On Guns in Video Games [ Guest Post ]

[ This blog post was written by Pascal Eggert. Pascal is an incredibly talented graphics designer, firearm enthusiast and reader of The Firearm Blog. He works for Crytek, a major German game studio, where he designs guns for video games. This article is drawn from his personal experience in the game industry. The images below are Pascal’s personal work and are not related to his work at Crytek ]

Guns in games are like guns in movies: it is all about looks, sounds and clichés. Just like in the movies, games have established a certain perception of weapons in the mind of the public and just like in movies games get almost everything wrong. Many of us in the game industry know this. Because games are looking more realistic and appear to simulating reality better but the guns do not, a common misconception is that those of us in the game industry don’t know anything about guns. The fact is that we are not trying to simulate reality but are creating products to provide entertainment.

At the core of every game there is often a simple underlying gameplay-mechanism and everything on top is just eyecandy. So think of a modern egoshooter (otherwise known as First-Person-Shooter or FPS) more like chess with hyper-realistic chess pieces e.g. real horses for knights and a real landscape instead of a chess board. In real life horses don’t move in L shapes like knights do on a chess board. The chess game rule governing knight movement is designed to make the game fun and challenging, not to replicate the movement of a real knight riding on a real horse. It is the same with guns in games, there is no fun in holding virtual breath and nobody (other than The Firearm Blog readers) want to watch how a revolver is reloaded cartridge by cartridge. The game gun is a visual representation of a game rule. Because of this, the first decision how a weapon in a game should behave is made by a game designer not a visual designer and even though our representation of real firearms has become incredibly authentic at times, it is still just an abstraction on top of a function.

For me though, and many others, an important ingredient in a fun product is immersion which comes from authenticity. If a 9mm pistol is portrayed as a concrete wall penetrating uber-weapon and a magazine is called a clip, I am just as angry as the next reader of The Firearm Blog. I my personal ambition is to create games that are fun and at the same time immersive through believability. Fortunately there is some common interest between people who know how to maintain firearms and people who know how to create something that is interesting to play. Reloading for example is something that is a great game rule because it creates tension as well as it’s an authentic behavior. Now there are animators who will not be happy hearing how a bolt catch on an AR-15 works because it looks less interesting than pulling the charging handle, but I would definitely argue for the real behavior because it looks more professional and less like a cliché. Another example would be when game designers decide if game guns should have a rail accessory system, because it suggests that the player could modify the weapon. So now you understand why weapons in games behave like they behave. But how do they get into the game?

The process includes a lot of fancy words, but to put it simply it works something like this: if it is based on a real firearm, the game designer makes the decision on how the weapon will work (number of rounds, kills what with how many hits, takes this long to reload etc.) and after that a 3D artist uses a tool like 3DsMax, Maya or Cinema4D to build a very detailed virtual model of the real weapon. If it is a fictional gun then a concept artists will draw pictures of the weapon from various views after the game designer has determined how it should function. The 3D artist then work off of these pictures or real photos, part by part, screw by screw. Next a simpler version of the weapon is built using less shapes (polygons) so your PC, XBOX or PS3 will be able to calculate it in real time. The detailed model is used to generate the in-game model and works sort of as a reference point. Next textures are created by 2D artists to replicate the look of metal, plastic or wood as well as scratches and little details.

When the model is done, the animators, effect artists and coders get their hands on it, in order to implement it in the game. If you look at a first person weapon in the editor software you will most likely see half a gun and two hovering arms. The reason there only is half a gun is because we remove any shapes that cannot be seen by the player during any animation position to save render power and the reason the arms are flying is because most egoshooters render the body of the player either separate or not at all. Now this whole process has several variations for each level of quality in the end result and so to get good results your references at the beginning need to be good.

Unfortunately there are as many real guns in game studios as there are real horses. Hearing that sentence out of context would sound really weird but it is true and is a real pity.

Because if you want to replicate the looks of something you need to at least see it, but using it is even better. You should hold a gun in your hands, fire it and reload it to understand what does what – and at that point you will realize, there is nothing on it that does not have a function – because guns are tools for professionals. Lot of weapon designers in the game industry get that wrong. They think of guns like products for consumers or magic devices that kill people at a distance when really it’s just a simple and elegant mechanism that propels little pieces of metal. Unfortunately 3D artists often only get access to the photos that Google Image Search comes up with if you enter “future assault rifle” or, even worse, pictures from other games and movies that also got it wrong. This may explain a lot of common visual mistakes in games, especially since guns are mostly photographed from the side and egoshooters show weapons from the first person view.

In game magazine. Transparent polymer lower with metal feed lips.

I think about stuff like this a lot and have come to the conclusion that the one thing that is even worse than wrong visual representations of real guns in games are horribly designed fictional guns. In this area a lack of understanding of firearms gets easily multiplied and if you thought an AK47 is a magic device in the first place your sci-fi AK7000 will be a magic device so random it will not convince even the stupidest player. Yes, in the realm of fantasy you can invent whatever you want and find an explanation for any technical problem, but there are still the laws of physics that should be considered. Unfortunately most sci-fi guns are so bad that people just stopped caring about them with no questions asked. Actually making good sci-fi design isn’t that hard – the products of the future are essentially improved versions of present products so if you design for the future you just look at current problems and try to find enabling technologies that could solve these problems and then design the weapon like a tool around these core technologies. Make it functional, realistic and efficient. Now I’m not saying my gun designs are completely realistic, they can’t be by definition since they are sci-fi, but since they are designed around inner workings and ideas to fix current problems, they have at least a certain look of functionality and believability, while still making game designers happy.

Steve says: A huge thank you to Pascal for his insight into the video game industry. Pascal’s personal website is a visual feast. I highly recommend reading his article entitled Creating EPIC, The TITAL C2, The EPIC A1 and The THOR PDW A1. It is my sincere hope that Pascal will one day be working for H&K, FN or another major player in the firearm industry.

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Slim934

    Crytek has made various technically impressive shooters over the past several years.

    These include Far Cry 1 + 2, Crysis, Crysis Wars, and the forthcoming Crysis 2.

    The game are known for being quite fun, but their real claim to fame is their extremely impressive level of visual fidelity. They look pretty, and consequently are infamous for punishing even the most high-end PCs.

    It makes me very happy to know that one of their very skilled artists is also a gun nuts.

  • Guest

    I really like the change of pace – this guest blog feature is a good idea. Hope to see more.

  • Slim934

    Also, the firearm that has a half-moon clip as its grip looks very interesting.

    However if you look closely at it it is clear that bullets are actually facing the the wrong direction. The primers are pointing out in the direction of the muzzle instead of the other way around.

  • Jesse

    Interesting article. But talk about impractical, the EPIC A1 looks like something I would not want to shoot with the mag poking out of either side.

