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TUG is a multiplayer open-world sandbox-RPG using new technology and social sciences to directly involve players in the game’s design.
7,231 backers pledged $293,184 to help bring this project to life.

Inventory Scale

Posted by Nerd Kingdom (Creator)

In TUG, the design philosophy is to keep game logic as close to real life logic as possible. This is critical in keeping with player immersion, but even more importantly, this design approach gives us the ability to offer true consequences for the player to make decisions around. When approaching the idea of the player’s inventory, or work surfaces where they assemble their tools, we are going with a 1 to 1 scale ratio. What this means for the player is that when you have a large sword or shield in your inventory, that item literally does take up a large portion of your inventory! In addition to the size, we also have weight for all items, adding another level of consequence for players, who must choose not only what they want to carry, but how much they can actually carry.

This design is not a new way of thinking; many games have used this approach. But in these other designs, there is always some method of getting around this hinderance, or its use in the game doesn’t really offer any purpose outside of merely restricting the player and forcing him or her to make several trips to loot a cave, or play a game of Tetris with their inventory to make everything fit. Our approach in using these restrictions is to bring the player into the idea of loadouts based on tasks they want to perform.

By having such restrictions in place, players will find themselves making decisions on how they want to play based on their inventory loadout. The gatherer wants to pack light, leaving themselves only enough room to carry just enough to survive without restricting what they can carry back from any of their explorations. Hunters will perhaps pack specialized weapons, or medical supplies for the hunt; carrying these larger, heavier items will restrict their range of exploration to a closer proximity from their base of operations.

This 1 to 1 scale also plays a part in crafting. Pattern design in crafting is a common approach, and makes sense for players discovering new items. For example, if you wanted to craft a spear head, you would probably try to place materials in the shape of a diamond or a pyramid. The problem is that once you add this pattern design on top of the other pieces for the spear (the shaft, the binding, etc.), you run into a huge space issue for your assembly area when dealing with a 1 to 1 scale ratio. To address this issue as well as continuing with the approach of keeping our design truer to real life, things like a spear head or a sword blade must be forged separate of the rest of the tool or weapon, and then assembled with other components at a final assembly station. This design allows us to capture the experience of working metal at a forge or anvil -- molding materials into a shape, and creating components of tools -- rather than just plopping down the generic shape of an axe or a hammer on a work table and having the item pop into existence in the player’s inventory.

Inventory dimensions and flexibility become very critical to the player when dealing with weight, 1 to 1 item scaling, and load-outs. As such, when designing the player’s early inventory, we tried to keep this in mind and offer up a system that reflects the core elements of the early game: survival! Players won’t be able to carry a lot of items, and their inventory reflects this by being small in size. This is a solvable issue; players will be able to raise the technology level of their own inventory equipment through crafting. By using advanced tools and methods to find higher quality resources, and using these resources to create a larger inventory, players may ultimately expand their options for load outs.

TUG is a game filled with these types of design choices that we hope will offer meaningful and realistic consequences and trade-offs for players. By building these choices into the core gameplay design, we hope to create a truly rewarding player experience as you explore, discover, experiment, and advance in the world of TUG!

-John (Nekochu)

NOT inventory load out screen, used for planning and communication of spacial importance, factors of weight, stack and scale apply.

  • Image 252804 original.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1
  • Image 252805 original.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1


