I'm fascinated by the idea of Sailaway [official site], a persistent sailing simulator where boats sail life-sized oceans in real time and continue when you're not playing. In-game weather conditions are shaped by real-world meterological data too, and your boat can even e-mail you if something bad's brewing. While some may adore the idea of spending weeks at the helm, constantly fine-tuning their rigging, I'm more into the idea of boat as virtual pet - a Tamayachtchi to occasionally visit. Sailaway last night sailed into the early access ocean, so I'll have to see if I can befriend a boat myself.
I'm into that. I'm happier in the water than on it but those wide horizons with only waves are grand. I suppose you could stick close to land, if you've a latent fear that maybe, just maybe, Sailaway simulates unspeakable horrors rising from the depths. It doesn't. As far as I know. But it could. We all thought Mountain was a friendly pet rock sim until Graham murdered his so I'll steel myself for anything. Shoulder to the wheel.
Sailaway is meant to be friendly to newbies (newboaties) and salty seadogs alike, with difficulty options that can help lots or let players fiddle endlessly with trimming sheets and whatnot. Right now, it has a choice of three boats from 38 to 52 feet long.
Obviously multiplayer is in, letting folks chat, sail alongside each other, compete in races, and crew ships together.
One-man studio OrbCreation plan to launch Sailaway in full after six-ish months in early access. They want to use this time to add new boats, more tutorials and challenges, and extra events, guided by player feedback, and to make the world more detailed.