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Wind in an action-adventure sailing game?

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Hi all, I have been working on an action-adventure sailing type game for that last few months in my free time and I have hit a spot where I need some feed back about a particular feature that I am considering adding. I'm considering making the sailing aspect of the game reliant on the direction of the wind, or in other words you can only sail where the wind blows you. I realized that this would force the player to use sailing techniques like "tacking" to get where he/she wants to go. So my real question boils down to weather or not this would make the game more fun, or would just make it hard for new players to "learn the ropes" :) The main focus of my game is really not to be a sailing simulator but instead to be like a space action adventure game on-water. I'm relatively new to game design (and programming itself for that matter) so feedback and comments on other parts of the game's design are very welcome! :) thanks, --- Stevo

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If it's more of an action game then a strategy game then I would let them said directly against the wind. Just slow them down based on the wind speed or something like that. Also, increase their speed with the wind and maybe add some lateral movement based on wind speed/direction.

In other words, give it an effect, just don't let it limit their movement and don't make them learn things like tacking (although if the wind slows them down enough this might still be a valid albeit unnecessary action).

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What is the rest of your game design like? Can you change your world around to readily support a wind cycle that supports what your player is likely going to want to do? (meaning, if you have 3 points, A, B, and C, the player is likely to want to travel in the pattern of A, B, and C, and the winds just happen to blow roughly in that pattern)


You can always put it in as part of the game options.

Super easy: Put out more sail, means your boat goes faster straight forward, doesn't matter what way the wind is blowing, you just have a gas pedal.

Extra hard: Realistic wind patterns and sailing physics. You don't learn a topsail from a yardarm, then you're more than a little screwed and should go back to an easier setting.

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Playing Zelda: The Wind Waker, I found the wind aspect more annoying than anything else. Before I could start sailing, I had to change the direction of the wind, and if I wanted to go in a direction the wind wasn't blowing in, then I either had to change it again or travel at a sub-optimal speed. I'd say let the player do what they like. You might consider having "wind" hazards, but I wouldn't make the wind a global aspect of transportation.

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You may add tacking, but make it optional. If the player does, he will get faster to the places he'd like to go, but it's not neccesary..obligatory to learn.

-Stenny

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You could have tacking, but also have "tradewinds".

Ie, if you are going from point A to point B, there is almost certainly a flow of wind that will get you there. Going from B to A would involve travelling on a different set of "tradewinds".

The game engine could tell you that the proper route from A to B involves first reaching the correct tradewinds and using them to cross the deep sea.

...

A simple implementation of tacking isn't that hard. Start with the assumption that the water is stationary.

Different ships tack differently. This can be represented by a graph of angle-vs-speed, or a graph of wind-angle vs speed against the wind and lateral speed.

This makes some ships faster with-the-wind, and other ships faster against-the-wind: a nice bit of texture to the ships.

With the right UI, controlling a tack wouldn't be that hard. The player would indicate which direction she wants to go in and which direction she is willing to tack in. Swapping tack would reduce your speed for a period of time.

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Thanks everybody for the replies. The ideas that really caught my eye were the ones by NotAYakk and Talroth that suggested making "trade winds" from one common point to another. It makes the game more realistic and more fun at the same time but the only problem that i can see would be a lack of maneuverability that you would have if you engaged another ship in combat (or they engaged you).

Quote:
A simple implementation of tacking isn't that hard...

Sorry for my noobishness (is that a word?) about sailing but are these techniques the same for ships like these?
This is the artwork that i based my ship models off of,
and this is what it looks like in the game.
I'm not sure if it makes any difference or not, I'm just wondering. [smile]

Considering the other comments, I think I'm getting a pretty good idea of what the line is between fun and annoying wind.

thanks again!

---
Stevo

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naval_tactics_in_the_Age_of_Sail
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tacking
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Points_of_sail

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Wind Waker is the only real point-of-reference on this one. I personally loved the semi-realistic wind interaction, and I did a lot of tacking.

However, it must be noted that I am in the minority on this situation, as the vast majority of conversation I have seen on the subject was that the average player hated it, and resorted to using their whistle to change the wind direction every time they made a turn. That wouldn't bode well for an action game.

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My understanding is that, in the age of fighting sail, utilizing the wind properly was an artform, one that could make a huge impact on the outcome of a fight or the duration of a journey.

That said, I'm not sure it would be popular in a video game. Realistic simulation isn't always terribly popular (Any Falcon 4.0 devotees out there? I can't even turn the bastard on, with all those switches in the cockpit), and if you work too hard to be faithful, you'll wind up alienating a lot of people.

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Quote:
Original post by chefgon_ign
Wind Waker is the only real point-of-reference on this one. I personally loved the semi-realistic wind interaction, and I did a lot of tacking.

