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Clausewitz
12th Nov 2004, 20:41
Gentlemen,

I believe that the naval buffs in the forum, including yours truly, are altogether asking too much from the developers. There is only so much one can put into bits and bites. I greatly appreciate the efforts of Captains Bush, Termite and others to spell out each and every detail of The Compleat and Perfect Sailing Shippe Animation. I fear the developers will be forced to make some hard choices. We are going to see some pretty decent ship animations, but not ships that move with the wind (including gusts) as well as waves, tide and wind shadows.

Oh, I'm a real life yachtsman alright (like Termite, I daresay) and I would LOVE the feel of a real miniature ship, I would gladly sacrifice the entire land-based panel of the game for that.

But Pyro will not.

So let's have a list of priorities that they can work with, post it up here and introduce it in the thread of interview questions to be put to the developers.

Termite, you have a way with words. Do your worst and do it fast, lest Pyro forget about essentials like boarding, tacking, wind shadow and rakes. I know this is an imposition. We will gratefully toast to your effort at our next mess dinner. Your purse will not suffer from the exertion, your extended shore leave papers will be signed with due dispatch.

CaptTermiteUSN
13th Nov 2004, 06:20
ALL Simulations are compromises of many things.
I say this often to myself if not to others. You cant make a game like this do all the minute things you know happen in reality. You have to expect compromise, and then you have to learn to accept the environment you are in within the game and fit your ability to sail, march, ride, fire or fight with in that frame work, rather than trying to totally make the environment fit into what you wish it could be.

Tactics are either effective or they arent. They have to 1- be executeable by the player and 2- they have to be reproduceable in their result. We expect the repeatability within some range when we fire and we know that the same moves wont always produce the same result, but if we do them often enough we will see the same set of results.

In naval fiction, we read that it most often is good and right and honorable to close quickly on the enemy and fire harder and faster, get in better rakes and board and win hand to hand and so on and so on. But when we play an artificial rendering of that action we have NO guarentee that our sense of timing or our historical perspective and knowledge will automatically produce the same success, victory or glory. Just the opposite may happen. In AOS2 I suspect that the act of closing on the enemy when you see him in a good position and think you can break and split his line, or sail around the end and rake him or place some of his ships in a blocked position where they cant fire with out hitting a friendly ship is simply not enough.."Thinking" something should work does not always make it work.

And some players are less patient than others. What is prudent approach to some is in considered border-line cowardice to others. One thing we learned in MTW and Viking, rushing in because youve let someone get your dander up is a good way to get cut to pieces. The line between attacking too soon and waiting to late is a thin one.

As for accuracy in the sailing, I'll be happy if the ships have at least some realistic handling that is under control of the player. And what is not controllable, if it is realistic and not just based on guess work it will be grand. For me, to be able to steer, set and furl the courses, perhaps back the forward sails to aid tacking, see the art work of the sail actually luff, fill and curve to the wind and have the drift of the ship and the angle of heel be in response to the actual wind rather than to some preconcieved idea of what the ship would look like, these things would make the game for me.

In terms of battle damage, I think individual spars rather than whole masts should be able to be lost. The loss of a topmast probably decided more single frigate actions than a complete dismasting. It is a heck of a lot easier to shoot away the lifts of a single yard arm or enough stays to take down a topmast than it is to knock out a lower mast section. Unless you put a large ball right thru a lower mast spar above deck level the upper stays and shrouds will hold it up.

The only repairs actually possible during a close engagement in such cases should be splicing cut stays and re-rigging sheets and braces. You wouldnt see whole masts being re stepped and rigged in battle, this is sadly something that aos allows. I do think that if a ship could sail out of action for a period of an hour or two some significant jury rigging could be possible. Afterall, Hornblower used a spare main yard to re rig a mizzen mast on the Lydia in a squall during her fight with the Natividad. They fished the yard to the stump of the mizzen and then got a topmast, yard for the mizzen topsl and boom and gaff for a driver
so that the ship could be sailed to windward again. Not to perfection, but enough to return and chase the ailing Natividad down and sink her. (Beat to Quarters by CS Forester if any of you want to read it). But repairs are always less than 100% and you need most or all of the crew to do them effectively. You can sail, load and fire and do anything major.

