I've started keeping a dev log at the game's website
as well. Anything I've post there will be mirrored here as well, so use whatever is more convenient for you (here's an RSS feed as well). Anyways...The Crafting System
When I started thinking about the crafting system for Timelapse, I knew I wanted to make something that would allow creating a great variety of items, but without getting into a situation where I’d commit to creating just a bunch of crafting blueprints for completely custom items.
So I thought that well since I’m already planning to implement a random item generation, I could leverage that in making the system more robust. So here’s how it goes:
Instead of creating a blueprint for every single item you’d be able to create, I’ll be implementing just one per every type of craftable item, such as: one for each weapon and armor type, one for every gadget / medical item, etc.
Now while some of these blueprints will define very strictly the components they need, most will just require an item of certain type and allow you to provide any variation of such. This will allow you to vary the crafted items in two ways: first, you can provide any of the subtypes of the item available, each contributing different bonuses/penalties; and secondly, the provided item can be of varying quality which allows for item scaling and, basically, reuse of the blueprint throughout the entire game by just providing the required components of greater and greater quality.
So, for example, let’s say we have a blueprint that creates leather armor from a hide of some genetically mutated beastie. So let’s also say that there are a few different types of these beasts, each of which hides provide different bonuses; and also, the quality of the hide is tied to the level of the beast itself, so as you are able to kill tougher beasts, you obtain better hides, and this allows you to make better armor.
Now let’s also add another component to this blueprint and let’s make this component optional. For example, you could be able to create an overcoat for your armor suit that would perhaps grant you some additional damage resistance, or a stealth bonus. So basically this component would also have similar variations as the first.
So you can see that adding components to a blueprint increases the number of variations of the resulting item exponentially.
As for the crafting requirements, they will be tied to the components used. So each component will have certain technology skills related to it, and the component’s quality will determine how high the skills have to be to use this component in a blueprint.
Mind you, this is not set in stone yet, and implementation details may evolve and change over time to balance it out, but the general idea will remain.