Thoughts on Inventory

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Zombra
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Thoughts on Inventory

Post by Zombra » January 18th, 2017, 1:11 pm

In another thread, paul talked a bit about the level of management required and desired for an inventory system.
paultakeda wrote:Do I want to manage my inventory, moving crap around tiles just to make stuff fit? No. I don't care if it doesn't seem immersive, but frankly all I need are encumbrance ratings for every single item held against a character total. Locking items to characters but allow other inventory to be "pooled" is fine, too. But do I want to manage my squad's kit down to what helmet, chest, leg, arm, hand and foot bit they were, along with what they hold in their left and right hand, what they can carry on their back as a secondary? Yes.
I agree with all of this and felt the subject deserved a thread of its own.

My gold standard for a party inventory system is Wizardry 8:
Image
The "paper doll" shows slots available as appropriate to equip armor, weapons (including primary and secondary loadouts that could be quickly switched in combat), and accessories. Then there is a section for individual items carried. Although Wasteland 2 had fewer equip slots per character, which I am fine with, this is essentially how it worked.

The difference was in the "Party Items" area, an innovation of Wizardry 8. Items in this shared inventory were difficult to access during combat, requiring a full turn action (presumably to dig through backpacks and whatnot) to move to individual character inventory. The advantage (and wonderful creative idea) was that the encumbrance of these items was automatically load-balanced to whichever characters in the party had "free space" and the strength to carry more. (Note in the screenshot that the weak Fairy Mage is only carrying 9 pounds of stuff total, although the Party Items add up to more than that. She probably hasn't been given much of the party burden.) Quest items and loot that didn't require any specific person to carry them were simply packed up into shared inventory, and anyone who could handle it would automatically carry it. If the loot really piled up and started getting too heavy for the group as a whole, the load balancing would mean that all party members would take a light encumbrance penalty, depending on their individual load and carry weight. The penalties would get heavier and heavier for the group until items were sold or dumped. Of course if you preferred, you could assign heavy items to a certain character's individual inventory, encumbering him while avoiding the penalty for others.

This system seems ideal for a game like Wasteland 2 or 3 in which there is a ton of junk loot. It was very nice in Wasteland 2 how loot could be auto-distributed on acquisition, and I certainly advocate the return of that system too, but having a shared item pool as well would make things even easier.

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Unrelated to the Party Items idea: equip slots. This seems like a good place to reiterate my very simple idea for displaying armor and clothing in the game.

I suggest five body equip slots, exactly like in Wasteland 2: Cosmetic Head, Cosmetic Torso, Cosmetic Legs, Armor, Accessory.

Equipped Armor will appear on the character model UNLESS items are equipped in the Cosmetic slots. Cosmetic items will override Armor models. A player who wants to see his equipped Armor can simply not equip Cosmetic items.

So if a character equips Power Armor and no Cosmetic items, his character model will show as full Power Armor.

A character that equips Power Armor and a Cosmetic Head item, say a cowboy hat, will show as a guy in Power Armor but with his helmet taken off and wearing a cowboy hat instead.

A character that equips Power Armor and three Cosmetic items, say a cowboy hat, buckskin vest, and jeans, will show in game simply as a guy with a cowboy hat, buckskin vest, and jeans. He will receive the mechanical benefits of the Power Armor without having to sacrifice the look of his character for doing so.

Anyone who dislikes the unrealism of this can simply not use the Cosmetic slots. Everyone wins.
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Re: Thoughts on Inventory

Post by SagaDC » January 18th, 2017, 6:31 pm

I don't mind if they want to bring back cosmetic clothing slots, so the player can better control what their characters look like. But if they're going to go that route, then this time they really need to remember to include clothing vendors in the game.

There were dozens, maybe even hundreds, of cosmetic clothing items in Wasteland 2 - and only about two merchants who sold any of it. You generally just had to cross your fingers and hope that a random loot crate or enemy might drop something you would want to wear, and certain clothing items could only be obtained by killing friendly or non-hostile NPCs (and then also hoping for a random clothing drop).

