Bows, Crossbows and Their Balance


Stumbled on this video from Tod the other day:

I liked it cause it agrees with some of the things already said here.
If it is possible to add lose of stamina when using bows then it could be easier to balance other things. Out of things he compared, you can see that medieval crossbow was the slowest to reload. Not necessary because of draw-weight and etc. but simply mechanics involved - necessity to attach reloading bit, do action, remove bit, place bolt. At the same time, a long-bow, while much faster to reload is much more difficult for him to aim, as it requires more “work” per aimed shot. From this point of view, even if crossbow is weaker and slower to reload you still could run to get a distance, aim as much as you want, make a shot and run again. With bow you would deplete stamina much faster and get more tired from trying to aim it well.


Well I’m sold.


Chinese’s repeating crossbow functioned in a similar way, but using lever instead of electric drill.


This is reasonable if your plan is to extract those two guns to a M:LL mod, and otherwise pointless.

I want to point out that the only context in which a cho-ku-no is “medium range” is massed volley fire. As an individual firing at individuals, I would characterize it as short range at best.

If this is a survivor-crafted weapon, any kind of autofire is a massive stretch. For one thing it makes the mechanism significantly more complex, and for another it drains power that the system can’t really afford to cycle the action.

I would prefer to just start over with pneumatic weapons instead of trying to shoehorn the existing made-up weapons into realistic-but-nonexistent niches.

Semi-automatic Pneumatic rifle. Commercially produced only, reliable, accurate, on par with low end of gunpowder rifles. Has a variable-sized magazine and a many-shot reservoir that will generally be externally filled. May be rifled. Implementation-wise, it’s relatively easy to balance since there are published muzzle velocities and projectile masses. Can also fire darts or arrows for use on softer targets.

Single-shot Pneumatic firearm. Also commercially produced, but amenable to crafting. Generally not rifled, but still capable of producing high projectile energies. Generally has a much smaller reservoir that is hand-pumped, but still capable of multiple shots per charge. Can also handle firing a bolt or arrow.

Single-pump pneumatic gun. This is closing in on the “BB gun”. These are never rifled, fire a small projectile, and are generally not suitable for hunting anything bigger than a bird or squirrel.

Single-shot spring-piston air rifle. Muzzle-loading, requires sheer mechanical force to re-compress the spring, but the action is much simpler and more robust. This would actually be eminently craftable for a survivor, and a great candidate for a craftable “superhuman strength required” ranged weapon. These don’t seem to be rifled, instead using spherical or self-stabilizing bullets.


I think Joerg Spraves constructions are pretty interesting and relevant examples in general. However, it seems to me there is an important manufacturing capability threshold between a well equipped home garage and a full blown commercial shop with machine tools and such.

For instance, consider the practicality of this:

VS This:


Like I said, the current two pneumatic weapons ingame are based on those in Metro, game-balance-wise it’s as valid a source as anything else.

Thinking on it, I think a degree of the “It’s survivor-crafted so it sucks” can be hand-waved by requiring complex components. There’s a high-pressure pump from diesel engines (not 100% sure it could be converted for air but I’m not an expert), pressurised tanks from flamethrowers, there’s thin copper tubing from fridges and crap like that, complex gearing from clockwork, all kinds of complex mechanisms that could be salvaged from existing guns and repurposed by someone that knows what they’re doing. I don’t know that I’m sold that a survivor with survivor tools could realistically put together a pneumatic arrow machinegun or something like that, but I think we have a lot of room to move with regards to what could conceivably be player crafted.


Yes you said that, but you’re wrong. The valid options going forward are:

  1. Leave them alone.
  2. Transform them into something that makes sense, which probably means completely replacing them.
  3. Extract them to a M:LL mod and do whatever you want with them.

Not on this list is “make them act more like the guns from M:LL but leave them in mainline”.

I disagree, part of the reason you can’t make really well functioning things is that you have no ability to make precision parts to stitch everything together. You can have as high-pressure a pump as you like, but if there’s a duct tape patch anywhere in your system, that is what limits your pressure level.

Plus the examples are informative:

Too heavy for use in a gun, and requires extremely high torque to operate. So you’d be limited to it being attached to a vehicle.

These may or may not have the right pressure rating for a heavy duty pneumatic gun, if you’re pressurizing with ambient air it limits accuracy, they’re too big to mount on a gun, they don’t have hoses for pressurized air transport, they don’t have the kind of valves an airgun needs, which limits peak power and accuracy even more.

tl;dr, this kind of high-performance device is almost always made from 100% custom parts, if you can’t make all the individual custom parts, you’re not going to get the same results. The result is, “It’s survivor-crafted so it sucks”. Bows are a lot more forgiving, because they just have to hold up structurally instead of having to maintain crazy high tolerances to keep the magic smoke in. Likewise the spring-actuated airguns are also a lot more forgiving, lack of tight tolerances there just leads to power loss, not catastrophic system failure.

