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Harsh words about Navigation Tools

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It is clear that navigation tools are conspicuous by their absence, especially on a player’s initial experience with the Open World. 


I too noticed it immediately when OW started 6+ months ago.   Rough count has 13 active threads on the topic in the last 2 weeks.  I hope this qualifies for a sticky post.


However, let me lend you the voice of some experience.  


TL;DR: Shut the $*&%!@* up about navigation debates.  Instead, try out the player-made tools and give the community feedback in the Maps subforum..     I think the tools we and others have built can help the community to move the conversation in a productive direction.  IMHO the player made tools can be seen as prototypes of what you all are asking for and debating about.



  • Early in OW members of TDA charted the whole world as you see it now with no tools other than the XZ co-ordinate system.   (The F11 function was critical to that effort)
  • We visited every port multiple times, and followed every coastline
  • We built some experimental tools that would blow your mind, but which were completely anachonistic and are now obsolete.


Points on which we all agree:

  • No one in their right mind wants an exact position.
  • Instead, we want tools that feel like what mariners of the era had.
  • It’s a pain to be lost at sea.  It happens to us in the game when we’re not careful.



The game world is FLAT.   This means that straight lines, the in-game compass and the distance formula we learned in school are sufficient for navigating from a known location.   There is no leeway, no compass error, no currents or tides.

  • This is not true in the real world which is why chronometers, sextants and tedious math were needed.
  • The in-game maps and the compass have enough accuracy that all but the longest journeys to small targets are risk-free. 
  • (The one challenge is getting to Bermuda.  But if you notice, a course due east from Wilmington bisects the islands.) 



Fancy in-game navigation tools beyond heading lines will quickly get tiresome.  There is no skill involved in taking a noon-sight with a sextant, only the possibility of error.  If the game forces the occasional error, we’d get frustrated and just go with dead reckoning.  

  • This is my opinion based on thousands of sea miles over many months of playing
  • I reject the idea that mini-games about finding our way will have any staying power or interest.
  • Recognizing that the NEW PLAYER experience is important, I can strongly recommend the realistic behavior of STICKING to the COAST until you are comfortable venturing out of sight of land.    It won't take you long.

There is a LEGITIMATE desire for a convenient way to see course headings, so that captains know what course to steer.  There are several of these tools made by players, and you can make your own using any drawing tools you want:

  • Paper & Pencil, MSPaint, PowerPoint, and hundreds of better tools.
  • You can even hold a protractor up to your flat screen monitor!!


There is a LEGITIMATE desire to judge travel times.  We had this on an earlier version of TDAMap, and I am considering re-implementing it.   (The map makers on this forum have recently agreed on a shared definition of distance and speed, so our various implementations will be consistent in the times we give you.  Domox has one now.)

  • You can even hold a ruler up to your (on-screen) map and determine the distance and thus the travel time for you own ship.   That's what real mariners did.  Remember, the world is FLAT.  
  • Accounting for wind direction is a MINI-GAME you can play in your head.


If you are concerned about getting LOST AT SEA, use techniques that are similar to what real navigators used:

  • Write down your position and heading occasionally in a LOG  BOOK, so when you forget if your battle was off Almeria or Almirante you’ll have notes to look at.  For those wanting REALISTIC TOOLS, this is about as realistic as it gets.
  • Head in the direction of known land, duh.
  • Try out the noon sight feature at TDAmap.com and post your feedback here.  


My Rants:

  • For heaven’s sake, stop filling the forums with new threads and debates about the obvious.
  • Instead, look at the available tools and tell us how well they work for you and whether or not you find their implementations useful, convenient, and sufficiently realistic.

I sincerely hope this moves the discussion FORWARD, and PERHAPS gives the developers some good material to work with IF they choose to implement an in-game feature.

Edited by M.Cmdt. ObiQuiet
  • Like 14

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I agree with this mostly, honestly navigating now is very easy, when i started in the open world, there were no maps, we used those player made maps, now with the in game map and the compass, it is quick to learn to navigate.

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Made my first very long trip to visit Louisiana couple of days ago, I have Sigrfierd's map opened in gimp with different layers for different routes and one for a big compass I made myself.


I made a point to not use F11 x,y coordinates in this game , planned my route before starting as seen here :



After the first step i calculated the time it took in minutes and took the distance in px on the map to estimate next step travel time and same for the 2 others, to my surprise it was really accurate, more than i ever had expected



But i would like to have something similar inside the game itself for immersion purpose, such kind of map with simply a ruler, an accurate compass we can move over the map, a pencil to draw lines and a way to add notes on the map ( bearing, travel times etc, for now i keep track of this in a notepad++ document) , for me as a merchant who sometimes do long travels it's really a plus to plan my routes and then keep track of them for later use.


I don't think it is too much to ask to have something similar to Silent Hunter games maps in game, of course i don't ask to have this right now as there is other things to do , but using external tools is breaking the immersion plus all those programs can be resources eaters for those having lower ends computers too, like some of the very well made browser maps using browsers like chrome that are known for this, i am not in this category as having an not so recent but still decent PC but still a game like this needs to give us some basic tools inside the game itself when in the map view.

Edited by Kanay
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@Ruthless4u, maybe we can sail it together some time when I'm up there next.

My own most embarrassing navigation mistake was following a coast line down around South America only to find I had sailed full circle around an island without realising it. Twice. Two loops.

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What debates?

Real men do just fine with compass+sun/landmarks...


All others (read: pathetic tryhards) are using map coordinates and player made lists/maps based on the coords.


Im not playing till that is removed....

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I use Sigrfierd's map that have coordinates implemented on it, but never used F11 to locate myself and will continue to do so, using this map only because it's really well done and absolutely gorgeous and very large with it's a 8600x6720px size.


I too hope they hide the coordinates in game, if they need to be sent for a bug report just add a button "Add coordinates" or "Add location in bug report" but don't show them to players anymore when pressing F11. 

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Ugh, due east from Wilmington still gets me to the middle of nowhere and no Bermuda lol. Any other place I can get to just fine.

Did you sail for 1.75 hours (real time) from the coast due east of Wilmington, and stick to the Z:790000 coordinate?  

That got me a Good Landfall at Somerset, two days ago.  


Which is exactly where it is shown on the Naval Action in-game map.


~ HK ~

Edited by HardyKnox

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