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  1. Let's dive right in: the current system of how artillery - arguably the most important factor in the design, construction, and production of the modern battleship from inception to conclusion - works, sucks. As many people have already noted: - Shell weights are considerably off reasonable spec, let alone historical. - Gun ranges, a pet peeve, are considerably limited for all but the largest calibres. While these are just a few examples - albeit well-known - the inability to choose certain real-life influencing factors considerably limits not only our capacity to create historical warships, but also be creative with our designs. The same extends to even the very gun calibre: what if I want to be French in the predreadnought era? I can't make a 138.6 mm gun, or a 164.7 mm gun, or 194 mm, or 240 mm, to say nothing of 274 mm; what if I wanted to make a German light cruiser? German '15 cm' guns aren't 150 mm, they're 149.1 mm. Then you also have things like the Japanese 15.5-cm in the 1930s, which of course doesn't line up to the 152.4 mm calibre we currently see. The Gun Designer My proposal is as follows: the current system of artillery will remain in place, as 'quick load' settings and also for people who don't want to spend the extra time with the Gun Designer (details to follow). But just as one can save ships for custom battles (a much-requested and soon to be added feature), one would be able to save custom-designed guns, which will go under a new tab (my current vision is that in the Guns section of the Ship Designer, there would be a checkmark to let you use custom guns; the tables would simply show the guns you've saved that are appropriate for the type, sorted within 5 years of nearest date.) Of course, the gun section in the Ship Designer, if you chose to use a custom gun - with the exception of the shell outfit increase/decrease option - would be 'greyed out' for our purposes. Sections of the Gun Designer Designation Design Date Artillery (side tab) Barrel Type Gun Bore Gun Length in Calibres Breech Type Shells (2+ side tabs) Shell Type Shell Weight Bursting Charge Fuze Propellant (side tab) Propellant Type Muzzle Velocity Mounting (side & bottom tabs) Mount Model Elevation Elevating Rate Loading Angle Train Rate Hoist Type Rounds per gun (base number, affected by reduced/increased ammo outfit in Ship Designer) This looks like a lot, and it is, but let's break it down from here. Designation This is what we plan on calling our gun: throughout history, we see consistently that guns can be rounded to the nearest metric designation (all Japanese "8 cm" guns after 1907, for example, are 76.2 mm) or are deliberately mislabeled to confuse enemy intelligence (the British 15"/42 and Japanese 46-cm/45 Type 94 are prime examples). This functionally is the same as naming your ship in the Ship Designer: it won't have any bearing on the battle, but it may play into how intelligence gathering might work in the future. Nation of choice might also go here: it wouldn't do to use German 283 mm guns on an Alaska analogue, would it? Design Date This one is a little tricky. Why would we add a design date? That doesn't matter, does it? Well, actually it does. A design date limits the options for what we can use in the specific year - just like the Ship Designer - and more importantly, limits the ships we can place the gun on. If we don't have a design date on the gun, we might be able to stick our brand-new 1940s autoloading 203 mm triple turret onto an 1897 armoured cruiser. And that just ain't right. It's a refit some people might consider, and if you press "Unlock" on a custom battle you should be able to do just that, but we'll set some realistic limitations on what we can and can't do. Artillery Section Ideally, in this section, our view should be cutting to a different location from the ship designer- perhaps in one of the warehouses alongside? A nice little graphic touch to compensate the lack of direct interaction (placing guns in turrets, etc.). Barrel Type Our first section here is somewhat difficult to grasp a hold of without a little prior knowledge, but it plays into everything else. The construction of the barrel is incredibly important in determining the maximum available gun calibre and how powerful your gun can be: too much, and the barrel will burst. A list of options would potentially look something like so: Wire-wound Partial wire-wound All-steel Autofrettage Monobloc This is, of course, not an exhaustive list: merely a few examples. Wire-wound guns are the heaviest type of those mentioned: they also have rather restricted gun lengths (e.g. the 15"/42), thanks to the lack of stiffness close to their centre of gravity. However, wire-wound guns, within their limitations, are extremely strong weapons with higher factors of safety than some other types. Maybe there could be an option here to plate the bore in chromium: it adds a ton or two, but it significantly ups the barrel life. Gun Bore This section should