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Your mast damage and weather engine is truly impressive. I have two feature ideas (one probably easy, one probably really hard) in that department:

Make topmasts break randomly, not based on a threshold. Currently the masts seem to carry away very consistently based on wind strength. I recommend changing it to a percent chance over time, so that it takes a few minutes on average. That will make it possible to capsize in a storm, which makes things much more exciting. You could also make it more likely that the courses will blow out, rather than taking down the whole lower mast.

Also, large waves could generate big foam objects to simulate breaking crests. You could give these the ability to capsize a ship if struck right on the beam, and apply turning force if pooped. That would really make storms terrifying. The probability of breaking could increase when wind is against the swell direction.

Also, do you think there's any latitude for plugging in more detailed sections of coastline?

That's a good point about masts and sails. At the moment it's actually supposed to work the way you say, but I haven't tuned the probabilities well so things seem to break straightaway.

Waves already move the ship, at least in a simple-minded way through buoyancy. The flooding system I want to implement would be something like - when the local height of the sea is above the hatches or whatever, then you take on water that can sink or destabilize you. Is there some other mechanism that should be happening if you are struck on the beam?

Detailed coastlines - maybe. Right now Portsmouth harbour is just a 3d model loaded into the scene. Issues come with when you need a different style of rendering for it (say if it has trees) and how to deal with level-of-detail and time compression.

Currently behavior in waves is just fine. You wouldn't expect the ship to capsize because the game's waves are never breaking. So if it isn't possible to make the waves occasionally steeper, it might be worth faking it somehow with foam FX and a buoyancy object or something.

I think of waves in a strong storm as a numbers game where you might get unlucky and have one break right on top of you. So in gameplay terms, being beam on to the seas would expose you to a possible knockdown.


Also, given the whole-world capabilities of the game, probably the most important feature is windowed mode (so it can run in the background while unpaused) and a save function. Unity will provide that, right?

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Iinstead of reefing the topgallants (which was not always done), I recommend making that button simply lower the sail to the level of the reefed topsail instead. Then we can actually create the sailplan described by the UI: 'topgallants over reefed topsails'. They would never allow a big gap underneath the foot of the sail like that. It would also be cool if the topsail could be reefed several times, with each command of 'reef' and 'set' moving up or down one level.

A simple texture adjustment to the sails to depict the reef bands would help cue the player in.


Edit: I have been restraining myself from proposing UI changes because I know it's a pain in the ass and probably not your priority just now. But there are two things that could be really helpful:

1. A 'miles travelled since noon' counter;

2. A small arrow showing whether the wind is rising or falling.

If you are worried about screen real estate, I personally do not find myself using any compass other than the popup one in the lower left corner. Maybe others would feel differently though.


Anyways, just had a great Atlantic crossing, the 'Battle' location to Guadeloupe by March 12th!


When I got there I almost ran aground because you can look 'underneath' the island, which floats in the air. Is this a common issue? You move the camera and suddenly more land appears.

Thanks for all the comments.

 - Running windowed should already be possible, through the unity resolution menu. Holding shift when you start the game should give this.

- You don't automatically get saving and loading in Unity. I'm not sure it's worth it for a sandbox like this.

- Good point about reefing topgallants. There's a general UI issue about reefing and storms, namely, how can the player tell whether they have too much sail. You could put a strain gauge somewhere, or have it done automatically or get suggestions from your lieutenants; or keep things immediate and unsubtle.

- Sails aren't textured at all at the moment.

- "Miles travelled" - would be a good thing to put on the map when I redo it.

- Wind rising or falling - For one thing, there should be a more intuitive display of the wind level, at least something graphical with the pointer on the compass. For another, the wind changing is only an issue when using time acceleration, and time acceleration in general should be made less unfriendly to the player and, e.g., make or take in sail automatically, as though the watch-officer was doing it.

- I'm glad someone made it across the Atlantic. Right now there is no collision testing done between the camera and terrain - it sounds like you have the camera inside the terrain.

Implementing a watch-officer in a form of pre-scripted sequences of orders for various actions, like getting under way, turning to given course, tacking, wearing, heaving to, shortening sail due to weather change could be a very large step towards implementing an independent AI.

As would happen in reality, certain things can be done by the watch officer automatically, and certain can be prompted to the player for confirmation.

Having made it across the ocean, I no longer feel the need for a save feature right away. You can just write down your position and time, then start a new game, teleport to that position and move the clock forward. I suppose any broken masts would reappear, though.


Regarding the terrain, my camera definitely wasn't inside anything. I was zoomed in one my ship right in the middle of Basse-Terre harbor, looking east. Unfortunately I couldn't figure out how to take a screenshot.

Terrain shouldn't be popping in - I'm not doing anything that fancy. Possibly you had ended up with your ship inside the terrain? The collision detection won't do anything when you are well inside, say by teleporting. You shouldn't be able to sail through it, but this might break down if time acceleration is very high.

Nope, I sailed there in real time, then sailed out again. The map was showing me a bit father west than in reality, but definitely in deep water. Again, the extent terrain being drawn was dependent on camera angle (or perhaps altitude). At low angles I could see the 2-D tree objects on the horizon, while moving the camera up revealed the outlines of the blocky island object itself.


I just teleported there on my work PC and everything looks normal, though. Actually the coast is more detailed this time around. Could there be LoD issues for rendering terrain when using travel mode?

One other thought and then I will cool it with the feature requests:


I did get Windowed mode to work, but the game still pauses itself when I click on to some other program (web browser, etc). In my mind, the holy grail here is the ability to sail across the ocean in real time (like a prettier 19th Century version of the browser-based virtual regatta games). I love the idea of just letting the ship sail for 8 hours a day while I'm at work, listening to the wind in the background, and checking the weather every hour or so. But if the game pauses itself, this isn't possible. Yes, I can use travel mode to cross the Atlantic in 20 minutes or so, but that doesn't have the same romance to it.

To reply to your earlier post - there isn't any LoD, it just draws everything within about 200km of you, or whatever the range is that gives some chance of it showing on the horizon. I can afford this, as the land has a resolution of about 5km. 

HOWEVER - the way travel acceleration works is that it leaves you moving at the same speed through your own patch of ocean, and instead  just moves all the land around you, at high speed in the opposite direction.  So the game usually takes place near to the centre of the initial coordinate system, and I'm not sure what happens if someone sails in the same direction for very long in real time. It's possible you could sail out of the world. (On the other hand, I only put stars in recently.  They should stay around the ship.)

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Sounds like the travel acceleration was probably to blame then.

Would running the game in the background be as simple as this?

https://answers.unity.com/questions/9899/how-do-you-keep-your-game-running-even-...

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Just checking in: Is there any possibility of letting the game run in the background when minimized? Being able to do that at work would let me get a lot more testing done. Been too busy, otherwise.