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Musketmen, sharpshooters, swivel guns...


  

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  1. 1. Would you want to have added musket fire to the game?

    • I would like to wait till there are marine animations for this
      170
    • I don't see the point in having this
      13
    • Maybe later
      29
    • I would like to have musket and swivel-gun fire in the game, even if there are no current marine animations
      200
    • Other (explain below)
      4


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A question: are there any plans for the addition of musket fire in this game?

 

When reading about smaller engagements, it seems that the tide of battle could be heavily influenced by musketballs taking out the helmsman or a commanding officer. If I remember correctly, Piet Heyn even trained his men in the use muskets and had special boat crews that would be send out to under the cover of the billowing clouds of black powder and attempt to cause mayem to the unsuspecting crews of the ships they engaged.

 

I think it would be really nice to have options like these, or at least have musketmen trying to take out key members of enemy ships.

 

Cheers,

Brigand

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British ships always carried a devision of so called "Marines". (ger. meaning is Sea-Soldat wich nails their meaning pretty good)

They were trained soldiers and seamen in one person. They were placed in the crow's nests and on the quarterdeck to kill officers and the sailors at the wheel.

This sounds like one would not need any more seamen but the way they were trained made them worse sailors than the actual seamans on board.

 

And:

I think this idea is great. And even better when Naval Action will have boarding introduced.

(big muskets were no use in a boarding where one could hardly handle a cuttlass)

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  • 2 months later...

I don't understand what use a musket is from a small boat. You can't hit anyone on any deck or through the ports. Do you have any more details?

 

Anyways, sharpshooters in the tops were very deadly, as were marines firing from the waist. When cleared for action, all the crews' hammocks would be piled into the boarding netting and strung up to create cloth shields against the snipers.

 

In game terms, I'm not sure how best to handle officer casualties, this being an MMO and all. Men at the wheel could be replaced pretty instantly, and there would usually be at least two.

 

 

By the way, the main purpose of marines, besides the obvious amphibious role, was to prevent mutinies. Their hammocks were slung between the officers aft and the men forward, a physical barrier.

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A question: are there any plans for the addition of musket fire in this game?

 

When reading about smaller engagements, it seems that the tide of battle could be heavily influenced by musketballs taking out the helmsman or a commanding officer. If I remember correctly, Piet Heyn even trained his men in the use muskets and had special boat crews that would be send out to under the cover of the billowing clouds of black powder and attempt to cause mayem to the unsuspecting crews of the ships they engaged.

 

I think it would be really nice to have options like these, or at least have musketmen trying to take out key members of enemy ships.

 

Cheers,

Brigand

It would be bad for a ship combat, but would be totally acceptable for land action.

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Ship combat is ship combat, what else can I say? You focus on firing cannons and not running on the deck with a musket. I believe developer already said, there will be no sprinting on decks. They also have canister shot for killing crew. Not sure how far they want to push the game, but adding avatar on the deck will require a massive amount of work. 

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Ship combat is ship combat, what else can I say? You focus on firing cannons and not running on the deck with a musket. I believe developer already said, there will be no sprinting on decks. They also have canister shot for killing crew. Not sure how far they want to push the game, but adding avatar on the deck will require a massive amount of work. 

I'm sure the OP meant that the men on deck and in the rigging would automatically take shots at each other....Seems like a realistic and cool looking feature to me.

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I intended this as Chustler assumed. I would like this to be a feature that is more or less automated: order the marines to 'fire at will' and hope they make a difference. Training your marines should result in higher probability of taking out some of the enemy men. However, no avatars, no individual commanding of crew or giving individual orders, just a general method of thinning the crowd on the enemy ship before boarding action begins.

It would add some interesting option into the mix, very good if you would like the enemy to surrender without damaging the ship they sail too much.

 

It was a really common practice to shoot at enemy personal with muskets. Some commanders really thought it a too bloody affair and did not allow it, but the common attitude towards it was that it was too effective to ignore.

David Cordingly in his book Pirate hunter of the Caribbean: the adventurous life of Captain Woodes Rogers (a good read, better than the title suggest by a large margin) even describes the taking of a Spanish Galleon laying at anchor by a group of daring pirates in small rowed boats using muskets and a whole lot of courage.

 

Cheers,
Brigand.

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  • 3 months later...

Perhaps the biggest missing feature in the combat so far is the widespread use of swivel guns and marine/topmen sharpshooters. I vaguely remember admin expressing disinterest in these elements of naval combat, and it is true that they were likely not often decisive as weapons.

