Virtual Sailor 7 Online manual

Compiled on 5/10/2006

Table of contents

About Virtual Sailor:

Virtual Sailor was written by Ilan Papini, first version released in 1999, since then it has seen at least 12 major release versions, with many minor versions released each year.

Virtual Sailor 7 is the most sophisticated naval simulator in existence for the PC today, it is the result of years of feedback and improvement and years of accumulated experience in naval simulation.

The program was designed to be an accurate simulator and features an exceptionally realistic water and ship dynamics.

In addition, the program was made very user friendly and simple to add content to, it is simple to create and configure new boats, and scenery can be made by importing elevation data found in many sources throughout the internet.

All data structures and formats used by the program are fully documented for the purpose of adding third party add-ons, and indeed over the years of its existence, thousands of these add-ons were made by many dedicated users of VS.

The author of this program is grateful for the excellent work and support of all these add-on makers without who's work this advanced program would not be possible.

 

Minimal requirements for running Virtual Sailor

Virtual Sailor 7 can run on a wide variety of machines, since it is built to use DirectX9 it is essential that your computer has a video card which is capable of supporting 3D hardware acceleration, and is compatible with DirectX8 or better.

To make full use of the program the following minimal configuration should be met.

 

Obtaining more boats and scenery

Virtual Sailor has several websites in which you can download more boats and scenery, and also get more information about creating these add-ons, these sites are the main sites and from them you can access the partner sites which offer much more content:

www.hangsim.com/vs

www.qualitysimulations.com/vs

To install boats and scenery follow this procedure:

 

Running Virtual Sailor for the first time

When you run Virtual Sailor for the first time you will see one or more of these input screens:

The registration screen:

This screen is required for the program to identify your registration, if you have purchased your program online please enter the first and last name you used for purchasing and the email you received the program to and press Ask for key.

If your registration is found your program will start automatically after pressing this button.

If you installed an update the key will be sent to your email instead. 

After receiving the key, run the program again and enter the key into the textbox below, then press "Activate my key" button.

If you do not have a key pressing the "Activate my key and run the program" will run the program in demo mode until you enter the key for it.

The configuration screen

This screen is required to tell the program which graphic card to use, and in which mode to use it.

Typically, you have just one video card, in that case press "Start" to start the program and accept these options.

If you do not see "Hardware Device" appear inside the rendering device, this means that you do not have a suitable video card for running the program.

Using "Mixed Processing" is recommended for most video cards, as most do not support all pixel and vertex shaders in hardware alone, selecting other options there will cause the sea to display artifacts in some modes, but may have other benefit.

Selecting "Software Processing" will allow you to run multiple instances of the program on the same machine, but will not allow you to use all types of shaders.

These screens will not appear again while the program runs normally, if you install your program on another machine it may require a new registration key, and the registration screen will appear, if the program has terminated or crashed unexpectedly, the configuration screen will appear again the next time you run the program.

The first time the program is run a configuration file is created and saved, this file is called vs.ini and is located inside the program's directory.

At any time you wish the program to start with default settings, you can delete the vs.ini file and start the program again.

 

Starting the program

Upon start the program will show the opening screen, this screen can be used to select the cruise you want to use, define a new one or adjust any of the program's settings.

 

Selecting an existing cruise

When you press "Select cruise" the following screen will appear, this screen is also accessible from inside the main menu of the program.

On the left side of the screen you select the scenery from which you want the cruise file to begin, on the right you see a list of available cruises for this scenery.

After you select cruise from the right side, you see the boat and scenery pictures appear above, and the description appear below.

If you have a scenery with no cruises, you can use it by creating a new cruise with this scenery selected, then after you enter this cruise you can select the "Save Cruise" from the main menu of the program.

You can create a new cruise based upon an existing cruise using the boat or position defined in it, to do so select an exiting cruise, and then press "Create Cruise", this will start with the settings defined in the cruise you selected initially.

When you are ready to start the selected cruise press "Sail now".

 

Creating a new cruise

When you press "Create Cruise" the boat selection dialog will appear, under this dialog there are four tabs which set the specific details of the new cruise, you can select the boat to use, location to start from, the weather to have and also the graphic options to start the cruise with.

Pressing the "Boat" tab will show the boat selection form below.

On this screen you can select the boat by name, by type and by length.

When you select the type from the type box only boats of this type will appear on the upper list, and also when you select length only boats of this length and type will be shown.

After selecting the boat from the list above, the properties of this boat will be shown below and its picture will appear above.

You can add more boats to Virtual Sailor by downloading them from the internet.

Pressing the "Location" tab will show the position selection form below.

On the right side you see a list of existing sceneries, selecting any of them will center the map around this area, you can also zoom in and out and pan the map pressing the left mouse button and dragging it until you find the scenery you wish to use.

Sceneries in this map may appear in layers, in Virtual Sailor you can have overlapping sceneries, and detail sceneries, to select the one you wish to use click on the area that best suits the scenery you want, and the one with highest detail will be selected.

You can add more sceneries to Virtual Sailor by downloading them from the internet, or by importing digital topographic maps downloaded from the internet.

Pressing the "Weather" tab will show the weather selection form below.

This screen has also three tabs of its own, one for selecting current weather and time, the second for selecting forecast weather and time, and the third for selecting time and date.

Selecting weather or forecast show this dialog, in this dialog you select all aspects of weather you can control in VS, this includes sea and atmospheric conditions.

Setting the time of day will allow you set weather changes between start time and forecast time, the sea and atmospheric conditions will change incrementally between these times until the time of forecast arrives, then a new forecast will be generated automatically.

Virtual Sailor also has changing currents and tides, the tide will change according to time of day, and its magnitude is set by the selection in the weather dialog above, the current is adjustable also but is not configured as a tidal current, you may set it to any direction and magnitude of your choice.

You can also shut down the weather forecast mechanism by clearing this option in the graphic settings screen.

Selecting the date will show the following screen.

This screen will allow you to set time of day and exact date and year, this will set the sun, moon and stars to the exact orientation they have in the sky depending of time and the location you are in.

Virtual Sailor has been made to show accurate celestial bodies, and was calibrated according to actual astronomical charts, small errors may appear now and then, these depend on the accuracy of the scenery used.

A virtual sextant was provided inside the program for the purpose of virtual celestial navigation, it was tested and found to have acceptable level of error like the one found in real observations.

Virtual Sailor should not be used for actual navigation, the author of this program is not responsible for any direct or indirect outcome of using Virtual Sailor for real world navigation.

Selecting the "Graphics" tab will show the graphic settings of the program, see more on this below.

When you are ready to start the selected cruise press "Sail now".

