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NutterChap's CRAM Crash Course



[Image: B7E328FB8923FD31E737319008151D3569A542C0]An overview of the Tutorial CRAM raft, made and used for this very guide.

For all those people with short attention spans: read the green bits. You can of course read this whole thing, but it's your time after all and there is plenty good information here. Also, you can download the attached blueprint and take a look around on it. All information presented here, is on there as well. Put it in <My Documents>/From The Depths\Player Profiles\<Profile Name>\Constructables.
If you are here purely for the example stacks, skip to chapter 5.

1. The blocks
This chapter deals with the blocks available in the CRAM catalogue, and whether you want to use them or not.

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Going from left to right:

-Laser targeter: only useful for setting timed fuses. Don't use it if you don't have timed fuses.
-(Fall-of-shot) predictor: shows shell trajectory. Worthless but expensive: don't use it.
-Fuse box: necessary otherwise you can't set fuses, and fuses are necessary. Connects only to 1 of its 6 sides, so easily put in a junction in your stack where multiple gun's components would otherwise touch and cause problems.
-Firing piece: the heart of the CRAM gun. Mandatory. Here you set packing time, RoF, accuracy, and all that. Fuses are discussed later on.
-6-way connector: does nothing but connecting CRAM blocks together to all 6 sides. Connects to all CRAM block types, keep that in mind when stacking.
-Guage increaser: each block increases the gun's guage. Highly recommended. It's stacking and it's ramifications are discussed later on.

[Image: 828A86FDEC678E295E981CDBF054D506A0B7B104]

From left to right:

-Elevation barrel: piece of ****. Don't use it.
-Motor driven barrel: use this instead. Less expensive, much quicker in traversing/elevating than the Elevation barrel.
-Barrel. Sleepy 
-Heavy barrel start/mid/end: these three only look different. Much more health and armor than the normal barrel, otherwise they're the same.
-Flash suppression barrel: only use this one if you expect LAMS. It makes the detection range of the shells much shorter. Otherwise, it's detrimental.
-Bomb chute: only handy if you make a CRAM bomber. Gives a very accurate but slow shell. Try it on your ship for giggles.
-Recoil suppression barrel: If you find yourself needing this block, you're doing something else wrong. Fix that instead. Perhaps your gun is too high up, your gun platform is too unstable... but don't use this!

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From left to right again:

-High explosive pellet box: adds HE pellets to your shell as it is filled and packed. This block explodes when it is destroyed, and may cause a chain reaction as such. It is also the most expensive pellet box, so make efficient use of these.
-Fragmentation pellet box: adds fragments to your shell as it is filled and packed. About as expensive as EMP.
-Hardener pellet box: adds Armor Pierce (AP) value and kinetic damage to your shell as it is filled and packed. Dirt cheap, just like the ammo box.
-EMP pellet box: adds EMP pellets to your shell as it is filled and packed. Hardly interesting to use.
-Ammo box: each ammo box adds 200 'ammo' to the gun it is attached to. You should have at least as much 'ammo' in ammo boxes as your shell cost, or else the gun won't load or shoot. These are dirt cheap, and also explode upon being destroyed possibly causing chain reactions. Add these to autoloader connections to speed up the reload of your gun.
-(Automatically oriented) autoloader: highly recommended, as they make your boxes more effective when connecting them to the autoloader connecting spots. These are shown as grey two-part 'flaps' in the closed position. In fact, in the image above, one such 'flaps' connection point is facing towards the camera.

2. The Loadout
This chapter deals with what the pellet boxes actually do, as well as the ammo boxes.

[Image: B460F4C4AC4B382A25EE6273B7EDE85A9388B3FA]

As already briefly explained in the previous chapter, the pellet boxes and ammo boxes decide for 75% what your gun's performance will be. Mainly, these dictate what your shell will be filled with and thus, what your shell will do when it detonates.

Each pellet box contributes to the total stream of pellets that is being put into your shell while the gun reloads (filling) and even after (!) the gun has reloaded (packing). Thus, a CRAM that hasn't shot in a while has a bigger punch than a CRAM that fires immediately after reloading. Of course, the precise mixture of pellets in your shell depends on the ratio of 'connections' between the involved pellets. If you have 10 hardener box connections, 10 frag box connections and 30 HE box connections, 50% of the pellets are HE, 25% hardener and 25% frag.  You can check the number of connected boxes by looking at your firing piece/barrel/6-way connector/... and look roughly  half-way to the bottom of the list of statistics.

