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Inuki

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Gunning: the underlying system Reply to this Post
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Many people only gun on the Navy, or every so often here and there as needed. In my experience, few really study the gunning puzzle in the same depth as they study the other puzzles. As a gunner, I've been running into enough misunderstandings about the puzzle, and consequent inefficient station management, that I thought I'd explain what I know about how it works. This isn't really a "how to get better at the puzzle" tutorial - it's more "how does the puzzle actually work" tutorial.


The first common misconception is that which station a gunner is sitting on affects which guns they can load. Not at all! Any gunning station can load any gun, and currently there is no correllation at all between which side a shot is fired from and how that shot is fired on the gunning boards. There's no need to walk around between gunning stations or decks to fill more guns - just pick one station, and keep re-entering that one. You are given any available empty guns before any filled ones.

The next thing to understand is that gunning has changed from what it used to be. Before the missions patch, firing order was determined by an internal number. The first loaded gun always fired first, so it was possible for one ultimate gunner to handle an entire brig reasonably easily - even with a gun-happy navigator.

However, currently guns are fired on a first-in, first-out basis. In other words, the oldest loaded gun - the one that's been loaded the longest - fires first. This means that on a brig that enters battle with all 16 loaded, all 16 will fire once before any fire a second time.

Another thing that generally holds true is that it's better for a gunner's rating, and for the number of cannons loaded, to stay on one good gunning board, rather than hopping in and out of the station and getting lots of boards. The reason is simple and fairly obvious - every time the gunning puzzle is entered, the pieces have to come out of the barrel and start moving. That takes a significant chunk of time which could be better used in loading guns, and does slightly affect both rating and number of guns loaded. There's also the time a gunner takes to analyze the board and figure out the best way to deal with it. Pieces that've just started moving also go noticeably slower than the pieces on a board that's been used for a while. So whenever possible, it's best to let gunners find boards they like, and sit on them. [Note: generalizing. Some gunners are weird and enjoy board-hopping, but most of the ones I've talked to and worked with prefer to find one board and keep it whenever possible.]

Putting these last two pieces of information together, it becomes obvious that keeping all the guns filled and the gunners happy adds up to more gunners, and/or navigators who are willing to compromise and play with fewer guns. One gunner should be sufficient for sloop or cutter, and on a sloop the gunner can effectively double on another station. War brigs, with up to 8 shots per round, are probably best-off with three gunners. I'd venture four gunners for any larger ship - 16 shots should be enough for any navigator. However, my numbers here are based on the assumption that gunners can be spared from other duties, and don't have to double up on other stations. If gunners are doing double-duty, then the best number of gunners is "as many as can be spared from everything else."

In battle, if your standing is high enough (Master or better?), the barrel starts to roll. Some people've speculated that it's random - but it's not. The barrel's motion is tied directly to the motion of the ship. Whirlpools and right (orange) turns will both send the barrel to the left, while left (blue) turns will send the barrel to the right. Pausing the puzzle with the Escape key will usually stop it from moving, but occasionally poor timing or the game deciding to forget you've got it paused will undermine that. (There are times when unpausing for the first time in battle will reveal a barrel all the way on one side - a minor bug, but an annoying one.)

Lastly, the great Catch-22 of gunning is that the higher your standing, the faster the pieces move, and the easier it is to fill more guns. The moment your standing drops, the pieces slow down, and it becomes very difficult to do as well. Causing a gunner to booch - or even just score lower than they're accustomed to - can invite their wrath upon you. (And the wrath of one who plays with explosive things can be very nasty indeed...)


I hope that helps someone. :)
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[Feb 22, 2005 1:47:16 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message    inuki42    Inuki42 [Link]  Go to top 
Blackhawk180



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I must say that a lot you write about i recognise.
Me loves the gunning game. The puzzle is simple and complex in one.
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Shuranthae

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Btw, anytime you first start a puzzle there is a certain amount of time that isn't counted against you. With Gunnery, I believe that's true everytime you just enter the puzzle. There are (or perhaps were) a few Gunners who actually played better constantly switching boards instead of just staying in the same board. Cahrin is, as always, my prime example.
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bronzebeard

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Shuranthae wrote: 
There are (or perhaps were) a few Gunners who actually played better constantly switching boards instead of just staying in the same board.


Aye, I find this to be true fer me. Stayin' on one board doesnt make it any easier. Only time I booch a bit is when im sailin'/b-navvin'/gunnin' at once.

