Hello Forum dwellers,
Just wanted to share some ideas regarding weapon breakage. I believe this can add a new layer of depth to the game and balance some ongoing issues.
First, by weapon breakage I am referring to the idea that weapons can get damaged over time and are eventually rendered unusable without proper maintenance. Depending on the type of weapon, the effect of wear and tear can be different. Guns for example, can jam, misfire, or even explode! (yes this is possible). Bows can snap (either the string or the wood frame) and melee weapons can shatter, bend or break.
Most of my suggestions will be toward gun breakage, because guns are the “high maintenance” weapons in this game. They are also the most interesting (and difficult) of weapons, to implement a breakage system for.
Guns require constant cleaning, lubrication, disassembly and reassembly for efficient operation. What I suggest is a hidden counter for every gun, indicating its “condition”. This hidden value (which I call the “damage state” or DS), would control the probability of a misfire, jam or explosion of the weapon. The latter, might be a little crazy to implement, but the first two should not be too difficult. Something like a number of turns for which the weapon is unusable, (or extremely inaccurate in the case of misfires) could work. The number of turns the weapon is out of operation should be based on the DS and maybe the user’s weapon skill (more on this later). This sort of active effect would necessitate the maintenance of one’s weapon in peace, for optimum operation in danger. The DS itself, would be determined by the number of times the weapon was fired, any maintenance done, and perhaps the weapon skill of the user (more on this later).
Furthermore, one of my personal qualms with this game is that because guns are always in perfect condition, it is necessary that these guns to be hard to find, to maintain balance. However, I would imagine a war-time, pre-cataclysm, paranoid, 2nd amendment entitled, U.S public, to be swimming in guns. Weapon breakage, then, is the solution.
Rather than fully functioning firearms, I suggest a “part system” where guns are broken down into a number of parts, some of which can be completely broken and require replacement, for the gun to be usable. This would mean guns can be more common (in the same way cars are common) but still require some effort to use. This idea is probably the hardest to implement (if not impossible) but it can be simplified greatly. Dividing all weapons in to two parts: barrel and stock (a more knowledgeable person than I, can suggest a better division, with more parts), disassembly of the weapon would result in interchangeable parts which can be used to “repair” a weapon. This would also allow otherwise unused guns to be useful for parts. Furthermore, expanding upon this idea, if the DS of the weapon can be determined by the condition of these two parts, then the maintenance of these parts (through the use of lubrication and cleaning kits) can directly affect the DS. This would in essence create a functional “weapon maintenance” system.
Now, the parts idea is probably too idealistic to be implemented (we would have to change, pretty much every gun added so far) but lets now discuss how weapon skill comes into play. We can take an unrealistic simple approach, e.g having weapon skill slow the rate at which DS increases, or we can take a more complex approach which is a bit more realistic. For the latter, I suggest the weapon skill merely control the chance of affecting the DS through maintenance (similar to how sewing works), and the chance of replacing parts or disassembling weapons successfully (again, sewing skill is a good model for this). This would give further ways to improve weapon skill other than wasting precious bullets, and put less emphasis on the skill for proper operation (because guns are intrinsically accurate and powerful, regardless of user skill) and more on maintenance. The weapon skill may also affect the duration of a jam (representing, how long it takes for user to “unjam” the weapon) or misfire, and the degree to which the user knows the condition of his weapon (the hidden “DS”)
Now then, the last thing to discuss is actual weapon breakage. I mentioned above that the DS value should be broken down and determined by the value of the individual parts. What I suggest now, is a system similar to the Health system. Each part has its own condition value (“CV”), and if any one part is destroyed, it must be replaced. Lubrication and cleaning can control the rate at which the CV decreases but the CV can never be reversed. The only way to get a higher CV than before, is by complete replacement of a part. This ensures that firearms are a limited commodity and prevents the “best weapon” syndrome which is so prevalent in DDA (I am referring to the fact that, once you obtain the “best weapon” its the only one you will ever use). Lubrication and cleaning can be implemented as an unstackable static bonus (similar to vitamins) to the rate of CV decrease, over some period of time (1 week? 3 days? Again, I defer authority regarding this to a more knowledgeable individual). But no matter what you do (as in real life) use of a weapon will inevitably result in its decomposition, you cannot prevent it, only slow it down.
All that said, I’d like to discuss some more interesting, experimental, and therefore probably impossible, ideas. Focusing on the parts system, something like custom built weapons with parts from various weapons could be very interesting. Giving values to parts, representing weight, accuracy, precision etc. would be a crucial part of the above. Essentially turning the gun’s components into something similar to gun mods (scopes, silencers, etc.). Making gun crafting be based on the crafting of such parts and then their subsequent assembly is even more interesting. Finally, the use of blueprints, skill books, etc. to find recipes for crafting said parts should be considered, as well as decreasing the rarity of ammo given the new difficulty of gun maintenance.
I’d like to end, by taking a short look at how this system can be expanded to all weapons. DS and CV can easily be transferred to other weapons (and something like it, is in the works I believe). However unlike guns, there should be no chance of damage effects (i.e no jamming or misfire, it either works or it doesn’t). A weapon like a bow or a sword should either be destroyed and require replacement of parts, or be more or less fully operational (bladed weapons can have a “sharpness” factor, but this might be taking things a bit too far). Furthermore, maintenance is not as big an issue (bowstrings can be tightened, but again this might be too much), and so gun breakage really represents the epitome of complexity in our discussion.
I think implementation of this system would allow the introduction of some new and exciting gameplay, greater realism, greater challenge, more balance and just more fun. What you guys think?