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Not Alfred

Weapon/Skin plans for S&Box

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Edit: If it wasn't obvious reading the full thread, we're not doing any work on the actual game S&Box. We're talking about what we will be developing for our servers for S&Box, when it comes out. In the exact same way we did GMod. Server owners work on features for their own servers and aren't involved in the development of the game itself. Pretty obvious if you read the thread for more than 10 seconds, but it's more likely someone was just trying to make a problem rather than actually proving a point worth the time it took to type this.


Progress on S&Box has been moving quickly lately, with actual UI implementation and even commits done by the man himself, Garry. This (maybe) means a release is closer than we thought. It's no secret to the community that we're planning on releasing servers for this, but as some of the details are still in planning, it'd be good to discuss some ideas for our progress leading forward.

Important: I got the nod from ZeRo to make a post like this a while ago, but it's worth saying here. 
This is about what may be possible in S&Box, not what we are or will be actively working on. Nothing here is 100% confirmed.
This is just laying out some potential steps for how we handle Skins and such. It's not an official announcement, just discussion.

For those who don't know, S&Box is effectively the modern version of GMod. It'll have a lot more features, compatibility with other games, and most importantly, it's not on a dogshit engine from 2003. Because of that, it gives us room to make a lot of concepts previously impossible a reality. With the transition to a new game, it also means we won't be bound by current restrictions, not only in the engine, but with the economy and skin content as well. You'll understand that a bit more later in this post.


Assuming that most systems will work in similar ways to GMod, players will have inventories to store their skins for weapons and knives. When we've brought this up in TS before, one of the most asked questions is if inventories/money will transfer over from GMod, and the answer to that is most likely not. This is for a few reasons;

New Features: There are some features which we either can't implement in GMod due to engine limitations, or because of the economy. One noteworthy example is weapon wears. They're possible in GMod and have been tested in-game, but if we implemented them now, that would wreak havoc on the economy. Old skins would either have random wears applied to them (causing inventory values to go down), or wears would only be applied to new skins (making old skins more valuable/new content worth less). Either way, it's a problem. With separate inventories for S&box, it allows us to bring in these new features without causing chaos.

Economy Rebalancing: The average value of reds in the now-defunct Warzone Case #1 is worth $60,000 WZ. With more features and economy advances, the average value of reds in the newest Danger Zone case is $885,000 WZ. A lot of our older content is either seen as almost value-less by the players or has been removed from circulation entirely. We're probably going to revalue all of the skins and cases so old content isn't old any more. Everything's being released at the same time, so there's no point in introducing content to new servers which is DOA. Of course, with time we've seen newer content increase in quality, but the old content isn't 14 times worse as the pricing currently stands it at.

Fresh start: New content will bring in new players, and for people who are either new or old to the community, we'll be launching S&Box with a much larger following than we did with any GMod launch to date, simply because the community has grown since then. By starting everyone at the same point from launch, nobody has an advantage from the first step, and everyone has the same opportunity. Between versions of WarZone, we've reset inventories for this sake, so the same applies here.

For the record, this won't impact GMod inventories at all. If players are more comfortable on GMod, the economy, skins, amount of Skin content added in updates, and more, won't change at all.

Acquiring Content

This is another big part of moving to S&Box as we'll have a lot more options with how and where players get files from. We've already worked on some of our own systems to get content such as WZNet, and the recent addition of seeing which items you're missing or subscribed to in-game, but we can make that a lot more expansive and easy-to-use with S&Box. Here's our two main ideas;

Dynamic Mounting
Some content may be downloadable as it's being used, rather than all at once, all while you're playing. If you open a new skin or someone walks past with a skin, it'll be downloaded within that moment, and then stored, rather than downloading everything when some files may not even be seen or used. This is possible to do in GMod and we've tested it to some degree, but it's a lot easier to do with S&Box and Unreal Engine. It means there's significantly less loading time, it saves the amount which you have to download, and spaced stored on your device. If you need something, you have it. If not, it won't be there until that changes, and it all happens while you're playing.

We haven't mentioned much about WZSync and S&Box, however this depends on how content is acquired through the game. WZSync mostly exists as a better solution rather than using the Workshop, and it also works around limitations of mounting addons in GMod. The latter won't be a problem with a new game, however if the Workshop is still being used for content (which is likely), it's possible that WZSync could in some form be used on S&Box, but the option for the Workshop will still be there. It could go either way, we don't know.

As with GMod, S&Box has options to mount content from other games. With a lot of our content coming from CS:GO, we chose to replicate the content for download in our current servers as we can't expect people to buy the game solely for the sake of getting skin content for our servers. However, as you probably know by now, CS:GO is now F2P. This means we can feasibly expect people to have CS:GO as it doesn't cost anything, and in some cases, we can assume it's there for our content to work. Some basic essentials such as models/textures might be downloaded from the server, but if you have the game mounted, that data may not be downloaded. For more features like skins, we could request users to mount from CS:GO. Options for this are in the air right now, so this is another one we don't really know


Here's the big one. With a new game on an actually modern engine, we have options to do a lot more with what we can make, and what you can make. This all depends on what S&box has to offer, but from looking at development, we can make some solid assumptions.

Moving over skins
The one thing I can personally confirm for sure is not a single Hotradremixlx skin will be coming with us. Any hotrad skin on S&Box is going to be either redesigned or binned. We're going to assess each skin individually too. What this means is we'll be looking at each skin to see if the quality is good enough or if it can be adapted/upgraded (such as Floats V2 redesigns). Depending on what it is, we'll be either remaking the skins, adapting them to fit new systems, or getting rid of them. We'll be talking to Content Creators a lot in this process, and unless your name is Alex Ramsey, community-made skins won't be removed or changed.