Much of this stuff could of course be automated, my idea is that it should be automatic for beginning players but able to be manually controlled for more advanced players. A few of the manual controls could also give added performance as well, but mainly there shouldnt be any big secrets hidden in the game in the control of ship repairs. You either learn how to do it or you dont.

Most non-sailors dont realise how much the sailing of a large ship depends on balance of all the forces involved. If you lose a rudder, you know the ship cant be steered, unless you know that careful sail handling can result in a change of heading. But even with the steering intact, if you lose any forward or aft sails you affect the balance in such a way that the rudder cannot compensate. Think abt a wind vane. The post is mounted forward of the middle balance point of the pointer whether its a decoration or an arrow or what. The wind blows by it and the end that is longer stays downwind of the post, the front points at the wind that way. The post is similar to the 'center of effort' of the hull and sails in the air and water. If more sail area is too far forward or if the bow is too high in the water the ship will point downwind, it will not be able to go to weather. If the sail area forward is lost or if the stern is too high the bow of the ship will point into the wind, the ship will not be able to sail downwind in most conditions. If only the main mast has settable sails however, the ship can be controlled. So as I think of this point, I'd enjoy a slider in the ships trim window that lets me move ballast forward and aft, if I can move guns that way to so much the better. hahaha

The first thing you'd do if you lost a sail at one end of the ship is reduce a similar amt of sail area at the other. Then, if you could repair that sail, or get a new one up you might re set the sails reefed at the other end.

Ok my beer is empty now, so I will move on. But all these thing contribute to what is really going on on board a ship. Makes you wonder why anyone ever wanted to put a steam engine on one doesnt it? What with all that fun we were having...

Clausewitz
14th Nov 2004, 20:02
ALL Simulations are compromises of many things.Have you seen the new trailer (ftp://ftp.eidos.co.uk/pub/uk/imperialglory/video/imperial_trailer02.zip) yet? If you do, you will notice that the ships' movements as such are fine, but there are several problems.

First there is the problem of speed. Pyro obviously want their naval battles to emulate the speed of land battles. No way a ship of the line will do 35 knots, let alone on a moderate breeze. Not just the speed, the whole movement as shown in the trailer should be slowed down considerably. A decisive aspect of naval battle was the relative immobility of ships and battle lines once they were engaged, royals had been furled, the first yards and sprits had been ripped away and most of the crew were either manning the guns, carrying out repairs or fending off boarders.

Secondly, there is a problem with the sails animations. Sails are luffing and flapping like towels on a rack, whereas they should follow tack. The issue of flags and ensigns ignoring wind directions has alreayd been addressed elsewhere, but this is worse. Now way a square-rigged ship can sail at close quarters with yards amidships...

Thirdly, there is no recognizable heel.

Fourthly, I have seen no boarding scenes yet...

I really hope Pyro don't make the mistake of preferring speed over tactical control of units, be they land units or ships. We've seen that in Rome:Total War, with disastrous consequences.

Arctic_Wolf
14th Nov 2004, 22:47
Originally posted by Clausewitz
First there is the problem of speed. Pyro obviously want their naval battles to emulate the speed of land battles. No way a ship of the line will do 35 knots, let alone on a moderate breeze. Not just the speed, the whole movement as shown in the trailer should be slowed down considerably. A decisive aspect of naval battle was the relative immobility of ships and battle lines once they were engaged, royals had been furled, the first yards and sprits had been ripped away and most of the crew were either manning the guns, carrying out repairs or fending off boarders.


You wouldn't mind a speed up button would you? I don't mind realistic battles but there is no way most people would spend a four hour session on just one naval battle, outside of multiplayer.