The shell has an effective volume that can be filled with pellets. A smaller guage, as well as more fuses, will decrease the effective volume.The formula for the effective volume is (as taken from the wiki):

Effective volume = 10 * V * S * (1-0.9^D)

V = the volume of the shell, or: (Guage/400)^1.8 - (0.25*nr of fuses)
S = total number of pellet connections divided by connections of this pellet type
D = total number of pellet connections divided by the volume of the shell

Starting with the hardener pellets. More hardener pellet 'connections' in your gun's stack will add more AP and kinetic damage to your shell as it gets filled. Each hardener connection generally adds 1.5 AP, and add 100 kinetic damage per effective volume filled with hardener pellets.

HE boxes work much the same: each box gives 200 explosive damage per effective volume filled.

The number of fragments added to your shell per fragment box is
(Number of Fragmentation connections) * (Guage/400)^1.8 - (0.25*nr of fuses).

Only 60 fragments are actually spawned and therefore calculated. If your shell statistics show your shell has 60 or less fragments, your shell will spawn that number of fragments, each doing 100 damage @ 10 AP. The shell statistics may show you have 300 fragments. This would result in 300*100 damage = 30.000 damage total. This is then divided by 60: each fragment will actually do 500 damage @ 10 AP.

EMP follows the same formula as fragments, but multiplies the outcome by 10. You can easily check this by adding a fragmentation connection as well as a single EMP connection to the gun, and then increase the guage.

While each ammo box presents 200 ammo that can be put into the new shell, attaching the ammo box to an autoloader connection will not just add the 200 ammo, but actually decrease reload time. When you look at the firing piece of your CRAM (and barrel, and guage increaser, and 6-way connector, for that matter), you can see the actual reload time as well as a 'Minimum reload time'. Forget that minimum reload time, as it is downright unavailable. Getting to that means you need to exceed the block limit of your gun just in ammo boxes, 6-way connectors and reloaders, and still come short.

[Image: 41FA7F763345761FB8568149A91E860F94D46960]

As you can see in the above picture, while it only takes 'some' ammo boxes to significantly decrease the reload time, that large pile of CRAM machine in the background was not even enough to get that so-called 'minimum reload time'. Thus, I'll just stick to actual reload time. The formula of reload time is shown below (as taken from the wiki).

Reload time in seconds = (G/400)^1.5 + (G/400)^1.5 * (10 / (1+n) )^1.5

n = number of autoloader connections to ammo boxes
G = the gun's guage

You may as well forget about that formula. If you want to increase your reload speed, add more autoloader-connections to ammo boxes.
Also, each ammo box ownership the gun has, gives 1 ammo per second. This passive ammo regeneration makes it possible for the CRAM stack to be relatively self sufficient.

Attached Files
.blueprint   CRAM Guide.blueprint (Size: 436.28 KB / Downloads: 44)


(There is) A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
-Ecclesiastes 3:3

3. The Barrels

This chapter is about guage size, barrel length, and all that.
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The barrel of your CRAM can be long, thick, quickly elevating, or slow, thin and slim. These are all connected with eachother and with your shell's final statistics.
As your shell is filled and packed, it is launched from the firing piece, through the barrel. The barrel, thus, is the last thing that actually alters your shell's statistics. Here are the take-aways:
-If you want more shell speed and accuracy: longer barrel
-If you want less recoil or lower shell speed (higher projectile flight arc): shorter barrel
A longer barrel, then, seems the better choice. yet it increases recoil dramatically. A longer barrel will also need more motor-driven barrel pieces to be able to elevate far enough. If you want the full 45° of elevation motor-driven barrels can give you, make half the barrel out of motor-driven barrels. To get the same kind of elevation, no traverse and slower traverse/elevation speed, you need to build three-quarters of the barrel out of elevation barrel pieces. Good deal, huh?
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As can be seen in the above image, higher barrel guage makes for more accurate and faster projectiles as well. Higher shell speed equals higher kinetic damage. That is without adding additional Hardener pellet boxes!
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To increase the guage of your gun, you must place guage increasers. For all the benefits a higher guage intrinsically has, there is also the additional cost: as the image above shows, larger guage guns require exponential amounts of guage increasers.


(There is) A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
-Ecclesiastes 3:3

