Ammo crafting for me is a rather cool idea in video games where the MC has to use resources to create their own ammo. Items can include Gunpowder and the like. In my video game days, I did not see many games utilize Ammo Crafting and different ammo types would just be lying around as pick-ups. In my opinion, that seemed to be a bit boring and the fact a lot of FPS shooters use this mechanic made it feel that games just copied and pasted each other. Not to mention it seemed unrealistic because ammo for weapons have to be manufactured or should I say “Crafted”. You don’t see a box of ammo for a rifle or rocket launcher lying around in random areas in real life. If you do see boxes of ammo, they are usually located in a closed or controlled area.
As a subjective writer and one that is guilty of using this “mechanic” in my LitFPS, I can see the flip side for why Ammo Crafting isn’t as common in Video Games or LitRPG/GameLit reads. People have told me that it’s simply “padding” as it’s just an additional step to obtain the same thing, which is ammo for a particular weapon. Also, for the sake of keeping the action moving it is better to just ammo packs lying around on a level. It keeps the pace moving without the player/reader having to pause from the action just to create ammo. For a fast-paced FPS such as DOOM and a book like my LitFPS, ammo crafting is not a good idea to implement as readers will be looking for action similar to what they experience while they hold a controller.
However, I’m a writer who loves to create and be innovative. What that being said there are particular genres that ammo crafting might work perfectly. One of those would be a slow-paced Survivor Horror game such as Resident Evil, whose premise is more about survival with limited resources. Speaking of which, if you played the classic Resident Evil games as you should you might have played Resident Evil 3. It was unique in that it had ammo crafting where you would use jars of gunpowder, mix them a certain way, and use a reloading tool to create different types of ammo. If you were really creative you could create powerfully grenade rounds and magnum rounds. If you used it something like 7 times in a certain way you could begin to create “Enhanced Ammo” for the handgun and pistol, which was as the name says ammo that would do more damage to enemies. With this mechanic, Resident Evil 3 was a game that had great replay value simply because you could create different ammo types. Depending on how wise you were in creating ammo, you could make the game harder or easier on yourself.
If you’re a big fan of the RE series, then you will realize that RE: 3 was the only game to use this mechanic as many fans disliked it. I was one who liked it and after playing it again I felt that this would make a good trope to use in GameLit books. In fact, this might be an excellent idea for a GameLit/LitRPG book with a Choose Your Adventure kind of idea where the reader could determine what happens to them based on how they make ammo.
I decided to use this mechanic in my new GameLit/Survival Horror book, Angel’s Nightmare Adventure 3: Nemesis. I wanted to create a crunchier book with more gaming elements. So along with lockpicking, I decided to make ammo crafting a major mechanic that would revolve around my book. I fell in love with the system in Resident Evil 3 that I decided to adopt the system in my new horror book, of course with my own twists. To give you an idea, the MC will be able to create Handgun, Shotgun, or grenade launcher ammo depending on how she (yes it’s a she) mixes the gunpowder types. I won’t go into too much detail as that would be no fun and I would like the reader to find out for themselves.
I love ammo crafting because it gives a sense of urgency, as the MC has to create the correct ammo type depending on the situation. I can definitely see this mechanic going far and seeing this in other books to come. This will go best with slower paced stories where resources are limited and the MC has the sense of hopelessness/helplessness.
So until next time, stay cool and stay nerdy my friends!
Author of LitFPS/Horror/GameLit. Representing the genre from the all-star island of Puerto Rico. Loves Video Games and Reading LitRPG!