Weapon degradation musings


I don’t mind if the fine people at Otherside decide to scrap weapon degradation but let me share some of my thoughts on it overall as a system. I personally feel like no game has gotten it down right, your weapon either breaks too fast or it ends being tedious to maintain. I feel like weapon degradation shouldn’t mean the weapon has a health bar and when it reaches 0 the weapon literally evaporates from existence.

How about a system where over time things stop working properly, triggers, weapon jamming, and just overall effectiveness being pretty poor. So you could theoretically play the entire game without ever repairing a weapon but if you did have the repair skill you can not only maintain the weapon but the weapon basically gets a damage bonus for being maintained at high effectiveness.

I don’t know I just really like the tension that SS2 had in terms of weapon degradation but I hated how it was implemented overall, it was more busy work than something to get immersed by. This may be a dumb idea and that is why overall I don’t mind if they go the BioShock route and just not even mention its absence but if any of the people at Otherside want to contemplate on this system I wouldn’t mind them iterating on it and making it better from SS2.

Anyways, what is everyone else’s thoughts on weapon degradation systems in games? Do you think it’s some that just becomes tedious and should never be implemented or do you think it is worth iterating on and coming up with a solution to make the system more involved and less arbitrary? Cheers!


Adding my vote for expanded weapon degradation. But this is 2016. We don’t have such ancient arcane concepts that enforce strategic thinking and create surprise scenarios for the player to adapt to in our games anymore.

As for what I think about weapon degradation in general? Aside from the above, its importance is greater in games focused on melee weaponry, as it acts as “ammo” for melee weapons and thus forces diversity in a player’s arsenal and tactics. It’s semi-realistic, guns do jam and get clogged with crap after sustained fire, and swords and such do face wear and tear albeit usually over longer periods of time, but the faster degradation rate in games is done for gameplay purposes of course. I love how in Underworld and Arx even hitting a wall degrades your weapon. Great attention to detail. I other words, I love it and want in in SS3 and Underworld Ascendant.


Good points, yeah the attention to detail in Underworld and especially for the time it was made is really impressive.


I was thinking this same point. Weapons jam, backfire, etc.

Would be fun to expand on the concept, but please put a way in to fix broken weapons. Maybe a skill? :confused:


That is my line of thinking, have the repair skill just be a way of maintaining your weapon. It’s beneficial for obvious reasons but weapons never just flat out break completely. Personally I think it would be cooler to just have little things stop working properly instead of just having weapons break the traditional gamey way.


Yep, Weapon deg was annoying. So in far future they forgot how to build a simple shotgun that lasts more than 30 shots?


I loved the concept of weapon degradation… But only after i got used to it. A jammed weapon is a real pain, but only if you can’t fix it.

Let’s explain my thoughts about this with some examples.
The first time i played the game, i relied on standard and heavy weaponry, but my pistol got jammed before i had a repair skill, at the cargo bays, one of the worst places to have no ranged weapons. I nearly had to restart the game over this, which was not fun at all. So what i did afterward, was spend tons of cyber modules on the Repair and Maintain skills. after a while, i had so many maintenance tools i didn’t even know what to do with them and decided to recycle a couple of them. But you were forced to train the Maintain skill to even maintain certain weapons, so in some way you were forced to have an excess of maintenance tools, which made them once again feel useless.

You could say that to slow down degradation, you would have to shoot less, so you could use the Modify skill to upgrade your weapons to deal more damage and do other stuff. But at this point you would already have 3 skills focused only on non-psionic weapons. I find this a bit over the top, really.

To prevent this, the second time i played this game i decided to only train my repair skill and be redundant in the amount of weapons held. If my weapon got jammed, i could simply switch to the second pistol in my inventory. If i wanted to deal more damage, i’d simply upgrade my Standard weapons skill or use a french-epstein device.

You could understand that by doing either one of these things, things would get pretty tedious for the first time player.

I liked what most of the comments said here. Make Maintentance tools more useful by making weapons more effective at a better condition, and combine the Repair and Maintenance skill into one big Repair skill, which can do both. But what i would also like to see is to remove skill requirements completely, and to replace it with performing corresponding actions incredibly difficult with an insufficient skill level.

