SUP, BSCOTCHES! Things have been pretty nuts over here on the Buttery side of life, and we've got the HUPDATES TO PROVE IT!
We've made so many huge updates to Crashlands' core systems that our heads hurt just from how awesome it all is. When we started working on the game, we had never made a game like this before, with inventory, crafting, construction, and the works. So we had to use other games as frames of reference. After playing around with a mish-mash of systems borrowed from other games, we've finally been able to step back and put our own spin on all of these things. Let's TAKE A LOOK!
NOTE: This is alpha stuff, so it's all subject to change. But we figure you guys would be pumped to see it anyway. SO THERE!
New Build Mode
We knew from the outset that we wanted to have base-building features in Crashlands, and we looked to games like Minecraft and Terraria to figure out how to do it. In those games, you have the following progression:
- Build the thing you want to place out into the world
- Go into your inventory, find that thing, and move it onto your hotbar
- Close your inventory, and then switch your hotbar to the new thing you just made
- Walk over to the place you want to put that thing and click to place it.
So in Crashlands, we started with that same system. But in time, it became more and more cumbersome as we added more things to the game. It became a pain to track things down in your inventory, it felt awkward to drag them into your hotbar and then select them, and it was a bit slow to have to physically walk to every place you wanted to put something. So we took a huge step back and examined the whole thing, and came up with a cool new system for building. Check it out!
In the new system, you click on the "build mode" button, and the game populates a list of all the things you own that are considered "structures", and then displays those across the bottom of the screen. From there, you can simply tap the thing you want to place, and put it out into the world. If you have a bunch of that thing, you can even tap and drag to place that thing almost in a paintbrush-style fashion.
And even better, you can pick things up in the same way! Just open build mode, and tap the thing you want to pick up (or tap and drag to pick up tons of stuff at once).
Inventory Management? NOPE!
Another thing that always bums us out when playing crafting-oriented games is inventory management. You know the feeling -- you go to pick up a cool thing you just found, and then get slapped in the mouth by the message: "YOU DON'T HAVE ENOUGH SPACE!" So then you have two options: you can either go back to your base (or town) to sell stuff or put stuff into a chest of some sort, or just destroy something you already own right there on the spot to make room for the new thing.
In all circumstances, this sucks. Running out of room for things is a negative experience that adds nothing interesting to any game.
So we removed inventory management from Crashlands entirely.
Now, you might be saying, "HOLD ON THERE, BUTTERSCOTCHES. How can I play a crafting game if there's no way to manage my inventory?" The answer is simple! We have two features in Crashlands that, to our knowledge, other crafting games just don't have. For starters, your inventory is infinite. That's right: your character has an Infinipack.
The other side of our "no more inventory management" coin is using context-aware displays of the things you own, so that you only see the things you need to see at any give time, and nothing else. In other words, whenever you want to know how much of something you have, the game will just tell you, based on what you're doing at the time.
For example, we have about 300 unique crafting components in Crashlands. They're all stackable, they all come from a huge variety of creatures and resources, and you need all of them for various things at various times. But these components aren't used for much on their own -- they're just used for crafting. So instead of showing you a pile of 300 unique crafting components and making you sift through them to find out how much of one you have, we show you how many of each component you have under three circumstances:
- When you pick up a crafting component;
- If at any point you are looking at a tooltip for that component;
- When you are looking at a recipe that uses the component;
Those are the only three times you care about that component, so those are the three times you see it. All other times, you don't have to worry about it. And since your inventory is infinite, you really don't have to worry about it. Just pick everything up, and use it when you need it!
We'd show you screenshots, but there aren't any to show, because you don't have to manage your inventory anymore.
Massive Crafting Update
The last thing we needed to clean up was the crafting system itself. The problem we kept running into time and time again was: as the player gets access to more recipes, how do we keep them all in order? We realized that our recipe selection system suffered from the same problem as the old inventory system: you have to dig through it forever just to find the thing you want.
In the early game, you may only have 20 recipes, so this isn't a huge deal. But when you have 200 (or 400) recipes, finding the thing you want to make will be a huge pain.
To solve this, we settled on making the workstation system far more robust. Here's how it works.
- Every recipe is now crafted at a workstation. To open the workstation, just tap it, and your little character will run over and slap it to open it up.
- The workstation displays all recipes that can be made there, with quantities of how many you can make, plus their time requirements for building.
- When you tap "build", the workstation begins creating that recipe on its own.
- When the station is done, it alerts you that it has finished goods, and you can go retrieve them from the station.
This new setup gives us a few cool new spins on the gameplay:
- Recipes are organized by workstation, so gone are the days of having 200 at once.
- We can make some recipes feel more special/tangible by giving them a production time, rather than having them all just be instantly manifested into your hands.
- Crafting stations now feel way more interesting and useful, because they're doing a job for you -- building your stuff -- rather than being a thing you just stand next to sometimes. And by tying them to a very concrete suite of recipes, the station feels like it's more tangible. For example, when you open a sawmill, you see a bunch of wood recipes. BECAUSE IT'S A SAWMILL!
- Since Crashlands will be on mobile, and mobile gamers tend to play games in smaller chunks, mobile gamers will always have something cool to come back to after a short break from the game. Namely, they can explore a bunch to harvest stuff during gameplay, then at the end of the play session, queue up a bunch of recipes at their workstations, and then retrieve the finished goods at the start of the next play session.
Ultimately the new crafting/workstation system feels way more interesting and real, and it gives the world a much better feel of being a real place with real things happening. We're pretty pumped about it!
We've got a lot more stuff, but your eyes are probably tired from reading so dang much. We'll cut you some slack this time. STAY TUNED FOR THE NEXT BSCHRONICLE!
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