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Optimality April 7, 2009 21:26

Crafting-focused Angband mod under development
I'm working on developing a mod for V Angband that focuses on crafting. I just wanted to type up some of my vision for this mod and get some feedback. I think it would be really fun to play a character that searches for the materials to forge a weapon to kill Morgoth and then slays him with it :).

Most of this pertains to crafting weapons/armor; I haven't thought too much about crafting magic items (wands/staves/scrolls/potions), although that should definitely be possible.

I've played ToME extensively, but was very disappointed with the Alchemist class. My experience with Sangband is much more limited, but I'm hoping to make a deeper crafting system than the forging present in Sang.

Crafting System
This can be thought of in two parts: acquiring resources and combining them.

Resource acquisition: Items should be able to be reduced to raw mats - this would be something along the lines of melting down a dagger or re-using the leather in a suit of leather armor. Raw mats should come in different quality based on the quality of the source item.

You should also be able to get materials from the dungeon itself. I envision mining metals from the dungeon walls (treasure deposits for rare metals), and extracting some materials from corpses or dropped by monsters.

I think there should be about 10 different kinds of materials, varying in quality - like "raw leather +1" or "lump of copper -1".

Crafting: Different classes of items have certain recipes - a dagger should be a certain amount of metal, a suit of armor should be a set amount of other material. The quality of the suit created should depend on the quality of the materials (affecting bonuses). When the item's quality goes above a certain threshold, it should hit ego status and get ego bonuses. Eventually, it should hit artifact status.

I'm not sure whether I want the bonuses to be user-determinable or random - the former might be OP unless some pretty heavy restrictions are in place. But eventually, I'd like for crafted gear to be on-par or better than extant gear, at least for the Artisan class - maybe not for other classes.

Artisan Class

I'd like for this class to be focused on crafting. Warriors get better skill with weaponry, other classes get weaponry bonuses or spells; the Artisan should have no spells and moderate combat ability, but make up for it by having higher quality gear than other characters at his level/depth. At max level, this would eventually mean having better gear than any other class, meaning some special gear will need to be available - crafted artifacts more powerful than the defaults. But these need to be available only to the Artisan. He's an intrinsically weak character that makes up for it with good gear.

I'd also like for the Artisan to be versatile: he may not have spells, but he should be able to craft and use magic devices to fill this need. Archery or melee should both be viable options - I imagine I'll need to introduce artifact ammo.

The artisan should start with enough raw materials to craft a decent starter weapon, or maybe a wand of magic missile. The gameplay focus for the Artisan should be on crafting items that suit your playstyle (melee, archery, magic devices), and gathering high-quality items to refine into quality materials.

Of course there are balance issues here. If the Artisan can craft gear that makes him or her good at everything, it would be OP. I'm not trying to make a warrior/mage/priest/ranger here :). At max level, he should be worse at melee than a max level warrior and worse at magic than a max level mage (although the latter shouldn't be hard...). Balance issues are always the hard part :).

Development Plan:

First step is to make a preliminary map of the materials I'd like to have in the game. Then, I'll need to add those in, and make sure they drop appropriately. I'll need to add in the "refine item" ability.

Second step is to add in the crafting system. Initially this will be a simple 1) combine items according to a recipe 2) calculate quality of the items 3) spawn a random item of the appropriate level.

Third step would be to add the "guided" crafting where you can control the properties of the item produced.

Fourth step would be to throw in the Artisan class.

I'm planning on using Google Code for source hosting,

Please tell me what you think about these ideas!

PaulBlay April 7, 2009 21:37


Originally Posted by Optimality (Post 17521)
Please tell me what you think about these ideas!

There are two different issues here. Making a crafting variant vs making a crafting class.

Crafting as an extra option for existing classes could work very well. (Different classes would have the appropriate crafting specialities). However I am dubious about having an artisan class, or at least on putting too much emphasis on it.

I think "This variant has a fun new thing you can do - crafting" makes a good selling point. "This variant allows you to play a crafter" is not such a good sales point. It sounds more like a 'one trick pony', if you know what I mean.

