Jump to content

More Immersive Handbook


Recommended Posts

I've been playing for about 30 hours, and pretty much my only issue with the game is the handbook (or rather, how it's implemented). There's probably a mod for this, but: it is awful trying to reference this for crafting recipes. Needing to back out of my crafting grid to find the (somewhat complex) recipe, returning to my crafting book, and trying to make the recipe by memory is not fun.

But what I really dislike about it is how dependent I am on it for everything. The game just assumes you are going to read the handbook, and doesn't give you many overworld clues. Am I going to need to find clues on how to work metal and make machines by reading tooltips, talking to NPC's, and exploring for old books, journals, and manuscripts from past civilizations? Just read the handbook. Oh, hides can go bad? How do I cure them? Do I need to set up a tanning rack and scrape hides like in Skyrim? No, just fat. Like the handbook says. Why would you think otherwise? Of course there isn't a hint to use fat, the entire compilation of fat uses is right there. If I craft this/pick up this, will I get a hint in the tooltip for something cool to make? Nope. Just a new item in my inventory. It's just a very unrewarding experience. I get that it's likely there because balancing all this is difficult and complicated (and it's probably better for future playthroughs). I think it'd be more fun as an encyclopedia you have to fill in, with hints towards the next stage of progression. Right now, progression is based on how much I read the handbook, and not so much how I explore and experiment.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I thought the handbook was the best answer to a thorny problem -- how to communicate that vast amount of knowledge (much of which is different than, say, Skyrim) to the player. I would hate to have to chase down a particular NPC every time I forgot the recipe for, say, a large gear section. I think after a while I'd just write that recipe down in a handbook or something.

Thirty hours might not have been enough time to figure out that you can tick a box in the top right of each popup and slide it wherever you like. This means that one can have several chests open (using Alt-Mouse to change your view so you can open even more), open your inventory and crafting, then open your handbook, slide the handbook off to one side, and you have access to all the open chests and crafting grid. Then the recipe is just staring you in the face.

Others have asked for a progressive mode, and at least as described, I would find that somewhere between frustrating and infuriating, inclusive. Needing to have a particular material in inventory, or even in hand, when I speak to some random NPC who will tell me something about that item? For the plethora of objects in the game? What if the guy who would tell you about hides going bad and how to prevent it doesn't spawn for several game months? What is immersive about a tooltip? Why is that any more immersive than opening inventory and hitting "H" on any item to learn more?

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, gilt-kutabe said:

Right now, progression is based on how much I read the handbook, and not so much how I explore and experiment.

I'm guessing that there will probably be some more immersive ways to learn some of the gameplay loops in the future, but I agree with @Thorfinn. Vintage Story has a steep learning curve and requires the player to learn a hefty amount of knowledge in order to truly master the game. The handbook is the best method for making all the information you'll need available in a convenient, unobtrusive format. Haven't played in a while and forgot a recipe? It's easy to look up. Starting a new world? You don't need to have an NPC hold your hand and go through a tutorial; you can just jump right into the actual gameplay.

2 hours ago, gilt-kutabe said:

Do I need to set up a tanning rack and scrape hides like in Skyrim?

The thing about Skyrim(and similar games) is that the list of craftable items is much more limited, and crafting itself is much less effort than what Vintage Story demands. For Skyrim in particular, the crafting system as a whole has been simplified from its predecessors in order to be more accessible to more casual players. When there are fewer things to manage, it's a little easier to work in a short immersive tutorial quest to familiarize the player with the systems.

1 hour ago, Thorfinn said:

Others have asked for a progressive mode, and at least as described, I would find that somewhere between frustrating and infuriating, inclusive. Needing to have a particular material in inventory, or even in hand, when I speak to some random NPC who will tell me something about that item? For the plethora of objects in the game? What if the guy who would tell you about hides going bad and how to prevent it doesn't spawn for several game months? What is immersive about a tooltip? Why is that any more immersive than opening inventory and hitting "H" on any item to learn more?

