Gun Naming and Inclusion Guidelines

Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead includes much of the complexity embodied by guns in the real world. This means that, as of writing, there are approximately 80 different types of ammo in the game and an astonishing 330 or so different guns using these ammo types. Many people (the author included) appreciate this large variety and what it brings to the game. However, as this variety is composed of almost entirely of real guns, it suffers from two related problems.

The first problem is that if you are not already familiar with (and have memorized) their names, gun names aren’t meaningful in the form they’re added to the game. What is a Manhurin MR 73? What is a SIG P226? What is an FS2000? When this, and a string of numbers representing their ammotype is all you have, you can’t easily tell that those are a revolver, a pistol, and a rifle. Even if the ammotype may give some clues, that’s another piece of information that must be memorized and isn’t obvious at a glance. Then, once you obtain a gun, the mapping between that gun and what magazines it takes is not always clear. If I have a Luty submachine gun, how do I know that it takes magazines with STEN in their name? I can read the description, the game will helpfully highlight them if I have the gun on my person, but the mapping is not intuitive.

If you are interested in learning about guns and enjoy doing that, the learning that is required to understand guns is an interesting experience. If you’re just here to try your hand at surviving the cataclysm, and don’t care to learn much about guns, it’s just an obstacle to understanding how to use guns. Because of the significant tactical role of guns in the game, this obstacle matters in how approachable the game is. If guns are hard to understand, it’s hard to use them, which makes the game artificially harder, and not in an fun or engaging way.

The second problem is problem of mapping the extreme variety of real world guns to the guns in game. In the real world, many guns can be quite similar. While they are welcomed in game, having them all of them as separate items creates some problems. Each item has its own stat block, and this invites all sorts of differences that aren’t meaningfully different. Having non-meaningful differences like this only exacerbates the first problem.

These problems have resulted in two separate solutions:

Generic Guns

Generic Guns is a mod that entirely strips out the gun system used in the base game, and replaces it with a much simplified system. It does this by replacing all of the ammunition types for firearms with 12 different archetypes. For each ammunition type, it then adds appropriate guns for each type.

This is fairly extreme, but by largely ignoring the real complexity of guns, is a very accessible experience for people who are not familiar with or interested in guns. And by completely replacing all the guns in the game, the second issue is no longer relevant.

However, it also has fairly drastic balance changes. Collapsing 80 ammo types and 330 guns into 12 and 48 significantly changes how available and compatible guns and ammo are.

Gun Brand Names (gun type variants)

Because the significant balance implications of Generic Guns, another way to make firearms more accessible was created. Through variants, one item can be shown as several items, with unique cosmetic aspects.

By converting the very similar guns to multiple variants of a single item, the second problem is resolved. By allowing variants for guns to be toggled on and off, different names can be given to guns for those who want all the complexity and inaccessibility of real life, and descriptive names can be given as an alternative, solving the first problem.

Inclusion Criteria

There are two criteria for adding a new gun to the game. The first is a “hard” threshold of rarity that your gun must pass. The second is a script-enforced “difference” threshold. The second is softer, as guns that fail it should be added as variants instead of distinct items.

Rarity Threshold

Pre-cataclysm firearms from the same dimension in which the game takes place in can be broadly divided into 5 categories: civilian, civilian NFA(non-machinegun), civilian machineguns, police, and military

Civilian Firearms

Non-machinegun civilian firearms: these are your normal shotguns, handguns, rifles, pcc’s, etc.

Per family of firearm, if there have been historically 100 listings or more combined on a secondary market’s website (e.g. GunBroker, GunsAmerica, Rock Island Auctionhouse, etc) then the gun is common enough for inclusion into C:DDA. A family of firearms would include things like, all S&W K-frame models, all types of Mosin-Nagant longarms, the entire MDR rifle family, etc. This is distinct from “100 models produced, ever”, as it is instead a measure of how common the guns are on the broader market.

Civilian NFA firearms: Short Barreled Rifles, Short Barreled Shotguns, Any Other Weapons, or Silencers.

  • Silencers: Should be genercized into types of silencers. Shotgun silencer, rimfire silencer, pistol silencer, hybrid rifle/pistol silencer, rifle silencer, rifle (flow through) silencer, big bore silencer. Specific models should be avoided.

  • SBRs, SBSs: If they’re major models like AK’s, AR’s, 870’s, or 500’s, maybe, but they need to be very uncommon. Anything else, too rare to include. At a ratio of 532000 SBR’s (2021, ATF) : 393347000 (total guns in the US, est), an SBR/SBS should be 0.00135 times as common as its longarm counterpart, or otherwise just be described as its non-NFA pistol braced variant.

