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Sea Legends: suggestions

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Hi Admin

As regard gunnery, it could be interesting to simulate the small time lag between the moment the gun captain decides either to pull the lanyard to fire the flintlock mechanism or to touch the touch-hole with his match (slow-burning fuse) and the moment the cartridge explodes, as this is of paramount importance for gun accuracy when the ship is rolling (taking into account the experience of the gunner, who could anticipate this time lag). 

In NA, when you touch the space bar or the pad, the gun is fired immediately. But it would more realistic to allow for a fraction of second between the moment the player touches the keybord and the moment the cannon is actually fired.

As Roy Adkins writes in his masterful "Battle of Trafalgar, Biography of a Battle" (2005, Abacus, p. 104, very useful reading for developers, if not already used), "On a ship rolling with the motion of waves, a fraction of a second's difference between the gunner's judgement and the actual time taken for the cannon to fire often meant missing the target completely". It was one of the reasons why Nelson's and Collingwood's columns were able to break the line of the Combined Fleet without being completely unmanoeuvrable (other reasons were the lack of training of spanish and french crews and the fact that they aimed mainly at the rigging). 

The time lag between fire decision and cartridge explosion varied according to the mechanism used to fire the gun : it was much shorter when the flintlock was used, provided it effectively lighted the touch hole (sometimes it misfired or the gunflint broke). With matches, the time lag was longer and the accuracy lower in rolling conditions. This could be simulated in Sea Legends, taking into account the type of fire mechanism, the experience of the gunner (to anticipate the time lag), the fatigue of the crew and the possibility of misfire (then a match was used to light the touch-hole). These factors had all influence on the accuracy and rate of fire. 

As flintlock mechanisms were only generally introduced in the Royal Navy from 1755 (according to Ch Henry, 2004. Napoleonic Naval Armaments 1792-1815, Osprey, p. 20) - their use was widespread during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars -, developers should consider whether to allow players to use it (and buying them ?), according to the historical period of the game (developers talked about early XVIIIth century as far as I remember, when flintlocks were not in use). 

In French and Spanish navies, guns were mostly fired with matches even during Napoleonic wars. Flintlock mechanisms were not introduced in the French Navy, as far as I know, until 1786. In Boudriot, 1992 (La frégate. Marine de France, 1650-1850, Ancre, p. 260), the drawings show frigate cannons caliber "XXX" with a flintlock holder, indicating that this modification was introduced later than 1786. I am sure experts like Surcouf or LeBoiteux will be able to give more accurate information on this 😉.

Keep safe from the coronavirus !

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