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Physics Inventory

Discussion in 'Feature Suggestions' started by Arctic, Mar 15, 2014.

  1. Arctic

    Arctic Giant Robot Advocate

    • Tester
    Skip ahead if you can't be bothered to read

    Many games use some form of interface, be it a hologram or menu, in order to allow the player to access their inventory. Often, this can cause issues such as being able to carry obscenely large quantities of items or can detract from immersion. Obviously, the less interfaces there are, the more fluid and immersive the gameplay is. Inventory interfaces, of course, seem like a necessary evil that cannot be removed.

    I propose, however, a far more fluid and immersive - but slightly clunkier - interface system. When the player presses [TAB], they swing their backpack around to the front - thereby allowing themselves to access it - and holster anything they may be carrying in their hands.
    Their backpack would open and some icons would show up depicting any additional storage the player may possess - it is assumed the backpack is the largest single storage space the player has.

    We are going to assume the player has an empty inventory. When the player sees an item on the ground, they can press [INTERACT] on it to add it to their backpack or any smaller storage spaces. The backpack will come first. If no space is available, the item will go into the player's hands.

    They then open the inventory. The item is stored physically inside the inventory, complete with physics. The player can move the item around with the left mouse button, move it closer or further away with the mousewheel, rotate it with the right mouse button, or drag it into a picture of hands to draw it. The screen also would contain several pockets and pouches representing any pockets the player had. These would be able to store only one thing by metric volume - no putting your BFG into your breast pocket.

    If the player had several items in, they would have to rummage around in it to find what they wanted. Like in real life, careful storage is a must. The player may even pull out several items to find what they want. Items in pockets can be accessed easily - like in real life. The physically bigger their backpack, the more they can carry. Blocks would have reduced size and stack to save on physics calculations and save effort and time.

    When the inventory is closed, all items are reduced to simple hitboxes within the backpack and without physics. They would in essence become parented to the backpack. This is to save CPU time. If the player is shot, and the bullet hits one of the hitboxes, the item will become damaged. This allows for incredibly detailed bullet-damage simulation to your items.

    Magazines placed into your pockets will be used automatically when reloading. So while you can only carry few magazines in your pockets, you will be able to use them better. This would help to reduce the amount of ammunition players would be carrying and encourage saving ammo.

    Another advantage that comes with this system would be easy theft. A thief could open someone's backpack and take what they wanted - provided they could make little enough noise. There would be a loud noise when someone opened your backpack, and there would be plenty of warning. So a friend could open your backpack and take some carrots to stew over the fire. Dropped backpacks could also have this property.

    Weight could be simply calculated by adding together all objects stored within the backpack.

    Any items sticking out of the backpack would be subject to physics and vulnerable to thieves or falling out.

    Guns with safeties turned on (Or are just plain unreliable) might misfire when the player falls or the gun is shot. This might create some interesting weak points.

    Inventory management becomes much more of a puzzle and much more immersive.

    Skip to this bit if you can't be bothered to read

    So, to summarize:
    - The backpack is a physical space.
    - You can put physics items into the backpack.
    - These items have no physics when the backpack is closed.
    - The player also has pockets to store small things in.
    - Reloading only cares about magazines in the pockets.
    - If the backpack is shot, items could get damaged if they are hit.
    - The more items in the pack, the harder inventory management becomes.
    - Items sticking out can fall out or be stolen.
    - You can crop backpacks and other players can access the items inside.
    - Pockets can store one small item each.
    - Blocks have sizes reduced for convenience.
    - The backpack can get damaged and items can fall out of the holes.

    + Unique, has never been done before
    + Allows items to be realistically sized
    + Reduces amount of ammunition players can carry and use
    + Immersive and realistic
    + Cuts down on UIs
    + Makes inventory management more challenging

    - Clumsy
    - Requires expensive physics calculations
    - Possibly frustrating
    - Hard to find what you want to find
    - May end up being unbalanced
    - Unfamiliar, players may end up not knowing how to use the interface
    Tery215 likes this.
  2. scarere

    scarere <Battle Scarred Jesus>

    • Member
    This seems like it might end up being a chore. Although I like the idea of the player swinging his backpack infrot of his face. Maybe we could use this for the interface, there would be a list of stuff the player is carrying, and as the player scrolls over items they kinda slide out of the backpack or something like that.

