

Yeah, this is true -- but that was before I found some games that actually did it in a way I like, heh.  In Minecraft there was a crafting system I found passable, and then there were various other games that I outright disliked the crafting in, and so my previous statement was based on that.  I absolutely love the crafting systems in 7 Days To Die and Don't Starve Together, so now I've seen a way of doing crafting that I can get behind (and that are both Steam top sellers, incidentally).  Seeing it done in a way that was able to engage me for 70 hours and 5 hours respectively is a big deal for me.  Don't Starve Together ultimately lost us because of reasons unrelated to its crafting, but rather its respawn system and in general the feeling of sluggishness and sameyness in exploration.

It's not not really a SHMUP at all anymore, heh.
Is the SHMUP base from TLF still there, or has that been left behind once more, waiting for the next game to grow up and leave it?

No enormous promises as yet, but that general set of mechanics is something that I do intend to still have for the game.  For me, a survival game needs to have a few things to be fun:

a. Big risk of death, and thus tension.

b. Some sort of combat system that isn't boring (the SHMUP style, somewhat toned down in terms of level of frenetic-ness, would be really unusual for that and thus I think good).

c. A feeling of fluidity and quickness of play, so that I'm not feeling like I'm in molasses all the time or just having my time wasted in repetitive easy tasks.  I'll note that in 7D2D I have all the crafting timers turned off, and the damage against blocks modded up so that we can mine and chop super fast.

d. A feeling of scarcity, which is still possible even with the fluidity there.  A SHMUP where you are venturing out with limited fuel and ammo and health would be very different indeed.  Then it's not about just aiming and dodging, which means that the enemies don't have to be so elaborate in their patterns and so on in order to be of any interest at all.  Instead it becomes a matter of precision, which feeds back into (a).

e. A sense of exploration and interesting things to find.  This is always really hard to do, and just having it be purely in outer space would make this all but impossible.

f. Some sort of base-building aspect is nice, when possible, but in a 2D game in particular I don't want to be trying to build houses out of whole cloth or whatever.  I want to put my mark on things, for sure, and maybe make a "mothership" that is my home base into something that was once a boring shell of a thing and is instead this big old powerful hunk of junk by the end.

Anyhoo, I can't really talk about crafting much since I actually dislike crafting in all games even though I do like some crafting games, like Terraria for example <_< I just feel it makes things blander since things you craft are probably better than items you find and it just feels bizarre to me that your character is master of combat and smithy. Survival crafting games are little better in that aspect, but scavenging for scraps to make better stuff out of can get frustrating easily.

That's one of the things I like about 7D2D.  You can't just build guns, for instance.  You have to find those, so those are exciting.  But they degrade over time, and so you can either repair them or if you want backups you can break down spare guns you have for parts and then learn how to make new ones out of molds.  That's pretty awesome.

But at the same time, bullets are not ANYWHERE, and so instead I'm collecting all this brass, lead, and a few other things, and crafting bullets out of that.  In a forge where I can just leave it sitting and it does its thing over time without me, like glass in Minecraft.  Not being a wizard that crafts everything is really good, I think.

But there again, being able to take wood and craft a variety of upgrades for my fort, and taking scrap metal and doing the same, is great.  Why would there be a bunch of spikes lying around the world, for instance?  Me taking wood and making those makes good sense.  And when I go get wood from whatever source, it's actually useful because I can craft so many things out of that, and I'm not limited to just "oh I found spikes, hope I find some more someday."  So that flexibility is something I value there.

I think it all comes down to execution with stuff like that.  That's a huge part of why I never liked crafting games in the past, is because I'd never seen them executed in a way that was pleasing to me personally.
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Re: Will Arcen ever make a Crafting/Building game?
« Reply #35 on: May 05, 2015, 10:15:17 AM »
+1 X's post.
I'll have to try Don't Starve and 7 Days to Die at some point.  I haven't been gaming much at all lately (sad muzzle) so it might be a while.  Just last week I made an offhand comment to a friend that I "might get around to playing [some game] by March or so."

Offline ptarth

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Re: Will Arcen ever make a Crafting/Building game?
« Reply #36 on: May 05, 2015, 10:41:30 AM »
No enormous promises as yet, but that general set of mechanics is something that I do intend to still have for the game.  For me, a survival game needs to have a few things to be fun:

a. Big risk of death, and thus tension.

b. Some sort of combat system that isn't boring (the SHMUP style, somewhat toned down in terms of level of frenetic-ness, would be really unusual for that and thus I think good).

d. A feeling of scarcity, which is still possible even with the fluidity there.  A SHMUP where you are venturing out with limited fuel and ammo and health would be very different indeed.  Then it's not about just aiming and dodging, which means that the enemies don't have to be so elaborate in their patterns and so on in order to be of any interest at all.  Instead it becomes a matter of precision, which feeds back into (a).

e. A sense of exploration and interesting things to find.  This is always really hard to do, and just having it be purely in outer space would make this all but impossible.


