Crafting And The Player Experience

blurb_1_sketchmini After several weeks of us focusing on crafting stations, designs, and concepts, you are probably wondering why this is all important to you, the player. The answer to this is a bit long winded, and we will go into detail below, but it boils down to one of the core pillars of our game: that players shape the world.

In a standard MMO, the player experience is a repetitive treadmill of: kill monster, get weapon, kill bigger monster, get better weapon, etc. The same applies for armor and most of the gear that you acquire as you level and play the game. Gathering and Crafting skills tend to be regarded as something to do “after the grind” or when you hit “max level”.

In Utherous, these skills will be an integral part of the experience from the very beginning of your time in-world. At the start, players will enter the world with the very basics they need for survival: a weapon, some rag-tag clothing, and some food. While hunting monsters will be a rewarding experience, the majority of creatures will drop crafting materials and not complete pieces of gear. These materials can then be traded to a crafter or sold for profit. However, all of the player’s gear will have a limited durability, so you will quickly find yourself in a situation where you need to re-outfit, and that will take you to other players.

The game systems within Utherous allow for players to completely forgo combat, and focus entirely on crafting or gathering skills, if they choose. Since the most significant factor for leveling and learning skills is time, these players will be the ones who will be outfitting the early adventurers. The systems are also set up to rely on each other, and encourage a community that can grow into a town or even a city. The most efficient communities early on will be those that accommodate specialists.

Let’s take a blacksmith, as a simple example of this: While the blacksmith could level up both mining and smithing, trying to maintain both skills and meet demand for weapons and armor would difficult. The best bet for the blacksmith to be successful, is to make friends with someone who has taken up Mining, trade upgrades and gear to that person for Ore, and then use the remaining Ore to create gear to sell for a profit.

We fully expect that as a community grows into a city the majority of people are going to be moving on to more advanced forms of crafting, gathering and adventuring. The FORCES system can be used in these cases to help augment your supply chains, and keep the lesser resources flowing. As your miner friends advance and begin gathering more difficult to find iron ore, you can send out your NPC forces to gather brithil, a tier one ore.

Our goal is to create a living, thriving economy within the world. Adventurers need gear from crafters, crafters need supplies from other crafters and from gatherers, gatherers will need protection from adventurers to get to rare resources, etc. Everyone has a place in the wheel and together they are helping to rebuild a broken world.

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Fireside Chat 5-27

With our recent focus on crafting stations, we decided to skip the standard fireside chat this week and get an interview about the inspiration and direction of the crafting stations from our lead writer Devin Kleinschmit.

Dev Diary: The visual feel of Utherous – Crafting Stations

The visual concept is a highly collaborative process involving several teams. The crafting stations were initially conceptualized by the writing team, then designed and produced by the art team. I am here to talk about the conceptualization process for the crafting stations.

Utherous’ world takes place in a unique setting. It’s not true Victorian Steampunk nor is Classical Fantasy, rather, it’s a blending of the two genres. In house we have taken to calling this Steamknight. So when we looked at the crafting stations we didn’t want them to be too medieval looking as well as too Victorian or industrial. Keeping in mind the time period of the Utherous back story, where the people of the world are just restarting their journey down the path of technology (or technomancy as the people of Utherous would call it). So I began looking for a historical frame of reference. A time period where industry still had that individualistic artisan element to it that you see in medieval crafting. A particular historical period that we (the writing team), look to for inspiration is the mid to late 18th century. The early part of industrialization.

The only problem with using this as a conceptual basis for Utherous is the people of that time didn’t find industrialization to be a great subject for painting and they obviously didn’t have cameras. Fortunately, there are some great sketches left behind that were 19th century reproductions and, in particular, the art form known as etchings. The concept for our crafting stations started with these sketches and etchings, beyond being quite beautiful works in their own right they had the right feel. A cruder feel for technology, but the process was still rooted in machines. Machines that would be recognizable to us today as industrial machines.

Capture

The picture above is a great example of 18th century cottage industry, and this is the visual concept, look, and feel for our crafting stations in Utherous. From this point our art team took this basic concept and developed some great looking crafting stations!

Thank you for reading and stay tuned for more dev diaries.

– Devin

Next Week

In our next post we are going further explore our crafting system, with a look at the animations involved as well as some example recipes.

As always thanks for reading and for those of you in the US, have great holiday!

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Fireside Chat 5/20

This Fireside Chat will provide a quick alpha update and show off some crafting stations.

