Crafting animation

Crafting usually means standing in one place and looking at a the same thing in front of your feet.
My short but complex question; What would you like to see as a Crafting animation in Pantheon? (I'm aiming at character animation or crafting station animation)
There are three option here:
1) No animation pls, I just want to click -craft- collect.
2) I'm ok with my character making gestures that mimic whatever craft I'm using at that specific crafting station. No other fancy animations are needed.
3) Both please. I like to see my character gesture appropriatly while crafting and I like to see the craft station working/activating while I'm crafting as well.

I'll give an example. I start working on a woodworking table: My character is using a saw and a panel in a sawing motion and the saw on the woodworking table is moving as well, with at the pace of my arms the sound of building materials can be heard.
The following links are example of tailoring and provisioning.

Personally I enjoy it so much, I sometimes just press F10 (hides all keys/hotbars) and look at my toons crafting. It's one of the things that is a true must have for me to enjoy crafting in any game.

So what are your suggestions or what would you like or definately not like to see while you're crafting in Pantheon?
 

Nephele

Administrator
Staff member
I think for me, I'd like to see both the character and the crafting station animate in some way, but only when and how it makes sense. One of the things that always annoyed me about EQ2's woodworking table (as an example) is that you'd see the saws and such moving on their own, as if by magic, while your character was hunched over a different portion of the table doing his thing. That's a nitpick, of course, but ideally I wouldn't want to see something moving on that table unless my character was actually touching it.
 
That's a nitpick, of course, but ideally I wouldn't want to see something moving on that table unless my character was actually touching it.
I understand when you're saying a workstation doesn't have to be magically moving around while crafting. However, when the only things that are moving, are the things that a player is touching, wouldn't that make the work station itself somewhat none-active? I can see how a fire in a forge could be burning still or perhaps some mechanical wheels still turning in between the players movement. Question here is would it be fun/ entertaining to watch?
Again, I see where you're aiming at. Could it be that taking the animations as strict as you suggest would it make it more or less fun for players to craft?
Can you can give an example of a loom or a jeweler's work station?
 

Nephele

Administrator
Staff member
So let's try to break it down by some common types of crafting stations.

Forge: Totally makes sense to have a fire burning, coals smoldering, without the interaction of the crafter. After all those things happen on their own in the real world. But that bellows attached to the forge? It should only move when the crafter reaches out and moves it.

Loom: A medieval loom (which is what most fantasy games pattern theirs after) is hand-powered. Meaning, the person using it still needed to reach out and touch something to make it do its thing. It didn't just sit there and clack away on its own. A skilled weaver of course could get one going pretty fast, but they still had to manipulate it to make it move. Likewise, a spinning wheel was spun by hand. It wasn't a flywheel where you just set it in motion and it went, but rather you had to move it deliberately.

Jeweler's Desk: In reality, a jeweler's desk has two functions. Gemcutting and finishing. So there's typically a miniature forge with a small anvil (jeweler's anvil) and some precision tools for the very subtle metal manipulations involved in creating the metal portions of jewelry and setting gemstones. Obviously these are all powered by hand, just like a blacksmith's forge would be. For gemcutting itself, a very small/precise set of tools are used under a magnifying glass. There's no moving parts to speak of - the jewelery positions the gemstone under the magnifying glass, then picks up their tools and does the cutting and polishing. In this case, there's very little station animation that should happen other than the crafter using their tools.

Alchemy Lab: Since alchemy is essentially a take on chemistry, it's natural to expect a variety of bottles, beakers, and distillers, as well as a variety of bowls and measuring devices. From an animation perspective, you could have various bubbling fluids and concoctions that would be always doing their thing, but the actual process of crafting is, again, all powered by hand - the alchemist picking up things, stirring them, combining them, measuring them, and so on.

I'm not saying that crafting stations shouldn't look awesome and that they can't have some ambient animations (that make sense). But I don't think we need to go with the Disney's Fantasia style of crafting where the tools magically do work themselves even with no one touching them.
 
So let's try to break it down by some common types of crafting stations.