Peglegpaul, Ocean's #1 gunner.
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Flak_88

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I don't mind switching boards, what I do mind is if they get fired faster than I can load them if I plan on switching boards, as I like to toss overboard. I hate exiting a partially filled board. If I get a good board I'll loop, if it's bad I'll keep finding new board and stay once loaded only if it's decent.

I disagree with dropping a level, I can get increds when bringing a new alt up even at lower then master setting. Obviously I'm still gunning slower then I could be so I won't get 4 guns per turn in battle.
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Inuki

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Aye, it's possible to get increds by board-hopping... but it does strongly affect your cannons per turn number, which is often the only thing your navigator cares about. In the time it takes the pieces to spin up, I usually could've loaded one, possibly two guns, with a board I could loop.

It does come down to personal playing style and ship requirements, in the end. If I'm trying to solo-gun a brig, there's no way I'm not going to board-hop, because the navver needs those guns. But if I have a choice that won't significantly affect the number of shots, I'll try to find one board.

As with everything, what I wrote is generalizing from my personal observations and experiences. And I'm obviously not perfect, nor have I met exceptions to every rule yet. :)
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[Feb 22, 2005 10:41:13 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message    inuki42    Inuki42 [Link]  Go to top 
sin1man

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The only thing I liked about the old system over the new one is that unmanned guns were not fired if manned guns were available. I.e. if you were navigating a brig and you had 12 manned guns available and 4 un manned guns, as the captain you would stick to the manned guns for faster reloading. This is getting into Game Design but basically I think it would be better if it continues with firing the oldest reloaded gun, but also make it so that unmanned guns are only fired if there are no manned guns available.
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AngryChair



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All that analysis..eh..

just load 'em.
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atteSmythe

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AngryChair wrote: 
All that analysis..eh..
just load 'em.

Are you expecting not to find Tips & Tricks in this forum, for some reason?

It's good to know that the system changed; I'll have to keep that in mind. Staying on one board used to be optimal if you had a good board because if 'your' screen was the one being fired first each round, you could reload the guns almost instantly. If they rotate through the available guns, now, I like that it encourages ditching the board and getting a new one. It'd be nice to be able to do this without the lag of exiting and reentering the puzzle, though.

Notorious atteSmythe,
who'd like a 'new board' button (with associated leave/reenter hit) in all the puzzles
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imwamphyr

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Inuki wrote: 

The next thing to understand is that gunning has changed from what it used to be. Before the missions patch, firing order was determined by an internal number. The first loaded gun always fired first, so it was possible for one ultimate gunner to handle an entire brig reasonably easily - even with a gun-happy navigator.

However, currently guns are fired on a first-in, first-out basis. In other words, the oldest loaded gun - the one that's been loaded the longest - fires first. This means that on a brig that enters battle with all 16 loaded, all 16 will fire once before any fire a second time.


I didn't know an official change had been made, but I did know something was wrong.

I've been gunning on a war brig all week, either by myself, or with one other officer. Get loaded, sit on last puzzle...I don't hop around looking for the perfect "no arrow" board, but if I get a particularly nasty one I might exit and try again...AFTER I've loaded...

Anyways, get loaded, sit on last puzzle...captain starts shooting and...nothing fires from my guns? I thought it was a bug, and somebody else told me to restart the client...but it kept happening. Now, I guess I know why...I'm a very good gunner, but not the best. Old method meant I usually could handle guys by myself or with one other person, no matter what their rating...New way, eh, if you're gonna fire 8 shots nearly every turn, I'm not gonna be able to keep up by myself anymore...You'll need at least two excellent gunners or 1 excellent and 2 average, at a minimum, on your war brigs.
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54x

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The new way makes sense in that the fastest gunners will get the reloads first. If you're not getting dirty cannons, you need to practice more :)
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[Feb 23, 2005 7:35:08 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message    http://www.mjwhitehead.com/    raasike54    secondlight5454    32987700 [Link]  Go to top 
bryghtrose



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thank you thank you thank you for posting gunning help. :)

I'm looking forward to trying it out now.
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[Feb 23, 2005 9:22:20 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
BehindCurtai

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54x wrote: 
The new way makes sense in that the fastest gunners will get the reloads first. If you're not getting dirty cannons, you need to practice more :)


Unfortunately no, unless all your guns are manned.

If all guns are manned, you'll get guns to load that can be loaded

If you have a warbrig with 16 guns, and 4 stations, but only 3 people, you are guaranteed to waste 4 of your guns unless you cycle your stations.

