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Gem/Crafting/Treasure Mod feedback


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Hey everyone, I just wanted to stop by here and outline a mod project I'm currently working on, partially to gauge if there's much interest in me making this clean enough to release, and partially to see if anyone more experienced with the nuance of 7dtd modding can foresee any major roadblocks with my stretch goals and the way I intend to implement them.


The basic idea came from TFP's initial implementation of rare ore resources. Although comments in the xml file make those appear to be deprecated for their purposes as of right now, it did get me to thinking about what I would find a neat little additional gameplay mechanic. I'm a big precious metals/gems nerd, and I really liked the idea of being able to mine these rare ore types, if you can find them that is, and with the right perks and equipment create some very valuable things to sell and store. To that end, I'll outline the basic approach I'm planning to take after some successful testing with the xml file structure and bundle extractor that gave me most of what I needed to know to get a reasonable idea how the game is handling data. I would appreciate any feedback you may have.


Utilising existing ore distribution mechanisms in biomes xml, I am adding (or modify) the following terrOres to the game, with new blocks, low, low spawn chances, and new 2d material assets:


- tin

- copper

- silver

- gold

- platinum

- diamond

- sapphire

- ruby

- emerald


These ores will provide new or modified items in the form of nuggets or raws, which can be turned to new scrap items for all metal ores, or cut into gems. Both can be used in the creation of a number of new final resource items, the major of which are at present:












-metal round (coin)

-metal ingot


These can have variations, being more decorative, or being inset with gems. They can be made with different metals and gems in various combinations as feels appropriate (nobody's making a tin ring with an emerald... i hope). I anticipate using the candlestick and the chandelier as a new lighting block as a stretch goal.


This process will take place largely at 4 workstations; 2 existing, the forge with crucible, and the workbench. 2 new, the Ceramic Kiln and the Gem Faceting Station. New blocks, ui entries, 3d assets and materials for these items. I will probably tie access to existing perks, but add new schematics initially. Would like that not to ultimately be the case, and to have its own sub tree somewhere - have not investigated too deeply into implications of this however. The player will need to acquire the supporting resources necessary to turn the raw materials into these items, these include:


-rubber molding kit

-casting wax

-investment mix


The final aspect I'd like to touch on is that ultimately, once the basic system is working, I would like to create a new set of blocks I'm calling Treasure Blocks. The way I envision this working, is that you can create a block of a certain type of valuable item that costs X of that item to create, and gives X of that item when destroyed. If the visuals for the blocks are made a particular way, I think it would be possible to make some functional and visually satisfying treasure vaults, in addition to the value adding I see this system creating that the player can trade out for more survival resources.


I've already started the work of creating the logical structure for all this madness and it seems to be going well so far. I work in the games industry as an artist by trade, so the visual asset side is less daunting but will still take a number of months to complete at minimum. I appreciate this might not be everyone's cup of tea, but if there's anyone here that likes this sort of thing feel free to let me know what you think, or if I'm critically misunderstanding anything about the way the game handles data. Would much rather re-work it now than after I've spent weekends making things I don't need!

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since you're asking for input ;)  Sorry for this stream of consciousness post...


I've actually considered making some mods like this, just a little different. Basically you find "rare stuff" like gems/minerals/ores/elements and you can either just sell them, make stuff from them, or ... and I know this is a long shot on the "fun index" ... simply try to collect them as a challenge.  I then thought it would be cool to put together some sort of "generic base mods" that just had the gems/minerals/ores/elements and then anyone else could use them for mods as base materials...but it starts to get weird for supporting it as people may be uneasy building upon someone else's mods.  And you have to be cognizant of the mod "loading order" so your base mod loads first, etc.... so I'm personally not looking to make anything for others "to build on" (and its not that you mentioned it, just my train of thought once I considered something like "ores" and putting all the work into it.


What usually kills me for making something like this is making nice graphics (which you can probably handle easily. I'm still more of a "steal and badly crop in Gimp", or "recolor the existing item" guy). Then balancing the loot/crafting so everything feels "fun" vs "I find this stuff all the time" or "its a real chore to do this" is the next challenge.  For me in game "value" of items isn't always clear (crafting/selling), so I don't know how to set the "worth" of them in Dukes very well.


