Sunday, March 19, 2017

Imported Comment: Weapon Durrability mechanics, and inability to pick up weaponizable things, in Zombie games

[Originally posted as a comment at Ana Mardolls.]

Random pet peeve:

It makes a certain amount of sense that fighting zombies with a stick would eventually break the stick. The number of hits you get out of a cast iron pipe, on the other hand, is positively absurd. Unless the zombies are made of stronger stuff and you're hitting with more force than a human being can muster.

The absurdity is raised to ludicrousness when a metal ax breaks in like five hits. We're talking about something that is designed to be smashed into solid wood enough times to cut down many trees, often for years on end, before a wood handle would break, and this one has a stronger handle than that. Yet five hits to something significantly softer than wood and it's kaput.

[Added] I meant to mention the machette too. I stab people with it, meaning it's under minimal stress as it's encountering only soft tissue that it easily moves through. Four stabs and it breaks for no apparent reason. [/added]

I understand that weapon degradation is gameplay mechanic, just like slapping an alcohol disinfected bandage wouldn't really cure you from being repeatedly shot, but the thing is that instant-absurd-heal medkits are there to make the game possible. Otherwise you'd be dead before you reached the plot. We let it fly because they help us, as players, actually play the game.

The sturdy looking ax that's apparently made out of aluminum foil is not a necessary break from realism. The game would be just as possible if the only weapons that broke are ones that realistically would, and, in fact, we know that the game takes place in a world where weapons can be more durable than reality given the magical jam-proof guns that would, realistically, break down way faster than a cast iron pipe.

But I haven't even reached the height of pet-peeve yet. If I'm playing a game where I have to replace my melee weapons every two seconds because they're composed of paper mache, don't fucking send me to a place with pool cues that I can't pick up. Those things aren't very durable at all*, but they'd do better work than my cast iron pipe that was somehow imported from a Wile E Coyote cartoon where it had been manufactured by Acme and even if they didn't, they'd at least be multiple "breathe on it and it disintegrates" weapons that I could use on the clickers.

And this isn't even getting into the fact that while I can throw bottles and bricks, two things whose shape demonstrates they were never intended to be thrown, but I can't pick up the pool balls which are shaped exactly how we design things that are meant to be thrown.

First zombie game I make, the main character's primary ranged weapon is going to be a sling that's sized for pool balls.

When the conquistadors came the natives had them matched in firepower partially because the guns at the time sucked, but equally because their sling stones (actually made of clay) were manufactured to all be the same weight and shape allowing for much more control than using found objects. That's why the deciding factor was swords. (Wooden swords with obsidian blades are absolutely devastating to a person they're used on, but they can't survive a hit from a metal sword.)

Long range, the character will have to use a gun, but mid range the pool ball sling should be highly effective, no have a limited ammo problem because of ball retrieval, and have refills to replace lost balls pretty much anywhere in America that someone didn't have the same idea.

But this is beside the point, which is this:

If I'm fighting with found sticks, don't show me piles of found sticks that I can't pick up for fighting purposes.



* The typical pool cue is made of hardrock maple.  Way stronger than the sticks the game does let you fight with, but not nearly so strong as a cast iron pipe.

Communal cues are usually one piece affairs making them slightly longer than a Japanese  jō, I'm told the Chinese weapon that's mostly equivalent is called a bang, but I can only find one source so I'm not entirely convinced.  I have difficulty believing that there isn't a western weapon made out of about that length of wood, but I can't find one.

Two part cues would be even more durable.  Simply put, the longer something is, the easier it is to break.  Separating the cue would also lend itself to an interesting fighting style.  The butt end of a cue would essentially become a club, while the striking end would be able to be used as a lighter faster weapon.

1 comment:

  1. Oddly, there doesn't seem to be a traditional European fighting style using a stick the length of a Jo. There's basically three traditional lengths in european stick fighting, and the jo is right in the middle between the two smaller ones.