Personally I would like to see a game played mostly from first/directly over the shoulder third person, centered on the player's character
yes, these days it almost goes without saying that FPS and 3PS are simply eye cam, and head chase cam views of the same thing, and a game probably should therefore support both. but targeting missile weapons in head chase cam view can be difficult if you're zoomed out. especially if you have to aim up and down as well as left and right. similar to the sky cam and cannon aiming issue, but with a person and a missile weapon. its easier in a sailing sim, because you don't aim up and down, just time the shot to the roll of the ship. it takes one second from the time you say fire for them to put match to hole and light powder, so you give the order one second before the ship has rolled to desired elevation for the shot. once you get the timing down, you can hit the sweet range every time.
and then directing your crew through a command interface.
ah, but what sort of interface? fps/3ps walk around the deck mode, plus hotkey for orders menu, plus select object (wheel, gun, charts) to go to station view?
Set your heading, and the helmsmen makes the most logical turn, and your officers order a suitable setting of the sails during the change.
Yes, my Star Trek flight sim worked this way. but it was a "station view" of the bridge. you could click on the station controls with the mouse pointer to set course, speed, raise shields, lock phasers, etc. you could also click on an "orders" button and issue orders from a menu (fly to this target, etc). You could click on the turbo lift, take it to the transporter room, and operate the transporter to send a landing party, or simply issue orders to do so. You could issue orders to launch a shuttle craft, or go down to the hangar deck and take one out for a spin yourself. It included a shuttle craft flight simulator in the starship flight simulator.
Order a boarding party ready, and the men line the decks. (If things are obvious, ie, only one ship reasonably close/only the one ship selected as a target, then user shouldn't even have to state boarding from port or starboard) Ideally I would like to see a pirate game simulating realistic boardings, but that would be a tough AI and physics job to pull off reasonable well.
This is what i'm shooting for. two huge multi-mesh models of ships right next to each other on a huge mesh ocean, with perhaps 100 animated character models fighting it out in real time, and you're in the thick of it. swinging from ropes might be tricky to implement. I'd need to kick my modeling and animation engine up to 50 mesh limbs per model to do a 50 foot grappling hook with a rope that flexed every foot. fast, good flexing rope physics will be required. taught ropes are no challenge, draw a cylinder or something.
Personally I would want to play a game that lets me see and hear only what a real captain would.
Yes, i think the fog or war of on the deck ship board real time sailing combat would create a more visceral experience. And it would blend better with the other things you can do in the game like go ashore, put into port, wander around town, etc.
You could stand on the deck as your ship pulled up to the dock, and your crew tied her up and laid out the gang plank. Then you could walk over to the gang plank, and walk down it onto the dock, and out into the port and town beyond.
or perhaps you step onto the dock, and a Captain of the Royal Navy comes round the corner with a detachment of troops to clap you in irons. You reach for your pistol as you men draw their swords...
This could be a really cool game.