  • @Slim934: There is a flash-animation on the THOR page showing how the rotation of the bullets works. A lot of people asked me this, because they assume the bullets come in from below like in a pistol, but I tried a lot of variations and this always compromised the reloading. 🙂

  • Jesse

    Slim if you go to his website you’ll see the loading mechanism for the half moon magazine gun, the THOR PDW A1. It’s sort of reminiscent of the FN P90 in the sense that the mag changes the orientation of the round prior to hitting the chamber.

  • subase

    FPS shooters are pretty much the low end of game development, Goldeneye for the 64 and Half Life have basically been the only innovations since it’s inception and nothing else has been added to that.

    Generally speaking fp shooters are just to let go of stress and shoot shit up, hence the intricacies of gun handling are just annoying. Everyone wants a 200 round C-mag, not the 20 round magazine.

    FP shooters are still very young. Incorporating real gun handling dynamics increases tension, tactics and danger. But game companies are unwilling to take the risk or challenge in incorporating this into gameplay. I know I enjoyed the more realistic gun handling in Call of Cthulhu and STALKER. More than your standard shoot’em up. Crytek’s games only innovation is it’s larger game levels, which it owes to it’s technology.

  • fred johnson

    Thanks for the good read. 🙂

  • jaekelopterus

    Is Pascal the dude who did weapon modeling for The Specialists? I heard that he got hired by the Crysis team. The weapon models in that mod were the best I’ve ever seen. Definatly the work of a gun guy. Very good article on a niche subject, BTW.

  • CinSC

    Well, I haven’t played video games since the days of “Space Invaders”, but, as a painter, I have experience very similar to yours.

    In painting a scene like the siege of Charleston, South Carolina in 1780, for example, I have to walk a line between Historical fidelity and pictorial integrity. In other words, I have to stray from an absolutely faithful representation of a moment in history to create a picture of the moment that, on its own, makes visual sense.

    Taking “artistic license” like this will get you into trouble with historians who strive for absolutely faithful renderings of the moment in the written word. This is impossible, of course, but that doesn’t stop them from finding fault in someone else’s work.

    All this is to say in every discipline, when you attempt to describe some part of the world, you must accept certain limitations. This is especially true in the various artistic disciplines in which you not only describe but attempt to entertain. To put it succinctly: compromise is not only inevitable, but it can serve a good purpose. The ability to use limitations to your advantage, by the way, is one of the things that separate the good artists or designers from the bad.

    Thanks for the post and for the insight into the art of game making, those are some very cool looking guns!

  • Montag

    Great post! Definitely would like to see more of this in the future!

    It’s definitely nice to know there’s game designers out there that care about some level of authenticity when it comes to firearms.

    The better a FPS modeler, animator, etc understands how firearms work, the better the finished product will be when it comes to semi-realistic firearms.

  • Freiheit

    A game or a movie is there for entertainment, thats fine. If they get things wrong with guns I can only imagine what they get wrong with other things and thats fine because it is for entertainment, not education. I’m glad that the creators of these games recognize the gaps too.

    FPS games can often be a bridge to get a new shooter interested in the sport. Gun designs from a game could go from a game concept to a proper prototype. Even if its impractical, any good industry should look outside itself from time to time for new ideas.

    “want to watch how a revolver is reloaded cartridge by cartridge” – Case in point. Anyone shooting a revolver where fast reloads matter (any time except plinking) uses speedloaders or moon clips. 😛

  • Tux

    Very slick designs. I remember being overjoyed the first time I played Farcry because the in-game rifles could make hits at a realistic distance. Keep up the good work Pascal, maybe someday I’ll be able to afford a PC that can play your latest efforts at their full graphical settings.

  • subase

    HK and FN? The only place I could see such ideas see the light of day is at Kel Tec. lol.

  • J

    Interresting text, but you should all know that there are some much more realistic weapons simulations out there than the standard run of the mill action FPS games. Arma 2 is probably the best example, a soldier simulator that is arguably the most realistic thing you can get when it comes to guns and weapons in a game.


  • Nix

    Very good article. I have a special kind of interest in this area of graphic design and i often get frustrated when i see stupid weapons in games.

    What annoys me the most is the assumption that 100+ years in the future, humanity is still going to be relying exclusively on clunky weapons firing brass cartridge weapons in current calibres no less.

    Perhaps a terrible foreboding i don’t want to think about.

  • David

    @subase: Eh? I’m curious what genre of games you consider to be “higher” than FPS…I wouldn’t consider FPS the low end, or any genre to be lower than another when it comes to game development. They’re certainly cutting edge when it comes to graphics, although I tend to ignore graphics as a determining factor of the advancement of computer games.

    I’d tend to point more to things like:
    1) The advancement system, perks / talents, and weapons attachments of games like Call of Duty
    2) The destructible environments and vehicles of games in the Battlefield series
    3) The story and environments of games like Fallout 3, Bioshock 1&2, etc
    4) The cover systems of games like Rainbow Six Vegas 1&2, and (not entirely an fps, but still) Gears of War

    The list could go on, and there were certainly games that used certain features before the games I mentioned. I loved Half Life as much as the next guy, but games have certainly come a long ways since then.

    And Goldeneye? What was radical about it besides the fact that it was for a console?

  • Sian

    It is the rare shooter that gets a Combat Reload right (faster reload and +1 round left in the chamber, but only if it’s closed-bolt!), the Tom Clancy Tactishooters tend to, but not always.

    One has to balance game mechanics with fun, but even rarer are games which take into account individual magazines, instead of a magic pool of loose ammo that becomes magazines when you reload. Red Orchestra and CoR:Escape from Butcher Bay are the only ones I can think of offhand that do this, and make you actually think about reloading instead of hitting R whenever you get a breather.

    Thanks, Pascal, for bringing thought into videogame weapon design and usage. =)

  • R_Ogozalek

    I know its just a video game…. But I’d really like to see a shooting game that has a high level of realism with guns, caliber lethality, accessories that actually enhance your abilities, and something other then laser beam trajectory. Maybe even a no kidding Sniper game…

    How about a shooting game setup like a Bianchi Cup, Glock match, or Swat Challenge? Run and gun with loads of accessories? Shooting is a sport after all….. LEATHAM 2011, IPSC 11′, or @ 1000 yards…..

    I understand the disconnect between the two worlds…. Great article

  • R_Ogozalek


    Shooting games don’t always have to be about killing people. But I know that is what sells…

  • Hockler

    While the overall visual quality on Crysis is still impressive today, the weapons were quite satisfactory over most of the competition. My few complaints (outside of the monstrous system requirements), were the lack of penetrative properties (can’t even shoot through a tin roof with an AK) and the AI’s uncanny talent in spotting and accurately engaging the player through heavy brush (common issue in all games).

    In general though, I agree with the article. Nothing says, “half-ass,” to me quite like a game studios implementing a specific, real-life weapon in their design, only to completely ignore how they are handled.

  • kvalseth

    Pascal, can you describe the bolt locking mechanism on the THOR PDW?

  • spudfiles

    Unbelievable rendering, and created with more than a basic knowledge of the weapons they are meant to represent, fantastic!