Loom: A medieval loom (which is what most fantasy games pattern theirs after) is hand-powered. Meaning, the person using it still needed to reach out and touch something to make it do its thing. It didn't just sit there and clack away on its own. A skilled weaver of course could get one going pretty fast, but they still had to manipulate it to make it move. Likewise, a spinning wheel was spun by hand. It wasn't a flywheel where you just set it in motion and it went, but rather you had to move it deliberately.

Jeweler's Desk: In reality, a jeweler's desk has two functions. Gemcutting and finishing. So there's typically a miniature forge with a small anvil (jeweler's anvil) and some precision tools for the very subtle metal manipulations involved in creating the metal portions of jewelry and setting gemstones. Obviously these are all powered by hand, just like a blacksmith's forge would be. For gemcutting itself, a very small/precise set of tools are used under a magnifying glass. There's no moving parts to speak of - the jewelery positions the gemstone under the magnifying glass, then picks up their tools and does the cutting and polishing. In this case, there's very little station animation that should happen other than the crafter using their tools.

I'm not saying that crafting stations shouldn't look awesome and that they can't have some ambient animations (that make sense). But I don't think we need to go with the Disney's Fantasia style of crafting where the tools magically do work themselves even with no one touching them.
Good examples there! Movement without touching is a way of approaching the animation aspect of it. Perhaps we're not looking broad enough here. I like how you elaborated on the spinning wheel and such. I will try and give some general examples on what could be seen as animations.
Candles shimmering by the soft breeze in the room, gemstones reflecting light from the room or lighting element placed on the station, threads of fibre that are hung up near or on the station that are dangling gently. The light inside an oven or coming from underneath the firepits flickering. Hourglasses dripping sand, a clock ticking, a quiver tilting back and forward because it caught the slighest of airmovement. Ropes or other working tools that are hung up somewhere, parchments on tables moving slightly. Or perhaps just some craft specific ornaments could be a good addition to the station's animation. So it's not per se crafting, but some stuff around the station that is specifically for that trade that moves about. (mice running around the bottom of a furnace, a bowl of water filled with glistening gemstones or raw food, a pot with herbs and some flies hovering around it, etc.)

@Nephele What would you in fact like to see ingame? Any other suggestions?
 

Nephele

Administrator
Staff member
I tend to think of all the stuff you mentioned as "ambient animations - and that's stuff I'd like to see regardless of whether we're talking about a crafting station or any other place where it makes sense. So if that's what you're after, you and I are in alignment :)
 
Well, anything to make the crafting experience more fun to watch and participate in. So it can be ambient or directly related to the craftingproces really.
I'm just picking my brain and hopefully that of others to get as many things out there that could make crafting and standing at the workstations fun to watch and as enticing to the point that players WANT to craft and continue doing so.

Edit: @Nephele I just wanted to add, yes the foot of the spinning wheel was added later then mediëval times. However there were already other ways to spin the wheel, such as rotating other smaller wheels. And ofc it will depend what the dev's will do with it I guess.
 
Another suggestion for animation during crafting is the use of character voice.

In several mmo's you can choose your own voice-sound.
That is most commonly heard during combat or when experiencing falling damage.

How about voicing out when you're chopping wood and a different sound when you're crouching to harvest some Jute?

In ESO for example, your character can make enchanting runes (glyphs). When you do that, your character actually speaks/translates the "words" that are written on the runes (see video below at 10.14). And that is a really nice experience.
Miss Bizz ESO Enchanting Guide - Extended - How to Make Glyphs in Elder Scrolls Online

If it's possible during combat, why not design it so that crafters speak during crafting.
I'm not saying full sentences, but short words or sighs or puffs..
If you get what I'm saying.

So, sound could be an animation as wel. Similar to how we squeek if we swing a sword, get hit or even die.

What do you think? Could that work?
 
Hi, new here.
I think the environment crafting creates is important and that the animations should be indicative of it. I want to induce from the clang of hammers, rising smoke, and players donning working clothes that the town is directly supported by a nearby abundance of natural resources.

