Sceneries are the core to a sailing simulator in my opinion.

General question for Sail Simulator (raising sails, pulling sheets, etc.)

Sceneries are the core to a sailing simulator in my opinion.

Postby Barry » Tue 20 Jun 2006 - 12:14

Sceneries are the core to a sailing simulator in my opinion.

With racing you could used any expanse of water and a few islands.
Nothing against racing of course, but that is only a small part of a sailing simulator in my opinion.

Again boats and ships are important but again only add up to part of the picture in the jigsaw.
Together with a variety of boats and artificial intelligence boats in some form, covering a variety of ages/eras, it is the ports and estuaries and realistic coastlines that make a sailing simulator.

In our case with these simulators, it is mainly the smaller boats and ships, but even these can be a reasonable size, and can make a realistic setting to mirror real life, real coastlines, real ports and real rivers and estuaries.

For my part I prefer the earlier age of around 1800.
A true age of sailing ships. which covers a huge variety of sailing boats and ships.

Also an age of horse drawn barges which pulled the canal narrow boats along many 100s of miles in the UK, connecting the towns in the UK like a spiders web. The canals are still very much as they were a few 100 years ago and there is one half a mile or so from where I live.

In my sceneries I included the Ellesmere Port Canal complex.
This is mainly a mainly a Maritime Museum these days, but also used for pleasure craft.

I have included static locks and water at different levels for canals using a train simulator with drivable boats.
It might be possible to do this in these simulators, using static locks and use a sheet of model "water" as a flat textured sheet as part of the locks.
Static boats can be placed on it but would need some system to raise the boat waterline up to that level to use drivable boats.
I tried that out in Virtual sailor and can be done by altering the boat depth in the water of the drivabe boats.

So back to realistic sceneries. First and foremost realism need not be a huge drain on frame rates, depending on how it is done.
Trees and vegetation need the 32 bit textures,
Picture on a black background with background made invisible. Only works in motorboat simulator at present.
Any type of building etc can be fairly easily made in Blender. You can also make bridges etc for the boats to pass under.
Collision spheres are a problem with the sailing simulator as when placed they still need a wordpad/notepad fix to get them to work, but again work Ok with no problem in the motorboat simulator.
The Scenery Designer needs a better texturing function for terrain textures.
I have started using a coloured texture now of the gorund instead of the greyscale default selection.
You use bands of colour set to any height at present combined with one texture to give the bands of colour some depth.

Realistic terrain needs satellite data and the Full Scenery Designer.
The satellite data is free and downloadable in sections. It is quite easy to use and there are step by step directions on my site on how to use it.
Probabaly anyone could make sceneries now if they were interested without spendinga huge amount of time on them. Accurate depths though, and detailed buoy work needs a considerable amout of time spending on it.
Some areas, such as very flat areas would probably not work with satellite data version 2, but hilly, or mountainous areas work fine.
Islands are good to make if not too flat as made Majorca,Ibiza, Menorca, isle of Man, etc.

All the sceneries in the UK downloadable series were made with it except the Liverpool to North wales which I made a while ago.
Best to keep sceneries to under 50 miles or so to get reasonable detail. The details work out quite well as although the resolution is 90 metres or so, when combined with the Scenery Designer you can open up the smaller rivers and add very small islands, etc which don't show up.

Sail Simulator 5 has been mentioned to be due out in November but it would be nice to get some updated news from Stentec regarding the simulators and the all important Scenery Designer,

P.S. Don't forget tides needed for up 9.3 metres at Liverpool UK and North Wales coast.

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Postby ajnasreddin » Tue 20 Jun 2006 - 15:39

Barry, check out these sites:

I don't know if they would be useful for the depths - but this data is a lot like the topo maps, so maybe everything could be done relatively easily.
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Postby Barry » Tue 20 Jun 2006 - 17:18


I will have a look but we need people on the forum with know-how for advice on finding out about these matters.

It took me ages to get to know how to use srtm data and that was only because Jeroen from Stentec detailed the method using VT builder to make the file.It was impossible without that information.

Previously the only results I could get was a scenery made from a series of steps made from different heights. The heights were correct but the scenery looked horrible and usnusable

We seem to be down to 3 or 4 people now.
You and I at present other than racing?

But have looked at Virtual Sailor and used the demo making sceneries and boats, read about Ships simulator 2006 but think I will now leave that one, so it's back to good old Stentec Simulators.

I can make almost any scenery covered by the srtm except very flattish areas, and any content with Blender (for ships hulls, etc, you can use freeship)...and at 65 I am sure I don't know any more than anyone else.