    I *really* liked the Thor A1, perhaps Pascal should send a few designs to these guys: http://www.poseidon.co.jp/2F/2f.html

  • c

    Great article, I grew up playing Wolfenstein (the original) and doom, quake, half-life….cool job bro.

  • SpudGun

    Wow, I’m really impressed with Pascal’s work, as someone who can barely draw a paycheck, that kind of talent always leaves me in awe. (Somebody really likes thumbhole stocks!)

    My problem with video games (and movies and TV) and guns is not so much the design of the firearms but the damage a bullet does. Shotguns are portrayed as mobile grenade launchers, whereas dumping half a mag of 9mm into someone barely slows them down.

    It’s doubley infuriating when you play a game like Counter Strike and all of the 5.56 rifles (M4, Famas, Steyr, Sig 552) all have vastly different recoil and damage.

    But at the end of the day, they are just games and I’m willing to sacrifice realism for the sake of fun.

    Good post Pascal.

  • Boner Stallone

    Thanks for posting this Steve. I think Pascal’s work is very impressive.

  • R.A.W.

    A few questions for mr. Eggert, but first thank you for writing this article!

    1) The vast majority of assault rifles function more or less the same, so to differentiate them in a game that has a lot of different choices the stats usually have to be made arbitrarily different (e.g. why does .308 do so much more damage out of a sniper rifle than from a SCAR-H? ‘Cause it just does that’s why!). What do you think of games like Unreal Tournament where the weapons are not only completely imaginary, but also operate in substantially different ways, like shooting blobs of time-fused goo or laser shotguns? Is designing the actual mechanic of the weapon, and not just its external appearance to be completely exotic a better approach to differentiating them?

    2) How exactly is the bolt in the Thor supposed to lock?

    3) What happened to third person shooters!? With the exception of really expensive triple monitor setups, which many games don’t support anyhow, most first person shooters are like looking at an action movie through a cardboard tube. Peripheral vision is nonexistent, and I think this and perennially bad pathfinding AI is why almost all egoshooters (love that term BTW) are still a monotonous delivery-route like trek through waypoints shooting more or less stationary enemies. Is the ability to see your arms really worth the terrible peripheral vision, and difficult navigation? I suppose there’s Gears of War, but I think that being in black and white and having all the enemy and friendly character models look identical really detracted from the clarity that the third-person perspective offers.

  • JonMac

    What about the genuine tactical shooters like the original Rainbow Six, Ghost Recon, ARMA etc? Those were innovative AND strove for realism.

    As for (UK) games designers wanting to accurately model guns, the Royal Armouries are usually very helpful in this regard.

  • Mikesh

    One of the best articles I’ve read here for a while and an interesting insight as well. thanks Pascal!

  • CMathews

    “The body is completly made of lightweight polymer and unlike the iPhone it’s designed to withstand any abuse and can be held however you prefer.”

    I love this line! Mr. Eggert I applaud you for taking a plug at Apple lol. I love playing video games and I do it often. Hell, I even have the orange Half-Life Lambda as a tattoo. However, I have always hated the lack of realism when it comes to firearms in video games. I hope in the future games will be introduced that bring realism to the table.

    Again Mr. Eggert, I commend you.

  • Spaker

    Excellent post! Would love to read more guest posts from Pascal in the future.

  • I think that for me, the couple of things that FPSs have done for me and my shooting skills are:

    1) I have learned a bit about how to deal with bullet drop and adjusting point of aim based on previous shots. This can be learned without using real ammo if you are playing the right game. Translating it to a real rifle isn’t all that hard after that. Especially when you grasp the concepts of mil-dot scopes.

    2) Understanding point of aim and needing to lead a moving target. This has helped me a lot with moving targets at pistol competitions

    3) Understanding shot placement. Being able to pick out and snap to center mass and head shots is critical in some of the better FPS games. It does help to have you thinking about where your shots need to be placed. When you translate this concept to standard IDPA targets or 6″ steel plates, it is easy to get the hang of it once you start shooting for real.

    Overall, the games can be quite entertaining and a hell of a stress reliever… I do not take them to be real life but some of the things you can learn can indeed be useful on a live fire shooting range.

  • Jon

    Great article, and also thank you a million times for not spreading this out over 12 pages for extra advertising clicks like some websites do.

  • Hockler

    @Nix: “What annoys me the most is the assumption that 100+ years in the future, humanity is still going to be relying exclusively on clunky weapons firing brass cartridge weapons in current calibres no less.”

    I see we are kindred minds. You’ve no idea how much I’ve been frustrated at just how many developers have ripped off Aliens, yet their assault rifles are nowhere near as potent as the M41A Pulse Rifle. And this movie is nearly 30 years old… :\

    Halo’s 32-round, MA5B for example, exists in the year 2,500 something in the story-line. Really? 500 years from now and that’s the best humanity has to offer? Pathetic!

  • Don

    Very cool article! It captures a lot of the concepts of “model” vs. “reality” and illustrates why abstraction is important in a very accessible way.


  • texasplinker

    Great post, and good perspective. Thanks.

    I enjoy shooting and a good FPS and I am often put off by many of the inconsistencies mentioned here. The problem was solved ~15 years ago in the combat flight simulator hayday – realism gameplay settings. If don’t feel like worrying about stalls or the limitations of radar, then I just toggle the realism down. The same strategy would work well for current combat games. One could toggle realistic mag loads, recoil, trajectory etc.

  • Redchrome

    Giving advice unasked-for on the Internet is even more like running in the the Special Olympics than arguing on the Internet, so I’ll limit my comments here.

    Pascal, it’s great to see that some people really do care about gun mechanics in games. You’ve got some really creative sci-fi ideas which may not be practicable in some ways and mechanically wrong in others; but I do accept to some extent that it’s just a story and engineering geeks like me should perhaps avoid stories that involve artistic licence with engineering. 🙂

    I have thought for years that if I owned a video game company, I would send as much of my staff as possible off to a week at Gunsite or some other shooting school. Get them a custom-designed course to expose them to pistol, rifle, shotgun, SMG, low-light shooting and room-clearing theory. Not more than just a basic familiarization; but enough so that they will have *some* idea what’s realistic and what is not.

    The thing that brought this home to me was Doom 3, wherein the game mechanics didn’t allow the player to hold both the pistol and the light at the same time. Someone should have shown the game designers the Harries flashlight technique then smacked them upside the head to make them remember it.

    Really tho, I stopped playing video games avidly sometime around the era of Super Mario Brothers. So every few years I see what the state of the art is, and it amazes me. 🙂

    How many of y’all gunsmithed your Nintendo Light Gun and were frustrated at how it was impossible to put a decent trigger on the thing? I briefly flirted with the idea of taking the trigger from an old electric drill and using that, but I never got around to it.

