Musical Gun

25th June 2006


Please bear with me while I talk about two seemly unrelated topics and then cleverly merge them into something you had never even considered before. (Well, that’s the plan!)

Real and Game Weapons

Anybody here ever fired a real weapon? Closest I have come is a air rifle. I’ve never even touched a real gun, which is I think is good, but that may depend on your background and environment.

Now, depending on the weapon in question I would image that firing a weapon in a game compared to firing a real weapon is a LOT easier. WHY? Well, probably just the physical strength and practice required to keep it still when firing. There are some games that attempt to make firing a game weapon as realistic as possible. I have never been interested in this aspect of gameplay but I’m sure a lot of people are.

However, is there anything intrinsic about a weapon that makes it hard to fire? Imagine a pistol that was as light as a plastic gun and had no kickback (Is that the correct term?) and made very little noise. Would this weapon be hard to fire? Probably not but maybe the fact that it IS real might add something to the experience.

What I’m am trying to say is that technically it’s quite easy to fire a weapon “just pull the trigger, press the button etc. Playing an instrument on the other hand”.

Musical Instruments

Anybody here play a musical instrument? Unfortunately my talents extend only to an air guitar during Pink Floyd’s Comfortably Numb! Now, we are talking the almost opposite of a gun here. Playing a musical instrument takes time, probably a lot of time to play well. It’s considered an art. Sure, we can all pluck a string or blow into a mouthpiece (Some more successful than others) but I’m sure you agree that is very different from making music.

Musical Guns

So here is the idea:

A game weapon that is closer to a musical instrument than a normal gun.

I’ll discuss the method of control a little bit later; first I want to discuss the whys. There’s a feeling of accomplishment after spending time improving a skill. When you play a new FPS game there is very little new skills to learn. You need to understand the weapon and its firing modes, along with an appreciation of when to use it, but that’s about it. Firing one shotgun in one game is pretty much the same as firing another shotgun in another game.

Image having to learn how to actually fire a weapon! Perhaps you would find it annoying to do that but that may depend on the type of game you are playing and the game mode. Single Player gamers may be more inclined to try than DM fraggers.

Exactly what type of weapon are you taking about? In this case it would be an energy weapon. Different settings produce different energy releases. It’s important to be clear that I am not suggesting a weapon that uses music or sound as the effect, although that is an interesting concept.

What are the benefits? Well firstly it would provide a new area of gameplay, that to my (Limited) knowledge has never been tried. Secondly there would be that feeling of accomplishment I talked about earlier. Thirdly, if designed and used properly it could replace EVERY other weapon.

How would it work? I envisage some kind of system that requires a number of variables to be in a special balance or combination. The range of effects could be simple short pluses to large wave form fields. I don’t have specifics because it just an idea at this stage.

How would you control it? This is the really hard part. If it is to be difficult it would require a quite complicated control system. Using a keyboard and mouse to control the game already requires a lot of key settings. One possible solution would be that the weapon can only be fired when the player is stationary. This would allow keys normally used for movement and view to be assigned to firing. However, this would compromise the gameplay too much.

One possible solution is a separate device that is used to fire the weapon. I have a few crazy ideas that may work but I won’t put them down here.


I think that a weapon that requires a lot of practice to use but allows an almost infinite variety of firing modes is interesting in concept but finding a control method that isn’t too complicated may be its real problem. What do you think?


  1. anonymous123

    Good idea.

    Perhaps the weapon’s settings could be determined by a microphone control. You hum notes at a certain pitch to change the setting of a gun. (i.e. do re mi fa…) ‘do” could summon a rabid deer to attack our foes, re could unleash a devestating blast of cosmic rays, etc. Or, perhaps a control could be designed to be pressed by your tongue.

    Wait… yes, here’s an idea! There is this one game called Darwinia, a sort of real time strategy, pretty fun, that takes place in a virtual world, fighting viruses and all. In order to summon a unit, you need to specify the type of unit with a gesture click system, I.e. to get a soldier you draw a triangle with your mouse, and to get an engineer you draw a square. That’s the solution that doesn’t require a whole new set of equipment and programing techniques, substituting music for drawing! It would only require two buttons to work, the weapon that is. Right click, and the tip of your weapon glows, and when you move the weapon, or look around, there is a glowing blue trail. Say you draw a pentacle in the air. then left click to fire the weapon mode, say a burst of high velocity particles. To give players more time to sketch accurately, the “spell casting” shall we say, should take place in a slight, properly calculated in a beta slow motion, just enough to convey urgency, while giving extra time.

    Hear are some ideas:

    pentacle: particle beam

    upward slash: penatration beam (laser, etc.)

    square: non lethal electric shock

    triangle: gravity gun beam

    turn left clock wise until you have created a complet horizontal circle around you: 5 second defensive shield.

    Hope you like the ideas.

  2. anonymous123

    By the way, I personally think the weapon should look like a wand, and should look slightly different each level, to give variety, i.e. be covered with mud, be slightly scorched, be colored different.

  3. OK,
    I’m not sure I like the idea of using your tongue to control something or the idea of singing notes, although they sound like interesting ideas.
    The idea about using the mouse to draw shapes is definitely a possibility. Let’s assume that you activate the slow motion event that allows you to “Set” the weapon. This would ensure that the gameplay is not interrupted too much. I then envisage two basic controls: The mouse draws a shape and the keyboard controls colours. It is this combination of shape and colour that determines the exact firing mode of the weapon.
    We could, as you suggested, start with some basic shapes and the more closely you draw a shape to the correct one, the more powerful your weapon is. So, you want to draw a perfect square and your drawing is slightly out of alignment and proportion.
    The keyboard has three keys that control the colours. This combination creates the main shape colour and both colour and combination create the firing mode. You would have approximately 2 seconds to create the shape and colour then it is fixed. There could be a minimum period between each attempt, say 3 minutes. This would stop players from just trying again and again until they had the combination they wanted.

    Your shape ideas sound good but I was thinking more of a sliding scale rather than exact shpes.
    I think a simple gun would be OK but perhaps players could choose the weapon themselves.
    Making slightly variables in shape and colour effect the weapon could prove the hard part.
    There would need to be a practice area without the time limits of other problems. But this might be a fun diversion on its own.
    If I get time this weekend I might try and put together a chart of possible combination and how they affect the weapon.

    I thale your point about the weapon looking different perhaps as the game goes on you are allowed more shapes and colours?

  4. anonymous123

    Good tweaks to my idea. Color gives much more variety, and ways to create more “spells.” Anyhow, I would think that through the course of the mod, the player would discover wall engravings, books, and tablets that revealed more spells. For training purposes, in music, you get an instructor, so perhaps the training and practice could take place in a practice course with an NPC, that teaches techniques of “casting” while spouting mystical proverbs. (Yes, I have been watching “Kung Fu”) Goals could be presented in the training for players to reach, that would be rewarded with new spells.

    Perhaps patches could provide updates in spells, and also provide new techniques (think of a brook while casting a shield defense; the water yields, yet cannot be caught) discovered by regular gamers. These techniques could then be quoted by the NPCs.

    Real interesting possibilities.

  5. anonymous123

    Besides, the first two ideas are impractical and a little silly.

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