Sunless Sea recently came out and it captures portions of this. The combat in it is bad. But the raw feeling of terror it evokes in resource management and exploring the unknown is #1. TB did a video on it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2n4LxW2RbM

The other comparison I would add is: Star Control 2 (Publisher released legal Freeware version: http://sc2.sourceforge.net/downloads.php). I love SC2 combat so much. Its crafting system was pretty basic (resources turn into generic crafting points).  And of course it is one of the most epic adventure and exploration games.
Note: This post contains content that is meant to be whimsical. Any belittlement or trivialization of complex issues is only intended to lighten the mood and does not reflect upon the merit of those positions.

Online Draco18s

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Re: Will Arcen ever make a Crafting/Building game?
« Reply #37 on: May 05, 2015, 12:30:51 PM »
Btw, in the "venture out with limited fuel to find resources" vein:

Avoid the mistake made by Kaiju A-go-go, in which the "fun" gameplay involves using special abilities, which use up the Power resource, but if you run out of Power (and your base shuts down, as a result) farming cities for Power is an exercise in tedium because you can't use any of your specials and are left with the auto-attack.

I've got nothing against a bullet-scarce game, but leave me with a variety of interesting options even when ammo runs out.

If you have to, use grapple arms and combat axes.

Offline Cyborg

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Re: Will Arcen ever make a Crafting/Building game?
« Reply #38 on: May 05, 2015, 08:45:31 PM »
It must be a certain type of gamer that likes this stuff. I always stop reading whenever I see the word "crafting" in a game description. It's like, "Oh great, this game is offering me a job."



Just for comparison, consider the predecessor of crafting- "player modification." You can see this in a game like borderlands, which lets you customize your character with your gear choices. You can see this in almost every RPG, including pen and paper. I believe that this is the original crafting mechanism, the idea that you can create something out of parts (such as a character) to accomplish a unique purpose, to play the way you want to play.


And in that itch, I see it scratched by minecraft style crafting, but less so in something like terraria. In the latter, you're not really tweaking stats all that much, you're just trying to get the best gear for when you unlock bosses. It's still fun, but the crafting is less fun because I never felt like I was creating my own character. I was just trying to unlock some incredible weaponry so I could take down a boss.


Back to World of Warcraft, it was a lot of fun creating my own style character until it was time for raids. Now, there was an optimal gear set, and all of the crafting becomes deterministic in that way. All the choice has disappeared, but you are still out there collecting like it's your job. And it was. Five or six days a week of dungeon nights, and in your free time collecting reagents. I can't believe I ever did that. It's my shame as a gamer that I ever ran on that stupid treadmill.


Never again.


I want all my games to have that special sauce without feeling like I'm doing work. Crafting just has brought out the worst in games lately, at least in my opinion. We're not customizing anymore, we are not playing our way, we are just playing glorified canasta with digital rag dolls.
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Online Draco18s

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Re: Will Arcen ever make a Crafting/Building game?
« Reply #39 on: May 05, 2015, 11:11:46 PM »
We're not customizing anymore, we are not playing our way, we are just playing glorified canasta with digital rag dolls.

I hear ya.

Offline wwwhhattt

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Re: Will Arcen ever make a Crafting/Building game?
« Reply #40 on: May 06, 2015, 12:35:50 AM »
Sunless Sea recently came out and it captures portions of this. The combat in it is bad. But the raw feeling of terror it evokes in resource management and exploring the unknown is #1.
This sprung to my mind too - realising that I didn't have enough fuel or supplies to make it back to London, and that the only option was to keep going forward on the chance that there might be some hope ahead led to one of my favourite recent gaming moments. Also cannibalism and mutiny.

Exploration + limited fuel definitely seems like a winning formula, as long as there appears to be a chance that risky exploration might be rewarded.

Offline TheVampire100

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Re: Will Arcen ever make a Crafting/Building game?
« Reply #41 on: May 06, 2015, 03:22:43 AM »
Sunless Sea has also some basic crafting. basic in that way that you have some fixed recipes (I think 3-5 recipes, I need to look up again) and these recipes need rare items that you can find in the game. The outcome is an equipable item for yiur ship that increases its stats. Maybe they will expand the idea further int he future.

