Saturday, October 1, 2011

Building things

While slugging away adding new cool content for the next release (scheduled for around mid-october) I today finally figured out how I want to include a system for building things in JADE. Given its event-based infrastructure it simply would be stupid to not add means for the player to build contraptions, walls, floors, etc. (in a kind of 2-D minecraft way). Here's what I have been thinking so far...

  • First of all the bridge building skill will be replaced by a general construction skill. The higher the skill the faster (and maybe also the more efficiently) you can build things.
  • The construction system probably will be based on possessing some special item (the tinkers bag or something like that - proposals welcome).
  • It will be possible to find, buy or receive such a tinkers bag in the game. Maybe you even will get it for free if you put lots of skill points into the construction skill initially.
  • Constructing things basically will work in the same way pioneered by games like Settlers of Catan, Minecraft and hundreds others: You will need a combination of resources to build something else.
  • Building takes some time (so you can't just raise walls in the middle of a battle).
  • The things you can build will be defined by internal construction plans supported by the game (e.g. "possess a tinker bag and three rocks to be able to build one tile of floor" or "possess a tinker bag, have a minimum construction skill score of +6, own five logs and stand at the border of some water in order to build a bridge").
One important design decision seems to be the following one: Construction materials will weightless as long as you own a tinkers bag (maybe always). Yes, that means logs, ingots, etc.

Why? Because otherwise IMHO the game would not be fun. Maybe they will have a weight of 1 but that's the utmost. Building is meant to be a fun and creative way to extend the game and if it becomes a logistical nightmare nobody will use it.

What do you think so far?

I'm also interested in ideas for raw materials for building and interesting "construction plans". Natural things probably will be

  • logs of wood
  • rocks
  • mud
  • wool
  • crystals
  • iron ingots
  • steel ingots
But what could construction plans be? Here are some ideas:

  • tinker bag, three logs of wood -> chair
  • tinker bag, three rocks -> tile of floor
  • tinker bag, 10 rocks -> tile of wall
  • tinker bag, five logs of wood, one metal ingot -> door
  • tinker bag, minimum construction skill of 6, five logs, water nearby -> bridge
Later on this naturally can be expanded to include construction plans for items (even ones dynamically invented for each game) but for now I am interested in stuff that alters the environment. Dynamic stuff would be particularly interesting (e.g. some kind of magical blackpowder replacement that can be activated [maybe with the new imbue skill]) and then activates the same material if it is adjacent a short moment later. With the option to activate bomb like things, etc.

So be creative and let me know:

  • What do you think about the overall plan?
  • What kind of raw materials should be included?
  • What kind of construction plans can you think of?
  • What other ideas do you have?


  1. it seems interesting, the weight of objects should be 1 so u can have many with u but not unlimited (u have to get resources anyway) u should also add one like "tinker bag+soft soil+1 water=farming land" so u can actually create farms and stuff, maybe later a machine for using the produce to create stuff like powder, which u can use to make bread....

  2. This idea sounds very interesting. I would love to build altars, but that shouldn't be so easy: it would require some live sacrifices (some corpses in the inventory), some logs of wood and rocks, maybe a special feeling in the room or have high piety or have a high priest-related skill.

  3. I don't think it's quite fair to have construction items be weightless (as that would probably SEVERELY unbalance the game towards characters with a high construction skill). How about you have the environment factor in as well? If you're in a cave, for example, the "stone" requirement of construction projects might be fulfilled automatically. If you're in a forest, you wouldn't have to worry about logs. The raw materials (logs, stone) should be heavy to carry but not necessary if you're in the right place, while the additional materials could be light but required (wool, crystals, etc.)

  4. So it's going to be minecraft, great... I had such high hopes for JADE. 10 years in waiting...

  5. traps would be cool to build, fake walls, staircases, holes where you fall through to the floor below, fall into a cave level and have to dig out cool shit like that man. TRAINWRECK

  6. Sounds good, here's my input:

    Constructing simple things like walls is pretty intuitive, you don't really need plans to build a wall. Just do it, it will plan itself. A skilled builder can figure out more complex structures, so it would be like alchemy in ADOM. However magical structures like altars and magical pools, should require some additional info and magical/divine help. Pools could be made out of (magical) fountains you spoked of earlier.

    Building traps would be nice too, requiring possibly digging equipment and something nasty like spears, acid, magical spells... or just an empty hole. And something to cover it, probably a blanket that you could trun into camouflage using your surroundings.

    About the weight of materials: you are right, it sucked in ADOM to drag one log at a time to the tomb of high kings to see it fail as a bridge. Maybe using a carriage would make more sense than just having weightless logs and rocks? You could make the carriage yourself out of logs with your toolbox or buy one. It would slow you down but you could leave it waiting for further use. I agree with the surroundings serving as a direct source of materials, but doing so it should be altered. Closest trees would turn into stumps and holes would appear on the walls if mined.

