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Fires, Explosions, Branders and fireships

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Hi Captains.. 

 

We wanted to discuss fire mechanics to see what we can add before we code them in.

 

(prototype fires implementation)

 

Fire Mechanics

  • Damaged ship becomes more susceptible to fires: splinters everywhere, broken powder kegs, powder charges laying around, injured sailors dropping fuses etc. 
  • Fire appears locally and spreads around with certain speed - T1
  • If kept unchecked fire will overwhelm the whole ship and reach the powder magazines
  • Large fires will have a chance to move to another ship if it is very close - bringing new tactical elements and depth
  • Fire acts like a DOT - slowly destroying planking of the ship

Explosion Mechanics

  • When fire reaches powder magazines they explode. Explosion brings massive damage to planking and crew, maybe destroying some masts
  • Explosion has a radius - ships within the radius will be damaged by the shockwave. If they are close shockwave will be very strong: demasting them and breaking planking
  • This also brings new tactical elements to battle - should i repair and stop the fire or should i burn and explode in that nice group of enemy ships

Repairs

  • Fire first has to be stopped - using the repair kit - or something similar
  • And then fire has to be extinguished - by going on survival
  • Speed of extinguishing depends on crew numbers and pumps number and quality - T2
  • If T2 is higher than T1 fire will not spread and disappear eventually
  • We are also considering making fire spread slower if you have lots of water in the hull (not sure)

 

Question

How do we make fire extinguishing more interesting? I mean how we can bring tactical decisions into it. Alternatively it can just stay - press the button - if you have crew and repair ability you will stop the fire.

 

also discuss and provide ideas on the general thing

 

 

 

some fires

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If we have to use a repair kit to stop the fire I would suggest to have more repair kits available, maybe... like 4 or 5.

 

I actually don't really like the idea of having to use a repair kit to stop the fire, and would suggest to just use survival mode for extinguishing fire. Or introduce one more mode... Like "Extreme Survival mode".
For example in normal Survival you can fix leaks and pump water, but you can still manage your sails and load cannon. In normal Survival you would be able to extinguish small fires.

"Extreme Survival" would greatly increase the rate at which fires are extinguished and water is pumped out (For example not only through pumps, but also by buckets, if this makes any sense...), but it would make managing sails and yards and loading cannon completely impossible.

 

EDIT: Means, yards would be locked in place in Extreme Survival, even in Auto skipper. Rudder would still work though.

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A couple of ideas:

 

- unless ships uses battle sails increased propability of sails catching fire

- fire on board could massively reduce morale of the crew (once a morale system gets implemented)

- fire on board reduces crew, the bigger the fire the bigger the effect on the crew

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If we have to use a repair kit to stop the fire I would suggest to have more repair kits available, maybe... like 4 or 5.

 

I actually don't really like the idea of having to use a repair kit to stop the fire, and would suggest to just use survival mode for extinguishing fire. Or introduce one more mode... Like "Extreme Survival mode".

For example in normal Survival you can fix leaks and pump water, but you can still manage your sails and load cannon. In normal Survival you would be able to extinguish small fires.

"Extreme Survival" would greatly increase the rate at which fires are extinguished and water is pumped out (For example not only through pumps, but also by buckets, if this makes any sense...), but it would make managing sails and yards and loading cannon completely impossible.

 

EDIT: Means, yards would be locked in place in Extreme Survival, even in Auto skipper. Rudder would still work though.

I thought about something in roughly the same direction. Fires on a ship are one of the worst things that can happen. Thus it would make sense to have another crew mode "Firefighting". In that mode your guns won't be reloaded (at all) and no repairs can be used, and there's only a rudimentary sailing crew available that allows for reduced maneuverability and sail/yard management (which is still important since sails/ropes can catch fire and spread it even further). Everyone else will be focussing on putting out the fire (time taken to put it out will depend on where the fire is and how far it spread already)

 

It will probably take some time to fine tune all the effects of this mode and of fires in general, but I think they're a must have feature.

 

Those screenshots look great, btw. Can't wait to see this implemented.

 

Will there also be special ammunition, like heated shot (long reload times since the balls have to be heated first) and exploding shot?

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Explosion Mechanics

  • This also brings new tactical elements to battle - should i repair and stop the fire or should i burn and explode in that nice group of enemy ships

 

Will certainly do so for the duration of sea trials, but I am not sure if its something to be encouraged. Fighting the fire could keep the ship and thus its cannons in the fight while an explosion often does less damage than the loss of the ship would compensate for.  I fear that quite a few players will, as with ramming, explode for the sake of exploding rather than using it as a "pure last minute, all hope is lost, go out with a bang tactical 'suicide' ".