pretty much be self-explanatory. The gun bore is the interior diameter of the barrel, i.e. the calibre of the gun. We have a wide selection of models already, so functionally, many of the existing assets can be used without too much change; I highly doubt that people will nitpick over the less-than-one-pixel difference between a 406.4 mm gun and a 410 mm gun. The diameter should be set to the nearest 0.1 mm for metric, and for 0.01" for imperial: specific numbers should be enterable, much the same as how one can currently change armour figures. Commonality is important: we want to make a good transition and keep the theme of the designers consistent. Gun Length The gun's length in calibres is our second most important part, and arguably the trickiest: we have to be able to set calibres from as low at /30, to as high as /70. Ideally, there would be a slider, but enterable numbers are good as well: setting them by factors of /1 would be good, though in the interest of saving our poor modelers and the scalers some hassle, visual changes should probably only take place once every 5 calibres, working forwards (e.g. a 52-cal gun would use the same model as a 50-cal gun, but a /55 would have its own model). What's important here to help impose some limits on our wild imagination is gun construction: that will limit our available calibres. If we have a wire-wound gun in 1914, for example, depending on the gun, we might only be able to get it to /45 calibres before we hit our unfortunate red "Error: Gun Too Long For Barrel Type" warning sign. The game doesn't want us to suffer any unfortunate accidents because of barrel droop and insufficiently stiff bores, so we should listen to it. Calibres will gradually increase as barrel quality improves over the years and steels grow stronger: 65-70 calibres should be doable by 1940, for those of you who want to make Stalingrad's 305/62 Pattern 1948, or go one better. Breech Type And here we have another important question: the breech type. This directly feeds into the type of ammunition we're using. If the gun has a sliding wedge block, it's going to have to use semi-fixed or fixed 'cased' ammunition: propellant that is stored in a brass case that obturates the wedge when fired, to trap the expanding gasses and force the shell out of the muzzle. This is great for Q.F. guns and practically a necessity for autoloading gun designs, because it cuts down on complexity and loading time: accordingly, the rate of fire increases significantly. On the other hand, breeches of this type are heavy and tend to take up a lot of space: the extra equipment they need to operate is one reason why proposed German triple turret designs (and those that existed, like the 28.3-cm triple used on the Deutschlands and the Scharnhorsts) are so darn wide and heavy for what they are. Welin screws, on the other hand, are for 'bagged guns': they can't easily autoload and they have a lower rate of fire, but they're a lot simpler to construct and use, and they're lighter. Shells This section will deal with the shells we're using: weight, type, and so on. For the purposes of keeping it a little simpler, we're going to assume that the breech type you just chose in the last section has already automatically made you use cased or bagged charges for your propellant. Cut to looking at a generic shell and its brass or tin case for powder in our graphic. Note that there will have to be at least two sections, with options to add another: many ships carried more than just straight APC and HE, and many ships - particularly British cruisers - didn't carry either. Shell Type The simplest options can be found here: AP, or HE? Except it's not. We have a variety of types here: APC, HE, SAP, CBC... the list goes on. For now, however, we'll limit it to the first three, and roll things like capped common under the third category: semi-armour piercing shells. This will set our basic shell type and automatically adjusts our bursting charge percentage to the necessary value, in case you didn't really want to bother with this section. Shell Weight Arguably one of the most important parts of the shell designer proposal, and also one of the trickiest: it's also one of the reasons we gave for proposing it in the first place. After all, currently, shell weights are averages that seem to have no real connection to history (or the laws of physics, for that matter: just try and take that super-heavy 406 mm shell and get it up to 900 m/sec in real life). This number will be automatically averaged to a standard value based on the gun calibre and year: a gun around 380-381 mm, designed in 1914, will have a shell weight that would probably be in the 850-870 kg range, increasing slightly to 880 kg by 1940. Again, physics. You can change this number, but not by much: if you were designing a 406 mm gun, for example, the maximum shell weight would be around 1,400 kg (50 kg above the heaviest 406 mm shell ever considered for usage, the heavyweight Italian 1,350-kg shell for their 406/56) and the minimum