    Pascal, if you can do it (and as the dollar collapses this may get increasingly affordable), come to America and take a combative shooting class somewhere. You may find out how disagreeable things like thumbhole stocks are on close-quarters fighting rifles. 🙂 I’m not impugning your knowlege or skills, just suggesting one way to make them better. Talk nicely to your boss and maybe your company will even pay for some of it as being ‘work related’. 🙂

  • Edward

    ARMA… is a mixed bag when it comes to realism, as BIS has admitted that some of its elements are for the sake of civilians playing a computer game, but some players suspect that other issues are due to the game engine. For example, while they advertised zeroing / compensation (for distance) for the standalone expansion ARMA 2: Operation Arrowhead… apparently in game engine terms, they just bend the bullet trajectory as it leaves the muzzle. *facepalm*

    I’ve noticed that while some games tend to support “auto-aim” or “aim assist,” it usually forces the aiming point to snaps to the nearest center of mass, which is not always desireable (i.e. when you need headshots or want to achieve a hit to the extremities); some games will let you “unstick” to adjust your point of aim, but I know that in Red Dead Redemption using the Casual aiming mode will forcibly lock you onto center-of-mass.

    I do understand that in video gaming development studios, usually accuracy of depiction is secondary to either gameplay or a sense of plausibility and realism… for example, the varying stats of the six different 5.56mm ARs in MW2, beyond just optics. (Trivia: Equipping the red dot sight for the TAR-21 gives you the MARS Sight, and for the F2000 it gives a “red dot” take on the F2000 optic.) It would be nice if some of these weapons weren’t so off to people who’re more aware of their real-life characteristics, but then you might have concerns over redundancy and “do we need this many similar weapons (for file space purposes)”…

  • Underwhelmed

    RE: Brass cartridges/projectile guns… I think the reason they are so appealing is that they are so much more tactile and tangible than say an energy beam weapon. The bulky magazines and clinking empty casing flying around makes for a very visual scene. Think of the lobby shoot out in “The Matrix”. With fricking laser guns as opposed to the smorgasbord of conventional weaponry shown (you would think in a virtual world, they could have any kind of weapon they could dream up) .It would have been rather underwhelming.

  • JohnB

    I work in the video game industry as an animator. I am also a gun nut, owning what I’m sure the newspapers would refer to as a ‘deadly arsenal’. I’m a member of my states gun rights group, and also a lifetime member of the NRA.

    I enjoyed this article, and agree with the author. Most designers get it wrong. You do have to sacrifice reality for entertainment to a degree, but you should never compromise the core design or function of a firearm, nor it’s purpose.

    I recently had the opportunity to offer a large amount of input on this very nature to a project, and it helped immensely in the early design stages to create a believable foundation.

    So don’t fret, fellow gun nuts! A few of us are out there trying to make things better. The quality increases as knowledge and awareness increases.

  • Kristopher

    Interesting read i must say, as a firearms enthusiast and an individual who is going into the 3D animation program at his local college with hopes of becoming a designer in the industry. I’d like to see weapons, their function and handling become more realistic. sometimes certain weapons get really skewed in games. like the ACR/Masada and AK47 in MW2. they just don’t have realistic feeling. the AK in that game is way too stable and accurate over long ranges and the ACR is way too stable as well. well something to note and bring up if im working on a project huh?

  • Elijah

    Crytek has made various technically impressive shooters over the past several years.

    These include Far Cry 1 + 2

    Ubisoft Montreal developed FC2. The only thing CryTek had to do with that game was the title.

    That’s why the game was rubbish, probably. ;D

  • SoulTown

    Loved the article, loved the designs. Personally, as a gun nut AND as a rather dedicated gamer, I’d like to see the entire Call of Duty franchise disappear. Their constant failure to depict firearms with any kind of real”ism” (or “believeability,” if you would) demonstrates their genuine lack of caring.

    Case in point: Both Modern Warfare games had gas block & front sight post on M16A4 removed whenever there are optics involved. The newest game, Black Ops, travels in time and somehow introduces Flat-top receivers and flip-up sights for 1960-70 era Carbines. Sound effects for Call of Duty guns are Hollywood trash quality.

    In terms of capturing the operation of firearms, I’d have to say the contemporary game that captures that most accurately has to be… Metal Gear Solid 4.

    …yeah. The game with most wacky setting, story, and characters is the most accurate in terms of capturing firearms. Gun modeling is top notch, two models of 1911s in-game (SA operator custom and SIG GSR) each has full-length guide rod and a standard one, which is reflected in in-game modelling. The game’s M4 has it’s BCG modeled, so when it locks back, you can take a closer look and see the bolt head accurately modeled. SCAR’s charging handle locks back. In-game cutscenes demonstrate fairly accurate firearm handling, with great trigger discipline. (Some wacky moments are there, of course) In game chatter is peppered with gun talk. For instance, one radio chatter describes how the protagonist’s AK102 suffered a major malfunction because of faulty ammunition. Maybe he was using wolf. Hehe.

    And most mind-blowing detail. The protagonist, even when performing a tactical reload, always racks the charging handle for the weapon, dumping a fresh round. That fresh round is a separate model from the empty casing. Yeah, they modeled a fresh round for that purpose. And because the protagonist is always dumping 1 round whenever he does tac reloads, the total round count stays the same. However, the protagonist only does this for long guns; meaning that one round in the chamber is accurately depicted in total round count when the protagonist does tac reloads for handguns.

    It’s counter-intuitive at first. The game is made by bunch of Japanese people who generally never get to touch a real firearm. People at IW can probably take a short drive to a nearest shooting range. So what gives? Well, it’s quite simple, actually. MGS4’s creator, Hideo Kojima, apart from having a seriously twisted psyche and sense of humor, is a gun & military nut. For Metal Gear Solid 2, he had his core dev team go listen to a lecture by former SWAT instructor and actually had them stack up in front of a doorway, and clear a room. This can be a bad thing, of course–for instance, Hideo Kojima was going through the HK fanboy phase when he was making MGS1 and MGS2. Thus, the Mk 23 and PSG-1 is described as the BEST FREAKIN GUN EVA!!!

    Of course MGS4 also loses points on wacky shooting stance (you’ll see what I mean if you play the game), and not-so-great gun sound effects. For awesome sound effects, Battlefield: Bad Company games are simply a JOY; but then again, that game has absolutely horrid authenticity when it comes to firearms modeling and animation. But great sound effects make up for it; Heat(1996) quality.

  • greasyjohn

    I’d like to nominate Max Payne as an unlikely candidate for great gun depiction in a game. Guide rods, moving bolts, modeled bullets and casings (pending in game resource budget,) all in a third person shooter from nine years ago.

  • Yo

    I think guns have started becoming boring in such realistic games. If you wanted realism in games, a hero should die when 2-3 bullets hit him.

  • Athinira

    Slim934 wrote:
    > Crytek has made various technically impressive shooters over the past several years.

    > These include Far Cry 1 + 2, Crysis, Crysis Wars, and the forthcoming Crysis 2.

    Just wanted to note that Far Cry 2 was NOT Developed by Crytek. It was developed by UbiSoft. The only similarity between the two games is the name. Everything else is different, including the story, the protagonist, the setting, the gameplay and even the Engine (Far Cry 2 runs on the Dunia-engine using Havok Physics according to Wikipedia).

