Hehe, I think I'm getting way over my head with this. But siege engines will play a part in Elemental and the better we can make them the better the game will be. Im going to try to post this in chunks no more than one screen in height, I have a pretty big monitor so this might vary for you guys.
So, what is a box magazine?
Technically a box magazine is just a magazine, shaped like a box. A magazine is a clip with a dispensing mechanism. So the real question is what is a clip? A clip is something that contains ammunition. The size and shape of this clip varies depending on the weapon it is designed for. The purpose of a clip is to keep the ammunition together so that you can place it inside a dispensing mechanism, forming a magazine. Alternately the clip can be used to load ammo into a magazine, after which it is discarded.
The former option is the one we will use for the bolt thrower. It has all of the advantages we need.
Above the bolt thrower firing track there is a large rail, mounted on this rail is a rectangular box shaped assembly open at the top and at either ends.. This is the box magazine that will dispense bolts downwards onto the firing track. By itself it is simply a box, plus a few springs which will come into play later.
The clip used is a framework of wood shaped like a rectangular tube. Inside the clip are a series of rails which grip the bolts inside by the head and fins, preventing them from sliding out of either end of the clip. Both sides of the clip have spring loaded flaps which open when the clip is placed inside the magazine, allowing the bolts to exit. This allows the clip to placed in the magazine either end up.
The method used to place the clips into the magazine varies depending on where the bolt thrower is deployed.
- The most convenient method is to drop the clip into the open topped magazine. However this can only be done if the loader is elevated above the rest of the crew or the bolt thrower is tilted backwards and the rear is lowered into easy reach. This is common in defensive situations where the bolt throwers don't move or aim much.
- The most common method in the field is to rest one end of the clip on the back edge of the magazine and slide it inside. This method does not work if the bolt thrower is tilted too far in one direction.
- If the bolt thrower is depressed forward to shoot at a low target there are only two ways to reload it. The first is to load the thrower from the front, hardly ideal to say the least. The second involves a special bracket mounted at the end of the magazine.
To use it the clip is rested on the back of the magazine at a right angle to the firing track. The clip is then slid upwards until little tabs on either side slot into the bracket. This arrangement is finely balanced so that the back end of the clip can be raised like a teeter totter until the clip is inline with the magazine. The tabs and bracket prevent it from sliding out of place as this happens. It then it pops free of the bracket and gravity takes over to slide it the rest of the way.
(all of this makes a lot more sense if I draw a picture)
How the empty clip is extracted varies. If the clip was loaded by dropping it into the magazine, the now empty clip can be lifted up and out in the same fashion.
In other cases the magazine has an ejection mechanism for use in instances where gravity doesn't do the job. A series of springs in the magazine are coiled by the weight of the clip coming in. If the magazine isn't slanted enough for momentum alone to wind them a loader can coil the springs by pulling a handle. Once wound they have more than enough kick to boot an empty clip out of the magazine.
The clip is usually ejected backwards where it is picked up and set aside to be reloaded later. When speed is of the essense the clip is ejected forwards over the bows. If the bolt thrower is aimed over the edge of a castle wall this tends to result in the loss of the clip.
In special circumstances it is possible to rig the magazine mechanism so that the bolt thrower strings can be used to throw an entire clip, filled or empty, as if it were just another bolt. This is not done very often, usually in cases where the bolt thrower must be disarmed and packed up in a hurry for evacuation.