somewhere around 900 kg. Similar restraints would exist for all gun calibres, necessarily, but everything's within a modicum of reason. Until it's not. Bursting Charge This category is twofold: percentage, and type. The percentage of the bursting charge will directly impact our damage and penetration performance: the larger the charge, the higher the damage- but also a weaker shell overall, which impacts penetration in a negative way. Of course, the type of bursting charge matters as well: British Lyddite bursters had a habit of igniting upon any impact shocks (re: the Skagerrak battle), while German TNT bursters were somewhat more stable and able to resist impact shocks long enough to do their job: much to the chagrin of many British sailors. The category will include those fillers we already have, plus a few we don't (such as Shimose and TNA, trinitroanisol). Fuze The fuze type is important. If we stick a base fuze on an HE shell, congratulations, you now have an HE shell which will penetrate mild steel plates and even some light 'protective' plates before bursting, thus giving yourself a good anti-destroyer weapon. Fuze set time is also important: instantaneous fuzes will act immediately, but set it too long and it might overpenetrate. An automatic value of 0.03 seconds should be the default value for all shell types. Propellant A small section which we might group under "shell", but I decided not to, since the shell types are numerous while propellant tends to be - with very few exceptions - uniform in regards to amount and type. Propellant Type Self-explanatory. We're selecting what we want to propel our shell, whether that be cordite, SPD, cast TNT, or RPC: many variations of powder exist, sometimes even within the same nation and same time frame. Amount auto-scales with desired muzzle velocity, taking into account barrel length. Muzzle Velocity And here is the other half of our equation: how do we combine light shells with good range? Maybe I want to sacrifice my barrel on the altar of the liner gods in order to achieve a heavy shell at high velocity? Perhaps I'd to sacrifice ballistic performance to get consistent, long life out of my weapons in order to make ends meet? All of these questions will help determine your muzzle velocity. But beware of those pesky "Error: MV too high for barrel type" and "Error: MV too high for calibre" flags. Mounting Is this where the fun begins? Cut in our graphic theme away from the shells to a completed mount further on in the warehouse. Mount Model Are you tired of using Zara's turrets for your German 283 mm guns? Unsatisfied with the fact that it's KGV's turrets on your British CA, not Edinburgh-style? Perhaps you like the look of Agano's gunhouses over Mogami's? Want that snazzy French 38-cm gunhouse model for your new 24-cm guns to recreate a few ahistorical cruiser killers? This category is for you. Since we're doing away with specific gun "Marks", this category belongs at the bottom of the page and will allow you to select - from your nation of choice - the appropriate gun mount style for you. This should include open-backed and enclosed mounting options, with their own pros and cons: open mounts are a lot lighter but tend to be weakly protected and suffer lower fire rates. Since many of the gun turrets appear to be scaled versions of one another, this category should present no problems. Elevation The minimum and maximum elevations available to the gun turret. And here's where we have to cut in on a personal peeve: gun ranges are too short. For example, Mark V Super-heavy 8" shells max out at 18.5 km: real-life 8in guns in the 1920s (and the Mk.V mounts are only available in the late 30s onward, remember) were hitting ranges of around 30 km, easily. Now, the 203 mm gun really has no business shooting past 20,000 metres - it's a waste of ammunition, they're not going to hit anything unless said heavy cruiser is named Haguro or Gorizia - but dang it, I want the option to waste my ammunition. A general and radical increase in both maximum range and spotting ranges should start to take place in the years immediately following 1920. Moving back to the minimum and maximum elevations: a high maximum elevation (~45 degrees) will yield you the maximum ballistic range available to your gun, at the cost of a severe increase in weight. As the depth of the gunwells increases, so does the weight of the turret. However, as the useful limit of naval gunnery is ~35 km, a sufficient muzzle velocity coupled with a good shell can yield you weight savings so that you hit that "golden mark" with your 380/406/457 mm gun. This can also play into gun modernization: allowing old turrets to be refitted in the campaign to have a higher maximum elevation and extend their useful range. Elevating Rate This directly impacts the firing rate: the faster the guns elevate and depress from and to the loading angle, the faster the firing cycle will be. Additionally: the rate of fire should change dynamically with the range, for the very reason just listed