Clausewitz
14th Nov 2004, 23:51
Originally posted by Arctic_Wolf
You wouldn't mind a speed up button would you? I don't mind realistic battles but there is no way most people would spend a four hour session on just one naval battle, outside of multiplayer. I've had battles in both STW and MTW that were so intense that when I finally managed to take a coffee break I found my butt was glued to my chair seat and my boss was on the answering machine ten times telling me I was fired. I believe five hours was my max. It doesn't matter how long battles last as long as they're good, because that's why we play.

Now, the misunderstanding that is quite possibly at the bottom of your post is that once fleets are engaged, all you do is fire away on automatic and tally sunk hulls.

On the contrary, my friend, that is when part II of the fun should start; when you have to make split-second decisions about sending crew to the guns or repairs, withdrawing ships, having one ship cover for another, look after your flagship, choosing a particular type of shot to incapacitate an enemy ship or decimate its crew, have one of your vanguard ships run through the enemy line juuuust before she goes down, taking advantage of wind and wind changes, boarding or not boarding that fat Spanish 100-gun SOL, closing in on the enemy flagship to force capitulation, etcetera. If the game is well-developed in this regard, a full-blown naval battle is going to be as interesting as ten or twelve parallel castle sieges with all the works and toppings.

CaptTermiteUSN
15th Nov 2004, 02:54
Originally posted by Arctic_Wolf
You wouldn't mind a speed up button would you? I don't mind realistic battles but there is no way most people would spend a four hour session on just one naval battle, outside of multiplayer.

There better not be such a fruity thing as a speed button in this game or some heads will roll. For one thing, speeding up a game beyond normal speed usually causes it to crash in an on line game. That is not a desireable feature of any game. We ABSOLUTELY DO want the speed and time it takes to engage ships to be realistic and accurate. You should not assume what you dont know about those of us that sail online.

The typical area that we cover in AOS2 probably takes 45 mins to and hour to sail across in one direction. The typical scenarios we play, whether they were with the original program or ones we have made start with the ships a few mins out of, or just inside of long cannon shot. The approach time and the manuvering that takes place before and during the first rounds are as interesting to most of us as is the close in action. Typically games may only last 20 -30 mins, but they can last 1 - 2 hours and if the mod was designed well and the players are competent those fights are most excellent.

Gentlemen prone to seasickness may wish to stay with their horses!

Term

CaptTermiteUSN
15th Nov 2004, 02:58
Seemes that my friend Clausewitz was thinking along the lines that I was, we posted at the same time. lol

Mike_B
15th Nov 2004, 06:45
Originally posted by CaptTermiteUSN
We ABSOLUTELY DO want the speed and time it takes to engage ships to be realistic and accurate. You should not assume what you dont know about those of us that sail online.

Please speak for yourself. Not everyone has the time you seem to have to spend countless hours on a game. I for one wouldn't mind a speed up button in some cases. If it's there and you don't like it you can just ignore it and not use it, it's not like you have to use it.

Clausewitz
15th Nov 2004, 15:53
Originally posted by CaptTermiteUSN
Seemes that my friend Clausewitz was thinking along the lines that I was, we posted at the same time. lol LOL, my friend. Let's call it a round of double shot from close quarters. Most effective.;)

Clausewitz
15th Nov 2004, 16:36
Originally posted by @m Not everyone has the time you seem to have to spend countless hours on a game.I understand that and I wouldn't mind a speed button at all, as long as it ranges from slow to fast, not from racey to warp speed.

I think the point the naval buffs are trying to make is that if naval action isn't given proper attention by the devs, they might as well leave it to autoresolve or leave it out altogether - whereas the possibilities of a good naval war engine are great fun, much more so than imagined by some players who only have experience with land battle simulation.

Of course there will be those who think all naval action is boring, period. Let's give them a good autoresolve system so they won't have to be bothered, that suits me fine.