Community Design Journal - Blacksmithing

----------------------Welcome To This Week's Community Design Journal! -------------------

Your Role: You have been hired by soulbound Studios to figure out just how a new game system would be designed and executed.

The Rules: you must keep in mind the 5 design pillars that each system must pass...

1. The world must be truly dynamic!

2. The hero must be truly heroic!

3. Anything in the game that requires character skill must also take player skill!

4. Must have a reason to come back everyday!

5. Introduction of survival elements for dramatic storytelling

Each week we will pick a topic and its up to you to tell us how you would envision your system working or maybe a simple Idea of what you want added to the current system and how it would work.

This weeks topic is : Blacksmithing

How would your crafting system work? What mini games would you like to see? whats new feature would you add that you have never seen in any other game? You tell us and we welcome others to join in with constructive criticism!

Past Community Design Journals!

Taxes & Town Management Link

6/7/2016 12:03:06 AM #1

If I were to design a black smithing interface it would combine a couple of different features. On the side of the screen would be a meter that gauges the temperature. Underneath it is an icon of a bellows. You click on that to cause the temp to go up and lay off of it for it to fall. Obviously, you are striving to keep it in a specific "green range" that is the theoretical optimal temperature to work a type of metal. Easier metals have broader ranges. Etc. Too far away from the green and you have to start over with potential loss of materials.

Secondly, I would have a pattern taking up the rest of the screen. First you have to pour molten metal into the mold. And then you have to click around the mold at specific points in a certain amount of time to forge the item. The hammer rises and falls at a specific speed so you have to move it along the pattern just right to hit the right spots.

Something like that anyways. A combination of working the bellows and striking the pattern. Better metals are more difficult to forge.

.....and then I'll smash it with a hammer!!!

6/7/2016 3:24:56 AM #2

can't post now but i will put my concepts here later

But, read this link since i got inspired reading it:

Hello, i am trying to write a fancfic and need help with it since english is not my first langague: you can read it here:

6/7/2016 4:10:24 AM #3

Firstly id like to apologize for my long winded rambling and hope that this actually makes some form of sense to you folks

As a Blacksmith Myself, ill agree that temperature is very important, especially with blades or certain operations like forge welding, Too hot and you'll burn the carbon out of the steel and wind up with a brittle useless chunk of iron, too cold and the metal wont work as easily resulting in more heats and more hammering which could cause stress fractures (very very bad). I kinda like the idea that you have to control your belows and temperature, Of course if you wanted to go real hardcore instead of haveing a guauge for the temp you could make the player judge it by actually looking at the color of the metal (for iron and steel the perfect spots bright orange thats almost yellow) However i feel like that might be a little to sadistic, kinda like dark souls lol

As for hammering i don't know why but the blacksmithing and woodcutting mini games from Fable to keep popping into my head,

Or possible a slider system like in Gladius if anyones heard of it before, Basicly you've got a bar with a long orange section, a tiny sliver of red and a short blue section, Orange is a solid hit, red is a critical, and blue is bad hit or a miss. You could easily translate that to blacksmithing along the lines of orange being a good normal hammer blow, that red being perfect (maybe adding time to the clock or counting as 2 normal hits or some bonus to make it worth risking)and if you hit blue then its a miss or a poor strike that doesnt count or causes a problem or something or another. And you could vary the length of those 3 sections based upon the difficulty/quality of the metal or object being crafted

6/7/2016 4:36:37 AM #4

I also think this could vary based on the character skill. If it is something you have done a few times then it should be progressively easier due to practice.

NA-West Barony Corvoviste | Founder of the Farstriders | FC: DAF200

6/7/2016 4:41:28 AM #5

hey, cool to know you are a blacksmith. Like i said in my edit i found a cool link about swords and i had the idea to break the modular construction of the items even more (now you choose the blade, the hilt etc) As an example, you could make blade combing "parts" like the blade tip, the blade length, the blade base style, the blade recurve... The thing is, i don't know anything about blacksmithing. In this link: They say that a samurai sword have 5 "parts" but i can't see all of then being used, so my question to you is if you would think in a blade of a sword in a modular combination if decisions (what will be my base style, what will be my length, my width, my blade tip...) what decisions you would think that would fit in the game? You think that it would be applicable to other parts like the hilt? Sorry for the verbose text, y mind is in a brainstorm process know.

