Getting rid of some of the ranged skills

Currently we have the following ranged skills:

[li]Throwing (not exactly a ranged weapon skill, but shares a role)[/li][/ul]

8 ranged skills is way too many.
This results in the following problems:

[ul][li]Pigeonholing, like with the crossbows or miniguns, is more jarring than if the categories weren’t so strict.[/li]
[li]Total separation of most firearm learning. Is hunting rifle all that different from a shotgun loaded with slugs? I’m certain shotgun is more similar to rifle than rifle to minigun.[/li]
[li]Arbitrarily solved edge cases. Like that rivtech shotgun which is a pistol due to small size.[/li]
[li]Weapon balance suffers. Some of the weapon types have only limited uses and simply can’t compete for XP with the better ones.[/li]
[li]Weapon skill gain for some types is cheap (laser rifles/pistols, pneumatic rifle), while others are permanently kept low due to expensive ammo (shotguns).[/li]
[li]Heavily modded weapons retain their categories, even after the addition of stock and burst fire turns a pistol into SMG except by name and type.[/li][/ul]

The heavily specific categories are necessarily arbitrary at the edges, as not every gun fits neatly into exactly one of the categories. On a side note, the same problem exists in real life, with legislature.

Some ideas of fixing those problems without introducing worse ones:

[ul][li]Rifle and shotgun merged. This is pretty much a no-brainer, the only reason not to do that would be doing a different skill merge.[/li]
[li]SMG merged into either rifle or pistol. Merging into pistol would be better for balance, but rifle would probably be more muh realism, considering SMG is classified as a long arm.[/li]
[li]Caliber based: pistols and SMGs merged into small guns, rest of firearms into big guns, launchers merged with archery into misc guns. Sci-fi guns possibly as a new category.[/li]
[li]Drop all skills and keep just marksmanship.[/li]
[li]Total rework of ranged skills. Instead of weapon type, different skills cover: accuracy at perfect aim, starting accuracy before aiming, aiming speed, and recoil control.[/li][/ul]

I think we can keep some of the variety but reduce the spread by converging some of these skills.

Keep marksmanship, maybe merge throwing into it. Its essentially the basics of the skill tree and throwing is very basic aiming and release.

Then Long arms for rifles, shot guns, and larger smgs.

Short arms for pistols small smgs and others small weapons.

A misc category for launchers and big or weird guns.

Then archery, which should probably include crossbows.

If we reduce it to just marksmanship then we have to deal with the excess melee skills as it would be lopsided.

Total rework of ranged skills. Instead of weapon type, different skills cover: accuracy at perfect aim, starting accuracy before aiming, aiming speed, and recoil control.

This is also a cool ideal as it seems more similar to the melee skills. But the way you describe it feels like it exposes the game mechanics to much. That could just be a perception though and easily fixed with proper labeling of the skill.

I would either go full detail, meaning a new skill for each new group of weapons, or ditch it for a more simpler and abstract system.

Crossbows are held and fired like rifles. The largest difference in actual use (that is, not including the loading and ammo prep) is that they have longer travel time. They should be considered rifles.

I like this, much like Fallout 1 and 2 weapon categorization.

Though I’d suggest firearms categorization based on one- or two-handedness. So small smgs that one can fire from with one hand will use different skill than large smgs that need two hands to operate (much like carbines or rifles or assault rifles or machine guns).

The over-dissection of weapon skills in RPGs has long been a pet peeve of mine, so I’m glad to see this. Just as a swordsman isn’t suddenly clueless if you hand him a spear a marksman doesn’t forget the fundamentals just because he swapped out his rifle for a sidearm. You could certainly merge all the skills:

Long arms, Short arms, etc ‘or’ just merge it all under marksmanship…

You could also just make learning a little bit of any skill bleed a bit into similar skills, so that at most the outliers are a level or two lower than what you specialize in.

Not that I love the current system but this is another case of “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it…”. Well in this case it is functional and not great, but not really terribly broken either.

I do not see the point in changing stuff for the sake of changing stuff. This is not going to make the game better and will actually make it worse. The whole darn point of having everything separate is because it makes sense to have it separate.

Knowing how to shoot a shotgun is completely different than shooting any other gun, even rifled. If anyone ever has used any of these weapons, you would know this. I have shot each category except for launcher weapons.

Crossbows do not shoot like standard bows, but is a reasonable coupling. Throwing blades could easily be under throwing and use marksmanship as a modifier. But knowing how to use an SMG is not going to give you any knowledge of a shotgun, rifle or even a pistol. Neither will trying to cross blend the other firearms into same categories. These are rather precise machines and it really makes no sense consolidating them. It WILL f**k things up for the game!

