The Art of Crafting
Let’s discuss crafting in TUG and what that means in terms of working on and off a grid. Most pattern-designed crafting systems work on some form of grid, allowing players to shape resources in a recognizable pattern for the object they are attempting to craft. With TUG, we wanted to take this process a step further and start to move off of the grid.
Say you wanted to craft a stone spear. In the normal grid crafting approach, we would probably lay a series of stones on the grid in the shape of an arrow, or a diamond, and then complete the pattern with appropriate pieces of wood in the shape of the shaft. In TUG, we break this system down into components. For the spear head, we would take a stone resource and shape it on a stone anvil through a process of knapping. The spear shaft would also be shaped and formed from a singular piece of wood worked at a woodworking table.
With these separate components, the final assembly would take place in an assembly workspace, where the player will complete the final spear weapon. Even in this example, items placed on a work surface still align to a sort of grid, but what we are trying to achieve is making the idea of crafting closer to actual processes found in real life where components are worked on separately before being assembled into the final product. All of this leads up to two design principles that we have previously talked about: modularity in weapons, and optional complexity for systems.
By turning crafting into more of a modular process, we allow for several variations amongs our recipes. With the example above, either the spear head or the spear shaft can easily be assembled with different components on the final assembly table to form variations of spears.
The other ability to this component-based creation is the amount of complexity that can be added to the crafting of these individual components. Experimenting with additional resources added to the crafting of the spear head can produce variations of that modular piece. Finding the perfect blend of resources used in the creation of a modular piece is part of the reward of optional complexity; those who experiment and refine their process will be rewarded with a final product that may have unique effects or increased durability.
Another feature of the multiple workstation design is the ability to customize actions that a player performs at a workstation. In the anvil example from above, the player would be able to use a hammer to work materials, while at the wood working table, the player uses a chisel to shape and carve wood. These tools and actions become part of the workbench. Approaching the in-game model of these tables, the player notices what tools are present and recognizes what actions are available at that workstation.
More advanced tables offer not only more room to create larger crafts, but also increase the functions available at those stations. A more advanced anvil used to work metals might now offer a pair of tongs for holding the blade being worked on as well as a barrel full of water used to cool the metal in between hammering sessions. As the players crafting abilities and options increase, so do the complexity of the tables where the player works.