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Weapons are components used to adapt blueprints for the purpose of engaging the enemy in (notionally) honourable Combat. These tools of destruction range from single-block devices, to monstrous abominations with over nine hundred parts per barrel, not including the actual barrel! There's no rule saying you can't have more than ONE such beast, so if you want to have sixteen of them in one turret, go for it. Just don't act surprised when the sheer weight of the thing leaves you falling asleep waiting for it to swing those guns around.
Also, do note that while most weapons are unaffected by weather, lasers (see below) suffer greatly in mist, fog, and rainstorms, and will have a generally bad time whenever water's involved. More importantly, optical Detection Components (See the relevant subsection of the AI folder in the build menu), will suffer as inclement weather weakens the optical signature of vehicles and structures, drastically decreasing the range at which the AI can detect targets, and thus indirectly decreasing the range of any weapon system controlled by said AI.
Whereas most other weapon types feature high degrees of customizability, these weapons forego that in favour of -you guessed it- Simplicity! Each simple weapon (with one or two exceptions) is a self-contained system, all they need is a Local Weapon Controller (or its anti-munition equivalent), oh and don't forget ammunition! ...well, the Drill uses engine power, but that only proves that every rule has an exception.
As for the lack of custmizability, don't worry, we've been nice enough to make a simple weapon for every occasion... Or, we tried. Anyway, here's the list.
|Ram||Punching distance||It's a ram. You stick it into the enemy and it makes a hole where it hits.
What do you mean "going too fast"? Ram means Ram! Not "Nudge", RAM!
|Powered||Drill||Arm-flailing distance||A ram, but it makes a hole even when the helmsman is being a coward.|
|Tactical Nuke||If you can tell it's not a CRAM shell,
it's already too close.
|Don't trust the advertisements, it can't singe wood from 25 meters away.
Still, you'd better be wearing some sunscreen and shades if ya see one coming...
|Fixed mount.||Like Melee weapons, Fixed weapons don't do much in the way of aiming.
Thus, you'll have to aim your whole ship at the target.
Or you could mount the weapon on a turret. That'll work too.
|"Salvaged" tech||Laser||500m||Powered by the light of burning gunpowder (or whatever is in ammo boxes),
this short-range laser produces a scorching beam of thermal energy.
|30mm Assault||1250m||A light rotary cannon. It's not too powerful on a shot-per-shot basis,
but it does fire lots of them.
|60mm Auto Cannon||1500m||A heavier counterpart to the assault cannon, this one fires bullets 8 times as big,
and with a longer range thanks to their higher velocity, at the cost of fire rate.
|Limited Arc||Unlike the Fixed types, these weapons can actually do some aiming on their own.
Not a lot, mind you, but if you can get them pointed in the general direction
of whatever you want them to shoot at, they'll do the rest.
|Age~of~Sail||Rokkits Revolutionary Revolving Blast-Gun||5500m||A fully automatic shotgun. No, it can't hit the broad side of a barn from the inside,
but you're not wasting ammo on a poor farmer's barn now, are you?
|Age~of~Sail||16 pdr Cannon||1200m||A small cannon which does little damage. Only effective en masse.
Its mount has some fairly large aim angles though.
|Age~of~Sail||32 pdr Swivel Gun||1500m||A much more powerful version of the small cannon. Still only effective en masse.|
|Age~of~Sail||64 pdr Cannon||2000m||Even larger. Aim angles are reduced, but velocity and damage are nothing to sneer at.|
|While Limited Arc weapons have... well, limited arcs of fire,
these weapons can traverse a full 360-degrees!
(Please set up some firing constraints or else they might shoot their own ship)
|R-Class .50 AA Gun||1200m||A cheap machinegun. Not very useful unless you're fighting wooden biplanes,
but it has a fairly high muzzle velocity, fitting its "Anti-Aircraft" designation.
|T-Class 20mm AA Gun||1260m||With twice the hitting power and more than double the magazine capacity,
this four-barreled weapon is a respectable step up from the R-Class .50 AA Gun.
|Twin 40mm Mk-H||3000m||Solid bullets are fine and dandy, but they can be hard to notice unless they hit.