Final Fantasy 14 had workstations popup wherever the player chose to begin crafting, and required of them to wear the craft's appropriate clothing. Here's a video of it. FFXIV - 1.0 Class/Job Animations

In terms of animations, I think I am fine with, for example, blacksmiths repeating the same hammer swing animation again and again as long as there's an ambiance to it. The ambiance is my priority.
 
Hi, new here.
I think the environment crafting creates is important and that the animations should be indicative of it. I want to induce from the clang of hammers, rising smoke, and players donning working clothes that the town is directly supported by a nearby abundance of natural resources.

Final Fantasy 14 had workstations popup wherever the player chose to begin crafting, and required of them to wear the craft's appropriate clothing. Here's a video of it. FFXIV - 1.0 Class/Job Animations
I like what you're suggesting here. That players that walk into a city, could see if other players are using the forge or if they can hear the sawmills being used. I don't know how heavy that would be to design though.

Relating to your video link. I'm not sure I like magically appearing forges and craftingstands tbh. But my returning question to you would be; Would you like to see those personal crafting station being visible to all players or just by the one crafting? Again this could impact how the design would need to be. Perhaps it will take a lot more "energy/memory" to zone into/run through a zone where one could see dozens of players crafting at their own stations. Purhaps it could turn laggy at some point?

And craft appropriate outfits...yes please !
It is a must? Not really, but perhaps those 'sets' could boost those specific crafts or skills?
 
...But my returning question to you would be; Would you like to see those personal crafting station being visible to all players or just by the one crafting?...
I definitely want to see the effects of others engaged in crafting. I think it is of utmost importance that players see each other engaged with the game's content. And I agree that I'd prefer the crafting station to be more integrated with the environment than just appearing out of thin air. And yes, crafting outfits would just be a nice addition. For immersion's sake.

I am imagining a spectrum of crafting situations. On one extreme is Skyrim's style of blacksmithing where the player is locked into a specific location, by themselves, and runs through the same animation loop again and again. On the other end of the spectrum is FF XVI's crafting (same video as before) where a crafting station is placed wherever they desire and their animations are directly representative of their real time crafting actions.

The benefit of Skyrim's approach is that the character directly couples with the environment. The cost is that they only see themselves, or that you place an arbitrary limit on the amount of players that can access it at once due to space constraints.

The benefit of FF XIV's is that crafting can happen anywhere and host an arbitrarily large amount of players engaged at once. The cost is that they don't well integrate with any predisposed environmental objects.

I think my taste lies somewhere in the middle, somewhere along that spectrum.

And thanks @Barin999 for being so welcoming. I am trying to find some Pantheon communities to interact with and belong to prior to launch/alpha/beta to make my experience as good as can be. Hopefully I can contribute to other's experiences as well. :)
 
I definitely want to see the effects of others engaged in crafting. I think it is of utmost importance that players see each other engaged with the game's content. And I agree that I'd prefer the crafting station to be more integrated with the environment than just appearing out of thin air. And yes, crafting outfits would just be a nice addition. For immersion's sake.

I am imagining a spectrum of crafting situations. On one extreme is Skyrim's style of blacksmithing where the player is locked into a specific location, by themselves, and runs through the same animation loop again and again. On the other end of the spectrum is FF XVI's crafting (same video as before) where a crafting station is placed wherever they desire and their animations are directly representative of their real time crafting actions.
I've enjoyed Skyrim's crafting "cutscenes" in the game. I've played Skyrim and I'm not sure if that's because it was primarely aimed as console game or not, but I doubt many pc gamers are looking forward to a lot of cutscene crafting.
I still think they look nice and perhaps indeed there is a option to find middle ground here.
From what I gather, many pc-gamers hope to actually manipulate crafting stations or see a fast response to their interaction with the environment, in this case crafting stations. (see the mini-game thread on this forum).

The risk of being able to craft at any location is that the actual fix stations will not be used. And therefore parts of the world or city may be not used as intended. One might loose a chance for player interaction or to experience that there are more players around. As with fix stations, you'll have a higher chance of encountering other players at that station. Which is a good feeling and I'ld think, the dev's want to stimulate that.
 