4. The Stack

This chapter deals with what the CRAM stack is, what the design rules are, and more of that good stuff.
[Image: 58ACA4D649DDFD9848CE2818D4AB43020818C2D5]
The CRAM stack is everything of the CRAM gun that is not guage increaser, firing piece, or barrel. In the above image, you can see three stacks. In the right stack, you see a fragment box simply connected straight to the 6-way connector. This will yield 0.5 'connections' worth of fragments. The middle stack has the fragment box connected via an autoloader, thus creating a single autoloader connection. Each autoloader connection counts as a full 'connection'. Adding the 0.5 'connection' for taking ownership of the fragment box, results in 1.5 'connections'. The left stack has the fragment box surrounded on all sides by autoloaders, thus creating a 6-way autoloader connection spot. Now, this single fragmentation box counts as 6 'connections', plus the 0.5 connection bonus for being attached to this gun: the single box now counts as 6.5 boxes! Surround expensive boxes like HE and frag with as many autoloader connections as you can!
[Image: 912CB4D233299B8C0E517E8D8319FF66F49CC35D]
The above image shows 2 situations where two guns share the same stack. On the left, you see ammo boxes connected to 6-way connectors as well as through autoloaders. because the game recognized the blue gun first, both ammo boxes give their 200 ammo AND their reload bonus to the blue gun. The HE pellet box is an example: all pelelt boxes (so NOT the ammo boxes) can be shared between guns, as long as they are connected via autoloaders. While the blue gun got the 0.5 'connection' bonus since it was recognized by the game as being placed first, the autoloader connections are perfectly shared: blue now has 3.5 HE while red has 3.
Only share pellets boxes through autoloader connections: ammo boxes cannot be shared.
Autoloaders are also subject to the game recognizing one firing piece being placed before the other. This even happens when you used Mirror to place them both. The original, thus first firing piece, takes ownership of the attached boxes, thus it gets all the 0.5 'connection' bonusses of them. In the stack on the right, the red gun claims the ownership of the HE box since that autoloaders is connected to both guns. Now, the full autoloader 'connection' goes to the red gun, even though the blue gun is also attached to the bottom autoloader. The top autoloader is oriented such, that one of its connection points (flaps) is facing the red gun, thus the red gun is not connected to it. Now, the blue gun has full ownership of the fragment box on top. If autoloaders touch multiple gun stacks, use the connection 'flaps' to disconnect it from all but one of the gun stacks.
[Image: 211B209E76B349A88B428E0C08BC390B6E4BA443]
Thus, when you finished your stack and plan to load it out, make sure you take the shared spots into account. In the above picture, the shared spots are marked in orange. If you plan to go 'quick and dirty' on your loadout, or as a first guesstimate, you can do the following:
-Fill in all unshared connections, that are on the outside of the stack, with ammo boxes
-Fill in all shared spots with HE boxes
-Fill in the rest with hardener.
[Image: 67AE592D1C83570438C580B6D3631D97876AD87E]
A special case here are the guage stacks. They should be seen as partly separate from the rest. Guage increasers also have ownership difficulties. If they touch fuse boxes, barrels, pellet boxes or autoloaders, all is OK. But if they touch anything else, their ownership defaults to the first placed firing piece. On the right, the stack is faulty: guage blocks that were meant to be for the blue gun are owned by the red gun, as they are connected to it as well and it is placed first. On the left, the solution is shown: use guage corners to prevent one gun from taking all guages.
5. Stacking Methods
This chapter shows 3 stacking methods that should get you right on track.
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This first image shows the so-called 2-D stack. This is the most simple stack type.
-Decide on a turret cross-section (in this example, 7 meters)
-Try and fit in as many connections as possible for the number of guns you want, in this single layer
-Fill the layer with boxes, and make a prefab from it
-Stack the prefabbed layers to the desired height
If you have managed to design the perfect layer and stacked it, the CRAM gun should already be pretty good. But you leave a lot on the table as there are no connections up or down, only within the layer itself. This is very inefficient.

[Image: 541962F2FF6E8898504C46E821F1708E4F4828DE]
The image above shows the so-called 'splut' stacking method, shown to me by TheLightLOD. This method is all about building spines as neatly as possible into the chosen shape of the turret, and then connecting all the spines.
-First create a stack of 6-way connectors in the longitudinal direction (upwards for a turret)
-place 'branches' of connectors: left-right, then up 2 steps, then front-back, then up two steps, repeat
-Place autoloaders around the branches so that you create spots with 4 connections
-Fill the pots with the boxes of your liking
-Build additional spines, and connect them all up
For a turret with 3 meters diameter, this stack is ideal. For most other sizes, you will always leave some space in the stack as the spines don't fill everything up. You can use these spaces for fuses and guage increasers.
[Image: 6A954C991D28E1459E25CF50EC20718E51A2013F]
Another method that can give great results for any size and shape is the STAR stack.
-Choose a cross section
-Try and get as many 6-way connectors with 4 autoloaders in the cross-section. (See image above, bottom half)
-Fill in the gaps with boxes of your choice
-Now build the interposing layer: place autoloaders with connections up-down on top of every box
-Place 6-way connectors on top of the 6-way connectors you already had
-Place as few 6-way connectors as you can to reach all the floating autoloaders
-Reorient the autoloaders so that their remaining connecction either disconnects it from another gun, or faces an empty spot where as many other connections are pointing to as well
-Make a prefab from both layers, and paste this prefab to the desired height.
-Connect everything up with 6-way connectors. (here you can choose how many guns this stack actually feeds)
If you have an uneven number of layers, always choose to have the layer with the most connections (typically NOT the interposing layer) on the top and the bottom.
Finally, you can of course custom-build your stack, which is a great idea. Since 6-connection spots are the most efficient use of space, it may be best to build around a 3x3xn core with 6-way connections all the way. The best 5meter diameter turret stack is in fact based on this very concept, and was shown to me by Tryptic. The example turret  in the center of the Tutorial raft is an example of a 7 meter diameter stack that can be built around this core.