 

As for the actual mechanic. Survival would probably be the focus the player will have to use. Considering that crew might have to be taken to both fire prevention and pumping, if both things occur at the same time, maybe reduce the efficiency of both by a certain margin. I.e. A crew that can focus solely on fire prevention and doesn't have to bother pumping the ship will do a better job than one that has multiple problems at hand. 

 

As for fire catching masts, will this spread to sails?

 

Also, when in stormy weather or during rain, will the chances of fires (esp. on the deck) be significantly reduced?

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Repair kits, not favorable to see a kind of magic button available to stop the fires, instead maybe having another crew focus " fire" similar to survival, gunnery etc to make the crew focus and fight against the flames, then survival mode or repair could be used but only once the fire is stopped to repair a bit the ship.

 

Will things like speed of the ship and wind direction be taken in account for the fire spreading speed and direction ?  Sails fully deployed spread it faster but positioning our ship vs the wind in some way could slow down the propagation of the fire or allow us to " control " his propagation direction ? 

 

Kamikaze ships set a fire able to set ships too close a fire or explode near others, i like this need depth addition, need to be careful also when shooting at very close range if one explodes too , all this is really interesting .

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Will there also be special ammunition, like heated shot (long reload times since the balls have to be heated first) and exploding shot?

I do not think heated shot was ever used on ships other than in testing (and finding it incredibly dangerous in the process).

 

As part of the clear for action drill even the galley's  fire was put out because of the potential threat to the ship. Now think of the fire needed to heat a hundred cannon balls.

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Will certainly do so for the duration of sea trials, but I am not sure if its something to be encouraged. Fighting the fire could keep the ship and thus its cannons in the fight while an explosion often does less damage than the loss of the ship would compensate for.  I fear that quite a few players will, as with ramming, explode for the sake of exploding rather than using it as a "pure last minute, all hope is lost, go out with a bang tactical 'suicide' ".

 

 

 

I think this will be a very interesting addition but if it will be over used then this will cause problems. The devs need to find the right balance between making it damaging and keeping it as realistic as possible for it too work well within the game.

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Are there going to be branders (purpose build ships set aflame) in the game (eventually)? This would also enhance tactics and strategy a lot. Although they really are a thing for the big, 'pitched' battle. Cannot imagine to tow them with you on your happy voyage just in case... ^^

 

Edit: very interesting moves, devs! Can't wait for this to get in the game; as for all your other stuff. :D

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There's the fire I've been waiting for! If you do add a 'kit' to stop the fire I think it should be in addition to what we have now and maybe be specific to fire only. If the fires were fairly rare then maybe it could be added into the current options that we have, but if it happens as often as masts breaking then it would quickly mean a death sentence either by fire or enemy damage.

 

I wouldn't mind seeing a mode put in place to control it (with more severe penalties) or it added to survival mode. Afterward a repair kit can be used to repair the planking that has been damaged much like after taking severe cannon damage.

 

Will fire itself kill crew as it spreads?

 

Very interesting stuff and will surely add a new dynamic to the game.

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Will fire itself kill crew as it spreads?

 

 

it can of course..we discussed it yesterday internally and thought that fire itself is not a big killer of crew (explosions are)

meaning if there is a fire spreading crew will of course try to avoid it and put it down. They are not dumb to just stay there. Also fires of that time were not extremely fast like in tanks. 

 

so we decided for the prototype that fire will damage the ship but not crew, unless there are explosions of powder.

 

but not sure still

thoughts?

 

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Fire should start with a random intensity % (from 40%-70%) and can reach 100% if no precaution taken.

Have few types of extinguishing kits.

Basic (-1% - 4% / every 5 seconds),

Masterclass(-2% - 6% / every 5 seconds)

Premium(-3% - 8% / every 5 seconds).

Each kit should have a chance to extinguish fire slowly by 100%. (This means kit will extinguish the fire at it's top speed without any precautions taken).

Precautions - (Raising battle sails, Slowing down, Survival Mode, Ship position to the wind can also effect the extinguishing rate.) So, if all precautions are taken, fire should disappear at optimal kit speed. If no precautions taken, fire will take longer to extinguish, kit extinguish rate will be minimal and fire will have a chance to spread, become bigger than might require the use of Premium or Masterclass kits only.

Crew should be slowly dying during fires (-5 per min), during explosion (-10 to -20 chance per explosion + fire)

This is what I see can happen:

Fire starts --> (Fire Icon flashes and notifies captain about fire on his ship)

Fire intensity meter shows what parts of the ship are effected and fire spread %.

