Expanded Archery Mod

Hey everyone, I spent a couple of days putting together a mod to expand and rebalance archery in C:DDA. The changes/additions are:

  • All the bows have been shuffled around a bit, most have had their range raised or lowered to match their damage. Short, long, reflex, and composite bows have had their attachment slots removed for realism and because I doubt you’ll need them at the point where you can make/find them.

  • Basically, all bows are now either fast and weak or slow and powerful, with a linear progression through each side. Added the hybrid longbow to bridge the gap between the longbow and recurve (also because they’re kinda neat.)

  • All bows and crossbows now have a small reload noise and some firing noise, but the firing noise can be silenced with a found or crafted dampening kit.

  • The composite, compound, and recurve bows have been made craftable.

  • The compound bow is now the strongest bow, because realism, and is now adjustable between three different levels, to fit characters of different strengths. It can be made out of some fairly simple materials with lots of skill. You can find the recipe in Bowyers Buddy, Welding and Metallurgy, or Mechanical Mastery. You’ll also need metalworking tools.

  • Another bow sight and a bow scope have been added, to give you some extra choice between speed and accuracy. A fancier stabiliser set has been added as well, to help you reach that sweet sweet 1 dispersion. It’s even foldable to take less volume.

  • Composite and compound crossbows have been added, with recipes, to give more options for those who prefer crossbows. The composite crossbow is more powerful than the basic crossbow. The compound crossbow is even more powerful, plus it’s a bit faster to reload. It has mostly the same crafting requirements as the compound bow. All crossbows and existing pneumatics are a bit faster to reload as well.

  • The bows with attachment slots and some of the crossbows got some extra mod slots, for attaching the new bow mods. Also, the tuned mechanism can now be attached to crossbows. It would be a bit of a waste to put it on anything other than a compound crossbow, but you do you.

  • There are 4 new performance mods:
    Aftermarket Limbs (bow and crossbow): A set of competition-grade composite replacement limbs, for some extra range and damage.
    High-Quality String (bow and crossbow): A fine polymer string, designed for power and speed. Slight damage and accuracy increase.
    Adjustable Riser (bows only): A precision machined superalloy riser, with enough dials to tune it to your exact liking. Small bonus to accuracy and range.
    Performance Cams (compound bows/crossbows only): Precision machined superalloy shaped cams for your compound bow/crossbow. Improves accuracy and is a bit quieter.
    These are all findable only, and are quite rare, so keep an eye out. However, they only give very small bonuses, so you’re not missing out of much if you never get any.

  • Bolts and arrows have been slightly rebalanced with a dispersion increase for arrows and decrease for bolts, bringing them closer together in terms of accuracy. Bolts now also have higher range and lower damage, for realism reasons, but bolt-using weapons were adjusted so it works out the same overall.

  • All bolts and arrows now have a higher chance of remaining intact after firing.

  • Normal metal arrows/steel bolts are now broadheads (flat blades for cutting flesh.) You can find/make Bodkin (Armor-piercing), target (high-accuracy, lower damage), EMP, stun, and incendiary arrows and bolts. Carbon fibre arrows were given higher damage/accuracy and made far more durable, because realism.

  • All bows are now worn on the strapped layer rather than the normal layer (because that was weird), and the smaller bows had their encumbrance reduced to 14, and 16 for the compound bow (really you shouldn’t be able to wear it, but I can’t work out how to remove that functionality).

  • Added a “bow sling” which is just a torso-waist equipped holster for bows. Fits all sizes, even with mods, which may change in the future if I decide to add multiple types. Craft or find it.

  • Newly added, the “experimental smart arrow” has a dispersion rating of 0 and automagically teleports back to the user after being fired. Spawns rarely on it’s own in military/science locations. They’re quite rare, but you really only need 1.
    I’m finding it a tad overpowered though, so if anyone has any ideas of how they’d like it balanced, let me know. I’m tossing up between a firing cooldown or a flat UPS cost when firing. The latter might require a bow mod and some weirdness though.

  • Pneumatic weapons now have full attachment slots (the ones that make sense (no barrels or muzzles)) and I added one new crafted pneumatic weapon, the pneumatic arrow rifle. Basically a really high power pneumatic bolt driver that holds 1 arrow and is pretty noisy. Good for those that want to snipe.

  • New find-only pneumatic gun! The Airbower basically fits between the pneumatic bolt driver and the arrow rifle in power and speed, but is probably overall slightly better. Plus, more reliable. It can be pumped by hand (slightly slower to reload than the pneumatic bolt driver) but also has a powered compressor mode for faster reloading.

  • Another find-only pneumatic gun! The A22 Bolter is basically an SMG that shoots crossbow bolts. Uses UPS and is pretty awesome, but quite rare.

