What are We Actually Trying to Do?

Water blaster concepts and dream designs for water guns and related equipment.
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mr. dude
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What are We Actually Trying to Do?

Post by mr. dude » Wed May 06, 2020 2:03 am

Vague question title, I don't have a more specific way to put it right now.

I've been slowly looking into paintball, which got me thinking about the umbrella category of imitation-gun hobbies. Water warfare, paintball, nerf, airsoft; I feel like none of these hobbies would actually exist if we could shoot real guns at people without hurting or killing anyone. They're all war simulation games/sports that involve shooting guns at people. One thing I've noticed is that there's always a call for something to mimic a different type of weapon to what's available. Paintball enthusiasts love it when shotguns are actually useful, this forum alone has so many designs trying to create sniper rifles. If we could safely shoot real guns at each other, I think that's what we'd be doing. If nothing else, they're much better funded and have more diverse technology out there.

With that said, our reality is that we can't separate death from firearms, so we have our hobbies instead. I love our hobbies, they're lots of fun, and provide us with the fun challenge of trying to create those CoD arsenals (or in my case, Helldivers). Water Blasters excel at close ranges, in fact that's all they're capable of. This and the Homemade forums are littered with people (myself included) trying to expand that. I've got things on the way to experiment with making water balls, using the recipe I linked in the Mini WBL thread, because I want to make something that can operate at ranges otherwise inaccessible to us.

Again, I don't really know what I'm looking for in this topic. I want to start a discussion about something related to this idea of mimicking actual warfare. I can confidently say that every member of this site, active and inactive, has at some point or other thought of putting a water blaster on a vehicle. We've all thought of making something resembling a bomb, with more splash damage than a water balloon. Because I referenced Helldivers, it's a game with turrets, railguns, drones, plasma guns, airstrikes, and it's really well balanced so each weapon has a use. Of course that's my dream for water warfare. I hate the idea that a CPS is just overall more viable than a Hydroblade, I hate it in every hobby I've had, where someone says "Never take X, Y is so much better".

So, I guess I'm not necessarily saying I want to find a competitive use for the Hydroblade, I'm more saying that I want to diversify the type of arsenal we have access to. That's what's been occupying me these past few days. We basically have light assault rifles and SMGs, I want someone on a hoverboard with a SCII with an on-board reservoir to be our heavy support. We know that WBLs don't work, one water balloon that you see coming from two continents away is always going to miss, and doesn't threaten enough splash damage for it to be okay that it misses. If you're firing something at that range, it needs to be 10 or 20 water balloons at a time: basically I want a WBM (Water Balloon Mortar). Shotguns! What about shotguns! Basically something with a useful fan blast. I've wanted water swords since before I knew what water or swords were. I want everything.

Because it's my current project, I've been looking over my Mini WBL thread a lot, and one thing that strikes me is wetmonkey's first comment on that thread,
My suggestion is that if you really want this type of long range combat, you get into airsoft or paintball. Water warfare is just a different game.
Which is true, water warfare has a certain character to it that makes it different to the others which is what keeps it fun, but I can't shake this idea that there's so much more we could be creating.

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Re: What are We Actually Trying to Do?

Post by SSCBen » Thu May 07, 2020 6:48 pm

There are roughly 3 categories of people in the hobby:
  • Collectors
  • Builders
  • Battlers
Many people are interested in more than one of these categories, but many people have a dominant interest.

Over the years there have been many people who feel that the point of the hobby is X, usually where X is what they are interested in, but this is usually too narrow. The point of the hobby is whatever you make of it. People come to this hobby with different goals and none of these are wrong, unless their goal is something violent like making a flamethrower, etc.

You see the same problem of people viewing the "point" of the hobby narrowly in Nerf. As far as I'm aware NerfHaven still filters the word sniper to loser because "There are no snipers in Nerf". Well, as you point out, there are tons of people who want to be snipers. I don't think there's anything wrong with that. There's nothing inherently wrong with people having a personal more narrow view about what the hobby is along as they don't force it on others, as well.

As for realism in particular: I think few collectors or builders care much about realism. Some battlers do but probably not all. For me, part of the appeal of water wars is that it's not like actual combat. If you want to simulate actual combat there are quite a few different options that I think would do better.

I also like water streams themselves and am interested in building better water blasters for its own sake, even if the blasters aren't used in water wars.

We probably should have a wider diversity of blaster types. I've thought about building a serious water cannon before with 100 ft. or more range, but ultimately there's only so much time in a day, and I can barely manage to post here every week or so. My planned design used a giant air cylinder I found in a junk pile and would be powered by compressed air. Put the intake tube into a large container of water and fire large shot after large shot until you're out of water, air, or both. Mount the gun on a turret. That would be really nice, but again, there's only so much time. When I get a real job and have weekends free I'll see what I can do.

mr. dude
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Re: What are We Actually Trying to Do?

