Bows, Crossbows and Their Balance


Yeah it’s not overly difficult in mechanical terms, it’s just a matter of practicality. Energy cost, weight/size of the motor, battery weight, noise of the motor, complexity compared to something like a spud/BB gun, etc. I’m sure it would be less complicated than a pneumatic weapon like the PBD, but something similar that fulfills the same role of one-shot and powerful should be pretty easy. A spud gun or BB gun basically, but with an electric pump.

Pretty sure the Half-Life crossbow doesn’t even have enough strings on it, and the idea of firing a piece of red-hot rebar from a crossbow is pretty damn silly.I wouldn’t call it combat ready, and it doesn’t even auto load.


It’s really repeating crossbows and ballista where an auto loader has practicality. The former because it eliminates the need to basically “mount” the weapon while you steady/aim it with one and crank with the other; you can aim with both hands. The latter just to eliminate the otherwise demanding need for physical exertion.


I pulled out all the arrow and bolt data from the weapons spreadsheet

The steel bolt variants all look balanced against each other. The metal arrows are a little wonky: the metal bodkin has 85% of the range and damage of the target, but 3x the AP. It probably shouldn’t be that good - AP 8 or 9.

And of course, all the other arrows and bolts are all over the map. The explosive arrow is super heavy, though fairly high damage and AP, while the explosive bolt is super light and has decent range but almost no AP. All this stuff needs to get reviewed.


Yay! I do’d something helpful. *\(^v^)/*


You’re the best, man. I know I could write a python parser to pull all that data out, but it would take time. I’m glad someone else had that time.


Mmm. Lovely. More for my todo list…

Yeah, arrows/bolts are pretty borked. I’ve only really looked at the metal arrows/steel bolts because my changes were originally a mod and I was just adding options. Now I’m working the base game I suppose I actually have to fix broken stuff.

That said, your spreadsheet is really nice and should help out a lot. Saves me quite a bit of time. Thanks.


I’ve got too many PRs backed up right now, so playing with spreadsheets is a good way to contribute to the project.


Not to muddy the water but have you considered how tanks in modern warfare use arrows?

Seriously. An armor piercing tank shell will fire an arrow.

Ok soooo the relevance right? Well. I was thinking about auto loading and such and it crossed my mind, that if you encase an arrow with a light piece of foam or some other material(for argument sake in recipe= 1 piece of plastic) You could have each bolt encased and ready in some tube like quasi shotgun crossbow.

Yeah, yeah. I know I suck at descriptions. But assume it looks like a pipe + bow + under barrel(like a shotgun) = pump action crossbow with a small electric motor to draw the string when pumped.


Shotgun bolts are already in cataclysm they are called flechettes.


Heh…no. Ignoring sarcasm. Just a little more detail in my description.

Flechette cartridges/shells are mini darts packed into a shotshell that disperse like confetti instead of, say, pellets.

An actual arrow or bolt wrapped like a slug is what I mean. Ala AP tank round.


same thing, you just want thrust bigger, thicker rods into people even harder. :grinning:


Porn crossbow? lol

True. But single shots without chemical propellant, using analogue method to stay within archery boundaries. But I dig your humor mate. :wink:

edit: oops…analogue for multiple pumps to draw the string and an optional addon for the electric battery powered version…counts as analogue still right?


You mean APFSDS? The main point of those is firing a smaller, harder round from a large-calibre gun. The only time that would be practical for a handheld weapon is you you wanted to do the same thing for a .50 cal rifle, which they probably already do. As far as normal arrows are concerned, I’d imagine most guns would shatter a standard arrow pretty easily.

As far as using it to make a semi-automatic crossbow, there’s no reason to use that over a dedicated magazine unless you also wanted it firing soda cans or something weird like that.

Not sure if analogue/digital comparisons are really viable for this discussion.


Basic principle yes. But not with propellant. The bow and string would be the standard launch method. The “cartridge” style bolt would just be an easier means of advancing the next bolt.

Hmm…Think of a shotgun. Now add a bow horizontal over the top. The top barrel has the string release cut to allow the bow to function(top barrel 2 lines for the string to traverse like a lane). The casing around the bolts only loosely hold together, so that when the bolt is loosed. The bolt then sheds the casing like the AP round, but with no chemical propellant. Just the bow power.


Yeah I can’t see that working very well. Gravity fed magazine would probably work just as well, or a simple sliding mechanism based on the movement of the string. There’s really no reason to use a discarding sabot JUST for cycling unless the mechanism isn’t meant for the ammunition.


I have seen a top down loader like you suggest. It wouldn’t be bad. Just bulky. But the smaller under tube shotgun style would work a little better for bulk purposes and for better stealth. Small bolts, half size of standard with tight fletching.

But I get what you are also saying. I like both ideas.
Yours in action:


Anything using discarding sabots is going to be bigger by default. The shotgun method basically relies on short bolts, which means a short draw on the crossbow, which means you basically have a weirdly long pair of tubes with a little crossbow on the end as opposed to something nice and compact like the one in the video. Tube magazines work okay because bullets and shells are fairly short, but they still don’t compare to the density you can get in a box/drum magazine. Same would go double for bolts, since they’re much longer than bullets.


Well I still like both. Maybe shooting little disc shurikens then? xD

Shotgun style shuriken masta!

Hmmm…hey now, theres an interesting game idea. Have a pump action shuriken bow caster. The disks would be like a roll of silver dollars and each pump knocks the string and ready to fire. The size would be about that of the video crossbow guy. But less bulk on top.



Except you’d need a complicated mechanism to lift and rotate them onto the string as opposed to letting them just fall into place from a magazine if you wanted the magazine horizontal on the bottom. That said, I think any kind of disc projectile would be wildly inaccurate, so I’m not making anything like that.


Had to look this up. But these…not great. But if you blade fins were heavier than the middle part. The spinning motion should provide enough centrifical force to keep the shuriken level and reasonably accurate. Keep in mind real people used these circle star at 20 yards accurately.

Using a top down method would allow the disc to fall into the slot barrel to be fired.

A couple crap examples. But not bad either.