Just needs the background boat traffic (user made) even if we can't sail our own due the complcated physics for drivable boats?

Have you checked the srtm site for the area that interests you.
I have only looked and downloaded sections from Eurasia version 2 , but there are other sections.

You only need 3DEM to open them.

Link on my site for all details.
Just load them and they appear as 3D maps.

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Postby ajnasreddin » Thu 22 Jun 2006 - 15:28

Well, about scenery being important, I agree. But after trying Virtual Sailor, I'd say it's not the whole cake. There are many positive points to VS - things that Stentec should have done with MS.

Still, SS is getting old! We're way, way overdue for an update. Stentec must be pretty busy with something - I can't imagine that they would just let this program die out a long and painful, frustrating death (of course, I could be wrong).

As far as doing sceneries myself, for some reason I can't get my DEM builder to work properly anymore - even with it set on Windows 95 compatibility. I always get an error message now. And always thinking that SS 5 is just around the corner, I haven't bothered to try anymore.

About the bathymetric maps - they seemed mapped out in 5 minute sections (from what I saw on the web sites). Still, getting the underwater / above water porprtions could prove tricky.

Somehow I hope that Stentec is aware of all these things and are busy making a product to impress the hell out of us. But who knows?
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Postby Barry » Thu 22 Jun 2006 - 17:19


The tricky part in VS is trying to place content but the boats, etc run OK. So for now not using VS.

I can export the same files that I use in these simulators and get them into VS as direct.x. Although was having problems with the collision properties causing my computer to crash.
The latest VS beta update seems to have fixed that though.

What error notice are you getting with the Stentec dem editor.
Does it load up ready to use with correct registration number entered.
Seperate one for Scenery Designer.
Perhaps try a fresh install.
It's annoying when things don't work when they should especially when they are supposed to and paid for.

If it doesn't work, perhaps let us know what the error notice is and also notify Stentec.

Is it windows XP.
There are so many patches etc that keep getting added for windows, maybe it scuppered the Stentec Scenery Designer install.

At present I am making boats for Trainz train simulator.
Fixed invisible track and flat water but working locks for ships, etc, and you can "paste" water on for different heights for canals, etc.

Definitely about time that Stentec updated their sailing simulator news as keep getting news updates about just their navigation software.

If SS5 is supposed to be out in November it is not many months away?

Maybe they will read this.


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Postby ajnasreddin » Sun 25 Jun 2006 - 15:15

The last time I tried to use the DEM builder was back when you started talking about using satellite data. I had to reformat the drive that my Stentec stuff was on, and after I reinstalled it all, the DEM builder / scenery builder, etc. wouldn't work. Since then, I've just removed that bit so as not to waste the space.

I think it would be really interesting if Stentec could get canals, locks, and differing water levels into the program. I would assume that these things are important in Holland (or is it just that there's a lot of land below sea level). I saw a program years ago about the canal system in Ireland, and I have always wanted to do a trip there. Then of course going through the many locks to get to the Great Lakes in North America is also a trip people should make (if I remember rightly, there are eleven locks - always going up - it's been too many years since I did that one). That passage is an important shipping lane as well. About England, I heard that many of the canals had been turned over to railroads. Have they been reversing the process? Getting an animated horse to pull a barge might be a bit much for Stentec.

I can suggest this site for Stentec:

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Postby Barry » Sun 25 Jun 2006 - 17:34

AJ - I don't think working locks are possible, etc due to the differing water levels needed for locks, etc.
I have started a section off for maritime and canals on my site for Trainz and it shows part of the Ellesmere port canal complex in screenshot with static locks.

I have horse drawn barges and narrowboats in some of my routes but my version use non animated drivable horses I made, although I can make others to link to drivable horses.

In a train simulator it is fairly easy as they can run on invisible track.
Same with locks there are working dry docks and working ship locks in it, but made by third party.

To do that the boat drives onto a track with raised water as part of the model. The boat water and track rise up and the boat drives off at the next water level on invisible track. The lock gates opening and closing as part of the model.

But you never know Stentec may surprise us?

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Postby ajnasreddin » Tue 27 Jun 2006 - 14:31

Here's a program I saw on Deutsche Welle the other day.,214 ... 75,00.html

If Stentec could allow us to do nice sceneries with all the locks, bridges, and ports, I wouldn't mind working on the Mecklenburg Lake District myself. I'd be nice if we could do boats too.
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Postby Barry » Tue 27 Jun 2006 - 15:28

Hi AJ thanks for the link

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