  • AOW’s(pen guns, cane guns, not technically-an-AOW’s like a pistol with a VFG): no.

Civilian Machineguns: If it’s not a MAC 10, MAC 11, Full size UZI, STEN gun, or a Reising, then no. No post samples. All civilian machineguns have a collective rarity of 175,977 machineguns: 393,347,00 total guns in the US.

Military and Police Firearms

These are harder to find stats on, but guns are not allowed simply by merit of being used by the military or police. Whether or not a gun will be allowed will be determined in large part by mergers.

Difference Threshold

Guns are eligible to be combined into variants based on the criteria in the verification script. Check that for the most up-to-date info on these criteria.

As of writing, the checks are:

  • The guns take the same ammo types.
  • The guns have the same fire modes.
  • The volumes of the guns are within 500 mL
  • The weight of the guns are within 500 g
  • If both guns have a longest side defined, and they are within 10 cm
  • If both guns have dispersion defined and they are within 50 (0.5 moa)
  • The guns take the same speedloaders
  • The guns take the same magazines
  • The guns have reload speed modifiers that are within 250 moves
  • the barrel lengths of the guns are within 2 cm
  • the ranged damage of the guns are within 4 pts

If all of these are true, the guns should simply be variants of one gun.

Gun Naming

There are two rules for the default names of guns. That is, the names of guns when the ‘Gun Brand Names’ option is not enabled. These rules are enforced by script.

Rule 1 (Descriptive Names): What is this?

This rule requires that the name of the gun clarifies what it is. This is meant to prevent gun names that are obscure strings of letters and numbers.

Guns that follow this rule will have names like Glock pistol, m4 carbine, or UMP submachine gun. Guns that don’t will have names like FS2000, SIG P226, Ruger LCR .38, or Taurus Raging Bull.

As of writing, names are considered to be acceptable if the gun name contains any of these strings that describe that it is a gun and it’s role. As with the other rules, the most up-to-date info on what is acceptable is contained in the verification script.

String Reason
automagnum describes a class of gun
blunderbuss describes a class of gun
carbine describes a class of gun
coilgun describes a gun
combination gun describes a (bizarre) gun
flamethrower describes a class of gun
flintlock describes a class of gun
FSP Hub-01 special faction weapon. Gets a bit of a pass
gatling gun describes a class of gun
hand cannon describes a class of gun
handgun describes a class of gun
HWP Hub-01 special faction weapon. Gets a bit of a pass
launcher describes a class of gun
lever gun describes a class of gun
LMG short name for light machine gun
HMG short name for heavy machine gun
SMG short name for sub machine gun
machine gun describes a class of gun
operational briefcase Used for the bizarre H&K concealed gun
pistol describes a class of gun
railgun describes a class of gun
revolver describes a class of gun
rifle describes a class of gun
shotgun describes a class of gun
six-shooter describes a class of gun
submachine gun describes a class of gun
trenchgun describes a class of gun

Rule 2 (Identifier Check): What goes with this?

This rule requires that there is a common “identifier” string shared between the gun and all the magazines or speedloaders it takes.

As the STANAG magazines are very generic, they are not considered in evaluation of whether or not a gun has this “identifier”.

As of writing, the following strings are not considered when checking. As with the other rules, the most up-to-date info on what is acceptable is contained in the verification script.

String Reason
10mm ammo type name
.22 ammo type name
.338 ammo type name
.38 ammo type name
.40 ammo type name
.44 ammo type name
.45 ammo type name
.500 ammo type name
5x50mm ammo type name
5.7mm ammo type name
7.7mm ammo type name
8x40mm ammo type name
9x19mm ammo type name
-round common term in magazine names
magazine common term in magazine names
stripper common term in magazine names
speedloader common term in magazine names
11 common false-positive term
to common false-positive term
if common false-positive term
ip common false-positive term
rifle common false-positive term
carbine common false-positive term

Here are some selected identifiers that are used by existing guns

Identifier Commentary
Exodii Describes the faction associated with all the items that go with this gun
P230 This is the name of a handgun. This is a valid common identifier, as long as the handgun follows the other rules
varmint This is a descriptor of the role of the gun. This is a valid identifier
Glock This is a brand. This is a valid common identifier, matching the magazines with this ammo type to the gun
Saiga-410 This is the name of a shotgun. This is a valid common identifier