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Naval Action - Cannons

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My idea for cannon control: you position your ship in a general way that your shots will reach the opponent, i.e. your broadside facing the enemy (of course taking into account the way the wind is blowing). You then have to determine your opponent's relative position, speed and distance. I believe it was already established your spyglass won't show this information (it would be too easy and it would take away the realism) and this is where the "test cannon" comes in.

 

If you fire the test shot (and it hits the target), the gunnery officer could use the elevation and such of the test for the rest of the broadside. The broadside could be fired with, for instance, the space bar, but the player could be allowed to set up the test shot, choosing elevation. Since sailing vessels are relatively slow to modern ships, you would have enough time to aim with the other cannons before the enemy will have changed position. Gunnery skill also is something that can be used here, since a more skilled crew can use this information quicker to fire more precise.

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I think you should allow your gunner to fire each gun personally, with accuracy based on his skill, and a very slow, rolling broadside as he aims each piece and runs along the battery. Obviously that wouldn't be workable in a general melee.

 

Range could also be displayed as an estimate with player skill-based margin of error.

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To help understanding the aim: http://forum.game-labs.net/index.php?/topic/121-sinking-ships/ post #9

 

Also see the drawing in http://forum.game-labs.net/index.php?/topic/138-shooting-system/ post #4 except the view is from the deck, and remove the horizontal arcs by the fire sector described in the OP.

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So, about the aiming/ripple fire thing. I'm not saying that I wouldn't enjoy the touted benefits, or appreciate the approach. I am saying that I honestly can't see myself enjoying aiming every gun of every battery of every vessel I command for every shot of every volley of every battle of a game experience I hope to last for years. I'm sure we won't be asked to do this, so there must be a level of automation, yes?

 

 

I am not sure where you got this view. We never said you are going to control and aim every gun. 

 

Player controls the broadside and how it fires - direction of fire, when it fires and at what angles. You don't aim every cannon. 

We consider gunnery fun and rewarding - controlling gunnery is a necessary abstraction to make game play deep and interesting. 

It has been done in many popular games and games that did not go this route suffered. Remember Silent Hunter version where you had to go to every crew member to give the command. Players were outraged. 

 

You are the commander of the vehicle,vessel, aircraft, tank in

  • AC3-4
  • Battlefield
  • WoT
  • RO
  • and many others.

You are not giving orders - "drive there".. you are actually driving there and firing yourself. Even though in real life tank commander does not press drive, and pilots don't choose their targets mostly and do it only on orders from the control center. 

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Sorry guys, I'm with you really, been struggling a bit with getting my meaning across this week. I am utterly sure that fun and rewarding gunnery is where you're going, it's just each of us is adding what they find fun and rewarding...that 'vocal minority' that stirs up so much trouble elsewhere seems keen that gunnery be kept as authentic as possible :-)

Slating SH (I'm only really familiar with 3 and 4) whilst championing Battlefield and WoT does not really comfort me I'm afraid. What about ARMA2/3 series, with multicrew vehicles being very popular, or the DCS online world where player pilots are indeed assigned targets by player FOCs l, or themselves issue target orders to drones, or those who enjoy Flight Simulator wih player ATC. Not that Battlefield culture and mechanics won't work, just that I dream of more. Sure you guys are gonna do a fantastic job, so much you do sounds so so good, but that's no reason to hold back the feedback here :-)

Baggy

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Slating SH (I'm only really familiar with 3 and 4) whilst championing Battlefield and WoT does not really comfort me I'm afraid. What about ARMA2/3 series, with multicrew vehicles being very popular, or the DCS online world where player pilots are indeed assigned targets by player FOCs l, or themselves issue target orders to drones, or those who enjoy Flight Simulator wih player ATC. Not that Battlefield culture and mechanics won't work, just that I dream of more. Sure you guys are gonna do a fantastic job, so much you do sounds so so good, but that's no reason to hold back the feedback here :-)

 

Feedback is of course welcome. In testing you will see the system and it will be much easier to judge if it is fun or not.

