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Different playstyles


Stroam
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The game plan for the different playstyles are:

  • Wilderness Survival: 10% explore/build, 90% survival
  • Survive&Build: 50% survival, 50% explore/build
  • Exploration mode: 10% survival, 90% explore/build - which I assume is the Survive and Automate option.

I find it a little funny that it's (explore/build) since building usually means staying in one spot and explore usually means travel.

Should different playstyles start at different technology levels? Could the balances above be accomplished by starting out at different tech levels and a few tweaks than making broad changes to the entire game for each playstyle?

Wilderness Survival starts off in the stone age with truly nothing and block info display is disabled. By picking up the first stick the player gains their first tool. All animals are faster and all but the humble chicken more deadly at this point. Animals killed leave behind corpses. Collecting resources from a corpse leaves a blood scent on the player which increases the range at which preditors will seek the player out until the player goes into water. The players don't know how to swim at this point. Different animals can be found at different times of the day/night. The player gets better at killing things as they develop wooden spears, spear thrower, sling, stone and bone tools. Ready to use leather does not fall off animals and there's no knowledge of how to process it yet. Stone is less generic than it currently is and instead has different characteristics making different stones better at different tasks. Obsidian makes great knives but is too fragile for an axe. No knowledge of fire so can't bake clay or cook. Can't plant crops or move berry bushes. Animals don't respawn so the player has to keep moving. Limited inventory so whatever the player can't carry with them, they'll have to leave behind. This is expanded through baskets and unprocessed leather items that degrade over time. The night time is full of scary stuff but making a tent allows the player to sleep through the night safely through the night as long as any food is stored outside of the tent though it might not be there after the player wakes up. It takes up the players back slot(assumes 1 of the 4 bag slots is a dedicated back slot). Since this age is all focused on hunting and surviving, it ends when after sacrificing an item drop of some monster(that is really fierce, lots of health, very rare, that nerd poling and pits don't work on) and a bone necklace made of the teeth of various animals at the base of some rare world spawn monolith.

Survive and Build starts at the end of wilderness survival. It's pretty much as it is currently with a greater emphasis on crop and animal domestication. The player would start out with a set of stone tools, a tent, some hand baskets, meat. Refined goods in this age such as linen sacks and backpacks don't degrade. During this age the player would wander and collect various plants and animals. Find out which work best in different climates and soil conditions. Breed them to minimized undesired characteristics and increased desired characteristics. Textiles really take off in this age with the growing blast fiber crops in mass and processing of leather. Eventually developing into armor. As the player advances through pottery they eventually develop a pottery kiln capable of smelting copper and eventually mixing it with other metals to form more durable bronze tools. Ridable animals and watercraft allow the player to travel much further much faster in this age. Iron can be developed but it's brittle and worse than top-tier bronze at this point unless made from rarely found meteorites. Through a lot of work and fuel, the player can make steel. The player can also develop some basic water-powered devices. The player may have noticed various hardships like drought, swarms, randomly happen to set them back, but by delving into astrology they can find out these events are not random and prepare for them. This age is completed when the end products are left an altar on a certain day determined by astrology for 3 days, spawning a tome of knowledge. Final products would be something like a steel tool to represent master of ceramics and smithing, a fancy set of dyed clothing to represent textiles, a delicious dish and spiced alcohol for cooking, a horse of a certain speed for transportation and animal breeding.

Survive and Automate Starts at the end of Survival and Build. The player starts off with a set of bronze tools, a set of nice late bronze age armor, some clothes, a backpack, sacks, seeds, a horse, sandwiches, a cart with some basic building and crafting supplies. The goal of this age is to make a variety of different steels and master automation. This is where the player can make boilers and machines. This basically takes you through the industrial revolution with steam engines and the beginnings of electricity.

 

Breaking this down to simplify what each playstyle is about.

  • Wilderness Survival: Hunting
  • Survive&Build: Agriculture
  • Survive&Automate: Automation

 

Now Vintage Story also has a mythos it wants to go into. I don't know what that mythos is so I can't plan how that would play out but I feel each age would allow the player to interact with that mythos is a new way with the later ages allowing you delve deeper into it.

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First, let me thank you for starting these discussions. I think they are very important and may help to shape the game.

