Disclaimer: These suggestions are based on my current knowledge of confirmed mechanics. I am too lazy to verify my facts, but not lazy enough not to write them down, so some of these points might already be in the game.
These are my suggestions for Naval Combat that I came up with talking to other members.Major changes:Cannon ball physics:
Physics for cannon ball that allow them to bounce or glance off objects. Hulls were curved so that light shots, and even heavier shots, would be deflected and wouldn't penetrate the armour. Raking was also very effective because the shots would often bounce off cannons, masts, etc. meaning that it would travel back and forth along the length of the ship, killing crew and damaging equipment.
These 2 things were a big part of naval combat, and I would love to see them in action in HoldFast.Damage system:
This one is probably a confirmed feature, but I'm gonna include it anyway. Simply have damage dealt to the different sections of the ship have different effects on it's handling and survival.
Damage below the water line would cause the ship to take in water. Damage to the sails and masts would reduce the sailing efficiency, and demast the ship if the mast takes too much damage. Damage to the rudder would reduce the ship turning rate and damage to the pump would reduce the pump's efficiency. All of these damages should be repairable (except maybe rudder damage).Raising/Lowering the sails:
Probably the feature that is the most lacking at the moment. Have the sails raised, lowered and turned manually by the crew. Simply have a rope on opposite sides to raise and lower the riggings, one system for each mast. Minimum of 2 sailors required to use (1 on each side), and voilà, you have a crude but working and realistic riggings system.Minor points:Splinters:
The biggest killer (or at least wounder) was splinters. Most people weren't killed or wounded by cannon balls, they were injured by the splinters they caused.Heeling:
Suggestion of Karshaw, ships would heel a few degrees on either side because of the wind and waves. Holes that were previously above the water line would be submerged and start to leak.Failing cannons:
Another leading cause of injury was cannons exploding. There were many causes for that, maybe the sponger didn't remove all the black powder, but in any case it would cause horrible burns to the arms and face. You could make a religion out of that.Fire:
It was one of the 3 most frequent way that ships would sink, along with combat and storms. Fire aboard a ship was terrible and terrifying, it is a must.Cannon in the distance:
Courtesy of James Brock, a fellow Canadian. Being able to hear the soft thump of cannons in the distance would add a lot to the immersion. Cheers mate Lateen vs Square-Rigged:
Pretty simple change, lateen should be better at close-hauled, while square-rigged should be better at running.