Custom guns system

I know that offer improvements without coding skills is rather indecent. And I know that this idea lies on the surface. But it s a drawing board. So I decided to discuss it.

I find gun crafting system is quiet clumsy with it`s endless list of recipes (but its low variability) and a poor cost-benefit ratio of crafted weapon. This situation makes gameplay is kind a lean, cause only one way to get a good gun you have - to find it.

The developers may object to me that homemade weapons cannot be effective by definition. But on the other hand, an effective weapon of the first half of the 20th century could be made as a kitchen-table effort. This has been repeatedly demonstrated in practice. In the presence of a lathe and punch press, it is even easier to make a relatively modern weapon than the same classic composite bow. Furthermore, the whole variety of small arms is not limited to gunpowder weapon, crossbows and bows. Sorts of pneumatics and no-gunpowder firearms are also quite effective and easy (relatively) to manufacture. After all, there are plenty of other item recipes in the game that, to be honest, are almost impossible to craft without some serious industrial equipment.

So i think it will be a good decision to create a gun construction system with a base details without constant material, caliber, shape and etc.
For example:
1.Formfactor: pistol, rifle, carabine
2.Basement: wood, plastic or metal (aluminium or steel) frame sorts of gun stock.
3.Guide type (barrel, crossbow stock), projectile type and “energy source” - elastic launching device (prod, rubber strips, springs) and bolts\pebbles, gunpowder and bullets (with existing caliber)… STEAM
4.Reload mechanics: blowback, gas-operated reloading, bolt action…muzzleloader…
5.Fire regimes: single, N-shots, automatic
6.Magazines and modification slots.
And etc.

As I dont know the abilities of CDDA platform, i cant offer any variants of realisation. Except automatic mod creator, which can write an item file.

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Can’t say its immediately a terrible idea, at least with the presumption of high skilled survivors involved in a long production run for generally less effective tech - Yes, firearms were made with machining tools comparable to what a survivor can drag into a building, but they did this with mass tooling. This tooling is what I think ultimately pushes this towards non-viable in practical play. Nobody was making barrels for M1903 Springfields with hand tools, but they were instead making special purpose machines and such to then do the machining for them. And this can’t just be dismissed as a scaling factor, that same machining is also essential to actually making any of the parts work reliably. History has many lessons from the introduction of smokeless powder proving how hand finishing is ultimately too unreliable to use for anything other than magazines for smokeless weapons. The first few minutes following the timestamp on this video [7:26 if it breaks] gives a period glimpse into the machinery and its complexity for even the 1950’s.

Designing weapons is also incredibly labor intensive, requiring a lot of machining, prototypes, and other such development even for weapons we’d think of as basic, like falling block rifles. Firearms might be classified by operating mechanisms and such, but the ways to actually assemble a particular set of features together is immense, with massive implications to final results. The Blish Lock is a great example of how we can get things wrong and still accidentally have it work out, and the opposite is true too, you can do everything ‘right’ and still end up with a death trap of a gun. There are guns designed to be manufactured in rough conditions from simple parts, like the Sten. But the Sten also has a well earned reputation for jamming, being unsafe, and being incapable of hitting anything without a lot of luck past 50ish meters. Letting the player simply ‘lego block’ a bunch of mechanisms is incredibly unrealistic. Making a system that allows designing weapons in detail is not an easy design task.

So any such gameplay mechanic should probably represent these extreme complexities and labor involvements, almost certainly as an endgame faction camp style thing and not something one dude spins up in a basement. Its entirely within our survivors manufacturing capabilities, but not as individuals, and not anytime soon. If you were to desperately need to make guns in the first year or two of game time, you’d be better served trying to clone an existing simple weapon with your hand tools, not invent it from scratch. Otherwise, firearms are a consumable resource - Barrels wear out, components break, spares run low. It makes sense to be able to replace them over time.

I’m not sure I see many, if any, survivor communities investing heavily in this though. Considering the mass fatalities, its very likely that there is an extreme excess of firearms to people in the Cataclysm. Even if half of all guns got obliterated or rendered unserviceable in the first weeks, that still leaves about sixty operational firearms per person, if the 1% survival rate is still canon. It will take a long, long time and a lot of fighting for people to burn out all those weapons. This is amplified as more die off from non-combat causes and leave serviceable weapons to be scavenged once more.