    Also, this game will become very tedious if the player can only carry realistic amounts of weight. There has to be someway around that. I do remember someone mentioning that maybe the the PDA could have some high tech storage device that would allow the player to hold more than a human could normally carry.

    Anyways this is just off the top of my head, and i'm sure there are more immersive, and less tedious ideas around this.
  3. tetryds

    tetryds cus tet, that's it

    • Member
    I like this idea but the PDA seems to be easier to use and implement.
    It would be great if there were both, the PDA would only be abble to carry block particles, the backpack would carry items.
    You would also have a place to put a pistol and a heavier gun, and can craft better carying equipment as you progress.
    Or have the PDA to dislpay the backpack on your back and then it brings/materializes the item on your hand?
    And have a different storage for blocks and more clusterry items/blocks that you access from the PDA itself other than the backpack.
    I don't really know, but i like this idea a lot.
    I know some games that would make big profit of this.
  4. PsychoticLeprechaun

    PsychoticLeprechaun Designer & Web Developer

    • Dev Member
    This is how I could see the inventory system going:

    How the Inventory Works

    The player would carry items using a module on their PDA, this module would act somewhat similarly to that of the Transporter in Star Trek - whereby matter is disassembled and then transported rapidly, to be reassembled using a pattern signature on the other end. For those familiar with Star Trek: this would work without the problem of pattern signatures weakening over time whilst in-Transport, of course.

    So basically, the PDA takes the item, disassembles it, transports it to and then stores it in a dense manner inside a chamber, or other carriage vessel (could be contained in the PDA itself possibly).

    Carry Capacity Factors

    The player's carry capacity factors would be:

    Weight - The player would only be able to carry so much based on the weight of the items they hold. So if the player character is weaker, they would be able to carry less than a stronger player character in terms of weight. Obviously, items would have a base mass, with their weight being calculated per planet's gravitational field strength, so that would mean that the same player would be able to carry less on a planet twice as dense, but the same size as Earth.

    'Volume' - In certain cases, the player would only be able to carry up to a certain 'volume' of items - the PDA can only 'squish' up items so far. So if a player is carrying say, a rather complex piece of machinery, some tools they need at that time, and a few stacks of blocks, they would be able to carry no more items, even if their strength permitted and the weight of the items carried were not exceeding or meeting the weight limit.

    Carry Capacity Factor Dependencies

    The dependencies for these carry capacity factors would be:

    Strength - The stronger the player character, the more weight of items they would be able to carry.

    Technology - The PDA's storage module could be upgradable, with each iteration allowing denser storage, thanks to better disassembly techniques. Also, the module could be upgraded so that basic items (i.e. blocks) could be converted into item-energy, which is stored in an item-energy storage device, and then the pattern stored on the PDA computer. I say 'item-energy' because otherwise there would be no explanation for why the energy could not be simply used to produce anything else (unless that would be a very late technology similar to the Replicators in Star Trek). When the player wishes to access that item, the PDA simply reassembles the item using that said item-energy - meaning that while in storage the mass of the item is reduced allowing the player to carry more before reaching the weight limit.

    Gravity - The lighter in mass the planet, or other large body, the more the player may carry due to reduced weight of items.

    Physical Carriage Methods

    Of course, in some cases, such as ammunition, tools and other items that require quick access would not be stored in the PDA's solution: it would be simply to long a time period for the player character to get at these things via it. So in these cases there ought to be a physical tool belt, and maybe even physical backpack that the player can store certain items on/in. I believe these should be very limited in the number of things that could be carried, and certainly should not offer an alternative to the PDA's solution for things such as blocks (it just makes no sense to store blocks in a backpack, even one would be larger than it - the PDA has at least some scientific grounding to it).

    Game Difficulty Effects

    So, there will definitely be game difficulty settings, and I feel that one of the key areas that could be exploited which is rarely - if ever - in games of this kind, is that carry capacity ought to be affected by difficulty. What I mean by this is rather simple: harder difficulties means that the ability to carry large numbers of tools and such on the tool belt/backpack would be limited, and perhaps even the effectiveness of the technology in the PDA storage solution.


