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Question about planking, masts, ricochet, penetration and damage

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I have questions about penetrating mechanics against hull and masts.

We have quite a few things to go by: Various admin remarks on forum, patchnotes, damage log, ricochet game visuals along with hit visuals. I don’t remember everything admin has said, nor do I remember every patch note concerning penetration mechanics.

What I know:

Ball can penetrate planking and do damage (visual)

Ball can ricochet off planking and do no damage (visual)

Big balls (giggle) will do damage even at acute angles against thin planking (patchnotes)

We can observe if ball hits or misses mast. (visual)

We don’t know if mast hits deals damage. (same visual for damage and no damage hits)

Ball doesn’t richochet off mast (visual).

Planking penetration and damage is the easiest to figure out due to informative visuals and a ton of comments made about the mechanics.

Fig. 1.


It could be this simple. A ricochet angle and a check for pen vs. actual thickness.

Fig. 2.


It could also be a ricochet angle and a check for pen vs. relative thickness.

Fig. 3.


There could be a cutoff ricochet angle possibly only overridden by overmatch (big balls vs. thin armor). Then a sector (red to green) where you get partial damage (there was quite a bit of discussion about lodged balls and such). Full damage occurs when ball pen > relative thickness, balls even continue and do damage to various hitboxes, structure and planking on the other side.

Then there’s masts…

By looking at the visuals; masts seem to be a ten sided approximation of a round log. I have no idea if the hit box looks like that.

Fig. 4.



We only get a visual confirmation about if we hit or missed the mast, so it’s hard to know what goes on with masts, pen and damage. The masts being round changes how mast thickness vs. ball pen would work and fig. 2 and 3 wouldn’t be realistic.

Fig. 5.


It could just be a registered hit with a check for pen vs. mast thickness with angles disregarded.

Fig. 6.


Maybe angle plays a role with ball against masts but there are no visual clues?

@admin, you are a busy man so I’ve made pretty pictures for you to go “right” and “wrong” about. Maybe slap on an explanation for the angles involved and overmatch values?

It is possible there are others with ideas or insight?

We can go even deeper with normalization and damage dependant on exit velocity (splinters), but I doubt it’s relevant.

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34 minutes ago, Banished Privateer said:

Consider the size of a ball not as point. 

I bet it is a point. The size would be some overmatch value. Math is usually points.

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While balls do have size IRL, in practice the relative shot path and spar size doesn't approach the larger examples you show (32lb shot is around the smallest shot you show relative to the mast section of a moderately large ship, but not for the largest first rates (main and foremast at least).


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2 minutes ago, Banished Privateer said:

That's a big simplification for calculations.

Depends on all the other factors, but this is why I ask questions.

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Just now, Banished Privateer said:

Angle is one thing, but bigger ball = bigger mass and that means much higher energy. 

pen + overmatch

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8 minutes ago, Banished Privateer said:

To begin with the topic, the shots that don't penetrate shouldn't get the splinter animation and hit counter. 

Agree. That would make it easier to understand the mechanics without knowing everything. 

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I would also like a deeper clarification about the mechanics involved in damage calculation. Admin often told us that he likes us to find it out ourselves but in this regard it is kinda impossible to figure it out. Especially considering mast hits. I also bet that cannon balls are handled as point masses just because it makes sense and is way easier to handle but I think that this negates the possibility of grazing shots to the masts or ricochets (like jodgi said, we have no clue how the hit boxes of the masts look like). On the other hand I think the complexity of calculating the behavior of a real physical ball would have some harsh impacts on performance. At least for my ancient system.

A visual clue for non penetrating mast hits, like Banished Privateer supposed, would be a nice addition since we already have a good( the best) visual clue for bouncing shots.

Besides the game mechanics. I often asked myself if angling really was a thing back then. Does dense wood or several separate planks behave the same like metal in that regard (like we know it from different penetration mechanics of various tank/armor games)

Edited by Cecil Selous
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