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The "Minecraft-clone" problem


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First off, i would like to say that a thing I personally love about VS, is the humble atmosphere of the world and its creators. Nothing is too shiny. You're not a god. Its very down to earth, and easy to relate to and immerse yourself in. Its a very rare thing in todays gaming industry. 

These are some things i feel would make this game into a more complete and unique experience. Some of it is merely thoughts and ideas.
 

                    COMBAT (maybe a bit to obvious to spend time mentioning, but:)

1. A nice combat system would help immensely in setting VS apart from MC, but more importantly, it would make the game more fun IMO. Something like the way the spear works, but with some stamina stuff going on, for attacking and sprinting.
A dodge move would basically consist of holding down the sprint key, while moving in a direction to avoid an attack. You use up some stamina. No need for a dodge animation.
Make moving backwards slightly slower, leading to more tactical combat and positioning.
Maybe (MAYBE), make movement slower while attacking, unless the attack was initiated while sprinting.
Look at something like Mount & Blade, where you attack by holding down the attack-key to lift your weapon, and then releasing the key to swing it. It might be right for VS?
Get some shields in there.
Take some inspiration from Dark Souls combat, with stamina and all that. It is VERY satisfying, intuitive and addictive.



                 CRAFTING

2. Neoscavenger has one of THE BEST crafting system of all time. Here's why:
 - All crafting materials have  'Tags' (properties).
   Tags could be: Flexible shaft, rigid shaft, strong-cordage, weak-cordage, rigid sheet, flexible sheet, sharp edge, pointy edge etc..
 - Recipes DON'T check if you have specific items, BUT instead checks if you have ANY items with the specifically needed properties(tags).
   So for example, a heavy branch has the tags 'long rigid shaft', or 'long flexible shaft'.
   To make a spear, you need a "long rigid shaft", and an item with the tag "pointy edge", or "sharp edge", and lastly an item with the tag "medium (length)                 cordage". 
   Many items may correspond to these requirements, making for an immersive and intuitive crafting system, with many ways to make items, without having a       100 page recipe list, covering all the ways to make one item.
   If you look at something and think "I could probably make a weapon out of that, combined with this", you probably can.

3. Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead shines brightly in lots of ways regarding crafting as well. Check it out:
 - Tools have different levels of efficiency, e.g., a rock has 'Hammering quality 1' .
   That may be sufficient, if your'e planning to make a makeshift shiv/shank from scrap metal. Not for smithing a blade.
   So recipes check if you have a tool with a high enough "tool-level". It works really well.
   Kind of like your knapping system, where you need a hard enough stone. Or needing the right tier Metal tool for mining specific minerals. SO its already kind       of implemented in VS, i just wanted to mention it.

4. A unique crafting/environmental feature of C:DDA tho is:
 - Your character needs to be able to SEE, in order to craft complicated items (and to be able to read + other things).
   If its completely dark, you can't craft anything but the most basic things. (It's very immersive, and works very well, making light sources even more valuable.)

   (this feature might "implement itself", if you get rid of the crafting grid entirely, and everything becomes "in-world" crafting, like clay stuff etc., where having         light is pretty essential)


             WORLD / ATMOSPHERE

5. Making the game even scarier and fantastical/dark-fantasy would be great:
Check out The Betweenlands for some AMAZING inspiration. Best MC mod ever. Generally, it is just one of the most breathtaking mods ever made IMO.
It takes me straight back to dark, but curious 80's fantasy, the swamps of sadness, the dark crystal, labyrinth of the goblin king. I might go as far as to say, it is almost a perfect world for me.
Its a HECKIN' shame, that it isn't made for Vintage Story.. yet.
Also, check out their Discord development page for some brilliant game design inspiration! I'm very serious.

6. I think some basic cloth physics would be a great addition. Just to create even more atmosphere. Making simple linen rags to wear, waving gently in the wind, is a wet dream of mine. The wanderer, the humble nomad. This would also help distinguishing VS from MC greatly.

7. VS already have more impressive and interesting world generation than MC. Bigger mountains, cooler looking shapes. I love the areas filled with rock "pillars" you can stumble upon once in a while.
My point is:
Maybe emphasize this even more. Make it even more grand. taller pillars, deeper ravines, bigger mountains.
Which brings me to my second point:

8. Make the world more compact., and maze-like, giving the feeling of a "direction to go".
This could be done by making some generated "Paths", indirectly, by having more extreme and untraversable(without having to destroy) terrain, while somehow always making sure there is still a traversable "path" of terrain, acting as a "direction to go".
Thus, controlling/leading the player to potentially meaningful places of interest?
A system like that could be expanded upon, by DIRECTLY generating roads on the NON-extreme terrain "paths", and having those roads cross canyons, generating bridges to connect to high points, only to have that bridge completely in ruins, being dangerous to cross, "controlling/leading" players without the right equipment to perform dangerous tasks, pushing their limits.
All this could be made into an interconnected road network, leading to ruins and all sorts of funny places, giving the player a "path to walk", and making a more compact world, with a kind of puzzle-feeling to it. Some ways you can go, some places you need the right tools to get to.
Walking a path always feels good.
Just an idea I've been sitting on.

