To be clear, I don’t mean the process of designing actual weapons is weird. Um, well, mostly. I do have to question the people who liked putting guns inside other, not-gun things (a gun inside a gun is just overengineering). I mean, really, why would you want a keygun? What’s the point of having a lock on your bedroom door if you risk blowing it off every time you work the damn thing?
That said, I’m mostly talking about fantasy and sci-fi weapon design. From what I can tell there are four main philosophies at work, which are as follows:
- Copy real-world specimens to the tiniest detail with no new touches. As in, copy a specific museum piece, not design a new sword based closely on one.
- Cover the whole thing in ludicrous amounts of gems, engravings and precious metals
- Make the blade/barrel/hammery bit huge and cover it in spikes and rust and dried blood and make it as wide as a guillotine and also about as thick as a sapling because weapons aren’t affected by friction weight or drag right ahahahaha I watched Berserk while high on cocaine and this seems like an amazing idea for a weapon (ad infinitum, ad nauseum)
- Technobits! Get your technobits here? Want an LED for your gun? How about 90? Weird polymer grip for your sword? Ha, have a grip to put on that grip! Knives inside other, bigger knives inside bulb-cover carrying cases? Yes we can!
Sometimes you’ll get a mix of 2 and 3, but almost never a nice blend of 1 and 2 or 1 and 4. Now, I understand that it’s a lot easier for people to see ludicrously overworked blades and minecarts of gold and jewels, but is it really that hard to focus on fine detail? The answer’s no. The answer’s no, because this is art and how you draw the picture or render the image determines exactly what the audience sees. If you want to include a bunch of cutaways that show them the weapon’s grain structure at the atomic level, you can. Want to draw it only as a series of shadows and reflections? You can.
This is yet another topic that deserves a deeper treatment later, but for now: is designing weapons really so boring that we can’t put more thought into it?