  • subase

    I’m just saying the two innovations of Goldeneye and Halflife. (complicated objectives and almost perfect storyline through scripted sequences, respectively) Have been the last innovations of the FPS genre. I don’t think ‘open world’ aspects of FPS games are really innovative since they were originally derived from role playing games. I’m just saying it’s a stale genre. That’s why I don’t really play FPS’s anymore.
    1) Perks are just a gimmick and are nothing more than disguised powerups.
    2. Weapon attachments are a gimmick and add little value to gameplay. Nothing more than a disguise for making do with 6 instead of 40 weapons. (Goldeneye had 40 different weapons)
    2. Destructible environments is still a gimmick, and just a fancy tech advance. Nothing much is added to gameplay or story.
    3.)Those are nothing more than RPG’s palyed through first person view. System Shock did that with no problems back in 1994.
    4.) Cover system sucks and is completely unrealistic.

    Realism in gun design is worthless if it’s not integrated into the gameplay and story. That’s why the weapons of Unreal Tournament are still top of their class. Guns are pretty much the same in the hands of a utilitarian, it is only the little things that set them apart. That should be apparent in games, I reckon. STALKER achieved this a degree.

  • wireloose

    The THOR is a rather interesting design. As a longtime user of many real-life weapons, I have only one negative comment about it, and it’s about the geometry of the grip.

    The magazine design makes it essentially a two-hander gun. A handgun, used one-handed or in stances like the modified weaver, is usually going to be lined up so the barrel is in line with the shooter’s forearm. However, the magazine gets in the way of that alignment, and your wrist would have to be to the right or left of center, depending on whether you’re right or left-handed.

    It also means that your trigger finger is going to be wrapped farther around the trigger.

    That also means that most shooters trained for combat shooting with a handgun are going to have trouble with it. The shock of recoil is going to be out of line with the wrist/forearm, into the base of your thumb rather than your wrist, tending to make the gun twist after every shot away from your shooting hand. Recoil will therefore not be transmitted correctly to your arm, elbow, and shoulder, but mostly to your hand, causing your hand to twist. If you’re right-handed, it will torque to the left. There is a tremendous amount of recoil from rifle cartridges, which in some weapons is tamed a lot with buffers (M-16, for example). A handgun needs to be a lot lighter, and there is no buffer in the design. Hence, all that recoil will still be there, and the shooter will be forced to try to control the recoil and twist by squeezing harder. After the first shot, the gun will probably be pointed about 35-45 degrees toward the off-hand, and way up in the air, maybe as much as 60 degrees, depending on the strength of the cartridge.

    If the shooter tried to fire it in fully automatic, it would swing rapidly toward his offhand and upward. I wouldn’t want to be his partner. 🙂

    With all that said, that design would be fine for a rifle, where recoil is transferred through the stock to your shoulder.

    Plus, it’s awesome looking.

  • Ernest W. Adams

    So how IS a blaster/phaser/plasma rifle supposed to behave, then?

    As of 1800 they probably didn’t think that guns would ever be auto-loading devices with self-contained cartridges full of smokeless propellant capable of firing multiple rounds per second. But that’s where they are now.

    Future guns are not going to be about propelling little pieces of metal, so all bets are off.

    I agree that if somebody calls it an AK-47, it ought to look and act like an AK-47. But if it’s a fictional gun from the future, there aren’t many limits you can impose.

  • Mason

    As a hobbyist game designer working on a first person shooter, I’m wondering if there is a next-best to actually firing the gun for myself?

    I’ve seen many people make mistakes based off of reference images taken from the side as they misunderstand some details, I try to look up how the gun I’m modeling works on wikipedia and such before modeling it, but it’s still hard to get things right. Any ideas?

  • Ariel Weisberg

    Some stuff to think about.

    Revolvers (other then single actions) can be reloaded using speed loaderrs and moon-clips, not just one at time. I have yet to see moon clips used in a game. The pros that play games with guns use moon clips exclusively as it is faster then using a speed loader. The other pros doing serious work don’t use moons because they are potentially delicate compared to a speed loader.

    Many professional AR-15 operators choose to always use the charging handle because it is more of a gross motor skill and it a single motion to learn that always works for a variety of scenarios (and firearms other then the AR-15 where the position or existence of such a button varies) and it is also south paw compatible. This same approach is also used when reloading a pistol with the slide locked back. Rather then press the tiny slide release lever that can be in a variety of positions depending on the make and model, they always go for racking the slide.

    A real awesome game feature would be to force the camera to look at the gun while reloading which would add an additional penalty for preemptive reloading when the gun isn’t actually dry. Real pros need to see where the magazine/speedloader/moonclip meets the gun in order to avoid fumbling the reload.

    A bullet time reloading mini-game/quick time event might also be a cool part of a cut scene e.g. character picks up the empty gun off of the ground or a table and has to perform a reload at lightning speed to hit the hostage taker before they can react.

    Fumbling reloads when an explosion happens near you would also be cool (have some funny videos of a fumbled reload where the magazine goes into outerspace instead of into the gun). I also always loved the malfunctions that happened in Far Cry. There are a variety of ways to deal with a malfunction depending on what it is and that would make for a cool quick time event as well. The video game presentation of firearms as being %100 reliable is kind of annoying to those of us have to deal with the garbage that real world firearm manufacturers make. It is on par with the Hollywood guns with infinite ammo.

    There is a lot of unexploited gameplay available in the finer technical details of operating a firearm.

  • I don’t know anything about guns, but I still appreciate when video game designers put some thought into how they fit into the game dynamic.

    I wish more games rendered the damage level and accuracy of guns in a realistic way. It is a lot more satisfying to take down an enemy with a couple of well placed shots than it is to dance in circles around them, firing dozens of bullets in a fully automatic mode.

  • Fantastic article and great designs Herr Eggert! A really insightful look at the difference between firearm simulation and military games.

    Like a couple of others on this list who have commented (including the amazing Mr. Adams above, a legend in the industry), I am a game developer. I currently teach game design at a fairly well known specialized university in an Orlando suburb and I have several game credits, all on military games. In addition to game design, I also have over 20 years of service in the U.S. Army (active and reserve) and I am an NRA instructor who teaches and takes tactical shooting classes. I know there are plenty of people who read this blog with a lot more impressive credentials in each area, but I have found few in the game industry with this combination, which is probably how I’ve managed to focus on military games so easily. 😉

    We have a long way to go to bring realistic weapons handling and ballistics to games, but the real question is why we would. Would the expense in time and money really be justified by the inclusion of so many more tactical firearms geeks who are also gamers, but don’t play FPS games because the firearm handling is unrealistic? Heck, I cringe at the jargon, missions, weapons, and techniques in these games like any other combat vet, but I still play them – they’re fun. I don’t see a lot of game companies going for realism at the expense of gameplay. In fact, Arma II, as already mentioned probably one of the most realistic FPS games out there, is not all that much fun, and its sales compared to other FPS games have reflected that. I own it, but don’t play it. I also own Modern Warfare 2, with its awful slang, idiotic missions, and numerous technical mistakes. I play it a lot – it’s an enjoyable game. I play Left 4 Dead 2 even more, and it’s a totally unrealistic FPS with zombies. Even more fun.