 

Changing the settings

When you press "Settings" the video dialog will appear, this screen has several tabs as well which select the settings you can adjust for the program, these include video, sound, joystick and graphics.

The video settings

Press the "Video" tab to see the video settings, this will show the following screen:

In this screen you can select whether you want to use the program in full screen mode or window mode, and set the size and refresh rate of the full screen mode.

The benefit of using the full screen mode is that it allows the program to run faster ( for example when using 640 x 480 screen mode ) and use less computations for pixel shaders, while having all the screen used.

The benefit of using a windowed mode is that it allows the program to be minimized and run minimized, and also allows resizing of the program's window to suit your needs.

The top of this dialog shows available screen modes, to select one of them, you need to clear the option "Render inside window" and press "Accept".

The "Use 24 bit depth buffer" allows you to render the view with less artifacts near the horizon, these artifacts are sometimes created when the distance of objects from camera is almost identical and the video card cannot tell which is closer, this results in flickering of some polygons near the horizon.

The "Exit and reset settings" will delete the vs.ini file from inside the program directory and start the program with default settings, this will show you the configuration screen the next time you start the program, after selecting this option you need to press "Accept" to exit the program.

The sound settings

Press the "Sound" tab to see the sound settings, this will show the following screen:

This screen allows you to set the volume for the wind, waves, engine and other sounds.

It also allows you to enable music and speech, and select the voice of the speaker to use.

The speech in Virtual Sailor requires you to install the MSTTS ( Microsoft Text To Speech ) driver, you can download the driver form several sites on the internet including the download section of VS main site.

To play speech inside the program, select "Play speech when required" and select the voice of the speaker you wish to set from the list of speakers above, you can install additional speakers by downloading them from the internet.

To play music when required by the program enable the "Play music when required", this will play an opening music on the main screen of the program and also play music whenever a "Music" object is defined inside the scenery you use.

For example of music playing objects see the Nice, Venice, Marmaris scenery and more, these appear as buoys with musical notes drawn on them.

The joystick settings

Press the "Joystick" tab to see the joystick settings, this will show the following screen:

This screen allows you to select axes and sensitivities of joysticks you have attached and assign their inputs for the program.

Virtual Sailor allows up to 6 joysticks connected simultaneously, for each joystick you see one line on the list that appear on the upper part of the dialog.

To select which axes you want to assign from one of these joysticks, select it from the list above, then assign the actions you wish to set.

For each joystick on the list the assigned actions are different, selecting engine for example for joystick number 1 will unselect this option for the other joysticks on the list.

When the program starts for the first time it will select the default axes of your joystick according to the setting it detects, if you wish to set this default selection again press "Defaults".

Virtual Sailor also supports POV hats, and also Track-IR with vector expansion, when Track-IR is detected you will see an option called "Track-IR appear near the POV hat option box.

For each axis you wish to assign enable the check box near it's name, then select the type of action you wish to assign to it, in addition, you can adjust its sensitivity or reverse it's action.

To assign buttons from each of these joysticks, press "Buttons", the following dialog will appear:

This dialog is much simpler, to assign an action for any button from any joystick you have connected, select the type of action from the list below, and press the button on the joystick, if the button is identified it will appear on the list beside the action you selected and the joystick from which it was read.

When the program starts for the first time it will select the default buttons of your joystick according to the setting it detects, if you wish to set this default selection again press "Defaults".

To clear all button assignments press "Clear", to return to the axes assignment press "Axes".

 

The graphic settings

Press the "Graphics" tab to see the graphic settings, these include three subcategories: water , boat and others.

A good understanding of what these settings do is essential for using the program to it's maximum potential, please read this section carefully.

The water settings

Press the "Water" tab to show the water settings, this will show the following screen:

On the upper left corner you will find the sea surface settings, these select how to render the sea and which options in your graphic card to use for it.

Rendering a realistic looking water can be a very demanding task on your computer and graphic card, for some water conditions it is more suitable to render the water as a dark non reflective surface with a lot of foam, and for others it is required to render perfectly calm waters with reflection and refraction and with very small ripples.

Virtual Sailor can render the water using vertex and pixel shaders for maximum realism, and also without them for simpler and faster rendering, you can select between these options from this options dialog .

These are the most important sea modes:

Textured sea + spray:

This is the fastest and simplest form of rendering the sea surface, it is particularly suitable for rendering rough seas with windy conditions, you can select this mode quickly by pressing "Best speed".

Use the wave swelling slider to set choppy waves, wind and wave height will dictate how much spray will appear at the caps of the waves.

Shaded sea + shaders + spray + glimmer:

This is a very realistic form of rendering ocean waves, the shaders allow pixel and vertex shaders to render small ripples on the water, the glimmer allow the sunlight to reflect from these ripples.

This mode is much slower than the no shaders mode because it requires each pixel to be processed by pixel shaders, turning off the glimmer will speed up the rendering.

You can select this mode quickly by pressing "Medium quality".

Reflection + shaders + spray + glimmer:

This is the most realistic and demanding sea mode, suitable for deep waters and relatively calm sea.

To adjust the strength of ripples use the wave swelling slider, the smaller the waves and ripples the more reflection will be, turning off the glimmer will speed up the rendering.

You can select this mode quickly by pressing "Best quality".

Reflection + refraction + shaders + spray + glimmer:

This is the most realistic mode for shallow water and calm seas, it is also the most demanding mode on your video card.

This mode shows you the view above and below water, to adjust the reflection use the wave swelling slider, to adjust the underwater view use the underwater visibility slider.

The view underwater:

Using all these sea modes will of course effect the underwater view as well, basically underwater view is dominated by the reflection of underwater view on the surface of the water, so the most realistic views underwater will be the last two modes above, using refraction will also allow you to see a "fish eye" view of above water view.

In addition to setting the sea mode, you can adjust the color of the sea.

Use the three sliders to adjust the color by red, green and blue, or use the sea brightness to adjust the tone of the color quickly.

The sea in Virtual Sailor is made of many polygons and vertices, the more there are, the larger the area of the sea will be rendered with waves, but also the slower the program will run.

You can control this number of these vertices by using the "Sea mesh nodes" slider, it is not recommended to set this value to maximum, as the program only renders the waves closer to you, and the more distant ones are less visible usually,

When using shaders, the polygon count for the sea is less important than without shaders, because the pixel shaders operate on the texture of the sea rather than on the vertices, thus you can have very few polygons and still see the ripples on the water.

The "wave swelling " slider controls two functions at once, it adjusts the choppiness of the waves, making them sharper and less smooth, and also it adjusts the strength of the ripples shown in shaders mode, to have a perfect reflection you need to adjust this value to minimum, to have a rough sea with huge waves you also need to increase this value.