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If 3rd Rates are the most popular, it means they're balanced in a way that fits history. Modern 74s were not clumsy behemoths. They were maneuverable and fast, never an opponent to be laughed at by a frigate. In the right wind and sea conditions, a 74 might just run you down.

Yes, in fact there are numerous instances of 74s (and sometimes other ships-of-the-line) chasing down frigates not just in rough weather but also calm seas.

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In the right wind, larger ships are faster, they can spread more sail, and they are longer (hull speed, as ships of this era generally don't use designs that contradict this).

 

Regarding gunnery, It would be nice to see the wind matter, if nothing other than the heeling of the ships. Leeward shooting might be difficult with the guns depressed by the heel of the ship, it might also be impossible for lower gun decks.

 

Generally speaking, hitting past point blank* was rare, even with more modern, breach-loading guns, until better fire control was developed (20th century).

 

WRT raking, it should be more effective in a way that can be modeled. Count cross sections of guns and crew intersected by the path of a shot. In broadside, you basically intersect at most 2 guns, and 1crew (5-10 men) (ships didn't man both sides at once, so one crew serves the gun on both sides). Raking from astern, you can intersect many of the guns---possibly all of them---on a single side (not even considering ricochets). This does not guarantee anything, just increases the chances of hitting something useful.

 

*point blank is a specific thing, BTW. Shooting without considering elevation of the shot. the gun might be elevated, but it is elevated to negate the heel of the ship, and fired on the roll to shoot as flat as possible. As soon as shot is arched in a meaningful way, the fire control solution ceases to be 2 dimensional, and becomes incredibly unlikely for ships in the age of sail. It was done at times, but was very inaccurate. IN a battle with smoke, it would quickly become impossible to spot shots at longer ranges.

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12Lb shot is flying out of the cannon at a supersonic speed. Are you sure it could not penetrate half a meter of wood?

 

Check the duel between USS Constitution and HMS Guerriere - it carried 18pdr long guns, yet they could not penetrate the hull of Constitution at normal range... you would have same result with large Ship of the Line of same size. Constitution got a nickname Old Ironsides based on that battle

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Check the duel between USS Constitution and HMS Guerriere - it carried 18pdr long guns, yet they could not penetrate the hull of Constitution at normal range... you would have same result with large Ship of the Line of same size. Constitution got a nickname Old Ironsides based on that battle

Seems to have been at extreme gun range, over 1000m. Shannon with the same 18lbers and Endymion with 24lbers had no problem putting shots through the Chesapeake and President respectively at closer ranges, and those two were constructed in the same way and from the same materials as the Constitution.

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From Padfield's Guns at Sea, he says that they layer the guns dead flat to level (as close as possible) taking into account the heel of the ship to do so. The ship was obviously also rolling, so they'd then try and fire level as well, but the delay from touch off to firing frequently resulted in high shots hitting rigging (and overall ineffective gunner in the 18th century).

 

Sir Philip Broke (Captain), said that raking fire was frequently ineffective because:

 

The target is smaller, the crossing speed is high compared to the width of the target (presumably the delay in toughing the gun off and firing has a real effect here), the smoke makes aiming very difficult, and it is even more important in raking given small target cross-section, plus impatience in the gunners. A delay between the player firing, and the gun discharging strikes me as critically important to make aiming more realistic. 

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Seems to have been at extreme gun range, over 1000m. Shannon with the same 18lbers and Endymion with 24lbers had no problem putting shots through the Chesapeake and President respectively at closer ranges, and those two were constructed in the same way and from the same materials as the Constitution.

The Chesapeake was MUCH lighter than the Constitution. Unless you read something that gave the exact thicknesses of their bulwarks, you're mistaken there.

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Chesapeake was laid down as member of the United States class of 44 gun frigates, and although the overall design was altered partway through building her construction reflected this, as does the fact that Chesapeake was 25% heavier than the Shannon even though both ships were the same length, carried the same armament and Chesapeake was only slightly wider in beam. Chesapeake was indeed as heavy as the larger Constellation and Congress, so yes, I do believe she was built like a 44.

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well.. If you see how guns developed in the years you may see a good way for the devs to implement different types.

You have so much variation like flintlocks versus fuse ignited guns.

long guns vs short bareled vs carronades.