  7. @Gamer_2k4 i don't think JADE is intended to be a balanced game ;>

  8. I really like the idea of being able to construct things in JADE, and I think that Gamer_2k4 has the right idea as far as having the environment factor in (It would be much easier to build a wooden bridge near a forest full of trees, or build a wall of stone inside a dungeon, but that same wall should be more difficult to build if you are far from a cave or quarry.) An idea on how to allow a character with construction skills to carry many materials with him would be to implement some type of cart system, where you could put many logs and stone (much more than the character could carry themselves) into a cart pulled by a horse or oxen. This could of course open up some doors for some cart related fun (thieves might rob your cart if left unprotected while you explore a dungeon, cart travel could be slower depending on the quality of cart and the animal(s) pulling it, a cart wheel might break which would force the character to leave it or spend a day constructing a replacement part, etc.) As far as building materials, one that you haven't mentioned that I think would add a lot of options is rope, which could be bought or harvested from the wilderness. This would open up the door for some more advanced constructions, such as ballistas and catapults and battering rams, making cool sieges a possibility. Rope could be used for other fun things too (imagine tying up a stunned goblin, and putting him on a leash as bait for a larger creature...or becoming tied up by that same goblin after he stunned you, so you have to struggle to cut or untie the rope to become free.) Sorry if my comment is a bit scatter-brained, I find that I become side-tracked easily :) Anyway, thank you for creating such an amazing game that gives me such an overactive imagination!

  9. I agree with pretty much everything Gamer_2k4 has to say, in regards to balance and about possibly having some resources be "free" depending on your environment. Also, having crafting items be weightless (or only 1 stone) doesn't make very much sense ("oh, this one log was making me Strained until I found this Tinkers bag, and now I can carry fifty of them!").

    A couple ideas: I think logs could be needed for some constructions, but I think maybe there should be a way to turn logs into planks of wood (maybe woodcrafting skill will allow you to make something like 8-12 planks per log or something). Considering in ADOM, logs weighted 800s, planks would be a lot lighter and more manageable. Also, it doesn't make sense that you would need three whole logs to make a single chair, for example.

    On the topic of "woodcrafting" skill, I think what might REALLY help keep the Construction skill from being overpowered would be if certain crafts needed another skill in order to make. So for the simplest crafts, you would only need Construction (building a wall, basic traps such as falling stones), but for more complex stuff you would require ranks in one or more other skills such as Woodcrafting, Metallurgy (for metal-based crafts), Gemology (for anything that may involve gems... magical fireball traps for instance). Also perhaps having ranks in Detect/Disarm Traps will improve the overall quality of traps built (more damage, faster construction) or might be required for crafting some more complex traps.

  10. Ok, some ideas...

    First of all, I agree that raw materials really shouldn't be weightless, but they should be easy to come by — which is even more important, I think. Reasonably, most should weigh from 0.1 to 1 s. Then you'd be able to break down most objects into raw materials depending on the initial weight.

    Say, a wooden log weighs 100 s. You can't use it as a raw material by itself, but you can use it to block holes, hives, or something similar. But if you have the tools, you can chop it down into wooden planks weighing 1 s each, which ARE a raw material.

    But when you work things, some material is inevitably lost. So we can use the item's status here to determine the yield. If the log is cursed, you'll get, say, 11% to 30% of its mass in planks (that is, 11 to 30 in our case), and have a small chance of breaking your tools. An uncursed log would yield 31% to 50% of its mass, a blessed one 51% to 80%. If we assume that a single tree is worth 1 to 3 wooden logs at random, that would give us a nice range of possible worth of raw materials (33 to 240) and won't overburden us in any case.

    Other possible raw materials:
    * bones — items made of bones are light and somewhat fragile; they have a chance to scare away weak-willed monsters, but attract dogs and carrion eaters;
    * obsidian — produced from chunks of solidified lava; should probably have some properties beneficial to chaotics (as opposed to, perhaps, crystal);
    * gold — we have lots of it, so why not put it to good use? Golden items could give large Ap bonuses, won't be corroded, but will melt easily. Let's say 100 gold coins are equivalent to 1 gold ingot.

    Some other ideas:
    * items made using wool could be warmer and more comfortable than their potential counterparts (see examples);
    * crystal items could provide some bonuses to lawfuls.

    I believe there should be two interfaces for building things. One is a list of known recipes, the other a free constructor for experimentation (gaining new recipes will be determined by your construction skill and Learning attribute, also Mana for magical things). As for the recipes...

    10 wooden planks, 5 metal ingots => 10 arrows or bolts;
    3 wooden planks, 1 torch => lantern (a fixed light source that shines brighter and depletes slower, but can be recharged);
    3 wooden planks => 1 chair (what for?..);
    5 wooden planks, 2 pieces of wool => 1 comfy chair (let's see... adds a small bonus to satiation if food is eaten on it, and a small bonus to HP regeneration);
    1 wooden plank, 1 gem (any), 1 magic scroll, Ma ≥12 => 1 wand;
    1 wooden plank, 2 metal ingots => 1 shovel;
    1 wooden plank, 4 metal ingots => 1 pickaxe;
    100 rocks, 10 wooden planks, 3 potions of holy water, Wi ≥18 => co-aligned altar (takes long to build, may drain attributes permanently unless done by a priest/paladin or the piety level is high enough);
    3 pieces of wool => 1 rope;
    10 wooden planks, 2 ropes => raft (treated as a single bridge tile that moves down the current if placed on water; can be useful if a dungeon is flooded, but the character isn't good at swimming);
    5 rocks => barricade tile (an elevated floor tile that is treated as a wall by small creatures and shallow waters; can be shot over at 50% max range and 75% accuracy);
    5 wooden planks => wooden fence tile (can be shot through at 25% max range and 50% accuracy, won't stop liquids, but will stop all weak medium-sized non-flying creatures);
    7 wooden planks, 3 metal ingots => reinforced fence tile (will stop small and medium-sized non-flying enemies, can't be shot through; weaker than a stone wall, but is faster and easier to build);
    5 wooden planks, 4 metal ingots => reinforced door (harder to smash, will not give in to water pressure);
    20 wooden planks, 5 non-corroding metal ingots, 1 bottle of tar, high construction skill => boat;
    10 rocks, 1 rope => stone block trap.

