Scarfy's mod: Because urine in a bowl is realism, too

So, I was minding my own business, playing experimental build #10934 version 0.E-5243-gf05c854 when I noticed something: Ammonia is not craftable.

This bugs me. I can’t actually imagine why ammonia would not be craftable. Many other things that were craftable are no longer craftable due to… “realism”, apparently.

To be fair, sometimes that’s reasonable. For example, even though I liked the all-metal arrows… they would indeed be horrific as actual arrows, and were kind of OP. I’ll miss them, but not so much that I’ll complain. Modern gunpowder meanwhile wouldn’t be too difficult to create per se, at least the ‘mixed’ variant, but I actually do appreciate the balance between craftable black powder and uncraftable smokeless; there wouldn’t be a point in black powder if you could make the good stuff. (I still would argue that it should be available gated behind an extreme long-term faction base, but that’s a digression).

Ammonia, however? That’s a very, very basic resource, with an extremely simple production process. The recipe has been known since antiquity, and you can do it at home with stuff you have at hand, right now. How do you make it, you might wonder?

Urine. In a bowl. Then you let it age. That’s how the ancients did their laundry.

I refuse to believe that our survivors are incapable of that. I will not stand by and meekly accept a limitation that stupid. Now, maybe the ‘ammonia’ item we’ve got in-game is meant to represent a particular quality and purity of ammonia that isn’t achievable with just your bladder, but that’s easily fixed by virtue of a thing called a “chemistry set”.

Now, I’m going to make that argument. You know the one, Kevin hates it, anothersimulacrum hates it, but I’m going to make it anyway because it is 100% valid in this case: “We can make bleach, so we should be able to make ammonia.”

Stop right there. I know what you’re writing, so I’ll save you the trouble:

  • “Player can craft a X, so they should also be able to craft a Y”
    This kind of argument is invalid for several reasons.
    Just because there’s a contradiction i.e. “cordless drills and gunsmithing tools are equally hard to make, but we can only make cordless drills” doesn’t imply that the correct action is allowing crafting of gunsmithing tools, it’s equally likely that craftable cordless drills were a mistake.
    This argument generally has a tenuous or non-existent relationship between the items in question. Frequently it’s an assertion that X is “complicated” and Y is either “simple” or “also complicated”, this is not sufficient for craftability of X to imply craftability of Y.

This is not the case here. The complexity of both bleach and ammonia are not in question: they are both simple and achievable with pre-industrial manufacturing methods. The relationship between both chemicals is equally beyond question: they are both simple chemicals that can be achieved with historical methods. The only thing that could possibly be at all relevant about the copypasta counterargument is that the manufacturing of bleach should also be discarded as a mistake. In truth, I wouldn’t really have much of an argument against that… other than to reiterate that both are already well established historically as simple domestic chemistry staples from the 18th century. Thus, I declare that my argument is entirely valid and has nothing to fear from the above rebuttal.

Now, I’ve also gone ahead and read another reason as to why this can’t ever be merged mainline:

"Poop and related bodily functions: NO

No, just no, not even in a mod."

Well, that definitely means my mod is out. As is “butchery refuse”, adobe, wattle-and-daub, fertilizer, all forms of manure, vomiting, sewage… Look, I get it: you don’t want immature potty humor. I don’t either. It would add nothing and cost everything if we opened the door to “hurr hurr I threw a jar of pee at a zombie hurr”, but this is serious historical chemistry. If the idea of using poop as a resource offends your sensibilities, then why did you implement it in the first place?

So, I would appreciate an answer as to what possible justification there could be for the removal of the recipe for ammonia.

Until then, I’ve created a simple mod that enables the crafting of ammonia: not out of urine, since that’s not actually a thing in the game, but from feces as a stand-in for other animal excreta. It’s difficult, it requires a college textbook and a chemistry set, but I want my renewable black powder and “realism” is not gonna stop me from having a realistic experience.

Here it is, it should be compatible with pretty much anything that doesn’t change something fundamental with the chemistry process:

Mod link:


The ammonia recipe was removed because it had no relation to any actual way to produce ammonia. We’d love someone to add a recipe that isn’t nonsense.