 

such things as firing mechanism may give us higher accuracy and faster responding guns to the fireorder.

for example we press "fire" two things may happen with different firing mechanisms.

a) fuse ignited: shots will be delayed a few moments, a whole broadside will be fired more in singleshots (due to different powder delays). --> naturally aiming gets harder..

B) flintlocks:     shots will fall be delayed VERY short. a whole broadside will fall in nearly one second. (I know many old ships' captains were ordered to not fire whole broadsides because of low structural interity but games are idealized)

 

devs already stated stuff like long barreled guns need longer reloads than short bareled and all..

 

This may add to the upgrade list for the ship's gunnery.

You may not need to change cannon stats accuracy wise but simply make shots delay.

It may sound a minor issue to gunnery but this will give shooting different feeling. And upgrades make fun, ALWAYS =)

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I have just discovered this site, and am really excited by the potential for a decent Naval sim from the age of sail. Forgive me for jumping right in, but some points from the discussion on this post worry me a little.

 

It looks to me as if the game developers need to think very hard about whether they are developing a single ship simulator, a true wargame, or some sort of pseudo empire building game. Some of the points made about gunnery aiming seem to be more at home with a flight sim, and not a naval sim.

 

The key is scale... what works for single ship combat wont work for fleet or squadron actions. Several times people have pleaded for ship captains level not gun captains. The replies seem to indicate that ship's captain level is not interesting for a player. This is only true if the reality of sailing combat is ignored. The captain doesn't aim the guns, but he does position the ship to give his gunners as many advantages as possible. To cite one example, giving the order to fire gives a chance to damage the enemy. But it also commits a large portion of his crew to the reload cycle, removing any ability to fire that broadside for the next period (or reload the other at full speed). This simplifies the next minute or so for the enemy. If the captain orders the broadside too early, damage may be slight, and the enemy can (for example) present a bow or stern without risk, can close some more, etc etc. However the effects extend beyond gunnery. Sail handling is (should be) very curtailed while reloading at full rate - the bulk of the heavy man power is working guns not sails. A radical course change should extend reloads considerably. Even speed changes are hard. The most common error in sims to date has been that the ship sails like a dinghy, and can stop on a penny. 

 

Comments about penetration not being decided yet, and the devs dont want everyone to have 1st rates with 42lbers are also misguided. The RN abandoned 42lbers because the ball is too heavy to load quickly and wears the gun crew out (so the RoF is way down after the  first broadside or 2). First rates were very expensive in crew and wood - so some thing like 2 3rd rates should be obtainable for a first rate. First rates didn't go around on their own, so would only be fleet flagships etc. Also (with a couple of exceptions like Victory) First rates sailed very badly compared with 3rd rates... so in single combat should be a liability. If all these things aren't modeled correctly (or adequately) this wont be a true model of the period.

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Just dont make it ''too'' realistic, please.. ;)

 

What would 'too realistic' mean? I am with you if you mean don't spend hours (RT) closing to gun range. If this is an arcade shooter, I am out of here

 

 

I'd expect it should take hours to get into range unless there is time compression. I don't know how you do PvP with time compression, though, unless the compression is explicit, and automatic while ships are at range X, the less at range X/2 or something, then eventually gets 1:1 as gunnery range approaches.

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I'd expect it should take hours to get into range unless there is time compression. 

 

 

3 clarifications

 

1) Our game is multiplayer first. Single player with co-op is stated as a long term goal. 

2) Simulations vary. Everyone has his own opinion on what simulator is. Some of those potential players will be unhappy with our decisions and it is fine. We never said we are doing a a full simulator. (if we did please show us and we will apologize and correct that message to a right one). We want to deliver a realistic ship combat, which is interesting, deep fun and entertaining. 

3) Having said that we also claimed that we will actively involve players in the development - and we really mean it and try to prove it by our actions. Average age for our current audience is around 35-37 (that includes you). We can guarantee that such players don't have hours to get in range and they will be very vocal about it. 

 

Ok lets get back to gunnery. 

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Some of the points made about gunnery aiming seem to be more at home with a flight sim, and not a naval sim.