The underwater settings, are found in the middle of the water dialog, you can select the type and complexity of the sea bottom you wish to see, and also the properties of the water.

There are three modes of sea bottom you can select:

Simple - This is the fastest rendering mode, it shows just the bottom of the sea without any underwater illumination, called caustics, which is typical to underwater view.

Caustic - This is a fast view which shows some illumination effect but is not accurate enough. ( single pass rendering )

Caustic lighting - This is the most realistic view and slowest of all, it shows you lighting effects from underwater refraction of sunlight, this view effects all objects rendered underwater, and shows a realistic view.

The difference between these views can be seen in this picture:

In addition to the caustics, you can set the texture of the sea bottom, select "Use Sand" to see a sand texture appear instead of the default texture of the ground at that position.

Select "See sun rays" to see the rays of light ( also called "god rays" )that refract from the sun light penetrating the water.

The use of sun rays and caustic lighting is related, the caustic lighting is actually formed by these sun rays, so it is best to active both of these options at once.

To set this view mode quickly, you can also press "Best quality".

Additional under water effects:

Virtual Sailor supports underwater scenery, when such scenery exists, the objects underwater will be shown with caustics as well.

Marine life can be added to make the view more alive, rocks, plants and particles ( or little bubbles ) can be shown by the program even if not defined in the scenery itself.

The program creates by default particles, rocks and plants using standard textures read from the scenery, and allows you to adjust their size and density, the five sliders on the right side of this dialog control these settings.

Virtual Sailor also accounts for underwater currents, which you can set from the weather dialog, and also for local underwater turbulence created by the waves, this turbulence decays as you go deeper and also becomes smaller with smaller wave size.

You can control the strength of this effect by adjusting the "Underwater turbulence" slider, you can also adjust the visibility distance underwater by the "Underwater visibility" slider.

 

The boat settings

Press the "Boat" tab to show the boat settings, this will show the following screen:

This dialog allows you to select both visual and functional settings for the boats simulated in VS.

On the upper left part you will find the settings related to simulating the boats, these include:

Realistic boat speed - select this option to enable realistic boat drag, this drag limits the speed of displacement hulls to "hull speed", and requires additional power to pass and go into plane.

Realistic pilot view - select this to make your view point fixed to the horizon, unselect this if you want the view to be fixed to the hull of the boat.

Not using the realistic pilot view can cause nausea or motion sickness, as the horizon will pitch and roll with the motion of the boat, it is recommended to use this option whenever possible.

Realistic boat scale - all boats created for Virtual Sailor for the last three years have been created in feet, however some older boats were created in meters, to allow these older boats to show properly turn off this option temporarily.

Sink when collided - when boats collide between themselves or with static objects they do not always sink, enable this option if you want severe collisions to sink the colliding boats.

Capsize when tilted - when a boat heels beyond its maximum allowable heel angle, a boat can capsize, to disable this limit uncheck this option.

Check object collision - checking collisions between boats and scenery objects is a heavy computation, it may slow down your frame rate, and may cause you to collide with some objects that you wish to pass through, like docks or canals.

If the scenery is well made, docks can be animated ( using the F11 key ) and thus passed through, but if you wish to pass though anyway you can disable this option.

On the middle part you see options related to the boat navigation, these include:

Collision course horn - when this option is enabled, the boat checks if it is on a collision course with another boat, if a possible collision is detected the horn is sounded on the boat that detects collision. 

Avoid land collision - when the auto pilot is enabled, the boat will check if a ground collision is imminent and if so try to avoid it.

Avoid sailing into wind - when the auto pilot is enabled, and the boat is a sailboat, the boat will check if it is heading into wind and fall down to either side to avoid going into irons.

Round waypoints - when the auto pilot is enabled, the boat navigates to the closest waypoint but does not pass directly through it, rounding it from either side when necessary.

Loop waypoints - when the auto pilot is enabled, boats sail from the first waypoint to the last, if this option is checked it will start the track again upon reaching the last waypoint.

Autopilot by default - auto pilot is normally released each time you take control over a boat ( for example by pressing TAB ) and enabled when you go off a boat, when you do not wish auto pilot to disengage each time you pass to a new boat use this option.

On the right side of the dialog you see options related to boat graphics, these include:

Hide water in cabin - when this option is enabled, the water and spray will not be seen when you are inside the boat, when it is not enabled the water can intersect the inner decks of the boat and you will see them inside.

Show tool tips - when this option is enabled, you see the tooltips appear when you press on a control, instrument or when activating auto pilot for example, this helps you see what action has been done and what can be done by dragging the mouse on some control or instrument.

Show boat names - when this option is turned on you see the names of the boats, the players that control them and the names of waypoints you navigate to, of course this is not realistic as in real life you do not see it this way, so you can turn it off.

Show reflections - Virtual Sailor shows reflections on boats smaller than 50 ft in length, unless this option is off.

Show particles - Bow wave elements and propeller cavitation bubbles are rendered with multiple particles, if you wish to disable these particles turn off this option.

Use boat LOD - each boat can have two levels of detail, by default the boat is loaded with full detail ( boat.x ), but at a distance elative to the size of the boat, the lower level of detail is loaded ( boat_1.x ), when this lower level of detail is not found, it is generated by the program automatically, and you will see a very simple silhouette of the boat rendered at a distance.

Using lower level of detail can speed up the rendering a lot, however you may not like to see the simpler boat shape appear in the distance, in this case turn off this option.

On the lower part of the dialog you see options related to boat dynamics, these include:

Yaw, Pitch and Roll dampening - these sliders control how dampened the boat is, and its tendency to bounce and sway on the water, the higher the dampening values the less the boat tends to pitch, roll and yaw.

Smaller boats are normally more dampened than larger ones, as larger boats have more inertia relative to surface area, so you can easily adjust these values for each boat you wish to change.

Inertial heel stability - when a boat turns inertial forces make it heel contrary to the direction of turn, however for a planning boat ( boat that goes on plane ) usually the heel is into the turn because of hydrodynamic forces that act on the hull in the turn, to adjust the angle of heel in turns, use this slider.

Sail heel stability - when a sailboat sails under wind, the wind causes it to heel, this heel depends on its center of gravity, on the forces acting on its sail and on the ballast it has along its keel, to set the exact degree of heel for any sailboat you like, use this slider while sailing under wind.

When you are pleased with the handling of the boat you change, press "Save boat config".

 

The other settings

Press the "Others" tab to show the land and program settings, this will show the following screen:

On the upper left part you will find the settings related to land, these include:

The land surface: Virtual Sailor shows the land with a specific resolution or distance between each elevation point, this resolution is specified in the scenery configuration file, and is called "land size".

