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EldinnerPlate

Rethinking the Inventory System

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Hey everyone!

I'm attempting to make a tactics game inspired by Fire Emblem, and wanted to get some feedback on what everyone would think about a completely re-designed inventory system.

My idea is to make the inventory based completely on weight. The user can hold 4 weapons, and equip 6 armor pieces (helmet, shoulder pads, gauntlet, chest-plate, legs, and boots), so you'd potentially have 10 total slots to manage for each character. Each item would have a weight that has the classic penalty to agility if your total inventory weight goes past the unit's strength. You'd start off with just a couple weapons and light armor early, then as the game goes on, your stronger characters can equip armor for better defenses and carry heavier weapons, while your weaker characters can equip lighter armor/weapons. This allows for gold to be more useful as well for making actual upgrades to the character's apart from weapons.

The armor pieces you equip will also affect how your character looks like, which I think is a great feature to have in games like Fire Emblem where the characters are the main focus.

What do you think of this, would it be too much management? A game like Path of Radiance already gives 4 slots for weapons, and 4 for items, so maybe cutting it down to 4 armor pieces would be best (combine shoulder pads + gauntlet, and legs + boots)? Would love to get everyone's opinions on this. Thanks!

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Most RPGs already do this, but actually changing the characters' appearance isn't as common as it sounds. But you might want to tweak the math a little because mages generally don't have much in the way of Strength in FE.

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Honestly, I don't think I'd enjoy that. That sort of system works well in RPGs where you have a single main character or a small party, but juggling inventories and equipment to that degree on as many characters as you get in a Fire Emblem style game? That mostly sounds like it would become a chore pretty fast. It's near impossible to provide that many different meaningful choices for equipment, so it quickly devolves into "I've already decided how I want to do my armour progressions, and now I have to go through the busywork of actually doing it". If you're having a dozen characters, each with six different armour pieces and they're upgrading each piece 4 times over the course of the game, that's 288 different upgrades. Which is way too many to be able to stay fun.

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1 minute ago, lenticular said:

Honestly, I don't think I'd enjoy that. That sort of system works well in RPGs where you have a single main character or a small party, but juggling inventories and equipment to that degree on as many characters as you get in a Fire Emblem style game? That mostly sounds like it would become a chore pretty fast. It's near impossible to provide that many different meaningful choices for equipment, so it quickly devolves into "I've already decided how I want to do my armour progressions, and now I have to go through the busywork of actually doing it". If you're having a dozen characters, each with six different armour pieces and they're upgrading each piece 4 times over the course of the game, that's 288 different upgrades. Which is way too many to be able to stay fun.

Not to mention that it wouldn't be cheap. But minmaxing an entire army is doable,  given that the original XCOM games revolved around it.

Edited by Armchair General

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I think the overall weight idea is an interesting one, but as Lenticular points out, 6 armor items is way too much to manage if they are up-graded throughout the game. Shrink that down to 1-2 armor items, or limit the amount you might upgrade them (perhaps making all armor items readily available from the start), and that might work as well.

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11 hours ago, Eltosian Kadath said:

I think the overall weight idea is an interesting one, but as Lenticular points out, 6 armor items is way too much to manage if they are up-graded throughout the game. Shrink that down to 1-2 armor items, or limit the amount you might upgrade them (perhaps making all armor items readily available from the start), and that might work as well.

Agreed. The more I think about it, the more it seems clear that splitting the armor doesn't really contribute anything to gameplay unless you throw in a bunch of different "resistances" or small attributes on each piece. But when managing an FE size party, it feels like one piece of armor still gives the "customization" aspect, and it can  still have special abilities, but will significantly reduce the amount of micro managing.

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I think it has promise, but needs to be toned down in order to reduce constant micromanagement. Here's an example.

 

1 weapon slot per character.

Certain classes unlock a backup weapon slot.

 

1 armor slot per character that equips a whole set.

 

1 accessory slot per character for rings and the like.

 

1 consumable/rations slot per character. This uses a rations bag where your character starts with 3 uses per chapter, then automatically refills their bag between chapters using the stock in your convoy - which is presented as one large bag of rations to pull from. All vulneraries, etc. you receive as rewards will go to that lump sum in the convoy, or you can choose to refill your unit's bag if a unit with a non-full bag receives that drop.

 

Your army has a single selectable banner which provides a stat buff or other beneficial effect to everyone.