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Re: Thoughts on Inventory

Post by sear » January 18th, 2017, 6:54 pm

Thanks for the suggestions and ideas!

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Re: Thoughts on Inventory

Post by Woolfe » January 18th, 2017, 9:41 pm

I agree with both Paul and Zombra.

General inventory, a list is fine, I don't want to stuff around with inventory tetris. BUT it needs to also be easy to trade between characters and a pool or something.

As for equipped gear, the wizardy look is common and works well. I too hope for cosmetic gear.
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Re: Thoughts on Inventory

Post by SagaDC » January 18th, 2017, 11:31 pm

I have to imagine that vehicles will end up playing into the inventory system in some way, even if it's just to provide a mobile container for the player to store excess items in. Perhaps that will end up doubling as the pooled "party inventory", beyond any items that are being worn or carried by specific rangers.

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Re: Thoughts on Inventory

Post by Grohal » January 18th, 2017, 11:49 pm

SagaDC wrote:I have to imagine that vehicles will end up playing into the inventory system in some way, even if it's just to provide a mobile container for the player to store excess items in. Perhaps that will end up doubling as the pooled "party inventory", beyond any items that are being worn or carried by specific rangers.
So like the lockbox in Wasteland 2, only mobile and always at hand?
I like that idea - no more nasty going back to the cache if you find out you need those rocketlaunchers just now. :)
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Re: Thoughts on Inventory

Post by paultakeda » January 19th, 2017, 10:50 am

I'm probably one of the few who couldn't care less about the cosmetic slots. 8-)

But the rest of it, yep. The idea of a mobile stash is interesting. I don't think it should count as part of a party pool. However, it's a nice idea for a vehicle to have its own stash space so it's with you when you want it. It even may be interesting to have the vehicle in the combat zone so characters can spend APs opening the trunk to fish out the launcher.

One thing to consider regarding pooled inventory:let's say a squad of four has a carrying capacity as follows: 10, 40, 40, 60. This gives them 150 as a max. I do not put this as pounds or anything because I view encumbrance as meaning both weight and volume (a knife would be small and light and have a value of 1 while a flashlight, which is the same size but weighs more, would be 2 and a circuit board pulled from a Scorpitron is light but is the size of an ATX board, giving it a value of 2 as well).

Now each character is carrying their own weapons kit and some personal items, say: 6, 8, 12, 20. That reduces the pooled capacity to 4, 32, 28, 40, total 104. When pooling items into this total, should the system care about making sure these four slots never exceed their max or should it simplistically assume the total number as the only one that counts? One could make an argument for either, the former being more realistic (but then who says a launcher can't be carried by two people when traveling so it's not always realistic to make the pool discrete) and the latter being dead simple to implement and forgiving of players who horde.

As to equip slots, the WL2 set up is fine, but I would enjoy having it be ridiculously detailed:
Head
Face (gas mask, sunglasses, night vision goggles, etc. to enhance perception, accuracty, etc. but come with penalties if used in the wrong environment)
Torso
2 x Shoulder
2 x Arm
Hands (wearable slot, for gloves and the like, a separate pair of hand slots would be for weapon/tool grasped)
Legs
Feet

The face slot could also just be a generic accessory slot for anything worn on the face or across a chest or arm or leg, too, but then one could go nuts and have an entire slot system for accessories on each body part.

Like I said, this would please me, but how it was in WL2 works just fine.

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Re: Thoughts on Inventory

Post by Zombra » January 19th, 2017, 11:04 am

paultakeda wrote:When pooling items into [Party Inventory], should the system care about making sure [individual enc values] never exceed their max or should it simplistically assume the total number as the only one that counts? One could make an argument for either, the former being more realistic (but then who says a launcher can't be carried by two people when traveling so it's not always realistic to make the pool discrete) and the latter being dead simple to implement and forgiving of players who horde.
I think it's fine either way, but probably simpler to just make it one big total. In Wizardry 8, somebody had to carry the 50 pound silver nugget, but all it really meant was that the smaller items like potions and extra weapons got automatically shifted over to other characters. Since this is all happening "under the hood" so to speak, I don't see it having enough impact on the player experience to matter.
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Re: Thoughts on Inventory