Each rectangular area between neighboring elevation points is called a tile, each of these tiles can have its own texture based upon its elevation or texture index given inside the scenery files.

You can select how the texture will be mapped upon these tiles using the land surface list box, the densest being one land texture per tile, the sparsest being one land texture per four tiles.

You can also set the way textures are blended between adjacent tiles, and select to blend them or not using the "Smooth textures" checkbox, a typical land using these different options looks like this:

Using tile scenery in VS results in a rectangular land area with constant distance between each elevation point, this is very suitable for a fast and efficient scenery but does not give the best visibility if land size is small, for these cases you can use "Terrain mesh" option for showing the land with increasing resolution near the observer and with visibility up to the horizon. ( In VS the horizon is the maximal atmospheric visibility of 25600 meters)

The difference between using terrain mesh and not using it for a dense scenery can be seen in this picture:

Using terrain mesh can change the position of objects which appear well positioned otherwise, it is recommended to use this option for scenery which was created for this option.

When playing online it is recommended that all players have this option turned off, or positioning will not be the same for all players.

The scenery in Virtual Sailor is much larger than one that can fit in memory completely, therefore the program maintains in memory only an area is normally greater than the maximum visibility ( 25 km ), but may be smaller if the land size is small.

This area is called the "Active land area", it is adjustable from the "Active land area slider", the larger it is the greater the visibility can be but also the longer the program takes to load and refresh objects in the scenery.

Normally all objects inside the "Active land area" are visible unless hidden by fog, but in some cases the can slow down rendering speed if they are too numerous or too complex, for this you have the "Object visibility" slider to adjust maximum visible range for these objects.

Setting wind gusts:

On the top middle part you find the three gust sliders, these control how strong the gust are, from which direction they come from and what is the rate of change in that direction.

The combined wind acting on your boat will be the sum of the constant wind you set in the weather dialog and the gusts you define here.

You can turn off the weather forecast mechanism by unselecting the option "Use weather forecast", this will allow you to sail with constant weather conditions throughout the cruise.

Adjusting runtime behavior:

The program can be run in the foreground and in the background.

You can run the program minimized and let it host a net play session or simulate an ongoing race.

To allow the program to run when minimized enable this option, it will then continue to run when you minimize it and will not take much resources as the graphics will not be rendered.

To change the percentage of CPU usage set the slider to the value you want, this will effect normal and minimized mode, allowing you to run other programs in the same time.

Adjusting the graphics:

On the right side you see the generic graphic settings of the program, these include:

Mip mapping - this mode allows you to reduce the size and resolution of textures seen far away, making them look more fuzzy, turn it off if you wish to see a very sharp view of all objects in sight.

Secular lighting - this setting allows you to see the reflections of sunlight falling upon objects, if you do not wish objects to look shiny turn this off.

Exponential fog - in real life the fog or haze function in exponential way, if you wish to have a more realistic fog and haze enable this option.

See objects in fog - to conserve frame rate, objects are not rendered beyond their visual range, however this doesn't provide a very subtle effect of a big ship emerging from fog, to allow these effects enable this option.

Sync reflections - to conserve frame rates the reflections and refraction are updated only several times a second and not each frame, this causes a visible delay when you rotate the view with reflections or refractions on, to make the view fully synchronized at the cost of lower frame rate enable this option.

Atmospheric glow - as the sunlight passes through the atmosphere, especially when moist or foggy, the air itself glows a little making it brighter, this makes very beautiful sunsets, to allow this effect enable this option.

Clip reflected land - in order to make perfect reflections the view needs to be rendered into a cubical environment map, consisting of six directions of view, this will make frame rates very low.

In order to avoid that, Virtual Sailor only renders one of these faces and maps it into a spherical environment map, this results in reasonable reflection when field of view is small, but can sometimes cause artifacts, this artifact is visible as a thin arc near the horizon of the reflected image.

To avoid this artifact disable the clipping of reflected land.

Clip captive dialogs - In addition to its normal map dialogs, Virtual Sailor allows also dialog maps on the panels of boats, this type of instrument is called "captive dialog", to see it properly your video card needs to support four clipping planes, if it does not you will not see maps properly, in that case turn this option off.

 

The help

Press the "Help" tab to see the help options, these include four items: keys , about, manual and website.

Press the "Keys" tab to show you a list of keys used by the program, this list is also available inside the program pressing K.

Press the "About" tab to show you short information about this program including your serial number.

Press the "Manual" tab to show you this help.

Press the "Website" to see the main website of Virtual Sailor at www.hangsim.com/vs

 

The main screen of the program

Press "Sail now" to enter the program and start your selected cruise, this will show you the program's main screen.

The main screen contains the main menu, the toolbar, the status line and the tool tips.

On the upper part of the main screen you see the status line (1) and the tool tips (2).

The status line (1) shows you information about your position, heading, speed, time of day and the frames rendered per second, it has three modes; empty, short and full, you can switch between them by pressing F.

The tool tips (2) shows you tips about the boat you are controlling, you can turn these off from the graphics - boat dialog.

When you move your mouse to the upper part of the screen the main menu and toolbar will appear.

The main toolbar (3) gives you quick access to the main function of the program, and allows you to toggle them on or off by a mouse click upon them.

The main menu (4) has access to all functions of the program, including those available on the main toolbar, these include:

Program - Loading a cruise, saving a cruise, exit the program.

Change - Managing boats, changing scenery, changing weather, managing marine life.

View - Activates all the tools you can use inside the program;  compass, telescope, sextant, panel, GPS, map, sails, ballast, echo sound and radar.

Network - Shows the net play connectivity dialog, activates the chat window, you can also toggle the three states of the chat window by pressing F9.

Options - Allows you to adjust settings for the video, sound, joystick and the graphics of the program, you can also activate the graphics options dialog by pressing O.

Help - Shows you the keys used in the program and the information about this program and your serial number, you can also see the list of keys by pressing K.

 

Controls and keys used by the program

Virtual Sailor allows you more than one way to control most functions; by a click on the object and drag of the mouse, by using the joystick if an axis or button is assigned to that function, and also using shortcut keys.

