The idea actually dates back to before this blog was ever written. In a predecessor attempt to this blog, a journal I wrote in nearly every day, it was one of the things I covered. (So, I was still in college. Probably fall of 2013, a full year prior to this blog.) But the first progress was made last July.
I figured out each weapon would have thirteen levels to it, have five materials it could be made out of, six types it could be, and 15 mods that could be installed. Obviously, this being a lot of ground to cover, I only worked out the starting weapon, but I did cover a few universals: Material comes in Factory (default), Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Uberium. Each progression to the next type is is 3x/6x/9x/15x more expensive than the next normal-weapon-upgrade (so, say the upgrade from pistol to dual pistol was $50, it would be 150/300/450/1500 for the four material upgrades; say the upgrade from blaster to twin blaster was $2000, then it would be 6000/12000/18000/30000 to upgrade) would be. If the weapon is at its max level, then the cost is 2/4/6/8 times as expensive as the last upgrade was.
This expense, however, is well worth it: each upgrade is permanent (so, if your pistol becomes a platinum pistol, your dual pistols will still be platinum dual pistols), while not only bestowing HUGE stat boosts, but also bonus abilities unique to each weapon that grow progressively stronger and stronger.
Type is available only when a weapon's level is maxed out (you need both weapon experience and money to upgrade weapons), being 10x more expensive than an upgrade, but gives a MASSIVE stat increase, which carries on to all new forms once experience is regained. This, unlike the increase in material, also does not change, and therefore the upgrade from one to another is a very solid, repeatable investment. (In short: going for ultimate pistol is much easier than going for ultimate dual swarmer.)
Weapon mods work on a scale: the first three are 30% as expensive as the next upgrade is. (If the weapon is maxed out, then it's 30% of double that weapon's last upgrade cost.) The next five cost 50% as the next expensive. (Same rules.) 9 and 10 cost 60%. 11 is 75%. 12 is 80%. 13 costs 100%. 14 costs 120%. And the last mod costs 125% the next upgrade cost. Mods are what turn most weapons from jokes into killing machines, so are probably the first investment to be made. Plus, unlike type and level, mods (like material) can be bought at any time.
For the weapons, here's the Pistol tech tree:
Pistol: "Your trusty friend for delivering lead."
It upgrades to Twin Pistols: "Because everyone knows going akimbo quadruples the cool."
From there, to an Uzi: "The latest in hybridizing pistols and machine guns."
To Twin Uzis: "Well, I suppose it's still possible..."
To an M-16: "Grenade launcher not included."
To dual M-16s: "I'm sensing a trend, here..."
To a Gatling Gun: "Better than any space elf ever could be."
To Twin Gatling Guns: "SAY HELLO TO MY NOT SO LITTLE FRIENDS."
To Blaster: "For such an uncivilized tool, it's sure great at getting people to negotiate."
To Twin Blasters: "If you need to ask 'why do I need two?', you've got the wrong game, fella."
To a weapon called the Stinger: "So named after enemies tough enough to survive their puncturing were brought down by thousands of 'annoying insect bites'."
To Dual Stingers: "You can hear them humming as they rip your enemies to shreds."
With the final upgrade being Twin Swarmers: "The ultimate rapid-attack weapon, so named for how its bullets will overwhelm a target like explosive bugs."
Its weapon mods (weapon mods can be bought in any order) are: tracking mod (once locked onto an enemy and shooting, bullets continue towards that target even if the lock is lost), five ammo mods, two shots fired mods (in other words, how many shots each ammo will give: one initially, with each shot fired mod giving an additional shot), four rate of fire mods, an acid mod, and two armor piercing mods.
When upgrading the pistol line's material, at Silver, it can bounce once off of objects to hit enemies. At Gold, it can bounce off of enemies (at 75% power), and is now capable of bouncing twice. At Platinum, the number of bounces increases to three, and bouncing off of enemies is now at full strength. At Uberium, the number of bounces increases to five, and bouncing increases shot power by 100% the first bounce, and then maintains at a 50% increase for all successive bounces.