above. At high elevations, a slower firing cycle is expected, and guns tended not to fire as fast as they did on firing trials (unless you're part of the Hochseeflotte); however, at short range, as the gun needs less time to elevate and depress, the cycle should change. Loading Angle A settable angle (measured in degrees) that determines where the guns will "rest". There ought to be a tab here with options for All-Angle, Fixed Angle, and Semi-Fixed Angle loading: the first offers a faster cycle but also weighs the most and additionally has a higher chance of ammo detonation, to give an idea of benefits and tradeoffs. Train Rate We have included Train Rate merely to say that we are not including Train Rate, as it is directly affected not only by the motors and hydraulics used but also by the weight of the armour on said turret, which is a function of the Ship Designer. Hoist Type And here we come to a small, often overlooked, but important part of the designer: hoists. Pusher hoists, bucket hoists, dredger hoists, cage hoists: there are many different types. Each offers their own benefits and maluses: pusher hoists, for example, offer a very high rate of exchange between the magazines and the guns, thus improving your firing rate... but beware if that turret gets hit, because they also create a continuous powder train between the turret and the magazine. While this isn't a critical feature, it would be nice if this important part of the design of a warship should get its own spot in the sun. Rounds Per Gun A base number of rounds per gun, to be affected by the increased and decreased shell outfit options. Conclusion Thank you for taking the time to read through this. While this will probably not - almost certainly not - be implemented into the game at any point now or in the foreseeable future, I wanted to share my thoughts on part of the direction I'd like this game to take, especially towards an emphasis on creativity and removing some of the hard restrictions placed on the main selling point of this game (the ship designer)... with a little dose of reality mixed in. Fun in moderation.
  2. What're your thoughts on the 6-pound field gun for a cavalry Corps?
  3. Would you like to see these weapons in Ultimate General Civil War? Let me know what you think. Artillery/mortars M1841 mountain howitzer Blakely rifle cannon 24 pdr Model 1841 Coehorn Mortar 6 pdr. Wiard Rifle 12 pdr. Wiard Rifle 3-inch Armstrong Muzzleloading Rifle 3-inch Armstrong Breechloading Rifle 30 pdr. Parrott Rifle Rifles/muskets/carbines Springfield Model 1847 musketoon Pattern 1861 Enfield musketoon Frank Wesson Rifles Volcanic Carbine Joslyn rifle Tarpley carbine Merrill carbine Gallager carbine Sharps & Hankins Model 1862 Carbine Colt 1861 Special Musket US Model 1816 By Pomeroy Converted To Percussion Dated 1837 Remington (U.S.) Model 1863 Zouave" Percussion Rifle Amoskeag Special Model 1861 Musket
  4. Are smaller (less than 24 guns) artillery brigades/batteries more effective than larger ones? Is the rate of fire for smaller artillery units, i.e. 6, 10, or 12 guns for faster than those of larger formations?
  5. With all due respect to Darth for the amazing game, I must say that the AI's weapon scaling is implemented badly and ruins immersion. With a high enough recon stat, you can see that : All of the AI's infantry will share the same the same gun, all of the AI's artillery will share the same gun, all of the AI's skirmishers will share the same gun , and all of the AI's cavalry share the same gun. This is very unhistorical and unrealistic : units were issued different weapons throughout the war, on both sides--especially the Confederate side. Confederate units in the Army of Northern Virginia used everything from smoothbore muskets to stolen Springfields to imported Enfields. So, when playing as Union, facing an army of Confederate brigades equipped with M1855s and ONLY M1855s is extremely instantly breaks immersion. Likewise, when playing as Confederates, it is unsettling to face a Union army with 108,000 M1861s and not a single other type of rifle. Historically, Union brigades were outfitted with everything from Sharps rifles, to M1861s, to Enfields and Spencers) This is also very evident with artillery batteries : an AI army will only have ONE TYPE of cannon. So, when I played as Confederates at Chancellorsville, I had to face 311 10pd ordnance rifles from the Union. That's ridiculous from a historical standpoint : a Union army would have multiple rifles issued to its brigades and multiple types of cannons issued to its artillery. Proposed solution : I am not a game designer, so I do not know how difficult it would be to implement weapon variation, but here's my idea : Ideally, the weapons scaling system averages the "quality" of your army's rifles and then formulaically (taking into account unit "eliteness", historical availability and prevalence) generates/assigns guns to your opponents' army's brigades, keeping a lower/similar/higher average weapon "quality" depending on difficulty.
