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Author Topic: Searching for stuff  (Read 4569 times)
zenbitz
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« on: November 11, 2009, 01:06:16 AM »

This is an idea I had while contemplating the problem of having "dropped object graphics" for every type of object in the game.  Further compounded by what to do when there was >1 "thing" in an area.

"Searching the ruins" is to me, a big part of exploring the PA world, and something that I thought was done very poorly in FO.    You should be able to go to an area, and spend time and effort to find stuff in the rubble that is useful.  And not by pixel hunting either, which is dumb (especially when objects get a halo)

I started by considering a "search" mechanic where you could "box" select an area on the screen to "search for stuff" (ideal meaning to look through ruins for useful stuff).  The GUI would then pop up, say, 3 "timings" for quick search, broad search, deep search - depending on how long you were willing to poke around you would be more likely to find more well hidden stuff.

The implication...
WHat if when you dropped stuff, it DIDN'T appear on the map at all.  You had to look for with a search skill.  Of course, a quick search would find stuff that was just dropped really fast... but this perhaps this is a superior than little "loot" graphics piled up.

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« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2009, 11:31:14 AM »

This is how I look for it:

Ther are some extreme types of games:

Visual novels or certain IF games - when you're spectator and act only when key moves are to be made (there is even "single key interface" type of games, even for iPods, when you hear the story and press it 2x to choose 2-nd thing, 3 when 3-rd and its just about a dozen of such intermissions in game).

Some nasty RPGs (some Ultimas, I believe) when you have to practice, chopping wood for several hours to train yourself. Or some paper RPGs when you calculate the force of reaction (googl translate says "recoil force") when shooting with bow and arrows.

Some not-so-nasty games where your party acts on their own (Dwarf Fortress) and you just tell them to do different sorts of tasks like digging, cleaning or making jewelery and have a sleep in their own bed - and they do this, but they will search for food or dry barrels with booze on their own as well.

And the balanced example- where you can automate all sorts of things, like searching 50 times in a row or go into a particular location on the map and stop if there is a monster in the way.

In my dreams i see the game with players effort balanced to have him feel he actually controls his character (or party) directly, and not being bored with repetitive or very time-taking things to do.

So I'm very happy with the idea of having "search this area" option or "highlight items" button.

And just an idea:
Maybe limit items you can find this way with checking perception or line of sight somehow, not just drawing the bounding box?

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Gaspard
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« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2009, 12:17:55 PM »

If, by pressing a button, you get a looting-like screen which displays the items you just see lying about in plain view, then I wouldn't be against it.
But if every time you drop something and then, for picking it up, have to go through a mini-game of hide-and-seek I guess I'd get annoyed, heh.

Would the found items be location-specific, still ? So if you drop a rock and a stick in front of the house, then walk behind the house and trigger search, cause you maybe magically forgot whether you dropped a rock and a stick or two rocks, will you still see it ? And if you then press 'get it' or an equivalent, will the character walk to a specific square to get it ?
Or, if you hover your mouse over certain items in the search/loot screen, do the squares they're in get highlighted ?
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Kaydeth
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« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2009, 02:21:03 PM »

I think there need to be some sort of instant visual indication that items are present. Otherwise the search button just becomes an annoying game mechanic that morphs into a compulsive reflex. It's sort of like old console RPGs that let you search dressers and cabinets. I ALWAYS had to do it because I didn't want to miss anything but it just added so much down time when I came across a new town. I almost dreaded it.

Some games use a simple glowing spec.
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Gaspard
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« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2009, 02:57:22 PM »

some games let you highlight items you can interact with, or make them glow.
so when you hit TAB, as an example, then the squares with the obvious items start to glow + all the exits and objects and gadgetry you can manipulate. when you do a throrough search, additional squares would glow with a different kind of colour
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zenbitz
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« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2009, 02:49:09 AM »

well, I said it was kind of nutty trying to merge "pick up dropped stuff" with ACTUAL searching.
I am not totally certain it's more annoying to click and drag than it is to stare at a screen or mouse about until something glows.    Maybe the "default" search would be to "search a tile" so, if you drop something in front of the house (tile) you just clicked on the tile to do an "instant" search (which finds all the stuff lying there).

"ACTUAL" searching would be an activity - like hunting or fighting or talking...  You would not expect to find stuff in well traveled areas (unless, of course, you killed someone or dropped something there), it's for "unexplored areas, junk piles, ruins, etc.

"Searching" when you are in someone's house is called "cat burglary" and might be a reasonable pastime, but don't expect to do it and get away with it.
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