    I guess my point (for those who skipped past the intro) is that games are games and guns are guns. If you want training, stick to Simunitions, FATS, MILES, and your local tire house. If you want to blow off some steam and have fun in a not-very-realistic combat game, crank up the Xbox and start putting virtual lead downrange!

  • “A game or a movie is there for entertainment, thats fine. If they get things wrong with guns I can only imagine what they get wrong with other things and thats fine because it is for entertainment, not education.”

    The problem is that so many laypeople _do_ use movies (or worse, games) as educational resources for how guns work, and then use that totally flawed knowledge for making real-world decisions.

    We’re faced with the difficulty of deprogramming millions of people who have been programmed by Hollywood Bullshit to believe a semiautomatic rifle that looks scary can fire 10,000 rounds per second through the same hole without reloading except when it’s dramatically convenient.

  • Sian

    @Ernest W. Adams

    “Future guns are not going to be about propelling little pieces of metal”

    Aren’t they? Little pieces of metal at high speed are terribly hostile to human life and well-being, and it will take something quite impressive to top that in a small, easily carried and easily used package. Basically, slugthrowers are pretty well optimized for severely inconveniencing human life as it is, and any replacement is going to have to be clearly superior in most or not all ways. That is a tall order.

  • jmanamj

    I found this blog post to be a fascinating read. I’ve grown up with more realistic shooters, so I always laugh a bit when I play COD or similar games. Now I understand more of the reasoning behind MP40 9mm rounds doing more damage than 9mm fired from a p38.

    One of my favorite games is the Forgotten Hope mod for Battlefield 2, which is one of the few WWII games that has the balls to make their weapons accurate and lethal. It shines in online play, where 64 player servers, beautifully created, large maps, and a huge variety of tanks, vehicles, planes, and weapons create an experience like no other. Bolt action rifles (the standard weapon of almost all armies in game) will drop a player in one shot to the chest, and a shot to the arm or leg will leave you barely alive and bleeding. SMGs are not just cone of fire spray and pray weapons that are useless at distance. Firing from the hip will do this, but aiming down the sights gives the gun accuracy it deserves, and with proper control of the recoil, you can be a master of medium ranges as well. heck if you account for bullet drop you can hit long range targets no problem. These guns shoot where the sights are pointing, and will kill with 2-3 solid hits. As such, Machine guns are ungodly. They fire rifle rounds full auto. This is reflected.

    Because it is made on the Battlefield engine, the game counts ammo strictly by magazine/stripper clip rather than a pool of bullets. Reload animations are excellent, and are timed to be realistic. Getting caught reloading a No.4 in an engagement, and running for cover while you slide the two clips into the magazine and lock the bolt forward is an exhilarating experience.

    Anyways, check it out if you want a great game made by fans of WWII history and weaponry.

  • I remember the first time I played Half-Life 2, and got my hands on a pulse rifle, I was appaled when the loading sequence for the primary-fire involved the magazine for the secondary fire. The primary fire has a standard type magazine, which you can see when you pick them up off the ground. It was neat, but obviously out of place.

    Mass Effect had a really interesting take on energy weapons; they built up heat, and you had to eject the thermal “clips” that absorbed the heat, or let the heat dissapate. you could only carry so many of the “clips,” so you had to plan your cool-down or reloads accordingly. In Mass Effect 2 they got rid of this, and each “clip” only gets a certain number of shots, and then never recharges. It seemed like a step backwards.

    I really liked this article, thanks for writing it, and as a huge game player (PC snob) I appreciate what you’re doing in the industry.

  • Lulzfish

    Slashdot recommended this but it doesn’t look like the article expands on the summary at all.

    I was expecting examples like, “In Half-Life 2, the revolver is fucked up because Freeman can load 6 rounds at once without an autoloader” or, “The SMG in Half-Life 2 (sorry it’s the only slightly realistic FPS I play often) is underpowered because of X game design principle”.

    No examples? Just pictures and saying “Games have to be fun but I think they should be more realistic” a lot of times?

    Q_Q Oh Slashdot.

  • mmathers

    I was quite impressed with your design exercise on the Thor PDW.
    One thing did strike me as odd about the half-moon magazine though:

    Since the magazine has a rotation mechanism to orient the top round in the proper direction, is the expectation that the user will always carry these mags with the top would poking out or would you carry some dust cover over the feed lips to keep the round inside?

    I know this isn’t an issue on the P90/PS90 as the topmost bullet is reoriented but the feed lips keep the bullet in the mag.

    Interesting design.

  • Colonel Korg

    Great blog! I loved the FarCry game. Loads of fun for an FPS. Recently I discovered Project Reality mod for Battlefield 2. Quite different from any other FPS out there. The sounds, the accuracy and damage of the weapons is different from the original BF2 game. 7.62 Sniper Rifles that can kill with one shot. The SRAW rocket takes up to 30 seconds to “get it ready” and into a firing position. Ask any Marine or Soldier that have actually fired these weapons and they will confirm that it’s not just pick up, point and shoot. You have to uncap the ends of the launch tube, get the sighting/trigger part attached to it and then you have to take careful aim. Also the rocket travels at a realistic speed (very fast) compared to BF2’s original AT rockets. Anyone that wants a more realistic FPS owes it to themselves to try project reality. BTW, if you do MAKE SURE YOU RTFM!

  • Ernest W. Adams


    I would hardly the deny the murderousness of metal at speed, but from what I’ve read here and elsewhere about real guns, they’re awfully fiddly. They wear, they have to be cleaned, they jam sometimes, the ammunition is heavy, they’re noisy, and above all the bullets are subject to gravity and wind.

    We’ve already got microwave weapons that make you feel as if you’re on fire, but don’t (supposedly) kill you. That’s a political rather than a technological decision; I think the boffins could make them kill you if they wanted to. We’ve also got lasers that can destroy a missile and audio gear (LRADS) that will deafen and blind you. None of them are affected by gravity and wind. At the moment most of this stuff requires a truck to haul it around in, but as we find better and better ways to improve the energy density of our storage devices, they’ll get smaller and smaller.

    There’s a lot of talk about “stopping power” among gun enthusiasts, but I think a laser that can vaporize your heart is probably adequate.

  • CMathews

    @ Mr. Adams

    I do agree with you that lasers could be much more effective in “stopping power”. However, it will be a while until we get them optimized and into a small, man-portable package. As a physics major I’ve done some of work with electromagnetic linear accelerators, often called coil-guns or rail-guns. (although the two differ drastically in power and design) I feel that as an artillery piece, these types of systems could provide amazing range and accuracy. However, we have not advanced this platform enough to put it into mass combat usage.