Hello, i am trying to write a fancfic and need help with it since english is not my first langague: you can read it here:

6/7/2016 4:45:53 AM #6

This is a fact and it is in the DJ

Hello, i am trying to write a fancfic and need help with it since english is not my first langague: you can read it here:

6/7/2016 4:46:33 AM #7

I was always a fan of the blacksmith system in fable.

The only difference being in fable you were simply working to make were not making something specific. So the difficulty aspect of it was how fast it sped up to increase your profits.

Here you are simply crafting a single item.

Perhaps, a combination of what I was saying and what you presented. A pattern is on the screen. The pattern shows how many strikes you have to nail. Something that is easy only has to be struck 3 times. Depending how perfect the hit is will determine its quality. As difficulty goes up you have to have more successful hits and the speed of the fable like bar starts moving faster.

All the while, you are working with the timer of the bellows of regulating temperature.

Either way, I like what you said: fable's mini blacksmithing game was a fun one.

.....and then I'll smash it with a hammer!!!

6/7/2016 5:26:00 AM #8

I've seen a review or a video of a crafting system somewhere that sounds a lot like that, I cant for the life of me remember the name of the game of where i saw it though.From the clip i saw the guy picked his blade shape, the size, the hilt, and the pommel, all of which had different effects on the weight, speed, damage, and fighting style. Its not neccesarily part of the crafting "mini game" but i think thatd be a useful addition to add to any of the crafting systems in CoE, it would allow you to pick and match parts to create a specific style or a unique weapon or clothing peice. Of course most options would be unavailable and would have to be learned or unlocked somehow

6/7/2016 6:02:31 AM #9

I think I would like a system where hammer blows can "fill" an outline from a rough shape like a blocky ingot. Warm metal tends to flow, and a big part of forging is flowing it properly so that it fills into all the corners. Progressive hammer blows would "push" the metal to fill more and more of the outline. The challenge would be filling the outline before the metal cools, keeping it reheated, and avoiding "burning" alloys like steel (as @Charlie rightly points out).

6/8/2016 3:14:49 AM #10

How can we make blacksmithing an in-game skill-based activity that fairly challenges casual and hardcore gamers alike?

Personal definition of blacksmithing with CoE as the context: - A crafting profession (not the gathering or refining of materials) that creates metal components or items such as metal tools, horseshoes or a blade.

Factors to consider:

  • time taken in-game (IG) overall
  • time taken IG per component
  • complexity of a component
  • complexity of the final item
  • skill of IG character
  • experience of IG character
  • skill of out-of-game (OG) person
  • sense of accomplishment and failure
  • research and improvement
  • resource consumption
  • salvage and recycling
  • source of blueprints or recipes
  • quality of tools
  • quality of raw resources
  • availability of a suitable space (workshop)
  • focus vs distractions
  • the blacksmithing process


  • learn the blueprint or recipe
  • find a suitable space (workshop - could have a quality factor on suitable spaces)
  • confirm available tools (could have a quality factor on suitable tools)
  • confirm the materials required (could have a quality factor on suitable materials)

Mini-game (slider stack):

  • start a global timer when the mini-game starts
  • depending on the complexity, have a number of horizontal "bars" stacked vertically with "sweetspots" that cycle reccuring starting with each factor going from left to right then alternating with the next bar representing another level of complexity in rhythm cycling right to left and so on. Each bar could also have a different speed based on the IG experience, complexity and quality if appropriate
  • each tool and crafting station could have a slider; the recipe could have a slider; heat could have a slider; all factors could have a slider
  • have a "strike" button that times the strike
  • when the hammer strikes, provide feedback - "success!", "failure!" or something in-between; better visual would be to show a percentage of the item created so the user would know approximately how many strikes were needed to complete the item along with some feedback about the accuracy of the strike
  • repeat as many times as the raw material quality allows for in the construction of the component or item
  • stop when the required number of hammer strikes are successful, the material quality limit is reached or the global timer expires
  • display item creation success or failure
  • celebrate!
  • option to recycle wasted materials
  • option to research improvements
  • personal journal entry (if that was a thing) of the materials used, strikes needed and the outcome of the session
  • the fewer mistakes (number of mis-hits or "failure!" messages), the more time that can be spent on researching improvements or bonus research points could be awarded (if that was a thing)
  • quality and complexity could influence the speed (difficulty) of the sliders
  • now that I have seen the fable ii blacksmithing interface in action, this mini-game would be a more complex version of that interface with multiple sliders but retain a single strike across all sliders while also having different styling
  • a different UI would have a series of rotating circular bars (alternating still) which could still handle quite complex tasks at scale

Alternative mini-game #1 (simon says):

