Skill Merges: Trapping, Survival and Launchers

I was looking for ways to level up trapping and it seems there’s neither a way nor a reason to do so. There are very few traps in the game to begin with and this underwhelming problem can hardly be solved by adding more traps since it’ll be more like a variation in firearms being just different RP flavors of the same thing.

On top of that traps face another problem: They only work when player kites enemies into them. It’s an inefficient tactic at best compared to alternatives. Players don’t need to defend their bases with traps, they can’t really hunt with traps, it’s just a fundamentally pointless skill due to the way the game works.

I would propose merging basic traps like snares and beartraps into the survival skill while moving explosive traps into launchers (re-named to ‘explosives’). More advanced mechanical traps like dissectors could go to fabrication, mechanics or electronics depending on what the trigger is supposed to be.

This way not only do we get rid of a pointless skill, we also make other skills more relevant.

If the skill is pointless, ignore it. That goes for traps, survival, and launchers.
Combining skills has a problem in that it makes the skills incoherent, where you do one set of things (like foraging) and end up gaining unrelated abilities (like crafting traps).

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Survival’s called survival, not foraging, and trapping small animals is still a kind of foraging. When you look for books about survival such simple traps is what you expect to find inside.

Likewise the word ‘trapping’ invokes snares and other such hunting/foraging traps, not dissectors, blade traps and mines.

If anything this suggestion serves to make the skills more coherent and traps to relate to more appropriate skills.

Yes, Survival is arguably the wrong name for it, it’s not really sensible to have “everything that can be described as survival” under one skill. The fix for that is changing the name, not shoehorning more only vaguely related activities into it.

Split Survival into Foraging, Butchering and Herbalism.
Leave Trapping as it is.


That would lead to skill bloat. While arguably more realistic, it would also be overwhelming. For looking at tables I recommend Excel. How’s foraging different from herbalism for example? How’s a motor-driven blade defense platform related to a snare trap. A little shoehorned, eh? Skills should exist when a necessity for them develops from existing mechanics. I’ve made a rather strong point that current mechancis do not justify trapping as a separate skill and it would be even beneficial to split it among other existing skills.

Let’s get more practical. You play as an explosives expert. What are your skills? Trapping? Do explosives experts get training in snaring small game? Using beartraps? Are they taught how to weld together electronic components to create makeshift blade dissectors?

You play as a survivalist - a concrete career path nowadays. Do survivalists learn and make YT videos about how to place, disarm and craft landmines to hunt small game with?

Now lets get even more logical. You have tons of landmines. Used countless grenades, launchers etc. started as a military vet. But you can’t use the landmines because you never snared a squirrel. Makes perfect sense, eh?

Now you are a highly skilled mechanic. You can fabricate anything. You could use your skill to prepare defenses at your base… oh wait. No. You can’t weld a blade trap together, you never snared a squirrel. After all, mechanics are pacifists, they are bound by holy oath to never use their skills destructively.

And again… you pick a book titled “survival” at your local library. What do you find inside? Shelter. Edible and medicinal local plants. Primitive weapons. Starting fire. Snares and fish traps. You know, all things you’d like to know when trying to survive away from civilization.

You pick up a military explosives manual. What’s inside? Snares?

A welding/mechanics book about dangerous machines and staying safe around them. Can’t read it because you skipped the snares class?

Let me do a little TL:DR -
Launchers - so little use, it’s pointless. Rename to explosives, add grenades, landmines = perfect!
Survival - add snares, beartraps = Less pointless, perfect!
Fabrication - give Bob the Builder an ability to use his skills for defense = perfect!
Traps - snares, landmines and giant indiana jones blades shoehorned together? = Illogical!! Booo!!

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Well, I partially agree with your idea or at least the concept behind it, but I completely disagree on your way of discussing / arguing about it.

I think some skills could use a spilt into more specific categories and a general cleanup.

For now (and I’m really try to restrain myself to not answer in the same style as the text I just read) I might remind you - this game has a lot of things simplified. Some compromise has to be found. And if that’s not enough, please see it like this: This game has Zombies in it. Things that don’t exist*. Not very logical, is it?
*At least not as defined in this game.

How is having a bunch of inactive skills a problem?

You have not, you’re taking it as given that more skills are bad and basing your argument on that.

I’m not going to dignify your rant with a detailed reply, but in general you’re making an argument for more skills, not less.

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The response has taken me completely by surprise as something I did not intend or anticipate. To my benefit, could I ask you for a detailed response as to why my post is considered so inflammatory?

Your entire post there comes across in a “I know you guys are stupid but just listen for a moment” kind of way to me, especially when your strolling into a matured project with that attitude and weak arguments at best to support it.

I think you need to step back and realize that your making a lot of assumptions about how skills should work in CDDA, when that’s not how they are actually used. Skills in CDDA are supposed to encompass distinct knowledge, regardless of ‘balance’, which is why they have a habit of being broken out into more skills, not bundled up. Launchers skill is ‘worthless’ right until you need to land that long-range shot with your AT launcher, which logically handles and operates significantly different from a regular rifle, shotgun, or handgun.