Odd, after seeing those posts that say you can load 4 per turn if you stay in the puzzle with the pieces already looping to find that you now need to switch, reducing your ability to keep the guns loaded.
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ruby_spoon

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Inuki wrote: 
Before the missions patch [...] The first loaded gun always fired first.

Inuki wrote: 
However, currently guns are fired on a first-in, first-out basis. In other words, the oldest loaded gun - the one that's been loaded the longest - fires first.

This whole discussion confuses me, and I think it's because I don't understand the difference between the above two descriptions. I guess I'm being dim, but surely there are many more as dim as me out there... ok, maybe enough at least to warrant someone explaining what I'm missing?
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Inuki

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You cut out the most important part - before, guns all had internal numbers. Everything went by those numbers. Entering a puzzle, if there were any empty cannons, you'd get the lowest-numbered empties (I believe - that I didn't get a chance to test). If there are fewer than four empties, then you get any empties, then the lowest-numbered available guns.

Practically speaking, this meant that one gunner could load a war brig, then keep abandoning until they get a board they like - and as long as they're the only gunner, and they're moving slow enough for the game to compute accurately, they will have cannons numbered 1-4. Every time the navigator shoots, cannons fire in numerical order, so the gunner has the first four shots. If they can reload at least one before the next shot is fired, that one will fire again - so one gunner could handle a war brig, if they're able to get 3-4 loaded per turn.

However, if we take the same situation now - one gunner loads the brig, then finds a board. The guns are still numbered, 1-16, but this time they're numbered specifically by when the gunner put the cannonball in, and firing them erases that number. So this hypothetical gunner is on a board, and the navigator shoots four shots. Since the gunner probably loaded an entire board first, they get the first four. But once they're loaded, those guns will not fire again until the other 12 have all fired. So it's more efficient to either have one or two gunners who like abandoning, or three gunners who find good boards.

Does that help? It is complicated - and much easier to explain with small numbered objects that you can see being moved around and changed. But the key is the firing order, the way it's determined, and the fact that now it takes more gunners to keep the bigger ships adequately loaded. :)
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[Feb 23, 2005 8:27:34 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message    inuki42    Inuki42 [Link]  Go to top 
Oorlian

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I would like to state for the record that Inuki needs to post more often.

That is all.
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Heygabe

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BehindCurtai wrote: 
If you have a warbrig with 16 guns, and 4 stations, but only 3 people, you are guaranteed to waste 4 of your guns unless you cycle your stations.


If this is _really_ how it works, why doesn't this make perfect sense? I mean, if you don't have a man-per-station, you don't have a man-per-station. Job a gunner. There are pleanty of greenies who'd like you to hire them for just that reason.

If you only have two sailors on a sloop, aren't you "wasting" one of your sailing stations? The difference is that the gunning puzzle is the only one that you can "finish."
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sin1man

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It does not make perfect sense for the reason I said earlier. If you were a captain on your boat, would you fire guns that had people working on them or guns that did not have people working on them. Technically you could not fire guns without people being there int he first place but again this is a game. I said what I think is best earlier but I will say it again. The unmanned guns in my mind should be locked at the bottom of the firing order, and the manned guns should fire in relation to the now current system of oldest reloaded gun shoots first.
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Simman

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Shuranthae

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sin1man wrote: 
It does not make perfect sense for the reason I said earlier.
I agree, the game doesn't make enough sense. From now on all cannons should be categorized into portside or starboard. If you fire all the cannons from portside, then you can't fire any more in that direction until the "portside" cannons are loaded.
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BehindCurtai

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Ok, I was mistaken/confused.

At worst, if you have 3 of the 4 stations manned on a WB, then you'll only have at most 4 shots that are fired without reloading. The other 12 guns will load and fire, the 4 empties will only fire once and then stay empty.

It means that you'll see yourself with only 4 guns per gunner reloadable in combat.

Instead of being able to have a load of 16 until all three gunners are overwhelmed, you'll be down to a load of 12 after firing 16.

That's just a little weaker.
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Shuranthae

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Gee, it's almost like the other puzzles then where having more puzzlers is better. =P
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BehindCurtai

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Two sailors can keep a ship at full speed, without changing stations.
Can two gunners keep a ship at fully loaded guns, without changing stations? Used to be yes.
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Dylan wrote: 
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Shuranthae

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BehindCurtai wrote: 
Two sailors can keep a ship at full speed, without changing stations.
Can two gunners keep a ship at fully loaded guns, without changing stations? Used to be yes.

