Bows, Crossbows and Their Balance


I didn’t say it was. Different poundage bows exist, as do some that are swappable. If I went for the swappable solution then the modern bow types would be swappable while the primitive types wouldn’t. It just has the disadvantage of causing some unnecessary bloat.

I like the gunmod solution because it means I only have to make a handful of bow bases and a dozen or so limb mods, as opposed to 60 or so individual different bows. Makes the math a bit easier, etc. I’m not 100% certain it would be more accessible to players, but it would substantially cut down on crafting list clutter and won’t make any difference to people once they notice the limb mods, and I’d write them into the description so it’s obvious.

I think both implementations (swappable or not) make sense, just one is way harder to implement and the other gives less short term options to the player. That said, I don’t know why anyone would need multiple different poundage limb sets for their bow.

I could meet halfway and do a set of modern, swappable limbs that can go on modern risers and a set of primitive irremovable limbs for primitive bows…

Then again, it might be sufficient to just have high, medium, and low poundage versions of all bows. It wouldn’t give the depth and loveliness that specific poundages has, but it would be a substantial improvement over the current setup.

EDIT: New thought: I could avoid most of the weirdness by giving all bow recipes a byproduct, something like “Unfinished Limbs”. I could give it a description explaining what to do with it and have it as the material for the poundage mod. That way people are told what to do to finish their bow AND can’t sit there and make 30 "10lb bow limb"s out of nothing.


They absolutely do not, even on bows where you can swap the limbs out, you need a press or similar tool to do it, and you need to completely re-tune the bow afterwards, it is not a short-term option at all. At least the time investment for limb swapping would be similar to crafting times, not a tactical option.

That’s the other thing, you need to make a case for how many variants you add. You can’t just arbitrarally decide you need dozens of bow variants and then use that to justify a unrealistic implementation.


Presses are only if you’re talking compound bows and probably crossbows. Recurves/longbows/whatever you can unstring by hand (well, leg and hand). With takedown ones you just unscrew a bolt and off they pop, stick on different ones. Tuning is a fair point, but you could easily have that as part of the mod install time.
Now I think about I’m not 100% CERTAIN that you could take 20lb limbs off a recurve and stick 80lb ones on, but at bare minimum there would be a substantial poundage band you could work within for a particular riser.

The case I’m making is just that multiple poundages exist in real life, and it would be really cool if they existed ingame. It would add a lot for bow/crossbow users if they could tune the power of their weapon to their needs/character.
The unswappabble pick-it-when-you-make-it method works well for that, only adds a limb mod for each poundage, and you only need as many as you think people would use, probably one for every other strength value up to 20. Plus a few really high ones for big crossbows.
I wouldn’t consider it unrealistic either way.


I do, I consider anything other than a fixed-poundage bow extremely atypical for something a survivor is going to craft, simplicity and robustness is going to trump configurability, especially if the user is going to be the only one using the bow.
I’m done with this for now unless you have something different to bring up, because this is going in circles.


So basically you’re against the swappable method, I getcha. I’m leaning away from that myself.


Kinda has to be that way for any reality in which anyone is going to survive this kind of event for any amount of time. The basic zombies have to be weak enough that a moderately exceptional (and/or lucky) individual can survive against thousands of them for a fairly extended period of time.

If they survive long enough, our character becomes extremely exceptional (incredibly experienced, adv. military gear, mutations, cybernetics, etc) - essentially superhuman. At which point they are able to tackle the much more difficult challenges they’d previously been avoiding (hulks, jabberwocks, etc).

Zombies in this world basically have to be weaker than humans at the baseline, or a single survivor scenario would just be untenable unless they started out as an action hero level character.

As for guns killing in a single shot - well, they should be capable of that if the goal is a high degree of realism, but if that approach is chosen then the game will eventually need several grades of more specialized anti-firearm protection in order to remain playable in the mid-late game where you are more likely to come across actual firearms or their otherworldly equivalents. Right now the amount of armor you have to wear to even slow down bullets makes you melee immune, when really the mechanism of defense between the two is quite different.


That doesn’t require low HP though, their lack of speed and AI is more than sufficient to allow survivors to thrive. The only real consideration is avoiding making them HP sponges from a fun point of view.


Zombies that rot would be weaker over a long span of time until after several years. They would simply fall apart. The initial wave of the undead would be the primary threat while after the player survives for a few years, all the mutants and other planar creatures would be the only threats left. Minus a small handful of fallen survivors.

