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An explaination of why we don't want a crafting system in Boundless, and a description of what we will use instead.
Posted by Buttergoose on Aug 12th, 2012
Survival, exploration and discovery has always been central to Boundless from the beginning. The last 10 years however, crafting seems to have made its way to most RPGs for some reason. We do realise that a crafting system would be expected from a game such as Boundless, but on the other hand, this project is all about breaking design rules and making something unique.
Some of my favorite games are very crafting-intense, but I do see many problems with crafting in games. for example, my inventory always ends up stuffed with crafting materials in most crafting games, and I spend more time reorganizing my inventory than playing the actual game. The only way to solve this is to alt+tab out of the game and visit a Wiki-page every time you find a new crafting material to see if it's useful to you or not.
With that said, I do think it's possible to make a crafting system that's intuitive and both easy and fun to use. Many games have succeeded with that. However, we feel crafting is not, and should not be part of what's unique about Boundless. We will not have a crafting system since we feel that would take a lot of focus away from the core gameplay features (survive, explore, discover) instead of reinforcing them.
Instead of a crafting system, all character progression will be through exploration and discovery. Instead of crafting a weapon, you will find one in the temple ruins of an old civilization. If you want a new lamp, you will have to catch a biolumniscient animal and hang it above the entrance of your home. As mentioned before, we want discovery to be the basis of our progression system, so to cross a river, you won't have to run around gathering the materials or blueprints for a ship. Instead, you might notice that some natives are using mushroom caps as rafts, and do the same yourself. Or you might find a herb that lets you levitate over the water temporarily.
In short, we want hardcore sandbox survival & exploration to be our game's hook, and we want to make that hook as sharp as possible.