Game Blog: Man the Cannons!


In this post, we’re going to take a look at some of the weapons you can get in Abandon Ship.
These fit into three categories:
– Cannons
– Mortars
– Swivel Guns


You can purchase and equip weapons from Port.


Cannons appear in batteries on the port and starboard sides of the ship. Most vessels have room for two batteries on each side, but the larger the ship, the more cannons will fit.
Cannons can only fire broadsides, meaning they must be facing the enemy to be able to hit their target.


Bar Shot Swivel Gun can temporarily freeze enemy ship movement.


These weapons fire into the air, arcing down onto the enemy ship. The benefit to this is they can fire on the enemy no matter which side of your ship is facing them.
Some ships can only hold one mortar, whereas the larger ones can accommodate two.


Swivel Guns

Swivel guns are mounted on the rails of the Sick Bay and Helm sections. They are specialist weapons, geared towards either damaging the Masts and Sails (like the Chain Shot or Bar Shot) or taking out the crew on deck.




Concepts for the Lobber and Flaming Cannon models.

Manning the Guns

Weapons cannot be fired or reloaded unless manned by one of your crew.
A weapon will reload faster when manned by a crewman with a higher reload skill. Remember, all crew gain experience from performing actions, so you may want to make sure everyone gets some practice in – just in case something should happen to your main gunners.
All weapon reload performance is affected by the health of the Section they are in. If the section is damaged (in the yellow) the weapon’s reload time will be twice as long. If the section is in the red (critical), the weapon won’t reload or fire until that section is repaired out of critical condition.


Weapon Development

When creating new weapons, we start by thinking about interesting gameplay mechanics.
The Acid Bomb (shown below) was borne from the idea of an anti-personnel weapon that forces crew to move out of a location, incapacitating that area of the ship for a short duration. We thought this could provide some interesting choices to the player, such as aiming it at the winch while the enemy is trying to man it to rescue a drowning comrade. It is essentially a weapon to grief the enemy, but we’ve found those weapons to be a lot of fun!
When it comes to giving the weapon an appropriate theme, our setting provides a lot of real world reference – however for the Acid Bomb we didn’t want to re-use fire as we already had flaming weapons, so we had to think of an alternative dressing (Editor’s Note: it is at this point I should admit that I originally wanted it to fire a bee’s nest. When it landed, it would explode, sending a swarm of angry bees that eventually dispersed. This wasn’t a popular direction, but I’ll get my “Bumble-Bee Gun” in the game one day!).
We ultimately settled on Acid, as this was an idea we felt players would naturally understand, i.e. acid hurts, get away from it. It also provided a nice big green splat visual effect, which was a colour we hadn’t really used in our other weapons.
Once those decisions are made, we create concept art for what the weapon model, plus muzzle flash, projectile and impact visual effects look like. The model silhouette should be easily identifiable, as should the different explosion effects. We then use these to create the assets that get hooked up in game.


Concept sketches of the Acid Bomb Mortar.

Damage Types

The damage weapons cause roughly fall into three categories:
– Ship Damage
– Crew Damage
– Griefing/Crowd control
Not all weapons fit neatly into one category and some straddle multiple purposes.


The Flamethrower in action, decimating enemy crew.

Ship Damage

Ship damage can be to the hull (when the hull health is reduced to zero the ship will sink) or Sections (which affect ship performance).
Some weapons are specialised at causing hull cracks, which will fill the enemy’s water gauge unless the cracks are repaired. A full water gauge will sink the ship, so hull cracks are effective because they force the enemy crew to spend valuable time repairing them and pumping the water out, instead of returning fire.
There are several different types of ship damage weapons, a handful of examples include:
– Double-Shot: extremely powerful weapon but short-ranged.
– Lobber: More powerful the further away you are from the enemy.
– Section Damager: Does very high damage to sections, but no hull damage. Useful for disabling the ship.
– Chain Shot: Only targets the masts section, but does very high damage to it.


Crew Damage

The crew are the lifeblood of the ship. A reduced crew can greatly impact battle effectiveness, so an anti-personnel strategy can often be a rewarding one. If you kill all of the enemy crew and take the ship intact, you’ll also receive more gold and valuable survival supplies.
Some anti-personnel weapons are area-of-effect, like the Grapeshot. It’s short-ranged but can damage a lot of bunched up crew at once. Other weapons, such as the sniper rifle, only target individual crew but cause high damage, allowing you to focus on a key enemy crewman or one about to complete a very threatening action.


As the projectile knocked crew down, we went for a bolas type weapon trail.


These are weapons that have twists on the standard damage (some may not even cause damage at all) but can really interfere with the enemy’s plans.
They can be particularly effective if used in combination with certain other weapons or strategies. Take the “Tackler” for example. This weapon is a bit like the Sniper rifle, only it doesn’t cause damage. It targets a single crew member and knocks them to the deck, stunning them. You could use this on the person manning the wheel, allowing you to catch up or close distance with their vessel.
If someone is running to the Sick Bay to heal, hit them with the Tackler to quickly stun them while you charge up another anti-personnel weapon to finish them off. A particularly nasty bonus of the Tackler is that it can knock crew overboard. Not only is that person at risk of drowning, another crew member will have to run to the winch to save them. Suddenly the enemy has two crew occupied, from a single shot.



Flaming weapons have a chance of starting fires on the enemy deck.


Your weapons should fit into your battle strategy and combined with your Ship Upgrades (which we’ll cover in a separate post) can mean the difference between a triumphant victory or calamitous defeat.
Do you want to stay at far range and hit the enemy hard? Upgraded Masts Sections, Hull Armour and long-range weapons will be your forte.
More of an up close and personal type? Harpoons, Ramming Spikes and anti-personnel weapons will be essential to you.
Like to control and cleverly manipulate the battle? Multiple Bar Shot Swivel Guns can hit the enemy one after the other, freezing their movement for a short duration, and letting you gain the momentum.
Want to maximise your ship for seriously heavy damage? Double-Shot Cannons and Hull Destroyer Mortars will ensure your shots land with the utmost destructive force.
Of course, every weapon can also be used by the enemy, so prepare to have the same things done to you.
You’re bound to eventually come across an enemy ship that just happens to be equipped in a fashion that is your Achilles Heel. While going all out for a particular strategy can be effective, it can put you more at risk of meeting an enemy that is perfect at exploiting your weakness.
Even then, with enough Gold, you can always spec out your ship to have a different loadout per side. If one strategy isn’t working, turn the ship around and try something different.



We’ve only mentioned a small number of the weapons you can already acquire in Abandon Ship, and during Early Access we will be developing more.
We’re particularly looking forward to working with the community to come up with nasty new ways to inflict pain on the enemy!



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