Offline Misery

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Re: Will Arcen ever make a Crafting/Building game?
« Reply #42 on: May 18, 2015, 03:42:33 AM »
It's not not really a SHMUP at all anymore, heh.  New name, too!

Bahhhh, really?  Ugh, I'd been looking forward to all the bullet dodging and stuff like that, too, for all sorts of really obvious reasons.   Not enough developers make stuff like this recently, or I guess I should say, not enough of them make them WELL.  Uninspired patterns (lack of complexity there instantly kills the game in question for me without exception; this is why the pattern designs I did ended up having such high variance and complicated interlocking bits among them, because anything less bores me) & scoring design usually, and I get bored fast by those things.   Coming from you guys, I'd figured such a thing would not really have issues like that.   TLF's combat side sure manages to avoid the usual problems.  Though of course it's turn-based, so not QUITE the same thing.

On the note of crafting games, that's not quite as exciting to me (though I do love the genre) and it'd be a hard time making one that stands out right now.  Though, considering the type of design styles you guys generally use, you'd have an easier time about it than most would.


I want all my games to have that special sauce without feeling like I'm doing work. Crafting just has brought out the worst in games lately, at least in my opinion. We're not customizing anymore, we are not playing our way, we are just playing glorified canasta with digital rag dolls.

I think it *really* depends on the game in question about that part.

One of the biggest reasons why I think that Minecraft is such a hit is that it doesnt put arbitrary restrictions on anything with damn silly quests or something.  I can do things *my* way.  I dont have to go collect 30 magical whatsits in order to get my crafting table to open up some stupid new feature.  I just gather resources to make whatever it is I'm after (and many things have more ways to get them than just by crafting), and usually each resource can be used for a huge number of other things too.  My usual first goal in any given world is to open a Nether portal.  The game cannot tell me not to, it doesnt dictate that I have to go beat up some stupid boss first.  Heck, even though the portal needs obsidian, I dont *need* to go get diamonds (to mine the obsidian) if I dont feel like it; a bucket and a lava pool will get me the portal just the same.

Wheras other games have trouble with that aspect. Usually alot of trouble.  Like Starbound with it's heavily gated... everything.

As much as I like the genre, I end up having alot of problems with many of the games in it.

Terraria for instance.  I know everyone freaking LOVES it, but I get bored by it.  One of the biggest reasons is the combat.  It quickly becomes UTTERLY MINDLESS.  Basically every boss in the game is just a gear-check.  Whenever I watch anyone playing this (and when I play it myself), boss fights are sooooooo boring.  Because your character ends up overpowered, and you just can fly all over the place, shoot a bazillion lasers, and you dont have to dodge ANYTHING, because your armor will handle it.  And when this ISNT the case, it's mindless sword swinging against enemies with simplistic attack patterns.  Starbound is even worse about this, where the enemies are *very* simplistic.  ....also the blocks are FREAKING TINY in Terraria and digging/mining takes bloody forever.  And the progression... ugh.  I honestly dont like a sense of linear progression in a game of this sort whatsoever.  It eventually hits about where you cant go any further, because there ISNT any further to go.  Minecraft doesnt have that; I dont just start using diamonds for some things and then never need to use iron/stone/leather for things ever again (which is what Terraria does; something like copper never needs to be mined again once you're at the next "tier" of equipment, because it has no conceivable use other than making the now obsolete copper equipment).  In Minecraft, I'm still goling to be making TONS of iron equipment even when I have found alot of diamonds, and I'm always going to be mining iron (or whatever) because it always has about a bazillion other uses as well.   Alot of games of this sort screw up this aspect badly, at least in my opinion.

Dont Starve:  Too slow-paced for me.  Everything takes forever, and some of the mechanics just feel really arbitrary to me.

Uhhh.... I was going to list more here, but I cant remember half of it now.


Someone mentioned Junk Jack though, and I *will* second that one.  The game is great.  It's one of those games that shows that mobile games need not be hyper simple, and there's an absolutely stupid amount of content in it and many ways to approach any situation.  And it's CONSTANTLY getting large addons.    I'd looooooooove for this game to hit the PC as well (because holding the ipad for long periods of time causes trouble for me).  It's just so very good.

