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Author Topic: Monday Design Update 9/14 - Mechanical Skill  (Read 15865 times)
Brian
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« on: September 15, 2009, 01:21:14 am »

Sorry about the lack of updates last week – holiday, for those of us in the States. Today’s update covers one of the other skills – Mechanical. While the Science skill is used to create new weapons and armor, the Mechanical skill is used to modify existing weapons and upgrade structures. While Science is more about chemistry and biology, Mechanical covers engineering and mechanical aptitude. Upgrades to some of the critical areas of the player’s Shelter will require that either the player or one of their allies has Mechanical know-how, and of course, there are some machines that might be helpful to have up and running to keep the quality of life high.

However, Mechanical also has applications out in the field that can make the difference between life or death and whether or not the player comes back loaded or empty-handed. Lockpicking, for one, is only possible if the Mechanical skill is equal or higher than the difficulty of the lock. Why pick locks? Well, it’s not as if you can’t bash a door open… however, bashing makes noise, and zombies are attracted to noise. Lockpicking opens doors quicker and quieter, getting the player and his allies into structures without worrying about a mass of undead waiting outside for them.  And though they aren’t common, safes can only be opened with Mechanical aptitude. (Word of advice - what people used to consider valuable enough to lock up may have little worth these days.)

Mechanical also has additional uses that tie into systems we haven’t talked about yet, though as with all our skills, each level gained offers new benefits to the player. So, if you want to build, maintain, upgrade, and more stealthily enter structures, you’ll want to invest your skill points into Mechanical. However, if you’re the type that likes to bash things open, we’ll be discussing a skill you might like in one of our next updates.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2009, 11:13:04 am by Brian » Logged
Gauntt
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« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2009, 02:49:05 am »

Sounds great. Every new update and I keep getting more and more excited that this will be a great game.

I like the way these skills are going to be balanced. Especially when it comes to the group dynamic. You might have one person with a high mechanical skill who is very difficult to manage, but absolutely essential to the groups survival. They can make demands of the group that others wouldn't get away with... or like.

Keep the updates coming.
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Vince
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« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2009, 08:05:43 am »

I think you meant 9/14.
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Tylerbear
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« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2009, 09:04:23 am »

Is there any chance that the mechanical skill would be used to create new items?  While repairing machinery to running status sounds amazing, I was mesmerized by Arcanum's tech skills, and would love to see that fleshed out into making more than just weapons and armor.  It seems to me that in the PZA world being able to build mechanical stuff that is not just for killing zombies would still be an extremely useful skill.  But maybe that's because I spent my entire childhood with a gigantic construx set. 
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Zaij
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« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2009, 11:41:49 am »

Well, to the civilized world its 14/9...

Anyway, I think it's an excellent idea. I'm not exactly up to date, but aren't you required to keep handguns in a safe in America, or is that Australia? Could be a good way of getting firearms. Furthermore, in hospitals and clinics most drugs are kept locked up so if you need anything in particular mechanical skill on one of your pm's (party members) is a necessity.

Maybe a rival group is locked up a few streets away, lockpick a door nice and quietly and slit their throats while they're sleeping? The world has turned vicious on you, if you don't adapt to that you'll die.
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One Wolf
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« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2009, 04:31:05 pm »

Quote
but aren't you required to keep handguns in a safe in America

Oh no.  Depends on where you live, but we tend to be free with our firearms.  I have tactical assault weaponry and I'm not even required to put a gunlock on them.  It's scary.
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mingoran
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« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2009, 05:41:03 pm »

I'm glad to know we have the option to bash doors instead of picking the lock. That's just something i love to do since playing Daggerfall and going around bashing doors with a war hammer or a battle axe. The sound of wood being turned to pieces was so satisfying. Later Bethesda decided to forbid door bashing and that looked very lame.

I hope that the abilities provided by these skills (science and mechanics) can be combined together to create emergent gameplay. I admit i don't understand very well what this hype jargon means. I have a vague idea of abilities that can be used and mixed in more than one way that can be discovered by the player instead of every ability doing only what is described in the manual and not doing more than that. Examples of emergent is using an ice spell on a small river to freeze the water surface and allow the player to pass above the river in the ADOM roguelike.

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« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2009, 07:32:26 am »

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Oh no.  Depends on where you live, but we tend to be free with our firearms.  I have tactical assault weaponry and I'm not even required to put a gunlock on them.  It's scary.

Very, very scary.
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One Wolf
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« Reply #8 on: September 17, 2009, 10:16:30 am »

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Oh no.  Depends on where you live, but we tend to be free with our firearms.  I have tactical assault weaponry and I'm not even required to put a gunlock on them.  It's scary.

Very, very scary.

And at the same time most states regard my hands and feet as deadly weapons, yet I don't even need a permit for the firearms.  I would actually be in more trouble if I was pulled over with my katana than with my AR-15.  Bizarro-land.


Back on topic:

Mechanical skill is a great addition to the post-zombocalypse.  The more info we get the game seems to be revolve around survival and less about exploding zombie-heads.  This has already been stated, but every detail you guys release makes me more optimistic.  Sounds like building a party with a high variety of complementary skills is essential, as of course it would be in reality.  Also sounds like there's many-a-downside when managing a diverse/large party.  Tricky tricky, sounds like fun.
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inhuman
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« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2009, 09:28:54 am »

Lockpicking, for one, is only possible if the Mechanical skill is equal or higher than the difficulty of the lock.

I seem to have a problem with this overly generalist attitude you seem to be going with, what with survival and ranged skills covering a whole lot of ground, and here is a new one. So, mechanical skill will dictate several abilities, like lockpicking. So, a person with an X level of mechanical can unlock X level locks and also repair X level machinery and modify/craft X level of tools? I really have a mental barrier around this. Equating relatively irrelevant actions on basis of a general skill level, just because they all involve moving parts?