Breaking survival out into more distinct fields sound like a good idea to me. If traps and trapping feels weak, the solution is implement better traps and options and abilities, not to bundle them into a whole different space. I fail to see how knowing how to rig a hand grenade to a tripwire (an explosive trap) has anything to do with knowing how to lead and brace for firing an RPG.

If you can look at skills from that position, then I think you’ll understand why your rhetoric around ‘logic’ and shoehorning doesn’t work to convince anyone.

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I’m sorry if I came across as a smartass I was just trying to get my point across because I don’t understand the counter arguments being made. On one side everyone says that skills should relate to distinct knowledge but then bundle up unrelated things into a skill named after catching live, wild animals. Then everyone seems to be of the consensus that more skills should be added while the construction skill was taken out to apparently universal applause for, from what I gather, the same kinds of reasons I was giving for the removal of trapping skill.

I responded the same way I was addressed, or so I thought, since that gave me the impression that’s how it’s done, coming from project lead, and repeated my points since I wasn’t sure anyone’s even read them given all the contradictions.

Again, this discussion was at no point personal to me, I did not intend to inflame it or in some perverted way elevate myself above others - ideas are ideas no matter who presents them and while they may clash people don’t have to. Was it any specific wording that you’ve found provocating or was it just that I put too much energy into the argument?

Was it any specific wording that you’ve found provocating or was it just that I put too much energy into the argument?

Specific wording, yes (Your bit on pacifist mechanics for example), and I’m not going to go into the bother of elaborating further, because I’ve been down this road before. You will attempt to argue and debate the merits of our dislike of the very behavior, while missing the point of why it comes across poorly entirely.

If your struggling to understand the counter arguments that are being made, try asking for elaboration on the design decisions supporting those arguments, rather than going off and doubling down on your initial arguments. Rather than immediately pushing harder to prove how you’re ‘right’, look at what people are actually saying, such as Kevins counter proposal.

He won’t miss anything because there is nothing to miss. His post was was perfectly in line within the famework of a polite discourse on the internet.
I believe you (not personally you but this particular way of dealing with posts one disagrees with) is murdering the potential discussion on many things. This is why there are relatively few of the “brainstorming” kind of threads. Kevin I can understand, he’s a very busy guy, and he can do whatever he wants anyway. But for the others, I think it’s detrimental to the community and potentially to the game. But then what do I know.


Well, it could be continued but there’s nothing further to gain from this discussion. Devs have different plans for skills and that’s that.

No need for it to only live as discussion. Its an open source project, nobody will stop you from going and making the changes you want to see, and showing how they would work. And if the general maintainer consensus is that they do not agree with these changes, nobody is gonna delete your branch and your welcome to keep that fork for as long as your willing to maintain it. I know that sounds like bullshit ‘do it yourself’ argumentation, but for this project, its legit that the majority of the changes come from an external contributor buckling down, and putting in the man hours to make changes for problems that aren’t big enough problems to need immediate core contributor attention.

I see lots of these brainstorming items on the github, for what its worth, and the usual response is “sure, go ahead and start developing it”. Idea people are a dime a dozen, I’m afraid, so its fairly easy to brush off and be brisk, whether its the ‘right’ thing to do or not.

The way you become a “core developer” is you buckle down and contribute the man hours to make changes. It’s not like we have a permanent staff of paid developers. Everyone is a volunteer.

You get a little more influence over the project by demonstrating that your code and design skills are generally good, but the entire external versus core developer dichotomy that you present here is false.

Apologies, I did not mean to imply a hard line or distinction, I was speaking off the cuff. I was simply looking to refer to the contributors the project have seen that show up and develop one or two things that interest them, then go on their way, as opposed to the folks who have been consistently contributing for years. Using loaded terms like Core and External was a mistake on my behalf.

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To state the obvious: you do realize that trapping skill also governs detecting traps, right?
And that’s why pretty much all characters benefit from raising it to at least level 4-ish…

They damn well should.

Sure, I can (or at least try to) elaborate a bit on it, thank you for asking. It took me quite a while, sorry for that, but I finally got some spare time to go into some details.
It’s maybe a bit rough at the edges, as it’s a long time ago since I took some psychology lectures.
@Profugo_Barbatus already stated a few points, but I want to list them anyway, for completeness sake. Keep in mind; the things I state here is how I see them and not necessary what you tried to say or meant. So let’s get started and let’s break down some posts.

Your first post is absolutely fine. You state what you think about the current situation in the game and suggest a way to change it to make it better. Even if I do not completely agree with your statements (for example, traps do work as base defenses if you turn on wander spawns), i can see the point you’re making.

Your second post is fine too and has a good point why trapping should be merged with survival.
I somehow get the feeling you missed the point of kevin’s post though, but that doesn’t have to mean anything.

Now to your third post…
You state that splitting the survival skill into three more would lead to skill bloat but don’t actually explain why this is bad.

