World of Warships: A Ship Through the Eyes of a Game Designer

Taking a ship to pieces

Each member of the World of Warships development team sees a ship in a different way. When a 3D modeler looks at a ship, first they will see the details and elements of its design: the deck, anti-torpedo bulge, anti-aircraft guns etc. A  sound designer will hear the sound of propellers and shots crashing into the water. A historical consultant will vividly recall scenes of the ship in combat, and an Art QA specialist will present drawings, sketches or archival newsreel footage.

The Game Designer’s task is to see this incredibly complex picture as a whole, in order to bring bright, lively and realistic images of each ship to the game. To do this, you must first take a ship to pieces, literally…

The view from above

Let’s first understand that a ship is a complex thing – the result of the work of thousands of people over many years; a multi-ton machine with a crew consisting of hundreds of people. The weight of the small-caliber guns alone is comparable to that of a tank.

Ships were churned out but, while the path of a tank or an aircraft from the factory floor to the battlefield was often a very short and swift one, that of a ship was much longer. This is also true of a ship’s lifespan, which can be measured in decades, all leading up to its eventual end in a single moment of battle.

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In World of Warships we have four main ship classes:

• Battleships are slow and are not easy to maneuver, but this is all compensated for by thick armor and powerful artillery, the latter of which is capable of destroying an enemy ship with a single salvo.

• Cruisers are quite easy to play and fast, but they have relatively weak armoring and less powerful guns.

• Destroyers are fast and maneuverable but very vulnerable ships. If you skilfully use the smokescreen and torpedo tubes, you can easily create panic inside the ranks of the enemy team.

• Aircraft Carriers are huge and unwieldy ships. With the help of air groups they are able to attack enemies at ultra-long-range, preventing them from getting close enough to even take a shot.

Each class has its own characteristics and requires a unique approach. In general terms, the ship can be described by several parameters that strongly affect the gameplay:

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Displacement – one of the main parameters that affects the mass of a ship. Displacement is the amount of water displaced by the ship when its underwater part is immersed in water, which is equal to its actual weight. For example, most large ships – battleships and aircraft carriers – usually have a displacement of 20,000 to 70,000 tons. In the game, this will be reflected as the number of hit points

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Dimensions – represent three quantities: length, width and keel depth of ship. In World of Warships, all of the ship models exactly match the measurements of their real-life counterparts. As a result, you will definitely feel the difference in controlling small, brisk destroyers and large, heavy battleships.

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Keel Depth – the depth of the underwater portion, which affects how close a ship will be able to approach the shore. For example, due to their small keel depth, destroyers are able to sneak through shallow water, evading enemy attacks or launching an ambush from places that other classes can’t access.

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Power-Plant Capacity – unlike those in tanks and warplanes, the power plant of a ship is a complex system comprising several steam turbines powered by by a number of boilers. In order to get a huge ship underway, hundreds or even thousands of horsepower are needed. In World of Warships, we have simplified this a bit: we have combined engine and boiler rooms into a single unit called the power plant.

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Ship Speed -measured in knots (1.852 km/h) or in nautical miles per hour. The fastest ships are the destroyers which are able to achieve speeds up to 40 knots; cruisers average around 35, and low-speed battleships and aircraft carriers move at a speed of 25-28 knots – although some of them can accelerate above 30 knots. Speed is dependent on many factors including the displacement, the size and shape of the ship, and its power-plant capacity.

A glimpse from the inside

The structure of a ship is much more complicated than that of a tank or an aircraft and therefore it influence gameplay in stronger ways. In order to simplify this, the hull is divided into three main parts in World of Warships:Bow/Nose

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Stern – in this part of the ship, modules like the “steering engine” will be located. When they are damaged, for example, the player will not be able to maneuver.

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The mid part of the body, where the citadel is situated. It includes several modules, for example, bow and stern ammunition storage. When such modules are damaged, the player will not be able to open fire from any main caliber armaments and the modules in question can even blow up. If critical damage is sustained by power-plant modules, the ship will lose its power and become an easy target.

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Armor is strong and destroyers are fast!

Battleships carry some of the most powerful artillery of all-time and one successful hit from these guns can send an enemy ship to the depths. To survive such fire, you must have decent protection. Ship armor is one of the most important factors that a player must take into account when planning in-game actions.

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The scheme of ship armor is much more complicated than that of a tank. It was impossible to protect the entire ship, so some parts were armored more strongly than others. Armor was thicker only in the area of the citadel, which allowed designers to securely protect ammunition and power-plants. In order to strengthen the protection, different technical tricks were used, such as sloping armor and boxed ammunition protection.

From the sides, the citadel is protected by anti-torpedo protection, an armor belt and also deck bevels that made penetration harder. Travers can be found at the front and rear, these are transverse frames which are armored bulkheads and only slightly less armored than the main belt. The resulting construction is enclosed by deck armor.

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Above deck the upper-side armor belt and the second deck are situated. Depending on the overall armor scheme, it could be thicker than the armor below so as to protect against bombs falling from above. On the same level, the main barbette armor starts. In ships of later construction, secondary guns were placed on the upper deck and therefore were shielded by light armor.

The stern and bow were basically covered by thin sheets of ship steel. Steering mechanisms were individually armored inside the ship or externally with the use of high strength steel sheets. Located in the central part is an anti-torpedo bulge intended not only to give extra protection, but also added buoyancy to the ship and, in some cases, even stability.

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The most protected place was the conning tower – the “brain of the ship”, which was protected to almost the same level as the citadel. The rest of the ship’s structures were covered with sheathed steel, which afforded very little protection from enemy fire.

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Especially well protected were the ship’s armaments, including both the main caliber and secondary guns. Air defense guns provided protection from enemies in the sky. These consisted of heavy anti-aircraft machine guns as well as small-caliber guns. The main caliber itself was always as well protected as the citadel and in some cases even better because the loss of the ability to fight back almost guarantees a ship’s destruction.

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After gathering all of these and thousands of other smaller items together, we get a complete image of the ship, which is ready to enter World of Warships.

The ship is ready, action stations!

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