  • Pretty much all archery gear can now spawn in sporting goods stores and a few other sporty places, while compound crossbows and the Airbower can sometimes spawn as rifles. The more traditional gear can also spawn in museums, so keep an eye out in those.

I hope everyone enjoys it, and please let me know if something is broken/seems off. I’m very open to suggestions.
The temporary version below only adds the new items, it doesn’t have any of the rebalancing changes since most of them have been added to and/or improved upon in mainline. If your CDDA version is older than 1 year or so (Or you’re running 0.C Stable) then use the old version.
Temporary Items Only Version (Use this if running a newer version of CDDA)
Old Version (Use this if running a very old version of CDDA)


I own a lot of bows. All of my reflex bows that are commerically made have mounting points for after market sights, arrow rests, grips, etc.

I don’t think you understand much about about bows if you think a compound bow is better than any other bow listed. Pound for Pound a Longbow will out shoot, out penetrate and out preform a compound bow rigged to matching draw weight. All a compound bow does is allow a weaker individual to use a higher draw weight bow than they normally could (that’s what a pully was designed for in the first place).

The reason the reflex recurve bow was the top dog bow was… wait for it… REALISM. They’re shorter than a traditional reflex bow, utilize the recurve shape favored by the steppe people, and despite the shorter draw length, had the velocity and stopping power of the english long bow. That bow is a large reason the Mongolian empire conquered most of the world at one point.

Positive criticism: I like what you’ve done with arrows. It gives a Green Arrow vibe in terms of utility for a bow and expands arrows into a better realm of usefulness.

Negative arrow criticism: my carbon fiber arrows break far more often than my wooden ones do thanks to plastic deformation of the shaft. On the plus side, I can buy a new carbon fiber shaft for about .99c while a wooden shaft is gonna run me about $7

I notice you didn’t list the self bow anywhere. Did you do anything with it?

I was under the impression that the reflex bow ingame is just a traditional wooden one without threaded mounting points. However, I’ve never so much as seen one ingame so they’re probably rare enough to not matter.

Not quite. The pulley system and shaped cams also allow a compound bow to store more overall energy over the course of the draw. Plus, allowing a weaker individual to use a higher poundage still means higher damage over a reflex/recurve for that person. However, it’s worth noting that, based on what I’ve read, most compound bows use a higher weight arrow, which would mean lower velocity. This might account for why it might not appear more powerful.

This explains nicely: https://www.outsideonline.com/2172756/how-compound-bows-work

Again, a compound bow will still be stronger. They’re modern, of course they’ll outperform a 1000+ year old design. There’s a very good reason hunters use primarily compound bows. Thing is, a reflex or recurve design doesn’t let you store that much more power in a bow over a straight design. A little bit maybe, but the main advantage is that you can, as you said, make a much more powerful bow in a much smaller size. A compound bow actually offers a lot more mechanical advantage and can store it reliably.

Thanks! I have a few other ideas, but I’m always open to suggestions for more types that could be included.

I’ve bent/de-fletched half a dozen aluminum arrows and never once broken a carbon fiber one. Dunno what to say about wood. Think of it as a balance thing if need be, it makes sense that a commercial carbon fibre arrow would be more durable than a hunk of steel with a credit card taped to the end.

It got a minor range increase to match it’s damage, as did a few others. It seemed silly that a bow could somehow make an arrow hit harder without going any further.

New version includes the “experimental smart arrow” which has 0 dispersion and teleports back to the user after use. Decent damage but not amazing. Spawns where cool rare stuff normally does.

It’s worth noting that the compound and composite bows in the game are uncraftable, professionally manufactured pieces of hardware made using modern-day technology and materials. The reflex recurve bow is crafted by the player after they find the design in a book. Even if the recurve design is a better one over all, in my opinion the compound bow should definitely have better performance by virtue of far superior manufacturing standards and materials.

By the same token though, given that the recurve bow is made from scratch by the player, there’s no reason they couldn’t include mounting points on it, especially as those mods are listed in the same book the bow recipe comes from.

The reflex recurve bow kept it’s mounting points. I considered removing them based on the fact that the recipe doesn’t include scrap metal or a drill tool to add the mounting points, but decided I’d rather just add those to the recipe once I get a chance.

The composite bow is now craftable because, from what I can tell, most composite bows are just straight style bows made from wood, horn and sinew. Most modern bows I’ve seen are either recurve or compound. The intention was to add another craftable bow between the longbow and reflex recurve, but I might make the recurve craftable instead and return the composite to findable only.

I suppose it’s a bit of a stretch to make the compound craftable, but it is a lategame recipe and the character can craft much more complex things at that point.

