Forums » Crafting

Crafting Fundamentals!

    • 1327 posts
    January 29, 2021 1:08 PM PST

    So lets take smelting as an example of a crafting sub process that could be turned from a single click, timer bar with a small RNG component for bonus rewards into a longer interactive process.

    Smelting as a real world process is a combination of heat, chemistry and time.  You can get common metals and some transitional metals out of high purity ore deposits simply by heating the material in bulk and having the metal pour out of the rock.  The smaller the grain size of the material the easier it is to filter out all of the different materials.

    Other types of ore deposits require chemical treatments in order to separate non metals from the metals you wish to collect.  These ore precipitate often require special heating processes in order to become useable metal without degrading back to the composition they were before the chemical treatment. (This is true for nearly all of the -oxides as oxygen has a very high bond strength with specific metals so the heating process needs to be done in a vacuum or noble gas environment.)

    Alloying two different metal likewise can be even more complex of a process and the choices you make in preparing the alloy can have great effects on the final mechanical properties of the metal.

    So lets look at a list of choices that a “Smelter” (a miner or blacksmith who has mastered smelting) could possibly have.

    1)      What grain size do you need to get the material you want out of the ore you have?

    1. You can use a grinding process to break ore down from large stones to smaller and smaller sizes.  The size you choose will effect required heating rates and dwell times as well as potential for impurity removal.
    2. The more time you spend grinding up ore the better and easier stages will often be.

    2)      What type of material are you trying to get out of the ore (using your geology lore knowledge and trained smelting techniques you will know what minerals are in the ore and which processes are required to remove it and which are mutually exclusive)

    1. Simple melting and casting.

                                                                   i.      You will need to go to a smelter and put fuel in it.

                                                                 ii.      You will need to raise the temperature to the smelting temp that will melt out the metal you want but leave the rest rock. (Too hot and you just trap rock in your metal making it bad quality).

                                                               iii.      How long do you need to keep it at said temperature in order to get the best yield of the highest quality.  This will also be dependent on how many kgs of prepared ore you put into the smelter.

                                                               iv.      What additives are you putting into the smelter and at what temperatures?  These additives could both improve the purity and or change the qualities of the metal.

                                                                 v.      What size ingots are you casting and how many will you get.

                                                               vi.      What are you going to do with the slag left over? (Sometimes the slag can feed into later processes or heated again to get out metals with a higher melting point)

    1. Chemical bath treatment and distilling, followed by an air sealed smelter.

                                                                   i.      This process will likely require the smallest possible grain size in order for the chemical bath to work.

                                                                 ii.      The chemicals will likely have stirring requirements, operating temperatures and additional additives.

                                                               iii.      Once the result is prepared it will then need to be dried and transferred to a special smelting furnace.  At this point it merges back into the first example.

    1. Destructive chemical distillates.

                                                                   i.      Lastly you may be working with the left over slag of other processes or destroying an otherwise useful ore to get at the specific minerals.

                                                                 ii.      You may need to treat the material with chemicals that destroy all the other elements within the ore in order to extract trace elements.

                                                               iii.      Those trace elements are then taken to more of an alchemical lab than standard smelter where the results are crystalized out of a solution rather than through heating.

    All of this can be broken down into an interactive choice tree.

    1)      What size do you need? Grinder processes repeated until desired size it reached.

    2)      Are you heating, bathing or distillation the results?

    1. If heating then What size, temperature and how long.  Also at what points in the process do you add additional materials?
    2. If bathing then what solution and for how long?  Followed by which furnace do you need then the remainder of the heating game loop.
    3. If destructive distillation then what dissolvent do you need and how much can you prepare and how long to you both treat and heat the results before cooling?

    3)      Are the results ready to be used directly in a recipe or will they be added into sub combines first?

    This is a really in-depth view of what smelting gameplay could entail but would really only be several UI tools and options that could be reused with only minor skin tweaks for other crafts and or processes.  Smelting alone could almost be its own craft to master (in reality it is its own craft).

    The game play for other crafts could follow a similar level of preparations choices to move from raw materials to useable materials.  The key will be simplifying the in game tools so not a great deal of development time will be required to build the minigames for all the crafts but still have them be varied enough so it is not the same process for all crafts.  Any interesting and enjoyable crafting game play loop that takes both knowledge and attention and rewards time spent will make or break a good crafting system.

    • 8 posts
    January 30, 2021 2:04 PM PST

    Trasak (in true form) has outlined an excellent example of the complexity that this type of process could involve.  It is within this type of complexity that skill of the individual crafter could be realized.  

     

    I currently spend much of my time in a game that has become over-run by bots.  Bots can react, but something that automation cannot do well is anticipate. 

    I think an excellent way to reduce the dependence on external websites for "recipes" is to make the crafting process organic in a skilled way in which the process of making something is as important as the ingredients, tools, and station being used to create them.  At that point, molds (or similar items) will describe the recipes, experimentation can take place in the use of ingredients (and individuals will have their preferences for skill/attribute bonuses).  Next, the process to create the item matters as the player can anticipate the crafting situation and modify the steps utilized in a manner that is not reactive and based on "how well I can click something at the right time," but can instead be learned. 

     

    Adventuring can also provide insight into the process.  For example, a gnome found in a particular location may teach the player how to take an additional step in the crafting process [which in the coding would be hard-locked to the player until meeting this individual and possibly spending time in an apprenticeship with him.]  Then that player may experiment with using that step in making the type of end product for a guild member.  Maybe the end-item would be improved by using this step, maybe not.  That would require both the ability to anticipate the need for the step and the technical ability to do that step well without being reactive. 

     

    In this way, guild mentors, forums, and other external resources may be developed to teaching a player how to anticipate steps in the crafting process to help them be better craftsmen in the end and more skilled in the process of crafting without making a system that is too much like the combat system - just fighting the oven to react to "flare-ups". 

     

    To this end - something that I haven't seen described lately is the ability for craftsmen and craftswomen to tag the created item with their name or another identifier.  A very skilled craftsman who is able to create something important using technique will be sought after both for reasons needing to rely on other players to create items for each other, but also for their ability to pass on their skills and knowledge to other players. 

    • 227 posts
    March 17, 2021 8:56 AM PDT
    For me I hope they don't make crafting a super difficult process. As I only be a part-time crafter maybe just for myself maybe for myself and a couple friends my main goal is adventuring. It's already going to be a little complicated with finding the materials and breaking them down to usable.