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Friday, March 15, 2013

Mega Crafting Game - Development Journal 1

This is the first development post and the beginning of design documentation for what I am dubbing Project Mega Crafting Game.  Long-time readers will know that I long for a game where I can make stuff and have that stuff be unique and different, according to how I want to make it.  Readers will also know that there are currently *NO* games where crafting is a significant gameplay mechanic, and where the best gear comes from crafting.  This project is designed to remedy that, and show the world exactly how popular this game type is.

Now to make some considerations plain:

This will be a social game/MMO.

Platform:  I've thought long and hard about this, and I know where my strengths lie.  This will be a PC game, either as a browser-based game, a separate client, or a facebook/android/ios app.  The latter is most likely, as I have very limited graphics design ability, but am getting better at app programming.  Facebook is a necessary evil, as I want this game to be free to play, but if it it multiplayer, I will need some means of supporting a server to run it on (with ad income and cash shop purchases)

Cash Shop/Freemium:  Yes, I said cash shop purchases, but it isn't what you might think.  I have an approach to the cash shop design that I think will bring an interesting take to game development.  The first rule of this cash shop is that anything that can be bought can also be crafted or obtained through reasonable quests.  Second is that no equipment can be bought in the cash shop, just things to make or improve equipment.  Example: You can buy a perfectly balanced handle to improve the speed of swords you make, or you can make a perfectly balanced handle through a process that takes some time and resources.  I want people with money to be able to spend it, and get a reward that is worth their money (i.e. takes some of the grind away) but people without extra cash should be on an equal footing.  An exception to this rule will be anything that doesn't effect core gameplay (pets, mounts, disabling ads, etc).  I also want all cash shop items to be salable for in-game currency, so even if a mohawk is only available for your character through cash shop, you can buy one from the exchange from someone who bought it with real money.

Gameplay: Gameplay will have two modes.  The first, is the crafting mode.  This is essentially your workshop, where you make the items you will sell.  It also has access to an exchange, where goods can be bought and sold.  The second area is the resource/questing area.  This area is where you can adventure, find resources, and use the equipment made in your workshop.  

Workers: A sub-method of gameplay will involve workers.  Workers are NPCs that you "own" that operate similarly to DOFFs from STO or crew from SWTOR.  You assign them to missions to gather materials for you, refine those materials, make components....everything you can do by hand except make the final product.  You have a limited amount of workers you can have (this might be an area for cash shop improvement), and limited amount of work that can be done.  When workers are doing something you can do yourself, they are not as efficient, and will do a worse job than you would yourself.  Workers also gain stats, experience, and become better the more you assign them to specific tasks.  They can also be injured or  killed with dangerous tasks (Not just "go to sickbay for 2 days" injured, injuries can last for a long time, some can be permanent, and even your best trained workers can die).

Claims: One thing I do want to be able to do is stake claims in the adventuring world.  Claims are areas you have found resources, but do not have the time or inventory space to gather.  You get a claim voucher, which allows you to return within a certain period to mine the resources (or send your Workers to do it for you).

That's about all I'm going to spout off for now.  I appreciate comments on these ideas, and will continue to post design ideas in the near future.  I have no idea for a release date on this, as I am only formalizing the design outlook now.

-VG

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