This is an insane expectation, I don’t know of anything of the like that has ever happened. I think you are thinking that this is much more of a big deal than it actually is. I think that however you were informed that ammonia was removed for ‘realism’ and many other things around this project seem to be deeply wrong.

Reference on ammonia:

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Also, because I didn’t think it through fully before posting:

It doesn’t. The issue is the mechanic of your character or other characters needing to relieve themselves adds negative value. The concept of refuse resources appearing in an appropriate place where you sleep, and waste management for settlements is something that’s been discussed multiple times and AFAIK Kevin and other developers are happy with.

Needing to poop? That’s a no, never.
Being able to use waste products? That’s fine.


Oh… interesting. Okay, after reading your reference, I’ll have to agree: boiling down scrap metal does indeed not ammonia make. Well, since we’re in a feature freeze anyway, please consider this mod to be a suggestion then. Someone with more understanding of chemical engineering than I would no doubt be better equipped to properly fix up the difficulty, resource usage, crafting time and game balancing of the recipe for actual release.

Is that so? If that’s the case, then I do apologize. I’d been reading about what’s been going on with helicopters, and the way that’s being handled has given me a particularly sour impression of things. Nevertheless, I would be very happy to learn that I am completely mistaken about that :slight_smile:

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I’m not sure what you’d be sour about with helicopters either. Nobody’s been banned over that, and there too I think it’s pretty clear we’ve got room for a lot more stuff once someone has the time and ability to contribute it appropriately. It’s just not a matter of “make it so anyone can hop into a military helicopter, slap on some anti-tank guns and a vehicle forge, and turn it into a flying base”.

You may wish to check your sources. There are some folks out there that spread deeply skewed information to try to make the devs look unapproachable


Mate… I’d be happy to continue this discussion in a more appropriate place since I’d rather not clutter down the forum with derailments, but I am basing my concerns on primary sources alone.

Nevertheless, I’ve changed the mod’s internal readme file to be less hostile. I do apologize for what it said earlier, it wasn’t called for.

…At least I think I have. I don’t know how to use github :confused:

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and you thought open hostility would help your position here? erk’s right, there was no banning related to wanting helicopters to be trainable

This seems to be geared towards realistic simplification, which I like. Propose making it more realistic and accessible since it’s less complicated than a college textbook and chem set indicate. Several units of clean water + ash + a fermentation timer of a day or two. Directly translates to you drink, your urine ferments, ash is added to stabilize ammonia without devolving into poop jokes.
Sidenote, cleaning clothes is a new CDDA mechanic since my hiatus. Can we use ammonia to clean clothes?

Fun read if you like anthropological studies on Roman uses of urine.

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The only trouble with replacing urine with “clean water” is that you can then produce infinite amounts of it, and it’s actually useful enough that at times it has been a surprisingly limited resource.

It shouldn’t be too hard to use zones to make a “toileting zone” and have containers in that zone automatically fill up when you are idling or sleeping in the area.

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I can see it now, part of a newbies guide, “Don’t forget to mark a piss bottle zone near your bed and workshop, you’ll be needing it later”


Ammonia isn’t that hard to produce. The biggest complaint people have had is the scent. I don’t remember scent mechanics, but if smell spreads gradually, has no limit to range, and CDDA has a varied and dangerous variety of scent tracking monsters then add a 2400 scent effect to fermenting ammonia. Now, if you create an ammonia farm, it will be found.

Avoids the piss bottle scenario and, realistically, you wouldn’t want to make ammonia that close to home.

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Oh no, zombie mom found the poop sock wat do?


Have a shame showoff.
She won’t BRAINS what it is out loud, even if she knows. So you just gotta force her to BRAINS it out loud.

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Hey man! Thank you for the feedback!

Anyway, I unfortunately kind of abandoned this mod on delivery, but your idea is actually sound. I might go ahead and set that up soon, but I’m busy with stuff right now. I’ll be sure to remember, though, and hopefully not abandon development for so long again hehe

A shame, because we kinda HAVE a form a urine, in the form of sewage. It’d take filtering and boiling, but we could technically get some ammonia out of it.