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    1. Missing avatar

      Jason Gilbert on

      I'm very excited by the ideas I'm reading here. I love the idea of versatility and variety in inventory management, and grounding things in realism is absolutely the best way to nurture immersion, can't wait to see where you guys end up going with this, (and looking forward to contributing ideas and providing feedback - the alpha can't come soon enough!!!). I like the idea of items fitting in a bag based on their unique hitboxes vs a grid, but we don't want a facet of the game to be inventory shuffling to make something fit either - and it goes without saying, from everything I've read, that you're doing everything you can to avoid issues like that. One notion I had was, and bear with me here, just brainstorming, that items have 'physics' as you drop them into your backpack. In other words, you just drop stuff into your back, and it will all kind of shuffle down into the bag, like a box of cereal settles. Not sure if that's worth the CPU and coding time, but throwing it out there. The other, more useful (in my mind) ideas I had are as follows:
      1. Items could have volume, not just weight. That way you can justify crazy light weight (think herbs for alchemy - how much does a flower really weigh?) but still limit you from carrying infinite amounts.
      2. The more you carry, beyond a certain threshold, the slower you move, the more stamina/food you use up. And I don't mean a set limit, like in Skyrim the instant you go over you weight limit you suddenly move very slow. Instead, it should be a very slow, gradual curve. So in other words, you can carry quite a bit and not worry about it, but if you really overburden yourself, you'll get tired faster - but if you find that one more, say, diamond you just found - it won't make a major difference, and you won't be stuck leaving it and making a second trip over a 1 gram item you couldn't carry.
      3. I think somebody was hinting at this already, but accessing your backpack should be much slower than a small purse/bag on your belt.
      4. The ability to carry items hanging off a backpack, as was hinted in some of your artwork (mining pick strapped to the outside of the backpack) is awesome. What I'd like to see though is the players hitbox increased. Imagine you can carry all this extra stuff now, but the caveat is that you can't fit into tighter caves maybe. Or, depending on what you're carrying, you make a lot more noise, so you can't sneak around as easily.
      5. Constructing larger structures would be more rewarding, if it weren't super easy to gather and move all the materials - that's part of what I like about Survival Minecraft vs Creative. I'm on board with the idea of needing to use creative means to move/manage resources for large scale construction.

    2. Missing avatar

      Brian Stottlemyre on

      "this design approach gives us the ability to offer true consequences for the player to make decisions around."

      I love this. You guys hit the nail on the head with me on this update. Lovin it. Brings tactical decisions to the game. Brilliant.

    3. Missing avatar

      Brett Baseden on

      The whole time reading this update I was thinking to myself how an inventory system like the original X-COM would be cool in this game. And long behold I get to the end where the picture is and it's X-COM!!! Good work guys, this project is really shaping up to be golden.

    4. Glitch2210 on

      @Francesco i think that concept would be really cool if done well. the only think i a worried about is if it becomes too much of a hassle then it may simply become a turn off entirely to the players. i do think if some system like that where to be tryed it would be useful to try and divide up the inventories spaces. like in the real world or in that sample image above you would have multiple different bags pouches and the like to store things. that way you would be able to store a lot less in each compartment and even with a collision based system you would be less likely to create a mess. for example you might keep all your potions in a few belt pouches or one of the bigger side flaps to your bag where as the main compartment of your bag would hold all your camping gear. this way like in real life you would prioritize what bags and pouches you need quick access too and which you can spend the time digging through. additionally this king of system would allow for much more detailed look into your inventory system. since you would no longer be looking at your entire inventory at once you can afford to make the UI much bigger and more detailed coming closer to that 1 to 1 goal. instead of looking at your entire box of inventory you can maybe have a UI more akin to looking down into a bad. and if you where to offset this slower inventory system with things like small belt loops pouches or sheaths you would be able to link smaller single use items like potions to hotkeys and have your weapons more easily accessible through hotkey as well so you would not lose your pacing in fights, that is until you have exhausted all of your potions and need to quickly dig through your bag for more as you take cover from the monster trying to kill you.

    5. Missing avatar

      Francesco DiPietro on

      Just spit-balling here, but I was imagining what other kinds of inventories would be possible. What would it be like if the inventory had no defined grid at all? As though it were icons on the desktop (with the grid-snap disabled) with one major difference: Each item has a hitbox to collide with one-another while being dragged about. It'd also be important to note that each item wouldn't have to have a hitbox size matching their image size, paper for example would have a collision hitbox of only a few pixels, allowing paper to be stacked on top of each other (literally stacked, rather than just having a number represent a stack size) as well as on top of other similarly sized items like flowers, but a rock would have a full hitbox equal to its image. It could still be placed on top of the paper, but not on top of other rocks. It would retain the 1:1 ratio of items in the inventory you are looking for, while providing a the realistic space constraints. This approach would also require that the player pay more focus into his organizational skills as having a messy backpack would not bode well in the heat of battle when you need to fish a potion out from underneath a pile of scrolls, or when you need to find that one note sheet from 3 weeks back inside an infinite stack of failed quizes ;_;.
      Obviously this has some faults and would be rather challenging to balance correctly, but I'm having difficulty imagining how something like this would feel in a game if done right. Just a concept though, open to thoughts.