Alpha 3

After another round of testing we found out that some bugs had nested pretty deep inside our trees! We are working on fumigating out the forest and will get everyone in to test as soon as we can.

Crafting Stations

We have shown off a few of our stations already but today we are going to focus on the remainder and also explain what many of them are used for.

Sewing Machine

sewing machine

A wondrous crafting station, a true marvel of Utherian technomancy. You can use the Sewing Machine to construct cloth and leather components, as well as finished goods. Leather armor doesn’t grow on trees, it comes from Outfitters hard at work at the Sewing Machine!

Spinning Jenny

spinning jenny

The many types of Auroch’s are a gift to the races of Utherous. Auroch hides make leather, their meat provides sustenance, and their fleece can become cloth. The Spinning Jenny will allow you to take the fleece harvested from your Auroch herds and spin into cloth.

Scholars Bench

scholars bench

The Scholars Bench is a versatile crafting station, you can process raw resources into components or craft finished items. The rare and valuable minerals excavated on Utherous are brought to the Scholars Bench and changed to valuable powders and other components. Those powders along with herbs and unguents are used to craft runes and potions.

Artisans Bench

artisans bench

Crafters use the Artisan’s Bench to produce the finer and more intricate items the people of Utherous demand. Be it cutting down raw gems into cut gems or crafting those gems into works of delicate beauty, it’s done at the Artisan’s Bench. Statuary and stone work of all types are produced by the Artisans who use this station. This crafting station is indispensable to cities.

Kitchen Bench

kitchen bench

All the people’s of Utherous need sustenance. You will need food and the crafting process for food starts at the Kitchen Bench. Many of the crops and quarters of Auroch beef raised on the farms need processing into something a little more user-friendly for the chefs of Utherous. At this versatile crafting station you can craft flour from grain, beef from quarters, and fish oil from fish meat.

Stove

stove

The Kitchen Bench is not the only crafting station used to create food. You will need to use the stove to craft various ingredients into delicious foods for you and your friends. Everything from Roasted Meats to pies and pastries are made using the Stove. Foods are a handy boon that can relieve stress or give you a bit of an edge.

Furnace

furnace

The fires of the furnace burn night and day as the civilizations of Utherous rise from the ashes of the Red Storm. Callous Ore valued for its hardness and Ductile Ore value for its malleability are mined across the continents of Utherous. The ore finds it’s way to the Furnace where you can burn away the slag and craft ingots of the purest and most valuable metals. The furnace is also used to craft very basic components like metal plates.

Cannon Foundry

cannon foundry

Hand held fire arms such as rifles and pistols can give a warrior an edge in battle but they are futile against the massive fortifications of a city. When the walls of a city need cracked or the hulls of ships need shattered the Warmasters of Utherous call forth great cannons and rotating guns. These powerful weapons of war are born in the Cannon Foundry, built by the architects of destruction. Crafted at the Cannon Foundry with such destructive power that even the Goddess Vor’ak is appeased each time such an engine is wrought.

Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend!

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Fireside Chat – Friday 5/6

This week we have more updates on Alpha 3, sound effects and, more crafting stations.

Alpha 3

The server went up last weekend for internal testing and, as it happens with game development, we ran into a few bugs with the gathering system. The code team has been combing over their work and we are hoping those bugs are all squashed. The newest build is ready and the dev team will be testing again this weekend, to get everything ready for our next public event.

Sound Effects

As we all know, sound effects make a huge difference in a game. A bear attack without a roar, or cutting a tree down without chopping sounds can ruin your immersion. As we develop each animal, weapon, and skill, sounds need to be created to accompany them. Below is a quick sample of just a few of the ones we have already created.

Bear Attacks


Bear Death

Axe Chopping

Crafting Stations

Another batch of crafting stations has been completed and is ready to go in game. The Forge and Crucible will be used to convert your metal ingots to weapons. The Gearsmith Bench takes your refined metals and uses them to create more ‘steam punk’ oriented components like wire and tubing. The last image is my personal favorite and that’s The Still, this will be used to brew delicious concoctions to drink alone or share with friends!

Forge and Crucible

forge and crucible

Gearsmith Bench

gearsmithbench

Still

still

Coming Soon

In our next update we will be taking a deeper look at some of the crafting systems, as well as digging into the current character creation options in the alpha build.

Thanks for checking in this week and remember to be good to your mothers!

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