I switched gears to progression this week, and I've made quite a lot of progress. We're hoping to have this new gameplay system go live with next week's forced wipe, October 5th.
First, other than default blueprints like campfires and spears and stuff, everything is locked. You'll need to obtain blueprints to learn how to craft more advanced items. How do you do that? Well, one way is via the research table, and I think this is its fourth incarnation. You throw a source item into it along with a specific number of scrap and it will produce a blueprint item. No "percentage of success" or anything like that, just a pure cost. This means that blueprints are tradable. In fact, I spent a good amount of time getting vending machines functioning with this system, so they can now buy and sell blueprints. When searching for items in the administrator menu, just click on the little blueprint icon next to the item of your choice (if applicable) and it'll sell/buy it as a blueprint instead of the source item.
How do you get scrap? Well, you'll find it in the world, and some items will produce it via recycling.
One other thing: workbenches. Based on the tier of item, it will require a specific level of workbench to craft. You'll be able to find the lower level workbenches at some radtowns, but have fun dragging all your stuff there to craft. The idea here is that each workbench will require a bunch of stuff that can only be crafted at the prior tier of workbench, so you can't really "skip ahead". Workbenches will also decrease how long it takes items to craft: the lower their workbench requirement relative to the workbench you are at, the quicker you can craft them, up to a 75% reduction in time.
All of these changes mean that I have to do a major overhaul of the loot tables, as we will once again need to drop full items at radtowns. One thing is for sure, this is gunna be a game changer. Hopefully for the best.
Everything is subject to change. We need to do this while we're still in EA. And I will try and get this on the staging branch as soon as possible. Stay tuned.