This! This has been a frustration of mine for both Subnautica and Valheim! I try to manage my inventory in this types of games so I try not to pick up things that I don't think I'll need. In Subnautica, this resulted in me getting stuck for several hours of gameplay when I was trying to craft benzene, I think it was. Basically, I could see the recipe so I knew it existed, but I didn't know what I needed to craft it because the ingredients were listed as unknown. I ended up getting frustrated and just looking it up, only to find out that the blood kelp pods were what was missing in order to unlock and craft the recipe properly.

Same story with Valheim, although a bit less frustration involved. I spent several hours running around with the crude bow after defeating Eikthyr, due to not realizing that there was a better bow option available. I had to cut down a pine tree in the Black Forest area before I figured it out, as there was nothing to really suggest that those trees would give a different type of wood.

In regards to NPC quests needing to be completed to unlock recipes for progression, in the name of immersion...I'm reminded of what in WoW when the quest NPCs would get killed by enemy players or disappear after someone else completed the quest. It could take a while for them to respawn, which meant you had to either sit there and wait, or go find something else to do. Now in Vintage Story I suppose you could mitigate the problem a bit by not allowing anything to attack the NPCs, but that shatters immersion in a whole different way. Aside from the immersion aspect though...there's nothing like unskippable tutorials to kill a game's replayability.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't mean to be dismissive, @gilt-kutabe. Welcome to the forums, BTW. I just have yet to find any implementation of a progressive mode that would not be a complete s***show in a game this involved. Other gamesof which  I am aware are exactly none. If you have some ideas, concrete suggestions of how it would be better than I fear, I'm all ears.

[EDIT]

I get that you don't like what is, but what do you think would work better:

[/EDIT]

Edited by Thorfinn
Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 minutes ago, Thorfinn said:

Incidentally, I agree that <open handbook on whatever the crosshairs are pointed to> could be a little more obvious. I didn't learn that (or at least remember learning that) until recently.

That's probably something you could bake into the end of the tutorial. That way new players are made aware of it(assuming they do the tutorial, anyway), and seasoned players won't be getting annoyed with it every time they start a new world.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, LadyWYT said:

Aside from the immersion aspect though...there's nothing like unskippable tutorials to kill a game's replayability.

You do not know how glad I am that I can just get straight into gameplay when starting a new world.



I also think that the handbook is likely one of the best solutions to the game's complexity.
Even if you could find an NPC who acted like Terraria's guide, this game's crafting is so much more in-depth that I'd much rather be faced with some well-organised tutorials like those in the handbook than an NPC.

Even if recipes only unlocked as you obtained things, how would you know things like "leather needs crushed lime or borax" or how you need tongs to hold a hot crucible?
I would hate to see new players forced to grind ruins until they found a manuscript that just said "use tongs lmao".
It would be awful because new players would have to rely on braving potentially dangerous ruins with only rudimentary tools to learn progress, and veteran players would be met with useless tip items when ruin hunting. Imagine forgetting a recipe and the game says "no you need to find it on a piece of paper as a 1/30 chance from a ruin". 



Having all of this explained in depth in an in-game handbook is lovely, since you don't have to go and look up a wiki. Games like Minecraft, while still having a basic handbook system, still fall into this trap. Minecraft annoys you with tutorial popups seemingly every time you open a world after an extended period of time, and then refuses to tell the player about important things like making nether portals or how enchanting works. I could also swear that recipes have only unlocked in my handbook in Minecraft after I have already crafted the item that just unlocked.

We also already have the basis for optional dynamic tutorials, as the steel furnace shows an outline for where the blocks need to be placed if the stone coffin is couched and right clicked.


Also, in the name of immersion, I find it much easier to imagine my character carrying around a small pocketbook than some random NPC forcing them to do quests to learn about progression. If you wear the scribe belt, look, there's the handbook in the holster! :D
(I know it's not the actual handbook because there is no handbook item, but I always liked imagining the decorative holstered book to be the handbook, readily accessible from the belt at any time).

Edited by ifoz
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

31 minutes ago, ifoz said:

I would hate to see new players forced to grind ruins until they found a manuscript that just said "use tongs lmao".