These are the shortcut keys used by the program to activate all of these functions:

Helm Controls
Helm Left Left
Helm Right Right
Center Helm Space
   
Engine controls
Increase RPM +
Decrease RPM -
Zero RPM *
   
Bow Thruster Left Shift + Left
Bow Thruster Right Shift + Right
Stern Thruster Left Ctrl + Left
Stern Thruster Right Ctrl + Right
Left Engine Up Shift + Insert
Left Engine Down Shift + Delete
Right Engine Up Shift + Page Up
Right Engine Down Shift + Page Down
Both Engines Up Shift + Home
Both Engines Down Shift + End
   
Sail controls
Raise Main Page Up
Lower Main Page Down
Raise Jib Ins
Lower Jib Del
   
Other controls
Auto Pilot A
Auto Sail Shift + S
Anchor Shift + A
Dock Shift + D
Horn  H
Light L
Fix Boat F7
   
Weapons
Shoot Backspace
Select weapon Shift + Backspace
Weapon Sight T
   
Views
Pilot View F1
Chase View F2
Leave View F2
Remote view F8
Change boat Tab
Change view Shift + Tab
   
Tools
Telescope T
Panel P
Compass C
Sextant Shift + T
Map M
Radar R
Echo sounder E
GPS G
FPS mode F
Chat mode F9
Sails S
Dive D
Boats B
Weather W
Options O
Keys K
   
Quit Program Q
Close Dialog Escape
Wireframe Shift + W
   
Camera
Look Left Numpad4
Look Right Numpad6
Look Up Numpad8
Look Down Numpad2
Look Ahead Numpad5
Move Left Numpad1
Move Right Numpad3
Move Forward Numpad9
Move Back Numpad7
Move Up Numpad.
Move Down Numpad0
Move Forward Home
Move Back End
Zoom in Camera Z
Zoom out Camera X
   
Mouse wheel
Move camera Fwd/Back Roll
Zoom camera In/Out Shift + Roll
Fine Movement Fwd/Back Ctrl + Roll
   
Mouse panning
Pan camera Right + Drag 
Move camera Left + Drag
   
Mouse Pick
Move Item Drag + Left Mouse Button
Symmetric throttles or thrusters Shift + Drag Left Mouse Button
Asymmetric throttles or thrusters Control + Drag Left Mouse Button
   
Simulation time
Decrease simulation rate F3
Increase simulation rate F4
Freeze F10
Animate Objects F11


Using the mouse

Virtual Sailor is very intuitive and easy to use, any point of view can be moved and rotated in all directions easily using the mouse.

When the point of view is at the bridge of a boat, you can pan your view by clicking the right button of your mouse and dragging it around, when the point of view is chasing the boat this panning will rotate the camera around the boat you chase.

When you are free of any boat the left mouse button will allow you to move forward freely inside the scenery, and the right mouse button will change your direction.

The mouse wheel can be used to move forward and backwards if you are onboard a boat or not.

Pressing the shift button and rotating the mouse wheel will zoon in and out the view, pressing control and rotating the mouse wheel will move the point of view in smaller steps.

When onboard a boat you can move freely and see any point of view you like, to move to a desired location use the camera keys or use the mouse wheel to move around until you get to the point of interest, you can store this point of view for later use by pressing B and opening the boat dialog, then select views and add this point of view to the list.

Almost any physical control you have on a boat or an instrument panel can be manipulated my the mouse in Virtual Sailor.

If the control can be manipulated pressing the left mouse button upon it will show you a tool tip and also will change the mouse cursor to an arrow which shows you the direction you can drag you mouse to.

You can move many controls in more than one way, for example dragging the steering wheel of the boat from side to side will move the rudder of the boat, in addition dragging on the rudder or tiller itself will move the rudder, and also dragging the rudder instrument will also move the rudder.

Some controls can be moved if some conditions are met, for example you can drag the main sail and jib sail from side to side, but for this the auto sail must be off.

Some controls can be moved symmetrically or asymmetrically, the throttles of engines 1 and 2, and the bow and aft thrusters can be move this way, press Shift and drag the mouse on one of the engines or thrusters to move both together, press Control + drag the mouse on one of these controls to move the in opposite directions.

Many instruments can be manipulated directly with the mouse, for example the GPS, RADAR, MAP and Echo sounder all can be manipulated using the mouse even if they appear in the bridge of a boat and not directly on screen.

Some controls on screen have sliders, and some have knobs, for example to zoom in and out using the telescope view press on the knob and drag the mouse up or down to rotate it.

 

Adding and selecting boats

Press B to show the boat selection dialog, this dialog consists of three categories; index, boats and views.

The boat index - this is the dialog which lets you select your own boat by its name, type and length.

When you select the type from the type box only boats of this type will appear on the upper list, and also when you select length only boats of this length and type will be shown.

After selecting the boat from the list above, the properties of this boat will be shown below and its picture will appear above.

Press "Select Boat" to select this boat as your own boat, if you had another boat, this boat will be loaded instead and placed in the same position and speed as the boat you had.

The boats dialog - this is the dialog that lets you manage the boats in the scene, using it you can add boats, remove boats and adjust some settings for each boat.

On the right side of this dialog you see the list of boats in scene, on the right side you see a list of available boats.

To add a boat to the ones in scene, select it from the right side list and press "Add", after that you will see this boat appear on the left side list.

To remove a boat from scene, select it from the left side list and press "Remove", it will be removed from the scene and left side list.

If you wish to replace your existing boat with one of the available boats, select it from the right side list, and press "Select boat".

This dialog also lets you adjust the properties of all boats in scene quickly, to adjust a boat select it from the left side list, and then use the buttons and sliders on the lower part of the dialog.

You can adjust the fuel available, the throttle setting, the heading and the loading on the boat, you can also toggle the state of the boat; if it is submerged, capsized, anchored, auto pilot and also to select a weapon.

You can refuel a boat by increasing the fuel for it, when the fuel becomes zero the engines will stop.

Changing the load of a boat will make it sink more in the water and also make it less maneuverable.

Using this dialog you can also select a boat to tow with your boat, to tow a boat select this boat from the left side list, and press "Tow selected boat", a tow line will be established between the stern of your boat and the bow or stern of the boat you selected. ( the closer side will be selected )

You can use more than a single boat to tow a boat, in addition you can use boats to push boats as well, for example see two tug boats towing a single cargo ship.

To release the boat you are towing or ones that are towing you, press "Release all tows".

The views dialog - you can set any point of view you like using the button keys and mouse, you can also manage these views, store them and see their exact positions by using the views dialog.

This dialog becomes active once you have a boat, then you have the following view options:

Pilot View - sets you at the bridge, with default point of view for this boat.

Chase View - sets the camera in chase view around the boat, you can move the camera with the mouse.

Remote View - sets the camera in a stationary position outside the boat, you can move the camera with the mouse.

Leave boat - releases control of the boat and moves the camera outside, you can undo this by pressing Pilot View.

The list on the left side shows you views you have defined and saved, you can select any of them from the list to go quickly to this point, when you are in pilot view you see through this point, when you are in chase view you see around this point.