Anyway: From what I *feel* there is a subset of the community that likes doing this type of stuff you're mentioning (they enjoy "looting and crafting" vs "shooting and defending") so it might be welcomed.  I personally like doing stuff like this.  The modding community is pretty small (I believe) so its not like thousands of people are going to be using it (and you supporting it).


Additionally: The game is not yet "gold" so the modding API/format changes frequently, possibly breaking your mod/work. Usually people have to retest their mods when a new version of the game comes out.


Additionally: There are some "modding standards" that are on the forums (and they are general guidelines) you might want to look up.  As far as I know, the major things today are:

1. Make sure the "names" of all your items in the XML follow a naming convention that will make everything you create "unique" to your mod so no one else's will collide, and if there's some weird issue its easy to tie it back to your modded items/blocks.  Like don't make an item/block named "oreDiamondRaw" as that not unique to your mod.  Maybe something like "gronk_oreDiamondRaw" or "GronksGemPack_OreDiamondRaw".

2. I believe the way to mod certain things (today) is to use the DMT tool as SDX was deprecated.  I'm not sure if you would need to use this for the workbenches/areas.  I could be wrong about this.  I've never used it.


Smaller considerations: There's kinda a limit in the game that no recipe *should* use > 5 ingredients to make another item. You can use more, but the player will not be able to see them, so keep it 5 or less.


Additionally: If people can create rings/necklaces... you likely cannot wear them in-game (that I know of), which might be weird.  The game does have "facial piercings" though...


Additionally: the vanilla game has diamond, gold, and silver ores/items.  I've found it sometimes difficult to workaround extending the games "stuff" and changing the games vanilla stuff to make my mod balance out. For example: I made a pipe bomb modlet that added more pipe bombs.  Because the games "iron pipe" is used in several recipes, I didn't want to change it at all, so instead I added special brass/steel/plastic "pipe bomb parts" that can only be used with my recipes, as it would be weird making then "regular pipes" that can only be used for making pipe bombs and not something else like bellows/workbenches.


Additionally: there are some "junk" modlets that just add a bunch of junk to the loot. Its just for fun, and makes the game experience "more involved" and almost everything scraps to the in game raw materials (plastic/lead/etc).  I made one myself called "Youve Got Mail" that adds cheesy junk items ( and some useful stuff) to mailboxes/trash/desks.  I've seen several streamers playing with the junk modlets I know of, but my personal git repository doesn't show a ton of people downloading my junk mod.  Take that for what you will.  I play it anyway as it's fun for me and even though a few people downloaded it its nice to contribute.


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oh, and something else:

For whatever you think of doing, try to just make it work "with the basics" e.g. just make one gem/ore/etc, maybe don't' even make nice graphics for it, just re-use the diamond/silver ores and recolor them. try to make just one workbench, etc.  Try to get all the mechanics you want to do first with as few things as you can. Once you get 1 item figured out its a lot easier to fill in the rest later.  I mention this because I've tried to make a few mods that I thought would be fairly simple, only to realize some mechanic I thought worked/existed did not work/exist like I thought it did and I ended up scrapping that particular idea.


For example:

- I thought it would be cool to make "magic hats" like a magician.   You'd throw the hat down (or scrap it) and a rabbit would appear. Or a chicken.. or a zombie.  i wanted it to be totally random and 50/50 dangerous.  I got about 1/2 way and realized it would likely take DMT modding to do, and that's too far for me at this moment.


- I thought it would be cool to make a watch and compass you had find and then have in your hand and "use" in order to see your position or time of day ( and I would remove the in game time and compass). Maybe you find some watches that have the incorrect time ;) or are broken after a few hours ;) I never found a way to do it, and shelved my mod...though it seems easy/do-able on the surface.  I recently saw some mod overhaul that has the watch in it I was envisioning! I'm jealous, but now I know it's possible. I'm thinking of contacting them to see if I can borrow their code to see how they did it for a standalone modlet.


- I thought it would be cool to make a weather modlet that did some neat stuff.  I found out weather modification via XML is limited and what I would need to do it mess with server level tools to basically be like an admin changing the weather.  Got too complicated *for me*.  I ended up making a simpler set of weather modlets that I use... just no tornadoes/meteors/floods/nuclear gas clouds ;(


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Thanks man, some really good points there that are worth thinking about. Much obliged.


