BitCraft Design Blog #2

Clockwork Labs
6 min readSep 25, 2023



In previous communications, we’ve talked about some of the skills you can do in BitCraft like fishing, farming, and smithing. In today’s blog, I want to dive more into what we consider as core-skills in BitCraft, and how we think about designing them. Core-skills are the skills in BitCraft which tie into the interconnected progression of all players and ultimately civilization.

Concept art showing explorations for farming outfits (not final)

As you might remember, our vision for BitCraft is one where the main progression in the game is centered around the aspects of civilization building as opposed to combat power progression. This means that, although there are no classes in BitCraft, we see the core-skills as more similar to classes than to professions/life skills in other MMOs, despite being thematically similar.

We use many of the game design principles which are typically used to successfully design combat classes in MMOs when thinking about our core-skills. This includes making sure each core-skill has a unique thematic fantasy that players can attach themselves to. It also means that each core-skill should have a valuable place in the player-driven economy of the game. It’s very important that we don’t end up with some core-skills being optional and others being required for groups of players to progress, or this will create a world where some players are not as valued based on their chosen skill. This applies not just to each core-skill but also to players of varying levels in each skill. We want to make sure there is room in the world and economy for players of lower levels in their chosen core-skill to be valued and not just the highest leveled players on the leaderboards.

Concept art showing explorations for cooking outfits (not final)

To promote cooperation, the game incentivizes players to specialize in a given skill so that when working in groups, players can achieve more together, rather than trying to pursue each core skill themselves. With that in mind, we ensure that for players to advance in the game, each core-skill has some essential contributions that it needs to make to support the advancement of each group and civilization as a whole. In order to reach the next tier of content, there is an interdependency web of things which involves each core-skill. This means that you want to have access to some player with a sufficient level in each of the core-skills to both advance and sustain at every stage of the game. This doesn’t need to all be within your group, but can be accessed through player to player trade as well. If you and a friend want to live in the woods and pursue farming and forestry you might need to visit nearby settlements to trade your products for needed items on a semi-regular basis.

In order to support the valued existence of lower leveled players, especially in larger settlements, we also make sure that there is a continual demand for lower tier items and resources. We do this primarily through what we call “funnel up” items. These are items which require the same item of the tier below as an ingredient to craft them. This creates a cascading effect which is amplified by the higher the tier. For example (not actual game content):

Tier 1: 2x Tier 1 Logs → 1x Tier 1 Plank
Tier 2: 2x Tier 2 Logs + 2x Tier 1 Plank → 1x Tier 2 Plank
Tier 3: 2x Tier 3 Logs + 2x Tier 2 Plank → 1x Tier 3 Plank
Tier 4: 2x Tier 4 Logs + 2x Tier 3 Plank → 1x Tier 4 Plank
Tier 5: 2x Tier 5 Logs + 2x Tier 4 Plank → 1x Tier 5 Plank
Tier 6+ …continued

In this table, you can see how making a single Tier 5 Plank might cascade to require dozens of logs covering each of the tiers below. Given that the acquisition and processing of each of these takes time, it creates a huge burden of lower level contributions to make small amounts of higher level items and progress. While this might be annoying content design in a single player or co-op game, we’ve seen strong indications that in a large scale multiplayer game like BitCraft, this can create a symbiotic relationship for higher level players to recruit and uplift lower level players to work together in a way that benefits everyone, as opposed to experience and items being funneled to only the highest level players of each skill in a group. It also further strengthens the demand for items between groups of players, creating a large opportunity for traders to move items around the world.

Concept art showing explorations for smithing and foraging outfits (not final)

Practically speaking, most larger settlements will want many players with specialty in each of the core-skills across varying levels. The core-skill experts themselves benefit directly from having apprentices sharing the same skill as them, by allowing them to focus on higher level tasks and leaving the lower level tasks for others to do and be useful.

Now is maybe a good time to introduce the current set of core-skills in the game, some of these have been revealed directly while others have only been alluded to. Keep in mind this list has already undergone some significant changes during pre-alpha and is liable to change further as the game progresses.

Core-skills Activities (Things you can do)
Forestry — Cutting trees, seeding and planting saplings, collecting sap, making charcoal
Foraging — Finding mushrooms, wild fibers, wild flowers and wild seeds
Mining — Mining for rocks, gems, ore and precious metals, prospecting
Fishing — Making bait, catching fish, processing fish
Hunting — Catching and harvesting animals
Carpentry — Sawing and carving raw wood into planks, beams and other wood products
Masonry — Crushing and carving stone, shaping and processing clay into ceramics, mixing mortar, cutting gems
Smithing — Preparing and processing ore, smelting and smithing ingots, turning metal into products
Tailoring — Processing fibers and filaments into fabrics and strings, creating products from cloth
Leatherworking — Making tannin, drying and tanning hides into leather, processing leather into products
Cooking — Making food and drinks, extracting oils for wood products
Farming — Preparing and planting seeds, tending to crops, harvesting and processing farmed crops,
At least 1 unannounced — ???

Another aspect we see as important across all aspects of the game is that the player is never forced to make a decision which locks them into that choice for their character permanently or prevents them from progressing their character in a different way.. This manifests as a player not explicitly locking into a given skill, but instead choosing one to pursue at the given moment with the option to pursue another later with no lockout or barriers. While there exists stronger incentives for players to pursue a single core-skill more deeply than to attempt to be a jack of all trades, we believe player’s shouldn’t feel a sense of loss aversion when considering trying out a different core-skill (e.g. needing to make a new character and start fresh). You can think of this as being similar to other MMOs where a player can swap their “class” or ”job” and ultimately pursue leveling all specializations if they choose.

Outside of core-skills and the main content progression there will be a lot of other aspects of the game to pursue as well so even if you want a break from leveling your chosen specialty, there will be many other activities and ways to progress your character or just have fun.

— Carter (Minch)