    I'll write some more if I think of anything useful.

  11. More recipes:

    3 bones, 1 torch => bone lantern (has a chance to scare away weak-willed monsters in addition to being a light source);
    6 pieces of wool => 1 blanket;
    10 pieces of wool => 1 warm blanket (makes inventory items frost-proof; maybe grants some cold resistance if equipped in the tool slot?);
    10 pieces of wool, 2 bottles of oil, high construction skill => waterproof blanket;
    10 pieces of wool, 2 heat-resistant metal ingots, high construction skill => fireproof blanket;
    4 rocks, 1 blanket => pit trap (has to be done over a pit, which you must dig with a shovel or a pickaxe);
    1 rope, 2 rocks, 1 bottle of poison => poison gas trap;
    2 rope, 1 box of flint & steel, 1 bottle of oil => fireball trap.

  12. Some comments...

    Constructing and smithing aren't going to be an attractive path unless you can eventually build things that you can't easily find. For example, in ADOM there's not a lot of point to smithing weapons (except for phase daggers) because the player is almost certain to find better ones in-game. So while it might be realistic to have recipes for lots of common items, only the potential to craft very rare items would make the skill worthwhile. This is also a good reason to focus on changing the environment rather than making items.

    I agree that time/quality is a better metric for success at the skill than create/don't create.

    I strongly agree with the idea that given the right location and tools, you can assume that some types of resources come from the environment.

    The system could be extended to make a really cool weaponsmith class in JADE. Ingots + special materials ==> rare weapons with prefixes/suffixes? I would love it. To take a simple example, maybe adding crystals of fire to a smithing job would create a flaming weapon? Lots of potential there, and to limit the power of smiths you might want to give them a fixed set of recipes like alchemy--but culminating in something really nice and maybe including one 'secret recipe' for a weapon that is useful in some special circumstance but can never be found by chance.

    I'm really looking forward to the release!

  13. @TMoila: No, it's the other way around ;-) . If you look at the oldest posts about JADE (from around 1998) you will see that the idea from the beginning onwards was to accomodate very different styles of play. If you want to be a merchant you should be able to organize caravans, if you want to be a king you should be able to build a castle (or buy it) and lead armies and if you just want to be the lone wolf type of adventurer that should be possible. The focus of JADE always has been and will be on your character, not some lego-style game.

    Lacking a third dimension this also would be very difficult so the construction system for JADE is meant to add a new optional strategy layer. It never will be the central concept that it is in a game like minecraft.

  14. Just had an interesting (albeit somewhat off-topic) idea: direction signs that can be read by literate monsters! If PC is literate, they can construct a sign out of two wooden planks, and inscribe it with up to 140 characters (would make for a great subtle nod towards Twitter, haha). If a monster is literate, they will treat the inscription according to their intelligence.

    Say, you don't want monsters who can open doors to enter a room while you recover HP, build an altar, or read books. You can construct a sign with something like "Huge bear in this room" in front of it. Monsters' AI will note the direction, parse the text for items/names/creature types, and respond accordingly.

    A monster that passes the strength check, but fails the intelligence check: "bear => edible; entering the room".
    Doesn't pass either check: "bear => danger; flee into the opposite direction or attempt to gang up".
    Passes intelligence, fails strength: "probably bollocks, but I will rather wait here just in case there's really a bear".
    Passes both: "bear, yeah right..."

    If you put a sign saying "Barbarians are welcome!" and a barbarian comes by, the word "barbarian" will attract their attention, so they will attempt to follow the sign rather than just wander about aimlessly. A sign that promises consumables or treasures will likewise attract creatures who are interested, which may be useful for mass-sacrificing or hunting for particular items/corpses. Maybe the attraction power should be modified by player's Charisma score at the moment of inscription.

  15. I like the idea about carts. Maybe a basic cart (self pulled) could be one of the easiest things to construct. As you get more skilled you can improve your cart allowing it to carry more. Carts should have a high but not unlimited carrying capacity. Gives a chance for some nice warnings and even deaths.

    As you load the last log onto your cart you hear an ominous creaking.

    As you load the last stone there is a loud crack from one of the wheels. The cart collapses on one side.

    As you load the last of the logs onto your cart the break gives way. The cart begins to roll backwards. You do not have time to get out of the way. You are knocked down, as you fall you hit your head on a rock. You die.

  16. I'm late to the party - All of my ideas have already been suggested, haha! Completely agree with Moozooh regarding how to deal with weightless raw material. The first thing I thought was that if for example stones are made weightless, then halflings/trolls using thrown rocks get an unexpected advantage. But if the rocks get broken down into 'Raw Material-Stone' which has no weight, it works.

    Yes, complicated construction should sometimes require other skills.

    Yes, horse+cart - faster travel time, also holds X amount of weight. So if you get burdened exploring a dungeon, you just drop the extra stuff in your cart instead of having to go back to town. Maybe when you enter an area (town or dungeon) the cart appears and stays where you initially spawned. When selling, the sell screen will also automatically show the contents of your cart.

    Stairways was a good idea.