I love everything you propose here, and the thing I like most is to have a way to block the player development until he reaches a certain level of expertize in each phase.

Without some kind of artificial means, there is no way to prevent the player from going straight to iron tools. Anyone who has read the Mysterious Island knows that modern man in the same situation would not waste time in making copper or bronze tools. 

Humankind did not develop metallurgy until they settle down and had farming and animal domestication. the food surplus is what made possible for some individual to pursue other professions.

Just think that if it was not for the Pharaoh need to keep a bookkeeping of the harvesting they would not have created a written language. 

I love everything you propose here, and the thing I like most is to have a way to block the player development until he reaches a certain level of expertize in each phase.

Without some kind of artificial means, there is no way to prevent the player from going straight to iron tools. Anyone who has read the Mysterious Island knows that modern man in the same situation would not waste time in making copper or bronze tools.

Humankind did not develop metallurgy until they settle down and had farming and animal domestication. the food surplus is what made possible for some individual to pursue other professions.

Just think that if it was not for the Pharaoh need to keep a bookkeeping of the harvesting they would not have created a written language. 

I like the idea of the player having to make an offering with resources that he would not be able to acquire until he has proven himself capable of surviving and thriving in that age.

Before being able to do any kind of copper metalworking, the player would need to make an offering with some food that can only be obtained from farming and the results of animal domestication.

I do not like the idea that the player has to go looking for something in the wild, that because of the randomness nature of world generation can be 100 blocks from the base or 3000 blocks in any direction.

As for the proposed playstyles, it gives me the impression that a difficulty slider would create as many playstyles as there are players. After all, if it is 10% survival, 90% explore/build. That is called peaceful mode.

My idea is that not mentioning creative mode, all others are just grades of difficulty. It would probably be a better use of the Devs time to just have different difficulties instead of so many game modes. 

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My impression was that the intent was for survive to be the most TFC-like hardcore mode.  Including maybe cave-ins, perhaps no pre-filled patterns for construction, ingot melting, thermal effects on player, limited light, possibly more extensive food decay, etc.  Survive and build would be the current thing, for more casual players, dispensing with some of the more hardcore mechanics, and survive and explore I'm not entirely sure what the plan there was - it sounds like a nomadic version where the player never leaves the stone age to me.  I thought survive and automate would basically be survive & build but have easier and more extensive (i.e. non-believable for tech level) automation.  *shrug*

Regardless, as far as the notion of 'gating' ages, I thought it was interesting what Sevtech did, where you cannot see ores that are not part of your age.  Hard for the player to go straight to iron if they can't see it, or copper.  The gating could happen when the player kills this 'boss mob' you spoke of Stroam, the mob being armed/armored with copper weapons and armor, and then the player realizes how cool copper is.  Repeat for each metal.  

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Love the idea of gating. It has been my suggestion for many years.

hate the idea of special monsters.

You would need to localize them in the world, you would need several monsters to gate each phase. In a multiplayer, environment it creates a whole bunch of challenges and a lot of codding that could be better direct at something else.

Why not just make the player build a Toten and make offerings?. Each block of the Toten could be for one phase. Subsequent blocks would need to be metal, so each metal goes on top of the previous. That unlocks the player to work on the next metal.

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The reason I split the different playstyles into starting at different ages is that making a stone age 10% survival, 90% explore/build wouldn't be much of a stone age. It'd be like the current stone age that lasts for one or two in-game days which begs the question why have it at all? By introducing armor in the survive&build age you make the enemies less of a threat and therefore not as much of a concern. By the time you reach build&automate they are pretty much a non-issue. Furthermore introducing any healing items in the survive&build age further decreases the threat.

I want to clarify the starting items you only get if you start a new game at that playstyle. If you are advancing from one age to another you don't get the items because it is assumed you already have those items or better.

2 hours ago, tony Liberatto said:

I do not like the idea that the player has to go looking for something in the wild, that because of the randomness nature of world generation can be 100 blocks from the base or 3000 blocks in any direction.