So after all of that, I’ve talked myself into the position of “Not a terrible idea, but shouldn’t be custom designs, just general known paradigms, with complex camp crafting to gate them”.


The assumptions about what is reasonable to construct in the OP are wildly off base. Can you make a firearm of some kind with workshop tools? Sure, the various luty guns are a great example of this, but they’re also bottom-of-the-barrel trash tier firearms that don’t remotely justify a piecemeal firearm composition system.

You need one firearm per common pistol calibre, totalling less than a dozen firearms total to cover all the bases. The alternatives called out are either unachievable (actions other than direct blowback) or pointless (different furniture materials).

Basically, I agree with you. And I also think that the production of more or less high-quality automatic firearms is only possible in the endgame and only in a well-developed camp.
But there are a couple of things to keep in mind:

  1. I tried not to focus on the production of high quality existing weapons. As you said, it requires a lot of sophisticated equipment and advanced skills. Trying to make an M16 with hand tools is an absurd idea. But I consider this problem purely from a gameplay point of view. Such an opportunity would simply be the other extreme, which only makes the gameplay worse. What is the point of looking for the same Kalashnikov or M60 if you can make them yourself? I would like to give the opportunity to do something useful yourself, and not deprive the process of searching for weapons of any meaning.

  2. As for the design of weapons, this is a really complex process. But much of its complexity stems from the demands of mass warfare. Such weapons should be light in weight, easy to handle, reliable, suitable for mass production, and so on. Most of these requirements for an individual survivalist do not make much sense.

  3. In my understanding, designing weapons in this mechanic is not an attempt to create something conceptually new, but an attempt to find a compromise between your desires, needs, play style and available materials, production capabilities. If it is not possible to make a bow for a crossbow, put rubber bands. If various fuels and explosives are available, but you don’t have gunpowder, then make an air grenade launcher and stop throwing hand grenades. And so on.

  4. Initially, I did not want to focus on gunpowder weapons, but apparently it turned out the other way around. In fact, I rather wanted to introduce the idea of ​​diversifying the energy sources for weapons. Right now they are limited to gunpowder, bows, and electricity. (Electric weapons are only in the form of high-tech trinkets that you get at the end of the game. If you can get them, then you have nothing to be afraid of in this world. And therefore, it does not make much sense.) But there are plenty of other sources of energy : compressed air, liquid or gaseous fuels, steam, explosives and even very concentrated hydrogen peroxide. The first half of this list is quite easy to implement with hand tools and the active assistance of parts from the plumbing.)

  5. The system of “lego-like” construction is designed to solve another problem. Let’s imagine such a situation. We have a repeating crossbow. It is quite effective in the beginning, but then its usefulness drops dramatically. At the same time, you gradually getting new production opportunities. And you think: “Let`s stretch out the pleasure and dispose of that ton of arrows that we have already made. Why not?” It would be logical to replace the wooden bow with a composite one with the same draw force. And in the real world, nothing prevents you from doing this. In the game, the existence of only one recipe for a repeating crossbow hinders you. And creating three hundred more variations of it with a mod will only clutter up the list.

And I see another one problem. It is a great gap between start (honestly, trash) weapon and the reliable gunpowder weapon. Logically, it should have been filled with primitive muzzle-loading weapons. But that doesn’t work, cause black powder crafting is much more difficult than ramming a crowd of zombies with a car on the way to a gun shop.

The only requirement you can drop is mass manufacturability, everything else is critical in both scenarios.

They’re already diversified, you can make various kinds of weapons. The question is why try to shove them all into the same system when they have wildly varying requirements? Bows are not guns, coil guns are not guns, to a great extent pneumatic guns are only superficially similar to guns. These are different weapons using different manufacturing processes. A unified system would be mafe up of more exceptions than similarities.

Great example in that it doesn’t actually improve anything and doesn’t require the system you’re proposing. If we wanted to support that, we have roughly what we need to do it right now, infrastructure-wise. We could add a “crossbow mod” that adjusts the performance of the crossbow (though going from wood to composite limbs at the same draw strength isn’t going to do much, and you can’t increase draw force much in a repeating crossbow).

At the end of the day, it would be a patchy system that supports roughly what we support right now with more overhead, and gives a false impression that weapon construction is more flexible than it really is. This was my point from the start, you are assuming that weapon construction is extremely flexible and we need a system to represent that flexibility, but it’s the opposite, weapon construction is actually extrenely inflexible and the system reflects that.