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I've seen many proposals for skill systems, character systems, learning systems, etc. So there is a want by some of the community to have some sort of system to play around with. I also have experienced several different systems from many different games ranging throughout gaming history. This gives me a wide and deep pool of knowledge to pull from, however, I'm not as big of a gamer as I use to be. My knowledge of current skills systems and what is popular is limited. Knowing that let's move forward with the suggestion.

First, a brief overview. Players gain perks by performing game actions or reading manuals. Players are allowed to equip a limited amount of perks. The perks offer benefits to the player if the perk activation requirements are met.

Now for the longer more detailed explanation.

A perk consists of 4 parts: unlock requirements, equip cost, activation conditions, effects.

Unlock requirements is the requirements needed to get acquire the perk. On the easiest side of the spectrum, this might be nothing which might be the case for perks found in ruins. On the most difficult you may need to have certain perks equipped which then gives you a 2% chance to unlock the perk when killing locusts with a copper sword. Once unlocked, the perk goes into a list from which the player can select perks to equip. An unlocked perk cannot be unlocked again.

When attempting to equip a perk it checks if that player has enough perk slots open to meet the perks slot cost(may cost more than one), has any required perks already equipped, and doesn't have any incompatible perks equipped. These costs could be zero slots and no required equipped perks. If the player meets the requirements then the perk starts to equip. This is represented as a timer that only runs down while the player is logged into the server. When the timer runs out the perk will then be equipped. If the player doesn't have enough perk slots open then may select one or more perks to swap out for the perk they want. This then unequips the selected perks when the timer runs out, however, the player will not benefit from any equipped perks being swapped out and the timer will be equal to longest equip time of the skills chosen. Timers may be canceled at any time. A perk that is a requirement for the perk being equipped, or for a perk already equipped, cannot be swapped out. Some perks auto-equip and some perks won't be revealed to the player until they equipped.

Once equipped a perk will not function unless it's activation conditions are met. The perk may have no conditions, meaning it's always active or may have very specific requirements such as having fewer than 5 health and is in water. 

Finally once equipped and the activation requirements are met the player will gain an effect. This could be anything. The ability to swim, ability to craft a specific item, break stone faster with pickaxes, grant a temporary bonus before becoming locked again, etc. Only coding knowledge and imagination limit what the effects can be.

Each player starts the game with a limited number of perk slots. The number of slots can be increased by equipped perks.

Some perks may have unequip requirements.

This provides a very flexible system that can work well with a JSON layout so that once the requirements and effects are programmed, even those not good with coding can craft can use those to mod their own perks. The perks can also be added to the handbook just like items and blocks.

 

Edited by Stroam
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I generally like this idea, especially when perk unlock requirements are designed to take the place of achievements.

Some suggestions I have would be to also provide a list of all un-unlocked perks in the perk menu, listing their unlock requirement and maybe effect. This removes the need of players looking at a wiki page and make perks capable of being achievements.

Furthermore, perks should be able to require multiple perk slots to be equipped, which allows to have perks with different power levels. Also, the activation requirement should be renamed to activation condition, as I first thought it would be some thing the player has to do to unlock the (passive/always active) effect of the perk, like a second unlock requirement.

I also don't like the idea of a timer for equipping perks, I would rather only be able to equip/swap (maybe a limited number of) perks at a certain time and/or location. It would probably be best to allow players to equip perks instantly at any time, but make unequipping/swapping perks require special conditions, like only being able to unequip/swap perks at full moon.

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5 hours ago, Erik said:

I generally like this idea

First off, thank you. I hoped such a system would be flexible enough to cover many use cases so that players can use it for whatever ideas they may have, be it skills, achievements, etc.

A list would be great. Like the one in the handbook for items and blocks. I agree the less the player needs the wiki the better.

I did mean for perks to take anywhere from zero to multiple slots. Hopefully, my edit makes that more clear. I also changed the name from activation requirement to activation condition. I agree that is more clear.

6 hours ago, Erik said:

I also don't like the idea of a timer for equipping perks, I would rather only be able to equip/swap (maybe a limited number of) perks at a certain time and/or location. It would probably be best to allow players to equip perks instantly at any time, but make unequipping/swapping perks require special conditions, like only being able to unequip/swap perks at full moon.

The reason the equip time cost is there is because I dislike how the perk system in the Fallout MMO allowed you to instantly swap out perks. It allowed players to swap out perks mid-battle and whenever obstacles came up. You also recognize that it breaks gameplay if perks can be moved around too easily. I think unequipping/swapping out requirements could be another solution to issue but could get very complex very quickly. Still, I'll add it as a note at the bottom.

The timer solution is simple and represents the time it takes to learn a new skill. The timer can be set to zero to have perks instantly equip. Nearly everything in this system can be set to zero or left out to tailor it.

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