Then “For looking at tables I recommend Excel.”: I have no idea what you wanted to say with that sentence. I get the content of it, sure, but what was the goal of writing it? It looks a bit like “go play with Exel if you want stuff like this”, which sounds a lot like belittling, but that alone might be just a slip or a failed joke.

Then you ask a valid question about the difference of foraging and herbalism. Now, personally, I see no reason to differ between foraging berries/roots/mushroom and herbs (from a game perspective), but between knowing which berries are edible and how to catch a hare, there’s a difference for me, which, by your suggestion, would end up in one (survival) skill (cutting enough grass and look through underbrush would then somehow teach you how to place a bear trap). Although placing and arming a bear trap or snare are a survival skill in real life (in my opinion) it does not fit with the other survival stuff in the game (it would probably result in something like the cooking/chemistry mashup).
However, by following up with a different question and the “shoehorned, eh?” sentence, it seems like you don’t actually want an answer on how or why this differs or not, which is unfortunate as this breaks/blocks possible constructive discussion. Especially that “eh?” at the end is a tad provocative.

The next sentence is fine, but is closely followed by something I cannot stand: You state that you “made a strong point” as a fact, but it actually is more an opinion, one I don’t quite share. And that’s my red flag; I can’t stay opinions camouflaged as facts. Now, it can be a fact, even if I disagree with it of course, but that’s up to others to decide. If I may suggest for the future; if you’re going to state an opinion, or something that could be seen as an opinion, just make it clear it’s one by adding a “I think”/“I thought” or “In my opinion” before it. It makes stuff less “bossy” and takes just a few words more. It’s even possible to pack this into a question (“I thought I made a rather strong point?”) which - unless you’re sassy in the rest of the text - may either lead to further explanation of someones counterargument or a reread of your post(s), resulting in a different outcome of the discussion.

At that point, basically to the end of that post, you start to list examples while “abusing” questions to support your claim - again, it seems like you don’t actually want these questions answered but rather use them as additional support for “I’ll force you to see it my way!”… Which is sad, since there are some good arguments and counterarguments to be made hidden in them. I would have loved to see them written as “Please explain to me why a trained military vet, who has tons of landmines, has to snare squirrels to even know how to place a landmine.” or “Why would a skilled mechanic be unable to weld and place a blade trap?”, but it’s a pity to see them buried underneath something that looks more like a rant than anything else.
I know, you probably wanted to be funny while also restate your point, but to me (and as it seems, to many other too) it didn’t come across like that.

Now you may understand better why we reacted that way to your post.

Now, with that knowledge, let’s take a look at a post from someone who “volunteered” to get this done to by indirectly adressing me in his post.

Now, what counts as a “polite discourse on the internet” is opinionbased. It’s up to the people at that place to decide if it’s polite or not. I joke around a lot in my workgroup, I may even do or say something to them (or receive from them) that looks like an insult to an outsider. I would not behave like that to the Queen of England. Or in this forum. Apparently a lot of people here seem to not see that as a polite discourse. So, that “fact” is actually an opinion.

I think it’s only ironic that this post is actually doing exactly what it criticises. It’s even more ironic that your next post, @Pakislav, “ends this discussion”.

That’s an other excellent way to relativate/soften a potential gruff or controversial post, as it gives a strong feeling to the reader that that post was just an opinion and it’s the readers fault if he actually feels insulted or takes it too literally.

Well, that’s basically it; my explanation of how I saw your posts.

Now, I actually want to add something constructive to this topic, as I missed to do so in my last, very agitated post.

There was a very good point that “knowledge about explosives don’t actually mean that you can build traps with them”, on which I agree. I do have some explosives training (I’m a pyrotechnician) and could probably even build my own fireworks from ground up (not really legally) as I know quite a bit about the chemistry behind it. I’m trained to assemble a show, run the wire, ignite it and disassemble it afterwards and do so with ease. But if you tell me to build a trap with firework, my guess on how to do that is as good as yours.
Of course, someone who’s trained in military grade explosives probably knows how to handle them and how to put them to use, but someone who knows how to construct a landmine doesn’t necessarily.
Also, as @Profugo_Barbatus put it; if you know how to fire a rocket launcher, you still don’t automatically know how to correctly wire up a booby trap.
Merging skills would (or at least could) end up like the earlier mentioned cooking and chemistry situation, where you have to know how to cook a 4 course menu before you can cook meth. Which, as I understand, is exactly the opposite of what you actually want trapping/traps to be.

To finish this almost endless post (if there’s a character limit, I may have hit it):
I’d suggest to not merge trapping with other skills, but have it as a additional condition instead. It keeps its function to spot and disarm other traps easier (in combination with the stats necessary for that), but to place a snare, you’ll need survival and trapping. Placing a bear trap would then need a high enough survival skill and a even higher trapping skill than the snare trap.
Placing (and/or to bury) a landmine would maybe need survival, a low explosive skill and trapping? Something along that line.

…Oh god, it’s 10 in the morning. It was about 4:00 am when I’ve started to write this :cold_sweat: . I have to lay down…

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I agree.
but still:

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