To put it quite simply, I feel that each item of human equipment should take up a set amount of slots. Instead of the old system in which you perpetually had a blaster in addition to a primary weapon that you purchased or spawned with, this one would allow for greater flexibility. There would be several types of slots depending on the category of the equipment in question. For instance, there would be weapon slots, body slots, and accessory slots. Clearly, this would correspond to your guns, your armor, and the miscellaneous things you buy. Further, each item is assigned its very own size. A 'small' item takes up one slot, a 'medium' item takes up two slots, and a 'large' item takes up three.
Assuming that you can have three items in each slot, this would allow for you to have the following combinations: three small items, a small item and a medium item, or solely a large item. Of course, this would assume that we kept three slots for each category. My choice of three is somewhat arbitrary, but would allow for a nice square grid. Three categories, three slots each for a total of nine. Very easy to deal with.
Proposed weapon slots:
- Small: blaster, other pistol-like weapons, construction kit?
- Medium: most weapons, including rifle, etc.
- Large: chaingun, lucifer cannon, flamer?
- Small: helmet, light armor, battery pack, jet pack.
- Medium: heavy armor, etc.
- Large: battlesuit, etc.
- Small: grenade, that helmet upgrade Viech talked about, etc.
Most of the old Tremulous equipment combinations are still possible. You can equip your suit of armor with a jetpack and go around with a primary weapon and a blaster if you feel like it. On the other hand, it's now possible to diversify. You could go with three small weapons if you felt like it. Or, you can go with something besides the blaster. Armor becomes a choice of taking the old light suit and a backpack, or going heavier while still being able to crouch, unlike with the battlesuit. Accessories could be limited by type if you feel that grenades are too powerful.
Another major reason for the slot system is how you actually represent all of this. Instead of having to deal with the armory in a way that makes you slowly buy and sell things from a menu, you could simply drag and drop, just like the inventory system in games like Diablo. When you go to the armory, you're presented with two windows. The top window has all the equipment available at the armory, and if you can buy it, it's colored blue; otherwise, it's in red. As for the bottom window, you have your nine slots. Buying something is simply a matter of dragging and dropping, as if you drag onto an occupied slot, it's replaced by whatever you've chosen. To get information on what you're buying, you hover the mouse over the item in question and there's an info popup.
Yet another thing you can do this way is set your default equipment set. Either from the menu or while you're in the spawn queue, you can drag and drop things onto your preferred equipment list, and it'll automatically purchase all of that the next time you run by an armory.
Here's a silly mockup of what a typical set could look like:
See what I'm getting at? Comments? Criticism?