 

The replies seem to indicate that ship's captain level is not interesting for a player. This is only true if the reality of sailing combat is ignored. The captain doesn't aim the guns, but he does position the ship to give his gunners as many advantages as possible. 

 

We don't want to make a game about Admiral Bing who "served in the most comfortable stations, avoiding arduous work of the Navy without firing a single shot" 

 

In our game you are more of a Sir Philip Bowes Broke - you pay a lot of attention to gunnery in addition to paying a lot of attention to commandeering the ship.

Broke designed custom naval sights, determined best angles for every sea conditions for his HMS Shannon and helped engineer better carriages. 

 

 

he position the ship to give his gunners as many advantages as possible.

commits a large portion of his crew to the reload cycle, removing any ability to fire that broadside for the next period (or reload the other at full speed).

This simplifies the next minute or so for the enemy.

If the captain orders the broadside too early, damage may be slight, and the enemy can (for example) present a bow or stern without risk, can close some more,

However the effects extend beyond gunnery. Sail handling is (should be) very curtailed while reloading at full rate - the bulk of the heavy man power is working guns not sails.

 

The most common error in sims to date has been that the ship sails like a dinghy, and can stop on a penny. 

 

Most tense situations or decisions you described is already in game. Captain has to think about positions, shooting or waiting, repairs or crew focus. 

Btw on ship inertia - what distance a frigate can go until a full stop?  (let's say they turn the yards to catch no wind when they were going 15 knots)

 

The RN abandoned 42lbers because the ball is too heavy to load quickly and wears the gun crew out (so the RoF is way down after the  first broadside or 2). First rates were very expensive in crew and wood - so some thing like 2 3rd rates should be obtainable for a first rate. First rates didn't go around on their own, so would only be fleet flagships etc. Also (with a couple of exceptions like Victory) First rates sailed very badly compared with 3rd rates... so in single combat should be a liability. If all these things aren't modeled correctly (or adequately) this wont be a true model of the period.

 

Players will decide which cannons to install on their First Rate (if they actually earn it and get it).

  • Some will choose sustained DPS of 24 or 32lb.
  • Some will choose high one-time alpha damage of double shotted 42lb. It will all be determined by a team fleet composition and admiral's orders. 
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So you spot a sail from the tops at 20 nm. If you are only slightly closing (due to heading converging, or slow speed) at 6 knots, that's about 200 yards per minute. About 3 hours 20 minutes to be alongside the chase.

 

You can start at the point the hull is visible, what's that gonna be, 12 miles? Shorter? If 10nm, then still an hour and a half at 6 knots closing, 45 minutes at 12 knots. Or will ships start out already at gunnery range? I'm not trying to be difficult, but in the long term (at least for some of us) the immersion comes from these hunting situations as much as anything else. It's like spotting smoke in a submarine game (where the horizon is much closer because even the shears are not at deck height of a sailing frigate).

 

Anyone who is interested in the age of sail historical fiction many of us have read must want this kind of experience. I guess that's why time compression makes so much sense, but that's impossible in an MMO. :/

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we have solved the time-compression issue on the open map. we believe we have come up with a great innovation.. 

 

in faction warfare (organised fleet combat) fleets are assumed to got into a vicinity of each other  - 2-3 km from the enemy. 

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we have solved the time-compression issue on the open map. we believe we have come up with a great innovation.. 

 

in faction warfare (organised fleet combat) fleets are assumed to got into a vicinity of each other  - 2-3 km from the enemy. 

What if the encounter ended up highly dissimilar, and one side would have preferred to try and make a run for it at 20 nm? At 1-2 nm the fight is likely on.

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we have solved the time-compression issue on the open map. we believe we have come up with a great innovation.. 

 

 

 

 

Sounds interesting!

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What if the encounter ended up highly dissimilar, and one side would have preferred to try and make a run for it at 20 nm? At 1-2 nm the fight is likely on.

Then you should have started running on the open sea map with time compression on.

 

But also, positive identification is pretty much impossible beyond 1-2 miles, unless you have good intel that there is only one ship of the line in the area (for example), and that it is hostile.

 

I really do hope there is fog of war on the world map.

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