This post is about the crafting section of gameplay for the Mega Crafting Game. There is another section of gameplay that will be referred to as the world or adventure part of gameplay (which includes resource gathering)
Crafting Gameplay: Crafting is creating useful items from raw materials and resources. The quality of a crafted item should be dependent on 1. the input resources, 2. the skill of the person doing the crafting and 3. some random chance. Balancing these three parts is what will make crafting fun and challenging.
Input Resources: While the gathering of resources falls under world/adventure gameplay, they are used during crafting gameplay. Because of this, we need to understand some things about resources. First, resources all have qualities to them that are mathematically calculated during crafting to determine the quality of the final product. I like the Star Wars Galaxies model of resources, where all resources have a set of qualities, like malleability and conductivity, ranging from 0 to 1000. Resources that wouldn't normally have a value for these qualities have a quality of 0 for them (i.e. rubber has a conductivity of 0, while copper has a conductivity of 900). Different items that are crafted require different combinations of qualities. For example, a bundle of wire needs a high conductivity, but an insulating handle needs very low conductivity. Each blueprint will have slots for different materials that require different qualities, using well matched resources to the blueprints will mean better final products.
Bonus Resources: Whenever a resource is mined, it should have a chance to spawn bonus resources. These act like normal resources, except when used their purity or other attributes give them a bonus of some sort.
Character Skill: Character skill should be broken into two subcategories: Crafting Skill and Blueprint Knowledge. Crafting skill is an overarching concept that covers and entire branch of items, while blueprint knowledge is earned by using a particular blueprint over and over again. Say you make swords, and you specialize in two handed swords. Whenever you make a two-handed sword, your expert knowledge of the particular nature of that sword comes in handy, as does your skill with making swords in general. One day, you decide to make a short sword. You still know everything you knew about sword making, but the nuances of making a short sword are not as well known to you as a two-handed sword. Neither skill helps you, though, when making a bow.
Experimentation and Random Chance: When combining the materials, there is some random chance. When the combine is done, it is the unpolished version of the final form. The player can expend experimentation points to make changes to the item (increasing durability at the cost of attack power, or increasing speed at the cost of critical hit chance). Random chance again determines how good of a change it is, and there is a limit to how many changes that can be made.
More coming later