Prince Crafting System

by Without Haste 2020.08.22

In the comic The King's Avatar, Ye Xiu uses MMO Glory's crafting system to design a custom weapon with which he dominates the game. His Myriad Manifestations Umbrella can transform through multiple shapes without the cool down of equipping new weapons, becoming a sword, a spear, a pair of tonfas, and a gun. He gradually upgrades his weapon as he acquires rare materials.

What might this crafting system look like?

Goals

1. We want to leave a lot of room for player creativity and exploration.
    Faffing about will give you a passable weapon.

2. Rewarding attention to detail will encourage players to immerse themselves in the game.
    Studious and diligent crafting will give you an amazing weapon.

3. I want to make my own Myriad Manifestations Umbrella!
    Support for transforming items.

Constraints

1. All items must be supported by the programming and art of the game, so you can only create items from a limited list.

2. A GUI is more welcoming than heavily text-based interfaces.

Getting Started

Let's start with a tile-based layout, where the arrangement of the materials determines the final product. This will be similar to Minecraft's system but without the limit on what materials are used.

The schemas don't need to look much like the item; it is more important to make them both simple and distinct.


Example: Talwar schema

Limits on Materials

Instead of limiting what materials can be used, we'll put constraints on what materials can be placed next to each other.

First, each unit of a material (ingots, textiles, etc) will be unique. You may be carrying a stack of 20 Iron Ingots, but when you look at them individually you'll see that they each have a grain.

This will add some complexity to buying and selling materials. The inventory system will need to support a generic and a detailed view.


Each unit of material is one tile
that can be used to fill in a schema.

When the grains align, you're crafting a stronger item. When they don't, your item is on the brink of falling apart. (Have you ever played Galaxy Trucker?)

Second, materials are divided into categories. We'll make six categories so they easily correspond to a color wheel.

Tiles can be placed next to tiles of the same color or adjacent (analogous) colors. This is a hard rule - an item with mismatched colors cannot be crafted.


Iron ingots (a heavy metal) are most commonly blue,
but are sometimes purple or green.

Finally, an item schema can include an anchor: a notation that "this tile must be this color".

This rule will only apply to initial item crafting, not to future alterations.

These color rules should result in items mostly being made of common sense materials (iron for swords, cloth for capes). At least, at the lower levels.

Through farming rare materials and/or learning advanced skills, you can shift materials around the color wheel.

Materials with the strength of iron, but incorporated into paper items. Or with the weight of paper, but incorporated into metal items.

Limits on Materials II

It's still pretty easy to jump across the color wheel on this schema. Now our level 1 player has a cotton sword. Such nonsense should only be earned at higher levels.

Can we encourage the use of common materials without starting over entirely?

Introducing "deep" colors. Each of the six colors now comes in two varieties: deep and normal. Deep color tiles can only be placed next to the same color (deep or normal).


Deep Blue | Deep Blue
Deep Blue | Blue
Deep Blue | Green
Deep Blue | Purple

Blue | Deep Blue
Blue | Blue
Blue | Green
Blue | Purple

Deep colors will be more common than normal colors. With a huge stack of deep blue in your inventory, and a schema anchored at deep blue, the easiest path is to craft an iron sword.

Sample percentage spread
60% Deep Blue, 30% Blue, 5% Green, 5% Purple

Deep colored tiles will also have more grains (connection points), on average, then normal colors. It will be easier to build a strong item with deep colors.

Sample percentage spread
Grains 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0
Deep Color 10 12 15 20 15 10 8 4 3 2 0.5 0.4 0.1
Normal Color 0.5 1.5 2 3 8 15 40 15 8 3 2 1.5 0.5

Stats

An item's stats will directly result from its materials and layout. The item schema will include notation about what order the tiles will be tallied in.

Tile stats are the same for all tiles of one material. They do not vary with the grain or color.

Sample tile stats Weight LBS Attack HP Defense HP Durability Magical Affinity
Iron + 0.4 + 2 + 6 + 5
Cotton Cloth x 0.90 - 5 + 1 - 5
Dragon's Heart + 1 x 2 x 0 x 0.5 + 30

Upgrades

You can upgrade your items by replacing individual tiles in the schema. Over the lifetime of an item, its stats could vary massively.

Tiles that are replaced are destroyed; you don't get them back.

Schema Variations

The game is providing us with a catalog of item schemas. Can we allow a little more variability here?

How about the schemas also include notations about scaling different sections up and down. The final product will still be the exact same size, but you can incorporate more material into its construction.

This decision can't be changed later through upgrades - the number of tiles and their layout will remain the same as when you first crafted the item.

Transformations

Now we have a basis for crafting transforming items.

Through great hardship and much grinding, you have obtained a Two-Form Pivot Point. This special material is essential for crafting a transforming item. The pivot point does not take up a tile space; instead, it binds multiple item schemas together.

How does it work? Basically, you are designing two items with the exact same set of tiles.

Every tile has a position and orientation in both Schema A and Schema B.

The number shows which tiles are the same, and the rotation of the number in Schema B shows the tile has been rotated from its original orientation in Schema A.

1. The diagrams must contain the exact same number of tiles.
    Another reason to consider scaling variations.

2. Each tile in one diagram is translated and rotated into position in the next diagram. The tiles can be completely rearranged, but the materials used in both items must be exactly the same.

3. Pivot points can only be used when crafting brand new items, they cannot be used during upgrades.

4. A Three-Form Pivot Point is twice as hard to obtain as a Two-Form Pivot Point. And so on.

Risk & Reward

5. Each tile connection that is broken during a transformation has a low chance of breaking the item, regardless of Durability stats.

Matching tile grains is extra important when crafting transforming items. A perfectly matched grain will have 0% chance of breaking, but anything else will endanger your item.

From Full Match From Partial Match From No Match
To Full Match 0.0% 0.1% 0.5%
To Partial Match 0.1% 0.2% 0.7%
To No Match 0.5% 0.7% 1.0%

The chances of breakage are low, but they are applied every time the item transforms, for every connection.

This table only applies to tile connections that break and reform during a transformation. Tiles that remain connected through a transformation present no danger, regardless of how shoddy their connection is.

Tile sets [1 2 3] and [18 19 20] in this transforming diagram do not break their connections while transforming. The same tiles are still connected, with the same orientations, in the final form.

Think of the Possibilities







Take My Money

If something like this already exists, message me here!

If you want to use these ideas in your game, go ahead.

Otherwise, I plan to start building this system in Summer 2021, after my current project is complete.