However, it must be noted that I am in the minority on this situation, as the vast majority of conversation I have seen on the subject was that the average player hated it, and resorted to using their whistle to change the wind direction every time they made a turn. That wouldn't bode well for an action game.
From my perspective, the sailing aspects of the game were largely just filler; they got in the way of the land aspects, so I just wanted to get them over with as quickly as possible. Thus, I'd only not bother changing the wind to get where I'm going if tacking was faster (i.e. if the amount of time it took to pull out the baton, perform the song, and watch the wind change direction overcame the gains of moving faster).

Now it sounds like your game will be focusing on the marine aspects of sailing even more than Wind Waker did. If you can keep the player sufficiently entertained while they're sailing, they may not mind being obstructed by wind so much. Prevailing trade winds can also be used to make trade routes into a directed graph (You could sail against the winds from Cuba to the African coast, tacking all the way, but why would you want to?), which is more realistic than having no winds at all. I'm still not certain that having wind would add fun, but I'm not as convinced that it'd be as annoying as it was in Wind Waker.

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Quote:
Original post by Derakon
Playing Zelda: The Wind Waker, I found the wind aspect more annoying than anything else. Before I could start sailing, I had to change the direction of the wind, and if I wanted to go in a direction the wind wasn't blowing in, then I either had to change it again or travel at a sub-optimal speed. I'd say let the player do what they like. You might consider having "wind" hazards, but I wouldn't make the wind a global aspect of transportation.


I agree with this. I really enjoyed wind waker but having to stop to change the wind direction ended up being rather annoying for me, and it really didn't make the game more fun.

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Take a looks at Pirates! by Sid Myer It's an sailing adventure game where wind affects both traveling and combat. Ships move constantly in combat based primarily on the wind and agumented by sails, and hull design. It played an important factor in combat because ships could only fire directly left and right. So, with a fast ship and good sailing you cold prevent the enemy from being able to hit you while you constantly bombard them.

Also wind played a major factor when traveling as when the wind was against you your ships speed dropped to next to nothing or even start pushing you in the other direction. Making it difficult and time consuming to reach certain places.

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Quote:
Original post by Derakon
Now it sounds like your game will be focusing on the marine aspects of sailing even more than Wind Waker did. If you can keep the player sufficiently entertained while they're sailing, they may not mind being obstructed by wind so much. Prevailing trade winds can also be used to make trade routes into a directed graph (You could sail against the winds from Cuba to the African coast, tacking all the way, but why would you want to?), which is more realistic than having no winds at all. I'm still not certain that having wind would add fun, but I'm not as convinced that it'd be as annoying as it was in Wind Waker.

Yes you are correct, the game focuses exclusively on the marine aspects of sailing. So much so actually that that, as of my current plans, the player is not able to leave his/her ship and go ashore. [smile] (although making port and trading/making repairs via a dialog box is essential to the game.) Also, how would you suggest keeping the players entertained while traveling? (besides through open ocean combat)
Quote:
Original post by Iron Chef Carnage
My understanding is that, in the age of fighting sail, utilizing the wind properly was an artform, one that could make a huge impact on the outcome of a fight or the duration of a journey.

This is my understanding also (gained from films like "Master and Commander") and i would like to incorporate the fact that players who have learned to use the wind can use their skill to their benefit.
Quote:
Original post by Iron Chef Carnage
That said, I'm not sure it would be popular in a video game. Realistic simulation isn't always terribly popular... ...and if you work too hard to be faithful, you'll wind up alienating a lot of people.

This is also what I'm afraid of doing(thus the reason I posted a thread [smile]). To me, trade winds that sometimes stray from the normal seems like the solution. Currently i have only two ports in the game and i really want to add another one... mabey i should connect the first two with the "trade winds" and make the third somewhere out of the way where only skilled sailors could navigate?

thanks again,

---
Stevo


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Given a crew skill and ship tacking abilitiles, at a macro-scale the velocity of a ship in a particular as a function of wind can be solved.

This means you can say "go from here to here", and it can say "given the wind and your ship, it will take an average of 15 days. You will be travelling at 30% of ideal speed."

Click, and poof, it happens -- unless something interesting happens between here and there, naturally.

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You should check out the old SNES game New Horizons. It was a sailing rpg that had winds that affected the speed and directions you could go. Every move you made advanced the clock by a certain amount of time and a wind direction and speed indicator was nothing but an arrow that constantly shifted around as you moved. Go with the wind and you move fast, go against it and you go slow. It seems like a simple system to implement. You could have the wind be a factor of the terrain tiles that you sail over with percentages guiding which direction and how hard the wind is blowing. That would let you do trade winds and random seeming ones. Best of both worlds.
Sailing is all about the wind and I don't think you can do a sailing game without it.

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