This gun provides a reasonable solution: time-fuzed explosives!
|Quad 40mm Mk-I||3000m||Twice the shells, slightly longer reload time. At only 150% the cost, it's a bargain.|
|Octuple 40mm Mk-S||2400m||Eventually, the sheer recoil started tearing the mounts out of the deck, and so we're
using reduced-charge shells. Not that it's a problem as long as the enemy's in range.
|Custom Shell||Type-E 60mm Grenade Launcher||Variable
|This nifty little device takes cartridges up to 300mm in length. The range is so-so,
but it will make a good mess out of a paddlewheel.
|Custom Shell||Type A 3.7" Gun||Variable||A 94mm Anti-Aircraft gun that takes shells up to 760mm in length.
It comes with a fuze-setting table, for use with time-fuzed shells.
|Custom Shell||Type A(L) 3.7" Gun||Variable||A modification of the Type A, this mount comes fitted with a sturdy gun shield.|
|Custom Shell||Type L Casemated Gun||Variable||These 130mm naval guns can't elevate high enough for useful anti-aircraft work,
but with shells up to 1.3m long, they are a menace upon both shore and sea.
|Custom Shell||Type L(E) Casemated Gun||Variable||The Type L's larger twin brother, the L(E), uses two longer bored out barrels.
With a new caliber of 150mm, it can fire shells up to 1.8m long.
- + Simple - Most of these weapons are single-block systems (though you'll want a local weapons controller to connect them to the unit's AI Mainframe).
- + Stylish - They can be just as useful for adding detail to your units as thay are at removing details from enemy units.
- - Explosed - They're all deck-, or casemate-mounted. Yes, this will leave room inside your units' hulls, but it means that your units' firepower will benefit less from the square cube law.
CRAM cannons can be thought of as oversized mortars. They pack a mean punch, but fire painfully slow projectiles (capped at 200m/s) and take a while to reload. Additionally, the high shell arcs limit the maximum range to <5km because the projectiles leave the atmosphere at the top of the arc and fly off into deep space.
Because of these qualities, CRAM Cannons are widely employed as heavy Surface-to-Surface weapons on fortifications, tanks, and ships, but have also found use as downward-firing "bomb-launchers" on aircraft, and as cheap anti-submarine depth-charge mortars using altitude-fuzed shells.
- + High damage output relative to its ammo use.
- - Useless/wasteful against fast/agile/long-range targets because of low projectile velocity and reload speed.
These are broadly similar to CRAM cannons in that they fire projectiles that fly in an arc towards the target, but use the Advanced Projectile System (APS) modular cartridges. The list of cartridge modules include the obvious choices between slow and heavy armour-piecing solid shot parts, fast and lightweight but fragile (easily destroyed) hollow parts filled with High-Explosives, with fuze options similar to those of CRAM shells, as well as more exotic items such as tracers (improves accuracy of following shots for a short time), shaped charge ("penetrates" armour without destroying the actual blocks, and sprays fragments on the other side), base-bleed (improves range and accuracy, but it's an expensive part to make), disruptor conduits for messing with the target's shields, and more.
Also unlike the CRAM cannons, the Ad-Cans can store multiple cartridges inside the gun itself using so-called autoloaders. Because the cartridges vary in length depending on the number of cartridge modules used and their caliber, there's 1m, 2m, 3m, 4m, 6m, and 8m long autoloaders. There's also concerns such as barrel heating and recoil, which cause losses in rpm and accuracy, respectively.
In short, Advanced Cannons are a generalist weapon, the effectiveness of which depends on its configuration and the intended target. They are able to reach muzzle velocities above 1.5km/s, fire several thousand rounds per minute, strike with pinpoint accuracy, and deliver a wide array of munitions to attack the enemy's weak spots. Of course, you can't have everything in one gun, so you'll have to build specific weapons for specific situations.
- + Better tracking than CRAM - More effective against fast/agile/long-range targets thanks to higher projectile velocities and rate of fire.
- +Modular payloads - More customizeable damage types.
- - Explosive - Some parts of the gun itself (ammo clips) may explode if destroyed whilst filled with certain cartridge modules (especially HE, Frag, and FlaK).