The wilderness survival stage you are not supposed to be able to stay in one spot and survive. If you can then it was designed wrong. Maybe the deadly boss creature you need to kill to advance to the next age is one actively hunting you and will spawn if you stay in the same chunk more than one night in a row. Therefore you should constantly be on the move and so running into something that's hundreds or thousands of blocks away shouldn't be much of an issue. Again with the survive&build you should be developing transportation technologies, maps, as well as actively seeking out ruins so locating and traveling to something that is far away shouldn't be much of an issue.

1 hour ago, redram said:

I thought it was interesting what Sevtech did, where you cannot see ores that are not part of your age.

I also really liked that idea. It makes sense as in if you didn't know what iron ore was, as far as you'd be concerned it'd be a rock like any other.

 

1 hour ago, redram said:

Repeat for each metal.

 

1 hour ago, tony Liberatto said:

so each metal goes on top of the previous. That unlocks the player to work on the next metal.

I think you two are a little too fixated on metal. Once you start to notice copper ore it won't take you long to notice the others. Seeing how history is littered with bronze tools and not a lot of copper tools I think they figured it out pretty quickly. Also, iron rusts and is brittle. It would have seemed like a horrible option, except for stuff you didn't expect to be hit, until the right things all came together to turn it into steel. 

One of the reasons I think you may be fixated on metal is because of the RPG tier system currently tied to the types of metal where each tier is better in every way compared to the previous tier. I'm imagining gameplay changing so that is not the case. That each metal type has different properties that make it better or worse at some things compared to others. For instance, iron is brittle and heavy making it worse for tools and armors. Bismuth brass is less brittle and denser than tin bronze which makes it better for blunt things like hammers and anvils. Tin bronze is less dense and more brittle than bismuth bronze but less brittle than iron which means it holds an edge better making more ideal for bladed stuff. Hepatizon(black bronze) is just plain horrible for all tools. Looks pretty though with its dark purple color. Great for jewelry.

Edited by Stroam
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I don't think this is the right way to do playstyles. My main problem is that content is locked behind playstyles: Want to play from the start of the tech-tree? You'll have to play super hardcore mode. Want to construct automated stuff in the late game? Only possible if you play super easy mode. 

This splitting of the games content also causes a massive split in the playerbase and the development of the game. Tyron can't deliver enough content for essentially three different games, each playstyle will either be tiny in scope or there will be one normal playstyle and several underdeveloped, buggy ones.

I've also made a post about playstyles two weeks ago, where I describe my idea: 

 

Some unrelated opinion on gated technology: I think the game obviously needs a gated tech tree, but this is already present in the game: The player can't jump to bronze without copper or to iron without bronze, because of mining levels and anvil requirements. A very arbitrary way of sacrificing stuff to reveal iron ores or having to slay a boss monster to discover fire seems very unrealistic and frankly unneeded.

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8 hours ago, Stroam said:

One of the reasons I think you may be fixated on metal is because of the RPG tier system currently tied to the types of metal where each tier is better in every way compared to the previous tier. I'm imagining gameplay changing so that is not the case.

I think the metal tiering does indeed work well from a typical RPG tier progression perspective.  You might say I focus too much on metal, but I think some people focus too much on the stone age.  That may be for another topic though.

On the topic of playstyles, I'll just say that I'm not really a fan of the OP as presented, I think it'll be more useful for the varied player base if the general progression is the same, and it just changes what mechanics are present or not, and how severe some others are.  If people want to extend the stone age I think it'd be more useful to simply change how the first copper is obtained, and maybe not make it so easy.

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2 hours ago, Erik said:

My main problem is that content is locked behind playstyles

Not really. The mobs don't disappear or get weaker, you can still acquire the same resources, you just start out with better stuff and more knowledge which makes the game easier. 

2 hours ago, Erik said:

Want to construct automated stuff in the late game? Only possible if you play super easy mode. 

Again it's not easy mode. It's just focused on a different aspect of the game. The goal is no longer focused on combat and Mendelian genetics. It's focused on automation puzzles. You could if you wanted to, still focus on breeding plants and animals to get certain traits in build&automate or throw away all equipment and try to go kill animals with nothing but a sharpened stick. Nothing is stopping you. I'm not advocating splitting up game content any more than the current iteration of the game in which once you get higher tier materials you never use the lower tier materials for tools again. If you are suggestions there be a way to easily automate and difficult way to automate the same task then you really are advocating for splitting up game content. Could you imagine how much extra work would have needed to go into a game if you had to make multiple sets of the same puzzle for different difficulties?

