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Weapon design question

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Sorry if this is an innapropriate question for this forum but i dont know where else to ask, I noticed some first person shooters have only 5-9 weapons like serious sam, whereas some have around 40 like call of duty. Why would developers ever not have alot of weapons? Does the scripting and modeling take a lot of time? or does it take up alot of space on the game? It seems like if they set a basic script with values they could make tons of weapons and just model them all. Im not making a game, im just curious.

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Mostly from the view of balance and level design its good to have a small number of unique weapons instead of a large number with several redundant ones unless your going for historical accuracy and need to have separate American, British and German service pistols even if they all work the same.

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that actually makes alot of since, but I wish someone would take an old engine, like unreal 1, or source gold, and make a game with like a thousand different guns and models, and a load of enemies, and make it really long. I dont care about graphics, if i can tell what something is, they dont need to be any better...

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My opinion is that redundancy is fine, as long as there's at least some variable difference, and as long as it's easy to distinguish between them when it matters.

Two pistols might be nearly the same, while one impacts harder and the other uses less ammo. During an intense situation, I couldn't care less which one I grab off of the floor, so I don't need to easily distinguish between them. In any other situation, the slight differences allow me to use the weapon that best suits my style/mood/plan for the given moment.

To answer the question, no, it's not difficult to include a lot of weapons. Including research, designing, modeling, texturing, sounds, scripting, particle development, and stat balancing, I can make a unique weapon for my game in less than one day.

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...in general, I don't think they usually feel it's a good idea or investment of their time. Each weapon requires modelling, animating, and scripting to get it going, and the end result of 40+ weapons is likely that 1) Many weapons are redundant and never get used (see Counterstrike) 2) Players are overwhelmed by the number of choices they have or 3) individual weapons do not feel as "solid" or balanced as they would have been if they'd focused on a smaller number instead.

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You also give the player problems in that if, ie. group A weapons were redundant clones, and the same for B, C and D, thats great, but how does the player learn which weapons are in which group? Giving the player so many weapons slows down the learning time and bogs down the gameplay. Id rather learn a weapon once and recognize it through out the game than learn it over and over with different models and names and have to remember that mental list when I am figuring out what I just found.

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REdundant weapons add very little to gameplay, so unless they're contributing to atmosphere or authenticity, it's wasted assets. If each gun uses different ammo, then it becomes frustrating for the player to have to stockpile and manage a big bag of bullets, especially if it consumes inventory space, as in Resident Evil or Dead Space.

Most players will find a few guns they like and stick with them. Forcing them to switch due to ammo concerns or availability can be a hassle. I like a diverse array of distinct guns. like Halo: CE had. Even the pistol wasn't a throwaway or "last resort" weapon, so you felt good about having it.

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The way I look at it, all weapons can be divided by engagement type. Every game out there usually covers all of the basic engagement types. In order to add complexity and reduce redundancy, you can add things such as different damage types, or bullet effects, to create a series of weapon sets.

Lets look at Halo. You got physical weapons and you got energy weapons. One damages armor better, and the other damages shields better. Is their engagement-type redundancy? Yes. But the redundancy is over two weapon sets, which means that it balances out.

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Original post by Elhrrah
In order to add complexity and reduce redundancy, you can add things such as different damage types, or bullet effects, to create a series of weapon sets.

+ Reload complexity / speed
+ Weapon dexterity / weight
+ Ammo availability / ammo cost
+ Clip size / rounds per reload
+ Projectile type (in my game: frag, laser, plasma, pulse)
+ Projectile traveling speed
+ Projectile traveling Accuracy
+ Weapon aiming accuracy (sights, scopes)
+ Firing rate
+ Shot modes: single, burst, automatic
+ Firing recoil
+ Projectile damage (hurt targets)
+ Projectile force / power (knock targets around)
+ Projectile shock (stun targets)
+ Projectile critical-chance
+ Splash damage / area effect
+ Stealthiness

There are other concerns, such as buying price and storage size (or where you can holster it). As you can see, it wouldn't be that challenging to come up with 40 diverse weapons.

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Don't forget balance issues. 40 distinct and interesting guns, 36 of which are specialized for tasks that the player almost never has to complete, boils down to four "good" guns and a library of "try once, then discard" guns.

Army of Two had a large number of guns, and there were a neat set of attributes for each, including their flashiness, which impacted enemy aggression (a central element in the combat in that game). But even if you tried really hard to enjoy your favorite gun, spending money to optimize it and carrying it all the time, you'd often find that some other gun beats it in every possible scenario.

Likewise, Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 had a huge arsenal, but you only ever see a half-dozen or so represented in multiplayer, since those guns are most advantageous.