There's definitely others I can recommend, as I've played so many of them, but I'm blanking out on names here, probably because it's about time for me to have a meal.  I can ramble about those a bit later.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2015, 03:44:18 AM by Misery »

Offline TheVampire100

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Re: Will Arcen ever make a Crafting/Building game?
« Reply #43 on: May 18, 2015, 04:44:33 PM »
I have to say, I'm not really good at SHMUPs nor am I a big fan of them. I have some and I play only a small number of them from time to time.
I played the hell out of Steel Saviour because this game was beautoful designed and while being hard as  hell it got me inetrested to keep going. That's mostly because of the handdrawn, surreal designed enemies. You just wanted to see what crazy enemies will await you next. Also the game had some really unfair moments. Most levels had multiple mid bosses that you could fight or try to flee from plus the end boss at the end of the level.
There was this... elephant ship thing that had two phases. The first was to throw sea mines at you that you had to destory to minimize their explosion, the other one was out of the water where it shot with multiple cannons at you and you had to destroy every cannon.
There were other, harder mid bosses, I cannot remember all unfortunately.
Enemy Mind was another one that caught my interest. It was very unique in gameplay because you controlled some kind if "virus" that hacked other ships to control them. You could dimply swap ships in every level and every ship had their own weapons and abiliteis that you could use. Also unlike other SHMUPs you had only limited ammo on your main weapon, forcing you to switch ships after you've run out of ammo. After each level you hear a little monlogue depending on what ship you currently hold and on what your behaviour was during battle. Interestign wa salso, that there are different factions that do not only target you but also ships of the other factions of they can.
This game had slapped "unusual gameplay" all over it.


here, I was the one that mentioned JJ *raises hand*.
I think Junk Jack is also a good example that mobile games don't have to be free/freemium to be a success. Junk Jack has a full price slapped on it that is not even cheap (I think JJX costs 4,50) and still is well praised and often bought. I instant bought JJX when it came out and I will probably do the same to Junk Jack Steam.
I am however curios how this will play it. Junk jack is known for selling cosmetics (with special but optional abilities) in their ingame shop. Will those cosmetics be for free in the PC version? Will they be purchasable DLC? Or will they get removed entirely? Also I'm curious if the circuits that are announced for PC will be in the iOS version as well.

Offline Tolc

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Re: Will Arcen ever make a Crafting/Building game?
« Reply #44 on: May 18, 2015, 07:35:50 PM »
Terraria for instance.  I know everyone freaking LOVES it, but I get bored by it.  One of the biggest reasons is the combat.  It quickly becomes UTTERLY MINDLESS.  Basically every boss in the game is just a gear-check.  Whenever I watch anyone playing this (and when I play it myself), boss fights are sooooooo boring.  Because your character ends up overpowered, and you just can fly all over the place, shoot a bazillion lasers, and you dont have to dodge ANYTHING, because your armor will handle it. 

One of the Terraria fans here: I agree with some of your arguments, but I don't think they are a downside per se. Boss gear-check for example is fine by me: Just the feeling of accomplishment after finally beating the boss that surprised you and beat the shit out of you the first time you met him, makes it work in my opinion. And to be fair, once you progress further into the game you just can't tank the bosses anymore even with the (at this point) best available equipment...(not including the pre nerf spectre armor).

And when this ISNT the case, it's mindless sword swinging against enemies with simplistic attack patterns.  Starbound is even worse about this, where the enemies are *very* simplistic.
That's true, however, and partially due to the 2D nature of the game, I think.

....also the blocks are FREAKING TINY in Terraria and digging/mining takes bloody forever.
Did you ever try the picksaw? I don't know about you, but if that's not fast digging...;) Plus as of one of the latest patches there's a toggle to enable automatic block targeting (might not be the best phrasing...)

And the progression... ugh.  I honestly dont like a sense of linear progression in a game of this sort whatsoever.  It eventually hits about where you cant go any further, because there ISNT any further to go.  Minecraft doesnt have that; I dont just start using diamonds for some things and then never need to use iron/stone/leather for things ever again (which is what Terraria does; something like copper never needs to be mined again once you're at the next "tier" of equipment, because it has no conceivable use other than making the now obsolete copper equipment).  In Minecraft, I'm still goling to be making TONS of iron equipment even when I have found alot of diamonds, and I'm always going to be mining iron (or whatever) because it always has about a bazillion other uses as well.   Alot of games of this sort screw up this aspect badly, at least in my opinion.

Well, copper, iron, etc. *do* have further uses beyond weapons and armor... Personally, it didn't feel like a linear progression to me, because you don't have set quests or goals, but you're always exploring and finding new things.

The main difference, I think, is that Minecraft is more of a "sandbox" game, whereas Terraria has some platforming, progress, "story", (insert word I just can't come up with here...) feel to it. I haven't played Minecraft, though, so keep that in mind. It always looked kind of boring to me (comparable to your description of Terraria bossfights above ;)).

Not trying to convince you or anything, just giving my view on things you mentioned :)