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Blackjack Symons

Signal Flags

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I posted on the flags and ensigns thread, but it doesn't seem like many people looked at it. Anyway, I've decided to flesh out the idea of signal flags. There was some discussion about in after the Trafalgar yesterday and while many of us liked the thought of it (or just agreed a better in-game communication than typing could work), some of us *cough*steel*cough* :P were more skeptical. 

 

I'm not saying get rid of the chat bar, to be clear - the chat bar has it's uses but for those who don't want to have to type while trying to focus on their ship (especially in something as busy as Trafalgar), there are alternatives. Signal flags have been the most commonly mentioned, and were indeed the main form of communication between ships in a line of battle, but other suggestions were rockets (early flares, that is), coloured cannon powder (not unheard of), or just hotkey-commands.

 

For my part, I want signal flags. It's immersive, true to the setting, and pretty cool to see flags run up and down your masts.

 

Here's how it would work;

 

One person would, at the start of (or before) the battle, be voted or appointed as the leader of the squadron. This system of flags would be controlled by him or her. I'm sure as time goes on we can flesh out more complex aspects (such as multiple sections, multiple section leaders) but for now I'll stick to the basics.

 

The commands would be limited; for the leader, there would be options like 'focus fire on ____'*(targets would be selected by who the leader was looking at through their spyglass), 'make more sail', 'cut sails' and hold fire. Again, more commands could be discussed in future, but for now I'm keeping it relatively simple. 

 

At present, we have a list of menus down the bottom of the screen;

     Left Ammo (1), Right Ammo (2), Front Ammo (3), Back Ammo (4), Repair (5), Sailing (6), Gunnery (7), Survival (8), Boarding (9).

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Now as you all know, menus 1-5 all have submenus. For ammo, it has ball, chain, double and grape. For repair it has Repair Ship, Repair Sails, Surgeon and Repair Modules. The signal system need be little different than that.

 

Press a key (say, for example, 0) and a submenu will come up with a list of applicable commands. For instance, I could press 0 and then 1 to order 'make more sail' (speed up).

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My editing skills may suck, but you get the general idea of it.

 

Now, when you select these commands, the person you're talking to (or the entire fleet if that's the idea) will receive a pop-up message at the top of his screen, not too obnoxious so as not to interrupt gameplay, but obvious enough that it won't be missed. It will say the message, e.g. "Blackjack Symons signals make more sail."

 

This would require some research and work, as the flags would (I'm hoping) be historically correct. For those hardcore players who want as much immersion as possible, there may even be an option for people to disable the pop-up message and read the signal from the flags alone. I'd think that pressing two keys in rapid succession (0 then 1) is faster than typing in chat, and I honestly think that these features, if implemented properly, would be used.

 

So please chip in with your thoughts, suggestions, or questions - I'm hoping a productive discussion will develop the concept further :D

 

And I am, dear sirs &c

Capt. Jno Symons

 

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OlavDeng2    1,500

this is what im going to say, adding signal flags could be usefull for with your AI fleet, but in player battles it is useless for a couple of reasons, there are too many ships so you cant know who is the leader thus chat/teampeak is easier and mroe efficient in stead of looking at say 50 sails for that one command, second in battles it can quickly get messy and you get the trouble the french had during the real battle of trafalgar, they could not see what the admiral was commanding this would very quickly happen in this game, and typing/teamspeak is way more precise and in can be the same speed, maybe a bit slower.

 

as a result i think that it is cool for using with your AI fleet(not the AI that so happens to be on your team) but other than that it is useless in my opinion.

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this is what im going to say, adding signal flags could be usefull for with your AI fleet, but in player battles it is useless for a couple of reasons, there are too many ships so you cant know who is the leader 

 

One person would, at the start of (or before) the battle, be voted or appointed as the leader of the squadron. This system of flags would be controlled by him or her

 

chat/teampeak is easier and mroe efficient in stead of looking at say 50 sails for that one command, second in battles it can quickly get messy and you get the trouble the french had during the real battle of trafalgar, they could not see what the admiral was commanding this would very quickly happen in this game

 

Now, when you select these commands, the person you're talking to (or the entire fleet if that's the idea) will receive a pop-up message at the top of his screen, not too obnoxious so as not to interrupt gameplay, but obvious enough that it won't be missed. It will say the message, e.g. "Blackjack Symons signals make more sail."

 

It might well be that people agree, Olav. Yes, Teamspeak is more precise and you can give instant commands (though when 20+ people are in the channel it can get confusing who is who) and yes chat is more precise (but more annoying, for me.). The idea's not to be precise, the idea is for this to be a convenient, historically accurate and useful feature.

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OlavDeng2    1,500

It might well be that people agree, Olav. Yes, Teamspeak is more precise and you can give instant commands (though when 20+ people are in the channel it can get confusing who is who) and yes chat is more precise (but more annoying, for me.). The idea's not to be precise, the idea is for this to be a convenient, historically accurate and useful feature.

yeah, i agree that it would be a nice feature, but it is not something i would say the devs should spend time on now, maybe something in the future but i cant see it being used much by the player base unless it is done for commanding AI fleets, but this is just my two cents.

 

edit; also if you are going to add the pop up thing, i would say this is definetly useless, i would find that more annoying than chat.

 

edit2: also a problem with that appointing people, what if the flag ship dies? then suddenly that breaks down... or you have to vote more people, but then it will take even longer before battles start, and you allready see how long it takes before the battles start with the trafalgar

Edited by OlavDeng2

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OlavDeng2    1,500

Sure, it being optional is a good idea, but what i am saying is what i believe will happen, it will be more trouble than worth for use with players, for use with the AI fleet however could be really fun

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That's entirely possible. Should it be a priority for development? I don't think so. Should it be developed at all? I'd say yes. 

 

As a side note, it's struck me that the notification of signals could be audible: "Signal from the flagship! Make more sail."

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OlavDeng2    1,500

That's entirely possible. Should it be a priority for development? I don't think so. Should it be developed at all? I'd say yes. 

 

As a side note, it's struck me that the notification of signals could be audible: "Signal from the flagship! Make more sail."

ok, the audible part might actually be a good idea, thats something i can get behind.

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i would love to see signal flags. it just adds to the immersion. as i previousely mentioned in the flags and ensigns thread: i dont know what the officers slots are good for, but if officers are implemented for e.g. seperate gun decks, sails, marines, etc., having a signal officer would be a nice addition. depending on his skill/level messages could be transferred/understood faster and misunderstanding of signals reduced. also this would challenge the player to learn at least the simple commands, simply to check if the message is understood right. distance and smoke could also make it hard to read signals, so that one would have to guess what it means.

 

i wouldnt make it a priority but definitely add it to the to-do list!

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Ronan    38

I can see the audio part being abused. The person doing the commands can just spam commands thus spamming the audio commands which is annoying obviously.

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well... signals took some seconds to get up the mast... flags had to be collected, connected and run up. and that several times, depending on how long the message was. so you could say it takes about 10-30 seconds to send a signal if your crew is quick. it isnt something that just pops up the second you would press a button. and then the signal officer has to read the signal and if he doesnt know it out of mind, has to look in the signal book what it means. so yes... transfering a message would take an average of lets say a minute..

i am not too deep into this topic and can only guess. it might take even longer.

 

all in all i dont think someone would spend the time to send as many messages in a battle as possible, since it costs valuable time in which you cannot shoot/steer/manage sails... especially since in this game, timing is everything.

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