Edited by Fabulously Olivier

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Yeah I was thinking what a realistic inventory would be, and I came up with maybe 4 weapon slots, with two handed weapons taking up two of the four. So in the end you can have 3 swords and a shield, or a greatsword (2H) + axe + shield, etc.

I had 8 slots for armor originally, trimmed to 6, now I'm  thinking just 1 is really all that is needed, and it seems like many other FE players agree with that take.

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6 hours ago, EldinnerPlate said:

Yeah I was thinking what a realistic inventory would be, and I came up with maybe 4 weapon slots, with two handed weapons taking up two of the four. So in the end you can have 3 swords and a shield, or a greatsword (2H) + axe + shield, etc.

I had 8 slots for armor originally, trimmed to 6, now I'm  thinking just 1 is really all that is needed, and it seems like many other FE players agree with that take.

Well, you're still missing out on how we're going to pay equipping 10 people in a full set of heavy armor.

Edited by Armchair General

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Armor brings in a giant pile of questions, like "how effective is the damage mitigation versus speed" and "will this do anything other than straight stats/up down, and if not, how much more complex will everything be?".  Without knowing the specifics of everything, it's hard to say.  Minmaxing an entire army's not fun IMO, but as long as armor doesn't modify too many things, it's doable as maybe three slots at most?

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1 hour ago, eclipse said:

but as long as armor doesn't modify too many things, it's doable as maybe three slots at most

Bravely Default gets away with sword/shield combo or dual-wielding. A slot for body armor, headgear, gloves, two accessory slots. Other RPGs generally have a slot for weapons and 3-4 slots for protective equipment.

 

There isn't really a lot of min-maxing if the gear is divided into elemental immunity, flat damage reduction, evasiveness, and status immunity.

 

But then again, Fire Emblem is mostly about modifying stats, regenerating health, and reducing damage.

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6 minutes ago, Armchair General said:

Bravely Default gets away with sword/shield combo or dual-wielding. A slot for body armor, headgear, gloves, two accessory slots. Other RPGs generally have a slot for weapons and 3-4 slots for protective equipment.

 

There isn't really a lot of min-maxing if the gear is divided into elemental immunity, flat damage reduction, evasiveness, and status immunity.

 

But then again, Fire Emblem is mostly about modifying stats, regenerating health, and reducing damage.

Sound like flat stats are involved as well.  Depending on how armor is generated/the stages themselves/how much impact armor has on overall character effectiveness, this could get extremely messy.  With only a general description, it's really hard to say.

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13 minutes ago, eclipse said:

Sound like flat stats are involved as well.  Depending on how armor is generated/the stages themselves/how much impact armor has on overall character effectiveness, this could get extremely messy.  With only a general description, it's really hard to say.

Yeah I should have been more clear on this point, Eclipse. It would basically be replacing the defense stat. So no defense growth, instead you would equip armor/shields if you wanted a higher defense on your character. To make it more than just a straight stat dump, maybe one or two abilities like "gain 10 avoid on forests", canto, sky is the limit really. This way units with less strength can still have valuable armor, it would just cater to a different play style. Also heavily armored defensive units would still have weaknesses to weapons similar to "armor slayer", avoid penalties, less mobility etc. Not so much so to make them worthless like in some of the FEs (hopefully).

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2 hours ago, EldinnerPlate said:

Yeah I should have been more clear on this point, Eclipse. It would basically be replacing the defense stat. So no defense growth, instead you would equip armor/shields if you wanted a higher defense on your character. To make it more than just a straight stat dump, maybe one or two abilities like "gain 10 avoid on forests", canto, sky is the limit really. This way units with less strength can still have valuable armor, it would just cater to a different play style. Also heavily armored defensive units would still have weaknesses to weapons similar to "armor slayer", avoid penalties, less mobility etc. Not so much so to make them worthless like in some of the FEs (hopefully).

Canto's a bit powerful for armor!  But if you want to give various avoid benefits, then perhaps?  Will still depend on whether or not it's set (as in, leather armor gives X, Y, and Z always) or variable (leather armor's base is X and Y, but you may end up with a set that's better or worse, depending on how the RNG modifies the armor).  If it's set stats, then this shouldn't be quite as hard to micromanage.

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17 hours ago, EldinnerPlate said:

Yeah I was thinking what a realistic inventory would be, and I came up with maybe 4 weapon slots, with two handed weapons taking up two of the four. So in the end you can have 3 swords and a shield, or a greatsword (2H) + axe + shield, etc.

