Yeah, this would be great. Currently, a lot of the crafting interface feels like tedious counting of materials and busywork queueing up all the components you need to make the final item (and making sure you aren’t crafting something else on another crafter that will use up some of those materials!).
There are three issues we are talking about here. At least according to how I see it. I’ll list them in the order that I think would solve the overall problem with the least amount of work under the hood.
- No ability for crafters to gracefully fail at crafting an item in their queue
Currently, a crafter will never stop trying to craft an item it does not have all the materials for unless you explicitly remove it from the list. Even if you change the priority of the item by dragging it lower on the list, the crafter will still try and craft it.
The crafter should craft the first item on its list that it can actually get all materials for and if the priority of that item is lowered (a new item is placed higher in the list or the currently crafted item is dragged lower on the list), then the crafter should look and see if there is a higher priority item it can craft instead.
If there is no longer enough items in the stockpile, in the crafters hands or on the crafters workbench then the crafter should check to see if there is another item it can craft in its entirety with current stocks. If yes, then it crafts that instead. If no, it waits until materials become available.
One of the major benefits here is that “maintain x of item” can be left in the queue without blocking crafting when it reaches the top of the list.
- No stockpile management system, so keeping track of what you have is extra fiddly
It would be good to see how much of each item you have in a stockpile (ignores items that are placed in the world or not yet in a stockpile).
This could be made similarly to the “place item” window, but as a simple list for all stockpile items. If you wanted to make it particularly robust, you could have the ability to list the number of items in each stockpile or drill down to show items in each stockpile.
It would also be very handy to color the number of Ingredients needed to craft an item in the crafters window. For instance, a Bundle of Leather requires 1 thread resource and 2 pelt resource. Say you had 1 thread resource, but only 1 pelt resource. 1 thread resource would be written green and 1 pelt resource would be written red. In addition, if you change the option to craft 3 items instead of 1, it would say 3 thread resource and 6 pelt resource and both resource lines would now be in red. Ultimately, it might also remove from consideration items that are in going to be used in crafting by items already in the queue by that crafter (and possibly other crafters too!).
Failing most of that, it would be quite nice to be able to click on a resource that is insufficient and have the crafting window give you a list of the crafters who can make that and then add the needed items to the bottom of their crafting queue.
A side comment here is that you should be able to directly type in the number of an item you want to craft or otherwise have a more elegant system for telling it how much you want to craft of something. It’s going to get really tedious clicking an arrow 49 times to tell a guy to craft 50 of something.
- No ability for crafters to work together to craft subcomponents for a major component
This breaks down into two parts. First, you need the crafter you’ve given the job to be able to create a sub-queue that makes resources (if they can be crafted) until the crafter has enough to do the job. Secondly, you would need the crafter to be able to subcontract on resources that can only be crafted by another profession.
Honestly, I think both of these things become much less noticeable problems if “maintain x of item” is functional enough that it doesn’t break the queue in the ways I mentioned above. By the time the UI is upgraded with extra information about your stockpiles, you probably don’t need to do anything here at all.