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A member registered Nov 08, 2019

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I just reinstalled after a while and discovered an apparent bug:

When you skip time several months and teleport somewhere in the world, time stops passing. e.g., I changed the date from January in the afternoon to December at 7:20am, and sailed for a few hours but time never progressed from 7:20am. Only travel acceleration could make the time change (not physics speed) and nothing I could would make it 'un-stuck'. This makes longer passages fairly pointless. When just pressing 'World' to start a new game, all works as intended.

I do like the new behavior in high winds, but noticed two things that might need tweaking:

Are the courses weaker than the topsails? With no reefs in either and 50 kts of wind, I lost both courses but not the topsails.

What is the angle of vanishing stability for the ship? I think I was heeled over around 70 degrees but came up again. It happened fast though, so maybe I just couldn't judge it well.


What kind of changes were made in the first bullet point?

Yeah, maybe crank up the drag caused by the rudder to encourage good rig balance.

Notably, in HMS Surprise simulator I could never get any benefit from the historical sailplans that were designed to minimize blanketing.

Something else to consider is the lifting effect of sails. The fore course was prized because it was the only square sail thought to lift the bow rather than drive it down in the water.

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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.

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First of all, here is my information trove. The Lively-class frigate is about halfway down.

You will probably be most interested by Gustav Adolph Wasa.jpg

To take a crack at your questions:

When sources write 'close hauled' I interpret it at as 'full and by' with the sails drawing well, rather than pinching as close as possible, with sails shivering. In other words, closer to 80 degrees than 70. This is because Royal Navy sailing qualities reports contain some surprising speeds for frigates sailing close hauled. For instance, 11 knots forthe Lively-class.

I have never in all these sources heard of a ship being fastest with the wind abeam, however the sailing reports I have seen also lack that granular detail. They only ask about performance close-hauled and with the wind aft. Typically the captains want to brag about their best performance, and supply the best speed, invariably with the ship sailing large (although I suspect that this is usually closer to 100 degrees than 145).

Southampton stability: The ship won't fall over until the line falls beneath the Y axis, which is pretty close to 80 degrees for the fully loaded condition (IIRC). Substantially less for the lighter displacement. However, if the wind can heel the ship to the top of the curve, the ship will then capsize unless there is some intervention or the wind slackens.

Leeway: Your simulation already feels spot on. Negligible leeway in moderate conditions is what Harland describes, increasing drastically in heavy weather or when not enough lift is being produced. Also look at the Gustav Adolph sailing report for this. And bear in mind that the Lively, as the apex of British Napoleonic frigate design, was very weatherly.

Other random thoughts: It is possible that your simulation is a little too harsh with the sail blanketing, but I only base that on the visual appearance of the sails (mizzen making the maintopsail go slack, etc). I also really doubt that we could get the frigate to 11 knots close hauled. Heck, even 13 kts requires a gale. But that is a big mystery for me in general, because clearly these speeds were exceptional. In a simulation they would be routine. 

I am reminded of the L'Hermione version of the virtual regatta online game, where the ship maxed out at 7 kts when in reality she has made 13 no problem.

Yes but the mast is still spindly, and it's a gale. 35 kts of wind is TWICE as much pressure as 25! I can only imagine they were saying 'look what I can do!' for the sake of the experiment.

Yikes. I wouldn't recommend flying topgallants in 36 kts of wind in the simulator.

What page says they set the topgallants in Beaufort 7? (I speak Russian)

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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?

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.

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?

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.

The usual procedure was to bring the ship into the wind, then drop the anchor while making sternway. Unless there was a very tricky confined harbor, they wouldn't drop the anchor while still moving forward. I haven't actually tried backing sail that much yet. Even if that method works well, I would still say that the issue is the large disparity in deceleration time of luffing up under full sail vs drifting under bare poles.

Those are fantastic articles and definitely read them. I think your simulation already jives nicely with the information they contain.

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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.

Yes it's a classic sailing model dilemma where one improvement causes problems in another area. Getting underway is already reaaalllllly slow from a gameplay perspective (I really have no idea what's realistic here). More importantly it would make tacking a lot harder if you increased low speed drag.

How long should a ship take to slow down? Well in a small boat, you coast to a stop very rapidly, whether power or sail. The ship stops rapidly when tacking, due to wind pressure on the sails. My gut tells me that stopping due to water drag along should not be more than 2-3 times slower.
All in all, it's the kind of situation that would make me want to create some sort of artificial braking effect when the sail area is under a certain threshold.

The main thing I've noticed so far is excessive inertia in some situations. If you are sailing at 2.5 kts with the wind abeam, and then douse all your sails, the ship simply does not decelerate. I have to sit for several minutes with x256 time acceleration for my speed to drop below a knot. Must have drifted ten miles forward in a straight line before I stopped, with no leeway.

Exact same problem we in Nassau!

Of course, it might only be fixable with cheating: increase the hull drag when no sails are set. Or something like that. Drifting under bare poles with windage on the rig would also be a good feature. You could add a small invisible sail, but disable it when the bow is pointing upwind, so you don't make tacking any more difficult.

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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Do you own Arma 3? We should probably let you play an early version of the mod, for the sake of mutual inspiration. If the team is OK with it, at least.

Oh, and do I ever empathize when you talk about 'hacky' physics. If you have been able to get this far without faking almost everything, you must be Einstein. My dad is a naval architect who also did amateur development for flight sims, and he says that a square rigger simulator is drastically more complicated than anything airborne and supersonic. In Nassau I had a beautiful system of forces for the sails on the sloop, but had to basically rip it apart to make the square rigger function properly. Crazy stuff like making square sails 80 times more efficient at making headway than sternway. Although a lot of that is due to the fact that we are completely reliant on proprietary hardcoded speedboat PhysX.

Anyways, I'm not here to promote my stuff. I'll probably be playing quite a bit of Painted Ocean and sharing my thoughts.

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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?

Ahaha, I shrank my hull by accident and capsized. Kudos for having the ship float on its side like that instead of flipping over.

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Well this is totally incredible and much more than I was expecting! The simulation already feels quite mature, especially for something so finnicky and difficult to balance as getting underway from irons. 

And that's speaking as someone who's designing their own 3D square rigger simulator, as an Arma mod:

Only one problem... some joker put a honking great shoal right outside Portsmouth harbor...

And I'm just now learning that the UK doesn't put free PDF charts ANYWHERE online

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Neil, do you have a copy of John Harlands 'Seamanship in the Age of Sail'?