I'll jump back in here to say that I'm guessing the initial intention(given the Skyrim comparison) is that there would be an NPC or two to teach the player how to do something like tanning or metalworking. And while that would be a cool, immersive way to learn some of the game systems, it would fundamentally alter the entire storyline of the game. The general idea seems to be that the player is dumped into the world out in the middle of nowhere, with no civilization for miles around. Talking to the trader nearby may further confirm that what civilization there is will be very difficult to find. Once the villages/settlements/strongholds are actually added into the game(perhaps with the 1.20 update?) I expect reaching one to take some effort to reach, perhaps after an in-game year or two for the average player, assuming default settings.

Now that being said...a "new game+" mode, where the player has the option of starting in a settlement, could be interesting and make for a nice reward for beating the game's main story in the standard method of play.

41 minutes ago, ifoz said:

It would be awful because new players would have to rely on braving potentially dangerous ruins with only rudimentary tools to learn progress, and veteran players would be met with useless tip items when ruin hunting. Imagine forgetting a recipe and the game says "no you need to find it on a piece of paper as a 1/30 chance from a ruin". 

Also imagine being a veteran player and not being able to leave the Stone Age because the scrap of paper that opens up metalworking won't spawn in any of the ruins you find! 🤣 I think that kind of RNG could potentially work for late-game items that are intended to be super-rare, legendary status type things, but hard-gating standard progression behind what is essentially lootbox RNG is generally a bad idea.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

44 minutes ago, LadyWYT said:

Also imagine being a veteran player and not being able to leave the Stone Age because the scrap of paper that opens up metalworking won't spawn in any of the ruins you find! 🤣 I think that kind of RNG could potentially work for late-game items that are intended to be super-rare, legendary status type things, but hard-gating standard progression behind what is essentially lootbox RNG is generally a bad idea.

There's this game called Junk Jack, and it is literally this.
For whatever reason, they decided to gate almost every single crafting recipe that isn't wooden tools behind finding scraps of paper through RNG.

You could learn how to make a better pickaxe, or you could learn how to make a bird feeder. It was all up to what the game chose for you whenever you found a piece.
Certainly you could use trial and error, but metal tools needing iron bars for the handles instead of sticks is a bit of a spanner in the works.



Anyway, never do this when making a game, it's pretty awful. 😅

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I vastly prefer as little of "tutorial" as possible. I'd much rather try everything, including every keypress (including all the Alt-, Ctrl, and Shift- variants, plus the Right-Alt-etc., in case they are different, as might be the case in Dwarf Fortress), but for the majority of players, I'm not sure I see a good way to get started in VS without something like a tutorial or watching a Let's Play, which are mostly absurd at best. (I say this after many people I know IRL who tried the game watched them, and developed all kinds of bad habits or worse.)

I suspect most of us who went into the game blind hit evening without a torch, and starved and/or were killed in the nighttime. We also had little clue about pausing the game. Personally, my first death was on the character generation screen, which did not pause at the time, where I was asked to choose a lot of stuff I really couldn't care less about, but assumed it must be important for some reason.

With Planet Crafter, 

Spoiler

your first "base" will end up underwater,

and maybe that's OK for some games. VS does nothing at all remotely like that, and we still get suggestions as if it did.

I think VS might be better served with a popup at, say, 4PM that warns that nighttime is really dark, and you will probably want a torch, assuming you don't have a torch already. It either uses an "achievement" system to get one lit, largely because so many people expect achievements for participation, or tells you to check the handbook and read the "Getting Started" or whatever.  Same with one at noon or so that tells you that you need to get a knife or axe or SOMETHING, if you don't already have one. Maybe 2PM-ish that maybe you should try to harvest some reeds. But skipping through that is just a click, and, honestly, most players will never see it anyway because they already have those conditions met.

Maybe that's already in the tutorial. I don't know. Like I said, I don't do tutorial, but I appreciate that there are those who do.

Edited by Thorfinn
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 minutes ago, Thorfinn said:

It either uses an "achievement" system to get one lit, largely because so many people expect achievements for participation, or tells you to check the handbook and read the "Getting Started" or whatever.

