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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2008 2:05 pm 
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Lieutenant Commander
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Battelship Forever is an amazing game. One of the most popular features is the ability to add your own, or other player's, ships to the game; and to modify them.

There are several parts to this document. The first describes the theory and core concepts. The second explanes how the shipmaking tools work. The third walks you through how to make an already existing ship, in this case, the Fleet workhorse - the Hestia, and the forth part is full of the tips from great ship builders (and the rest of us) on what techniques have worked for them.

This document is always growing and changing; and the input of the Battleships Forever community is the life's blood of it's existance. Corrections, additions, and new entries are always welcomed.

* * * * *

PART 1) Shipmaking theory and core concepts

(text from the Battleships Forever Manual by Sean "th15" Chan)

Building Ships
Ships are rather complex structures. A ship is made out of a central core, which is the heart of a ship, and four types of components. These components are Sections, Turrets, Modules, and Doodads. Sections are parts of the structure and form the hull of the ship. Turrets are weapons mounted on individually articulated mounts. Modules are special turrets that provide special abilities. Doodads are bits and bobbles that you can add to your ship to make them look pretty and more "alive". They have no game mechanics effect, and are purely for appearances only.

To add a component, simply click on the corresponding button on the left side bar and place it on your ship by clicking again.

Parents
All components of a ship must be connected to the core of the ship through a section. This is very important because if a section is destroyed, any other section that was connected to the core through the destroyed section will also be destroyed.

The component which is currently selected (coloured blue) will be the parent of the next component you place. A component can be selected by double clicking on it.

PART 2) The shipmaking tools

Controls
S: Save ship. Creates a ship code file with the .shp extension that can be imported into Battleships Forever. Also creates a ship blueprint file with the .sbl extension that can be loaded into the ship maker.
Ctrl-S: Saves ship and launches Battleships Forever to quick-load the ship into Sandbox mode immediately.
O: Load ship blueprint
M: Mirrors your ship along it's central axis. Useful for creating symmetrical ships.
Ctrl-C: Clone object under mouse with same settings (uses the currently selected object as parent)
C: Change section colour
D: Delete object
V: Show weapon arcs
Q/A: Bring Section forward/Send Section back or scale weapon horizontal
Shift + Q/A: Bring Section to front/Send Section to back or scale weapon vertical
W: Set Section Depth
H: Hide help
N: New ship (clears everything)
Up/Down/Left/Right Arrows: Scroll Screen
J or L: Rotate object.
I or K: Horizontal scale up/down, also increases/decreases weapon arc
Shift + I or K: Vertical scale up/down
T: Assign target for Aegis Deflector or Booster module
Shift + J/K: Flip Section
Left Mouse: Select object to move (double-click to select only)
Right Mouse: Context sensitive menu, note: you must select the object you right click on it for some options to appear
Shift + Arrows: Nudge selected object by 1 pixel for precise placement
Middle Mouse: Centre view on mouse
Insert: Insert custom values for section or weapon

1: Create Section
2: Create Weapon
3: Create Module
4: Create Doodad

Holding control and pressing 1-4 will scroll forward through the respective list.

Holding shift and pressing 1-4 will scroll backward through the respective list.

Holding shift and control and pressing 1-4 will set the selected component (if they are the same type) to the displayed type. This is useful for changing component types after they have been placed.

Mouse Wheel Up/Down or Pg Up/Pg Dn: Zoom In/Out
Backspace: Reset Zoom



PART 3) Recreating the Hestia (or how to make your first ship)





PART 4) Shipmaking tips and techniques

If you want to see one of the the acknowledged masters of ship design, look up any of the ships of SilverWingedSeraph. Also don't miss his "SilverWingedSeraph's Guide to Good Shipbuilding"
http://www.wyrdysm.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=1244
a fun and informative reference.


Last edited by Stryder on Tue Jan 22, 2008 4:45 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2008 5:45 pm 
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Captain
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This is in the wrong place.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2008 12:52 am 
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Now it's not. :D


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2008 1:03 am 
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You should do this guide once SM3.0 officially comes out.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2008 7:19 am 
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Lieutenant Commander
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I very much agree. This is why it's just a shell for the moment, but people are seeing the thread and thinking about options, and things will grow.