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I'd much rather see a wider variety of attack styles and tactics than individual weapons which don't work across a large number of tactics. Even as a modern warfare buff it's slightly irritating to play something like Ghost Recon and search through a plethora of same but slightly different weapons (ditto for CRPGs).

Endless variations on a theme aren't nearly as good as a wide variety of themes.

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Personally, I don't really get the 'lots of guns!' mentality. A pistol is a pistol, a sub-machine gun is a sub-machine gun, and a sniper rifle is a sniper rifle. Sure you can dress them up differently, and have them function in slightly different ways, but at the end of the day, there's never enough distinction between them to make them worthwhile, and you'll always see people electing for a particular option other another, leaving the others on the back-bench.

I'd rather see a smaller, more refined and preferably *interesting* array of armaments, then 40+ trace-spitting bullet weapons. Unreal has a lot of diversity in it's arsenal, and you can respect that. It's also reasonably broad. Counterstrike has a very broad arsenal, but little diversity - and a whole lot of redundancy.

You need to give people reasons for choosing certain options over others. Personally, I feel that can often come down to the functionality. In a little project I'm designing for myself (which sadly, will likely never see the light of day), I went with only four weapons. Each of the weapons had very distinct functionality that made them very different from one another. This was further levered with a small number of attachments and modifications, designed to assist facilitating a broader range of roles. If everything is special, rather than generic, then it just doesn't matter if you don't have loads of pointless options to choose from.

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Original post by Iron Chef Carnage
Don't forget balance issues. 40 distinct and interesting guns, 36 of which are specialized for tasks that the player almost never has to complete, boils down to four "good" guns and a library of "try once, then discard" guns.

Four? Even Halo had more than four guns, and it had absolutely no room for the player's preference. If you wanted to use a sniper rifle, there was only one choice. Don't like something about it? That's tough, use another weapon.

Although I've seen plenty of games that employ an arsenal of boring weapons that have no personality, I can still guarantee the possibility of building forty ranged weapons that all have properties unique enough to set them apart.

The only issues I've ever had with games regarding too many weapons (when those weapons are all nearly equal in usefulness) is when they pile them on faster than it takes me to get comfortable with any of them. If done right (ie, not like the typical +10 dmg RPG sword), encountering new weapons and equipment throughout the game can provide a nice incentive to push on. Think Fallout 1 + 2. The player never stops running into new things, but regardless, most of the old things stay useful.

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Original post by Kest
Four? Even Halo had more than four guns, and it had absolutely no room for the player's preference. If you wanted to use a sniper rifle, there was only one choice. Don't like something about it? That's tough, use another weapon.


The Sniper Rifle, Battle Rifle and Beam Rifle and Carbine can all be used for 'sniping'. Halo is full of redundancy, with a plentiful array of characterless and generic weapons. Case in example - would you ever deliberately use a Plasma Pistol over any of the other weapons available at the time? Unlikely. Would you ever elect to use the Assault Rifle? No. In fact it has no reason to even exist, since the role is much better filled by the very similar, but vastly superior Battle Rifle.

Halo is a pretty good example of how not to arrange your arsenal.

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Original post by ambershee
Halo is full of redundancy, with a plentiful array of characterless and generic weapons.

....

Halo is a pretty good example of how not to arrange your arsenal.

That just seems like an absurd perspective to me. It had less weapons than just about any FPS before it. In fact, I would assume that many of the designers who protest against having many weapons are using Halo as a factor in their judgment. It did a lot with a little bit.

Quote:
Case in example - would you ever deliberately use a Plasma Pistol over any of the other weapons available at the time? Unlikely.

That's a terrible example. It was my favorite weapon. Its manual rate of fire was incredible, and the charge up blast was highly effective against the elites and green-shield dudes. You could round a corner, see a target, and burn four rounds into their skull in less than a second. The only thing I hated about it was the overheating, which really was a pain in areas with a lot of enemies, but that was part of its balance.

Quote:
Would you ever elect to use the Assault Rifle? No.

Are you saying you didn't use the assault rifle because it was too similar to another weapon? I didn't use it because it was improperly balanced and had no power. Personally, I prefer bullet-based weapons to futuristic energy based weapons, and probably would have used it much more, otherwise.

Quote:
In fact it has no reason to even exist, since the role is much better filled by the very similar, but vastly superior Battle Rifle.

I might be mistaken, but I don't believe there was a battle rifle in Halo. At least not the first one, which is what I referred to in my post.