    “If you want to make a pile of money, invent something that will enable these Europeans to cut each others’ throats with greater facility.”

    An American counter part of Sir Hiram Maxim told him this on a trip to Vienna. However, I do feel this would apply to anyone, not just our brothers and sisters across the pond. Optimize a laser, make lots of money, I think we should. 🙂

  • Edward

    Ariel, Gears of War actually had a little reload mechanic called the “active reload” — when you pressed the right bumper on the Xbox 360 controller to reload, a bar would appear adjacent to the weapon/ammo icons with a sliding indicator; you could let the character reload normally, or try to press RB again when the sliding indicator moved into a gray area at the middle of the bar; doing so would result in a faster reload, while RB with the indicator at a smaller, white area of the bar (within the gray area) would result in a faster reload and weapon-dependent bonuses (i.e. briefly increased damage).

  • “I know I enjoyed the more realistic gun handling in Call of Cthulhu and STALKER.”

    Subase, I enjoyed none of the realism of Call of Cthulhu. The realistic weapon handling, the realistic rate of travel and stealth mechanics, the sanity-damaging effects of seeing awful things; they were all designed to punish the player for daring to pick up the game.

    … All of which made it a stunning success at what it set out to do, of course. Still, I can see why nobody bought the thing. 😉

  • Mason said:

    “As a hobbyist game designer working on a first person shooter, I’m wondering if there is a next-best to actually firing the gun for myself?”

    Actually fire the gun for yourself. 😉

    Seriously, though, while in the US it’s no big deal to take NRA classes or just rent guns at a range, I understand less civilized nations make it much harder. When it comes to figuring out a gun’s controls without handling it, I find it useful to simply read the manual. This isn’t possible for older guns, but most firearms in modern production will have their manuals available on the manufacturer’s website. Also, many military weapon manuals are public domain and available on third party sites.

    It won’t teach you haw this gun feels to shoot relative to that one, but it will teach you what this lever does, and when you use that button.

  • Yog-Sothoth

    Sunbase: If you think destructible environments don’t add much to game play you haven’t played Battlefield Bad Company 2. When the house your squad is holding starts taking fire from a tank you’ll understand.

    M Gallo: The guns in Mass effect are not energy weapons. They us a clip that is I single hunk of metal and round are sheared of this large piece of metal one at a time.

    Ariel Weisberg: Forcing the player to look at what he is doing when reloading, and having him potentially fumble a reload because of an explosion are awesome ideas. I can’t believe I’ve never seen either of these implemented in a game.

    For an interesting look at near future weapons check out Battlefield 2142. Basically it was just modern weapons but more compact, caseless ammo, and generally better. Also, orbital bombardment instead of artillery was just cool.

  • subase

    Probably the lamest thing I’ve found in games is that when you reload your magazine it’s always 100% full. In real life, those half empty mags you changed would pop up later and would take more time to fish out of your pockets.

    Another thing is carrying 200 rounds on one person but visibly the ammo can’t be seen. I would like to see bulging pockets full of shot shells or magazines and if you take damage from a fall some of your magazines will fall out of your pockets. You would need to buy a proper vest with the appropriate mag pouches. I would also like to see a game affirm picking the right things to mount on your vest. Their position would effect their speed of deployment and you’d only have a limited amount of useable space. A dump pouch for example would speed up reloading. (perhaps as side effect causing you to make more noise when walking) Another is being able to interrupt a reload by choosing to dump the pouch for quicker weapon on target. If attacked physically or shot, mags would realistically get damaged, causing more malfunctions. Choosing steel magazines would be more durable but come at a cost of more weight.
    I think all these points and others have mentioned, would add alot more tactical/strategy aspect to gunfights, which have largely still been undeveloped. (cover system as it stands is lame, instead a more developed for of peaking past corners, and/or automatically running for cover when fired upon – shooting back would give you a speed hit) Havin the ability to slow down time for a bit would I think resolve people being overwhelmed by choices.

    It’s hard to expect this though when game developers can’t even make a weapons selection system that’s half decent. The last game I played where weapon selection wasn’t a pain the ass was Unreal Tournament and Turok on 64. Both of which used mouse flick weapon selection. I’m only a casual game player how can I be expected to muscle memorize choosing weapons with the keyboard? Instead I’m forced to cycle with my thumbwheel while I get shot and die, like some incompetent loser, but apparently I’m supposed to be the most elite of all special forces. Lame.

  • Edward

    subase, Rainbow Six: Vegas is one of the games that DOES keep track of tactical reloads.

  • abc123

    I’ve had thoughts on more realistic maintenance for an RPG. In most FPS there is automatic process of adding rounds to a magazine (if you have many half filled magazines they automatically top off all magazines) and either no maintenance issues or just a single one (like the weapons blowing up after using them to long in Far Cry 2).

    I was thinking of something in the style of Fallout (perhaps a fallout 3 mod), where you have to do everything as realistic as possible. You gun will have one perimeter for how well cleaned it is (with failure to fire or feed if you don’t maintain it), one how worn it is, one for heat. Then you would have magazines that had to be filled and if changed while half-empty would go back in your inventory half-empty.

    It might sound strange, but I think it would add to the role-playing experience. Imagine first cleaning your gun with a cleaning kit, then take it to a weapon-smith for repairs, buy rounds and put them in magazines, then go on a quest and try not to fire the gun to often because it would overheat if you shot to much.

    I think the shotguns, bolt-action rifles and melee weapons of fallout 3 would really come to it’s own if someone did this type of mod, as those weapon would be easier to use in comparison.

    I know there’s sleeping and eating mods for Fallout 3 and Oblivion where your character has to sleep and eat to survive, but have anyone heard of a gun mod where you have to take care of your guns more than just the standard “repair weapon”?

  • subase

    I played rainbow six vegas and no it doesn’t. All it does is count the bullet in the chamber. reloading with half empty mags doesn’t happen. And the cover system on that game sucks. I get behind cover yet I can still see over my shoulder pass the cover, it’s absurd. It’s nothing more than a glorified shoot em up, strategy in guns fights is minimal. STALKER had more strategy in regards to gun fights.

    Problem with cleaning and fixing weapons is that it’s unrealistic. Most guns work fine firing thousands of rounds without cleaning or adding lubrication, we are talking about military grade weapons here. But I agree that guns having some type of maintenance and repair rating indicating how much maintenance they need would be cool, I think a bullet counter indicating how many rounds have been fired in between cleanings and total rounds is sufficient. So a super accurized scoped 1911, would need cleaning after less than 100 rounds to keep it from jamming. This might necessitate choosing to carry more than one pistol.

  • Great post!
    I don’t know if Pascal Eggert know it, but i started for years a gallery to prevent this kind of problem (lacks of firearms references): http://www.pixagogo.com/deicidenbf/
    Now, i don’t know if pro artists in the gaming industry use their own references (seems it’s not really the case unfortunately). But when i can contact some, i share all the pics with them and tries to help them out as much i can.