    6. Tony Nguyen on

      I love this. While I don't think that most other games really need an inventory system so flesh out, it really makes this game more interesting, more immersible. Not sure if this was what you guys had in mind but say that depending on your character build, there's a top weight limit to what you can carry. However, as you get closer and closer to that weight limit your character's movement speed gets slower. The player shouldn't have to worry about the too often, but it would provide a nice contrast if they were to say be mining and carrying a lot of rocks and metals to just out hunting or scavenging out in the woods, as well as restricting their speed a slight bit if they decide to don heavy armors etc.

    7. Nerd Kingdom Creator on

      @Lemuel, not to worry ;). But do be aware, that in early phases we may have something crude in place just so that people can actually play with the crafting and the like, while allowing us to refine this stuff. We gotta be sure we offer access to as much stuff as possible as early as possible to you guys in alpha and beta, so we can get feedback and start collecting ALL THE THINGS (data).


    8. Lemuel Pew on

      @Nerd Kingdom Thank you for the clarification! You had me worried for a bit, there. It's my humble opinion that abstract 2D UIs are a crutch that far too many design teams don't try to grow beyond. Hearing that you plan to work on a 3D immersive solution that is also simple to understand satisfies all of my concerns on the matter.

    9. Glitch2210 on

      @Lorenzo lol didn't know i was infamous nice=) yea typing out comments on a cell is not a good idea if your excited hehe. anyway i really like that idea. i think it could play really well into the idea of having players need to make meaningful decisions. on one hand you might chose the fast mechanical means of achieving your goal say a rail road which can have a negative effect on the environment around you (either through pollution or... i dunno magical corruption or something) or you can take the slower natural rout and say build a water canal and float your goods home. both have there merits and there downsides so seeing peoples choices would be interesting.

    10. Lorenzo Gaetani on

      @Michael .... th (in)famous michael, i'm not sure i want to discuss with you, i saw your post on the forum and i read one, the one on creative crafting and at the end the only thing i could say was "Oh my GOD it can't be this late!" it was so much stuff written in a single post, i will take a while to me to be ready to read another port of yours man xd (if it is not clear i'm kidding, you're awsome). About the railway i am not totally contrary, but the designer should just make it more fantasy, like for example the binary could be diferent from the iron-wood we have, or the trucks could levitate on the rail and so. another idea i have this mornign is inspired from the game "Years 2070" in the game you can use a super efficient tecnology at the cost of an ambientale degrade or eco-technologies. In tug as well you could choose between invasive but very quick means of transport but they should be visible from far oway and modify the environment in some way and other means more naturals that don't impact on the environment and can hardly be seen unless you are close to them but they could be slower. i think this could be a good idea

    11. Glitch2210 on

      @Lorenzo, i agree with you that all of these systems should have some fantasy theme. though i do not think this necessarily should rule out theses "real world" solutions necessarily. your idea of boatgolems is interesting and shows just how you could fantasize normal tech into something interesting. for instance what if similar to your boat golam a train system can be set up with no more then a bunch of carts attached together with a special TrainGolam pushing or pulling them? or if you can incorporate magic into a simple cart to upgrade it to a go faster or hold more. personally i love games which do not force a player into on solution, so i would love to see a magical branch and a technological branch each with there own possibility. that way how you build and how you transport things can simply become another extension of who you are and how you try and tackle challenges.

    12. Lorenzo Gaetani on

      Yea a way to carry goods and stuffs is a nice idea, but i would like to see an original way, please don't make something from real world like a railway, or this kind of things, it's a fantasy world so use fantasy, i don't know but something eccentric yet with logic, like a network of canals and you could build simply golem ... boatgolem. this is just a quick idea but i would like something eccentric and weird :)

    13. Nerd Kingdom Creator on

      @Chris, exactly correct... we are creating realism to define some rules for logic, so people can become less reliant on help tool tips and constant frustration of systems. We intentionally used a fantasy setting so we could have more freedom to define extraordinary systems. What is drill, if nothing more than a Golem with modern technologies ;)

      @Mark, excellent process of thinking! You guys are already in the correct mindset to fully understand the parameters for design of the game.