My testing consisted of exactly what you described. Stuck some recolored diamond ores in as sapphire, ruby and emerald, adding the kiln with minimal changes from forge and it knew about my placeholder new recipe and item. Took a moment to figure out how to meddle in xUi so that i could interact with it lol. I was also able to paint down my new ore type sapphire, and harvest from it, so that was encouraging.


I'm hoping that the crux of what I'm trying to do is close enough to the game's design intentions, that I can squeeze it in through xml and new assets, but we shall see.


Would you mind expanding on your pipe bomb example? The way you wrote it I got the impression that you had added varieties of pipe bomb with new recipes, and did not want to use the standard iron pipe object as a crafting ingredient in them, is that right? If so im just a bit confused as to what the risk in doing so would be, if its just a recipe reference and the item itself is unchanged?


It would be really nice if the jewelry was wearable and should TFP ever implement such things I would definitely update things to try and take advantage. The idea of treasure blocks and vaults is my way of making that stuff still somehow be something you might have a reason not to sell, and to still physically see in the world, I guess.


It's always nice to have this particular skillset when I find a game i really like that has good tools available. I know it tends to be a common blocking issue for a lot of good mod ideas so I feel like i ought to use it a little bit if i get a bout of inspiration!


Thanks for dropping in and giving me the heads up, very much appreciated. Hopefully I can drop some visual updates here in the next few weeks once I get familiar with inserting things into unity bundles.

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Would you mind expanding on your pipe bomb example? I got the impression that you had added varieties of pipe bomb with new recipes, and did not want to use the standard iron pipe object as a crafting ingredient in them, is that right?

yes, sort of ;)


The game has a pipe bomb, and in order to make different ones ( not just a "bigger and badder pipe bomb" based on how much gunpowder or pipes you used to make it) I wanted it to make them out of different metals (and plastic) and then make the "power" based on the material. plastic = low damage, brass = mid damage, iron ( vanilla)  = just about what vanilla does, steel = most powerful (breaks blocks).  Well, Initially I just made plastic/brass/steel pipes as new items... then I realized it was weird because why can you craft a "steel pipe" but not use it for anything that the vanilla iron pipe is used for (like making a workbench, or bellows, or anything else)?  It seems a bit trivial, but when "in game" you'd see all these "generic pipes", craft them, and then discover "oh, its only used for this one item". ugh..  It felt "wrong" and cheap.  So instead I renamed the items brass/plastic/steel "pipe bomb parts" and it just feels a bit better, even though its still kinda weird.  The fact the game has other "weapon parts" that are generic makes it fit better though IMHO.   However, the "iron pipe" is left alone (I changed only the iron pipe bomb settings a little) and I didn't make special "iron pipe bomb parts" as that seemed like a stretch as well, and would have caused either 2 different recipes for iron pipe bombs, or I would have had to delete the vanilla one (a bad idea).


So yeah, after making the entire mod (copy paste, change, copy paste, change ...etc)I realized I screwed up and had to redo some of it, but it wasn't bad as its a small mod.


As a second example: I have some unreleased ( unfinished) mods and one involved mushrooms (like, add a bunch of them to the game, make it more realistic, easier to die if you eat the wrong one, etc).  The more I was messing with it the more I realized that trying to "integrate" with the standard mushroom in the game suddenly was a lot more modding that I wanted to do and I wanted to leave the vanilla mushrooms alone in case messing with them broke anyone else's mods (if they were loaded together).  In short: I have an idea I like, but making it work around the vanilla game super cleanly (or easily?) turned out to be more difficult than I thought, so I've shelved it for now.  On that mod I learned to try to make a small version of my idea "work" then flesh out the "grand idea" as I spent more time planning it out that I should have before I knew what was going to be required in the XML. I still may do it though, it was just more than I was willing to chew when I was first starting to make mods.