Zombies should be weak. Think of a like of meat rotting outside a long while. After a couple of weeks and it gets rather squishy. In an arrid climate it may get stringy. But still weak.


Cataclysm zombies don’t rot though. They’re not that kind of zombie.


I’ve recently slapped together a working model of ranged damage to help make things more consistent across ranged weaponry, and its outputs for crossbow/bow damage/AP seem to be pretty relevant to the discussion here. When both bows and crossbows are put on the same model, they both seem to be pretty viable. I don’t think any mechanics changes or new bows/crossbows are needed at all to make each path attractive. If ya wanna check out the numbers on it here’s the graph comparing a compound crossbow and compound bow firing a steel bodkin/metal bodkin; EDIT: OH, important to note, the proportional difference in numbers on graph is the important thing here. The actual values themselves are very much in flux and can be changed.

TL;DR I think consistent math is the best way to solve this issue :ilu: *in spirit


I’m not 100% sure I understand what I’m looking at. The curved line represents the appropriate damage per kinetic energy value, modified by T which is how “stabby” as opposed to “bashy” or “expandey” the projectile is?

If so, it’s great for calculating realistic damages, but without taking into account things like reload time or strength requirements, it doesn’t really show actual combat effectiveness for crossbows/bows. Still useful of course, but I may look into fitting a similar reload time/strength requirement line to some values. Eventually I’d like to introduce a lot of poundage options into the game and have somewhat rational stat progression with them, which your graph should help with. Just need to work out some actual formulas… Ugh, why is everything hard?

Hella neato graph tho.


Yep! That’s about what the graph does, though one quirk of it is that as you said it uses kenetic energy as a value. Due to that number, any weapon that is entered into the graph already has to have all of those values figured out (or just guessed but that’s what caused inconsistency in the first place ;~; ).

The compound crossbow for instance is based off of the values of a high performance modern crossbow (400 grain bolt, 440 FPS, 200lb draw weight), so to figure out the reload/strength requirement all you’d have to do is find out the approximate time it takes an average human to reload a 200lb draw weight, with whatever aid mechanisms the crossbow has, and then use CDDA’s “normal human” STR value (8 iirc) for comparison. Could then make reload time linear with the change in STR or whatever else you wanted.


Yeah, that’s basically my plan. Get a few data points on the time/effort to load and fire a bow (probably based on myself, unless I can get some reasonable numbers online), then I plan to extrapolate to crossbows.

The eventual plan is to have poundage mods that are common between bows/crossbows, so you could have a crossbow with bow poundage for fast hand firing, or make a really high-poundage monster, etc. Reload time and strength requirement can be common between the two, but the crossbows will have loader mods to reduce the strength requirement in exchange for higher reload time so you can build a 1500+ siege crossbow and actually fire it (I.E the base crossbow will be hand-loaded and require nearly the same strength/time as a bow). That should even things out nicely, and let me extrapolate a long ways once I have some decent data. Plus, people will be able to customise their bows/crossbows TO THE MAX!!

And then? PNEUMATIC WEAPONS! evil cackling laughter


Is there a need for the mods in the first place? I thought all the different bow/crossbow types were there to accomplish pretty much just that. Having a modifiable bow/crossbow to that extent would pretty much null out all other bows/crossbows in the game. It’d just be one bow/crossbow that can be changed to be any other one.


The plan is to have all bows/crossbows work that way. As you get better skills you can make better, nicer ones, but most of them will be craftable in most/all poundages. Still an upgrade path, but people can make a bow that suits their character, rather than each bow requiring more strength and being generally better than the last. To be clear, the poundage mods will be permanently installed, so once you craft a bow and pick it’s poundage it’s stuck at that poundage.


I’m taking a guess that the difference between the base bows would just be the efficiency of converting muscle power to draw weight as well as dispersion?


Unless I’m able to convince someone to write a version of the gunmod damage function that multiplies rather than flatly adds, it will probably be along the lines of each type of bow having a flat damage/dispersion/strength advantage and poundage mods adding flat damage per strength, and maybe some extra reload time.

Still some working out to do on how I want to handle it.


In short, no. I’m definitely against “all bows” working this way, and I’m not convinced theres a reason to have anything work like this.


It lets players customise their bows to their strength/preferences and it’s realistic, where’s the issue?