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Making firearms scale without just making "cooler" guns do more damage?

Discussion in 'Codex Workshop' started by deuxhero, Oct 17, 2019.

  1. deuxhero Arcane

    deuxhero
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    There's several main problems with looting firearms in RPG/RPG esque games.
    1: Economy
    Either A: There's a durability stats that exists purely for busywork and to turn what was, for the enemy, a perfectly functional firearm into worthless trash the second you pick it up b: You can, and must, pick up and loot all the dropped guns to sell for money because less shit guns cost massively more because you can pick up and sell all guns. c: You arbitrarily can't pick up enemy weapons, or can't sell them.
    2: Quality scaling might as well be HP bloat
    Weapon quality keeps progressing and HP must scale to match, leading to low tier weapons being essentially spitballs against anything higher "level".
    3: There's no reason to keep using older guns.

    New Vegas had a good idea to make weapon tiers flow more naturally by giving reasons to use lower tier weapons in place of high ones: Single Shotgun has a higher damage than double shotgun (which makes sense since it has a longer barrel), Varmint rifle can be scoped/silenced where the service rifle can not, 9mm pistol has higher capacity and rate of fire than the revolvers after it, Marksman Carbine used common ammo, Recharger rifle/pistol has no ammo concern and more. It also obfuscated their presence by intentionally leaving some tier spots blank. New Vegas still had its flaws though, like higher tier weapons being better for no clear reason and even the lowest tier weapons being valuable enough for their weight to sell to willing vendors if the condition isn't too terrible (especially so with jury rigging).


    Idea 1: Start with very lame weapons nobody is really interested in buying. Gun quality improves not by doing more damage, but by shedding really obnoxious deficiencies.

    Tier 1:
    Slamfire Shotgun: High damage, low range, low refire rate, delay in firing.
    Luty: Very fast firing at typical damage, but also prone to jamming and has no accuracy since it isn't rifled. Uses real ammo that actually costs something.
    Traumatic Pistol: Relatively high number of rounds (~14) and fast firing, but weak, low accuracy and low range
    Cap and Ball revolver: Five/Six shots of acceptable damage at somewhat acceptable speeds, but practically impossible to reload under fire.
    Single shot 22lr rifle: Accurate and high range (compared to the others listed), but low damage and slow to reload. While the only factory firearm, it's still a rimfire and thus ammo randomly fails.

    Tier 2:
    Single shot shotgun: Strictly better version of the slamfire shotgun.
    Surplus bolt action: Acceptable but not great accuracy, high damage, good range, and uses ammo that's readily obtainable. Slow to refire and reload on top of being heavy. Can also be made prone to rimlock (functionally a jam) on refire if it uses a rimmed cartridge (Which the only one to be common and use an extant cartridge, the Mosin Nagant, does)
    Traumatic Pistol (New barrel+Lead ammo): Trades reliability (this is craft made ammo of a type that the "gun" was never meant to work with) for much greater damage.

    Tier 3:
    Real Guns!

    Problem is this requires some degree of setting cooperation. This wouldn't work in a place where real guns are accessible (legally or not) like an African war zone, a(n) agency/black money slush fund backed spy, or the US, but would fit European criminals (STALKER). It also makes the early game punishing for casuals (but that may be a good thing), and loses impact after the early games except for allowing quantity enemies without showering the player in loot.

    Idea 2: Ammo quality matters.

    With modern firearms the biggest impact on accuracy is the ammo used: Even budget guns can be sub MoA with decent ammo. This is likewise true for reliability (ammo related malfunctions far exceed other ones) and damage (quality hollowpoints do far more damage than FMJ). I know of only one game, 7.62 High Calibre with Hard Life mod, that did actually made ammo of differing quality obtainable, but it really only had low quality ammo in the very early game and only for a limited number of calibers (some poorly stored 7.62x51, 7.62x39 from everyone that makes it, and some steel case 5.56 to my memory). This adds some resource management where your quality ammo is an important commodity.

    Are there any other ways to fix/improve the problems that you can think of?
     
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  2. Wunderbar Arcane

    Wunderbar
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    Deus Ex way - every gun falls into its own niche. Instead of crapton of pistols you have only two of them - one is silenced (for stealth) and one is for direct combat, instead of dozens of rifles you have only two - assault and sniper, etc, etc. Allowing you to upscale early guns using weapon upgrade system / perks is a good solution too
     
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  3. The Brazilian Slaughter Arcane

    The Brazilian Slaughter
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    I don't think A is necessarily bad, but it gets annoying. I think it could be vastly simplified if there was just a "strip weapon parts", where the higher the durability of the original, the higher the share of weapon parts you get.

