I don't usually post to the motorboat side of the discussions as I didn't buy a copy of Motorboat Sim. Barry directed me here after I sent him an email. To tell the truth, I didn't want to buy the MBS because I was having so much trouble with the copy of Sailsim. I bought the SS 4.0 many years ago, and a friend gave me a copy of Sailsim 4.2 (which I thought was a nice improvement in many ways). The sky is the biggest problem ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ just a white glare in the 4.2 while the 4.0 still works pretty well (???). Sailing around as if I were the last man on earth (with the exception of my maties dancing in front to keep the boat on keel) is also a bummer.
Still, I must side with Barry in saying that Sailsimulator is about the best simulator out there. Virtual Skipper doesn't have quite the right feel (and I don't like racing all the time ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ nothing like a quiet cruise, switch on the autopilot, go to the galley and make yourself a sandwich ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ but I digress), nor does Virtual Sailor feel right (although there are a lot of interesting boats). Stentec seems to be the only company that cares about fluid dynamics (sea or air) ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ and if anyone read the company profile or took a look at who's in the company, you'd see that Kuik's specialty is fluid dynamics. You might also see that Stentec is really a typical programming firm ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ small. For the gamers out there, you see a lot of titles under some familiar names like Ubisoft. Those big names are mostly publishing companies that little programming firms use to get there products sold. Most games take a couple of years to make, and many of these companies are really about one or two products and nothing more. Even the companies right on the edge of technology can go under ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ Cyan Worlds (which did the Myst games ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ splendid graphics!) has recently gone out of business (well, everyone but the owner and his partner got laid off). So, I will also ask everyone to have a bit of understanding ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ you can't have a handful of programmers and keep three or four products up to date. Stentec obviously has it's priorities. That's business.
Anyway, if you read the company profile, you'd also see that Sailsimulator was a secondary money-making product (though, a pretty dang good one) ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ thought up after a sailing excursion. Being American, I must say to Stentec ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ "Hey you guys! Ya gotta start thinking BIG!" I feel Stentec is a little short on vision, if not money (but then every little company is a bit ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ eh?). So, even though I mentioned this in different threads, perhaps it'll get some feed back from the folks here. So here are my two bits:
1. Get rid of Sail Simulator and Motorboat Simulator ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ rework it all into a motor/sail simulator. Let's have it all in one program. SS 4.2 looks as if it takes up a third of a CD with all the extras ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ you've got lots of room to put something else on it ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ heck, a DVD can hold around 4GB, so lots can be added. Anyway, in real life we all sail and motor together, so why not in a sim too.
2. Think about ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE and get the computer sailing some boats too. I'd like to practice getting into a busy marina or racing against my PC (instead of the clock) when I can't get on-line (which is perpetual problem where I am). It would be a bonus to people trying to learn the rules of right-of-way if we could see other boats coming and going (the educational aspect, you see ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ don't just learn to sail, learn to sail with good manners!).
3. Try linking your products together ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ what better way to sell WinGPS to fools like me (I don't own a boat) than being able to use it in my Motor-Sail-Sim. The more realistic, the better ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ no?
4. Get the scenery designer tool up to scratch for more realistic sceneries. Anybody who has the money can buy navigation charts, and those enthusiasts, who would like, could build some routes for the rest of us (I'd volunteer to do one or two myself ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ we could all put in our two cents!). Wouldn't it be nice if we could just scan the chart and get a DEM automatically? Of course, DEM's go hand in hand with WinGPS and the Motor-Sail-Sim (see it on the chart, sail through it on the screen!).
That's a good start. Recently, I've decided to broaden my horizons and try to learn a bit about 3D design. I've been designing model sailing ships for years, but it would be nice if I could set my feet on them (so to speak) and sail a few of them. But I know that's a bit complicated (well, from what I've read in the books), and yacht design programs that can determine with large amounts of accuracy how a boat will perform run into the hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. That would make Motor-Sail-Sim too expensive for me. However, why doesn't Stentec reach out to yacht and motorboat companies and get their boats on Motor-Sail-Sim? People would say "Hey! Before I buy that Swan 70 footer, let's take a look at it on that Motor-Sail-Sim." I'm sure that some of those companies would pay BIG money (as we say in America) to have their boats represented on a good simulation ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ a bit of advertising for them, no? Barry's idea of designing and sailing our own boats is a nice idea though. I'm a particular fan of Herreshoff yachts myself (and those can't be bought much anymore).
Has anyone looked at Microsoft Flight Simulator? I have a friend who is a fanatic about it. Did you know that you can take off, fly, and land almost anywhere in world? Did you know that many of the destinations and planes are made by the millions of people who use the program? When I talked to my friend about Sailsim ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ you know, all the nice things about it (wind, waves, sail movement, etc. - and there's nothing like that wake or the luff in SS) ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ he looked at me and said, "But where can you go? I can go anywhere in my flight sim."
So, my dream would be to do almost that (one couldn't sail to Mongolia after all). Flight Simulator makes use of those handy coordinates that sailors have been using for years (not to mention those GPS systems too) ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ so why not Motor-Sail-Sim? We ought to be able to sail anywhere the wind takes us. I've always wanted to do some ocean sailing ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ a trans-Atlantic run or a cruise around the Mediterranean. Since the DEM's use those handy coordinates, and a scenery is divided into many little squares anyway, why not get things linked up? Barry is complaining about the routes not being big enough, but if you could get the computer to bring up a scenery just as you are about to sail into it, you could sail on endlessly (as long as you had scenery for it ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ and in this case, small route sizes would be to advantage). Think of it! Eventually ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ not over night ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ we could have the world's oceans and seas mapped out to sail over. I imagine Barry himself mapping out the British Isles while Alex single-handedly charts the Baltic. Maybe we could get Altug to do the Mediterranean? Well, by setting a few standards and using those handy coordinates, it could get it all mapped out eventually. Don't forget that this would work great with WinGPS too.
So to summarize my two bits more:
1. Get those yacht and motorboat companies to pay Stentec to present their boats on the new and fantastic ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ up-to-date ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ Motor-Sail-Sim. Remember, once you get one company to do it, nobody will want to be left out, be left behind. It would be nice to allow users to design and sail their own boats or provide some sort of tool to design a boat (to have predictable and realistic simulation results). I'd also like to have more flexibility to texture my boats - like a texture for the deck and tub, etc. And I'd like to be able to write the name of my boats up near the bow (which I could only do on the America's class with much difficulty). And I'd like to at least be able to choose the color of the railing on my boats.
2. Get those sceneries organized so we can sail from one scenery into another scenery for non-stop sailing ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ transoceanic and what not. Let's use those Volvos for what they were meant to be used for! We shouldn't think of size ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ we should think of modules. Take graphic cards as an analogy ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ they're not getting better because they're bigger. They're getting better because they're connecting two or more processors together ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ dual and quad processors (CPU's are going the same direction, something IBM has had in the works since the late 80's). Anyway, if you're sailing out to sea, the land disappears under the horizon - so scenery of the open ocean shouldn't be hard to do. As it is, you can sail off the scenery forever into an endless ocean. I'd like to get somewhere if I did it though - with charts all the way! I wonder if Stentec could get the land to appear to rise out of the sea as it does in real life when you approach land.
Ok, I've mentioned the main things I'd like to see happening. If I had the money, I'd do it myself because I think it'd make a great product reaching into many market sectors and gluing them together. But now I'd like to mention the cherries on top of the ice cream, so to speak. I'd really like to see DYNAMIC WEATHER in my Motor-Sail-Sim. I mean, if you really think of it, when you're out there on the water and land is a bit far away and all those pretty little houses and buildings are far, far away and barely distinguishable, all you have is the majesty of the sea and sky! I'd like to see the sky do something. Afterall, part of the learning tool could be when, say, you see a storm start to blow in, how you sail yourself out of it as the wind and waves pick up. I'd also like to see more interaction between the land, sea, and wind - especially how the wind interacts when coming upon little islands and other objects (as currently, it just seems to flow through them, not around them). I'd also like to have DYNAMIC LIGHTING. I'd like to see the jib's shadow on the mainsail. I'd like to see better shadows everywhere, actually. I'd also like to see STARS at night. It would be great if we could get the real constellations up there realistically from wherever we sail in the world.
Ok, that's it. I suppose this got a little long, but I've had my finger in the dyke and a whole sea behind waiting to come in. But did anybody read to the end, I wonder.