Vision and Zoom
Okay, so currently we are only able to see at a range of a few dozen tiles with a large monitor. Adding a zoom function similar to the one in Dwarf Fortress would increase the gameplay experience. I am not sure of the current maximum view range, but it should probably be longer. If this raises concerns about performance, it would be nice if a view distance option was implemented in the options menu.
Looking at the game world, the arbitrary maximum range applied to ranged weapons strikes me as rather silly. In real life, the effective range of a USP 9mm, is rated at fifty meters according to most sources, yet in-game is stuck at 14 tiles due to this arbitrary limit. In my opinion, this limit should be removed for reasons of both realism and freedom of gameplay. For example, in real life the effective range of an M-16 rifle firing standard-issue M855 ball ammunition is rated at 550 meters. For an in-depth analysis of where this number comes from, this video may be helpful. Now, looking at the range in-game of 5.56 NATO ammunition and by extension all weapons firing it and assuming that one tile is roughly one meter square, this is quite silly.
So, finding some kind of balance between the maximum effective range of an average trained soldier, the maximum effective range of the firearm itself, and the relationship between that and in-game skills would be important to get this system to work properly. Moving on to the actual representation in-game, I believe that if this system is implemented, all three of these values should be included in the firearm description and the maximum effective range of your character should be included in the window when (f)iring.
Pros and Cons of this system
Longer Ranged firearms
Increased focus on personal skill
Removal of arbitrary hard limits
May result in noobs blazing away at 100m with a .22 pistol and no firearm skill and wondering why they can’t hit anything, causing amusement on YouTube
Would be OP if balancing changes weren’t implemented
May result in noobs blazing away at 100m with a .22 pistol and no firearm skill and wondering why they can’t hit anything and complaining about it on the forums
Moving on to the important problem of game balance, I believe there are solutions.
In real life, a gunshot, especially that of a high-powered rifle or shotgun, can be uncomfortably loud at hundreds of yards and on open ground can be audible for miles. In my opinion, the effective buffs for firearms as described above could be partially balanced by increasing the range of zombie hearing. If a zombie can hear you blazing away from halfway across town, then as happens with the dynamic spawn system, you may quickly find yourself surrounded by a growing horde. With this addition, firing shotguns and the like in the middle of large towns would be a terminally bad idea.
And anyway, in the old versions before static spawn one of the really great (and annoying) things about it was that firing a gun would draw dozens of zombies to your position.
Aiming and Stances
Another way to balance the vastly increased range of firearms would be to make it take more time to fire an aimed shot depending on range to target and your effective range with the weapon. Additional functions could also be added in the form of stances and levels of aiming. Stances would let you stand, crouch or kneel, and go prone. The more stable the stance, the more accurate your shot will be and the less likely it will be for zombies to notice you. It would also make sense that, while slower, movement while crouching would behave as sneaking and would reduce the noise level of walking. Moving on to aiming, aiming levels would allow you to choose how much time to dedicate to the shots you are taking with a corresponding change in accuracy. In order to balance this, wounds and pain would significantly impair your accuracy and further increase the time it takes to handle your weapon.
As far as I understand it, strength and skill have little or no effect on the severity of firearm recoil, and I think they should. It certainly makes sense that someone who is stronger and therefore has more body mass and muscle density would have an easier time controlling a high-recoil weapon than someone who is out of shape. Second, learning how to position oneself when firing high-recoil weapons such as hunting rifles, shotguns, and high-caliber revolvers and handguns will greatly increase one’s effectiveness with the weapon in question. And come on, how funny would it be if you fired a Ruger Redhawk ingame and got the message "The Ruger Redhawk clobbers you in the mouth for 20 damage! I swear the first time I fired a Mosin-Nagant it fixed the back pain I’d been having for two weeks…
Personal experience with firearms -
I can shoot soda cans at ten meters, not far from the absolute maximum range* of in-game 9mm handguns , with a BB pistol. Moving on to said 9mm handguns, the first time I ever fired one (a Beretta 92), I was able to get a 6-8 inch group at around twenty yards, which is roughly the diameter of a human skull. Going off of this, even someone with little experience firing handguns or handgun-like implements can potentially get headshots on stationary targets well outside the maximum range of in-game weapons of the same type.
- Again assuming that 1 tile ≈ 1 meter
Anyway, that’s my idea dump for the weekend.