    Other ideas.
    - Be able to build golems/constructs.
    - Build rafts/boats for travelling over water. Especially if the worldmap has different continents (you probably can't swim across the ocean!)
    - Houses. There is a low chance of a vacant lot being spawned in a city, and you can buy permission to build there from the village mayor/leader. Perhaps at this stage, a house is simply just a 100% safe place to put your extra stuff (assuming the house has four walls and a locked door!)
    - New Quest. The village mayor/king requests you to build a bridge in a certain area, or houses.

    So all up, you've made the "bridge building" skill much more interesting! Nice update!

  17. When you build something in the wilderness it should leave a permanent map marker that you can name yourself. Would be cool to build your own house to store your stuff and so on. Or maybe even a whole village where other people and companions might live.

  18. What if Items weighed what they should? Isn't there a good way around that problem... Is it even really a problem?

    Could we not employ an Oxen from farmer brown's, heck he may even be willing to give you one if you do him a little favor? Or maybe we can pull that abcessed tooth from Gnort's grotesque mouth(that if one of you doesn't kill the other first)... Gnort just so happens to be a extra dumb troll that wants nothing more to be a help Poobah(that's me) "Poobah Friend"... "that's right Gnort, Poobah's your friend, now can you hold this for me?".

    Heck who know's maybe there are merchants that specialize in beasts of burden... heck maybe some of these merchants are so skilled they have raised and or purchased some very knarly "pets", for sale over the years... Even ones with 100 foot Wing spans that have a tendency to cook a few foe's from time to time.

    The options are pretty near limitless.

  19. Just to clarify on something in my post - it should be possible to build bridges in the world map, assuming that the water isn't too wide. Maybe the longer or bigger you make your bridge, the more skill level you need. So 1-2 skill in contruction lets you build a 1-tile bridge, while 999 skill lets you build a bridge from Africa to South America...

    'Building a bridge on the worldmap' was what I was thinking of for that new quest 'Village Mayor wants you to build a bridge'.

  20. You should try URW, UnReal World.
    It's free to try. Anyways it has got a great food system that you really should take a look at and also features construction and a good amount of crafting items. I like it a lot, one of the better roguelikes I have tried even if it gets repetitive after a while.

    To put it shortly the food system has both hunger and thirst and all foods have a predefined hunger/thirst restoration value. I also think you can make soups or stews by simply putting whatever you'd like into a bowl of water and the nutrition values are mixed...

    Crafting is a lot of fun and construction is fairly advanced. I like how there's half a dozen different axes that are the best at different parts of construction: one is good for cutting down trees, one for refining the tree trunks into logs, one for cutting the logs into boards, one for cutting the logs into blocks or firewood, one for carving and crafting... and one for combat.

    URW is really interesting but it's all in the "overworld" and there are no dungeons so it's more of a survival simulator than your traditional roguelike. It's also probably more realistic than you'd like JADE to be... I for one would absolutely hate if building materials were weightless or anything like that.

  21. I agree with those who say that logs, etc. should have a realistic weight. Some ways around the boredom of having to carry stuff have been proposed above, including carts, automatic raw materials depending on environment, dividing materials into smaller chunks like planks, etc. I think all of those ideas are nice.

    moozooh: your ideas about signs affecting the AI are really cool, but as a programmer I can tell you that making an AI with such a complex parser and behaviours depending on the semantics of sentences is really really complex... it probably could be a project of the size of JADE itself!

  22. Have You been thinking about magical equivalent of this skill, for example some kind of alchemy/transmutation combination. In order to create bridge by magical means you should posses alcemy skill on some level and enough mana to cast transmutation.This could make spells more versatile, and there would be no need for spells like "create bridge" or "destroy/create wall/tile".
    On the other hand spellcasters are not artificiers so they couldn't make complex things like jewelry, or well balanced weapons.
    Next thing is on some level of advancement, spellcaster (with appropriate skill) would transmute more and rare materials, eg: 1st - 5th lvl wood,stone, water, 45 lvl eterenium...
    But maybe it would be to complex.Who knows.
    Anywyay I'm greatly impressed by possibilities that JADE offers so far, Creator :)

  23. In my opinion making materials almost weightless would reduce the game's immersion a lot. I don't think it's a particularly good way to accomodate PCs focussing on crafts in the game. As Ancardia is a magical world, you should be able to easily find ways to explain away the fantastic amount of materials the PC can carry or produce on the spot.

    The tinkerer's bag could be a handy artifact that does exactly what you already planned with making raw materials weightless or almost weightless. However this kind of magic seems pretty powerful and thus should in fact be as hard to come by as other artifacts.

    Less powerful magical tools might come in the form of wands and spells that create materials you require, e.g. a wand of create trees makes it possible to get wood without leaving the dungeon - and with a really sharp axe you'll have that bridge built in no time. Or maybe you brought some acorns and a wand of growth? Would a healing spell on those do the trick, too? Or maybe a prayer to the goddess of nature?

    There could also be class powers that also facilitate material creation. I actually think a tinkerer class sounds interesting and might, for example, be able to create wands of petrification, crystallization, and other material creation wands by himself, which weigh a lot less than their produce, of course. Another power could drastically reduce times needed for mining, so you'll always easily have rocks available. Or maybe instead, crafty tinkerers that rely a lot on rocks and ores dual-class as a miner...

    Jonathan Fielding gave another good option to accomodate realistic material weights by enabling pets and steeds to carry equipment in saddlebags and the likes. You might let tinkerers have a mule as a starting pet. This fits in better with the typical role of pets in traditional RPGs anyway (not that there was ever anything wrong with having your pet grizzly bear slice through hordes of screaming kobolds in ADOM...)