    Durability also doesn't make sense if it doesn't actually matter. Having to deal with jams and whatnot

    c) Might make sense if the its a futuristic/fantasy setting and guns can be somehow locked to their users. Still, I don't see what stops people from simply dismantling the gun - self-destruction?

    I'm not a fan of that approach either, because that's not how guns work.

    Also I hate HP scaling and think it needs to die in a fire.

    FNV did it fairly well in that regard. Older guns often did things newer ones could't, had upgrades and they were always good for plinking weaker enemies and saving ammo for the good stuff.

    Yup, FNV did it pretty well. It was made by people with knowledge and love of guns and it shows.

    Also it had different types of ammo!

    I don't remember the higher tier weapons being better for no reason. Ok, maybe 9mm Pistol -> Maria.

    I don't mind the prices being good if the condition is good, its a reward for effort.


    That's the best approach, in my opinion.

    You can also do damage progression by increasing calibers. Say, .22, .32, .38, .357, .380, 9mm, etc.

    I feel post-apoc is best in that regard because it really allows for both a mix of total bootlegs and real guns.

    This should totally be a thing.

    So end-game ammo should be top quality and weaker ammo-type deficiencies.

    One thing I'm surprised no one did is depleted uranium ammo being used in lower calibers. Did you know they made a few 7,62 x 51 DU bullets? Rare as hell, but its true.
     
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  4. deama Arbiter

    deama
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    I think guns should just act like actual guns, you know, be able to kill someone in 1 hit. That's it.
    If you wanna make the "combat" harder then you should figure out a better way, like how deus ex done it with accuracy.
     
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  5. deuxhero Arcane

    deuxhero
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    Forgot to include in the OP
    3: Make it difficult to carry multiple guns.
    Just carrying a purpose built rifle case backpack with a few rifles and pair of handguns in it isn't so much heavy, but awkward to carry. Some kind of JA2 1.13 style very limited inventory space for large items would work.

    Problem with that is you quickly run into hand cannons and have very common calibers (9mm is more common than anything smaller that isn't 22lr, anything between .22 and .380 is practically non-existent in modern firearms or ammo sales) be bizarrely rare and restricted to mid/late game.
     
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  6. Poos Arcane

    Poos
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    what about stuff unrelated to inventory jiggery-pokery?

    like being unable to change weapons during combat

    or a way of disabling savescumming before entering into a battle

    would this ensure or encourage what the OP is after
     
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  7. deuxhero Arcane

    deuxhero
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    Poos
    Unable to change weapons during combat? What the hell does that come from? There's literally multiple sports (or, at least, one sport with multiple variants) based on switching weapons on the clock. I've got at least one autobiography of a veteran switching to pistol after his rifle jammed thanks to black follower (a transition that saved his life according to him). Not only that, it does nothing to fix looting afterwards or making gun progression good.
     
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  8. Poos Arcane

    Poos
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    cool... sports

    thought we were talking about vidya games

    mods please move thread to the appropriate thread
     
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  9. Krice Educated Developer

    Krice
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    I didn't get what the actual problem is. The only one I can think of is balancing which goes with all weapons, not just guns or ranged weapons. If you think about something realistic you need to stop, it's a computer game. You can do lots of things to balance weapons. Make them harder to find/buy, less ammo for powerful guns etc.
     
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  10. rusty_shackleford Arcane

    rusty_shackleford
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    This really isn't something that has a general answer because the most valuable asset of a firearm changes entirely based on the setting.
    From a lore-ish perspective: In a setting like Fallout, ammo is king followed by reliability. Shift a bit to Underrail, and more emphasis is placed on how much damage you can actually do because of things like shields and lots of armored beasts.

    I think one thing games don't do well is being taken out of combat after being hit. Who knows, maybe hardened special forces guys are capable of returning fire after being hit, but I'd probably either be in shock or trying to get to safety as fast as possible.
     
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  11. spectre Arcane

    spectre
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    The answer might depend on the place of firearms in your combat system. Is it the main focus, or a side thing to melee.
    If the game focuses on combat with modern guns, you can take a page out of Jagged Alliance's book.

