Something you may want to know about FPS V - FPS Arsenal

Firearm is the most important part of a FPS game, player will choose the approriate one or combination to deal with the challenge coming from AI or other player, a wide range of firearms have been designed across games with different theme and gameplay, n

Firearm is the most important part of a FPS game, player will choose the appropriate one or combination to deal with the challenge coming from AI or other player, a wide range of firearms have been designed across games with different theme and gameplay, now let's see how they work


1.Gun Attributes

First let's check what gun attributes should we consider according to the weapon stats chart featured in most modern FPS games :


  • Damage:Determine how large damage a weapon can deal, depending on the gun type and what kind of bullet it is using
  • Accuracy:The more accurate a weapon is , the less offset to the aiming point when fire , it only effects hip shooting rather than Aiming down sight, the performance of accuracy in real gameplay is also affected when character moves,jumps,or even turns around 
  • Recoil:The greater this attribute is , the bigger kick-off effect the weapon can cause , this effect reduces accuracy further more when the weapon is fired
  • Fire Rate:The maximum speed of a weapon shooting bullets, usually measured by the unit of RPM 
  • Reload :The speed of a weapon reloading 
  • Range:The bigger this value is , the longer distance a bullet can fly before damage falloff
  • Mobility:The bigger this value is , the faster a player can move when carry the weapon
  • Magazine Capacity:The number of rounds a magazine can hold and maximum rounds that a player can carry using the weapon
  • Penetration:The ability to penetrate cover , affected by gun penetration , bullet penetration and the cover's stopping power value


a usual weapon stats chart


Let's take one more step to check data of SC-2010 assault rifle extracted from Call of duty:Ghost files , which helps to understand better on how these attributes actually work



  • (Weapon)750 RPM stands for the Fire Rate , there are also two numbers on the right, one is the time it costs to Aim down sight this weapon , the other one is headshot multiplayer which means dealing 1.5 times damage when shot in the head 
  • (Damage)the trend of damage is divided into three sections , affected by Range attribute , when shoot from a distance less than 22 , it deals 35 points full damage , 20 points if the distance is more than 44, we also can see the damage falloff when this distance is between two ends
  • (Reload)three values in this column , 2.8s is the time cost when reload with bullets remained , 3.3s for the empty magazine scenery , 1.667s stands for the minimum time it takes before players can switch weapon as long as they begin to reload the weapon
  • (Mag)30 is the magazine capacity , 90 stands for the initial rounds of ammo , 180 the maximum round of ammo
  • (Recoil)the numbers in four directions composite the recoil pattern of this weapon , 1400 depicts how fast it will recover from the effect of recoil 
  • (Spread)it's column is about weapon accuracy , when character stands  , the bullet offset ranges from 3.5-7,it changes to 3-6 when crouches,2.5-5 when prostrates,ADS(Aim Down Sight)shooting is not affected by this 



Check the data of MSBS assault rifle for comparison:



As a result,the advantage of SC-2010 is:


the advantage of MSBS is:


the pros and cons are obvious here,MSBS performs much better than SC-2010 in recoil pattern,the diagram below shows how it looks like with massive bullet hole sample (use ADS shooting

 to get rid of the effect of gun accuracy)




MSBS is more easily affected by the upward recoil and less by recoil to left/right , which is manageable because even players aims at the torso , chances that they will hit the head, while it can not be applied if bullets tend to go horizontally  


So it‘s very important to know the recoil pattern of a weapon , that player can adjust the aiming position to perform more accurate shooting


In modern FPS games like COD:Ghost, player can choose attachments for a weapon to improve certain attribute 



2.Gun category 


How a game level is composed and what enemies players are facing , determine that they need different weapons to cope with 


2.1 Regular weapons


Back into history , from the first production of firearm in the 10th century ,guns are evolving all the time , especially after experienced two World Wars and modern military equipment competition , some stepped out of people's sight and some in , we get a arsenal consisting of mainstream firearms . In FPS games , a player can usually take a primary regular weapon and a secondary one (there are special cases like in COD 1 and COD:Ghost with specific perks equipped),they can be sorted into these categories:


  • Pistol:usually assigned to players as secondary weapon or sidearm, the fatal weakness of a pistol is its small magazine capacity  , but it's always faster to switch to a pistol than reloading your primary weapon, especially when players are using sniper rifle ,shotgun or launcher , it compensates for their inflexibility 


.44Magnum Revolver,a powerful pistol has very small magazine size and slow fire rate 

M9 Handgun , less powerful but with bigger magazine size and faster fire rate

most pistols are semi-automatic,G18 is an exception which is fully - automatic

  • Sub machine gun:SMG uses the same cartridge as pistol , it's fully automatic weapon and widely used during World War period , mostly replaced by assault rifle in nowdays

Thompson 1912,the signature of which is drum magazine 

  • Assault Rifle:Assault Rifle is selective-fire weapon with good balance between damage and range ,combined with its stable recoil pattern and medium magazine capacity , making it standard service rifle in most armies   

            famous AK47 assault rifle(selective-fire between automatic & semi-auto),can be used in many FPS games

M16A4 featuring burst fire mode )three bullets one shot)

M4 Carbin is based on the design of M16 , it's also the prototype of M4A1, the full length and barrel of a Carbin is shorter than regular assault rifle , it can be used in special places that need smaller weapon


  • Sniper Rifle:Excellent long range weapon with scope , which has high damage and accuracy 