    14. Mark Newcombe on

      I'd like to offer a game mechanic option to the Nerd Kingdom guys.
      Seeing as you have heft in the game, and you toon starts life as a seed and grows up, one would imagine that as a child your load carrying ability is low, and as you grow older that ability increases, similarly, a fully grown toon who gather herbs and flowers all day for his herbalist shop isn't going to be able to carry what his 300 lb friend does who always walks around fully loaded with his 2 handed bastard sword and associated paraphernalia, regardless of the fact that the herbalist can carry the same back pack as the 300 lb man mountain, he wouldn't in real life be able to load it up with the same weight as the big guy. Perhaps if the herbalist were to change the way he lives and starts carrying heavier weights his max load could trend upwards over time as he gets fitter and stronger. Similarly, if the big guy puts down his sword and takes on a life of quiet contemplation, then his max load would reduce over time.
      Just as in real life, the load you can carry is a function of the quality of gear you wear and your own fitness/strength & perhaps even intelligence.
      A smart guy that is fit and strong wearing a load bearing vest would out carry a dumb guy that is super strong who is just wearing a standard backpack.

    15. Ghost on

      Im reading the comments and people seem to be quickly jumping to the conclusion of realistic item transportation. While this game is all grounded in some form of physical reality (ie: weight and space limitations), that doesnt mean the world will not include some sort of fantasy elements such as transportational magics for example.
      What if we spend the day mining stones and ores, have them piled up nearby, then cast some sort of "transfer to home" magic.
      I mean if the world has golems and the possibility of all sorts of fantasy elements, some sort of "magic" or telekenetic power is not out of the realm of possibility.
      Just because your specific person cant hold 40 tons of stone, doesnt mean there isnt a creative and fitting way to transport these gathered materials.

      I say, give them/us(alpha backers) a chance to get creative in hashing these bits out before flipping a table and retracting a pledge. People gladly throw 60$ at another Madden or CoD iteration but get all uppity with their 40$ without giving your guys a chance and the game is 2 years out.

      Sorry for the rant :P .. Good luck guys!! Love these updates. Keep em coming!

    16. Cornell Taylor Williams on

      People seem quick to shoot down something that may pose a challenge too them....
      I personally like this idea. As previously stated, why carry around a bunch of stone when you will be building with wood. Hopefully encourages logical thinking as well as freedom for imagination. I wish you guys the best with making this game and I think in the end we will get our moneys worth. Can't wait to get into the alpha and send some feedback!

    17. Daniel Roy on

      I'm starting to see the mental picture that you guys and gals at Nerd Kingdom are trying to offer and it sounds awesome.

      In regards to the Tetris like space issues, I think it will be really interesting to see how your team differs from the likes of Torchlight or Diablo where this issue is common place. Obviously this artwork is not representative of the final product, or even a product in general but I can see what kind of idea you are getting at.

      I would definitely recommend allowing the player to upgrade their backpack in the later stages of the game, through either a loot drop or a crafting aspect. This will further push players into exploring the world and make it feel more realistic that they can just instantly push everything into one bag. I'd also ensure that the building aspect of the game isn't hindered by the realistic aspects, and that you are able to contain building materials in a way that makes sense but offers a easy approach. Stackable items is also a must.

      Will there be physical change to carrying certain items? Obviously holding your weapons will change but say having a spear in your bag, will it protrude? I think the biggest thing that your team will need to focus on is ensuring that its practical and doesn't bog the user down. Having them stand still and sort out their bag is tiresome and can be detrimental to the feel of the game. Certain items will probably have to be weightless as well or offer very small amounts of weight just to be sensible to the game.

      Can't wait for more info, you guys are doing great!

    18. Rik Spruitenburg on

      In a single player game, I'd agree with all these complaints about inventory. But in a MMO game these limitations can create all kinds of opportunities. Bring a friend on your hunting mission not because he's a good hunter but because he's a good leather-maker and can help carry all that loot.

    19. Missing avatar

      Flammablezeus on

      @Ian It would make sense to actually scout out areas before building somewhere. I imagine we'll be able to plant trees to renew wood as well.

      This game looks like it's going to hold our hand a lot less so it's only reasonable to expect that this won't play like Minecraft where we can take anything anywhere at a moments notice. Build somewhere near a cave and start building up a stockpile of resources before building. Things will just take a little more time and planning. If that's not for you then this game might not be up your alley.