Anyway: I just felt like throwing in some warnings with my "real life examples" to not go too far/deep until you've proven the core mechanics of your ideas work like you want.  I've screwed up a lot doing this as I get over my head and on some of my mods ("Lets make 50 recipes and figure out the ingredients after the fact!" is my favorite way to dream) adn I lose steam/excitement and gave up on them, 1/2 finished, because they were fundamentally broken in some way :(.  My "You've got Mail" Mod is one of my larger ones that I got working enough to release (well, its full of stuff, not a complex mod) because I attacked it piecemeal and tested all the parts before I expanded each part out.

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15 hours ago, Cernwn said:

@Gronk Check out MeanCloud's Mining modlet by PSouza4. Personally I only use his cannabis and fishing modlets, but you should get some ideas in the right direction. If you reach out to him, maybe even a collaboration, since you are more art/asset focused...

Appreciate the heads up, I have contacted him to see if he'd be interested in anything like that. Would really like to form a collaborative effort if I can find someone interested enough in the general idea or something similar to it, and comfortable with cleanly editing the logic side. It would certainly be a faster, better project that way.

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Hello, I wanted to stop by and @%$*#! up the forum with my dreams again. I spent this morning whipping up the first pass of some assets; here is what I rendered out of Substance to get an idea of what the new icons will look like. These are quite oversized for what the icon will be, but they serve as a look at the initial models/textures for these items as well. The chaotic side of me would love to make the gems equippable with their real size model, give the left mouse button an "inspect" anim and then a surprise throw action on the right button. Cue frantic searching.


I will continue to update things on here as I get round to making them, if nobody minds. It's quite nice to have a place to blog.


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some more input just crossed my mind. I didn't know any of this when I started :)


- Its not written in stone, and anyone can do whatever they want, but you may want to do this once the mod is "ready" for others:

1. If you plan on making more modlets (it's can be addictive once you start) make another forum post in the "Mods" section called "Gronks Modlets". I'm just suggesting a generic name as example.  This is a "landing page" (I'm making this name up) for all your stuff which you then post links and information to all of your modlet forum threads (like this one) and any other places your modlet is referenced (like if you put your modlet on github or elsewhere for people to download/collaborate with, etc).


Search the forums for examples as all the modlet "landing pages" are different and are named different, but here's mine as a reference: Doughs Modlets


Having a landing page makes it easier for people to see/find all you rmodlets. Having individual forum posts/threads like this makes one it easy for people to ask questions/discuss things about the specific modlet.  So it can be good to have both types.  Some people don't make a landing page and that's ok.  I feel people start making them once they get 5+ modlets out there and want to start maintaining it in 1 place.


2. Once you make a landing page (or even if you don't), post a link to you modlet (or landing page)to this forum thread: New Mod List Project .  I'm not sure what the ultimate plan is for this, but in the recent past there was a list of all the "mods/modlets" with links to all the landing pages (or single threads like this one if there was no landing page) where people could go to find/search for all the mods.  Apparently with the recent forum update we have today, it broke all the links in the list, so they're using this post/thread to rebuild the list and are asking people to post links to their mods/modlets.  FYI: This is the OLD mod list page I believe they are either going to retire or update once all the links are fixed: Mod List


3. If you want, (totally optional) then post to 7daystodiemods.com

This is just a way to advertise your mod/modlet and make easy searching.  I believe this is just some guy/people who made a site and are likely using ads to pay for it.  You don't load your mod to them, just information about it.  Also: It's HIGHLY likely if you don't do this, they (probably the owners of that site) will take the information about your mod and load it into their site for you ;) So: it will likely show up there anyway, just FYI.  So far I have not seen anything malicious about the site (spamming or anything) and I don't know the "community feelings" about the site, like if its "great" or "arrgh!".  Just letting you know it will likely be there at some point whether you load it or not.  I haven't been loading my modlets and they do it for me and I personally like it.  Go there and search for "Doughs" to see what it looks like when they did it for my modlets.



Also: Those are some pretty sweet graphics ;)

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7 hours ago, doughphunghus said:

some more input just crossed my mind. I didn't know any of this when I started :)


I'll keep that in mind, thanks man! I'll probably wait until I have something more substantial before I go to any lengths to make sure its seen though.


On another note, today I was messing around testing out how treasure blocks might look. Bit too much repetition on these that needs fixing, and they might work better in game with some sort of wood framing, but its at least a decent idea.




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