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Crashlands Dev Session 2 - Crafting

February 28, 2014

YO, BSCOTCHES! Welcome to the second installment of our Crashlands Dev Sessions, where we discuss in finer detail some of the mechanics and inner workings of our upcoming title, Crashlands. This week's topic: CRAFTING!

Dismantle the Wilds
In Crashlands the Survivor is left alone in an uncomfortably hostile environment. With nothing but undergarments and some high-tech scraps, players have to combine the things they find in order to provide themselves with shelter, weaponry, and the occasional kickball.

Our approach to crafting and gathering differs from the giants of the survival genre in that the world itself is not deconstructed and used to build things. Rather, much like the real world, the things that grow out of the ground or scamper across it are the fuel for survival and, ultimately, mastery. While it begins as a more limiting design choice, approaching the modes of gathering and crafting from this angle lets us continually open up the way the Survivor interacts with the environment and ultimately leads to a very deep level of interaction with the world at large.

Let's do a walk-through example:

You crash your ship and decide that a nearby Sawgrass plant, bushy as it is, is probably within the power of your delicate hands to take apart. You bust it apart and grab a few sticks from the ground nearby. Slapping the parts together grants you a flimsy but sharp saw. A saw that just might let you take down one of those logtrees looming on the horizon.


TIME TO GET YOUR LUMBERJACK ON! After a series of haphazard swings, you are rewarded with a heaping armload of logs. Thinking deeply on the tools you have at hand, you realize that a big shiny sawmill would really help you take things to the next level. A few Sawgrass blades and logs later and you've fashioned a somewhat hideous though completely functional sawmill. A curious Wompit wanders in from behind a bush and you realize with a start that you are very, very exposed.

So you set to work cobbling together some rudimentary wood armor and a blade made from the same plant as your saw. Combat-ready, you tackle the Wompit and wrestle life from its ugly mug. With its last breath it explodes in a shower of ready-usable parts. Sinew, toenails, perhaps even a still-beating heart. Convenient!

Fast forward a few Crashland days later and you've built yourself a home and defended yourself from the night-stalking predators that are always trying to eat you. Plus, you've now got a shiny new suit of tough, Wompit-leather armor.

You suddenly stumble upon a patch of strange, rooted plants whose blooms the Wompits seem unimaginably attracted to. In a fit of inspiration you rustle through your pack and assemble the blooms into a rough collar. A Wompit calf who's been hanging around your abode is the sudden object of your attention as you wrestle him into submission and, rather than exploding him into parts, crown him with the collar. He snuggles up to you immediately, and you suddenly don't feel quite so lonely! You quickly slap together a nest and put him to bed.

In the morning you wake up and find that he's produced milk. AWWW YISS BREAKFAST TIME. Turns out both genders of Wompit are milk-producers... Hmm.

The crafting system functions as a gateway to not just more of the same interaction, but completely novel interactions and even novel uses for those objects the Survivor has already encountered. While most games channel a single gathering activity in increasingly difficult levels (mining dirt, mining copper, mining diamonds, for example), Crashlands offers a slough of gathering interactions that open up at various stages of development in the tech tree.

In the example above we began with basic gathering progression, not unlike that utilized in most survival games today (sawgrass -> logtrees -> etc.). This task is initiated in the same way but requires more specialized tools as it progresses. In a sense, it's the same interaction (tap on thing, get stuff) with different outcomes.

After utilizing basic gathering for the first bout of progression down the tech tree, the player above tames and stables their first pet. Stabled pets create resources over time the Survivor can use. These 'Generators' become more prevalent down the tech tree and take many different forms - from creatures themselves to placeable water pumps and other harvesting items.

Mastering all forms of gathering becomes critical to proceeding down the tech tree and making bigger, cooler things. By providing multiple avenues for the gathering of materials we're able to keep the feel of the game fresh for longer!

Frictionless UI
Look at ALL THAT INFO
If the crafting system is the bedrock of Crashlands, it follows that actually playing with it should be both delightful and easy. After a large number of iterations we've landed on a UI that provides a great deal of feedback to the Survivor while removing a lot of the slowness usually associated with survival-crafting UI's.

The UI is broken into thirds: Inventory on the left, toggleable Crafting list and Equipment setup in the middle, and a dedicated "tooltip" space in the right column for in-depth information display. Items that are yet to be crafted but are discoverable are blacked out in the crafting menu, providing a tantalizing taste of what's left to create. There are also filters for when you want to just find a particular type of craftable quickly.

Combine these with a rapid-sort for your inventory, some sassy Craft All buttons and a lot of logic for handling which view is displayed at any given time and you'll hopefully find yourself zipping along the tech tree with minimal angst about where your crafted items went or how many of x you have in your inventory. We've still got plenty of work to do to make it extremely juicy, but it is fundamentally complete.

Questions?
While that's all we want to divulge for today, the cleverest among you may begin having some questions about other aspects of the World and the Crafting systems that we haven't yet covered. Visit the community subreddit or drop your thoughts in the comments below and we'll do a follow-up next week to share the info you want.

Our next post will be going over the feedback from our upcoming PRE-ALPHA with a few close friends so there won't be much new info about the game for NEARLY A  MONTH, save for that generated by your questions. FIRE AWAY!

P.S. - My last round of chemo is scheduled for Wednesday the 5th of March. HIGH FIVE, TEAM.









4 comments:

  1. Hmm.. Now i can't wait to drink Wompit milk. :))

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  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    1. WHOOP! I accidentally hit the "remove content" button in the admin panel, and it won't let me recover your comment. Sorry, Scott!

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  3. When is this going to be released? Im waiting. .. (Not so patiently! !) I check the app store every day. Can't wait! !

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