Post by mr. dude » Thu May 07, 2020 9:35 pm

Oh yeah, absolutely, there's no one "point" to a hobby. The point of a hobby is to enjoy it, however you choose to do so. Though I'm often away, water warfare has been a hobby of mine for about 18 years. My other dominant all-consuming hobby is Warhammer, which has a similar breakdown of collector, painter/converter, gamer, terrain builder. There's no "right", just what you enjoy.

The main reason I reference realism is because real warfare is so well funded, you're bound to constantly get new technology. This means that new roles are always developing in combat, and that for me is actually the most exciting part of anything. When I play FIFA, I skip the matches and want to just build the team in the off-season. Military funding is enormous, but even the other pew pew shooty hobbies are better funded. Water warfare innovations come down to a very small handful of people, yourself being one of them, Ben, and like you said, you have other things you need to be doing. All three of Nerf, paintball and airsoft have some kind of independent scene that continues to try to innovate, as well as what the major companies do. Our major companies don't market for better performance, and our major independent innovators have lives outside of the hobby. Maybe it comes down to me not liking that blasters from '96 and '98 still reign supreme in our hobby.

I think I named this topic what I did in reference to the Concept and Dream Water Blasters subforum. What are we trying to achieve by listing our dream designs? The posts in here come in two categories, subtle modifications on existing technology (like XPs and CPSs with specific nozzles or pump designs), or brand new technology that is potentially beyond our means as a community. So, with the latter category is my asking what those kinds of blasters can be. The best example is the one we talk about the most: sniping. Real sniping can happen from ranges over a kilometer, the current record is 3.5km. Our best ranges are 50'-60', so what is sniping in water warfare? Is it that 100' cannon? Is it the mini WBL I'm trying to design now?

I really hope I don't come off as dogmatic with this topic, I just want a wider range of toys to play with.

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Re: What are We Actually Trying to Do?

Post by SEAL » Fri May 08, 2020 7:21 pm

This is actually a very neat question. What are we trying to do? Well that depends. Everyone joins the community for a different reason. SSCBen pretty much hit the nail on the head when it comes to the three main "branches" of the hobby. I definitely lean the most towards the "warfare" part of water warfare, so my response will definitely be slanted in that direction.

So for me it does not matter what kinds of blasters are being used on the field, as long as my team has better ones than our opponents, haha. (Or more specifically, ones that my teammates can use most effectively in the given situation.) I'm a water warrior because I enjoy strategizing for days in advance, planning out the best way to defeat the enemy. I enjoy stalking through wild battlefields while every nerve in my body is alive. I enjoy leading my team through difficult situations and overcoming obstacles. I enjoy the heat of battle, and the physically-demanding nature of such a close-quarters game. I enjoy the small-scale tactics employed during the battle and having to think fast. I never really thought of trying to make water wars "realistic" like real wars. In some ways yes, like creating battle scenarios that one might find in real warfare, but I definitely recognize that water guns are nothing like real guns, so tactics are often very different. For example, this is the only game where barricades (such as mobstacles) and other low pieces of cover are useless except perhaps as a way to avoid being seen. I don't know anyone who plays water wars to have a realistic war experience. Airsoft or some types of paintball are way better for that. Water warfare is more "sporty" if that makes sense, namely in the mechanics of straight-up combat. To put it simply, the gametype/scenario can be very war-like, but as far as the actual act of fighting goes, it's much more like a sport.

The point of all that was basically to say that, even if every single person on the battlefield is using a copy of the same blaster, I would still have fun. Even if there is no variability in the weaponry, there is always tons of variability in the battle. Water warriors fight on a larger variety of battlefields than any other game as far as I know. Schoolyards, backyards, forests, swamps, lakes, abandoned factories, and even caves. I realize most people aren't that crazy, but even so, the battle conditions are always different. People have different skill levels, and will try different tactics each time. Think about a sport that you enjoy watching, whether it be baseball, football, hockey, etc. Those games are always played with the exact same rules and equipment, but each game is unique. Water wars are like that, but even more exciting because the setup can change each time, and there's a lot more freedom than conventional sports.

That's my answer to the title question, heavily fueled by like twenty wars worth of experience. But I realize that's also rather biased, and that some people are more into just collecting guns and messing around with them. In which case, I don't really see why it matters that X gun is better than Y gun. If you don't care about being competitive, than go ahead and use that Hydroblade. If you do care about being competitive, you'll quickly find that the blasters are only a small part of the equation. Also I'd like to point out that water warfare is probably the only wargame where there really isn't that wide a gap between the worst guns and the best ones. Case in point, if you tried to bring a stock Nerf Longshot to a NIC war, you would not stand a chance against everyone with their homemade contraptions that shoot darts almost too fast to see. However I have gone toe-to-toe with big CPS while only using guns like the XP 270, and while difficult, was not impossible. You can be competitive using almost anything short of like an Electrostorm or something.

