If you've ever thought to yourself that spending months aboard a digital sailboat making a simulated journey across the Pacific Ocean in real time would be no end of fun, then the newly-announced "ultimate sailing simulator" Sailaway might be just your thing. It promises to recreate the world's oceans "with unparalleled accuracy," in a persistent online world built featuring real-time weather data provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
“Sailaway started as an experiment to see if it would be feasible to create a sailboat that responds to sail trim changes” solo developer Richard Knol explained. “But it soon transformed into a full time passion project, in which every aspect of sailing was being implemented in the most comprehensive way possible.”
The game will have three ships—a 38-foot Cruiser, a Mini-Transat, and a 52-foot Classic Yacht—each with accurately modeled sales and controls. There will be a range of difficulty settings to accommodate sailors of all skill levels, and global, local, and group chat options to give players something to do while they're sailing the ocean blue. You can invite other people onto your boat to help out (or just hang out, I suppose) or create races and compete for pride of place on the online leaderboards.
Sailaway isn't likely to crack the top ten on Steam, but just like games like Bus Simulator, American Truck Simulator, or Bridge Project, I think it's great that this kind of sim can exist in the PC gaming ecosphere. I probably wouldn't be down for spending weeks on a real-time trans-Pacific crossing, but I can think of worse ideas than a full-contact sailboat race through a raging Antarctic storm.
Sailaway is headed to an Steam Early Access release in April, with a caveat from the developer that there will be "bugs and server bumps along the way," so don't buy it unless you actually want to take part in working it all out. Find out more at sailawaysimulator.com.