Missiles / Torpedoes / Mines
Missile systems are almost an inversion of gun systems. Where guns are fairly expensive devices that rely on complex detection systems to put relatively cheap shells on target, missiles are self-launching, self-guided (homing) projectiles. Just pull the trigger and they'll figure things out on their own! In short, this is the go-to weapon for those tiniest of tiny craft that need to pack a big punch in a small package. It's also the weapon with the highest operating expenses, because that's what all those jet thrusters, detector components, and miniaturized AI mainframes are: EXPENSIVE.
Now, you don't actually have to make every missile a homing fire-and-forget weapon. See, the Missile system uses an analogue of the Advanced Projectile system, which allows for modular construction of the missiles themselves. If you don't want an expensive active seeker head, you can use a passive one instead, or cheap out even more by relying on guidance from the launcher unit's AI mainframe.
If the description of this weapon system seems a bit vague, that's because it is. The modular nature of the missiles themselves mean that pinning down exactly what they are is hard, and so it may be more informative to make a list of what they can be:
- Magnetic bombs and depth-keeping mines.
- Flares and decoys.
- Sonar and Raday bouys (to help submarines and anti-submarine aircraft find one another)
Guided (relies on external control)
- Laser-homing precision EMP bombs and missiles, useful for "carefully" disabling an enemy craft's weapons and sensors before boarding it.
- Long-range versions of homing missiles/torpedoes; homing seeker heads might struggle to lock on small or far-away vehicles, in which case combining self-homing capability with remote guidance systems such as beam-riding or guidance datalinks will help to bring the seeker head close enough to the target.
- Lua-controlled missiles and torpedoes with more complex behaviors than the basic seeker heads and on-board control systems will allow, including altitude-keeping and proximity detonation.
- Stealthy, countermeasure-resistant datalink-guided missiles and torpedoes
- Airdropped anti-submarine torpedoes.
- Fire-and-forget active-radar anti-ship missiles.
- Heatseeking air-to-air missiles.
Unlike projectile weapons, Lasers don't care too much about speed or evasive maneuvers; as long as your detection systems can draw a bead on the target, the laser of will remain on point as it rips through the unfortunate foe at a steady pace. As such, they're very useful as anti-aircraft weapons, and are the basis for the Laser Anti-Munition Defence system.
Firepower at the speed of light does not come without flaws however, and while lasers may be cheap to operate as they only consume electricity, building the laser system in the first place requires plenty of room and copious amounts of materials. Additionally, they require a clear line of sight to the target, rendering them largely ineffective in uneven terrain.
- + Efficient - High damage per resource used.
- +/- Hitscan - No time for the target to evade, but also not too useful in uneven terrain.
- - Hydrophobic - Whether you're firing at (or from) a submarine or simply ran into a bad rainstorm, lasers suffer horribly in low-visibility environments.
Particle Cannons are highly customisable weapons, sort of like a laser, but you've got more choices as to what happens to the target when they get hit. Like lasers, PACs use power to fire light speed projectiles, but unlike lasers, they use a fairly large firing piece with snaking particle accelerator tubes to increase the particle beam's power.
The cannon can be customised entirely to fit your needs and can be set to different damage modes: explosive, piercing, EMP, and thump.
- + Hitscan.
- + Unstoppable - There's no defence against PACs. Only armour and attenuation (range) can help you here.
- - Explosive - Tends to explode when destroyed.
Yes, we know. "Water?" you'll say, "that's not a weapon, it's just... ya know, water!" Well, true, but while not a weapon in and of itself, water tends to interfere with almost every weapon in the game, and its effects should be taken into account when designing said weapons. More specific information might be available in the main article of each weapon system up above, and it's up for debate whether a summary of that information should be on the Combat page, or on the Water page, or on this page, For the time being, it's here, and so we hope you'll enjoy this general description of the various woes which will befall both you and your enemies when attempting to fire weapons into, out of, or through water.
Explosions in general
Whereas air typically exists in a compressible gaseous form, the vast majority of the world's water exists in a liquid, and relatively incompressible state. Being incompressible makes water a poor shock-absorber, allowing explosive shockwaves to remain lethal at far greater distances than they would in open air.
- Explosive damage increases with water depth up to +50% at 5m or deeper.
Impacting the water at shallow angles tend to cause a projectile to skip across the surface, potentially flying high enough to completely miss a watercraft with a low freeboard, or striking the superstructure and masts.
- The water-skipping effect has been implemented in a simplified form. Note that the Advanced Projectile System offers a projectile part which magnifies this effect, causing every projectile so fitted to skip at angles below 30% (~17 degrees).