Optimality April 7, 2009 22:38

Yeah, I agree that it's two different things. That's why I broke it up into two pieces :). The Artisan class is just meant to be a bonus, honestly. It's the least important part of the variant.

I like the idea of bonuses to crafting specialties by class. I'll definitely have to incorporate that; it flows very naturally with the Artisan class.

Magnate April 7, 2009 23:21

I really like Sang's crafting system, so I'm very interested in an improved version in a V variant. (You refer to it as a mod, but not sure how that would work, since it would require re-compiling - so it's essentially a variant.)

I guess the initial stage isn't too difficult - once you've used up the materials and calculated the quality of the item you want to craft, you can just use the randart code to generate an item with a target power level (it wouldn't be hard to modify it to produce a non-artifact item).

The next stage- allowing people to specify some properties of a crafted item - that seems much more difficult, as there's no code to re-use - you basically need to design an entire UI for this. You might want to borrow Sang's and modify it, rather than starting from scratch?

There's a danger of exacerbating TMJ if your crafting components are all junk to non-crafters or are only used in certain recipes. To avoid this problem you could use components that are items in their own right (potions, wands, staves, armour, weapons etc.).

There's also an inventory management problem, as people wanting to save stuff to use in crafting will soon run out of space in the home.

Good luck with it - I look forward to trying it,


Optimality April 8, 2009 00:51


Originally Posted by Magnate (Post 17529)
(You refer to it as a mod, but not sure how that would work, since it would require re-compiling - so it's essentially a variant.)

Yep, it's a variant. I'll be more consistent with terminology from here on out.


There's a danger of exacerbating TMJ if your crafting components are all junk to non-crafters or are only used in certain recipes. To avoid this problem you could use components that are items in their own right (potions, wands, staves, armour, weapons etc.).
Right, so the idea here is that crafting mats will almost entirely come from refining existing items. That way only crafters will ever see them, and the mats will have a use in their own right for people that don't want to craft. I might still add a few drops in some cases, but I want to keep the number small - I want the game to be playable while totally ignoring crafting. You might still find some ore while mining or something, though. The monster drops is the thing I really worry about.

I'll add a squelcher rule for crafting mats or something, so that it can be played V-style.


There's also an inventory management problem, as people wanting to save stuff to use in crafting will soon run out of space in the home.
On the one hand, I *want* there to be an inventory management problem. Inventory slots are an important resource in Angband, and you should have to spend some of them to get something. On the other, requiring too much inventory management would be too high a price for crafters to pay. If people find that the inventory overhead is extreme, I'll make sure to address it - one non-trivial option would be to install a "workshop" next to the player's home where they can store crafting mats (and must be in to do their crafting). Another would be some sort of "bag of holding" for crafting mats. Both would be pretty big coding jobs.

Thanks for the feedback!

Atarlost April 8, 2009 01:52

How much of a problem inventory managment becomes will depend on where crafting is done and how materials stack.

If you have grades corresponding to strong pseudo status and only a few materials it won't be too terrible if you can break down stuff in the dungeon. Walking out of a minor vault with 60 excellent grade iron ingots and a couple artifacts is better than walking out of the same minor vault with the same two artifacts and a pack full of ego weapons. If you can't break down stuff in the dungeon or if output isn't uniform enough to stack you have a problem because someone using crafting will have to drag a lot of stuff up from the dungeon that someone not crafting would leave behind.

The following assumes you can break stuff down in the dungon:
I think the worst case is probably the Ranger. A ranger eventually carries 8 spell books. Every charachter wants to have ?Teleport, ?PhaseDoor, and !CureCrit. These can be replaced in town. Everyone wants ?TeleLevel, ?*Destruction*, and !Heal. These you can't leave behind because they can't be purchased. As a Ranger you also want three or four stacks of ammo. You have 23 slots. That leaves 5-6 slots for stuff to carry back to town if you don't leave any gear. You can leave the first four spellbooks if you have backups in your house or if they're 100% guaranteed to be in stock in the store. Making that guarantee would be a good idea unless you're going to increase inventory size. You also have 3 slots of consumables you can ditch if you can be sure of getting enough to replace them in town. The town does not consistantly stock adequate quantities of any of them last I checked but it stocks at least small quantities fairly consistantly. That's 12-13 slots free for materials if you don't take anything else back up. So if you have 12 materials/quality combinations you're fine.

