When we just started working on Mist Hunter we had a very standard set of guns. A handgun, a shotgun, a machine gun and so on. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. This system has proven itself since the original doom and works perfectly fine by this day. However, it sets a certain image of what a gun is and what it should look like.
So, back to Mist Hunter. The first iterations rotated around a very traditional gun design. At first, to establish the design I started with a base weapon – handgun.
It helped me to find a colourful, cartoony look of the game that I had been looking for. Then to cement this style I made a few more guns.
These examples weren’t the first, I think, I’ve made at least two or three versions before I got to this point. And as you can see these guns were fully implemented into the game with animations and visual effects. In fact some of the descriptions for the gifs say that it’s the final design. Should never call anything final until the game is released.
Anyway, the guns looked good and I was rather happy with them, but they all had a small disadvantage. They were simply too conventional and limiting. If you have a barrel the bullets must go out from the barrel. Obviously, you can break this rule and spawn you projectiles in any way you like, but it can look odd sometimes.
Because we plan to have at lest 16 guns with two firing modes each, we needed some freedom in our weapon design. This is when I remembered about Hexen and Heretic and how they use magic staffs, wands, skulls and even a chicken as weapon. Yes, most of them shoot like fairly traditional guns, but their projectiles and behavior is far more interesting. After that small revelation, I decided to tear everything down and make new, less conventional weapons.
Demon heart in a jar
Once I embraced the idea that our weapons are all magic based it’s seriously widen my options of what can be used as a weapon and the way it can shoot. It’s very liberating as it takes away the idea of a barrel and how you should spawn the projectiles. The only thing that can hold us back right now is our imagination.