This added layer of risk from performing actions you’re not trained for more dangerous could be added to more than just repairing weapons. Per example, an audio log from SS2 said that said person died to said unknown weapon he found somewhere, because he used it wrong. I would love to see this being integrated into the gameplay somehow, but off course with less dramatic effects.


I wish there was an option to like a post because it’s almost like you took my thoughts from my brain completely. :slight_smile:


I think it was probably the other way around – they spent a ton of research to figure out how to make them break down reliably and consistently.


Weapon degradation was pretty good in SS2. Not perfect but pretty good. I liked how it created another thing for the player to worry about and another need to balance skill points in order to ensure reliable control over a hostile situation. SS1 didn’t have it but the game was somehow making up for it by being more challenging in combat situations.


And of course there was that handy Psi ability for preventing weapon degradation.

I mean, I never used it myself, but it was there. :wink:

But I’d like to see some other ideas considered than just tweaks to how SS2 handled it. What about Item Refurbishment Stations (i.e., repair/crafting booths with a Trioptimum flavor) at various locations? This would simplify maintenance/repair/modification, as well as restricting it to developer-dictated locations. Personally, I’d find that too redolent of Dead Space, with just a hint of Fallout 4. But maybe today’s players would prefer that over having to pay for skills and carrying/using repair tools and French-Epstein Devices.

Here’s another strange thought: what if weapons degraded very slowly, but the only way to repair them was to use the SS3 equivalent of XP, or cybermodules, on them? (This is assuming SS3 will be more RPG-ish like SS2, rather than doing progression through improved gear as in SS.) This would make for some difficult choices: should I spend some of my precious improvement units to fix this awesome shotgun, or should I risk it breaking completely while hoping to find a superior replacement as loot somewhere?

Another possibility: how about applying nanomachines to degraded gear via a cyberspace puzzle? Regular success fixes the item; failure just fails to fix it; critical failure degrades it further; and a critical success gives it some nice new capability. (I’m not suggesting a D&D-style dice roll here – just the idea that the player’s level of success at accomplishing some task in cyberspace might condition the result of trying to fix an object.)

There are probably many more ways to handle weapon degradation than just how SS2 did it. Hopefully the OS gang are considering some of them.

Bonus idea: Should weapons be the only thing that degrades through use? Or should anything the player’s character uses be subject to reduced effectiveness through wear and tear?


Or how about about applying the deg only to a number of weapons. Old style mechanical weapons shoud be free of deg while some spacy experimental energy weapons have their issues?


Having workbenches or something like that would be fine, as long as they aren’t cookie cutter (ie. every one looks exactly the same ) or some goddamn vending machine. Vending machines are ok for common commodity items, not crafting technology or making repairs IMO. If I hear another clown laughing from a vending machine I’m going to unwind my speaker coils one loop at a time. It may be entirely unnecessary to even have a designated repair area per se. Any table might be fine and the player could carry the necessary tools around with him or search for stationary equipment in the game world to plunk down and work at.

Again I’ll refer to Penumbra/Amnesia which had a very very nice way of handling crafting. This could work for repairs in a similar fashion. You find some table, pull your wire brush, cloth, machine oil, wire, precision screwdriver, etc. out of your inventory and place them on the desk. Then you manipulate the objects in real-time in an intuitive way (whatever that means… this is where the game engine and some creativity become important) to fix your stuff.

I would also suggest avoiding cutscene segments like (frob this thing and watch the player reefing on a crowbar for 3 seconds). They disconnect the player and remove his control over the game world. After seeing the same thing play out twice you feel like you’re no longer involved in the process.


I dunno about adding workbenches and stuff… SS2’s system worked so well, why replace it if you can simply tweak it? Experimentation is great but in this case it really isn’t necessary. I’ll guess we’ll just see if anything changes over time ;D


If they decide to stick with a simple drag’n’drop maintenance tool I’m fine with it. It is a little simple though, given the potential of the engine, that’s all. I don’t get hung up on such things if they work well but I guess it’s nice to aspire to something a little more empowering.


Maybe weapons would be more likely to backfire and jam, the lower they degrade.


^We’re not gonna tell him, guys?




I facepalmed so hard, my will to point out the obvious became damaged. Currently waiting for a quote from my mechanic.



What do you mean. It’s been years.

Gimme a break!