  6. So while the ui does give me most of the information i need to command my troops, one addition I would love is an indication of which range they switch ammunition types. For example, while the range tag on a cannon might tell me its 1300, it could for example say 200/800/1300 to tell me the range switch between canister, shell, and round shot. If possible, it would also be lovely to have a dotted line in the range reticule in battle to show the cutoff points for each ammo type. Thoughts?
  7. I'm trying to play as CSA against a Balanced, unboosted Union AI and I have yet to find any good way to kill union artillery. Charging doesn't really work, since a couple canister shots will break a brigade. Rifle fire doesn't seem to do much, either, and focusing multiple artillery batteries on a single union battery takes a really long time. I've found that I can do reasonably well by not directly targeting union artillery and that the AI will feel compelled to withdraw if it's threatened by several nearby brigades, but this is definitely a sub-optimal solution. Any tips? PS I've read that rifle fire may do more against artillery in an upcoming patch. But I'm also not clear about whether this patch has been released yet.
  8. I think Pickett's Charge is still very unrealistic. Seminary Ridge needs to be moved back. It's just far to easy for full brigades to get close to the Union line, in tact. When the first lines are charging, I barely get one round of artillery fire off before they are at the stone wall. We all know that half of them were blown up by the time they got back the fences (where are they btw). This is The recent patch has made this better. The Union troops now seem to get more short range firepower on their side which evens the odds a little bit. But the artillery never has a change to do its job because in a matter of 60 seconds, they're at the stone wall.
  9. Professional artillery officers and most others would have been aware of Senarmont's pioneering "artillery charge" the was devastating to the Russian center at Friedland, a tactic which inspired aggressive (and sometimes costly) forward use of artillery in later battles. Senarmont's artillery lost half their men that day, but their targets were shredded, and the tactics involved closing by stages to avoid giving infantry a chance to deliver solid first volleys against the batteries. Although the US "flying" guns in the Mexican War were horse artillery rather than foot artillery, their aggressive use was in the same spirit but favored with more suitable equipment. Although rifled muskets subsequently made this tactic more hazardous and demanding due to their longer effective range, the concept and inspiration remained to alert commanders to similar opportunities to pour in close-range artillery fire against an opponent flanked or otherwise impaired in its ability to respond. A dangerous sport, of course, for artillery in the open that near the enemy front. I can only guess at the condition of enemy infantry, but I expect under the game design infantry with reduced morale and/or reduced condition would be more vulnerable to pushy artillery, while fresh troops would shoot them down steadily or charge and overrun them (at least that is what seems to happen when adjoining infantry fall back and leave the batteries ahead). What is the design theory regarding "charges" by artillery?
  10. This game has a lot of potential! In fact, it could be the best Civil War battle game made. However, it's missing some pieces. I wouldn't post this if I didn't care but I think Game Labs actually cares what the players think. Here are crucial elements that affected my gameplay. They seemed minor at first but got really annoying after a while. I will make a block of text Italic when its background information for supporting my complaint. 1) Confederate Army Has Obvious Advantage That Goes A Bit Too Far This is a complaint that some other players have said and after playing with both armies, I totally agree. The CSA has a distinct advantage over the Union. At the start of the war, the CSA had a distinct advantage in generals and quality of soldiers. Many of the generals had experience with the Mexican War 13+ years back and the men who made up southern army handling guns from the time they could walk. What's more, people from rural backgrounds will most likely be able to handle the rigors of long marches, lack of food, lack of adequate shelter and stress much better than their city counterparts. Having said that, as the war drew on, this advantage disappeared. For one, many of the best southern generals were killed and the northern soldiers were catching up. By the summer of 1863, the quality of soldiers from the Union was pretty close to their southern counterparts. The reason the Army of the Potomac was losing battles had nothing to do with its soldiers. From all accounts, the men who were present at Fredericksburg, 2nd Manassas and Chancellorsville were as brave as you can be. It was the successive appointments of unqualified and incapable Major Generals (many of whom got their position by their connections in Washington) that were responsible for blunder after blunder after blunder. Now...back the the game. The Confederate troops are unrealistically better than the Union. Its overblow to an obvious level that gets frustrating quickly. They can withstand the worst of situations (very low moral and condition) while the Union troops seem to run at the first volley that gets fired at them. Every charge done by the CSA ends in a route for them. Pressing "charge" for any Union unit is a complete waste of time b/c it never works. They always loose the melee. The Iron Brigade and Vincent's Brigade were not the only decent units at Gettysburg. 