    • PDA has a disassembly system similar to the Transporters/Replicators of Star Trek.
    • Inventories ought be limited in capacity by weight and 'volume' - 'volume' being volume of information/disassembled molecules.
    • Strength of player, Gravitational strength of planet and Technology implemented by PDA should affect storage capacity.
    • Tool belt/Backpack for items needing immediate access (no physics applied, just works as a bog standard quick access inventory.
    • Game Difficulty should affect carry capacity.


    Those are my thoughts - let me know what you think!

  5. Arctic

    Arctic Giant Robot Advocate

    • Tester
    I prefer the idea of physical storage. Also, what if you could store objects based on complexity, because the PDA has very little memory and compression only goes so far... Lets storage be much more balanced.
    Food for thought.
  6. tetryds

    tetryds cus tet, that's it

    • Member
    So you would only store simple items like block particles on the pda... now i Had an awesome idea about chest storage.
    What about we have the physical inventory and a small PDA inventory.
    You can build a sort of chest to store blocks, plants and simple stuff.
    All other items, such as armor, weapons, consmables, liquids are actually Physical bodies and cannot be stored into a magic teletubies poo bag.
    Now ill explain more specifically the consequences and why i believe its a nice idea.

    PDA chest: A chest that has the same kind of storage of the PDA, you can deposit or remove simple specific items from it when nearby it, but it takes some time.
    With technology, you can build transmition stations, that allow you to access that PDA chest from further away.
    With enough support, the PDA chest can be accessed from far enough, but transfering items using it will take longer the further you are.
    You can do some stuff while transfering from the PDA, but you cannot use it while transfering.
    When nearby, the transfer is almost instant.
    PDA chests, if too powerfull will have it's signal detectable, and with a lot of time and effort you can figure out where the signal comes from, but it can be a false positive and takes a lot of effort to track.
    Also remember, those chests are vaulable, to hack into them you would have to access it using a chest unlocker, when that happens the owner of the chest will receive a warning on his PDA.
    Automatic defence can also be placed to ensure safety, such as turrets or just hiring guards.

    The PDA materializer: Via the PDA materializer you are abble to dematerialize blocks and simple items and store them into the disassembled state. Reassembling the items for placement and use is not instant, and you cannot access things stored on the PDA chest on the go, you must have them on the PDA storage you carry with you.

    Physical items: The physical items are items such as swords, guns, axes, food, liquids, ammo, explosives, medicines (some kinds), animal skin and technological devices.
    These items, as Matt and Arctic mentioned, would require belts, backpacks and bags in order to be carried.
    They always remain at the full size, and the weight directly affects you.
    Your PDA self storage device must also be carried with you as a physical item, if it breaks off or if you lose it, it blows up and the items on it are lost/spread all over.

    Physical item storage: All physical items must be stored as physical items. You can store them on drawers, wardrobes and stuff like that.
    I find this awesome, because this way you are actually have to make a room for your guns and armor that would be just amazing.
    There can be physical chests too, they should be very simple and easy to make and would be used to store anything on it, but you actually have to place iems on it.
    Several kinds for specific uses could be made, like an armor or gun showcase.
    Refrigerated backpacks and freezers could be in the game to store food or unstable highly explosive fluids.

    If storing everything as physical objects seems like a bad idea we could add a specific kind of item dematerializer, as the item is more complex it requires a specific dematerializer.
    So you would have it like a soda machine, you need one for guns, one for armor, and so on.
    Maybe we could use this but for some items like food and medicines, keep the more complex stuff from being mass stored seems fine to me.

    Ofcourse that idea would need a lot of balancing and deciding which item fits on each category.
    make it moddable so someone can make everything mass storageable would solve the problem of some people not liking it.
  7. Arctic

    Arctic Giant Robot Advocate

    • Tester
    Ah, so using the demat to store blocks and stuff and putting guns, food, ammo, etc. in a physics-inventory type system? I think that would work pretty well actually. I also like the idea of unstable liquids and food going off in your backpack if you're not careful. And having to store food carefully sounds great!
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