2 hours ago, Erik said:

having to slay a boss monster to discover fire seems very unrealistic and frankly unneeded.

Unrealistic, sure. If you can think of a more realistic way of discovering fire and learning agriculture that fits in a combat heavy nomadic playstyle I'm all ears. If your argument is that there shouldn't be a combat-focused nomadic playstyle 

Notice above it says percent survival to everything else. Survival to me is how many things you have to focus on just to stay alive. Difficulty to me is the amount of choices one has to make to achieve a successful outcome. What weapon should I use in which circumstance? Should I start out by using poisoned bait or a spike pit trap? Where are my escape routes and where can I place booby traps along them to slow the creature as I use hit and run tactics? Planning is difficult. Increasing the number of times needed to hit something without a variety of ways to go about it is just punishing. If your definition of difficulty is the same as my definition of survival then I agree with your statement.

@redram making copper more difficult to obtain won't be fun unless there is more content to experience pre copper. I do like the idea of tailoring mechanics but I also like the idea of starting those who only want to focus on machines and logic puzzles where they don't feel like they have to grind through part of the game.

The only thing that separates hunter-gatherers from agricultural societies is knowledge. I suppose if you made food scarce enough and crops take long enough and increased the number of things actively seeking you the longer you stayed in an area you might encourage a player to roam and set up multiple camps until they had a farm large enough at one to support themselves. Or the player might try to build just one base and die over and over until they say the game is too punishing and give up.

Edited by Stroam
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57 minutes ago, Stroam said:

 Not really. The mobs don't disappear or get weaker, you can still acquire the same resources, you just start out with better stuff and more knowledge which makes the game easier. 

But the content like knapping, while still accessible, is not needed and would therefore never be used, when playing in "higher" playstyles. It turned into "invalid content", content without purpose.

1 hour ago, Stroam said:

 Again it's not easy mode. It's just focused on a different aspect of the game. The goal is no longer focused on combat and Mendelian genetics. It's focused on automation puzzles. You could if you wanted to, still focus on breeding plants and animals to get certain traits in build&automate or throw away all equipment and try to go kill animals with nothing but a sharpened stick. Nothing is stopping you. I'm not advocating splitting up game content any more than the current iteration of the game in which once you get higher tier materials you never use the lower tier materials for tools again. If you are suggestions there be a way to easily automate and difficult way to automate the same task then you really are advocating for splitting up game content. Could you imagine how much extra work would have needed to go into a game if you had to make multiple sets of the same puzzle for different difficulties?

You got this problem the wrong way around: I can't access automation even when I play wilderness survival, the tech tree is limited in that playstyle and I can't process that far (If I have understand your suggestion correctly). So I would have to play the easier, less survival rich, build and automate playstyle.

1 hour ago, Stroam said:

Unrealistic, sure. If you can think of a more realistic way of discovering fire and learning agriculture that fits in a combat heavy nomadic playstyle I'm all ears. If your argument is that there shouldn't be a combat-focused nomadic playstyle 

Are you suggesting the game needs a research system, so the player can "discover fire"? Does this really fit the theme, I mean this isn't a civilization evolution simulator. Fire should be something that's available from the start, or else the nights would be very boring and dark. However, I agree, agriculture shouldn't be available to the player immediately, to make the earlygame more focused on exploration. But rather than gating agriculture by research/knowledge, it should be gated by the means to archive agriculture: the hoe. The hoe can only be crafted with metal, so the player needs to have done a lot of things first, therefore needed a lot of food and therefore was forced to venture to find food, like berries or animals.

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37 minutes ago, Erik said:

Are you suggesting the game needs a research system, so the player can "discover fire"? Does this really fit the theme, I mean this isn't a civilization evolution simulator. Fire should be something that's available from the start, or else the nights would be very boring and dark. However, I agree, agriculture shouldn't be available to the player immediately, to make the earlygame more focused on exploration. But rather than gating agriculture by research/knowledge, it should be gated by the means to archive agriculture: the hoe. The hoe can only be crafted with metal, so the player needs to have done a lot of things first, therefore needed a lot of food and therefore was forced to venture to find food, like berries or animals.