2) Infinite Artillery Negates Union Artillery Advantage There should be a limit to the amount of shells each artillery unit has. They either need to run out until the next battle or have to resupply. The only advantage the Union army has in this game is its superior artillery. They have more artillery most of the time and can be better concentrated multiple artillery units because they have shorter interior lines. You can really mass artillery units together to help make up for your poor quality troops. The amount of artillery available to each army is relevant to the battle. Some may call me nitpicking but this has a HUGE IMPACT on the battle. The CSA had enough cannons but couldn't resupply them as fast as the Union. They lacked quantity of shells and the supply wagons that carried them were significantly further back. This could never be more true than during Pickett's Charge. The whole plan of General Lee was to bombard the center into smithereens and then send 15,000 into a softened center. Problem is, they ran out of artillery ammo shortly before the charge started and couldn't support the army. They had more 170 guns massed in the center to the Union's 80 but spent their whole supply during that two hour artillery barrage. While they were charging on the 3rd day, the Union artillery is mowing the rebels down before they even hit the fence while the Confederate guns are silent. In essence, I'm saying that if you're going to make the Confederate soldiers so much better than the Union then you need to make the Union's artillery advantage equally better than the Confederate. As the game stands, the Union has a small advantage in this department but not enough. In this game the CSA wins the 3rd day with too much ease. The Union artillery doesn't do enough to break their ranks up and the Union soldiers crack. When I'm doing Pickett's Charge as the CSA, I can put the troops on autopilot. I told every brigade to charge towards the center and won with ease. Main reason: the Unions primary advantage on this day is highly mitigated. Note: I know the 3rd day is hard to replicate because no Gettysburg game has gotten it right. Sid Meier's....same thing. The artillery of the Union, as programmed, can't do enough damage and their soldiers can be easy overwhelmed. 3) Seminary Ridge Needs To Be Further From Cemetery Hill They are way too close. They need to be distanced. One of the reasons why the 3rd day is so unrealistic is because they CSA seems to only have to charge a couple feet to get to the center line. This make the 2nd con I just mentioned more pronounced because the the Union gets a 1-3 good shoots before the Confederates are upon them. 4) Stuart's Cavalry Has Too Big A Footprint It seems awfully easy for Stuart's cavalry to to flank me from behind on the 3rd day. Custer's men don't put up much of a fight (even though they win a battle one day later) and the southern cavalry easily charges through massed volleys. I find myself having to divert an insane number of men and artillery to keep him at bay. No matter what his casualties are when I do this, he regroups after a couple minutes and charges at me again. Unrealistic! Harass. Maybe. Attack supply lines. Yes. Disrupt. Yes. Maybe I'm wrong but I never remember horse cavalry attacking the main army in massed formation like that. Bufford could be used to counter my argument but he was doing more a delaying action that anything and they were dismounted. 5) Defense + Entrenched + Hill Advantage Seems Weak In This Game The Union's good ground is not emphasized enough. You get a slight advantage but its not enough. It's not that hard to overpower an enemy entrenched on high or entrenched ground. High ground is one of the main reasons why the Union won the battle. It is insanely difficult to attract an enemy that is entrenched on the high ground. He is stationary with usually some sort of cover and you are walking at an incline with less cover. Malvern Hill=Union Win, Gettysburg=Union Win These were the only times the Union had the high ground. The Confederates had this advantage in all the other battles and won or the outcome was deemed a "tactical draw." The hills need to be bigger and harder to penetrate without some extreme flanking maneuver. The stone walls need to give the Union Army in the center more of an advantage. Plan of Action Make the Union army not so weak Make the artillery shells a finite resource that needs to be replenished (won't mind overly weak Union soldiers at present state if this is implemented) Fix map to make the distance between Seminary Ridge and Cemetery Hill further apart. Make calvery more susceptive to mass artillery fire. Make the defensive advantage an army gets more pronounced. The offensive player during the Civil War had the harder mission and should be reflected in this game.
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