Why? I’ve seen one build out of PVC , a pair of 1/8in pulleys and a pair of 3inch pulleys, all bought at home depo. The only thought bought elsewhere in the build was the bowstring bought at a bowyer and gun store. Preformed at around 87lbs at 29in draw length. Guy who built it was a professional archer so to say it was insanely accurate is probably more in relation to the skill of the shooter than the bow itself, but 10 of 10 shots were with-in a 4 inch grouping at 30 yards.

Bows have been crafted from these three materials for thousands of years, and are STILL crafted from these three materials. Some of the best bows in the world are hand crafted steppe bows of the reflex recurve category using those methods of bow construction. Modern doesn’t always beat antique. In a lot of things, it fails, in most things it doesn’t. Archery is one area where modern construction hasn’t really improved the bow really over the traditional methods of manufacture aside from making them easier to mass produce. Caveat: Modern crossbows are a zillion miles ahead of their originals and anything up through the 1550s in construction. I own several period replicas, have built a few, and own a few modern crossbows. The only extant piece I own that even comes close to a modern basic 100lb crossbow is my horsemans crossbow, which has a draw weight of 140lbs, is meant to be fired once and dropped, and is about as accurate at 10 feet as a spitball with out a straw. Granted you were aiming at a charging horse, not a person so at least the target was bigger.

Edit: unless you count my ballista, but it’s designed to fire basically 8 foot long nerf darts.

Sure you COULD make a compound from PVC and some pulleys, but a proper commercial hunting bow will be much more powerful and accurate. Considering that the one in-game could only be found, I assume it’s of the professionally made hunting variety, which would be incredibly difficult to make by yourself with the tools available in the game. Having said that, we can make our own nuclear reactors and self-installing bionics, so let’s just say it’s doable.

Again, modern compound bows are a lot stronger than any reflex and/or recurve bow. They simply have more mechanical advantage. I haven’t been able to find any numbers for reflex or traditional composite bows, but I doubt it would be very impressive. Modern materials and designs are just better I’m afraid.

"Compound Bow Advantages

The reason that compound bows are so popular is the draw curve: the strength required to pull back an and hold an arrow. With a longbow, that draw curve is essentially linear: it takes more strength to hold a bow the farther you draw it back. That’s why some of those Katniss-like moments are a little unrealistic. Longbows are hardest to hold when you’re fully drawn, so there’s not a lot of time for aiming and releasing. A strong man would have trouble holding a longbow at full draw for more than a second."

English Longbow Compound Bow
Length: 72 inches 32 inches
Limb material: Wood: Yew, ash, or elm Metal alloys (Al) or carbon fiber
Draw Length and Weight: 30 inches, 150 pounds 25-30″, 50-70 pounds
String material: Hemp, flax, or silk Polyester
Range: 350-400 yards 500 yards*
Arrows: Poplar, ash, beech, or hazel Aluminum or carbon fiber
Reflex Recurve Steppe Bow
Length: 29 inches
Limb material: Bamboo, horn and sinew
Draw Length and Weight: 28" 65-70lbs
String Material: Sinew, Silk or Bamboo fiber
Range: 560 yards
Arrows: Birch

Traditional Archery - Sam Fadala
With a Bended Bow: Archery in Mediaeval and Renaissance Europe - Erik Roth
Turkish Archery and the Composite Bow: A Rewview of an Old Chapter in the Chronicles of Archery and a Modern Interpretation - Paul Klopsteg (1947 edition)
Kinematic Analysis of Cam Profiles used in Compound Bows - Andrew Hanson
Archery Fundamentals - Douglas Engh
Field and Steam Vol 81 No 6 pg 88. (Actually gave the best description of all the available books on the flat trajectory of the arrow which was easier to translate into physics so my brain understand why it wasn’t firing in a parabala. I don’t actually OWN a compound bow.)

Edit: no I didn’t read all those books in 30 minutes. I know how to find information from reliable sources fast using JSTOR, Google Scholar, Google Books and the US Patent Office.

Most of those deal in range, which doesn’t necessarily give good representation of actual power, it would be more useful to give the velocity of the fired arrow. That table also doesn’t say anything about the angle it was fired at or the weight of the arrow. Even the length and type of fletching on the arrow can effect how far the arrow flies.

For that to be properly comparative, each bow would also have to be of the same poundage, which none of them are, and using the same arrows fired by the same person. In fact, your argument about compound bows just being about allowing a person to use a heavier draw would be better supported if the compound had a higher draw weight than the others.

I couldn’t find manufacturing evidence to support that bows are manufactured in significantly heavy draw weights because they’re unnecessary in normal US hunting AND sport competitions.

While arrow information might be useful to you in terms of what you find to be evidence of what bow is better, as an avid archer using a myriad of arrows from 1 single bow, i can’t even tell a difference in penetration on my target at 50 yards (my normal shooting distance) with a 45lb recurve bow.

