It's really quite simple
I think. Naturally these ideas are entirely untested. Not sure why I'm posting this, I just randomly came up with it for some reason. Anyway, here we require different setups for both the AI and the player but that shouldn't be too big a problem.
Okay, so we all know the AI isn't clever enough to turn a ship to the side and unleash hell on some unsuspecting target. But what if we just make it appear as if that's what's happening? All we need to do is make an "unfolds-to-fire" animation of the ship making a 90 degree turn. Line the exit points up along the front of the ship and make sure it prefers stand-off attacks. Ta da! Ship stops within range, appears to turn to the side and then opens fire. The obvious disadvantage of this is space-consuming sprites.
The two easy approaches to this are to use side-firing turrets (unwanted 90 degree tracking) or negative inaccuracy (can't control which side to fire). I have two methods here which avoid both those problems, one using primary weapons and one using secondary. Both rely on the theory that a shot fired with negative inaccuracy will pick which side to go based on the position of its exit point, so if this is not true then these won't work and I apologise :unsure:
Primary: First we set up the exit points using one exit type for each pair of cannons (port & starboard). Then we need four weapons, one for each exit type, with -90 inaccuracy and set to use nearest exit (they'll be unguided but that flag will work for any weapon). When a target is selected the side closest to the target will fire. When no target is selected both sides will fire as it alternates between exit points. The oddity of this is that when both sides are firing it'll still have the same rate of fire as when just one side is firing. Perhaps there's only enough crew to man half the guns at a time :rolleyes:
Secondary: The secondary method is similar to the primary but we only need to set up two exit types, one for port and one for starboard. All the exit points in one set will be entirely along one side of the ship so a weapon with negative inaccuracy using that type will only ever fire to that side. The player can simply toggle between "Port Cannons" and "Starboard Cannons" using secondary select. The disadvantage of this method is it won't work very nicely if there are other secondary weapons available.
Now, someone test this for me and see if it works
This post has been edited by Guy : 05 December 2006 - 11:02 PM