You can move your point of view with the three sliders, you can move the X, Y, Z coordinates of the view relative to the boat's body, you can also move your point of view using the mouse and keyboard.

Once you wish to save your position as a new view press "Add Position", when you wish to delete the last position press "Delete Position", all of these positions are saved in a file called views.cfg inside the boat directory.

There is a great similarity between the file views.cfg, lights.cfg and smokes.cfg, all of these files are in the same format and are all relative to the boat's body, you can easily measure positions on the boat and add views, thus creating a file you can use for other purposes as well.

 

Changing the weather

Press W to show the weather dialog, this dialog consists of three categories; weather, forecast and date.

The weather category is for changing current weather and time, selecting it shows the following dialog:

In this dialog you adjust all aspects of weather you can control in VS, this includes sea and atmospheric conditions.

Setting the time of day will allow you set weather changes between start time and forecast time, the sea and atmospheric conditions will change incrementally between these times until the time of forecast arrives, then a new forecast will be generated automatically.

Selecting the forecast dialog will show you a similar dialog, which will set the forecast time and weather conditions.

When you select current time and forecast time remember to allow sufficient difference between these times to make the weather changes small, large changes can cause noticeable stutter in the sea.

Virtual Sailor also has changing currents and tides, the tide will change according to time of day, and its magnitude is set by the selection in the weather dialog above, the current is adjustable also but is not configured as a tidal current, you may set it to any direction and magnitude of your choice.

You can also shut down the weather forecast mechanism by clearing this option in the graphic settings screen.

Selecting the date will show the following screen.

This screen will allow you to set time of day and exact date and year, this will set the sun, moon and stars to the exact orientation they have in the sky depending of time and the location you are in.

Virtual Sailor has been made to show accurate celestial bodies, and was calibrated according to actual astronomical charts, small errors may appear now and then, these depend on the accuracy of the scenery used.

 

Adding some marine life

As part of the virtual environment in Virtual Sailor you can add many different types of marine life, the program was made to have additional types of animals created as add-ons, and also to have their behavior fully customizable by add-on makers.

Select from the main menu Change -> Animals to show the animals dialog:

On the left side you will see the list of existing animals in the scene, you can add up to 64 animals of any type to the scene. 

On the right side you see a list available types of animals, for each one you select you will see a picture and a short description below.

To add animals select the type you want from the right side list and press "Add", to remove animals select the type you want from the left side list and press "Remove".

Each animal is visible once the observer is close enough to it, if for example, you add shallow water fish they will be visible only at shallow water, for each animal there is also a different behavior, for example, sea gulls will not wish to fly at night or in rain and will head off to shelter.

Animals can be also created by users as add-ons, there can be simple animals and also more elaborate ones defined by a dynamic link library, a sample of a simple animal can be see in the "gull", a sample of the more elaborate one can be seen inside the "test_gull" including the source for this library.

 

Changing the scenery

Virtual Sailor supports a global scenery model, this means that whenever your boat is inside any scenery boundary the appropriate scenery is loaded for this area.

Sceneries can be made for smaller area inside a larger scenery area, when the boat enters this area the more detailed scenery is loaded, unless you disable the option "load internal scenery" in the graphic options dialog.

There are two ways in which you can change your location and be on another scenery, one is by using the map dialog, and the other by using the scenery dialog.

Using the scenery dialog is less accurate than using a map but also very simple, select from the main menu Change -> Scenery to see this dialog.

Each of the existing sceneries is shown on the map as a rectangular bright area, and also is seen on the right side list.

You can add more scenery areas by downloading them from the websites of Virtual Sailor, or by importing digital topographic maps directly.

To select the area of interest, select them from the map, or from the list, then zoom in until you see the area on the map clearly, and then press "Select Pos", this will move your boat into this position and scenery.

When several sceneries overlap for the position you selected, the more detailed area will be loaded.

 

Using the map

The most important tool in Virtual Sailor is the map, learning to operate the map properly is the key to exploiting the full capacity of the program, the map has three levels of detail; active area, scenery area and global area.

Press M to show the map dialog, this shows you the map view with the scenery level of detail.

When you zoom in and out you pass between these levels of detail, zooming in you will see the map change its scheme and you will see objects around you in greater detail, this is the active area level.

Zoom out until you see the borders of your scenery, will show you a part of the world map, upon it you will see other scenery areas and you will be able to plot a course to one of them and make global navigation between sceneries, this is called the global level of detail.

There may be also detail maps in the scenery you use, these appear as rectangular faded areas on the map, to show these map press the "detail maps" button, see the rectangular areas appear, and click on the area of interest.

Moving around on the map:

The top two buttons are used for zooming in and out, to move the map simply click on any empty spot and drag it with your mouse, to center the view around the your point of view use the camera position button.

Moving objects on the map:

Any boat and waypoint can be moved on the map and positioned where you want, to do so press the "move selected item" button, pick this object with your mouse and drag it to the new position, once done with moving objects, press this button again to exit this mode.

You can also move your point of view or your boat to a desired location, to do so pick on the desired location on the map and then press the "move to point" button, if you were onboard a boat the boat is moved, if your camera was free only the camera will be moved.

Measuring distances:

Press the "measure distance" button and then move your mouse around your position, the distance between you and the selected point as well as the azimuth to it will be shown on the map, once done measuring, press this button again to exit this mode.

Managing waypoints and routes:

In Virtual Sailor you can have up to 64 waypoints, these waypoints are shared between all boats in the scene, however you may assign different waypoints to each boat, thus creating different routs for each boat.

To add a waypoint pick the desired position on the map and click the "add waypoints" button, to remove a waypoint, select it on the map and click the "delete waypoint" button.

To assign a waypoint as the next waypoint for any boat you wish, select the boat on the map, select the waypoint on the map and press the "set next waypoint" button.

After you add several waypoints in succession you have a route, when the assigned waypoint is at the start of this route your boat will navigate from the first point to the last when auto pilot is enabled.

To create a different route for different boats you must unlink the last point you wish to have from one route and set the next point as the first point on the next route.

In this picture you see you see a typical sequence, first you add waypoints to create a route, this includes all the points you want for boat 1 and boat 2, then you assign next waypoints to the boats according to the point you wish each route to start, then you select the last point of each rout and press "unlink waypoint".

Of course you can also link points you unlinked, and assign different points as your next waypoint, there is not special order in which you need to take these actions.

The role of the map in scenery design

The map was designed to be used when you are making scenery as well, when you change objects in the def files inside the scenery, or in the objects.txt files inside the scenery all you need to do in order to see them appear in the scenery is press the "reload scenery" button.