Each part of the ship must have a certain way to fight the fire. (Specific kits)

Sails on fire --> Use a specific kit, go to battle sails and turn on survival mode. Position ship on the certain angle and send some crew to fight fire on the mast. Masts can be destroyed with a number of crewman on them. If you send a maximum crew amount possible

(ex. send 5,10 or 15 crew members)

(5 crew - adds 1%/s to extinguishing rate)

(10 crew - 2%/s)

(15 crew - 3%/s) , ex. you sent 15 guys on the mast and when enemy destroys the mast you loose -15 crew instantly!

So, the fire appeared at 50% on sails.

-Player clicks Basic sail kit, sends 15 crew members with all precautions taken.

4%+3%=7%

(50% - 7% every 5 seconds.)

No precautions taken - 1%+3%=4%

-Player clicks Masterclass sail kit, sends 15 crew members with all precautions taken.

6%+3%=9%

(50% - 9% every 5 seconds.)

No precautions taken - 2%+3%=5%

-Player clicks Premium sail kit, sends 15 crew members with all precautions taken.

8%+3%=11%

(50% - 11% every 5 seconds.)

No precautions taken - 3%+3%=6%

Same principal for the rest of ship parts (deck, gun rooms etc)

Basic suggestion.

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I think the fire only damaging the ship would be fine. As you said you would think the crew would be smart enough to get out of the way. Even if there were a few casualties that were trapped in an area it should be so minimal compared to the total number of crew (at least in my opinion) that it wouldn't be worth coding in the loss. Explosions...well...I smell BBQ

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Are there going to be branders (purpose build ships set aflame) in the game (eventually)? This would also enhance tactics and strategy a lot. Although they really are a thing for the big, 'pitched' battle. Cannot imagine to tow them with you on your happy voyage just in case... ^^

 

 

Branders are basically slow torpedoes. But they are tricky as they give many opportunities for griefing. Also they could act as I win button especially during meta end game, when many players will have sufficient currency reserves. But if done right they could be fun.

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I actually don't really like the idea of having to use a repair kit to stop the fire, and would suggest to just use survival mode for extinguishing fire. 

Same here. 

 

Additionally, i would like to see a lot more realistic fire with smoke ad wind (both real and speed-depended) vector realized in it. Smoke should be. From gunports and on deck. But admin says that when 50 ship will be on fire its to high weight for resources. For me 50 ships in fire sounds more like madness. Better to have 1-2 ships on fire from 50, but with real fire and smoke. 

220px-Fire_ship_by_Volanakis.jpg

 

thomas-buttersworth-a-frigate-on-fire-af

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At first I have a question:

How will fire be ignited in the first place?

The gun is loaded with ball shot wich does nothing but the wading wich is used to ram the ammunition home is glowing.

Those wadings fly to the target as well. Not as far and fast but in close combat fighting they can get stuck in the rigging.

 

 

Damaged ship becomes more susceptible to fires: splinters everywhere, broken powder kegs, powder charges laying around, injured sailors dropping fuses etc.

Well yes that sounds logic since the planking is beaten up and splinters are easier to ignite than intact planking (side)

Another very important factor wich prevents fires:

Battle sails. This sail configuration should get a greater meaning when we have fires. The mainsails are huge. Aand canvas is set on fire a lot easier tha oak wod.

"Wind" added some more good proposals. (Wind direction e.g)

 

 

 

When fire reaches powder magazines they explode. Explosion brings massive damage to planking and crew, maybe destroying some masts

Well when the fire reached so far under the waterline the whole ship will just blow up. A very huge explosion wich will have an enormous damage potential to nearby ships. Stove in planks flying wood wich is on fire etc.. A ship wich explodes is terrifying. And it shuld get this reputation in Naval Action.

No 2nd chance or reduced fighting capability. If you explode your done.

99,9% of the whole crew is dead now.

 

 

  • Fire first has to be stopped - using the repair kit - or something similar

Why not use the survival focus only? Or another one. Or a dropdown menue for survival like we have with cannon ammunition.

A klick on "survival" ->1) pump ->2) firefighting.

 

A consumable like fire extinguishers we have in WoT or WarThunder? That sounds strange in an age of sail game.

The crew has to man the pumps and use the water buckedts wich were prepared bevore the fighting.

The ship has multiple pumps on board. The bilge pums. two at least on lineships and then we have the mobile pumps wich must be rigged bevore using.

Those are most vital for firefighting. If they get shot to pieces you can only pray for a friendly to help.

 

What brings up another category:

Will allied ships be able to support firefighting?