Today, I worked out a few more weapons, but not their mods or what their material upgrades are. The idea with most of these weapons is that the pistol starts stronger, but eventually is outclassed in DPS by these other weapons, especially once mods are installed on them.
The pebble tech tree is as such:
Pebble: "Maybe if you throw enough, you'll annoy your enemies to death."
Water Balloon: "Great for wet T-shirt contests. Keep away from monkeys."
Popper: "Oh, SNAP!"
Rock: "Let's hope your enemies don't have paper."
Firecracker: "Aren't these illegal?"
Fireworks: "Very pretty. Not very practical at crowd control."
Grenade: "The classic crowd control weapon of choice."
Bomb: "Good for blowing up that pesky cover your enemies hide behind."
Stickybomb: "Enemies displaying the annoying habit of throwing back your attacks? Not anymore!"
Mortar: "Enemies displaying the annoying habit of surviving your first attack? Not anymore!"
Mine: "Enemies displaying the annoying habit of not being hit by your attack? No problem! The mine tracks."
Mini-nuke: "Well, if it's worth killing..."
Mini-barrage: "There is no such thing as overkill. There is simply assurance of a kill."
The stone tech tree is as such:
Stone: "Well, at least it'll do something."
Stick: "It might actually break a bone!"
Spear: "This might actually do damage."
Javelin: "The ultimate in man-powered throwing weapons."
Stone Bow: "It shoots stones. This definitely will do damage."
Bow: "A classical weapon that is always reliable."
Compact Bow: "One of the stronger bows in existence."
Longbow: "Why are longbows better? Because they are."
Crossbow: "Easier to use and requiring less training, but also much less fun."
Repeating Crossbow: "Because one bolt's usually not enough."
Automatic Crossbow: "Great for hunting vampires once dipped in holy water."
Raibow: "Railgun + Bow = Railbow. It is purely coincidental that the arrows it shoots resemble a rainbow."
The dust tech tree is as such:
Dust: "If you're lucky, it's enchanted by a pixie."
Sand: "Maybe if it gets in their eyes, you'll have an advantage."
Dirt: "If you're lucky, it might include some rocks."
Pea Shooter: "It literally is shooting peas. Not the most effective ammo."
Paintball Gun: "Lets loose a barrage of colorful colors."
Bag Shooter: "Unleashes multiple high-velocity bags at once."
Pebble gun: "Well, at least it's not peas."
Blunderbuss: "Can't hit the broad side of a barn? Not a problem with this."
Shotgun: "Boom-sticks are better."
Sawed-off Shotgun: "Why is it better? It just is."
Combat Shotgun: "As if a shotgun wasn't strong enough, now it's an automatic."
Blitz Cannon: "While lacking the speed of a combat shotgun, the sheer power and knockback of this barrage is worth it."
Auto-blitzer: "Customers complained the blitz cannon was not an automatic. We've fixed their problem."
The throwing stone tech tree is as such:
Throwing stone: "Great for skipping across ponds. Not so great for skipping across enemies."
Frisbee: "Enemies rarely fetch it for you after you've thrown it at their face."
Discus: "Good for proving your athletic ability."
Throwing knife: "Because throwing your weapons always works."
Throwing star: "Because awesomeness."
Shuriken: "No, it's not the same thing. It's got a cooler name, and is therefore more powerful."
Blow Dart: "Why is this an upgrade?!? This seems weaker."
Dart Gun: "Oh...that makes a little more sense."
Knife Gun: "Why? Why not?"
Blade Gun: "Because shooting knives wasn't enough."
Disc Gun: "Millions of CDs get burned from using this device."
Star Gun: "Not powered by an actual star, though that would be a cool idea."
Shredder: "So named for its ability to rip enemies into small gibs."
That's all I got, though. Still need to work out more weapons, along with gadgets. (Which can be upgraded, thanks to gadgets serving as mini-weapons.)