Each object in the objects.txt, ports.txt, maps.txt files etc, appear using the same coordinate format as the one you have on the map, each time you click on the map, these coordinates are copied to the clipboard and you can simply paste them immediately into one of these file.

 

Using the instrument panels

Virtual Sailor has two types of instrument panels, the ones you see directly on screen, and the ones you see attached to boats.

All of these panels function in much the same way, all their instruments and switches work when you manipulate them with your mouse, and the data they show is related to the boat you control and to the environment you are in.

The on screen panels can be switched on and off by using the panel keys, C, P, S, D.

The compass - press C to show the simple compass, this instrument only shows you the direction of relative wind and its magnitude, if you are onboard a boat the direction of relative wind is the relative wind you feel when onboard this boat, when not onboard the wind indicates the absolute wind in the scene.

The main panel - press P to show the basic panel, this will show you the onscreen panel specific to the boat you control, for a motor boat you see a typical panel like the one below, for a sailboat you see another type and for submarine you see another type.

All the sliders and switches in this panel can be manipulated with the mouse, to turn the rudder you can click and drag upon the rudder indicator, to change the setting of the throttles and thrusters you click and drag upon them with the mouse.

You can move both throttles or thrusters together by pressing the Shift + Mouse Drag on one of them, you can move them opposite to one another by pressing Control + Mouse Drag on one of them.

The basic panel for the sailboat looks like this:

To control the sails using this panel, you should turn off the auto sail by dragging the switch up, then you can slider the main or jib by dragging on the instrument or upon the sail itself.

The sail instrument shows you the reef state of the sail ( blue ), the efficiency in which the sail is operating ( green ) , the direction in which the sail is pointing ( long green ) and the direction of relative wind ( long orange ).

To reef the sails up or down use the reef keys, or the reef winches upon the sails panel.

The sails panel - press S to see the sails panel, this panel should be used for sailboats and has little or no importance for other types of boats.

In this panel you see specific information for sail boats, you see the relative wind indicator, the depth indicator, the heel indicator the sails indicator and the three reef winches.

To reef the sails up or down press the mouse upon the reef winches, and drag left of right.

To raise the spinnaker, turn off the auto sail by sliding the switch down, and drag the spinnaker winch to the right.

When the auto sail is active the boat will set the sails and raise the spinnaker so that it will make the best use of relative wind direction and speed.

The dive panel - press D to see the dive panel, this panel should be used for submarines and has little or no importance for other types of boats.

On this panel you can adjust the ballast valve of the main ballast tank of your sub, to make the boat dive press upon the ballast valve and slide it down, causing air to be vented out of the ballast tank, you will see the flow rate and rate of sink on the indicators on this panel.

To neutralize the buoyancy of your sub, you can press the space button, or adjust the air valve until the ballast tank shows 50% full and rate of flow is zero.

To climb up drag the air valve up, this will blow the ballast and allow you to float to the surface and obtain regular surfacing state.

To see underwater indicators specific to submarines press T, this will show you head up indicators for your pitch, yaw and roll, the depth you are at and the height above the bottom.

 

Using the telescope and the sextant

The telescope and sextant are two very similar tools you have in Virtual Sailor, each with its own special use and function.

To show the telescope press T, this will show the following view:

This view shows you the azimuth and elevation you are looking at, and also the magnification level you use, you can zoom in and out by dragging the zoom knob up and down with your mouse.

The telescope view is also used as a gun sight, when you have selected a weapon use the telescope view to aim the weapon at your target, if the weapon is guided a lock on square will appear and a lock on signal will be heard when target goes into view.

To show the sextant view press Shift + T, this will show the following view:

On the middle of the screen you see the occlusion disk, this is the part where the filter is used to dim the light of the sun and show it to you in the form of a disk, into this part a reflection mirror reflects the sun and shows it lower than it really is in the sky.

The three knobs at the right side are the controls of the sextant, the top is the opacity or strength of this filter, the middle one is the zoom and the lower is the elevation angle.

The process of using a sextant revolves around observing the disk of the sun and measuring the elevation angle between it and the horizon, by using the elevation knob you can bring down the disk of the sun until it intersects with the horizon, and thus you measure the elevation angle between the sun and the horizon.

To make fine adjustments in the elevation angle of the sun, increase the zoom, the higher the magnification will be the more sensitive the elevation knob will become.

A full explanation of how to use the sextant is beyond the scope of this manual, this information is freely available on the web and on various books and tutorials.

This sextant is provided for the purpose of virtual celestial navigation, it was tested and found to have acceptable level of error like the one found in real observations.

Virtual Sailor should not be used for actual navigation, the author of this program is not responsible for any direct or indirect outcome of using Virtual Sailor for real world navigation.

 

Using the weapons

The use of weapons in Virtual Sailor is optional, it is not the main goal of this program to simulate weapons, however, for the purpose of completeness the main types of weapons in use in naval warfare are simulated and can be used.

These types include;  ballistic cannon, machine gun, guided missile, rocket and torpedo.

To select a weapon press Shift + Backspace, this will cycle between existing weapons and show you the selected type in the telescope view, not every boat has a weapon, weapon will be selected on the boats which have a weapon defined.

Weapons can also be made by the user, and added to the program as an add-on, placing them on a boat is simple as it uses a simple ASCII file called stores.cfg which defines which weapons to put and where.

To shoot the selected weapon press Backspace, or joystick button 1.

Each boat you shoot upon will engage you back if it has weapons of its own, simple naval combat can be started this way, and can also be held in net play mode.

Each boat and each scenery object you shoot upon can sustain a certain amount of damage, when hit a simple explosion will be seen, when the damage is larger smoke or fire will be seen as well, boats will sink when this damage is more than what they are able to sustain.

 

Using the echo sounder

The echo sounder is a very simple instrument to use, press E to show the following screen:

This instrument shows you an image of the sea bottom below you, and also detects marine life or static objects that are below your boat, on the horizontal axis the graph shows the time, and on the vertical axis the graph shows the depth and type of object detected.

A typical bottom is painted with red and yellow colors, and other objects and animals are painted in black.

To stop the update and freeze the picture press "Lock", to change the maximal depth of detection slide the depth slider up or down, to reset the depth to the default value for this scenery press "Zoom".

You can use this instrument to conduct a virtual treasure hunt, each object or animal below your point of view will show upon the display, the instrument works the same way if you are above or below water.

 

Using the GPS

Press G to show the GPS dialog, this dialog has several modes which are typical to a modern GPS with map, the layout used is similar to the one used in various Garmin hand held devices.

Switching between modes is done by pressing the "NAV" button.

The Time screen - this screen shows the time of day, time to go until the next waypoint is reached, estimated time at next, time elapsed since start of navigation, distance to go until next waypoint and total distance passed since start of navigation.