    All in all, I think making materials unexplainably light is not at all necessary - and until more advanced features like pets and magic are implemented, you could simply have a tinkerer's bag in the starting equipment to show off the new building system and get it tested.

  24. Concerning carts and beasts of burden: While I like the basic idea I am not yet convinced that it would be as much fun in practice as it sounds (not to mention that it's too much work to implement that just to then learn that it doesn't really work).

    My concerns come from the following point of view:
    If beasts of burden are real beings on the map you will have lots of trouble keeping them alive on more dangerous levels... probably so much trouble that it wouldn't be fun and again would keep folks from even trying the construction system.

    Concerning carts... could imagine having something like a cart as an item you can carry with you (which is not quite a believable abstraction) but would fit nicely into the current overall system. Having a cart as a separate tile/being/whatever on the map IMHO again would raise issues with all kinds of nickly details (like "can you climb stairs with a cart?", "does a cart fit through doors?", "who is pulling the cart?", "what happens if you fall into a pit?", etc) that I again have doubts about the viability.

    I'm BTW a bit surprised by you all asking for realism in that respect. From what I know from e.g. Minecraft there are no limits on the amount of stuff you can carry with you, are there? What's the difference to JADE in respect to a construction system? I'm honestly interested to understand the design implications.

    Please respond... this seems to be a rather important issue which I completely underestimated...

  25. @Al-Khwarizmi
    I admit I wasn't clear enough in my original message, but the parser doesn't actually have to analyze the semantics, it only needs to look for keywords, just like the game already does when you ask NPCs about things. All signs will have four possible directions (east, west, north, south) set the moment you place them, so when 'l'ooking at them from a distance you see: "there's a sign pointing to the north in this spot".

    Unfortunately I don't know what attributes there are for monsters in the code, but experience level and HP seem to suffice for strength evaluation.

    The parsing process will thus look like this:
    Analysis-wise it's not very "intelligent" at all, of course, but it will definitely allow to play with enemies's AI to, say, lure them into traps or filter out certain types of enemies.

  26. @Thomas Biskup
    As you know, pets/companions/familiars in RPGs in general have to fit several important "fun" criteria, among which:
    1) they shouldn't die too easily;
    2) they should be easy to control;
    3) they should move at least as fast as yourself.

    If it's hard or even impossible to fulfill these criteria, using pets as beasts of burden is bound to turn into logistics nightmare you were talking about in the post.

    Carts suggest realism in a setting where you can carry around hundreds of scrolls, potions, gold pieces, and small consumables, as well as several sets of armor and weapons, all at the same time. Considering that item weights have already been pretty arbitrary to begin with, this seems to introduce more inconsistencies than it theoretically solves, in addition to having a whole another set of logistic rules.

    Personally, I maintain the opinion that easy availability of raw materials should be more important than the ability to carry a lot in your backpack. For instance, you should be able to skin certain enemies for wool. You should be able to extract bones out of corpses. You should be able to dig mud, crush stone, and chop trees (so there should be more trees, not only in the overworld). But rare, valuable materials should stay rare and valuable.

    If you're up for some realism, consider this: if you're a skilled carpenter in real life, and you go exploring in some unknown territories, will you stuff logs in your backpack just in case you'll want to use them? I'd guess that most of the time you'd find the application first and THEN look for wood. It doesn't turn into logistics nightmare if you don't have to go far, so it won't be a problem to carry heavy stuff on yourself either.

    On that topic, I have another suggestion for a special dungeon room: barns. They store some raw materials and can be guarded by traps and/or enemies. Shops that trade rare materials would be interesting, too.

  27. I have always been an advocate of "fun and playability first, realism a distant second" in games. For example I hate the CRPG's where you must navigate containers inside containers to get to your stuff. Yeah, in real life nobody carries around 50 items without putting them into containers, but who cares, containers don't add fun to the game so one can just abstract away from them.

    But I think this is not so much a realism issue as an internal coherence issue. That is, a game has rules (which may be realistic or not) and it should be coherent with those rules. If the rules include a weight system, it seems odd that a log weights less than a potion, except if there is a convincing in-game explanation for that (like the tinkerer's bag being a magical artifact as switch has just suggested - I think there are some good ideas in that post).

    IMHO this is probably the reason why people is raising concerns about the weightless materials and not about other things in the game which are also unrealistic, BUT coherent.

    I agree about beasts of burden and carts being too much of a hassle. I like switch's ideas about wand of tree creation and artifact bag. Combined with an abundance of rocks in dungeons and trees in the wilderness, and making it automatic to acquire these resources when they are nearby ('You spend some time chopping trees to obtain the planks for your wall.'), I think building would be lots of fun.

    There could even be a "wand of material creation" that would create the basic materials - wood, stone and maybe metal - perhaps letting you choose which if it is blessed. And for rarer items like jewels or pelts, one would have to search for them.

  28. Just to add to the above: food is more important for survival, yet it's never been weightless (moreover, a decent amount of consumables in ADoM were pretty damn heavy), and some of it even has the tendency to expire. The only reason it hasn't become a logistical nightmare is that it's relatively easy to come by. That's how things like this should be done, imo.

  29. I'm a big fan of the unrealistic approach. I never used Bridge Building in ADOM unless I absolutely, absolutely had to; it was such a miserable PITA to chop down a tree, lug an 800s log around, get it down 6 dungeon levels then fail my 37% chance of building the bloody bridge and have to do it twice more - PER SQUARE!