The risk of being able to craft at any location is that the actual fix stations will not be used. And therefore parts of the world or city may be not used as intended. One might loose a chance for player interaction or to experience that there are more players around. As with fix stations, you'll have a higher chance of encountering other players at that station. Which is a good feeling and I'ld think, the dev's want to stimulate that.
I totally resonate with that Barin. It reminds me of economic agglomeration: when firms locate near each other to cut costs, share knowledge, etc. I wonder if crafters should be focused to crafting locations because of necessity or bonuses/incentives?

Something tangent though a problem I want to bring up, something that bugged me about WoW is how multiple dwarves could be huddled around an anvil, each swinging their hammer down and missing the target by a few yards. Honestly, wasn't a big issue to me, but it was something I noticed every time I walked by a crafting station.
 

Nephele

Administrator
Staff member
I don't like the problem of seeing hordes of crafters all bunched up around crafting stations either. It breaks immersion just as badly as not having crafting stations does. I see this in lots of games and it's annoying. That said, I'm not sure that breaking people away from crafting stations is the right answer. Realistically, I'd rather have crafting stations and only a maximum of three characters (or whatever seemed appropriate) could use the stations at any given time. This gives more incentive to players to spread out to additional crafting stations in the area, or even to move to other areas altogether. It also (if/when housing is added to the game in the way that I hope it is) helps incentivize the growth of housing areas.

Examples:
- In the Builder's Square of Thronefast, there are 6 forges and 4 smelters, supporting up to 18 and 12 people working each station.
- Outside Thronefast in a nearby village, there's an additional forge and smelter.
- In the next town over, in Avendyr's Pass, there are two additional forges and smelters.
- In the housing area on the other side of the pass, players can build a community crafting hall that starts with a single forge and smelter, but can be upgraded to include more (as well as more of other crafting stations).
- Very rich players might purchase a private forge and smelter for their personal house.

Here's an additional idea: To further ease bottlenecks in popular areas (like the Builder's Square of Thronefast), introduce the concept of fatigue when using a crafting station. Fatigue is essentially a throttle on crafting, and it's linked to the crafting station you're using. So, if you're smelting metal, and you smelt, say, 40 bars, you get fatigued and won't be able to smelt any more for a bit. You could, of course, take your bars over to the forge and make things out of them though, since that's a different activity.
 
@dylan_landry Yes, that bugs me out as wel, when I see npc failing in their routine animations. I hope Pantheon really takes their time on that and makes it all look refined. So that we don't see npc half dissappearing into a desk or work station.

@Nephele Interesting reply there. If I can think about it a bit longer, I might get some alternatives for you there.
Too many people using a crafting station at one time, can indeed get you out of the immersion. I would think those are champagne problems for the devs though.
Still it's a valid point. How it can be prevented depends on various factors.
For one, how easy is it to craft and how necessary is it for a player to craft or become a crafter?
If Pantheon is staying true to what they are stating, crafting will take up a considerable amount of time and investement. Not every player will choose to devote their time in such a way. So based on that, one might see fewer crafters around then in other mmo's. And especially at the same time.
Demand and supply in one location… if you're in new york, you're not going to set up a singular coffee bar. Same goes for Thronefast. I really hope they instal crafting squares and markets. So that one has to walk from one specific artisanal-market to another for different craft stations. In case they don't, they'll want to provide multiple crafting stations all across Thronefast. It might be difficult to estimate how many players will stay in the city or frequently use the facilities there. Only the dev's know how they want to see their city oriented and spaced out.
Other smaller settlements might provide more stations and this could take of some pressure from the stations in the major hubs. Then again, it's not easy to divert people away from their instincts. It's a sociological thing, I guess. You can place those stations there, but if the 'buzz' is in the major city, people will be drawn to that in some way or another. The crafting stations in other nearby townships might not be used at all or less efficiently.