    You start the progression with WW2 guns, then move to the Cold War stuff, finish with guns used by present-day spec ops. This approach gives you valid weaponry for all types of engagements - sidearms, close quarters, carbines, battle rifles, support weapons, precision rifles.
    If each such weapon type is justified in the game's system, you did something right.
    When it comes to progression for guns of each type you'll see - increased ergonomics, lowered weight (important when you actually need characters to carry other important stuff), lower recoil (or better recoil control), higher accuracy (also capability of accurate rapid fire), more weapon attachments, available ammo types, increased ammo count.

    Then there's the matter of body armor - you can have progression in this regard with body armor getting better and less cumbersome, whereas more advanced ammunition gets better at defeating it - this lets you keep the same feel as with the typical damage and HP mechanics,
    without actually using those.
     
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  12. laclongquan Arcane

    laclongquan
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    Weapon durability.

    This was demonstrated in Fallout New Vegas and Hammer & Sickles.

    It reduce weapon's life considerably, making cool weapon more precious. So either you give in and find methods to repair them, or you have to use lesser weapons alongside. FNV give the ability to dismantle weapons to fix one. HS dont bother: you buy good ENG item to fix it, or you lose it.

    The problem is that it increase item amount. Before you have 5 basic rifle in your inventory, now you have five separate item with different durability. both FNV and HS display this problem well.

    The other problem is that players dont want to play the fixing game. PERIOD. this is a human nature, it seem. A lot of people really dont want to hear about fixing and maintainance and in game they dont want to touch that either.

    With durability in use, great weapon naturally be delayed in use until important moments. And item scarcity make weapon scale even more impactful.
     
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  13. deuxhero Arcane

    deuxhero
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    Problem is durability is either pointless or excessively high so as to be ridiculous. There is no middle ground.

    Firearms, especially modern firearms, don't break over time. There's a few small pieces that will wear down and become less reliable (springs mostly) or catastrophically fail (extractor), but these are cheap and easily replaced with very basic tools (punches, screwdrives and maybe a vice). The only part of that erodes over time, has performance quality constantly ticking down and is hard to replace is the barrel, and even then only for very fast calibers.
     
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  14. DraQ Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    STALKER did a lot of damage scaling, but due to lack of bulletsponginess damage was rarely the primary factor for choosing one's weapon, so you could try to experience the differences and then try to translate them into an RPG-like mechanics.
     
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  15. deuxhero Arcane

    deuxhero
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    Problem with STALKER was the main thing separating weapons is what accessories/upgrades they could take (limits which rarely had basis in reality), and guns otherwise felt very samey.
     
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  16. rusty_shackleford Arcane

    rusty_shackleford
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    Weapons falling apart is entirely fine for post-apocalyptic settings where weapons have been through long periods of neglect and abuse.
     
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  17. deuxhero Arcane

    deuxhero
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    Problem is not all guns in post-apoc were dug out of the ground. In Fallout, a large chunk of guns are from A: sealed vaults or b: new production (Gun runners, Enclave.).
     
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  18. rusty_shackleford Arcane

    rusty_shackleford
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    What kind of quality do you realistically expect guns manufactured by the Gun runners would have?
     
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  19. deuxhero Arcane

    deuxhero
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    At worst? Lower accuracy due to cruder barrel making, no interchangeable parts (at least between the production of different factories, as far as I know the first gun to really do that consistently was the M1 Carbine), lower quality steel and lack of some features like chromed barrels (lower long term durability and enviromental resistance, but not enough it would matter without a constant ammo supply). Gun runners have at least ~1850s level standards (plus smokeless powder) by their appearance in the original Fallout as a large chunk of stuff they seem to make there wouldn't be possible with anything less. A prewar gun kept preserved would likely be better, but the gun runners clearly aren't making something curde like a Luty. If there's a serious disadvantage for the Gun Runners, especially early on, it's production capacity/speed rather than what they can make work.

    If there's anything that would cause lower long term health in Fallout, it's corrosive primers instead of non-corrosive, but NV already has those as a separate, non-standard. I'd assume everyone is using vegetable oils instead of petroleum based ones for lube, but that's an issue for reliability and time between changing lubes rather than a gun going from fine to scrap in a few days.
     
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  20. laclongquan Arcane

    laclongquan
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    Look! Only AK-type guns can operate for long period, especially in sandy or muddy conditions. And that is because their designs are sturdy and can resist erodement.