On a Sloop or Cutter, yes. On a War Brig or War Frig, you think two sailors can keep a ship at full speed?

Yeah, I'd say it used to be broken. Now it seems more fixed though. Kudos on a job well done Ringers, as always.
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54x

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However, if we take the same situation now - one gunner loads the brig, then finds a board. The guns are still numbered, 1-16, but this time they're numbered specifically by when the gunner put the cannonball in, and firing them erases that number. So this hypothetical gunner is on a board, and the navigator shoots four shots. Since the gunner probably loaded an entire board first, they get the first four. But once they're loaded, those guns will not fire again until the other 12 have all fired. So it's more efficient to either have one or two gunners who like abandoning, or three gunners who find good boards.


Again; I find this more practical than the old way of handling things.
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Heygabe

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Shuranthae wrote: 
From now on all cannons should be categorized into portside or starboard. If you fire all the cannons from portside, then you can't fire any more in that direction until the "portside" cannons are loaded.


Awesome!
I like this idea. Although it is neither a trick, tip, question or answer.

Might I suggest we T.I.T.G.D.?
----------------------------------------
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[Feb 24, 2005 9:20:16 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
54x

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Heygabe wrote: 
Shuranthae wrote: 
From now on all cannons should be categorized into portside or starboard. If you fire all the cannons from portside, then you can't fire any more in that direction until the "portside" cannons are loaded.


Awesome!
I like this idea. Although it is neither a trick, tip, question or answer.

Might I suggest we T.I.T.G.D.?


... It's been mentioned in Game Design quite a lot already. Most people realise it's not a practical suggestion, although I'm sure there are some it would appeal to: Put simply, it gets in the way of fun for very little purpose.
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[Feb 24, 2005 10:04:45 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message    http://www.mjwhitehead.com/    raasike54    secondlight5454    32987700 [Link]  Go to top 
BehindCurtai

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Belongs
In
Game

Design
Especially
After
Lunch

Big Deal.
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imwamphyr

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/em thinks the new way IS more realistic than the old way.

That is all I have to say.

/em sticks tongue out
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zap_branigan



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Shuranthae wrote: 
Btw, anytime you first start a puzzle there is a certain amount of time that isn't counted against you. With Gunnery, I believe that's true everytime you just enter the puzzle. There are (or perhaps were) a few Gunners who actually played better constantly switching boards instead of just staying in the same board. Cahrin is, as always, my prime example.


Thanks for the tip shur.

I just ran some tests on this hypothisis, i took my alt who was Grand Master at the time at gunning.

Test 1: First i left the board after assesing it's quality (took about 2 seconds on each board) i did this 70 times without loading any guns.
Result 1: lost no gun rating

Test 2: i spent 5 seconds (the time it took for all the pieces to come out of the barrel) on each board, i repeated this 30 times without loading any guns.
Result 2: i lost no gun rating

Control test: i spent 60 seconds on a board ubtill i lost a rating
Result : it took 3 repeats tests to go down a rating

Conclusion: if you leave the gunning puzzle in the first 5 seconds (or possably by the time all the pieces are in play) then you can swap boards as many times as you like.

(the control test is just to show that if you wait around in the puzzle for long periods of time without loading guns then you lose ratings really fast)

[edit] by rating i meen the rating on my stats sheet (grand master) and NOT duty score.

i just ran another test
During one league:
in this test i swapped boards 20 times found a good board loaded the cannons pretty quick . then i swapped the board 25 more times .
<B>swapping had NO EFFECT on my duty puzzle score</b>. i scored an exelent which was by my judge was what i would have got if i had just done that one board .

so i hope this answere shurs question thats just after this post
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[Edit 2 times, last edit by zap_branigan at Feb 28, 2005 2:06:37 AM]
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Shuranthae

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Hmm, that's not quite what I meant... and sounds broken in fact if it is true. By rating do you mean duty report? As in you tried each test and actually saw what your duty report score was for that particular test?

Oh, and also, the gunners I knew that always left the board as soon as all were loaded could fill 3-4 a turn. Actually there's even a trick to it that leaving a board gives you an advantage in loading guns faster: it skips the firing animation if you jump on a gun right at the beginning of a turn, thus you come into the game with all four cannons fired and don't have to wait for each one to individually fire at the right time.
[Feb 28, 2005 2:12:13 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
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