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Original post by Kest
Quote:
Original post by ambershee
In fact it has no reason to even exist, since the role is much better filled by the very similar, but vastly superior Battle Rifle.
I might be mistaken, but I don't believe there was a battle rifle in Halo. At least not the first one, which is what I referred to in my post.
You are correct, the battle rifle was added in Halo 2, which had no assault rifle (dual wield sub-machine guns instead). I assume ambershee was referring to Halo 3, which retained both the assault rifle and the battle rifle - any funnily enough, the assault rifle is my favourite weapon, with far more punch than the battle rifle, despite the aiming problems, making it another bad example [smile]

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The assault rifle comment is pretty uneducated in my opinion. Just looking at the Halo 3 stats on Bungie.net you see a huge variety of styles. For example, I have almost 900% more kills with the battle rifle than with my second best weapon, while most of my friends have melee and assault rifle as their 1 and 2 rank weapons.

As for Halo CE, why would you ever use anything beyond the pistol, sniper, rockets and shotgun is beyond me (with the exception of using the plasma pistol against elites in campaign, or the plasma rifle in multiplayer).

As for the original question, it has almost everything to do with the audience being targetted. Someone like me, who plays Halo, but not too many other shooters don't want a game with 50 guns. We want a smaller number of guns that we can instantly identify (and identify which situations you'd want that gun in). People like me couldn't name you more than 2 real life guns, and we're probably the majority.

One other major issue is weapon balancing (as most others have pointed out). How many games are out there where people consider one or two weapons to be super cheap or totally useless? A lot! For example, was there ever a reason to include the needler in Halo CE other than to embarass your opponent? What about a game like counter-strike where my friends always whine when someone uses the M4 since it's apparently overpowered?

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I think the above posts about Halo disprove the critic. You are all saying, maybe it is unbalanced, X is my favourite weapon. That is the point. Personally, I love the shotgun, but I know people who can't use it, but can completely destroy me with the battle rifle. I know people who will chuck away the assault riffle at the first available opportunity, but it is the weapon I have the most kills with. Halo is one of the few games it is difficult to complain about when it comes to balancing.I could argue a case for or against any weapon, and I have used all weapons more than once. Sure, I have favourites, but they are different to other peoples, and just suit my style of play.


Relating to the OP, if you can create 40 different viable weapons, then go for it. But in all honesty, you can't. So how will it improve your enjoyment. Oh great, this game has 40 weapons! Which do you use, oh, the same as everyone else because the others aren't quite as good. It is like RTSs with hundreds of races. They are either identical (Age of Empires) or unbalanced (Dawn of War)

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If you ask me, perfect balance in single player games is overrated. A great deal of the fun in conquering real life is discovering the imperfections of balance that give you an extra edge. To do that, you try out new things, experiment, and play around. Discovering that edge might be very difficult, but we always know it's possible.

Some newer games are so rigid, walled in, and balanced, players probably don't even find it tempting to explore anymore - What's the point of trying that ammo out? I know it won't be any better than what I'm using.

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Original post by Kest
Some newer games are so rigid, walled in, and balanced, players probably don't even find it tempting to explore anymore - What's the point of trying that ammo out? I know it won't be any better than what I'm using.


You forget that balancing need not simply reduce one aspect to compensate for another - money is a balancing factor too, as is experience, ease of use, difficulty to obtain, and prerequisites for aquiring. Furthermore, there are shadow costs that can be used to justify a dominant strategy.

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Original post by Delphinus
Quote:
Original post by Kest
Some newer games are so rigid, walled in, and balanced, players probably don't even find it tempting to explore anymore - What's the point of trying that ammo out? I know it won't be any better than what I'm using.


You forget that balancing need not simply reduce one aspect to compensate for another - money is a balancing factor too, as is experience, ease of use, difficulty to obtain, and prerequisites for aquiring. Furthermore, there are shadow costs that can be used to justify a dominant strategy.

I'm talking about the general message being sent: We're not going to let you find an extreme weakness in your enemies or extreme strength in your weapons, because we got rid of them all, to protect you from yourself. Strict equality and perfect balance, how wonderfully orderly and boring.

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I love the needler. Sure the bullets move slow and don't do much damage to start with, But I haven't seen very many people who don't run for cover when under a stream of needles. And sure as hell have never seen people walk into them from cover. They're also great for pressuring a sniper, just know their general location and pull a trigger.

_____

There isn't a reason for having very many weapons when you do you're going to limit them down to a manageable number anyways.

The working memory of a human is only 3 to 7 things. The only way to short cut this is for the person to bunch/peg things or have predefined routines that they follow.

That means that with fewer weapons your players will be more free to do stuff. It'll be easier for new players to get "at the level" and to get to the level they won't need to train themselves as much. You could say less "tutorial" time and more real gameplay, I mean when you're playing a FPS you want gameplay and action not delving into the question of 42.

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