M4013 is a bolt-action sniper rifle,need to be reloaded after every shot ,  very high power weapon

Dragunov,semi-auto sniper rifle , not as powerful as bolt-action ones but with significantly improved fire rate

  • Shotgun:Very powerful weapon in close range,  the damage of one single shell is not much , but a target totally within the cone shape produced by the shotgun can be hit multiple times , which deals tremendous damage

W1200,classic pump-action shotgun,need to be reloaded manually after every single shot, so it has very low fire rate and reload speed

M1014  , a semi-automatic shotgun

USAS 12 , a full-automatic shotgun with high fire rate

  • Light machine gun:Good mobility , large magazine capacity full-automatic weapon,  can be used by infantry to provide suppressive fire in the battlefield

 LSAT has a fire rate of 750 RPM



Next we pick average weapon of each category from COD:Ghost to make comparison of them, they are Assualt Rifle - AK12,SMG - MTAR-X ,Pistol - M9A1,Sniper Rifle - GM6 Lynx,Shotgun - TAC-12,LMG-LSAT



  1. Except sniper rifle, the damage a gun can deal most is nearly two times as it can deal least, a shot gun bullet counts 8 shells here , its potential damage dealing ability  (50~20) x (8~1)= (400~20)is the biggest
  2. Range attribute determines from which distance the damage drop start and to which distance it ends 
  3. Sniper rifle is not affected by damage drop when ADS , therefore it has the best shooting range.Assault rifle and light machine gun have good performance in mid-range , Sub machine gun,pistol and shotgun are better for close range , the shooting range decrease progressively among these three weapons 


  1. For the sake of balance , Weapon damage and fire rate have an inverse relationship
  2. Light machine gun has large magazine size , which promises good sustainability , Assault rifle and SMG have less magazine capacity , the others the least so they don't fit for a long-term battle
  3. The Reload value "T" of a shotgun is what it takes to reload one single bullet , so the total reloading time will be T X the number of bullets that have been shot , which will put players at big risk during such long interval,LMG is also with low reloading speed for its large magazine size, so a player must pay attention when they use these two kinds of weapon , on the other hand , they can also take advantage of this fact to fight back their enemies during their reloading interval
  4. When deal with covers that can be penetrated , Sniper rifle and machine guns perform best , then the Assault rifle , the others are not good at it 
  5. The mobility of a weapon can be reflected in moving speed,sprinting speed and sprinting time when player carries it, pistol,SMB and shotgun have the best mobility, then Assault rifle and Sniper rifle , LMG the worst


Hip Spread

  1. The radius of bullet offset when HIP shooting , to some degree is proportional to the weapon damage
  2. Player can switch gesture to lower the effect of hip spread , but it barely makes differences for shotgun 
  3. The possibility of hitting target is very small when hip shooting with a sniper rifle 



we get these recoil pattern diagrams from 1500 samples , each one includes 15 bullets shot as fast as it can be done in ADS  condition,  the radius of AK-12 Assault rifle is smaller than machine guns , M9A1 recoils upward mainly ,  the MTAR-X SMG recoils upward the to the left , which is designed by purpose

Because a shotgun shell can be separated into multiple pellets , it already has a pattern with each shot , in the case of semi-auto shotgun TAC-12 , it recoils slightly upward when shoot as fast as we can 


The red mark is where we aim at using GM6 Lynx sniper rifle , the offset is great because of its serious kickback when shoot as fast as we can , there's no accuracy at all in this situation




2.2 Other Weapons


Beside guns ,  there're other weapons for players' use to provide more than one choice to solve challenges 


  • Melee Weapon:we got classic ones like knife,axe,wrench etc.  and flame thrower

extremely violent Chainsaw can be used in Left 4 dead

Flammenwefer 41, the flame thrower in COD 1


  • Tactical Weapon: items that can be thrown out for lethal or tactical use , such as grenade,flash bomb,smoke bomb,  also explosives like C4 and Claymore 


  • Launcher:Launchers are used to destroy enemy vehicle,airplane or cause ranged damage, like Rocket Launcher and Grenade Launcher, anti-tank rifle etc, a grenade launcher can also be installed to an assault rifle as attachment 


             PRG-7,very common rocket launcher in FPS games


            Hawk MM1 is a grenade launcher with high magazine capacity

  • Heavy Weapon:this kind of weapon like Machine gun and Artillery is usually set in special place or a upon a vehicle to provide suppressive fire and defence against enemy troops

 M2 Browning Machine Gun, it can be installed on a vehicle to compensate its poor mobility 

The Flak 88 artillery used by German  force in COD 1


  • Vehicle: tanks, airplanes and ships also frequently appear in FPS games, players will drive or fight on them to complete special tasks 

AC-130 in COD:MW 1


COD:Ghost - M1A2 Abrams







3.Derived Weapon

Weapons show in a realistic game basically exist in the real world , a future Sci-Fi setting not only stylizes these weapons but also has guns that shoot laser,energy ball and vehicles full of future science sense such like huge robots 






The Plasma pistol and Needle rifle used by Flood race in Halo



Prophet's weapon - predator bow in Crysis, its battle style is similar to a sniper rifle but with much more flexibility


The flame thrower based Chemical thrower in Bioshock





EM1 Laser gun with infinite armor in COD:AW


Frightening vehicle Scavenger in Unreal Tournament


Huge titan robot presented in Titanfall



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