    • xXCrimsonArtsXx

      This is perfect! I love all the guns you have here for refrence but could you add more “futuristic” weapons such as the XM8 or the F2000 it would really be etremely helpful. 🙂

      • Chris

        Thanks, I would like add more “spaceguns” in my gallery too, but it’s really hard to get pics from prototypes or even guns only used by a foreign army.

  • watthefuk

    @kristhoper: the AK47 in MW2 have a unique Spiral flashhider / muzzle brake that reduces recoil ( I got this from callofdutywikia)

  • Ernest W. Adams

    Just so ya know… the amount of wear on the Rheinmetall L44 120mm smoothbore gun in an M1 tank requires the barrel to be replaced every 260 rounds on average, or as little as every 50 with some projectiles. The barrel weighs 2,600 pounds. Talk about your maintenance overhead.

    On the other hand, it really does rip through those zombies.

  • Martin

    These look nice, but they’ll never outshine the best game gun, EVER. The B-F-G!

  • Halbyrd

    Because I’ve enjoyed both Mass Effect games tremendously–and because I’m an incurable nitpicker–let me set the record straight on weapon handling:

    ME1 – projectiles are shaved off of a metal block inside the weapon, effectively making ammo a null issue. Mitigating factors are accuracy and heat buildup; accuracy improves with more ranks in the appropriate weapon skill and common sense issues (don’t run and gun, crouch to steady aim, look down the sights, &c.) Heat buildup is a simple meter in the corner of the screen, if you overheat, you have to wait for the weapon to cool down fully before you can fire again.

    ME2 – same as ME1, with one major change: weapons now use “thermal clips” to manage heat dissipation. Each clip is good for a certain number of shots for a given weapon, after which it needs to be ejected and a fresh one slotted. Clips are universal, but otherwise behaves much like a more traditional ammo system.

  • WJS

    How is the bolt in the Thor rifle supposed to lock? Here’s some of my guesses..

    The bolt is sliding on a curved rail, and its motion is similar to the bolt of the TDI Kriss. However, the Kriss is blowback-driven, but the Thor, firing rifle rounds, can’t be blowback driven due to the high case pressures. We can’t stick in a rotating bolt either because the bolt is very compact and its motion isn’t very suitable to actuate a rotating bolt. Delayed blowback is a possibility but the bolt has too little mass to slow down the unlocking phase, and it’s not likely for us to fit in enough spring pressure to delay the roller or lever unlocking phase.

    Look at the bottom of the bolt. I think it locks onto a recess at the end of its guide rail, in a manner that’s similar to FN FAL’s tilting bolt except that in this case, the “dust cover” component (that’s piston driven) can function as a bolt carrier, with guide rails on top to “lift up” the red bolt assembly away from the locking recess and driving it rearwards, after which momentum will carry the bolt rearwards and downwards.

    The other possibility is that the blue “slide” assembly functions as the action bar to unlock the tilting bolt locking mechanism and, with the guide rails on the green “dust cover”, drives the red bolt rearwards.

    However, with the trigger so close to the orange-colored barrel extension, I’m not sure how a hammer can be incorporated within the grip with enough clearance to be actuated by the gun’s action. The firing pin on the bolt is visible in the 3D rendering above the animation frame though. It looks like the firing pin is supposed to be struck by the green “dust cover”, like those open-bolt machine guns having their firing pins struck by the advancing bolt carrier assembly. It would indeed make sense if the Thor is an open-bolt design, since I see no way in which the green “dust cover” can be retained rearwards to strike the firing pin later.

  • Mouse

    I am familiar with Mr.Pascals work, and have visited his website many times. I am happy that he took the time to write this article, as I share many of his sentiments. Nice job.

  • joe

    A handgun, used one-handed or in stances like the modified weaver, is usually going to be lined up so the barrel is in line with the shooter’s forearm. However, the magazine gets in the way of that alignment, and your wrist would have to be to the right or left of center

  • MibZ


    As a game designer I must refute your second argument.

    “Weapon attachments are a gimmick and add little value to gameplay. Nothing more than a disguise for making do with 6 instead of 40 weapons. (Goldeneye had 40 different weapons)”

    You talk about attachments and perks as being gimmicks and not adding to gameplay, but then you mention Goldeneye’s large weapon selection…I’m not trying to say that Call of Duty is well made (It is absolute shit. A good analogy would be to say it is James Cameron’s Avatar of the games industry) but when done correctly (CoD is a bad example) attachments and abilities can add to gameplay and increase variety. A better example can be found in Halo: Reach’s Armor Abilities. While Armor Abilities aren’t perfectly balanced they increase the number of ways you can approach a situation, and they put a bigger emphasis on teamwork than the powerups seen in Halo 1, 2, and 3 do. (Armor Lock is overpowered, Hologram is underpowered, and Jetpack means you have to rethink level design, I’m well aware. I’m in game design college) Please note that I know AA’s are not a perfect system, I would change a few of them drastically if I was able to. (I would also change the “bloom” system considerably)

    BUT THEN you go on to talk about Goldeneye’s massive selection of weapons…I’ve played Goldeneye before and there wasn’t nearly enough differentiation in the weapon selection to make it matter to me at all, all that mattered was getting a gun and putting as many shots towards the enemy as possible, the gun itself never really mattered due to the clunky controls of only having one control stick.

    I think you’re holding Goldeneye to be so much better just because you liked it in the past, when in reality it isn’t as good as it is proclaimed to be. It was great for the time, but there are better examples of a balanced weapon sandbox.

  • Wow, that is some pretty cool gun designs, I never really thought of how people just draw crazy gun designs for games and make them come completely alive during gameplay. That would be sick to just think of different gun add ons, style clips, and other gun parts.

    I recently saw the presentation of Ghost Recon: Future Soldier at the E3 convention for the new version of Xbox Live using Xbox’s Kinect. It showed the simplicity during gameplay by:

    – clicking specific inner gun parts and choosing which to change within second using Kinects new voice and sensor technology.

    – Saying “short range” or “long range” for different style guns, and instantly testing it out without playing the game, and much other cool features.

    To design guns and game features surrounding guns would be a sick job, and I have seen this to the fullest in Kinects Ghost Recon.

    To stay updated on * Xbox 360/ Kinect news * Competing Company attempts * & Other Gaming News * check out,


  • Sam Suggs

    if I where to design a game I would create orginal guns like in the crisis triliogy

  • Sam Suggs

    if you did the whole future version of a current weapon thing you might be accused of unorginallity or otherwise not being edgy enough depending on how far in the future your talkin about

  • Sheamus Warior

    Wonderful collection of the posts!! These will be definitely helpful for everyone.


  • So, Curious, is there anything someone without access to weapons to hold, shoot and reload can do to make their designs more believable?

  • thank s for sharing and posting .
    I’ve killed millions of enemies with the ttt4 through the years, and it never gets old. Am I complaining that it’s not number 1 is this hguf. I am just enjoying all the nostalgia and memories that come from this list on العاب شمس to, Quit complaining and enjoy the memories. i hope you do too anjoy.