Quote
Why pick locks? Well, it’s not as if you can’t bash a door open… however, bashing makes noise, and zombies are attracted to noise. Lockpicking opens doors quicker and quieter

And then there are examples like this one, that don't exactly make much sense even within their own context, unless it was just a hasteful and simplified example for the sake of giving an example. There's no saying that picking a lock will be any faster than bashing a door, unless you're dealing with hybrid doors with steel frames or other similar hardy materials. There are doors any average person can chop through with an axe in under a minute and locks that will take time a long time for even a skilled person to pick. Is there any consideration for how much time a lock might take to pick, outside "lock level X + mechanic level X = bingo"?

Please say that there will be at least a chance of getting a lock stuck due to inapt tries at picking the lock so you will be forced to bash it or leave it.

Quote
Mechanical also has additional uses that tie into systems we haven’t talked about yet, though as with all our skills, each level gained offers new benefits to the player. So, if you want to build, maintain, upgrade, and more stealthily enter structures, you’ll want to invest your skill points into Mechanical. However, if you’re the type that likes to bash things open, we’ll be discussing a skill you might like in one of our next updates.

So there's no recognizing the possibility that a pretty good "mechanic" can simply not now much about picking locks nor have the manual dexterity to do so?

On another note, what's with these super-short vague-ish updates with no real discussion ever taking place except a few posters exchanging ideas between themselves? It's ok if you're too busy to get into discussions, nothing wrong with that, but posting these as it is defies the purpose of posting these in a forum to begin with.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2009, 09:31:16 am by inhuman » Logged

UbAh
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« Reply #10 on: October 20, 2009, 08:57:57 am »

Lockpicking, for one, is only possible if the Mechanical skill is equal or higher than the difficulty of the lock.

I seem to have a problem with this overly generalist attitude you seem to be going with


I had the same initial reaction, until I realized they are not putting their focus on the survival sim aspects or even going that far in the survival strategy arena.  Instead I think they are more focused on the human interaction element of the scenario.  If this is the case thats admirable in that they feel they have something to say in the medium as a commentary on humanity.  Zombie fiction has a great tradition of fluffing over the hard facts elements to get to the meat of the human story so I think they picked the right genre. 

On the other hand I wholly understand the desire for a "realistic" approach to the mechanics of a survival game and I can only hope that someone also tackles this someday.   The difficulty is that we are talking about two different games, that is not to say they couldn't be put together in one game well but that doing so may require more time and resources than are available.
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inhuman
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« Reply #11 on: October 20, 2009, 11:56:55 am »

I can see that angle as well, and I agree with what you're saying, but they are, supposedly, making a RPG so if they so want to focus on human interaction, to the point of nerfing RP core, then maybe they should just do away with most stats completely and focus on a ZA adventure with a few fixed classes, though with as few skills as they have now, it sounds more or less like that anyway. I'm only hoping they have more in the way of making stat-based distinction in store for us.

edit: now, I gotta admit that I wasn't exactly fair and objective in my comparisons with this post, but I just can't keep the angry cunt within any more.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2009, 11:59:07 am by inhuman » Logged

Vince
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« Reply #12 on: October 20, 2009, 12:26:57 pm »

The way I see it, we are not talking about highly specialized adventurers who spend years getting better at looting everything, including things are nailed down, locked, guarded, hidden, protected by spells and traps, etc. We are talking about ordinary people dealing with an extraordinary situation. From this point of view, someone who is good at fixing things (i.e. a mechanical skill), would be able to open a lock, fix a generator, reinforce the shelter, etc.
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inhuman
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« Reply #13 on: October 20, 2009, 02:55:11 pm »

Quote
From this point of view, someone who is good at fixing things (i.e. a mechanical skill), would be able to open a lock, fix a generator, reinforce the shelter, etc.

Not at all. No matter what point of view you look at it from, the skills it takes to pick a lock, fix a generator or do other semi-menially mechanical tasks are day and night. You don't just get to have an easier time fixing all kinds of stuff just because you also can pick a lock so good probably due to your pre-apocalypse line of job requiring meticulous control over your hands, perhaps as an engraver or clock repairman. Similarly, doing such laborious work as, going by your example, reinforcing a shelter long enough could even have a negative impact on your manual dexterity with your hands.

I can't believe I just had to make such an explanation.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2009, 02:57:46 pm by inhuman » Logged

caster
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« Reply #14 on: October 20, 2009, 03:31:40 pm »

Not at all. I work as a sailing ship technician (mechanic/engineer) and i have to know how to take care of the : engine and everything that entails, plumbing - water systems and pumps, electricity from lights and cables and connections and batteries to fridges to navigation instruments to different pumps or windlasses, woodwork to repair all internal damage, im able to set up complete rigging and sails or repair any damage on them, or to repair or remove any outside damage to boats structure which involves metal and plastic work. I also sail better then most skippers and understand how the boat is behaving as a whole during manoeuvring or sailing. And thousand smaller details i dont care to number here.

I never noticed any of these skills interfering or lessening others or my manual dexterity or whatever.
Actually thats pretty ridiculous notion.

Based on my experience i would only need to see how to lockpick an ordinary lock once to learn how to do it myself. And i would surely learn it much quicker then someone who doesnt have any mechanical/technical experience.
Not to mention that compared to my senseis who taught me everything i know im barely a beginner.

You are wrong and thats because you are talking about something you have no real experience with.

Since im the only one qualified here i say its alright and thats it.
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