It's Christmas Day and Daleron is here hanging out. My daughter is asleep and the living room is a disaster but I find coding relaxing so we hacked out some C# together.

In this post we're going to take a quick look at one of the ways we're making the so-called "useless skills" into something useful. In this case we're going to take a look at the Taste Identification skill. As far as I'm aware, the only real use of TasteID is to taste a potion or food to see if it's poisoned. Neat roleplay value, but frankly you can just eat the food and then cast Cure on yourself, or get a guildmate to do the same if your template does not include Magery.

So generally, that would render TasteID rather useless and so we decided to try to liven things up a little, while sticking to the following principles:

  1. We're in a Crafting/Gathering testing focus
  2. Risk vs Reward
  3. Encourage Player Interaction
  4. Incentivize actually playing the game

Without further ado I present to you the Survey Tool:

Survey Tool

This little fella looks like a shovel, but instead of letting you dig for ore, it lets you survey trees or mineable rock tiles for resources.

Long-time readers may recall a previous post about Resource Density Maps and how they have the potential to spice up the crafting side of UO. Well, this is one of the ways. You may recall that my implementation of resource density maps can be visualized like a stack of paper where each sheet has been filled using the "Gradient Fill" tool from Photoshop at a random point.

What our custom Gathering system does is first decide which sheet of paper you pull from the stack, and then it represents you and the gather node on that sheet as points on the UO game map, and decides whether or not you get resources based on skill and distance from the node.

By contrast, the Survey Tool lets you drill a hole through the entire stack of paper and see what's on each sheet, at the point where you drilled. If you have in your pack a pen-and-ink set as well as a blank book with sufficient empty pages, then you can use your survey results to automatically populate the pages of the book with a field report that details what resources you sampled. Survey Tools drop as loot and cannot be repaired the way armor or weapons can, so if they break that's it.

I like this solution for a lot of reasons, some of which are:

As for why it uses the Taste Identification skill in particular? Well, you'll have to try it for yourself and see!