In this thread:
Ozy makes a point I hadn't considered; swimming is a learned skill. In fact, just like with every real man-made object, every real skill in learned. Our characters are assumed to be adult, so we have basic motor skills, we can focus our eyes, walk, run, etc. But there are plenty of skills we shouldn't start with. Swimming is a fair example.
Interestingly, skills behave just like a type of 'invention'. Perhaps we need three categories of invention (inventions, discoveries, *skills*) instead of the two I intended (inventions, discoveries). They would operate similarly. Inventions require materials to make a material object. Discoveries require a subject to gain information about. My thought on skills is that they would require attempts at an action, to gain the ability to take that action.
I was already planning to have light, pre-defined skills such as climbing, wood chopping, and fire-building. And if you created an invention, I assumed you'd learn the skill that goes with it. But I didn't think of swimming. We may need a skill-creation system that uses the invention system.
Considering that raises a more essential issue, for me. What is the distinction between "soft" skills and stat-based skills? Well, soft skills are gameplay things that you as a real person become better at. Stat-based skills are metrics in the game.
But the distinction between the two is more complex than just that: Soft skills work in realtime. Stat-based skills can be time dilated.
So if I just decide, "soft skills will be everything we can make soft, and hard skills will be everything else", it's an unplanned imbalance where soft skills require a lot more time investment. If you want to get good at using your intuition to decide where to dig for gold, it could take you real years of play, while getting good at using a "intuit location of gold" skill would take only a few weeks of play, since the game's time scale is dilated. (And making stat-based skills take longer is not a good solution. It would sacrifice fun for predictability.)
Eliminating soft skills completely is a ridiculous idea, since they're core gameplay I want.
Requires more thought, while I work on other things :)
Just talking about Swimming... your character can obviously only master so much in a given lifetime, why would you want to waste your time learning about swimming when you may never get near a large body of water in your entire life? I mean, rivers, lakes and streams are abundant, but you can use and access them without ever swimming. In fact, there are plenty of people who don't know how to swim but live near water every day. Also, just knowing the "basics" of swimming without ever having practiced it would be enough people to survive if they were thrown in water having never swam before, but with practice you would probably be much better at it... of course there are also people who are just naturally good at things without ever having done them before too. I was thinking about some kind of personal affinity, it reminded me of Wurm where your character starts with a random skill that levels faster than others. It would be sort of like that except you could be born with some of your skills higher than others. It wouldn't say like "Strength 5" when you started or whatever, but you would start with an invisible boost that may or may not be obvious to the player.
Back to the topic on hand though...
I personally like soft skills way more than hard skills. I'll use the FPS genre as an example. Most people see their characters as the same with the same limitations as everyone else, and their guns or equipment as their main advantage or disadvantage versus other players, when in fact the basic skill of dexterity is the greatest advantage, along with adaptation (learning how your opponent works and counteracting), intuition (judging a situation and making the right decisions beforehand), prediction (determining what your opponent will do before they do it) and other such things.
Back to First Earth though, in this kind of genre, Intuition and Charisma (standing out, making good first impressions, bartering, etc) play key roles in being the best player you can be. For example, if you make a lot of friends you'll have access to more resources than someone working alone, because there's obviously only so much one person can do. As an example, I'll list Minecraft. In Minecraft, when you first start out usually one person alone can't match what two or three people can accomplish because of how much faster than can do the work when they work together. One person can mine while the other builds and smiths the resources required to further the mining. Another person can go out and battle mobs and look for resources above land. Another person can work on building a farm and raise crops and animals. I think all of these would kind of apply to a settlement in FE versus one person trying to go it alone.
I think everything you said is accurate.
Perhaps a solution is to speed up soft skills so that they're equally as effective as hard skills. This is already planned via "Time" that saves up while you're not playing. The idea is that you can multiply the results of actions you take using saved-up Time. For example, you can chop a tree once in 3 seconds, but give your chop a 100x multiplier that gives you effectively 100 chops in that instant, using up (3*100) seconds of Time. This is able to time dilate many soft skills (such as choosing the right trees), which is good. But anything that doesn't interact with the game engine wouldn't benefit from Time, like some more abstract intuitions you make.