If someone wants to buckle down and seriously take a look at what kind of fabrication is needed for this kind of thing, yes I could see allowing a lot more to be manufactured once a machine shop gets bootstrapped, but I’ve yet to see someone interested in doing that, and I’m not going to cut you a lot of slack if your starting position is that, “we should hand-wave a bunch of stuff away”.


I never said I wanted them to act more like guns from M:LL, i said it was a valid source for information on game balance. I made observations and brought forth some possibilities on what I found. At no point did I say that it was realistic or the perfect way to do it, just that it was a viable source of information.

I’m not going to argue about survivor crafting again, I think that’s been overdone. I’ll think on it some more and try to make it as realistic as possible going forward. Personally, I’d say that stopgap measures to allow cool items until we have proper crafting setups implemented isn’t a bad thing, but if that bothers you I’ll look into recipes for lathes and whatever else. Out of curiosity, do you have any suggestions for heavier machinery that would be required for this sort of thing?


Basic high school machine shop tools:

  • Band saw
  • Table saw
  • Drill press
  • Jig saw
  • Lathe
  • Belt or disk sander
  • Joiner
  • Micrometer / calipers
  • Mounted vise

I never did a lot of metal work, but you can use a band saw to cut metal if you know what you’re doing. Drill press is pretty much mandatory if you plan to do repeated precision drilling.

None of these machines have to be really huge - portable table saws exist because they’re really just powerful circular saws mounted upside down on a board - but a serious project would depend on several of them.


Most of those are more woodwork I think, but would definitely be useful going forwards, and there are a few recipes that could make use of them already (bow recipes perhaps?), not to mention all the neat things people might come up with.

Vise, calipers, lathe, drill press, table saw (with a metal-cutting blade), and a disc/belt sander could all conceivably be useful for complex metalwork. I’d also think a metal file, angle grinder, sheet metal bender (apparently called a brake?), and a sand casting rig would be handy for this sort of thing. Maybe even a laser cutter for precise parts? I’m trying to think of how something like a high-pressure valve could be constructed, and what would be necessary.

I think we’ll certainly have to limit the really high-power things to find-only, but I think the idea of the PBD being low-medium power but decent firerate is pretty believable for something a person would make.
Switching the PAR to be more of a single-shot rifle using bearings to reasonable range with decent damage would be fine, with the possibility of replacing the barrel with a scavenged rifled gun barrel to fire crafted lead airgun pellets to long range should also fit. Not sure if it should retain some form of magazine, but it’s a possibility.

We may just have to look at the possibility of adding compressed air canisters in various things, maybe some new items like a bicycle pump, high-pressure air pump, regulators for various things that use compressed air. All this stuff exists, it would just be a matter of finding reasonable places for a player to find it.

There’s also the possibility of the more powerful pneumatics taking special compressed air canisters to fire, but that would require the ability of have a gun use up charges or a secondary ammunition when firing, which I may look into. Said canisters could be refilled from a large, heavy, possibly vehicle-based air compressor which could be found or jury-rigged.


If you felt like fudging it a bit. You could add this:

It would have to be in a shop or a large vehicle though. Pressure requires 40k-60k psi. The average high over the counter air tank I found at a glance was 2600psi.

But has no heat generation supposedly.


Like you said, 40-100k PSI. That’s WAAAAAAAY beyond anything a survivor could reasonably put together without a factory of tools and a how-to manual. Then you’d have to lug it around and that… that would suck.

Laser cutters on the other hand are pretty common and smaller. Relatively easy to build and SEEM to be more accurate, based on a quick wiki check. We could fudge a recipe for it with any laser device, some assorted components, and a skitterbot.


Well. Yes. Being able to move this would be a task. But having pondered the many ideas for death mobiles. One could make something out of a decent engine and an RV…whether they want too…Meh… xD

But I am sure a practical use could be in the heat area of the device. If…perhaps I have a robotic arm. If I could stabilize this arm to a position I need. I suppose the tool could be used for a heat sensitive area on an object. What I can’t think of that. But something to consider for a future tense of the game perhaps?

In any event. It is heavy machinery. Throwing it out there.


It’s something you’d have to find, and leave, in a factory type location, maybe even a lab. While there are probably heat sensitive uses for water jet cutting, I can’t think of any that would be relevant to a survivor.


Ok. Cool.

Would you think it would make any difference using a mini-reactor as the source of power? I really don’t have any attachment to the tool. My usual brain storming. I think I’ll let it go irregardless. Cheers.


The power source isn’t the issue, it’s the massive pump and nozzle and actuators you’d need to make it all work. Seems they’re about the size of a bed, plus a large pump for the water. Certainly not something you could take with you in an RV. Might be fun as a factory tool you could find though, if someone comes up with something it would be necessary for that you couldn’t use a laser cutter or casting for.

split this topic #177

54 posts were split to a new topic: Greatbow balance


Speaking of crossbows.
Normal crossbow vs composite crossbow has pretty weird crafting tools requirements.
I.e. normal crossbow needs at least multi-tool, but composite crossbow can be crafted with just a sharp rock (stone knife, that is).


Hey that’s weird. I’ll have to look into that.