I kinda wouldn't like to see an achievement system. It makes it seem like the game has a finite 'end' when you get them all, and that isn't really that good for a game as open-ended as VS. It's like how when Minecraft players reach the 'end' and kill the dragon, they just stop playing. I wouldn't like to see any objective 'end goals' aside from completing the story that aren't player-made goals.

I think that perhaps an option upon starting the game after creating your character asking if you would like tutorial popups like the torch one you suggested could be a good idea. This way new players could be guided a little bit, whereas veterans would not have to suffer through tutorial popups that they already know about.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 minutes ago, ifoz said:

whereas veterans would not have to suffer through tutorial popups that they already know about.

Right. That is irritating. I don't need to be reminded about handbaskets when I already have 2 handbaskets and 2 linen sacks.

[EDIT]

Oh, and I agree achievements are silly in a more or less open-world sandbox. I'm not suggesting adding them. I'd probably never even get most of them. "Grow an Orchard" and "Domesticate a Panda", I'm looking at you.

[/EDIT] 

Edited by Thorfinn
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

19 minutes ago, Thorfinn said:

Right. That is irritating. I don't need to be reminded about handbaskets when I already have 2 handbaskets and 2 linen sacks.

I'll boot up a Minecraft world I've beaten the game on and have full maxxed-out gear, and there will be a popup that will appear saying "Hold left click to punch the tree!" until I cut down a tree. It doesn't go away otherwise, and it returns every update.
This has given me an immense distaste of tutorial popups.

Edited by ifoz
  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Thorfinn said:

I suspect most of us who went into the game blind hit evening without a torch, and starved and/or were killed in the nighttime. We also had little clue about pausing the game. Personally, my first death was on the character generation screen, which did not pause at the time, where I was asked to choose a lot of stuff I really couldn't care less about, but assumed it must be important for some reason.

In my case, I watched pieces of Let's Plays and a couple of other videos to get a sense of whether the game would be something I would enjoy before actually buying it(I've been burned on a few titles). That, plus shelling out a few hundred hours in Minecraft meant I had a decent idea of what to do in the beginning. When hiding for the night though, I typically unpaused the handbook and just spent the time reading and figuring out what I wanted to work on.

3 hours ago, Thorfinn said:

I think VS might be better served with a popup at, say, 4PM that warns that nighttime is really dark, and you will probably want a torch, assuming you don't have a torch already. It either uses an "achievement" system to get one lit, largely because so many people expect achievements for participation, or tells you to check the handbook and read the "Getting Started" or whatever.  Same with one at noon or so that tells you that you need to get a knife or axe or SOMETHING, if you don't already have one. Maybe 2PM-ish that maybe you should try to harvest some reeds. But skipping through that is just a click, and, honestly, most players will never see it anyway because they already have those conditions met.

Maybe that's already in the tutorial. I don't know. Like I said, I don't do tutorial, but I appreciate that there are those who do.

I'll actually disagree somewhat here--part of the charm of Vintage Story is that it doesn't hold your hand very much and expects the player to think things through themselves. Oh, it's nighttime and you can't see? Well of course you need a torch, did you expect to see in the dark silly? 🤪 That being said, if enough new players are having enough difficulty with it, then it's probably something that should be added to the tutorial in order to reduce frustration. At that point it's an "ignore at your own risk" factor.

Alternatively, you could slip that in as advice via dialogue from the traders. Since the player always spawns in near a trader(although admittedly, the trader wagons aren't always immediately visible), they're almost certain to investigate and start asking questions.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, LadyWYT said:

In my case, I watched pieces of Let's Plays and a couple of other videos to get a sense of whether the game would be something I would enjoy before actually buying it(I've been burned on a few titles). That, plus shelling out a few hundred hours in Minecraft meant I had a decent idea of what to do in the beginning. When hiding for the night though, I typically unpaused the handbook and just spent the time reading and figuring out what I wanted to work on.