If you want more accuracy in the usage, make refinements to the accuracy. Overhauling the entire ranged system is an obviously bad idea, for sake of only fixing a small portion of what we have current. Seriously, we have soap to wash dirty items…if we aren’t going to be a game that values the details anymore just go make another game -_-

Knowing how to shoot a shotgun is completely different than shooting any other gun, even rifled.

Completely? No it isn’t there are marginal differences. Exaggeration will not get your point across in fact it hurts your argument.

The skills to use a gun are mostly the same, steadiness of hand, perception, range finding, timing, absorbing recoil, etc…

The differences in weapons is best described by the weapons themselves. Their use is only different in how you hold them and knowing the limits of the weapon, care, and reloading. These things again are best described by the weapon its self.

"if it isn't broken, don't fix it...".

But it is broken, which is why the defs are currently rebuilding the aiming and range systems.

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Well you obviously never shot a gun before now have you. If you think you can take apart a shotgun and compare it to a .22, then you are mistaken. AIMING a rifle of any kind is similar. USING and maintaing and even knowing your bullets and shells when they look very similar can literally kill the user. Trying loading a same shell or bullet into a gun that can accept it and shooting it. If you are lucky, you just short fired and did nothing at all. If not so lucky, your barrel just exploded and could kill you. Don’t even write if you think all firearms are the same. It is flatly wrong =P

Each firearms is different even in the same category. Just because people watch movies and see people doing magical things does not make them similar. I’ver shot ever category except for launcher weapons irl. Different shotguns (and any other gun) will feel different as well as having very noticeable variations.

Also, it isn’t wrong because the devs are interested in making changes. It just isn’t accurate at present. In short they want to make changes not necessarily overhauling everything.

Your rude reply is not appreciated. Your exaggerations of what I said are also not appreciated. I didn’t say all guns are the same I said there are marginal differences in their use.

I have shot guns before, I think you are projecting.

Your rude reply has ended my discussion with you.

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ZoneWizard, this was like the least helpful piece of “criticism” I’ve read in a long time.
The only case you are making is “they are different internally”, from which in no way follows “they should be very strongly separated into individual skills so that using one gun doesn’t even by accident teach you how to use any other”.

You’re making a lot of assertions (“it will all be ruined”, “if you knew you’d agree with me”, “obviously a bad idea”), but have very little meaningful arguments to support that and fail to address any points made against strict separation of weapons into categories.

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Buried in all that, he did kind of make a decent point: as it stands, the specific weapon skill isn’t just used for pointing and shooting the thing – it’s also used for breaking down, modifying, and repairing each weapon type, a task where the internal differences are much more important.

What to do with that, I’m not sure. If you wanted to make it important, perhaps put more emphasis on Marksmanship as the general aiming skill (maybe leaving archery out because bows are aimed in a very different way) and leave the individual weapon skills as all about building, repairing, and modifying a type of weapon.

We don’t have “diesel engine maintenance”, “maintaining katana blade without wrecking it”, “constructing flamethrowers” or “connecting engine to drivetrain” skills.
Those are “mechanics”.

We don’t have “polishing wood”, “chopping wood”, “making sure wood doesn’t warp from moisture”, “machining gunmods”, “welding vehicle armor”, “barrelmaking” or “smithing” skills.
Those are “fabrication”.

We also don’t have “swinging a sword”, “swinging a club”, “swinging an axe” skills.

There are very good reasons for the above to be the case.

Guns are a massive exception here, being the only skill type to be split so incredibly finely and without good order.
And there are many counterexamples for this split, such as laser weaponry (uses skill of nearest gun shape), rivtech shotgun pistol (uses shotgun cartridge, pistol skill), all rivtech guns (their ammo sets them apart further from cased ammo guns than pistols are from shotguns when it comes to maintenance), crossbows, guns that use different caliber than most of their category.

The maintenance argument isn’t decent. It’s very shallow and breaks down hard if actually considered.

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I would suggest that marksmanship would be mostly used for aiming and the weapon skill used for follow up shots. Someone with hight skills on large weapons would be able to take shotgun recoil better and somone with high small weapons skill could keep burst fire from an smg better.

Maybe we could make this discussion a little more constructive by un-obfuscating what the skills in question actually do mechanic wise?

I know marksmanship increases accuracy and probably more but don’t have any clue what the other skills do specifically for their weapon category.

Better ranged weapon skill improves:

[ul][li]Aim speed[/li]
[li]Move cost of shooting[/li]
[li]Reload speed[/li]
[li]Recoil control[/li][/ul]

tl;dr I haven’t seen anything here I consider an improvement on the current system.
If you really want to pursue it, we need to make skill handling more modular and put the new skill system in a mod.

Speaking of arbitrary :confused:
The number of skills reflects how immediate and central the activity is to the game. Few activities are more immediate or central to the game than gun handling.

How do any of the alternatives improve it in any meaningful way? If you merge shotguns and rifles, the minigun still won’t fit in either.