As for those which actually enter the water, bullets and shells are typically already unstable while in the air with the Centre of Mass being far behind the Centre of air Pressure, meaning that you need to keep them rotating like a flying spinning top in order to maintain stable nose-first flight. Underwater, the drag increases by orders of magnitude, overpowering the stabilizing effects of the spin, causing projectiles to tumble end-over end.
- While the unpredictable motion of a projectile travelling sideways or tail-first through the water are too resource-intensive to calculate, the dramatic loss of velocity and penetrative performance has been implemented.
Real-world navies have attempted, with mixed successes, to mitigate this effect by moving the CoP backwards and closer to the CoM, and by decreasing the sideways area ahead of the centre of mass that sideways drag forces could act on to push the projectile off course. By WWII these efforts resulted in the widespread adoption of both purpose-made anti-submarine shells, and mild alterations of the shape of armour-piercing caps of many nations' medium-to-large caliber AP projectiles to improve their underwater travel distance. More recent developments involve long, tapered projectiles with a finely machined flat tip that creates a focused pressure shock at the front of the projectile, and a corresponding near-vacuum pressure drop behind it. The projectile, that is, everything behind the very tip of it, is effectively "flying" inside a pocket of steam (from seawater evaporating due to the vacuum), which means the water can't touch it in any of the ways that'd make it tumble.
- The Advanced Projectile System offers a projectile part which decreases the underwater drag, but the majority of the simple weapons, as well as the CRAM cannons, can't use it, and so are out of luck.
As the number of real-world air-to-underwater missiles remains limitied, mainly because most missiles are too fragile to survive the impact, the ability of FtD's missiles to survive such high-speed impacts isn't entirely realistic, but considering their relatively low velocities and general resilience against anti-missile weapons, it can be assumed that they are somewhat sturdier, and exposed to less violent impact forces, than their real-world counterparts. With this in mind, the physical effect of hitting the occasional wave is quite realistic, and similar to that exhibited by a regular projectile. Of course, regular projectiles don't have thrusters, fins, or guidance systems, and so missiles exhibit some additional effects.
- Thrusters other than the torpedo thruster, including the turning thruster, and seeker heads other than the torpedo sonar, cease to function until the missile is out of the water, and speed will rapidly reduce due to drag. It should also be noted that missiles are naturally bouyant, and will resurface on their own. The orientation will however not change, meaning that unless a functioning seeker head or remote guidance system alters the course, a missile which hits the water nose-down will push itself underwater again when its thruster re-ignites.
- Torpedoes, being a variation of the missile, exhibit the opposite basic behavior; they work fine underwater, but torpedo thrusters and sonar seeker heads cease to function when exposed to air.
- Note that some suggestions have been brought forth regarding the addition of a flat-nosed supercavitating head part for use on torpedoes, and allowing the short-range thruster to operate underwater, in order to allow for replication of weapons such as the VA-111 Shkval. These have been rejected, possibly on account of the fact that M4 and S2 torpedoes can already reach 97-103m/s, which is already close to the publicly available figures for the Shkval.
Even in the crystal-clear Silfra, one will notice that it's difficult to make out objects more than a hudred or so metres away. Water turbidity, as well as chemo- and thermoclines, all cause light scattering in excess of that which occurs in air on a typical day. In addition to these effects, even H2O of constant temperature attenuates light to some degree. That is, it converts light into thermal energy, or heat. Even blue light (wavelength of about 475 nm) is virtually absorbed after 275m. Lasers, being focused streams of photons all going in the same direction, suffer greatly when faced with the gradual scattering of their beams, and attenuation severely limits their maximum range. Despite these issues, LIDAR remains useful for seabed navigation, though irrelevant in the context of the game.
- Lasers generally perform poorly when asked to penetrate any significant distance of water to reach their target, and are a poor choice of weapon for and against submarines. They may also perform in a less-than ideal manner against ships unless an aimpoint card is connected to the Mainframe controlling the laser's LWC, and said aimpoint card has been set to only target above-water blocks. While this means that the laser will cause more total damage to the target, if most of the target's critical systems (AI, powerplant and propulsion systems, magazines, weapon parts and so on) are located below the waterline, the damage is unlikely to be crippling.