    I don't see a lot of point in building chairs etc. Walls are more interesting but since it's so slow it's only useful for setting up probably abusive scummy situations (fencing in monsters to stop more monster generation; keeping summoners at bay...)

    Altars would be genuinely useful for all games though and take some irritating RNG swing out of the mix.

  30. Though I can understand the desire for realism in certain respects, I think it wouldn't work well for JADE. It certainly doesn't work for ADOM, where players will rather spend hours scumming for a wand of cold than ever attempting bridge building, all because logs are too bloody heavy and all the prerequisites are too much of a nuisance.

    One problem is you're trying to merge 2 game types into one. I think you're going to end up with all sorts of cohesiveness issues. Personally I would suggest concentrating on the dungeon crawling elements of JADE before adding in the more complex and less popular crafting side-games.

    However I'm biased in that I universally hate crafting systems. They're always a giant time sink with lots of overly complex inventory management and item collecting and end up feeling more like a chore than a game. They especially don't work with roguelike permadeath - you spend hours making a lovely castle, and then as soon as you step into a dungeon you die and all your time was wasted. Woo! Maybe make structures built by players consistent across all games? Or only degrade after 20 deaths or so. Would help give the feeling of many hapless adventurers getting themselves killed across Ancardia...

    Also, make sure building materials are worth very little gold. And preferably aren't just dropped about the dungeon - one has to specifically go looking for them. I hate when games have hundreds of crafting items all over the place that are purely vendor trash if all you want to do is play the main game.

  31. @KevinO: The basic idea (chairs aside - that's for your home ;-) ) is that building will allow interesting traps and highly strategical approaches to certain challenges - if you love that kind of approach.

  32. @Thomas Biskup
    Regarding Beasts of Burden, I think the whole "keeping them alive in more dangerous levels" wouldn't be a huge issue. Let's say you're building a castle somewhere. Chances are, it will be on the overworld map, so using beasts to carry your heaps and heaps of stone and other resources across the map would work just fine (as long as you don't get ambushed by raiders, but events like that would be exciting and challenging). Obviously bringing these same pets down to the Chaos Gate might not be the wisest of actions, but it helps balance out the "risk vs reward" aspect.

    If you're concerned that people will not try out the construction system because of the difficulty of having to carry around many potentially burdensome objects, don't be. There will always be people that will be interested in trying out construction, even if the requirements aren't simple. Smithing in ADOM, for example, required quite a few things that the character needed (rare and extremely heavy anvil, immovable forge, endless mining for ingots, etc), but for those characters diligent enough to go through the trouble acquiring those, the rewards were great (powerful weapons and armor). And it's these rewards that enticed players to bother with smithing in the first place. Otherwise, what's the point?

    So going back to the topic of construction, players are going to see the benefits of the skill, and if they believe that such a skill will benefit their characters and their play style, they will make sure it happens regardless of the requirements.

    Weightless resources works in Minecraft, but Minecraft is a completely different type of game than JADE. I would say comparing Minecraft to JADE/ADOM is like comparing LEGO to Dungeons and Dragons. Both are fun in their own rights, but for vastly different reasons.

    Besides, you're worried about something not being fun because of its difficulty. Don't forget that you're making a roguelike... your players have fun BECAUSE it's difficult.

  33. How about a courier system in which you hire something to meet you at either fixed locations or somewhere decided on by the player to pickup/deliver raw materials for a nominal fee (Expense depending on distance/danger)?

    I mean it would be feasible to imagine a caravan system that relied on mundane/magical creatures in many sorts of environments (Which restrictions on certain areas depending on how it cold be implemented).

    The player would not have to bother with the nitty-gritty details of cart management, but have a realistic means of transporting goods and materials.

  34. If allowing multiple game styles is allowed, why not allow a couple of different ways of dealing with finding and hauling materials? Wizards could find a way of making a 'bag of holding' or maybe an object which can make a magical gate with which the wizard can enter and retrieve construction goods from a prepared site. Non-wizards could use carts, or beasts or burden in a caravan hauling carts. Have different ways of dealing with hauling have different costs: the caravan being under danger of attack in the more dangerous areas, and maybe the wizard gate allowing the possibility of having monster follow through and ransack the prepared construction area?

  35. The delivery system is indeed an interesting idea: raw material shops could employ it with a fee proportional to the dungeon level you want your materials to arrive. The courier could just teleport to you with goods as soon as you reach the level in question.

  36. "I'm BTW a bit surprised by you all asking for realism in that respect. From what I know from e.g. Minecraft there are no limits on the amount of stuff you can carry with you, are there? What's the difference to JADE in respect to a construction system? I'm honestly interested to understand the design implications."
    It's probably... It's probably because JADE is a rougelike, where Minecraft isn't. See for me, on one hand, carrying around 800s logs is really annoying, but on the other hand, this is a rougelike, and I sort of expect things to be difficult and annoying. Which means that 0 weight materials almost doesn't feel right!

    Regarding caravans, remember in some of your earliest design notes, you had an example of a PC roleplaying as a caravan guard, travelling from city to city guarding a caravan? I see the PC's cart as being an extension of that idea. You're not really supposed to cart your horse+cart around everywhere with you, up and down stairs, through buildings, up the carpet of the king's throne room. I see the horse+cart as something the PC uses to help travel over the world map, which he then discards as soon as he enters a town or dungeon. It appears on the first level of the dungeon next to the stairs - but that's only so you can pack/unpack stuff. In a town, your horse and cart is parked outside a saloon - wild west style:) Materials held in your cart are always available for use. When selling, you can automatically sell stuff from your cart as if it was all in your inventory. The only nitpicky question would be why the cart doesn't get attacked. That would be the only sticking point.