CS:GO Content
Another limiting factor of CS:GO is how they made skins. The models weren't designed for some features which they have, and features implemented are done in a sloppy method or could be done in a higher-quality and easier method. Rather than replicating badly-done methods, it'd be nice to redo them. This means I'll be remaking the default textures for all of the weapons, making them look similar to their originals, however with higher quality, no compression artifacts (which skin creators know the default skins have a LOT of compression ugliness), and most importantly, PBR support. Would you rather have an AK which looks like this or like this? (That's just an example. That's not made by us... yet)

Skin Features
The Content Creation community has started to experiment with some new features to make skins look nicer, such as Normal Maps, glow-in-the-dark skins, or even animated colours. Hopefully, the material editor in S&Box will give us much more flexibility with this, improving on already existing features and possibly some newer ones as well. Here's some ideas;

  • PBR: Textures which control material details at high graphics settings. In GMod, we mostly just use the Albedo (default texture). With UE4, we can also add Roughness (how shiny a material is), Metalness (Whether certain parts of a material are metal or not), Normals (Bumps), and possibly even Displacement (Changes the physical depth of the texture, see here). For content creators, all of these will be optional, but for the default weapons these will be included, making them look much nicer, and gives creators the option to use them too.
  • Floats V3: It's possible (although we haven't discussed it at all), to implement all the features in the CS:GO Workbench on top of just random floats, which will probably be dubbed Floats V3. This means we can make tileable textures which fit onto any weapon, glove, or knife skin, with all finish types being potentially supported. This means with a tenth of the effort we can expand the amount of skins massively, and they'll all have unique randomisation.
  • Normal Map Generation: Similar to Skin Renderer, it's possible to generate a bump map from a Skin without it having one in the first place. Another optional, but possibly useful feature, for Creators.
  • Correct Glow-in-the-dark: Selfillum as we call it in GMod doesn't actually glow in the dark at all. Instead, what it does is ignore lighting and shadows, so shadows just don't show up at all. That ends up looking like this (credit to Anonz). That looks as good as we can get it in GMod, but that's not how light behaves in real life, as the glow would light up the environment and your hands/arms. This is what it should look like. Thankfully, UE4 supports proper lighting and not the fake lighting which Source uses, so this will make the light spread. You'll be able to control how intense the lighting is when making a skin.
  • Animation: Right now, skins can only be animated to colour shift in certain places, as this can be done with a tiny file-size. Making an actually animated texture with a VTF (such as one of these) would be a few hundred MB, way too big for us to use. However, it's possible for other file-types to be used with S&Box, meaning compressed formats like MP4s could make this much more feasible. The limit for each content creation item is currently around 5MB or below, but it would still be much easier to get an actually detailed animation in a filesize that small with some work.
  • Weapon Wear & Dirt: As mentioned before, something we've been wanting to do for a long time is Weapon Wears. As I mentioned earlier though, Valve's implementation is sloppy, and quite honestly just doesn't look nice. We will be remaking the Weapon Wear system from the ground up rather than just using CS:GO's method. As well as this, there's a possibility for Dirt. This is a texture which is applied from a certain direction or across all of the skin, and the Dirt texture file can be specified. This could be good for making simply dirty/sooty weapons, but also other things such as Blood, or during the festive period, Snow (like this but on any skin around Christmas). Wear and Dirt will be randomly valued as in CS:GO. Some weapons could even be worth more for worse, for example, the Chappie. Creators should take this into consideration when making skins.
  • Additional effects?: We're going to have a lot of new tools to play with and some of the things holding us back in GMod won't be there any more. We could have suggestions for new material effects in the future, and as long as it's easy enough for Content Creators to work with the effects and it's usable without the effects, they could be added. There's a lot of possibilities.

Anyway, as mentioned earlier, none of this is confirmed, only possible plans for the future. Feel free to chip in with any suggestions or discussion, more the better.

Edited by Not Alfred
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Couple of things:

  • In Sandbox we can create a really good workbench tool, not only could you import existing files, but we could have some form of editor within there to create skins, allowing people to bypass photoshop completely.
  • We can probably do an inbuilt skin render tool built directly in to workbench.
  • I think we should start looking at adding more and newer weapons, for example, it would be great to have a WW2 pack of weapons.

We also need to review our existing website code base, we are most likely going to run both Garry's Mod and S&box at the same time, in that case we need to make sure that the market is 100% compatible with multiple games, and that RPC will only deliver item creation messages etc to the correct game.

I'll start filling up the S&box Trello board we have with the stuff that's going to be worked on, of course I think the first priorities are core stuff like Inventory Server integration, MOTD, Rules, RPC etc etc.

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I love a fresh start from any game so I wont mind to start from the beginning

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Sounds good.

It'll be fun coming back.

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12 hours ago, Yikers said:

HMMMMMMMMM garry "the man himself" has no knowledge of this Hmmmm


Hasn't assisted in developing the game (s&box) that's currently being prototyped by his own studio? :LUL:

FYI: https://sandbox.facepunch.com/commits/1 Scroll down a little, really weird to see Garry commit to it hmm?

I'm not sure what this post was trying to achieve? As obviously we were looking for idea's ourselves for the game if it does end up being released. Not claiming we were doing anything for it development wise (As nobody of us is part of Facepunch)

Edited by Archangel

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16 hours ago, Yikers said:

HMMMMMMMMM garry "the man himself" has no knowledge of this Hmmmm


Throwaway email, random xd name, and not hiding the fact that Garry responded to you on your Twitter handle. Good to see you still haven't grown up after two years, mate.

Take a read through the thread properly. We're not talking about development for S&Box. We're talking about developing our servers for S&Box. We were never involved in GMod's development when making our servers but we could freely talk about how we're going to be developing features for, you know, our servers. The game is just what hosts it. That's not changed either.


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