You can reset the trip and the elapsed time using the menu of the GPS.

The position screen - this screen shows your position, speed, elevation, time of day, date, heading, bearing to next waypoint, distance to next waypoint and total distance traveled.

The compass screen - this screen shows your bearing to next waypoint, your distance to next waypoint, your heading and your speed, the rosette shows the compass and the next waypoint relative to you, the needle shows the direction to the waypoint.

The map screen - this screen shows you the map, upon it your position is marked as a black triangle pointing to your heading, the waypoints and route are seen also as they are on the main map of the program.

You can pan in all directions and zoom in and out to see the area of interest on the map.

The goto screen - If you wish to set your next waypoint press "GOTO" button.
If you wish to set man overboard waypoint, press "GOTO" and then "MOB".

The mark screen - You can mark your position as a new waypoint by pressing "MARK" and "ENTER".

The menu screen - You can also perform other functions using the "MENU" button.
To accept a menu command press "ENTER", to cancel press "QUIT".

 

Using the Radar

Press R to show the radar dialog, this dialog has several modes which are typical to a modern radar instruments.

Adjusting position - to move the map use the four arrows at the top, this also puts the radar in the off center position and you see the "OFF-C" appear on the bottom right of the screen.

The bottom side of the screen shows your position, speed and heading, when the map is in off center mode, the position is the position of the center of the map and not the position of your boat.

To return the map to the center, press the "CTR" button.

Adjusting range - to adjust the range of the radar press the "Z OUT", "Z IN" buttons, you will see the range appear on the top left side of the screen, and the spacing between each ring in nautical miles.

Adjusting zoom - after you press the arrows or the zoom buttons the knob goes into zoom mode, drag the mouse over the knob to control the zoom level, the zoom is shown on the lower right side of the screen.

Selecting modes - the radar map has four modes of display:

North up - the map is pointing north.

Head up - the map is pointing where your ship is heading.

Track up - the map is pointing to the next waypoint.

True motion - the map points up, and the land becomes static, your ship is moving just as it would move on a regular static map.

The selected mode is shown on the top left side of the screen, the white line going from the center of the map, is the heading line, it shows your heading.

Measuring azimuth and distance - the radar can measure azimuth and distance from the center of the map to any point on the map, to do so use the "EBL" and "VRM" buttons.

The "EBL" bottun shows the yellow EBL line on the map, and sets the knob to EBL mode, you can adjust this line using the knob and read the angle on the bottom part of the screen.

The "VRM" button shows the yellow VRM circle on the map, and sets the knob to VRM mode, you can adjust this circle using the knob and read the distance on the bottom part of the screen.

EBL and VRM can be used together to get the exact distance and azimuth to a target.

Acquiring targets - when the radar identifies a moving object as a target this target becomes acquired, you can acquire any boat including your own and see its information displayed on the upper right corner of the screen.

The information displayed is: the name of this boat, the range to this boat, the bearing to this boat, the course it is traveling, the speed it is traveling, the length of track shown, the closest point of approach, the time to closes point of the approach.

When you acquire a target the knob goes to track mode, you can adjust the length of visible track line by adjusting the knob, the track line is shown in green behind the targets, and its length is measured in minutes.

Measuring collisions - When two boats head towards each other and their courses are not parallel their courses will intersect, the boats will become closer and closer until they collide of pass by each other.

The closest distance between the boats is calculated by the radar and is shown on the upper left area as closest point of approach and time to reach this point.

When the closest point between the two boats ( TCPA ) is less than the radius of the two boats combined there will be a collision between these boats, the time to this collision is shown as time to closest point of approach ( TCPA ).

The image above shows such possible collision about to take place in 74 seconds.

Man overboard - when you press the "MOB" button, a yellow rectangle will appear on the map at the same position you are in, this will allow you to return to the same point, your path will also be shown in green.

 

Playing with others online

The greatest fun using Virtual Sailor can be when you play with other people, Virtual Sailor can connect to other users and let you see their boats, interact with them and chat.

Virtual Sailor connects using a peer to peer connection, there is no special server you need to use, any user hosting a game can be found and joined for an online session.

The program can connect using the internet and also using local networks without internet connection.

To connect online select Network -> Connect from the menu, this will show the connection dialog.

At the top of this dialog you see your IP address and port used, below you can enter your name, this name will be used for the online session as your call sign.

You can host a new session or join an existing one, to host a new session press "Host a new session" and wait until session is established.

You can select "Publish my IP" if you wish others to see your session on the internet and join you.

To see other sessions currently active press "Find sessions", you will see a list of sessions below, the time they were started ( given in GMT ), the scenery they are at and the name of player hosting this session.

To join any of these sessions select it from the list below and press "Join an existing session".

Alternatively, if you know the IP address or name of computer you wish to join, type this address at the remote IP textbox and press "Join an existing session".

Names can be resolved without the use of specific IP addresses, if you are on a LAN for example you can enter the name of the machine you connect to instead of its IP address.

Once session was established this dialog will disappear and you will see a message "session has started".

The chat mode - the chat mode is much more than just a tool for chatting, it can be used when you are not playing online as well.

The chat mode is activated by pressing F9, it has thee modes; text only, text and chat and off.

When the text mode is enabled you will see a scrolling list of all program messages and chat messes appear onscreen, this list shows you the time each message was sent, and the name of the sender, it also shows you the names of players on the right side of the screen.

When the text and chat mode is active, you will see in addition to this text also the text input box at the bottom, any text you type will go inside, and be sent when you press Enter, this message will be sent to all players online.

Notes about playing online:

Virtual Sailor can play with up to 24 players online, players can be in control of a boat and also guests on boats.

When a player switches to a boat which was controlled by other player the second player becomes a gust and cannot control the boat himself, the "Guest" tooltip appears on the top right corner of the screen.

Any change of waypoints, weather, time, or boats done by one player immediately effects all the others, they will see these changes as well.

It is important that all players use the same land settings, especially the same land size in order for the positions of the boats to be transferred and shown correctly for all players.

 

Getting more information or support

Virtual Sailor has several websites in which you can download more boats and scenery, and also get more information about creating these add-ons, these sites are the main sites and from them you can access the partner sites which offer much more content:

www.hangsim.com/vs

www.qualitysimulations.com/vs

There are also several forums in which you can ask questions and get answers about using the program or creating new content for it, these forums are found at www.hangsim.com/forums

In case you need help installing or using your program and you cannot find the answers on this document or the websites above please contact our support at support@hangsim.com

We wish you a very enjoyable use of Virtual Sailor and many hours of exploration and fun.

Ilan Papini    Tuesday, July 20, 2010