9. RUINSSSSS! I love medieval looking, overgrown ruins.
Maybe have some way of generating huge ruins, from some handmade pieces.
Like, hallways leading to rooms, rooms choosing between some handmade dilapidated walls, maybe a doorway, maybe a hole in the floor or ceiling lading to another room, Biome-correct trees and plants growing places, stuff like that. 
Exploring that would be fantastical.

10. Do more fog <3.

                  CHARACTER / INVENTORY SYSTEM

11. Make as many things visible on the character models as possible. 

12. Have the character models chest expand and collapse as they breathe.

13. Make weapons something you equip on your back, and sheathe on your hip. It would be nice for visual immersion, AND tactical gameplay. Again, look at how Dark Souls games handles switching between weapons and equipment on your character, and how its visualized ON your character.
Which brings me to:

14. Weight system, making you slower if overburdened. If at weight limit, you cant move without depleting stamina.



LASTLY: I agree with Copygirl. Maybe consider integrating some of the better mods into the base game, or of course, drag some heavy inspiration from them?

Vintage Story is one of my favorite games of this time, I have to say. Very nice creation. Great potential, becoming greater and greater it seems.

Edited by Mads Søby
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Its not technically a minecraft clone as it is a minecraft fork in the Linux sense. Mojang went with one file format that's incompatible with some of the mods and after a vigorous discussion over fish cakes in Sweden Mojang and Microsoft gave some people permission to take the earlier version and make new games. I don't know if Tyron was in that particular loop but it is why we have so many new voxel games with a minecraft base. The patent on programs lasts fewer years than patents on technology and has expired, so we will see a lot of minecraft clones.

My dream is a dedicated limited resource ' skyblock' that starts you off with nothing but useless rock, wind blown resource's and flying mobs. But that's a whole other problem. It could be a mode/ mod here but not yet. 

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On 9/8/2019 at 4:13 AM, Jozsef Drum said:

What makes minecraft is look like minecraft?

the cubes 

I know it wasnt the first voxel game but the first thing is about minecraft is the cubes

What if we replace the cubes to normal realistic look shapes

like the NoCubes mod https://www.curseforge.com/minecraft/mc-mods/nocubes

Or like the game: 7DaystoDie

 

 

No cubes would be just the marching tetrahedrons algorithm added to dirt and grass and some rocks. It would work but it does increase surface file size a bit and can be fiddly when messing about with mods, object placement and water.  I have alpha tested several game with marching cubes, which has a terrain mesh hole people can glitch though. I have a video on that made while alpha testing Rising world. Marching tetrahedrons algorithm is the fix. 

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On 11/19/2019 at 8:46 PM, Jozsef Drum said:

In the game 7 days to die it is works almost good. The players buliding only solid blocks (wood, iron, bricks...) that is not affected. It is difficult to build with dirt, snow. (like not possible to build a dirt shelter) and the blocks has stablity (Structural Integrity), weight and affected by gravity. It is a complex system, sometimes slow and heavy on cpu/ram but it works. (not 100 percent)

There is a compromise solution available. This creates 3 new blocks per grass & dirt material. For various reasons Minecraft grass and dirt does not have a grass step or grass slab. That was only a choice. One reason Notch made that choice is that plants and water look wrong on them. An algorithm that does a pass on the terrain to swop a grass edge block out for a grass "stair" where there is nothing on the step up and air on one side only. Corner dirt blocks with air on three sides could also get the conversion to a grass slab 50 % of the time. Same with most dirt. This pass only occurs on the first chunk building pass. Lastly if you place a grass or dirt block it gets a 4th block tag or type. Placed grass, placed Dirt. A bit like the minecraft leaves that have a despawning leaf block form and a non despawning hedge block created when you place a leaf. If you break a grass/dirt stair they drop a dirt block. But they may be craft able with a gardening tool. Grass does grow over them but spawns a deep rooted version so it does not look wrong. 

It may also work for sand. You could also smooth caves with a native rubble stair that is randomly distributed replacing rock steps and drops a random rock type. That would make caves more interesting. 