(There is) A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
-Ecclesiastes 3:3

6. Blowing a fuse
This chapter deals with fuses and their uses.

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You can add as many fuses as you like via a single fuse box. However, each fuse takes up space. If your caliber is small enough and you choose too many fuses, you can end up having a shell that does no damage at all.

The most common fuses are Inertial fuse, penetration depth fuse, time after impact fuse, low/high altitude fuses and the timed fuse.

Timed fuses are used to make sure the shell detonates x seconds after launch. You can give a time offset in the laser targeter block. The time you set in the fuse itself is merely the time set in the fuse when there is no time given by the laser targeter. If you want to penetrate armor with this fuse, make sure to give a positive time setting in the laser targeter, following the same logic as a normal time-after-impact fuse.

The low/high altitude fuses detonate when your shell reaches certain height and then goes above or below it. In ship-to-ship combat, a low-altitude fuse set to -10 is handy to ensure that even a near miss may still cause damage, and the shell can still hit deep into the ship.

Time-after-impact does what it says on the tin: the shell detonates x seconds after impact. You can use these to penetrate armor: set the time to shell velocity divided by maximum distance traveled until detonation. For a 160m/s shell, a setting of 0.1 seconds will have the shell detonate 16 meters after the point of impact, not accounting for shell slowdown by losing kinetic damage by breaking through the armor blocks.

Penetration depth fuses work much the same: set the number of meters that the shell must penetrate before it detonates. Mind: hitting a 4m beam lengthwise appears to count as only 1 meter.

Inertial fuses can be set to detonate when the shell undergoes a change in direction greater than x degrees. This is great against shields. It appears that this also causes a full shell detonation when the shell hits the water, after which the shell travels on to detonate again.

Do keep in mind that when a shell has depleted all kinetic energy and thus its speed, by breaking through blocks, the shell will detonate on its own, when there are no fuses installed. Thus, an unfused shell will happily bounce and then go its merry way without further damaging the target. Always use fuses!

Now go and make the best CRAM stack you've ever created!

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(There is) A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
-Ecclesiastes 3:3

Great! Now I can learn how to cram, at last!

Tiny note, iirc adding single elevation barrel allows slightly less motor barrels to achieve 45° elevation, though slower and with narrow traverse (12°?). Also it raises maximum elevation, if you for some reason want to launch giant explodey barrels into space.
"Useful" for aesthetic purpose. Don't like guns suddenly poking almost sideways from turrets.
Makes things.
The fastest thing in the universe is sluggish... Years, decades, centuries from star to star.

So much detail! Outstanding job NutterChap!
primum non nocere
my tournaments:
★★★ Sea Encounters - Battleships! ★★★
★★★ Sea Encounters - Light Cruisers ★★★

Great guide, thanks a lot! Perfect for getting ready for Menti's upcoming tournament.

"Timed fuses are used to make sure the shell detonates x times after launch. You can give a time offset in the laser targeter block. The time you set in the fuse itself is merely the time set in the fuse when there is no time given by the laser targeter. If you want to penetrate armor with this fuse, make sure to give a negative time setting in the laser targeter."
1)It should be "X time after launch"
2) IIRC negative time offset meant premature detonation.

(2018-08-20, 12:49 PM)Fernir Wrote: "Timed fuses are used to make sure the shell detonates x times after launch. You can give a time offset in the laser targeter block. The time you set in the fuse itself is merely the time set in the fuse when there is no time given by the laser targeter. If you want to penetrate armor with this fuse, make sure to give a negative time setting in the laser targeter."
1)It should be "X time after launch"
2) IIRC negative time offset meant premature detonation.

I think you hit the nail on the head. I knew there was something fishy with the timer on the laser targeter, so thanks for pointing this out. It's fixed now.


(There is) A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
-Ecclesiastes 3:3

The elevation barrel has one specific use: Turn the normal 45° azimuth-45° elevation ranges into 22.5° azimuth-80° elevation ranges. So you will ever need one at most and using more than one will slow down barrel traverse speed, as well as reducing azimuth range. These ranges are also local to the firing piece and together on a turret, CRAM-cannons can have a very wide firing arc that even APS can't reach. Very useful for Airships.

Also, you can combine the suppressor barrel and the bomb chute to reduce detection range of the CRAM-bombs.
When having problems please provide:
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