It raises the entire engine up and down. You can watch it move in the design screen, the controls work there too (except the throttle).
On the tunnel boat it doesn't do much, the adjustment range is only about three inches. On the vees it's more effective and moves over a foot. Raising it reduces the amount of the lower unit that's in the water which reduces drag, but if you go too far the prop will be partly out of the water which creates a paddlewheel effect that you have to counteract with right steering, so be careful there. Think I might have made the lower unit physics mesh on this new engine model just a bit too thin though because indeed it doesn't have much of an effect currently. I'll look at increasing it for the next update so it does a little more.
The hull has some real time fluid dynamics at the surface, but that does not propagate out into the water. I.e., it's more like a baked flow field where velocity is always 0. It'd be cool to do more but even with this relatively simple approach, having a handful of boats out there with just a few hundred polys each is enough to bring the CPU to its knees.
Yeah, you're right, it's not going to have widespread appeal until there's more stuff to do in it. The customers so far are predominately boaters, boat designers, prop people, etc.. They don't need or care that much about the rest, they're just happy to play "let's go drive a boat around and tweak the hull to see what it does."
Thanks. There's a property that basically controls the amount of blur (smoothness of the material) and unfortunately there's nothing really inbetween. I've posted a new set that's clear like the first one, but with different reflection intensities so it's not quite so mirror-like.
If you'd be kind enough to take a look at the post today entitled "Which of the four reflection intensities (25/50/75/100%) looks best?" I'd be thankful.
Thanks. I'm glad to hear that, actually. Doing it that shiny and clear in real time hits the frame rate really hard, maybe too much for the Oculus Rift. Can you check it again? I posted another one in the comments that would run better.
In short, there are all kinds of dynamic instabilities with boats which is what makes them so interesting to drive. Many of them move quite a lot without any input or waves, and they do so differently depending on speed and jackplate/trim settings, not to mention prop torque effects when changing throttle input. That's part of the fun of high speed boating, just keeping a seven or eight foot wide boat going straight when balanced on a one foot wide pad of water at high speeds can keep you very busy.
Prop hitting the ground: Depending on what you hit, in reality usually the engine bounces up with a loud bang and you can indeed keep right on going. Often the lower unit hits, not the prop. If nothing breaks, this is what happens:
Either way, I figured I'd cut a little corner here and have an unbreakable boat/engine/prop just for a little extra "jump the sandbar" type of fun, so you can get away with hitting things a bit harder than you might be able to in reality.
Ha! Ok, this was a fun first. I got collisions working, so naturally the first thing I did was run the boat over a little point that sticks out in the lake. It jumped a lot better than I thought it would.
Wheel and FFB: Eventually, yes. I don't have a wheel at the moment so haven't done FFB for it yet. My family had an 18 foot, 175 HP Switzercraft that did a little more than 60 mph. So I learned first hand that FFB on an outboard boat like this is quite interesting. The individual prop blades have their own angles of attack as they spin around that's different on different sides of the prop depending on what direction the water stream is coming in from. If you trim the engine down (pitching the engine so the propeller shoots back and downwards a bit), the steering pulls hard to the right. So hard in fact that if you let go of the wheel it can snap and flip the boat. If you trim it up the other way, it lightens up to where you don't have any FFB. Trim up further and it reverses. So it turns out that the FFB is a pretty good way to tell whether the prop is pointing in the right direction or not.
Then there's dynamics from steering too, but it's mostly trim effects. I'm modelling all the necessary stuff for the prop, all those torques are there, so it'll be interesting to try to do the FFB like that. I don't know if people might find it really strange or what. Boaters that know how it is in reality might enjoy it, sim racers that have never touched a boat will probably think something is broken. So I'll be sure to have a hydraulic/power steering option that just tries to keep the wheel in it's current position all the time.
Jet boats: Yes, those jet sprint boats are very cool. I'm not getting very good turning performance right now in the simulator though so I'm not sure if I'll be able to do those. There must be something special about the design of those sprint boats that lets them turn at such incredible lateral accelerations. Mainly the center of gravity has got to be incredibly low I think. Even if I drop the center of gravity right down to about the waterline in the sim, I can't even come close in the simulator to the turning performance of those sprint boats. They're a bit of a mystery to me at the moment. Seems just about everybody that sees my sim mentions those, so maybe it might be worth a try at some point.