Let's assume dragon-scale and adamant armor are uncraftable. You can try something like the following:
Iron (3 grades)
handle-wood (2 grades)
bow-wood (2 grades)
bowstrings (2 grades)
leather (2 grades)
mithril (1 grade)

If you go beyond that you're putting too much pressure on the inventories of some classes. If you go very far beyond that you'll have a system that won't be fun because you won't be able to clear a single level with any class without having to recall if you're going to craft seriously.

Optimality April 8, 2009 02:49

Thanks for putting some solid numbers on the inventory problem. I had a few tricks I was thinking about for allowing more variation in crafting materials without blowing up people's backpacks.

First, I was hoping to vary the quality of crafted materials across depth. So, for later depths, it wouldn't be worth it for you to carry back any low-quality mats you find (and thus I'm planning on making it so they're really rare down there). So this lets you do something like X kinds for 0-1000', X kinds for 1000'-2000', etc. I'm not sure how much crafting materials I'd like to have people bring back, so I'm not sure what X is yet, but I'm thinking 5-10 for most classes (as in, there are 5-10 different kinds of materials you'd be interested in at any given depth). So, using your numbers, I could have 50 different kinds of materials, b/c you're only going to be able to find / be interested in 10 of them at a time. Having higher-grade materials be able to substitute in for lower-grade materials would make this a little easier.

Also, I'm hoping that certain classes will be more interested in certain materials than others - like, Rangers are more interested in bow/ammo mats, and warriors are more interested in sword mats. Unfortunately everybody likes armor, and everybody needs every slot to *some* degree, so this variation can't be *too* strong. Also, if it were too strong, then you'd have the "these mats are junk for me, please stop dropping them" problem. When people say "I have 15 kinds of crafting material I want to take back" I want them to decide to take back the 10 most useful kinds (or whatever).

As far as breaking down items goes, my two favorite options so far are: on-the-spot or at a special location in the dungeon. On-the-spot will be implemented first. An idea I might implement "later" would be to have forges scattered throughout a level where you can craft and break down items. This would have the added benefit of allowing you to only craft good items deep in the dungeon (at "better forges"). But that's pie-in-the-sky future stuff :).

Atarlost April 8, 2009 03:34

I think you're breaking the dungeon into way too many zones. There are really only four types of equipment:
non-ego (good average or cursed doesn't matter because they can be upgraded with scrolls)
basic egos (single brand/slay weapons, single resist armors, launchers of velocity/accuracy, *thancs)
genuinely useful egos (pretty much everything else)
endgame grade artifacts (Artifacts that are significantly better than any ego item, possibly the crazy overpowered ego launchers, PDSM, possibly BalDSM and ChaodDSM, possibly any DSM of immunity)

The first category isn't really ever worth forging unless you can get forging output in the second category. The second category is useful all game for any class that might consider using a launcher. The third category becomes obsolete when the fourth category becomes available except those types used for projectiles unless you can make category four gear with category three materials. The fourth category is allways good and can start appearing shockingly early with high rarity.

Optimality April 8, 2009 04:34

Yep, I think I agree with this assessment. I was picturing 4 stages of crafting: good items for the low-level character, weak egos, good egos/weak artifacts, strong artifacts. About 3-4 grades of material would suffice for those. And of course I need to leave room for magic item crafting materials.

Jungle_Boy April 8, 2009 04:56

I like this idea and think it would be fun, I have always wanted to be able to play a crafter who can craft stuff that is actually useful all game long. One thing I think would be interesting is to add the ability to add potions during crafting to increase the chance of getting a certain attribute. ie Add 5 potions of resist heat to get fire resistance on your armor. Maybe use extra stat potions as a way to get bonus stats, could do some interesting things with the healing potions too.

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