 

Do you plan a last resort option to pump water into the magazine? This has no meaning right now but gives more options for a later stage. You canot fight on but may be able to pull the ship into a nearby harbour for repairs.

 

 

so we decided for the prototype that fire will damage the ship but not crew, unless there are explosions of powder.

Im fine with that. For the future there can be wounds wich means less active crewmembers for the firefighting.

 

A sidenote:

If the fire reaches a loaded cannon it will fire off after a few moments.

Careful for friendly fire here hehe

Maybe the disabling via he F1-4 buttons will get a meaning here?

If you think this is open to trolling I understand that its not a viable add.

 

On the subject of branders:

Those ships must have their magazine emty or watered. Else you will blow up yourself.

For the sea trials I strongly propose you to denie any kind of damage you did with a fireship.

It shall hopefully lessen grief.

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Branders/Fireships were hard to maneuver afaik since there was hardly anyone on board sailing them and only really useful if your side has the wind gauge, that might be enough deterrent for possible griefers.

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A suggestion from me would be to expand the amount of 'tasks' you can set your crew or idlers to.

 

Right now we have Sailing, Gunnery, Survival.

 

The way I see it the Survival could easily be expanded to more detail tasks or sub-tasks.

 

Rather than just "Survival" you could have crew prioritize....

 

1. Stop Leaks

2. Pump out water

3. Firefighting

 

Also, there could be another option in terms of ship condition, such as keeping powder 'at the ready' near cannons for faster reloads, or 'keep safe' to avoid having to much powder on/near deck and exposed.

 

Obviously, having more gunpowder at the ready would be beneficial in terms of firepower, but it makes you much more prone to fires starting if you take hits.

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Just a few ideas that came in my mind

As already suggested cosider sails taking fire a therefore damage. Sails should be able to burn completely leaving you unable to move

also i think ship speed should be a factor to tske into consideration

if you go fast the fire gets more air and can expand faster?

You surely won't be fast enough to blow the fire out, so you have to consider to stop to control the fire better

Just my two cents

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I do not believe that the fire is immediately giant
I mean the flames are not immediately threatening the sails or to the planking ... in the ships there are  gunpowder charges  which explode but not burn ... I believe that the fires are rare and very controllable except in the case of a massive explosion.
I think that is more to the fire is a result of an explosion and not the opposite.

so i suggest to focus on explosions dynamic: maybe when 2 or 3 ships focus fire on a single target (I was the victim once) and this target lost in an instant almost 85-90% of its side, then there may be a massive explosion and then a fire difficult to tame if not entering survivial mode and going outside of battle.

Moreover, a fire began in the lower decks and rarely it threatens immediately sails except in the case in which is generated a large flame...but this means that the fire is out of control and is already burning wood with a thickness of 30 cm creating new explosions etc. etc.

if you do not go into survival mode then the fire may swell alone and ,after 2-3 minutes, to generate a first small explosion (charges scattered around after suffering damages etc etc); more the ship is damaged and more easily an explosion generates a fire (due to splinters of wood stc stc), killing crew...

 

in conclusion, fire without any explosion (or just a little one) will result in only entering in survival mode, fire after explosion (quite big o multiple little ones) need entering in survivial and use kits to repair damaged planking as already done...

 

 
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Explosion should lead to ship loss. It is a way a ship (and all her crew) dies, not a event that you can recover from.

I don't see any reason to add additional modes. Just have Survival mode modified when a fire is active on the ship: additional efficiency reductions for sail changes and cannons, pumps are dedicated to fire-fighting instead of pumping ship. The idea that there would be choices in how you go about surviving when a ship is on fire is absurd. If there is a fire then survival mode = firefighting.

I think the positive repair choice (versus a passive mode change) should be decision to flood magazine. This could use the "repair kit" menu, but should not be a consumable. Instead it should function as a permanent reduction in the fighting ability of the ship (until end of battle / return to port) in exchange for eliminating chance of explosion.

With implementation of fire mechanic, powder magazine "damage" and "repair" should be removed from repair system and replaced with magazine flood option. Damage and repair of powder magazine is nonsensical.

It is essential that setting battle sails have an effect on chances of fire and spread of fire. This one of the most important reasons battle sails were set:

-firing your own cannon with full sails set should have a chance of starting a fire. (Chance should be higher with carronades.)

-being fired upon at minimum range (nearly touching) should have a chance of starting a fire, even greater chance if you have full sails set. (There may also need to be a relative height modifier.)

p.s. those fires look stunning. Assuming fire is a fairly rare event, could the amount of smoke generation be increased?