    20. Nerd Kingdom Creator on

      @Devon, in the coming days, we're going to post an update specifically about our UI design, so hopefully some of your questions will be answered there.

    21. Devon Mullane on

      I admit, I'm a bit skeptical about how this will all come together. I like the ideas, and I'd love to see a meaningful game, but I'm sure I"m not the only one who thinks this sounds a bit like the universe project. I'll happily let you try. Unlike Darren below, I'm throwing money at you because I know what AAA games offer, and I'd love to see what economists and data junkies come up with. I hope the end result is great.

      But I can't help but feel the only reason this project hasn't already been funded is because it sounds so incredibly vague, yes still intensely complicated. I don't mean, "Hey, we don't want to spoil the good stuff!" I mean, how is any of this going to work? At some point they player is going to interact with the world. At that point it's no longer a vague concept, it's a dialogue box or buton press. Like the Universe Project, it all sounds impressive on paper. So I must imagine many people roll over the descriptions going, "Yeah, right." Perhaps a sort of 'roadmap' on how this stuff is planned on being implemented might help out. Or an article on HOW you interact with the world (do I press F? click on things? are there menus?)

      At least, I know that's what I'd be interested in hearing.

    22. Nerd Kingdom Creator on

      @Michael, that's exactly the kind of thinking we're hoping to encourage with an inventory design like this!

    23. Glitch2210 on

      I actually really like this idea, I find in bottomless inventorie games iI accumulate so much clutter that not only do I lose track of all the things I'm carring. Even most games with a limited weight u can Carrie end up being to big and so u lose a lot of that planning. I would love however to see more realistic methodes of transport if u wanna haul larger loads. from what iI have read already the companion system seems like a first step twords this kind of system. I remember playing dungeon siege back in the day and having a pack mule follow me with a lot of extra storage and I loved it. In a game like this I can easily see the ability to craft carts wagons or even a primitive rail system. This way u can act as a merchant or go off on a long expedition wial feeling more like a traveler. And on a more local level u could easily bring in the harvest with a cart and animal or bring stone blocks from ur quarie in the hills the short trip to ur forest base on a primitive rail system. This kind of thinking could even lead to a whole inferstructure system, carts would fair much better on level roads after all and even better on paved ones. sorry if i have been rambiling and if my phone has auto corrected to crazy things i just find the potential in this aproach really cool

    24. Missing avatar

      vinicius alves on

      @Darren, I think you're making a mistake, this game seems very promising to me, and their compromise with realism is a good thing in my opinion, you should consider other things that the game will offer too.

    25. Darren Steinheuer on

      As soon as realism starts being justified like this, things go downhill. You are taking a different direction than what I want. I'm outta here. Pledge canceled.

    26. Missing avatar

      Ian Tonat on

      This was mentioned briefly in another post, but I think it bears repeating. How does this inventory work with the building aspect of the game? On the one hand, a person can't realistically be expected to carry the materials necessary to build a house (or something larger) by themselves. On the other, it seems like bummer to have to walk back and forth for hours (or acquire a herd of pack animals) just to assemble a basic structure from resources that aren't located in the immediate area. How do you address this issue? Will larger scale constructions require teams, even towns, of people to haul and assemble the materials? Or have you come up with some sort of compromise between a realistic inventory and the ability of players to gather materials for and construct their own buildings?

    27. Missing avatar

      vinicius alves on

      to fix this wear/breaking situation of tools, you guys could make just one part of the tool breakable, so when this part breaks you could improvise some kind of assembling table to replace the part.
      (sorry for any grammar mistakes, english isn't my first language)

    28. Nerd Kingdom Creator on

      @Lorenzo, You are correct, we are certainly moving to make items have more meaning and significance for play. Not a lot of components that have just one use, but different materials used for different things, create a more realistic economy (hence, involvement of economists ;) ). A world without grey items, if you will. Over time, we will perfect these systems with play and feedback with you guys!

      (had a feeling this topic would spark some discussion :D, fun stuff!)


    29. Lars on

      As for encumbrance , it has only ever made games worse in my opinion.