Pretty sure I discovered the game through a YouTube video about how farming works, and then I watched one about finding copper. I instantly went "I am buying this game later today", and here we are! :D
My first experience was pretty straightforward. I knew that you knapped stones, so I broke a shrub for a stick and made a knife. Made baskets and wandered around before night began to fall. On the horizon I saw my salvation - a ruined tower. That thing later became the beginnings of my base. I remember sitting at the base of it that first night just reading the handbook and listening to drifters growl outside it's walls.

Edited by ifoz
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

21 hours ago, Thorfinn said:

 What is immersive about a tooltip? Why is that any more immersive than opening inventory and hitting "H" on any item to learn more?

For example, if you pick up a bit of blue clay, there might be some flavor text in the tool tip. It might read something like: "People used to make useful pottery from clay. The pieces this particular type of clay produces can't handle heat sources more extreme than a simple cook fire." This implies 1. The player can do something useful with this item. 2. There is at least one other type of clay with unique properties the player should look for. 3. There is a reason to expose clay to extreme heat, just not this kind. Once the player has formed an item from the clay (the pop-up should take care of this), the unfired piece might read: "An unfired *insert item* made from clay. These were once fired in great kilns, but the less fortunate found that a small hole in the ground suited their purposes for their simple pottery." This tells the player 1. This needs to be fired. 2. A proper kiln is not needed to fire it (if they are knowledgeable on how pottery is made). 3. They should try putting it in the ground (at which point the pop-up informs them on what needs to be added), and use a heat source (like fire) to harden it. It gives the player the same information, and gives them a cookie-crumb trail to follow, but gives the process a more natural flow. Rather than sitting down and reading a Wikipedia article on it overnight, they get to think about what is being told to them (presumably by their character's limited knowledge), and try to act on it and experiment a bit. If they really want or need the help, particularly with the smaller details, the handbook would be there. I just really don't enjoy it when a game is telling me to do this and do that, and this is exactly how it's done and leaves no room for me to just stop and *think* about what I'm doing. Since the game is giving me few to no hints outside of the handbook, it just feels like an extended, handhold-y tutorial to me. It might not be giving me pop-ups every few minutes, but it still feels that way. Obviously, having the game clue you into every niche mechanic like this would likely be unfeasible, but having a line of progression through the more basic, important stuff would go a long way, I think.

Some more examples might be like:

Fat: Edible in a pinch, but often used as a sealant against the elements. Hunters found it convenient that it was packaged in with their kills, particularly in the autumn when preserving food and hides was especially important.

Native metal chunks: A surprisingly pure piece of *insert ore type*. It likely hasn't moved far from the source.

If any of that makes sense?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sorry for dissin' the 'Tubes. ;) It's just that in MP games, I kept running into people who told me, "Don't do that" or "You need to do this". When asked why, it was always from some dumb tip from a random 'Tuber. They are not all drek, obviously. Ashantin and Hypnotique are good, they just have a gamestyle that's different than mine. Vormithrax and GGBeyond are very similar to my playstyle, the latter very much so except he has the additional goal of playing an entire year, as if it were an endurance contest or something. There are others that are good, and a lot that are not.

Welcome to the forums, @gilt-kutabe Don't take the response to your first post personally. It wasn't meant that way. If I'm following you, all you are recommending is a mini-version of the handbook.

Interesting idea, not one for me, though. There's already enough to distract me from the important stuff going on to have that much text popping up every time I scroll the mouse wheel. It's like that incessant dinging that nags you if you don't fasten your seat belt. Well, maybe not incessant, but it goes on for at least 6 hours anymore.

I'm pretty sure what you are proposing can be done with just a translation patch. Instead of the text "Blue Clay" displaying when you select that, it says, "People used to make useful pottery from clay. The pieces this particular type of clay produces can't handle heat sources more extreme than a simple cook fire." I don't know if the text box would expand automatically, or you would need to add a "\ for more" or something.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

47 minutes ago, gilt-kutabe said:

Fat: Edible in a pinch, but often used as a sealant against the elements. Hunters found it convenient that it was packaged in with their kills, particularly in the autumn when preserving food and hides was especially important.

The saturation value already tells you that it's an edible item, so the text telling you such is unnecessary. It also stands to reason that fat is something you're going to have to harvest from an animal, given that it's not a plant product.