Its an option but not urgent. It does add lots of blocks per soil type. Is there a hard limit?  
What modeling software is recommended for making blocks for VS? What is the block size relative to blender etc? 

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7 hours ago, wesley Bruce said:

What modeling software is recommended for making blocks for VS? What is the block size relative to blender etc? 

Vintage Story has it's own modeling program, Vintage Story Model Creator (VSMC), which is downloadable from the website.  It's based on I think Mr. Crayfish's program for Minecraft.  Simple but effective.

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11 hours ago, redram said:

Vintage Story has it's own modeling program, Vintage Story Model Creator (VSMC), which is downloadable from the website.  It's based on I think Mr. Crayfish's program for Minecraft.  Simple but effective.

Mr Crayfish does good stuff. Does that mean we can get his cars? Please please please. We would have to steampunk them up a little. 

PS the VSMC wants javaw and the readme is a file format I'm unfamiliar with. What am I missing?

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There's not really any way to avoid an initial "minecraft clone!!!" reaction while it remains a voxel-based game. While "voxel survival-sandbox games" are becoming their own genre, minecraft is always going to be the first thing that jumps to people's minds when they see the blocks, and that's probably not going to change for a while, at least not until there's enough games, such as this one, that do their own unique thing and do it well. Maybe not even then.

Most of the things that make VS unique and special are non-visual... the slower and more careful progression, the more varied needs (nutrition, farming nutrients, animal weight), the realistic approach to the environment and resource abundance, and (probably the thing that I'm most looking forward to seeing expanded) the background lore. These things become apparently really quickly once you actually start playing, but anyone just looking at a couple screenshots or even watching a clip or two isn't going to pick up on them.

I mean when I posted some pictures of my little homestead to my discord server (friends with whom I play mostly minecraft), one of my friends actually thought it was from our minecraft server. And it was of my windmill, possibly one of the most visually non-minecraft things in the game.

So if it's going to be compared to minecraft anyway, it's probably best to focus on features that mesh well with the things above that make it special, instead of trying to make it Not Minecraft. Defining something by what it isn't doesn't make for a very cohesive game.

That being said..
 

Spoiler

 

Artstyle: VS actually does already look pretty visually distinct from the default minecraft textures (as much as it can while still being realistic and a voxel game). I love the sepia colour palate, and while dirt/stone/wood are all blocky, the more detailed leaves and grass, the animals, and the ability to microchisel all pull their weight.

Stack/Slot Inventory: The slot-based inventory works well enough, I prefer that to something like a text-based inventory. Size kind of already plays a part in stack size, though? What with some things only stacking to 8. I think the main similarity is that the stack sizes are 8/32/64/128, but that's probably for technical reasons. Weight sounds nice until you realise the impossibility of carrying an inventory of stone and ore, and try to add in encumbrance. The only other solution I can think of is something similar to Haven & Hearth, where we had more slots but some things like tools or boards would take up multiple slots. And nothing stacked. It was... very cumbersome.

Making trees less blocky, more dynamic: Definitely agree, that's actually one of the things I have in my suggestion notes atm.

Thirst: I was actually surprised that the game didn't currently have thirst!

Crafting Grid: I think this one's already on the roadmap. Not sure how I feel about it. It's definitely a vestige from minecraft and there's no reason it needs to be here, but it's also pretty quick and convenient for crafting large amounts of items. While I enjoy the knapping, pottery and smithing systems, they're definitely something that works better in moderation.

Combat: Also on the roadmap. I generally avoid combat, but it is pretty clunky at the moment. I like the differences between the weapons we do have though.

GUI-Less: Some GUIs are probably going to be necessary. How would chests or inventory work, for instance? But I would love to see an upgrade from the campfire. Might have to make a note of that in my suggestions file.

Less repetitive unique crafting: Not sure how this would work, apart from utilizing the mechanical power to automate part or all of the process. Whatever changes might be made, as soon as you need to make 300 bowls, it's going to be repetitive no matter what.

World Generation: Taller terrain would be great! Actually, one thing I think would work well is tying the polar-equator distance permanently to the world size, where the poles are always the actual poles, rather than continuing to a second equator. Unless there's some lore reason, that's an...odd decision. I like that the world size can be made smaller, though. Being able to fully explore the world, given enough time, just feels cozy.

Monsters: Wolves (and hopefully other predators to come) exist during the day. I was actually under the impression that drifter spawns were tied to the moon phase (though I'm too chicken to actually go out at night to check), and once you add in the difference in type based on world height and the temporal storms, there's already plenty of unique features to the drifters. Not sure what the solution to this would be apart from...not having monsters at night?

 

 

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