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.
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.
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.
Table of contents