 

But I have dreamed up an idea for a small-arms based gameplay feature that I am quite enamored of. It serves two purposes.

 

1) Include the historically accurate and visually exciting employment of small arms. There will be the crackle of gunfire from the waist, quarterdeck and fighting tops during lulls between broadsides.

2) There will be a POTBS-style skill that can be activated to debuff the enemy. This will add complexity, unpredictability and tactical decisions to the gameplay but on a 100% REALISTIC BASIS. A non-magic skill.

 

The feature suggestion is as follows.

Swivel guns, marines in the waist and sharpshooters in the tops fire automatically on enemy vessels at close range, without input from the player. Basically, they just do small amounts of crew damage. It is cool to watch.

 

However, the player also has a set of usable combat abilities that function as debuffs. The rationale behind these abilities is that the captain orders his sharpshooters to suddenly concentrate their fire on a designated target. This is in effect a debuff with a cooldown, whose effects last 30 seconds or so.

 

This Suppression skill would have several variants:

A) Suppress gunners. The reload rate of the enemy's quarterdeck and forecastle guns is penalized.

B ) Suppress seamen. The enemy's yards turn much slower, even on auto-skipper. Setting and furling sail is much slower. This is what you do when a more maneuverable vessel is about to rake you, or if you want to screw up your opponent's combat tack. I think it would be a devastating, realism-based debuff and a blast to use.

C) Suppress officers. Once officer skills are modeled, this could momentarily counteract their skill bonuses. At the moment, it could prevent the use of Focus commands for a certain period.

D) Suppress sharpshooters. This protects you from the effects of the other three abilities, in a situation where a failed tack or sudden drop in maneuverability would be disastrous.

 

Any thoughts?

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I like your thoughts about sharpshooters automatically shooting at short range. It will provide the sense of action between broadsides at close range. Even if it was just for show, I would like to hear the muskets cracking at short range.

 

Your idea, while well placed, still, to me, is to close to a magical skill. It assumes an action without having any effect. I'm afraid it could be used in ways that would feel more magical and be more effective then it should be. The example that comes to mine is the suppress seamen command being used as a 'break rudder' skill. As you know, in the current build, tacking is a very precarious maneuver. Not having sailing focus selected can be the difference between good or failed tack. I'd be afraid thats how suppress seamen would be used.

 

Well, I'm not trying to poo poo your idea, just highlighting some problems I see. I think you've done a good job presenting it in a way that limits negative criticism. For instance, suppress gunnery is limited to only effecting exposed gun crews. You've put thought into this and I can see that. I would like to see men in the fighting tops firing away at close range. Maybe the effects should just apply to what focus the other Captain is using.

 

Adjust the sailing mechanics so that tacks can be made consistently in gunnery focus could counter the use of suppress seamen being used as a "break rudder" skill.

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I don't see what's wrong with an occasional 'break rudder' sort of skill. So long as it stems from the very real fact that stationing dozens of men at each brace and sheet for every sail presents an enormous number of vulnerable targets for the enemy. Screwing up the enemy's tack is precisely the point of Suppress Seamen. Bear in mind that if someone is tacking at point-blank range, they are probably doing it in order to sneak in a punishing raking broadside.

 

Currently in-game we can maneuver far more effectively in battle than would be typical. That's fine for gameplay's sake, but let's add some hazards, too. Tacking is also a lot harder to screw up now that we have faster sternway aiding rotation. (And I do agree that sailing focus shouldn't be required, if your ship has a full complement.)

 

What do you think of strict skill-use limitations as a way to prevent problems? I mean, orchestrating the fire of the whole ship like that would be very difficult in combat. Realistically, the captain would have to plan the whole concentrated fire thing well in advance and give a pre-arranged signal. So in game terms, that would mean choosing only one of the four Suppress options.

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I don't see what's wrong with an occasional 'break rudder' sort of skill. So long as it stems from the very real fact that stationing dozens of men at each brace and sheet for every sail presents an enormous number of vulnerable targets for the enemy. Screwing up the enemy's tack is precisely the point of Suppress Seamen. Bear in mind that if someone is tacking at point-blank range, they are probably doing it in order to sneak in a punishing raking broadside.