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My thoughts on fireships are the following: the fireship captain must be forced to risk something, and this risk should balance out the effectiveness of the fireship. If allowed to operate as guided suicide vehicles, they will introduce huge imbalance. I would suggest simply reflecting the reality that the fireship captain had to balance staying on the ship and sailing it close to the enemy with starting the fire at the right time and making a getaway. Here is how I see the risk versus reward playing out:

Player captain sails fireship with small crew toward enemy. At some distance he fixes the rigging and rudder and starts the fire, then must escape in a small boat. If he waits too long, the fire will not have time to get going and he will be more vulnerable to enemy fire while trying to escape. If he leaves too early, the enemy will have more time to react and the fire may destroy the fireship's sails before it reaches the enemy.

If the player captain's escape boat is destroyed, he should suffer some real loss in the form of "experience" or something similar.

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For the most part, isn't pumping ship effectively the same thing as fighting a fire, just with the pump output redirected?  I have no idea how they fought fires at the time, other than O'Brian's mentions of using the fire fighting hoses to wet down the tops to draw better air.  I basically don't think pumping ship and fighting fire have to be totally separate - maybe a reduced efficiency in pumping as the pump has to work harder to push the water to the fire, but in the end you're still moving water - why not use the water you don't want in the ship?

 

I don't like the idea of consumable repair "kits" for fighting fires.  "Midshipman, take a crew and address that fire!"  "Umm...we're out of fire fighting kits Captain."  "Oh well, abandon ship then."  Possibly create a "Fire" mode.  Ship pumps at 75% efficiency, other Survival Mode negatives are also employed, perhaps at a higher rate due to increased crew needs to fight the fire.  Make it a mode you really don't want to be in, but a mode that you need to be in to save the ship if the fire has taken hold.

 

I agree with what has been said above about battlesails.  They should reduce chance of fire before a fire starts when used.  Usage of battle sails after a fire starts might reduce the fire spread rate a bit.

 

Magazine Explosions - These weren't always the ship-killing insta-death catastrophe that is being suggested.  Some might just kill a lot of crew and severely damage the section of the ship the magazine is located in, others might create a mushroom cloud.  I think the size of fire when it reaches the magazine is important here.  A huge fire hitting a magazine would create a larger explosion than a small one.

 

Agreed with akd that you should be encouraged to use battlesails when firing yourself.

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We should approach it historically I believe. Therefore I am opposed to "here midshipman, take one of our three firefighting kits and go put out the fire".

 

In history I know of two quite well documented examples of ship catching fire and blowing up spectacularly.

 

L'Orient at the battle of nile and Real Carlos and San Hermengildo at Battle of Algeciras Bay.

 

In both cases before the explosions ships were fighting for some while they caught fire. The crews fought fire while also fighting, until they were too damaged (in regards to crew) to fight fire effectively.

 

Real Carlos exploded after 25 minutes while on fire, while exchanging fire with a friendly ship. Initially the fire was kept at bay, until the moment when two ships collided, their sails cought fire. After the explosion of Real Carlos, San Hermengildo kept firefighting for another 50 minutes before the fire reached its magazine (keep in mind that they were initially tangled, therefore in immediate vicinity to each other during the explosion).

 

All three ships were completely destroyed by their own explosions. Although this is my assumption, i believe this was especially due to the fact that all of them were 1st rates and had to carry dispoportionally more powder then smaller ships (to have enough powder for 32lbs and larger, and for a larger amount of guns).

 

Therefore, in game:

 

Have a status (like firefighting), while the ship is able to do everything as usual. It is not realistic to imagine all 1000 souls on board going to the top deck to help dousing the sails on fire. There would be a sizeable detachment of people doing that, but not all of them certainly.

 

Chance to catch fire should be equal to pretty much all ships. Size of the explosion should be proportionate to the amount of powder stored, therefore size of the ship... i.e. surprise could survive magazine explosion (survive meaning useless hulk but still floating), while something like Victory should be completely destroyed. (amount of powder is disproportionatte to the amount of armour protecting, the powder being in a stronger amount).

 

Also large fires shouldnt be that common, only as a result of several factors (been in an engagment for some time, ie damaged and tired crew, having full sails, having repairs/firebrigade repairing stuff etc)

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Magazine Explosions - These weren't always the ship-killing insta-death catastrophe that is being suggested. Some might just kill a lot of crew and severely damage the section of the ship the magazine is located in, others might create a mushroom cloud.

Do you have some examples to back this up? Every example I can think of led to the utter destruction of the ship and sometimes other ships nearby. I don't see any way for a magazine to partially explode. (That's not to say there couldn't be other sources of explosions on board.) The only thing I can think of that would moderate the effect would be a depleted magazine.
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