Post by Gizmo » February 15th, 2017, 5:35 pm

Zombra wrote:The difference was in the "Party Items" area, an innovation of Wizardry 8. Items in this shared inventory were difficult to access during combat, requiring a full turn action (presumably to dig through backpacks and whatnot) to move to individual character inventory. The advantage (and wonderful creative idea) was that the encumbrance of these items was automatically load-balanced to whichever characters in the party had "free space" and the strength to carry more.
I always liked this. I first saw it in the Bard's Tale and the SSI gold-box games, though it was a feature in the merchant stores, where they could pool their money and redistribute (it by weight in GB) back to the party, members. This extends it to everything but personal items, and has a reasonable cost for the convenience. 8-)

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Re: Thoughts on Inventory

Post by Zombra » February 15th, 2017, 5:44 pm

I miss games where you had to carry your money. Scrap should have weight in Wasteland 3. :pipedream: Image
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Re: Thoughts on Inventory

Post by Gizmo » February 15th, 2017, 6:40 pm

Zombra wrote:I miss games where you had to carry your money. Scrap should have weight in Wasteland 3. :pipedream: Image
There was an encounter in 'Curse of the Azure Bonds', that was either a bug, or devious as hell... IRRC, you could find this Salamander cave (that burned from high temps), with an absurd fortune in coins, but it very difficult to haul it away, because your PCs would [presumably] be fully encumbered with sacks upon sacks of coin, and reduced to three footsteps [from 12] in combat; and combat happened a lot. :lol:

It was also the case that the Party could sell off all their loot, and not be strong enough to leave with all of the money. :o

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Re: Thoughts on Inventory

Post by Grohal » February 16th, 2017, 2:20 am

Zombra wrote:I miss games where you had to carry your money. Scrap should have weight in Wasteland 3. :pipedream: Image
I agree, as long as I have a possibility to store spare money/scrap.

Speaking of scrap - I never understood why they moved from $ (Wasteland) to scrap.
I view americans as "very proud of their country"-people who would stick with their old currency even if living on burned out ruins. :mrgreen:
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Re: Thoughts on Inventory

Post by Drool » February 16th, 2017, 10:38 pm

Grohal wrote:Speaking of scrap - I never understood why they moved from $ (Wasteland) to scrap.
Amen.
Zombra wrote:I miss games where you had to carry your money.
SSI did it okay by giving it weight, but Diablo was just a disaster.
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Re: Thoughts on Inventory

Post by Jozape » February 17th, 2017, 3:41 am

I like the cosmetic slot idea. I want to add that I would like to add cosmetics in these slots to the armor my characters are wearing. I would like to see the armor, but I would also like to see the armor personalized. Put a logo here, a scratch there, some barbed wire elsewhere...
SagaDC wrote:I have to imagine that vehicles will end up playing into the inventory system in some way, even if it's just to provide a mobile container for the player to store excess items in. Perhaps that will end up doubling as the pooled "party inventory", beyond any items that are being worn or carried by specific rangers.
I like this version of a "shared" inventory. I'm not sure if I'm understanding Zombra's description of it, but it sounds like it's there merely for the player's convenience which isn't always a bad thing. But an in-game realization is preferable to me.
Grohal wrote:
SagaDC wrote:I have to imagine that vehicles will end up playing into the inventory system in some way, even if it's just to provide a mobile container for the player to store excess items in. Perhaps that will end up doubling as the pooled "party inventory", beyond any items that are being worn or carried by specific rangers.
So like the lockbox in Wasteland 2, only mobile and always at hand?
I like that idea - no more nasty going back to the cache if you find out you need those rocketlaunchers just now. :)
I haven't bothered using the Ranger cache in Wasteland 2 yet for similar reasons. The cache doesn't seem worth the trouble because you have to trek across the map to access it. Making it mobile would actually give both me and my characters an incentive to use it.
Last edited by Jozape on February 17th, 2017, 3:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

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