    30. Lorenzo Gaetani on

      it's a good point in a game like this a realistic inventory. But i don't think inventory should be a true problem in a well designed game. today is a common problem cause many games have simply too much loot, ridicoulus overmuch loot to carry, But in a realistic game you if you need specific object you should just go after them and in any case found a small quantity of useful things, not tons of armors\weapons\materials and moreover they are just gold when you sell. If i go searching mushrooms how much is the possibility to come back home with a tonne of mooshrooms\armors\skins\plants\meat etc.????

    31. Nerd Kingdom Creator on

      @Phillip, TOTALLY love that thinking.. and your experience brings needed perspective to egg heads and desk nerds ;). Its also why we want to get people involved early to get this stuff sorted out. What we are introducing is a wire frame for this logic to be built upon.

      @Kaileigh, those wont exactly be block squares, just for reference for us to use internally, and for anyone else who wants to submit thoughts or ideas/images, it help define a guideline for how we look at things to make communication easier.

    32. Nerd Kingdom Creator on

      We will definitely have stacking of certain inventory items. As has been mentioned, the infographics in this update are only concepts to illustrate the basic principles we'll be using... not an actual in-game inventory screen, and it does not cover the complexity of weights and stacks that will be available in-game. Sorry for any confusion!


    33. Lars on

      Youre on the path to potentially making stuff super annoying. If you go for a realistic inventory system you also gotta have a fairly realistic Wear/brekaing situation for the tools, so you don't need to carry arond alot of spares.

      Being forced to run back to your house to get new tools, before you have completed your set task will be a totall moodkiller.

      In real life tools break way less often than is the trend in videogame. (we are still finding fairly intact anicent tools today)

      Does this mean there is no stacking? How will building work? picking up and placing materials? will we only be able to hold 46 blocks at once?

    34. Kaileigh Guglielmi on

      Its a good idea.. but while the "block squares make sense, say you are carying 14 sheets of paper because why not, You would stack them together and they would take up barely any space, they would be like 2 millimeters thick, so you know, would certain items be able to "stack" in your inventory? I'd hope so. Certain items should stack to a certain degree, like paper, you can stack up a bunch of paper, shove it in bag, and still fit in plenty of stuff, the paper might get a bit shmushed, but still. Granted, I don't know why you would be carrying around 14 sheets of paper, but you get the point.

    35. Phillip Wiley on

      Well after 23 years in the military, I can tell you that you can carry a lot of stuff you didn't think was possible on your back, and chest and legs etc.. and still have hands free to carry more stuff.

    36. Nerd Kingdom Creator on

      @Eric, yes, weight is something that is totally in place for this kind of system, which is where stacks come into play. And currency has its place as well.

      @Lemuel, this is only showing the consideration of the function, not the UI at all. This just shoes something to consider for how to properly work into your holding. Well before we have the official launch, we will have more smooth animation and prompts that would make you feel more like you are looking down into your bag, or carrying things. We are not as reliant on traditional paper doll systems. Apologies for the confusion.

    37. Lemuel Pew on

      This is great and all for what it is, but it doesn't sound like you actually address the Tetris problem, or the immersion/realism issue.

      You know what might be a fun exercise? Have your design team create real approximations of some various in-game items (spear, hatchet, bundle of sticks, a vest), get a backpack, and put it on the floor, have each designer pack the backpack.

      The one who gets the spear in the backpack probably deserves a cookie.

      I'm not saying make it hyper-realistic, it's your game, do it how it works. But to blow the innovation whistle when you're barely a half step from games like Diablo that came out in the mid-90's is testing this one's imagination.

    38. Bad_Syntax

      Very common and makes sense.
      HOWEVER, do something for all those stupid little items folks pickup. Being a getherer, and picking up a 4 leaf clover and having it suck up a slow, when a human at 1:1 could carry thousands of them easily, is crazy.
      So perhaps just have some "small item slots", like bags, that just use 1 slot, but its the weight on those that are important and not the "boxes".
      So think of it as belts around your waste, and give each stone/jewel/plant/etc, a volume or weight but 0 slots, meaning it can only go in those packs.
      Also, gold *really* should also have a weight to it as well, if you want to carry 1M gold pieces around, well, you are going to need a few horses. Once people play a while they *will* have that much money on them, and they won't have credit cards :)