If you space out the npc's and the craftstations and other commodities in a large city, I think, it would go a long away already. Now what you see in wow for example; actual hotspots of npc, questgivers, vendors, housing, crafting all stashed up next or very near to each other. One quickly, find himself looking over the shoulder of the player before you, trying to target somethiing in the environment.
Imagine, that everything is just more spaced out..for example: quest givers, and craft stations are 30-60 seconds distance from one another. Stationed in an area that provides space for 20 players to easely stand around each other.
Freeport or Qeynos Harbor in eq2 is a good example of spacing out a major city. Then again, stray too far and you'll end up with a city where people actually get lost in and will avoid going there.
 
@Nephele I like your bottleneck suggestion, as long as it doesn't come across too abrupt and it actually takes stamina to craft. If it's just a number of craft sequence limitations, it wouldn't feel good on me. I'll get frustrated. It might become a major downside to play the game, as I can't play the way I want to, or as long as I want to. Now, if crafting actually takes stamina during crafting, my character might feel depleted after a certain amount of consecutive crafts. And it can only replenish when I'm not interacting with the station (similar to the requirement that one must not be fighting a mob in order to regain health). At worst that would mean, you'll see people standing near the station but not all would be crafting at the same time. That could be part of the solution.

The placement of the stations themselves could help out. Many players will walk up close to or actually inside a work station, stand there and craft. Even though they would be able to interact with that station from 2 (ingame) meters/feet away.

Several options here, not all good;
1) The crafting window pops up as soon as you walk near and have clicked the station.
2) Something is obstructing the player to walk too close or inside the station.
3) Walking too close to the workingstation will automatically bump you back to a certain distance.
4) When trying to interact with the station, the game places you into a fixed position at a fix distance. You can not move your legs while crafting.
5) With each player interacting with the station, the game automatically spreads out the players around the station. So you might end up at a different location near the station then the spot where you approached.
6) The station has in fact a limit to the amount of players being able to interact with the station at the same time.
7) Instanced areas where X-amount of players can walk into and craft at the same time.
8) NPC - Guards/Wardens 'control' the amount of players that walk into an open world area, which happens to have crafting stations. So as, this seems like a soft blockade, but it's still open world, not instanced. Here, it's not the station itself that limits the amount of players interacting with it, it's the npc's around it "that do the counting". So it's smoother and could make sense. You interact with the npc: I'ld like to craft now. And the npc allows you passage or not, depending on the number of players already inside/behind him. Being idle for too long will get you placed outside that area.
9) Enlisting. You are able to queue up for wanting to work the craft station. You need to remain near the station, proximity. As you interact with the station, you can either start straight away, or if too many players are active, you get the queue yourself when another player leaves the station.

I'ld feel fine with option 8. Again, we're talking about situations where so many players want to craft at the same time. Swarming the place as it were. And I've not put a number on the number of available work station at a certain location in the major city.
 
I can only imagine players becoming aggravated when they feel the game has artificially limited their crafting, such as by introducing crafting area player capacities or a fatigue system. Of course, any kind of limitation is artificial, it's a game, but there are methods that feel more natural. Such as simply making crafting resources less common. There will be less crafting activity, and then less crowding, as crafting resources become more rare.

Now, I don't think avoiding the problem of players clipping into one another is a good enough reason to restrict the amount of players using a crafting station at one time. Eh.. Like @Nephele wrote, if there was enough stations, like there was an entire crafting part of the city per-trade, then I'd enjoy that. If there weren't enough stations, and I couldn't craft because I was on at a busy time, I wouldn't enjoy that.
 
I can only imagine players becoming aggravated when they feel the game has artificially limited their crafting, such as by introducing crafting area player capacities or a fatigue system. Of course, any kind of limitation is artificial, it's a game, but there are methods that feel more natural. Such as simply making crafting resources less common. There will be less crafting activity, and then less crowding, as crafting resources become more rare.
You touch a valid point there, that I failed to mention.
Pantheon is indeed looking to have senseable harvesting resources. Check out their newsletter concerning harvesting for more details. But in short, yeah resources might not be as abundant as in other mmo's. Which could directly impact the amount of crafted items during one time and the number of crafters in game. (and it will impact many other factors as wel.)
 
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