I had 8 slots for armor originally, trimmed to 6, now I'm  thinking just 1 is really all that is needed, and it seems like many other FE players agree with that take.

Yeah I think 1 Armor slot would be fine, 2 at the most (say, tops and bottoms?). Also, why would shields still exist in the weapons slots? If they have a certain weight, but provide a defense boost, isn't that just what armor is already doing?

21 hours ago, Fabulously Olivier said:

1 weapon slot per character.

Certain classes unlock a backup weapon slot.

1 armor slot per character that equips a whole set.

1 accessory slot per character for rings and the like.

1 consumable/rations slot per character.

This is pretty much gold. I do think variable inventories by class/character is severely underdone (neverdone?) in Fire Emblem. I would personally give Armor Knights the most weapon slots, while leaving mounted units with the fewest. Promotion could also include gaining an extra slot, in some cases. Finally, rather than having a convoy accessible on the field, how about a Merchant unit? Their combat would be limited at best, but they would possess an absurd number of slots, to bring "backup" weapons and equippables to trade to others.

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1 hour ago, Shanty Pete's 1st Mate said:

Yeah I think 1 Armor slot would be fine, 2 at the most (say, tops and bottoms?). Also, why would shields still exist in the weapons slots? If they have a certain weight, but provide a defense boost, isn't that just what armor is already doing?

This is pretty much gold. I do think variable inventories by class/character is severely underdone (neverdone?) in Fire Emblem. I would personally give Armor Knights the most weapon slots, while leaving mounted units with the fewest. Promotion could also include gaining an extra slot, in some cases. Finally, rather than having a convoy accessible on the field, how about a Merchant unit? Their combat would be limited at best, but they would possess an absurd number of slots, to bring "backup" weapons and equippables to trade to others.

I think having the option of a shield in the weapon slot could give the option for those units who want/need more defense. Instead of wielding a more powerful two-handed weapon, they can do a sword + shield for some added defense, for example. On the flip side, units with heavier armor are more free to equip two handed weapons. It would be another break from the Fire Emblem formula, but I think a valuable one when considering the choices it gives the player.

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2 hours ago, EldinnerPlate said:

I think having the option of a shield in the weapon slot could give the option for those units who want/need more defense. Instead of wielding a more powerful two-handed weapon, they can do a sword + shield for some added defense, for example. On the flip side, units with heavier armor are more free to equip two handed weapons. It would be another break from the Fire Emblem formula, but I think a valuable one when considering the choices it gives the player.

It depends on game design and stat thresholds. In Three Houses Maddening, for instance, I generally find shields to be most useful not on fast and frail units, but those who are already bulky. By defense-stacking, I make my physical lure units more durable, drawing in enemies that my frailer (and more offensive) units can pick off on player phase. Not the only way to play, of course, but it's served me well.

I guess the question is - what's the difference between, say, having a suit of armor that grants +10 defense (with 6 weight); and, having a suit of armor that grants +6 defense (with 4 weight), and a shield that grants +4 defense (with 2 weight)? Both reach the same outcome, except in the latter, the player has lost one slot they could be using for a weapon. If shields and armor function towards the same end, with similar costs, then I find including both in the game to just be redundant. I'm not opposed to either one existing, just their combination.

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18 hours ago, Shanty Pete's 1st Mate said:

It depends on game design and stat thresholds. In Three Houses Maddening, for instance, I generally find shields to be most useful not on fast and frail units, but those who are already bulky. By defense-stacking, I make my physical lure units more durable, drawing in enemies that my frailer (and more offensive) units can pick off on player phase. Not the only way to play, of course, but it's served me well.

I guess the question is - what's the difference between, say, having a suit of armor that grants +10 defense (with 6 weight); and, having a suit of armor that grants +6 defense (with 4 weight), and a shield that grants +4 defense (with 2 weight)? Both reach the same outcome, except in the latter, the player has lost one slot they could be using for a weapon. If shields and armor function towards the same end, with similar costs, then I find including both in the game to just be redundant. I'm not opposed to either one existing, just their combination.

Totally agree about that scenario, it's something I would strive to avoid. Though both armor and shields should have secondary effects that makes equipping one carve out how the character plays a little more. It's a great call out though and something I'd have to watch out for with balancing.

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4 hours ago, EldinnerPlate said:

Totally agree about that scenario, it's something I would strive to avoid. Though both armor and shields should have secondary effects that makes equipping one carve out how the character plays a little more. It's a great call out though and something I'd have to watch out for with balancing.