53 minutes ago, gilt-kutabe said:

Native metal chunks: A surprisingly pure piece of *insert ore type*. It likely hasn't moved far from the source.

This is already a thing for the native ore bits on the ground--hovering over one tells you it's a good idea to dig underneath that spot.

54 minutes ago, gilt-kutabe said:

If any of that makes sense?

It does, although to me this method seems more convoluted and hand-holdy than the handbook that we have already. I also suspect that the reason a lot of the gameplay loops don't feel intuitive(at first) is that we've lost touch with a lot of those concepts in the modern world. Dishes come from the store, food also comes from the store and is stored in the fridge/freezer. Tools and building supplies you buy from a different store. Lighting, you just flip a switch and there's light.

Likewise, I think a lot of videogames nowadays tend to spell everything out for the player, making the puzzles super-easy and/or just giving the player the solutions outright. Whereas several older games would present a hard puzzle with a few hints, but it was up to the player to figure out how to progress(often by using what they've learned to that point).

22 minutes ago, Thorfinn said:

Interesting idea, not one for me, though. There's already enough to distract me from the important stuff going on to have that much text popping up every time I scroll the mouse wheel. It's like that incessant dinging that nags you if you don't fasten your seat belt. Well, maybe not incessant, but it goes on for at least 6 hours anymore.

This is my general sentiment, and the seatbelt analogy is golden. 🤣 A lot of the concepts in the game are already basic, common sense logic(such as needing a torch or other light source at night), but a lot of modern videogame titles have trained players to go through a set of predefined motions like a theme park ride. I think it's something that, if needed, should be worked either into the tutorial, or a separate gamemode intended to act as a more in-depth tutorial. Personally, I think the handbook that we currently is sufficient, and the tutorial also makes sure to inform the player that everything they could want to know regarding survival is found in there. It's a lot of reading, to be sure, but you can pause the game while reading and there's so much overlap between gameplay systems that it's the most efficient method of delivering the information.

35 minutes ago, Thorfinn said:

I'm pretty sure what you are proposing can be done with just a translation patch. Instead of the text "Blue Clay" displaying when you select that, it says, "People used to make useful pottery from clay. The pieces this particular type of clay produces can't handle heat sources more extreme than a simple cook fire." I don't know if the text box would expand automatically, or you would need to add a "\ for more" or something.

This is true. However, one issue I see with flavor text is that it's easy to clutter the screen with the text box, in addition to needing to have the mouse cursor hovering over the item in order to read it.

Using the earlier-mentioned example of fat: "Useful as a sealant". Short, to the point, and won't clutter the screen with a massive text block. Telling the player via text that it can be eaten or used as fuel is entirely unnecessary, since the item has values for saturation and burn times.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, LadyWYT said:

Personally, I think the handbook that we currently is sufficient, and the tutorial also makes sure to inform the player that everything they could want to know regarding survival is found in there.

Agreed.

4 hours ago, LadyWYT said:

Whereas several older games would present a hard puzzle with a few hints

"Feed bird to snake" Can't tell you how long that took me.

4 hours ago, LadyWYT said:

However, one issue I see with flavor text is that it's easy to clutter the screen with the text box, in addition to needing to have the mouse cursor hovering over the item in order to read it.

Absolutely. When I said "patch", I really meant "mod". Something I can choose not to install. I don't usually play with block info, either, as it's too much of a distraction, and I already know what most of the stuff I care about looks like.

4 hours ago, LadyWYT said:

"Useful as a sealant".

"and lubricant." IMO, by far its most valuable use.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What a lot of people here don't seem to understand very well is that there is a difference between a general idea and the specifics of its implementation.

Achievement/Popup system:

Spoiler

For example, Minecraft's idea for an Achievement and Popup system can actually be great for an open-ended sandbox survival. It can be a good way for a game to gently "push" newer players towards the "right" direction, if implemented right.

Many in here have already expressed dissatisfaction with certain flaws of Minecraft's Achievements and Popups, but they don't seem willing to recognize that these flaws are specific to Minecraft.