As far as innovating and making new types of homemades and stuff, I think the only thing stopping that is the fact that there are so few actives left. There hasn't even been a community war in like two years or something. I can't speak for anyone else, but for me it's mainly being busy with work and school, and trying to focus on other things. Which is fine, but nobody new is really stepping in. So if you want awesome homemades, you better get busy because I don't think anyone else will do it. I hope to someday come back and get into that stuff again, but it'll be some time.

Sidenote: WBLs can work, just not necessarily in the way most people might think. It's very hard to get a hit with one, but there's one thing they do better than any other weapon on the field, and that would be intimidation. CPS 2000? Monster XL? Forget about them; NOTHING is scarier than seeing a 3" PVC barrel leveled at you during a battle. Until it is fired, the user is effectively invincible and can influence the enemy team in all sorts of ways.
You see the same problem of people viewing the "point" of the hobby narrowly in Nerf. As far as I'm aware NerfHaven still filters the word sniper to loser because "There are no snipers in Nerf". Well, as you point out, there are tons of people who want to be snipers.
Bahaha, that is the most NIC thing I've ever heard. We should filter the word "nerfer" to loser on this board, hahaha. But seriously, I remember arguments over using the term sniping even here. The more I think about it, the dumber it sounds. If you hide in a tree and pop someone beneath you, I see no reason why you couldn't call that sniping. I don't think it has to be the same percentage of combat distance as real warfare or whatever the hell people were trying to use as an argument. The official definition of the word "sniping" is actually pretty ambiguous. According to Google:
the action of shooting at someone from a hiding place, especially accurately and at long range
"Especially", not "necessarily". Plus I think being in a tree or other hidden vantage point would give you pretty long range anyway, at least compared to everyone else. "But oh no, it's not the same ratio of regular range to sniper range as a real war, so we won't have any idea what you're talking about when you say sniping!" Like, how do you even communicate at all? :lol: Nerfers crack me up.

So with that said, if you want to actually make a sniper water gun, go right ahead. I would actually put the CPS 2000 in that category already, since the best way to fight with one is basically to sneak around the fringe of the battle and only take shots when you have a good chance of connecting. You can call this "sharpshooting", but to me it's the same damn thing. Basically what you're looking for when designing a sniper is something with high range/output, but low shot time because you'd want the blaster to be smaller and easy to hide with. A big 100' cannon would give you the range, but you wouldn't be able to sneak around very well with it. A WBL would have even better range, but they're also cumbersome, and also inaccurate. Note that just like with real guns, you can snipe with anything, it just might not be ideal for it.

Wow, I haven't made a post this long in a while. But hey, my semester's over and I have some time to breathe now. Definitely miss this hobby. I'll have to see if I can get back into the game at some point. Water wars are great for "social distancing" because nobody wants to come within like 40' of anyone else, haha.
~Hotel Oscar Golf~

We'll be back...

mr. dude
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Re: What are We Actually Trying to Do?

Post by mr. dude » Sun May 10, 2020 7:16 pm

That's a fair point, that it's much more about your playing style than it is about what equipment you have. Cleats and sneakers for any sport always try to market themselves as being useful for a specific type of player: Nike Mercurials market themselves to be for the speedy soccer player, Adidas markets itself for the passer. Meanwhile... it's a shoe... The player is much more important, the equipment only matters when you're at an elite level. In water warfare, your equipment does heavily influence your playing style, a WW Hydrapak encourages a very different approach than a 2k, but they don't make you good or bad. So yeah, I do agree with pretty much all the points made by both of you.

My dislike for "X is better than Y" comes from other hobbies. I mentioned Warhammer being my other major hobby for most of my life. I remember we once decided to do a fun Warhammer debate session. We were given a topic and a side to argue for. The topic was "Is *X model* the only competitively viable option of its type?", referencing a specific model that featured heavily in every tournament army. I was on team no it isn't the only option. One day, I open the site to see that one of the members that had been asked to be an impartial judge had had enough of this blasphemy, and started arguing that it is, of course, conclusively the only viable option. I think that just lacks imagination. The worst culprits tend to be trading card games. "Card X is garbage because Card Y exists", until someone does well in a major tournament using a combo involving the "garbage" card, then it's all you see anywhere.

This hobby is a lot less aggressive in that sense. We have fewer options than some other hobbies as far as what to take, but each option is infinitely customizable. There's no one dominant play style, it depends on your team and situation, which is why I love it too.
So if you want awesome homemades, you better get busy because I don't think anyone else will do it.
Unfortunately, yes. I do try to make my friends see it as a fun hobby for adults, but right now it's really just this core community that grew up just before the Nerfication of Super Soaker. I am currently working on getting my mixture right for homemade water balls, so there's that. I'm using the quarantine to inefficiently do everything I want to do, from my hobbies to writing scripts. Doesn't work to try to do everything at once, I'll tell you that.

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