Thursday, March 16, 2006
One of the goals of TCOD is to increase intuitiveness and lower the learning curve so that first time players won't run away after a few minutes. In the meantime, it's difficult to increase intuitiveness without reducing the game's depth. This first draft of the inventory system tries to be very user friendly while keeping enough power for complex interactions with or between items.
The left part of the inventory screen represent the different 'slots' where the player can wear or wield items (head for helmets, neck for amulets, and so on). To avoid boring micro-management, equiped items automatically find their appropriate slot.
The inventory modes
The right part contains a list of all items by type (equiped or not). Each item is associated with a hotkey. The action resulting in pressing the hotkey depends on the inventory mode. Pressing 'i' brings up the inventory with its last mode. Possible modes are 'Use', 'Drop' or 'Combine'. You can open the inventory in a specific mode by pressing either 'u', 'd' or 'c'.
'Use' is a generic action that depends on the item. Use a jacket to wear or unwear it. Use a weapon to wield or unwield it. Use a torch to turn it on or off. If you try to use an item that has more than one action (for example for a lamp : turn on, turn off, rub), a submenu let you choose the right action. Ok, 3 keys actions may be boring for experienced players but it is allways better than typing '#complex_action'. Moreover, adding intelligence in the inventory may reduce the need of action submenus. For example, you should rub an unenchanted lamp only once (to check that it is not enchanted). Then, the 'rub' action may be disabled on this lamp, resulting in only 'turn on' and 'turn off' actions which require only 2 keys ('u' + the lamp hotkey)
'Drop' is self-explanatory. An equiped item will obviously be automatically unequiped when it is dropped.
'Combine' is another generic action that operates on two items. It may be the base of a crafting system. You can combine 'fabric scraps' with 'a bone' to create a 'bone torch'. Or 'medicinal plant' with 'water flask' to create a medicinal potion. But combining is not only matter of creating items from other items. You can 'combine' a stone with a sword to grind the sword. You can combine an item with a container item (bag, chest, ...) to put the first item inside or outside the second.