If VS was to implement an Achievement Popup system of it's own, it doesn't have to be a 1:1 copy of MC's, achievements are an extremely versatile tool that can be used for several different purposes, it all depends on the specifics of the implementation:

  • Are achievements "global" or per world?
  • Does the achievement screen look like a skill/node tree? 
    • If so, do unlocked nodes show adjacent nodes which haven't been unlocked yet?
    • Do nodes have proper descriptions/requirements for the achievement they represent?
      • Can locked nodes display these descriptions, or are they only for unlocked nodes?
      • Are nodes unlocked by completing the achievement, or by advancing any of its requirements?
      • How detailed are these descriptions/requirements?
    • What are the requirements? (This defines what the achievements are for) 
      • Simply progressing through the "main"/"intended" path of the game?
      • Different "trees" for the different mechanics and side routes (farming, traveling, lore, etc)?
      • Discovering secrets and easter eggs?

There's a lot more things you can change about an achievements system, that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Locking stuff behind exploration/worldgen/RNG:

Spoiler

As for locking information behind exploration... I can sort of understand why people aren't fond of this one.They believe it's a bad idea to let RNG potentially lock progression, and it kinda is! But there's actually several counters to this thought:

  • The game already does this, kinda
    • Ores' locations are decided by RNG/worldgen.
    • Same with traders. And you pretty much need one to find The Resonance Archives.
  • Just because the world is procedural doesn't mean you have to leave everything to RNG.
    • Just look at Terraria and Dead Cells, their worldgens follow a set of specific rules to ensure playability.
      • Again, the specifics of the implementation is up to each game, just like Achievements.

I think by this point you probably understand what I'm trying to get at.

Locking stuff behind NPCs:

Spoiler

About the idea of locking information behind NPCs, others have already mentioned the issue of RNG, and someone has mentioned the Guide NPC from Terraria. This actually gets close to a good solution, hear me out on this one:

Both Minecraft and Terraria already have a Wandering Trader system, so why not do something similar?

Have a Guide-like Wandering Trader NPC that spawns near the player upon first creating a new World (this feature could be disabled obviously), this Wandering Trader can give new players information or tips to get started in the survival aspects of the game, but in a much more immersive way compared to the handbook. This NPC could go away/despawn when the first night arrives or the first time the player sleeps, and as the player reaches specific "milestones", a different Wandering Trader NPC could appear with new info and tips, or perhaps even just the same NPC from before.

There's a lot of room for many different possible implementations of this idea, and just as many different things you could do with it. Just like Achievements.

But if you're not convinced, get a load of this:

Vintage Story already does something similar to this. The game usually tends to generate a Trader near the spawn, which can serve as an introduction to the setting and world of the game (woke up in the middle of nothing, far away from any villages which means villages exists, there's others like the player, etc). Adding these Wandering Traders wouldn't really subtract from the current experience, and the system could give some neat possibilities to modders.

Potential changes to the Handbook:

Spoiler

The obvious change to the Handbook would be having a better/more immersive UI (i dunno, maybe make the window look more like an open book? Minecraft does this for its several Book items).

Aside from that, the other obvious thing would be adding/unlocking new info as the player progresses. Again, there's many different ways to go about this. It could be somewhat tied to an Achievements system, or to NPC interactions like a Journal of sorts. It doesn't even need to be a per world thing. If you've managed to read this far, you already know the point I'm trying to make here.

 

14 hours ago, LadyWYT said:

part of the charm of Vintage Story is that it doesn't hold your hand very much and expects the player to think things through themselves.

Yeah. Except for the Handbook full of wall-of-text tutorials which the game tells you about almost as soon as you start a new world. Y'know, the very feature this discussion thread is about. You sound like the average Dark Souls player, gloating about how "this game doesn't hold your hand" despite the game in question having massive amounts of handholding.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

44 minutes ago, EzioCoda said:

What a lot of people here don't seem to understand very well is that there is a difference between a general idea and the specifics of its implementation.

What an odd thing to say. What makes you think that's even remotely true?

Re: all the hidden stuff, with all your implementation ideas, write a mod. The API is documented here.