 

I guess what I don't like about this is that, first I've seen no evidence to suggest that sharpshooters could have that much effect on a ships maneuvers. I'm not saying that its not out there, I just havnt seen. Sharpshooters would take out helmsman which could cause temporary loss of control but it wouldn't last long I imagine. Second, is that there is no counter to it. By linking the sharpshooting focuses to the ships focuses you give the ability for the Captain to recognize how hes being targeted and to combat it by switch focuses. In effect, giving orders. This is more realistic to me. I guess the reason it feels magical is because no skill is involved. The effect is always the same no matter what and there is no counter to it. Change this and I'd probably be advocating for it along side you.

 

 

Currently in-game we can maneuver far more effectively in battle than would be typical. That's fine for gameplay's sake, but let's add some hazards, too. Tacking is also a lot harder to screw up now that we have faster sternway aiding rotation. (And I do agree that sailing focus shouldn't be required, if your ship has a full complement.)

What do you think of strict skill-use limitations as a way to prevent problems? I mean, orchestrating the fire of the whole ship like that would be very difficult in combat. Realistically, the captain would have to plan the whole concentrated fire thing well in advance and give a pre-arranged signal. So in game terms, that would mean choosing only one of the four Suppress options.

Im not sure this is true. Looking at the Constitution's battles, we see ships maneuvering quite a bit.

 

I have to think about the strict skill-use limitation. Allowing multiple sharpshooting skills could be a function of your officers skill level. I'm not so much against the the sharpshooter skills as long as they are counterable in some way I guess.

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I guess what I don't like about this is that, first I've seen no evidence to suggest that sharpshooters could have that much effect on a ships maneuvers. I'm not saying that its not out there, I just havnt seen. Sharpshooters would take out helmsman which could cause temporary loss of control but it wouldn't last long I imagine.

I think it's common sense. Sharpshooters hit people on the deck, and any serious maneuver requires the deck to be full of men. Every single time the yards move, you need to have multiple crew members stationed at each of the braces, along the whole length of the ship. The hammocks aren't going to screen them if they are on the opposite side from the enemy.

The effect of sharpshooters is described as 'clearing the decks,' which I often interpret as meaning permanently cleared. In a game, we're better off dealing with momentary disruption that can be recovered from.

The effect is entirely meant to be temporary. That's why the skill is caused 'suppression' and not 'kill.' You can't keep up prolonged suppressive fire with black powder muzzle loaders. I'm thinking of effects that last 10-30 seconds while the swivel guns fire simultaneously to panic the target, then the sharpshooters fire at paced intervals using the several loaded muskets they've prepared.

Actually, the complexity of such a maneuver makes me think that there should not be a skill cooldown but rather a skill warmup. Everyone has to spend time preparing. So if you pay close attention to the lack of sharpshooter activity of your foe, you know that the attack is coming soon.

 

 

 

Second, is that there is no counter to it. By linking the sharpshooting focuses to the ships focuses you give the ability for the Captain to recognize how hes being targeted and to combat it by switch focuses. In effect, giving orders. This is more realistic to me. I guess the reason it feels magical is because no skill is involved. The effect is always the same no matter what and there is no counter to it. Change this and I'd probably be advocating for it along side you.

There is a counter; it's the Suppress Sharpshooters ability. Or you can sail out of range, which is accomplished in seconds, given the accuracy of these weapons.

The thought of Sailing focus increasing small arms vulnerability did come into my head. However, we still have enough crew to turn all yards simultaneously on Repair or Gunnery, so it's still a target-rich environment for snipers.

 

Im not sure this is true. Looking at the Constitution's battles, we see ships maneuvering quite a bit.

Right, but as I understand it, they weren't screaming along at 10 knots under courses and royals.

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We plan to add musketeers to ships. unfortunately visually there will not be a lot of them because of performance issues (or we have to have them look ugly). 

Swivels will be added later. Some of the good ideas from this topic will of course will be implemented 

keep them coming please!! :)

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Lookie there Maturin, the Admin likes your idea. At least in part. Good for you.

 

Well, yes the deck would be a target rich environment in any maneuver and the officers and exposed gun crews would always be more vulnerable. Was not Nelson killed by a sniper?

 

How would you propose the suppress snipers focus effect the supress seaman focus if both were used at the same time?