    M16 and AR15 type rifles require maintaince like crazy. Police's firearms like pistols and M4A1, they require decent cares. At least every hundred rounds shot.

    Guns that dont require maintainance is guns stored in collection, with getting to shoot once or twice per year, and otherwise mostly in sealed condition, or at least closed room.

    The doing away with maintainance in games is entirely due to developer's decisions, not realistic at all in any scenario you can think off.

    EDIT: in particular, M16-type rifle is the most often-seen in game setting. And M16 types is infamous for problems with maintainance in desert, sandy, or icy conditions. Israeli, German (G3 guns), Swiss guns are almost always better than them in this aspect.
     
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  21. The Brazilian Slaughter Arcane

    The Brazilian Slaughter
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    True that.

    If your tech is very schizo, you can also work with things like people using slower velocity black powder and lead balls, which would upgrade into minie balls and then into real bullets.

    Fun fact about muskets: You can fire damn well everything out of one, as long as it fits. Its just a big tube that shoots stuff using gunpowder. Rocks, shot, lead balls, minie balls, etc.

    Also re: calibers: Bigger is not necessarily better. Theorically, it means more damage, but in practice, bigger bullets are slower bullets. Bigger bullets are better at doing damage, but being slower, they are inferior penetrators. Its why rifles use large, thin bullets and pistols use fatter bullets: Pistols are used in close-combat and lack big barrels, so they will never fire out of the barrel as fast as a rifle, nor will have the time/range to accelerate to higher speeds, therefore they need to do serious damage on the way out at any range. Rifle rounds, on the other hands, are fired off rifles with larger barrels, and are made for long-ranged combat, their bullets are faster and better at penetration and stronger in general.

    A good example of Bigger =/ Not Better, is how the .45 ACP is actually not that strong of a round despite it being a big bullet, due to its relatively small powder load.

    If you got future-tech, you could also work with more sci-fi guns and bullets. Imagine, for example, a future gun made of super-strong materials (say, super-cheap future titanium?) firing bullets made out of depleted uranium and super-cheap titanium. You could have explosive bullets, poison bullets, EMP bullets, etc.

    Also, normal bullets and guns are not the only game in town. Gyrojets are a thing, fix its problems and you can have bolter-tier rocket guns, imagine firing a 14mm rifle round with less recoil than a normal assault rifle. Then there's coilguns, railguns and gaussguns, where the limits seems to be pretty much "Will this break my shoulder?"
     
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  22. laclongquan Arcane

    laclongquan
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    Actually, doing black powder weapons is easier to scale weapon.

    Because you can scale ammo instead. The deficiency in powder can be another way to scale.
     
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  23. Galdred Studio Draconis Patron Developer

    Galdred
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    One way to gate weapon progression would be by gating the licences to own and carry stronger weapons. It really depends on the setting, but anti material rifle, and machine guns or mortars are usually not something civilians can get easily.
    You can also make opponents that are very heavily armored, and woudl require some anti tank capabilities to make different weapons work against different people (or have vehicles!).

    You could also add today's prototype weapons or add-on:
    weapons and visors designed to shoot around corners, Ultrasonic googles, guided firearms, drones, rangefinder/laser designator for artillery strikes...

    I think it works better if base guns can kill someone in one (or a few shots), and high tier guns can kill/suppress more people from a longer range.
    Also, convincing suppression mechanisms also makes it much easier to make higher tiers weapons perform differently.

    A .357 magnum may one shot someone, but a .50 cal can suppress a platoon, and a sniper rifle may let you engage and withdraw.
    Of course, if you need to engage in dialogue first, and start combat 3m away from your opponent, you lose a lot of the benefits of better weapons, so here too, it depends on the settings, and the player role in it.

    Graphene based composite? The thing is, super strong materials would make more difference for body armor than weapon.
    You'd rather have supercharged gunpowder (or magnetic acceleration?) to improve your firearm.
    We can already make explosive bullets, but the problem is getting them to explode when you want (inside the target).
     
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  24. deuxhero Arcane

    deuxhero
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    7.62 Hard Life mod did that first one. The end result was you used one set of legal weapons (Semi-onlys with 10 round max mags) in the "stable" zone (where police actually care about the regime's law), and kept your other weapons in a stash just outside of the stable zone for killing everything else.
     
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  25. Hellraiser Arcane

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    Tie it to faction reputation. Only enough street cred should make the top of the line arms dealers give you the time of day.
     
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