Edit: that isn’t to say they aren’t mass produced, a simple google search shows me some, just that vast majority aren’t.

Edit two: should note: wooden arrows of several lengths and wood types with both natural and artificial fletching, aluminium shafts, carbon fiber, some kind of cast composit resin that was on sale, but most notably: all with field points. The reality of arrow damage really boils down to its point more than its make or the bow its fired from. Anything over 45lbs will generally pierce through a human or medium game at 25 yards (considered typical hunting distances) while the point determins if its just a hole or a shredded wound.

I’m having a hard time deciphering this sentence, and how I understand it doesn’t make sense for this argument.

Maybe you have an awfully soft target? My 36lb gets a lot of variation between arrows and physics is physics, a heavier arrow will go slower with the same force applied to it. How that translates into damage can vary against different targets, and there seems to be a sweet spot where arrows carry the most energy for a bow.

While you’re not wrong as far as the average human is concerned, we’re not talking about the average human. This is a game, and more damage is more damage. Which you need for tougher enemies. More power will get that arrowhead through more flesh, or tougher flesh. “Will generally pierce through a human or medium game at 25 yards” isn’t going to make a difference for that turret you’re trying to snipe, or the hulk barrelling towards you.

Regardless, which bow is “better” isn’t the centre of discussion, and I don’t know how you’re determining it. In my mind the most powerful bow will have the highest damage and range in a video game, which is why I’ve given the compound bow the highest damage and range.

Lets shift away from the bigger bow phallus and address the last point I brought up. You’ve already added some useful specialized arrows, how about padding the overall arrow count with incrimental damage increases by adding in broad tip arrows? I assume the base game arrows use bodkins. Would also allow an element of choice between cut and piercing, or even bashing with blunt tips, although i don’t think outside small game a blunt would be too useful.

If you like. I think the arrows are more or less fine as is, unless I can think of some other, specialised types (perhaps fishing arrows for underwater? Weird and nonsensical, but might be useful.)

Broad tips (I use “broadhead”) is what the original metal arrows and steel bolts have been replaced with since I assumed that was what they were. In terms of bash/pierce/cut, I believe all projectiles use some form of cutting/piercing damage, which I have no control over as far as JSON files are concerned. As I said in the first post, bodkins were added, as were “target” arrows which are, I guess, field tips with longer fletching. A bit lighter and more accurate, but less damaging. A blunt tip small game arrow already exists for wood, and I don’t see a reason to add more to the endgame arrows when there isn’t a reason to.

If I had the possibility, some form of blunt “super critical” arrows that only do damage on a headshot, but do an immense amount of damage on that headshot, would be a lot of fun.

Edit: I modified the original post to explain that original arrows/bolts are now broadheads, and better explain the new arrows.

Arrows that autopulp on crit would be awesome, but outside what you can do in json. You’d have to branch into lua for that i think.

I thought Lua was getting removed at some point? Either way, that’s beyond my abilities. Honestly, autopulping is a bit much for a little arrow. You have explosive tips for that.

If you want autopulping, put it on the .50 cal bullets first.

Unless the pulping is done immediately after the undead has been made dead again unless the fixed that bug it will still revive only you can no longer pulp it and be forced to butcher it instead.

@darktoes will you PR this?

I don’t really know how to and may or may not have time to learn in future, but anyone’s more than welcome to do it themselves.

There are a few issues though, first is that I basically balanced the bows off of themselves rather than against other items or guns and I’v done fairly little playtesting, though it seemed fine to me. It would probably be worth having a full discussion on where bows and crossbows should fall in terms of damage, accuracy and range.

Same for the arrows. I based everything off of the basic metal arrows/steel bolts and the armor piercing off of armor piercing bullets, but I didn’t really look at how much damage most of them do overall. I’m also not sure about the smart arrow, whether or not that fits with the rest of the game…

Second, having 45 as the minimum dispersion messes with them since they’re one of the few items that has a standard linear progression from best to worst. Once you get to the longbow there isn’t any more accuracy from upgrading, which seems kind of silly.

Finally, I’m not sure if the few mods I added are really worth it, especially since I couldn’t find a way to increase reload speed on the bows with them. If I knew how to do that then I have ideas for a whole bunch of new bow mods, but I’m not sure it’s possible.

In short, I’d love to make this a part of the base game, and add more, but I’d need input from some of the devs on how to go about it.

–Oh me gersh this seems amazing! Is it possible to install this into a world that has already been made? Keith would much prefer the bow or crossbow to the gun, simply because it’s thematic to him. Gunpowder and explosives are a lot worse for the environment than arrows, even crazy ones.
–Sorry if someone already asked and someone answered this already, I was too excited to read the whole thing :grin: