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Telstar 28
43,289 Posts
I'm combining my two loves, game design and sailing, to create a leisure game for portable platforms (phones, tablets, etc).

I'm new to sailing. I just started reading The Complete Sailor (great book) and in the spring I will take lessons and go sailing on my own while being supervised by friends and family that know how to sail. But here is where I need your help:
Good plan and glad you like the book. :D

In the game, you start off with a small, 'okay' boat. The MO is to sail around (with a wind physics engine and game controls that will mimic controlling a sail boat as accurately as possible) and find sunken treasure or maybe discover/chart islands. There will probably be other things to do too. But you use the wealth you accumulate from these activities to upgrade and enhance your boat. New sails, new hulls, new radars and weather equipment, etc etc.

  • What different things could I have on a sail boat that could be 'upgraded' besides sails, hulls, and radar?
  • If you had to put sails, hulls, etc in order from worst performance to best performance, how would that order go?
Things you could upgrade:

Sail Rig—the style of the rig would affect the boat's ability to move and how well it handled—Cat rig, lateen, crab claw, sloop, cutter, schooner, ketch, square rigger, would limit or improve the boat's ability to sail to windward, etc. Also, changing the material the rig was made of could be used to affect the boat's ability to point, how tender it was, etc—Carbon fiber, wood, aluminum.

Sail material—The material of the sails would affect the boat's ability to point and efficiency of the sails. Of course, this is a smaller effect than the rig design. Putting kevlar laminate sails on a square rigger doesn't make much sense. :D

Hulls—Not only you can change hull designs—monohull, catamaran, trimaran, proa, but you could also change the materials—wood, fiberglass, cored fiberglass, cold-molded wood/epoxy, etc.

Instruments—Similar to what happens in some other simulators, you could give bonuses to performance based on what instruments the boat had equipped... Basic telltales, wind instruments, GPS, RADAR, etc. Now, in real life, things like GPS and RADAR don't really have much effect on sailing performance, other than helping the skipper help maximize VMG.

btw, I don't mean brands, I mean sail types (square, lateen, marconi, etc) though if there are different fabrics sails are made out of that could be considered better or worse, that would be very appreciated information!

Thank you so much, I can't wait to make this.
Hope that helps...

33 Posts
I dislike being the person that has to say this but: Did anyone even read my first post? Only one person answered my question...
I thought I did. All the things that you mentioned exist in Virtual Sailor. I suggested you maybe take a look at that for inspiration.

Different boats, rigs, sails, instruments, maps,'s all there. And any changes affect performance. I know if I were trying to do what you're doing that's exactly where I would start.

Any basic sailing text, like the one you are reading (Complete Sailor) will give you sufficient background with terminology and performance trade offs to at least get you started. But all of that is implemented in the simulator.

You can make changes to existing boats, or design your own boats, scenes, etc.
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