    Hopefully I've cleared up some of my reasoning!

  37. @Lyle i like your idea. didn't daggerfall had cart and horse functioning this way ? :)
    It doesn't get attacked cos it's magically protected ;>

  38. Tangent: Can we have steeds? I always hated how walking to the CoC would take days without 7lbs. I can imagine horses and warhorses for your ordinary mounts, with more mythological stuff like pegasuses, griffons, etc available as quest rewards. No need to worry about how they behave in the dungeon, since you could just have a system where they get tethered outside and can't go in.

  39. Did anybody in ADOM actually *USE* bridge-building? It struck me as one of the most useless skills. First you have to acquire over 9000 logs (the weight, my god, the weight!), then you have to lug them to your destination, then the actual bridge building itself... just not worth it unless you're playing a strict no-magic challenge game or you're completely illiterate.

  40. How'bout a rickshaw that you could carry with the negative of being 20% slower, you can let go whenever you see a monster to fight and they can't steal directly from the cart (otherwise it would be very frustrating)

  41. Hmmm. What about tower defence in ADOM roguelike world?

  42. Are you thinking of making it so that you can construct anything anywhere, effectively, or certain areas (either optional or vital) can only be reached by certain means? Say, you need to build a bridge to access one location, a rope ladder to access another, a staircase for a third, etc. Could provide an interesting variety while preventing people from screwing too badly with the world by building stuff (unless, of course, you wish to allow that...)

  43. Pleease, Thomas, do not make materials weigh next to nothing. That would be awful. You can easily work around the weight:
    1. Use strength of atlas
    2. Have some of constructables require only a small amount of materials
    3. Have magical items that increase capacity as far as materials go
    4. Allow PC to have companions carry materials for him
    5. Allow harvesting some materials on-site rather than require carrying it around.

  44. I used bridge building a few times, albeit mostly for trolls. You can always find ways to carry more stuff, I don't recall finding lugging logs to the piranha cave being an issue.
    Consequently, weightless/low weight items seemed an odd decision to me at first, but if it can be justified by some kind of magical toolbelt which only produces building materials, then it makes a sort of sense for building large items like castles. Perhaps the building function and the carrying function could be separated? Make the toolbelt a normal item, purchaseable in shops, reasonably common to find etc., so you can build small, basic stuff easily and early. But, have a unique item in a guaranteed location (a holdall of the Master Artificer or something) that will carry raw materials at a nominal weight of 1s to permit you to make bigger stuff more easily?
    I think you should have to earn the power to carry 20 logs in your pocket!

  45. "I'm BTW a bit surprised by you all asking for realism in that respect. From what I know from e.g. Minecraft there are no limits on the amount of stuff you can carry with you, are there? What's the difference to JADE in respect to a construction system? I'm honestly interested to understand the design implications."

    The difference here is that Minecraft is a building game at its core, while JADE is a roguelike that will happen to have construction elements. If Minecraft was realistic, it would be no fun, because building is what the game is all about. If you restrict building, what's left?

    JADE, on the other hand, is NOT about building. Construction is simply an activity tangential to the main gameplay, and as I said before, its extensive inclusion could unbalance the game. If you want your game to be Minecraft, sure, go ahead and make logs weigh nothing. However, I was under the impression that this WASN'T Minecraft. I thought it was an RPG.

  46. Correct me if I'm wrong, but this is a fantasy environment, yes? I've played ADOM and had pet Giant Slugs, Pet Ancient Minotaurs, and pet Fire Giants. Pets like these were available to anyone literate and strong enough to survive the more dangerous dungeons long enough to read a scroll.

    I'm pretty sure a tamed/befriended/hired black dragon could haul plenty of logs, and keep the monsters at bay. And if not? C'est la RNG. I always liked how ADOM was like a chess game. You had to think long and hard about what you wanted to do, because carelessness and hast almost always led to death, but there were few things you couldn't pull off if you went about them the right way, at the right time.

    Also, MAGIC! Magic is *commonplace* in this world, and you're wondering if people can figure out how to get a bunch of logs down the stairs? Even a barbarian can wear a girdle of carrying.

    And finally, the sticking point I keep hearing seems to be getting wood into the underworld. DF is the game probably most familiar, but fungal wood in the underworld is pretty common in any game that takes place there (Avernum/Exile, Morrowind, heck, Mario Bros.) Why not just have the portions of the underworld that are caves, and not created dungeons grow their own weird, possibly chaos mutated trees?

    Also DIY. You want a door, kick down one or two from elsewhere, and take the parts to where you want them. If I'm a typical ADOM style hero (I've never played Monk), and I want some privacy, I've got about 30 spears for palisades, 20 shields for walls, and at least a few whips that I could lash everything together with in a pinch. How would that be? You could add Awareness:Build (Nice thing about coming to the conversation late : ) to all sorts of items, perhaps specifying what they'd be good for. Plus you get the added bonus of creating a subterranean Bartertown

    I vote nay on weightless material (roguelike, difficulty, sense of accomplishment, availability of training, magic, all that)

    Yea on beasts of burden (If the biggest, strongest most deadly animal your adventurer can harness is a castrated ox, maybe don't build the eternium and obsidian ChAoS FoRtResS at the center of the earth yet, try a house on the edge of Terinyo)

    Yea on underground trees. (Fantasy, magic, removal of a needless PITA)

    Yea on Zombie/Post-Nuclear apocalypse style armor/weapon/junk buildings (gives hoarders like me another reason to pick everything up)

  47. And a very big yea on Caravans.

    No one ever built a castle by themselves, and even allowing it for the sake of the game, no one hauled all the rocks there themselves. Seems like micromanagement to have to dig up and carry every stone that goes into your castle. You still could, with caravans, but it would allow those of us not to be blessed with OCD to forego the bean counting and deal with the evil slowly choking the life out of the world.

