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Team Apathetic Apothecary -
Chamomile Grove

Systems Design
8/20-4/21
Crafting Design - Unreal Engine 4

The crafting system was one of many systems within this game. Making sure this system meshed with the other systems that others worked on was my biggest challenge, as I had to ensure that the system was compelling and intuitive, while also aiding players in their progression with the puzzles. In the second semester of this project, I picked up the farming system to additionally iterate on, adding another layer of challenge as I tried to iterate both to a satisfying end.

I was paired with a programmer that implemented my changes, while I balanced and created my crafting recipes at an upper level that she would then implement. Our pipeline was to import the CSV file that would become the basis of my crafting recipe system.

In our second semester of this project we had to pivot hard and cut a lot of intended content, given the limited time frame we had to work with. The flexibility of this system allowed me to cut an entire farming crop without creating extra work for the programmers, and allowed me to edit all of the blueprints and data tables without messing with the underlaying C++ code.

This extended to the farming system, which underwent many iterations as well, meshing seamlessly with the crafting systems, all front-facing values allowing me to rapidly test what felt best for players regarding time and quantity of crops harvested.

Cutting an entire crop impacted the crafting recipes the most, as they had to be rebalanced. We wanted our recipes to be fed to players over time, but with limited resources to balance, this was a difficult task. If the final puzzle needed to use a Gravity mechanic, and the first puzzle required the Shrink/Grow mechanic, then how do I make sure players don't accidentally make a Gravity Potion first and use it before they are taught of its mechanics?

By doubling up on potions, and introducing seeds gradually, we achieved this goal. Players could still make these potions for later mechanics, they couldn't make them before they solved the first puzzle, making them aware of the fact that the potions would have mechanical effects.

I also designed the simple quest system that guided players. By giving players the quest to create a potion before it was used, it would supply them with more money to spend at the in-game shop on supplies. This has the additional effect of foreshadowing the usage of the potion within the puzzles, so players aren't confused when they are given the hint to make a platform float when they've already crafted a Levitation Potion.

Additional Documents
Crafting Design Document (pre-content-cut)
Game Overview/Pitch