1

I never liked the idea of the metal hoe.

People were able to plant long before they worked metals. The stone hoe was a reality.

The exploration part in Stone Age can be achieved by other means: 

  1. The player needs to collect different seeds before he settles and starts farming.
  2. With different nutrients per plant, the player only has 2 options to keep his health, keep exploring to find all he needs or settle and plant. One plant type should not keep the player healthy.

 

4 hours ago, Erik said:

 This splitting of the games content also causes a massive split in the playerbase and the development of the game. Tyron can't deliver enough content for essentially three different games, each playstyle will either be tiny in scope or there will be one normal playstyle and several underdeveloped, buggy ones.

2

That's exactly my point. We should focus on one game. And like I said before just have a slider to adjust the game difficulty. 

Also with my idea of a Totem to unlock the next Tech, It would be easier to have the Game just spawn the corresponding Totem if the player is just tired of Stone Age and just wants to go straight to Iron age and work on Steam Engines.

The main advantage is that the game would be exactly the same, no changes or adaptations to the code to create playstyles as if they were different games.

And yes, I want a lot of content in the Stone age, but also a lot of content on the subsequent Ages.

 

I just do not see the need to create differently playstyles for people that want to explore more or for the ones that want to settle and build.

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3 hours ago, tony Liberatto said:

That's exactly my point. We should focus on one game. And like I said before just have a slider to adjust the game difficulty. 

"A" slider?  Or 'dozens' of sliders?  I thought you'd been pushing pretty hard for an extensive config system Tony.  I think one of the intents behind playstyles was to give some options to people to play the game more the way they want, without presenting them with a huge array of check boxes and sliders (I do agree it'd be a good idea to have a more granular set of configs available, but that may be more for the experienced player).   I think it's a good idea because despite protestations about how the game should play the same across styles, the fact of the matter is some people don't like mechanics like mine collapsing.  Some don't like light sources burning out.  Some people don't like green eggs and ham. They just flat out don't want to play with those things.  Not in the beginning, not in the middle, not after they have iron, not in a box or with a fox.  Some people like to fight the elements and earn every inch, others are in it for the building mainly.  Some people want to go through all the ages, but not necessarily constantly battling their lights going out while caving.   I think that's the really good and useful purpose behind playstyles.  Fundamental mechanical changes that are present throughout the playthrough. 

If someone just wants to skip directly to iron they can just cheat in the stuff they need, I don't see a need for playstyles for that.   If someone just wants to play with automation, without 'grinding through the rest of the game' then seriously, why not just mess around in creative mode?  If the entire rest of the game is a grind?  I'll confess I'm not entirely clear on what the survive and automate mode was intended to be exactly, but I don't think that was even mentioned in Tyron's last list of 3 modes I think so I'm not even sure if it's still on the table.  And I'm very unclear what survive and explore is intended to be.  But the other two I feel like the division between more hardcore player and more casual player is a clear and useful one from the perspective of appealing to a broader player base.

Edited by redram
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1 hour ago, redram said:

But the other two I feel like the division between more hardcore player and more casual player is a clear and useful one from the perspective of appealing to a broader player base.

agreed

4 hours ago, tony Liberatto said:

I never liked the idea of the metal hoe.

People were able to plant long before they worked metals. The stone hoe was a reality.

The exploration part in Stone Age can be achieved by other means: 

  1. The player needs to collect different seeds before he settles and starts farming.
  2. With different nutrients per plant, the player only has 2 options to keep his health, keep exploring to find all he needs or settle and plant. One plant type should not keep the player healthy.

same

4 hours ago, tony Liberatto said:

And yes, I want a lot of content in the Stone age, but also a lot of content on the subsequent Ages.

I would be happy with a stone age that lasted more than 8 tools. 

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Just so happened that while looking for a better place to elaborate on stone age farming, I found an old post from @Tyron regarding survive and automate: 

" Survive and Automate is my vision for Minecrafts FeedTheBeast style gaming. So lots of automation tools, jetpacks, etc.  It would come only much later. "

So survive and automate in that context sounds more like it's mostly a content extension into the modern age maybe.  Not clear if it would use the casual or hardcore base playstyle rules (I would assume casual).  Or if that's still even the vision Tyron has.

Edited by redram
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