: I have not played the game yet and have almost no idea about any of the Naval Mechanics apart from brief conversations with people.
It is my opinion that, if Naval Combat is to become anything more than a gimmick and an actual mainstay of the game it is important that the sailing in the game is somewhat complex in that although it might be simple to learn it should be hard to master and take an experienced Skipper to gain the upper hand.Note:
- I realise that this game is not aiming to be a Sailing simulator and so would like to see what other people think of the suggestions
- I sail in real life but have almost no idea about Napoleonic sailing so therefore some of the suggestions may not be accurate but someone will have to correct me on it.
- Gusts: In real life the wind is not constant over an entire area/map, the wind can be a couple knots different just a couple metres away, the way you tell where the wind is strongest is that the water appears darker and it appears lighter where there is less wind
- Tides/Currents: Tides and Currents play a huge role in sailing, I don't know how easy this will be to code but Tides and Currents like Wind are not equal throughout an entire area and getting the tide/current right can add a huge speed boost over time, Tides are strongest closer to cliffs so if the tide is coming in you will be pushed towards the bay and if its going out you will be pushed towards the sea/ocean, similarly if you are heading across a tide/current although u may appear to be heading in a straight line you will actually be being pushed sideways.
- Waves: Although im quite sure that waves will be included in the game I want to emphasise how useful/unuseful waves can be when sailing. IRL waves can be "surfed," basically when going the same direction as the waves (generally waves go the same direction as the wind) you get a speed boost by the waves, similarly if you are heading upwind it is important to try not hit the waves front on as this significantly slows the boat down, instead you want to hit the waves at an angle. The smaller the boat the more impact waves have on it. Currents and waves do not always go the same direction.
- Sail Trim: From what I know currently the only options are to choose how many sails you have up or down, I don't know if this is to do with the period or what but irl it is much more preferable to have all sails up and instead just tighten them loosen them depending on your direction of travel, I know this isn't the exact same with square sails When going up wind its best to have sails as tight as possible and head at an angle like a zig-zag, if you head straight upwind with sails up you will stop (although with square sails, i'd assume you'd go backwards) and with sails down I don't know how you would move apart from current/waves/tides. Similarly the fastest on a modern boat is when you are reaching which is when you are going perpendicular to the wind, this is where you should have your sails kind of tight/kind of loose, too loose and they'll just flap and you wont go anywhere but too tight and you'll be moving but not as fast as you could be. Finally downwind you should have your sails as loose as possible so that you can get as much wind as possible in them.
- Wind Shadows: This is one of the least important suggestions and also possible one of the harder ones to code but still ill suggest it, Wind can't pass through solid objects, that means that if the wind is coming from a certain direction and you are sitting behind a cliff you won't get that wind or at least not all of it, similarly (this is where it gets hard to code) it is a huge advantage to be "above" your opponent when sailing, basically if the wind has to go through you to get to your opponent your opponent will have less wind (this is known as covering), this also gives you the advantage of being able to come "down" onto your opponent by "bearing away" and also makes it pretty much impossible for them to "come up" to you because they wont have the speed nor ability to do so thus being a huge tactical advantage.
- Capsizing: Okay, this is possibly the least important suggestion and also probably the one people will hate most but thought i'd put it down anyway, in real life sailing is hard, now I don't know how often Napoleonic ships capsized but I can imagine it did happen, especially the smaller ones, imagine it's 50 knots and someone is reaching with all sails up on their small boat, unless they have an amazing skipper who knows how to use the gusts they will probably end up in the drink, of course in modern times boats can now right themselves again and smaller vessels can be righted by the crew where as I doubt you would be able to uncapsize a boat therefore making it quite an unhappy way to end your game but I guess the crew could be picked up by a nearby vessel that needs crew. Capsizing would just add a reason to practice/train your sailing and enlist a good skipper.
Now imagine having to think about all that while also having to worry about nearby enemies firing cannons at you, also if you think that is complicated there is alot more things to think about in real life like how boats/cliffs can bend the wind etc.
Anyway I don't know how large the Naval Maps might be so some of this might be too much but anyway just thought i'd put the ideas down and see what others think.