Withwind Devlog #2 – Sailing

Ahoy, and welcome to the next devlog for Withwind!

Using the spyglass for a wider view of Halmahera island and surrounding waters.

This week I’ll go in-depth about sailing in Withwind. As well as a brief summary of what I’ve been working on recently. With that said, let’s begin!

Sailing is fundamental to the gameplay of Withwind. It provides a means for the player to traverse the procedural generated archipelago. As was touched upon last time, many games approach sailing like cars driving on the seas. This is not the case for Withwind. Buoyancy, lift and drag will impact when, where and how you sail.

The player is at the mercy of the wind, just like reality.

The world of Withwind is generated at 10km2 (subject to change), which may not sound vast. But when your top speed is 13 knots (~15 mph) it certainly feels it. It would take roughly half an hour (real-time) at top speed to sail from North to South – assuming the winds remained so kind!

Sailing broad reach in a gale. The flag shows the direction of the wind, also known as a ‘tell-tale’.

Weather conditions in Withwind are dynamic, which means the player will constantly need to reevaulate their sailing sitauation.

There are four fundamental factors which impact how a vessel will sail. Wind speed, wind direction, vessel speed and vessel direction. This information can be used to determine one’s point of sail, which can be seen in the screenshot above.

Point of Sail

The point of sail describes your vessel heading relative to the wind. For example, when sailing downwind with the wind directly behind you, this is known as Running.

Each vessel in Withwind has different sailing performance at different points of sail, which is why knowing the points of sail is important. It informs the player when deciding which course to sail given the current weather conditions.

Diagram depicting all points of sail. The ‘no-sail zone’ is known also as ‘in-irons’.


In order to build the various vessels from the Age-of-Sail, I first needed to create the sailing rigs which they used. A sailing rig is simply a style of sail that has certain advantages and disadvantages. All sailing rigs generate drag, only some generate lift.

It is the ‘lifiting sails’ that allows vessels to sail into the wind. Acting more like an aircraft’s wing, (albeit vertically).

In Withwind, your crew will trim the sails to generate as much optimal lift and drag as possible. This is known in-game as trim efficiency, and can be seen by hovering over any of the sailing rigs. The rigging skill-level of your crew will effect the speed and accuracy of the trim. So it pays to hire the right swabbie!

Square Rig

About as simple as a sail can get. The Square Rig acts like a parachute, only generating drag. Works well sailing downwind but should be furled away when sailing upwind.

Gaff Rig

A four sided ‘fore-and-aft’ sail that can be rotated around the mast. The Gaff Rig generates both lift and drag and therefore is very versatile.

Jib Rig

A triangular ‘fore-and-aft’ sail that generates both lift and drag. The Jib Rig is located at the bow, aiding maneuverability and keeping the vessel pointed in the desired direction.

That concludes the sailing section.

Week in Review

This week was a lot of refactoring the bodges made for the announcement teaser, and initial work on crew rank & pay gameplay, which I hope to show off soon.

More interestingly, I added sprite shadows to help give a sense depth. And a notification system which is essential for keeping track of what’s going on.

Sprite shadows.

Notification system.

And that’s a wrap! Please do feel free to comment below.
Thanks for reading, seadogs!

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