 

From the reading I've done, it appears that not to many Captains were struck down by musket balls even though they were targeted often. Captains moved around (if the books I've read are to be believed) making them harder targets. Sailors working the sails are also moving around making them harder targets. So if a couple of them got picked off, would that really slow the tack down? I think there would have to be a sliding penalty to the sharpshooting skills based off of range, relative speed, and ship size. (a frigate's sharpshooters in the waist can't even aim at the sailors pulling on the sheets of a 1st rate. Only those in the fighting tops could have any effect on the scale your proposing)

 

Clearing the deck didn't happen at 200 yards. Those muskets probably didn't even have a killing range of 200 yards and if they did then they couldn't hit a barn door. So that again would argue for a sliding range of effect. Point blank, side by side, with the muzzles practically touching each other, sharpshooters and swivels would probably be devastating. What do you think?

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Oh boy,

 

First low explosives, now early firearms. Now I'm on the international naughty list for sure...

 

Ok. In the most basic terms a musket has an effective range of no more than 100 yards. Beyond that hitting what you are aiming at is nothing but pure chance for anyone but the most proficient marksman. Add to that wind, a moving target and a moving platform (the fighting top isn't exactly motionless...) and realistically I'd say 50 yards is about the best you could hope for. Highly trained marksmen could get off maybe 3 rounds a minute, I'm skeptical about that number and I doubt there would be much aiming done.

I would say if two ships are locked, side-by-side marksmen in the tops would come into play. Before that they are just a weapon of chance (in other words, there is a chance they would hit something)

 

While rifled firearms were available in the late 18th century (German Jäger rifles for example or the British Baker rifle) rates of fire were much slower due to the much tighter fit between projectile and barrel. Additionally these were expensive weapons and unlikely to be in wide use by organized military forces (with the exception of specialized units specifically equipped and trained for unconventional combat, as "sharpshooters" were considered unconventional, and somewhat un-gentlemanly...).

 

I can't really speak to swivel guns as I have no experience with them (I've actually fired a Brown Bess long pattern rifle, I'd be hard pressed to hit a man-sized target while standing still at 30 yards...). My general knowledge would lead me to believe that their effective range is more than the musket, but most likely that is due to them most often being loaded with grape (more balls fired=higher likely-hood of a hit).

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Sailors working the sails are also moving around making them harder targets. So if a couple of them got picked off, would that really slow the tack down?

Slow down a tack? Absolutely.

 

Let's look at what happens when bringing the ship about.

Quite some time ahead of time you have to call the men to their positions. On a large ship, you quite literally have seamen lining up to be shot at, waiting at their stations by the braces and sheets. They're not really moving around at all, in this case. It's practically an infantry line battle, for a minute or two. You're in action, so you will probably be tacking at low speeds with only topsails. The men at the braces will be waiting there while the master picks his moment for mainsail haul. If anything is messed up, a huge, labor-intensive tug-of-war begins, one for every square sail on the ship. And then there's all sorts of other lines that have to be constantly tended.

 

When you're third in a row of men clapped on to the main brace, and the enemy's tops suddenly start spitting fire, and people next to you are being hit, it's going to take a whole lot of courage and determination to keep pulling on a stupid rope with not even a strip of canvas to hide you.

 

And yes, I was full intending this to only work at point-blank range. Just something to make those double-shotted carronade users nervous.

 

 

How would you propose the suppress snipers focus effect the supress seaman focus if both were used at the same time?

Suppress Snipers cancels out any ability in use, as the sharpshooter game returns to the earlier equilibrium of disorganized potshots.

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  • 5 months later...

At the beginning - quote (source: http://mysite.du.edu/~jcalvert/hist/navalwar.htm ) :

 

The combat between two ships began at long-gun range, although there was no hope of anything but random damage at this distance. When the ships had maneuvered closer, to within a few hundred yards, fire was directed high to tear away the rigging and topmasts of the adversary, removing his ability to maneuver. Within two hundred yards, broadsides into the hull, or raking fire, if possible, began. The solid shot did horrible deeds among the gun crews and sailors on deck. Red-hot shot set fires and searched out powder storage. This damage was said to be between wind and water. It was more difficult to hole a ship below the water line, because shot would bounce from the surface of the sea rather than entering it. It was, occasionally, done, however. If a glowing cannonball found the magazine, the ship was gone in seconds. As the ships neared, snipers in the masts brought down their enemies by musket fire, especially officers if they could be found. Heroism demanded that the officers be on deck in full uniform, of course, so they fell.

 

 

 

Any chance to get snipers in game? Maybe in future?

I guess we all know how effective sharpshooters were

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Fall_of_Nelson.jpg

 

 

In the game, sniper kills could affect the effectiveness of individual batteries (by eliminating the gunners), or on the speed with which ship maneuvers (elimination of officers).

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