Edited by Thorfinn
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, EzioCoda said:

What a lot of people here don't seem to understand very well is that there is a difference between a general idea and the specifics of its implementation.

1 hour ago, EzioCoda said:

Yeah. Except for the Handbook full of wall-of-text tutorials which the game tells you about almost as soon as you start a new world. Y'know, the very feature this discussion thread is about.

Which is exactly what folks are discussing in this thread--the general idea that was presented, and the various benefits or challenges it could present in implementation.

1 hour ago, EzioCoda said:

The obvious change to the Handbook would be having a better/more immersive UI (i dunno, maybe make the window look more like an open book? Minecraft does this for its several Book items).

Aside from that, the other obvious thing would be adding/unlocking new info as the player progresses. Again, there's many different ways to go about this. It could be somewhat tied to an Achievements system, or to NPC interactions like a Journal of sorts. It doesn't even need to be a per world thing. If you've managed to read this far, you already know the point I'm trying to make here.

I agree with the first part--the Handbook UI could use some improvements, such as the ability to bookmark a page, or remaining on the page you were last reading after you close it. I can somewhat agree on the last part, in that locking the Jonas tech devices until the player has completed certain in-world objectives(Archives, certain NPCs, etc) makes some sense. It's a late-game feature that's somewhat out of the normal scope of progression and not really required for survival.

I'm still going to disagree with the latter part primarily because of how interwoven the gameplay loops are, and that it would be more cumbersome to try to lock crafting recipes and related knowledge behind specific player actions(similar to what Valheim and Subnautica already do). One potential example I can think of, on how it would be an issue: say that picking up a copper nugget unlocks the copper recipes. You need crucibles and molds before you can actually do any sort of metalworking, but those fall under pottery, which is going to be unlocked by a different action, such as picking up clay. Now assuming the player manages to unlock the pottery stuff before copper, and gets everything set up to smelt their first pieces of ore into something usable...they're still going to need charcoal in order to smelt it, assuming they didn't get lucky and find some coal in a ruin. Now the charcoal pit information could probably just unlock with the chopping of the first tree, but it's still going to be up to the player to figure out how to put all of that information together, which if I had to guess is probably going to take several hours of trial and error.

I'm also guessing that the average new player is already going to be familiar with the basics of Minecraft, and thus will likely be trying to prioritize getting a pickaxe first. It's not going to take them long to figure out that Vintage Story works very differently, and they're going to get frustrated more easily if there's no clear direction on what they should be doing to achieve that particular goal.

2 hours ago, EzioCoda said:

You sound like the average Dark Souls player, gloating about how "this game doesn't hold your hand" despite the game in question having massive amounts of handholding.

Interesting observation. I've never played Dark Souls, as it's just not my cup of tea. I'll not say what I did to my Skyrim files though, heh heh. 🤣 I should maybe clarify what I mean when I say that Vintage Story doesn't hold your hand though. Vintage Story does hold your hand a little, in that there's a short tutorial to teach you just enough to be able to survive, before pointing you to the handbook to help figure out the rest. However, you're also not required to use the handbook either; you can in fact never crack it open and still reach the late-game content, but it's going to be a lot slower and a LOT more frustrating than if you had spent some time reading.

In short, Vintage Story will hold your hand, to an extent, but only to the extent that you want it held. It gives you access to all the information you need, and lets you decide how to best use it based on the circumstances that you find yourself in(which can vary quite heavily depending on how you set up your world). And if you forget how to get to a later tech tier, it's simple enough to look up at any time(and also lets you plan ahead more easily when it comes to your goals).

3 hours ago, Thorfinn said:

"Feed bird to snake" Can't tell you how long that took me.

Where's this from? It sounds like one of those old point-and-click adventure games, which often had you doing something rather arbitrary in order to progress.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, LadyWYT said:

Where's this from? It sounds like one of those old point-and-click adventure games, which often had you doing something rather arbitrary in order to progress.

I tried playing Riven (Myst II) once a while back, and I would absolutely not have been able to complete that game without a detailed guide. 😅
"Turn around to face where you came from, and click this hidden button the size of a single pixel on your monitor".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.