Best wishes.


edit:

.. and TormakSaber: thanks.

- - - - - -

Doodads will be added to the missing portions of this document soon.
It's my hope that we'll use whatever text th15 uses in the next version of the manual.

If th15 doesn't have any text (or the time to do it) and he wouldn't mind the community helping (anything that helps him to stay working on code is good for all of us,) we can suggest some temp-text that can approved / evolve.

Looking at the existing wording from the manual, do anybody have suggested text for speaking about DOODADS?


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2008 9:58 am 
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Doodads are bits and bobbles that you can add to your ship to make them look pretty and more "alive". They have no game mechanics effect, and are purely for appearances only.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2008 11:10 pm 
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Heh, I didn't know half of those controls.

Will this be a "bare-bones" guide, as in technology and theory only, or will it also have an "aesthetics" guide?

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2008 4:05 am 
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I would like to thank Normandy for volunteering to start up the aesthetics portion of the guide. What a great guy. :D

(Stryder ducks)

No really, how do you think we should best present aesthetics?


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2008 4:22 pm 
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Normandy wrote:
Heh, I didn't know half of those controls.

Will this be a "bare-bones" guide, as in technology and theory only, or will it also have an "aesthetics" guide?


Normandy, may we include some part of this, or might you want to expand/re-write it?

Normandy's guide to Small Ship Building -

1) Small ship building is nothing like big ship building. Big ship building is about the general patterns between the different sections and how they all interact together. Small ship building is about aligning the patterns of the pieces artfully to produce the effect of a much larger ship.

2) Repeating any piece other than the curved 45 degree one, the 3 rectangular ones, and under special circumstances the wing sections, should be illegal. 'Nuff said.

3) Never lose sight of the bigger ship. A pattern may look nice, but if it doesn't fit into the general shape of the ship, scrap it (or take a screenshot of it so you remember how to make it). Unlike larger ships, over-sectioning is a major problem for small ships. Sometimes you just can't add and overlap that many sections.

4) Whitespace is horrible on smaller ships. In larger ships it's almost necessary to keep the eye unfatigued, but in smaller ships it has no such effect.

5) Always align your sections down to pixel accuracy. It's not like you're making a 600-700 section ship, you're making a 10-30 section ship.

6) Finally, never overload your ship with weapons. Weapons, compared to sections, are eyesores.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2008 4:30 pm 
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SWS,

Your SilverWingedSeraph's Guide to Good Shipbuilding
http://www.wyrdysm.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=1244
is the definative source on making midsized and larger ships, heck just beautiful ships in general.

May we include it: in whole, in part, or as a link/reference, and would you like to add to or change any part?

Again; amazing work man.


EDIT: Thank you SWS. Link put into the Beginner's Guide. I just couldn't bring myself to make a smaller version of your guide, without the pictures, etc.


Last edited by Stryder on Tue Jan 22, 2008 4:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2008 4:35 pm 
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Thanks, Stryder. :D You're more than welcome to add it or link it in any way you see fit. It's still a work in progress, and when I get out of the funk that I'm in, and don't have to worry about judging and the likes, I'll probably update it more.

I certainly appreciate your efforts to help teach newbies the ropes about the game and shipbuilding in general, and I'm happy to help however I can.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2008 12:33 am 
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Thanks for all the info so far. Would be nice to see the completion of this guide some day. I'm still a noob so I don't think any of my advice would be good


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2008 12:51 am 
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Rewrite it, use it all you want, I've got no copyrights.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2008 7:42 am 
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Version .2 is in-process.

Can anybody think of additional parts that should be in the Beginners' guide? I'll be adding what I can from the suggestions made above.

Thanks for your submissions.

Stryder


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2008 7:46 am 
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Only Suggestion is that when it is finished (or has more current information), that it be stickied, so others can see it.


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