JSON Inheritance

To reduce duplication in the JSON data it is possible for some types to inherit from an existing type. Some restraint should be used, see guidelines section below.


In the following condensed example 556 ammo is derived from 223 ammo via copy-from:

    "id": "556",
    "copy-from": "223",
    "type": "AMMO",
    "name": "5.56 NATO M855A1",
    "description": "5.56x45mm ammunition with a 62gr FMJ bullet...",
    "price": "35 USD",
    "relative": {
      "damage": -2,
      "pierce": 4,
    "extend": { "effects": [ "NEVER_MISFIRES" ] }

In monsters it would look slightly different and has a few options while still using copy-from:

"relative": { "melee_dice": 1, "melee_dice_sides": 5, "melee_damage": 2 },

"//": "Relative usage",
  "relative": { "melee_damage": [ { "damage_type": "cut", "amount": 2 } ] }
"//": "or",
  "relative": { "melee_damage": 2 },

The following rules apply to the above example:

  • Missing fields have the same value as the parent

  • Fields explicitly specified replace those of the parent type. The above example replaces name, description and price.

  • Numeric values may be specified relative to the parent. For example 556 has less damage but more pierce than 223 and will maintain this relationship if the definition for 223 is changed.

  • Flags can be added via extend. For example 556 is military ammo and gains the NEVER_MISFIRES ammo effect. Any existing flags specified from 223 are preserved.

  • The entry you copied from must be of the same type as the item you added or changed (not all types are supported, see ‘support’ below)

Reloaded ammo is derived from the factory equivalent but with a 10% penalty to damage and dispersion and a chance to misfire:

    "id": "reloaded_556",
    "copy-from": "556",
    "type": "AMMO",
    "name": "reloaded 5.56 NATO",
    "proportional": {
     "damage": 0.9,
      "dispersion": 1.1
    "extend": { "effects": [ "RECYCLED" ] },
    "delete": { "effects": [ "NEVER_MISFIRES" ] }

The following additional rules apply to the above example:

Chained inheritance is possible; for example reloaded_556 inherits from 556 which is itself derived from 223

Numeric values may be specified proportional to the parent by via a decimal factor where 0.5 is 50% and 2.0 is 200%.

Flags can be deleted via delete. It is not an error if the deleted flag does not exist in the parent.

As with relative in monsters it would look slightly different and has two options while still using copy-from:

"proportional": { "hp": 1.5, "speed": 1.5, "attack_cost": 1.5, "melee_damage": 0.8 },

"//": "Proportional usage",
  "proportional": { "melee_damage": [ { "damage_type": "cut", "amount": 0.8 } ] },
"//": "or",
  "proportional": { "melee_damage": 0.8 },

It is possible to define an abstract type that exists only for other types to inherit from and cannot itself be used in game. In the following condensed example magazine_belt provides values common to all implemented ammo belts:

    "abstract": "magazine_belt",
    "type": "MAGAZINE",
    "name": "Ammo belt",
    "description": "An ammo belt consisting of metal linkages which disintegrate upon firing.",
    "rigid": false,
    "armor_data": {
      "covers": [ "TORSO" ],
    "flags": [ "MAG_BELT", "MAG_DESTROY" ]

The following additional rules apply to the above example:

Missing mandatory fields do not result in errors as the abstract type is discarded after JSON loading completes

Missing optional fields are set to the usual defaults for that type


The following types currently support inheritance:


To find out if a type supports copy-from, you need to know if it has implemented generic_factory. To find out if this is the case, do the following:

  • Open init.cpp
  • Find the line that mentions your type, for example add( "gate", &gates::load );
  • Copy the load function, in this case it would be gates::load
  • Use this in the search bar on github to find the file that contains gates::load (Note, you cannot search for “:” in file finder. The search will simply ignore this symbol.)
  • In the search results you find gates.cpp. open it.
  • In gates.cpp, find the generic_factory line, it looks like this: generic_factory<gate_data> gates_data( "gate type", "handle", "other_handles" );
  • Since the generic_factory line is present, you can now conclude that it supports copy-from.
  • If you don’t find generic_factory present, it does not support copy-from, as is the case for type vitamin (repeat the above steps and find that vitamin.cpp does not contain generic_factory)


Contributors are encouraged to not overuse copy-from, as it can decrease the human readability of the JSON. Chained inheritance is especially likely to become unwieldy, essentially recreating the level of redundancy we’d like to eliminate.

In general, there are two situations where copy-from should be used in the core game:

  • Two things are nearly identical variants of each other.
  • A group of entities always (not almost always, always) shares some set of properties, then one or two levels of abstracts can set up a very shallow and narrow hierarchy.