  • have a set number of buttons {red | yellow | green | blue}
  • depending on the complexity of the item to be made, cycle a pattern that the user must repeat to be successful

Alternative mini-game #2 (card game):

  • have a deck of 52 cards {heat | wait | tap | strike | shape}
  • display a material "heat" indicator alongside a pattern
  • user must "heat" the initial material to a usable state then strike x number of times depending on complexity of the component or item
  • material cools down naturally over time
  • provide some indication of item complexity
  • start a global timer
  • draw 3 cards
  • play 1 or more cards to heat the material to a certain temperature depending on the material quality and type; lower quality might require less heat to meet the usable threshold
  • each card played allows for another card to autodraw from the deck
  • play a strike card as many times as possible while the material is in a usable state
  • play a tap card if the material is slightly too hot or cold (3 or 4 taps could equate to a strike)
  • play a wait card if the material is too hot or if you need to clear a card
  • the game ends if the required number of strikes (and taps) is met while the material is usable, the global timer expires or the user chooses to exit prematurely

Just some ideas that address part of the initial question in the original post as well as the problem statement in this post listed near the top,

Mini-games can be really engaging and provide hours of entertainment while also challenging players. Some people will be good and others will not be interested while others may be drawn to the competitive aspects.

Bella, Hostess of The Ninth Mountain Tavern

6/8/2016 4:30:31 AM #11

Just put in a whack-a-mole arcade of sorts.... basically like practicing smithy work!

.....and then I'll smash it with a hammer!!!

6/8/2016 4:31:39 AM #12

The card game is an interesting idea for a mini game related to blacksmithing. I like it.

.....and then I'll smash it with a hammer!!!

6/8/2016 7:51:13 PM #13

As someone who focuses on crafting in most games, I find the most frustrating thing to be when the crafting mini-game is time sensitive and completely impossible due to either a) server lag; b) ISP lag. Asking the player to choose the right action or solve some dilemma in the process (was it Vanguard?) is much more connection-speed-agnostic. I guess what I am voting for is the crafting equivalent of strategy over hack-n-slash.

6/8/2016 7:56:16 PM #14

Whack-a-mole was mentioned in DJ #9

I think that would work well with regards to blacksmithing if accompanied by some impressive visuals!

I also thought of a few more factors relating to blacksmithing that could be incorporated into a mini-game format:

  • mark of a crafter (signatures; could be as simple as a stamp or something more in-depth)
  • staged crafting (can complete some complex tasks in more than one session for casual crafters)
  • combining materials through blacksmithing (could be a jigsaw puzzle mini-game or something more complex like a helical infusion process)

Research for blacksmithing could also have a mini-game. It could be partially based on: comparing recipes or blueprints with each other, the time taken and outcomes of related blacksmithing actions, the discovery of new and relevant blacksmithing techniques or for finding new items to compare to current outputs. The combination process noted above could also be research into new alloys. Research in this manner could scale across most crafts.

As for something completely new and innovative, would a mark of a crafter be acceptable? I have never played an MMO that utilised such a feature (although I have not played every MMO in existence.)

Another innovation could be to allow for tandem crafting, something that is somewhat common I believe for IRL blacksmithing. Having 2 people co-create a component or item. This could be incorporated into the apprentice and research systems as well.

Just a few more ideas...

Bella, Hostess of The Ninth Mountain Tavern

6/8/2016 8:47:55 PM #15

The factor of time can be used to add a sense of challenge, pressure and urgency. Pressure can affect decision-making. If there is no sense of pressure or urgency, humans often procrastinate.

I can see that strategic choices and slow thinking can have a place in-game around the planning and crafting for a large event, but the need for fast thinking and tactical action is more suited to daily common tasks of crafting.

It would be theoretically possible to combine some strategic with tactical, but what value is created versus the effort required on the participants versus the reward for the players?

I am now sure how much impact lag has on crafting or mini-games, but I live half way across the world from NA and EU servers and haven't had any consistent significant problems before.

Just to clarify, we are not talking about twitch real-time combat here in terms of time. Time is a factor, one of many that could be considered for potential mini-games. Skill will be a more important factor for the mini-games. If there are ways to allow for skill to be displayed that reduces the impact of a time-based factor then I am sure that the devs and players would be happy to consider it.

TL;DR: How can we provide more strategic input into skill-based mini-games so that connection speed, lag and ping do not have a significant impact on the challenge outcomes?

PS - What is the lowest common denominator for connection speed?

Bella, Hostess of The Ninth Mountain Tavern

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