    Heck, this just reminded me of the game Uncharted Waters, where the more money you spent in a town, the economy would grow, and the more valuable merchandise you could get your hands on. Buy enough stone, and the town keeps hitting veins of more valuable metals and gems as it digs down to get it for you.

    Not sure if you had plans to make the world dynamic, but the quarry for your castle opening up a Wyrm's lair would make for some fun procedurally generated excitement.

  48. I've played loads of ADOM. Weightlessness is not ADOM; weight management is part of its realism. I wouldn't want to see it subverted in JADE for the sake of one sandbox element.

    Bridge Building is so terribad not because the logs are heavy, but because of the failure rate. I would have been fine lugging a bunch of logs for a three square bridge if I could have been sure that three, four, five logs would be enough, but instead I knew it would take twenty upwards, since the skill was so impossible to train. And that's the way to solve the logistics nightmare; if players are able to calculate how much material they will need to pull off their planned construction work, they will be able to handle the weight of construction materials quite well, and therefore won't need it to be weightless.

  49. In ADOM one could carry numerous logs at once. How exactly is that realism?

  50. In ADOM, you generally needed magical help to carry more than 3 or 4, depending on your equipment. Which seems pretty realistic. And if you did you were generally running the risk of a crushinging instakill.

    With great convenience comes great danger. You can only shortcut so long before you slip up and it kills you. Best part about rouguelikes, in my opinion.

  51. Check out Dwarf Fortress for inspiration on building/creating objects and having 3D things on a 2D visible screen.

  52. In ADOM, logs were heavy. In a world of magical creatures and infini-sized backpacks, that makes for at least some degree of realism, or more semantically accurate, a better illusion of it. There might have been infini-packs, but at least your character couldn't carry infinite weights. Managing weight was a rather significant element of ADOM's playing experience.

    In any case, that's not a counterargument. If carrying numerous logs was possible in ADOM with the weight system, and would have been done if Bridge Building hadn't sucked so much, there's no need to remove weight as a factor. Just don't let Construction's failure rate, if it does exist, magically eat up all the materials.

    I'm pretty sure Thomas knows about Minecraft and Dwarf Fortress perfectly well and is drawing loads of inspiration from either. But the fact that Minecraft is raking in the dough right now doesn't make copying its building element a perfect recipe for success in a game that is neither 3D nor will be nearly as nice to look at.

  53. Consistency is more important than 'realism'

  54. Admittedly, I haven't played ADOM in years but ran across this post during my internet travels and found it quite intriguing (which means I will be checking out JADE during my free time!).

    I like the idea of carts/beasts of burden. In a roguelike, I would imagine they could follow the player around much like pets do. It wouldn't make sense for them to follow inside the dungeon though. I agree with an earlier poster, that the cart should 'wait' for you outside the dungeon. Protecting the cart in the overworld, could provide some fun 'mini-caravan' type play.

    If cart AI is too cumbersome, it could be simplified to just an inventory item which allows a character to carry even more than usual...perhaps only allowing additional storage for crafting items (such as wood, iron, etc.).

  55. I like the idea of heavy raw materials that can be worked down into manageable refined materials useful for building (e.g. ore into ingots). And on the subject of that particular example, it should be possible to Construct a forge. Sure, there are always a million of them in the UD, but when I find a huge vein of mithril on the bottom level of a forge-less dungeon, it makes more sense to find a plan for a forge than to spend months hauling all that ore to a pre-generated spot for refining it. (Of course, I might first have to melt a big pile of it into a makeshift anvil before I begin working metal.)

    And perhaps higher skill in Construction will mean it takes longer for my hastily-made forge to collapse, as opposed to the dwarven ones littering the dungeon, which will stand forever?

    And since someone mentioned blankets, can we make rubber, alkaline, and padded blankets to protect against shock, acid, and crushing damage?

  56. Here's one vote for letting players do completely pointless things. Who cares if chairs aren't optimal, or don't do anything? Some things are just there for color, or because they are funny, or cool. And maybe you can sell chairs.

    As to materials, back in college, the first roguelike I played was Angband, and I remember the phrase "You tunnel into the magma intrusion." being one of the major selling points for me. Naturalistic detail is worth a lot. I would love to see a roguelike that had different kinds of bedrock, and let you quarry them.

    And, this is a fantasy game, so maybe the solution to moving big stuff around is a dual-class tinker-wizard who can levitate big blocks of stuff.

    As to picking up samples, if you are making something small, that's totally reasonable -- you go into the heart of the forest, or the remote canyon, goblin-guarded canyon, and come back with the branch from the magic tree or the exposed mineral. If you are an insane craftsman who insists on having the right material to make your wand or figurine out of or whatever, that's totally normal behavior.

  57. You have presented a very nice ideas in here. Building construction ideas are great. I would love to build my own bed. Would it possible?
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