Maybe I could try to integrate those things that don't normally benefit from Time. But it's hard to imagine what they might all be.
> but give your chop a 100x multiplier that gives you effectively 100 chops in that instant
I just imagined someone walking in a straight line and suddenly all the trees around them just fell for no apparent reason, then it pans out and the entire forest is missing
"hey guys I'm back, I didn't have internet for a month, ps I took out the northern forest, hope it's k"
> > but give your chop a 100x multiplier that gives you effectively 100 chops in that instant
> I just imagined someone walking in a straight line and suddenly all the trees around them just fell for no apparent reason, then it pans out and the entire forest is missing
> "hey guys I'm back, I didn't have internet for a month, ps I took out the northern forest, hope it's k"
lol I was thinking something similar when I read that, but my thoughts were more to players that start later in the game. those who were already there have this huge advantage over you since they're already settled mostly, and probably have a nice technological advantage over you. add to that now they can come along and clear out the resources in an area not just with the bonuses they've gained in game, but with just the fact that they've played longer...that doesn't seem like a good idea to me.
That's how it works in the real world, and it works out okay. The reason is that productive work creates value. Once value is created, it can be leveraged in making more value, so the amount of value grows exponentially, with new value coming into existence faster than ever. The industrial and technological revolutions are examples of that.
People who've built up wealth will certainly have a huge advantage, but you could still come in, invent the first wooden beam, and you'll make even more money than the person who invented the first stone support in the past. The money you made would be worth anything that was for sale in the game, it's not just a counter.
Regarding the use of Time; good points, it's capped at 2 weeks, and you still have to take the actual actions in the world yourself. It's more for things like; normally it takes minutes of play to chop down a tree, but with Time you can do one tree all at once.
Also keep in mind that property is private, so it would be expected for them to be clearing out their own trees, or to be claiming new property by clearing out trees in it.
Swimming Has 2 Parts;
ONE: Mentally understanding everyone is capable of this because the human body naturally floats anyway with very minimal body movement in the water needed.
Lighter Frame, More Muscle Power = Less Energy Needed To Float
ONLY 1 Arm OR 1 leg is really needed to stay afloat comfortably.
TWO: Eliminating the fear of drowning from your mind. It's not rational. Understanding that water is a neutral surface just like the hard ground beneath you. Your environment does not kill you. Your lack of coordinated movement does, your lack of a healthy level of endurance, and your inability to control your environment wisely.
IF you think about it: swimming is not even a learned trait. It's rather genetically born from within.
IF a person throws you into deep water the first time, THEN your brain should immediately tell you to stay relaxed, move your arms/legs in unison, and seek something to hold onto (that does not sink) AND / OR find the shallow edge and stand up. This is not a skill. You either know it or don't (through basic adequate levels of intellect).
Fear of drowning is not a rational argument UNLESS the forces moving you and the water are GREATER THAN your own muscular system / level of internal fuel needed to create kinetic energy for survival.
The Average (healthy) Human should be able to float above water naturally for 30 minutes without even thinking about it (just moving their 2 arms). This is very basic floating requirement life guards know at the age of 16 to save a man 50% heavier than him or her.
Call it what you want, BUT evolution has already perfected basic motor skills like swimming with little or no effort. Dolphins are mammals. Humans are mammals. The only difference is that we can easily handle land and water.
lol I read the part about being born with the ability to swim I thought about this really messed up* study that was done a few years ago...these guys put babies(I think they were around 6 months old) in a swimming pool, and the basic reaction of each child they put in was the same, turn so its face was up and then float.
I'm off to google now to see if I can find it, will edit with a link if I do.
*messed up morally not scientifically. its really messed up to throw babies into a pool, but the actual science behind the study was sound.
edit: couldn't find the study I know about, but I found something similar. this is about certain 'reflexes' babies are born with and mentions the study I brought up: http://www.babycenter.com/404_is-it-true-that-babies-are-born-with-the-ability-to-swim-and_10313062.bc