A Story About Crafting
Hello everybody, guess who? Last time I talked about how interacting with your hands is really what the game is all about. You can read that HERE if you haven't yet. Today, I thought we could talk about what crafting means in A Township Tale's VR RPG world.
This video is an example of the various forms of crafting currently in the game. From it, you can understand why the answer to 'do you have crafting?' isn't that binary.
For every type of item that exists, we try to attribute it to a profession. Weapons and armor for a smith, woodcraft for the carpenter, ores and gems for a miner. This leads to creating very dedicated 'loops' in the game, each with their own environments and progression cycles. This means we don't have a single crafting process that everything uses, we have many others, with their own behaviors, nuances and requirements that make them fun.
We wanted to show some of the work that goes into making these tools, and as a multiplayer game, you can imagine the 'value' a smith would find in creating a weapon that another player would use on their adventure. It's quite a difference from making weapons that then disappear into an NPC's quest log. Sort of like cooking, cooking for yourself sucks, but doing it for others is better.
This idea is the basis for players interacting with each other in the game. People have things, and need other things, some people know how to make that thing. A natural dynamic emerges, encouraged by progression, skills, time and the joy of sharing in the experience.
For example, we're out deep into our exploration, perhaps somewhere up the mountains. It's time to eat, so we make a fire and start cooking some meat. We're all geared up for a fight, but we brought some supplies to set up camp.
We wait eagerly for the food to be ready, watching the fumes rise, the meat sizzle to the sound of a small, but warm crackling fire. One of us reaches over to 'adjust' the food, before the cook stops them and tells them it's better where it is.
In this scene, we gathered the few remnants we have from a woodcutting trip gone south as we ran into some baddies. Scarce for resources, our fire is a little smaller than it could be as we ration it out. The meat was hunted by the cook themselves and used most of their arrows. Without the wood to make new ones, the cook wields pretty average steel for a replacement. In fact, most of the crew does. Perhaps this trip was rushed, and without the resources to create everybody insane weapons, the smith rationed and armed everybody with 'standardized' kits, as approved by the township. And as we begin our feast, we discuss and contemplate whatever it is we're about to do, checking that everyone is topped up. Once we're done cooking, we extinguish the fire to preserve the logs, discarding some of the heavily burnt ones to reduce inventory load. As we prepare for the next leg of our journey, the sun rises over the hills and on we go.
As the game progresses, the stories that led up to these moments grow even greater. Some stories born completely disconnected from the cast of players around you. In a decisive battle, a player pulls out a near-broken short sword as a last resort, turning the tide of battle at the last push. This short sword could have once belonged to an old set of players, whom sought out the same goal but failed. There's even a chance that one of the players amongst this party, recognizes the gemstone and the build from his last incursion there as that of his friend.
By 'dividing' crafting in this way, it breathes some sweet serendipity into the world. Building your own story, maybe even your tale perhaps? Your Township Tale. (It's like the name. GET IT?)
Now that I think about it, I'd like to see an interesting way to tell stories to each other over these fires. We once had shadows over fires, but their performance cost was too great. If you have ideas about how you'd like to support your fire-side story-telling, let us know on REDDIT or on DISCORD .
Speaking of shadows, here's a teaser?