Well it's up to you, of course. Shields and armor could coexist, I guess, but they should be differentiated in some manner. Like, Shields could have durability (based on a number of hits, or amount of damage taken), while Armor lasts forever. Or, Shields could be tradeable or unequippable mid-map (thus losing the defense boost, but also the weight penalty), whereas you're stuck with armor the whole map (like a Battalion in Three Houses).

On 6/14/2021 at 1:55 PM, EldinnerPlate said:

or a greatsword (2H)

Just wanted to add, I like the concept of two-handed weapons! But I would say, just make sure they're worth both hands. There's a long history in the series of higher rank weapons having more might... but also being heavier, and less accurate, and more expensive. Heavy two-slot weapons need to offer more than just extra might, I would say, to justify their cost. But there's a lot that can be done here, like brave effects, extra crit, or type-effective damage.

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24 minutes ago, Shanty Pete's 1st Mate said:

Just wanted to add, I like the concept of two-handed weapons! But I would say, just make sure they're worth both hands. There's a long history in the series of higher rank weapons having more might... but also being heavier, and less accurate, and more expensive. Heavy two-slot weapons need to offer more than just extra might, I would say, to justify their cost. But there's a lot that can be done here, like brave effects, extra crit, or type-effective damage.

One possibility would be to not have a distinct set of two-handed weapons, but to allow all weapons to be wielded with either one hand or two. Then if you choose to use two hands, then you treat the weapon as if it was only half its weight. Maybe give an accuracy bonus as well. That way, extra weight and lower accuracy could still be used as a trade-off with more powerful weapons, with the option of either wielding them with one hand and living with the drawback or using two hands to mitigate the drawback, btu at the cost of not being able to use the second hand for a shield or other item.

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7 hours ago, Shanty Pete's 1st Mate said:

Well it's up to you, of course. Shields and armor could coexist, I guess, but they should be differentiated in some manner. Like, Shields could have durability (based on a number of hits, or amount of damage taken), while Armor lasts forever. Or, Shields could be tradeable or unequippable mid-map (thus losing the defense boost, but also the weight penalty), whereas you're stuck with armor the whole map (like a Battalion in Three Houses).

Just wanted to add, I like the concept of two-handed weapons! But I would say, just make sure they're worth both hands. There's a long history in the series of higher rank weapons having more might... but also being heavier, and less accurate, and more expensive. Heavy two-slot weapons need to offer more than just extra might, I would say, to justify their cost. But there's a lot that can be done here, like brave effects, extra crit, or type-effective damage.

Love the durability idea. I currently have it implemented for weapons (lower, but regenerated each "chapter"), the same could be really useful for shields. They are only a temporary defense for a chapter. Once they break, the character is a lot more vulnerable.

I think along with more mt, accuracy would make sense. Thinking realistically holding something with two hands gives you more control over it than one hand, so I think by default a similar two handed weapon would have more mt and accuracy (while being heavier) than it's one handed counterpart.

6 hours ago, lenticular said:

One possibility would be to not have a distinct set of two-handed weapons, but to allow all weapons to be wielded with either one hand or two. Then if you choose to use two hands, then you treat the weapon as if it was only half its weight. Maybe give an accuracy bonus as well. That way, extra weight and lower accuracy could still be used as a trade-off with more powerful weapons, with the option of either wielding them with one hand and living with the drawback or using two hands to mitigate the drawback, btu at the cost of not being able to use the second hand for a shield or other item.

This could actually be a really good idea, allowing them to change "stances". I'm trying to put a more realistic/gritty slant on the game when compared to Fire Emblem, so I don't know how it would feel wielding a poleaxe or great sword in one hand. That would really be the only gripe, other than that it could be a really cool mechanic.

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18 hours ago, EldinnerPlate said:

I'm trying to put a more realistic/gritty slant on the game when compared to Fire Emblem, so I don't know how it would feel wielding a poleaxe or great sword in one hand

The short answer is that you can't.

 

But you could throw in a stagger mechanic where hitting someone with a custom move when you're heavier than your target will reduce the enemy's evasion.

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23 minutes ago, Armchair General said:

The short answer is that you can't.

 

But you could throw in a stagger mechanic where hitting someone with a custom move when you're heavier than your target will reduce the enemy's evasion.

Definitely, maybe even for multiple rounds. Maybe not allowing them to counter or something like that. Getting a lot of great ideas from you all, thank you! Hopefully I haven't gone too far off topic, but these forums have always been a great place to get feedback on game-play mechanics.

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