Yes, it is, in the ways that matter to the shotgun and rifle skills.

That’s not arbitrary, it’s a question of how it’s handled, not what the ammunition is. If it’s fired like a pistol it uses the pistol skill, whether it’s a laser or a shotgun or crossbow.

This is a symptom of our disagreement about what game balance means, IMO “some skills are more valuable than others” is not just acceptable, it’s a tautology.
e.g. bows are not balanced to compete with guns if you aren’t in dire need of either conserving resources or silence, if you don’t need eiher of those, guns are better in every way.

Working as intended.

This is an implementation detail, it has nothing to do with the system as a whole.

Seriously? Making it arbitrary is somehow an improvement?

This one actually has some potential, but good luck turning it into a consistent system the player can actually understand and interact with in a meaningful way.
The core of the skill system is that player actons trigger practice which improves skills, how are you going to map player decisions to those categories?

That’s why we have the marksmanship skill, it represents all the generic knowledge and muscle memory that DOES transfer between firearms.

Agreed, it does a pretty good job of allowing both general development and specialization, it’s easy to understand what the divisions are, and it’s obvious what you need to do to specialize more.

BTW, there’s this: Change crossbow firing skills to match related firearms. by kevingranade · Pull Request #21545 · CleverRaven/Cataclysm-DDA · GitHub

There’s something to this, but as Coolthulu points out it isn’t a strong rationale. It also covers handling, stances, grips, reloading, firing patterns, all of which are different for different types of guns and do present a much stronger rationale for how it’s broken down.
The bonuses provided by specific weapon skills map to this kind of handling ability and tactical knowledge in a way that is unlikely to transfer well between different weapon groups.

That would avoid the arbitrary huge concentration of detail that comes into splitting guns into categories - which is devoid from all the other skills - and thus make edge cases less jarring.
If detail can’t be uniformly maintained, exceptions multiply and their severity grows.

We don’t have this much detail for melee weapons, which are much more central to the game - for as long as using a gun requires consuming potentially expensive ammo, and as long as there are many weak targets that still pose danger, melee will always be the default.

good luck turning it into a consistent system the player can actually understand and interact with in a meaningful way. The core of the skill system is that player actons trigger practice which improves skills, how are you going to map player decisions to those categories?

All of the skill type xp could be scaled by hit grade or at least by a check if a target was hit, to avoid tedious optimal grinding and encourage learning by doing.
As for the individual skills:

[ul][li]Recoil control is easiest: gained whenever recoil is gained by firing a gun. More xp for guns with more recoil and for bursts, less for perfectly aiming.[/li]
[li]Accuracy at un-aimed shot gained whenever a shot is below certain aim percentage. More xp for shorter aiming.[/li]
[li]Aim speed gained whenever an aimed shot is made. More xp for more aiming and also more xp for using guns that can be aimed fast.[/li]
[li]Accuracy at perfect aim gained whenever a well aimed shot is executed properly. Starts at certain aim percentage and goes up from there. More xp for shots at long range and accurate weapons.[/li][/ul]

Aim speed and accuracy at perfect aim could optionally be merged into “aiming”.

Unaimed shots would always only train recoil control and snapshot, shots made at sensible aim level (aiming against incoming hulk) would train mostly aim speed and recoil control, sniper shots would train aim speed and accuracy. Using sniper rifles would train less aim speed (due to slow aiming), but more accuracy (due to gun accuracy) and range.
So every action would give results according to what player needs to execute said action well.

To make snapshots more meaningful, some weapons could have naturally lower starting recoil. For example, pistol-grip-less rifles (as in IVAN CHESNOKOV copypasta). This would give a good reason not to slap every possible gunmod on the gun, without arbitrary restrictions like the volume penalty that was removed.
Snapshots/point shooting/instinctive firing is grossly underrepresented in the game at the moment, despite it fitting perfectly for close range gun use.

Thnks for that, I can just ignore this now. This is not a game with arbitrary mechanics, a core development tenent is that the game is reality based, mechanics strive to meaningfully represent how things really work. I kow you’re not on board with that, but that’s how it is and it’s not changing.

I agree, we need more melee skills.

[quote=“Coolthulhu, post:19, topic:14077”]

good luck turning it into a consistent system the player can actually understand and interact with in a meaningful way.
The core of the skill system is that player actons trigger practice which improves skills, how are you going to map player decisions to those categories?

All of the skill type xp could be scaled by hit grade or at least by a check if a target was hit, to avoid tedious optimal grinding and encourage learning by doing.
That sounds vaguely workable, but it also sounds confusing, requires a lot of engine knowledge to interact with, and requires frequently suboptimal play.

It’s at the correct level of representation, which is almost none. Snap shots don’t actually work except at point-blank range, as an intimidation technique, or something that extrordinarally well-practiced marksmen do to show off.