Saturday, April 10, 2010

Uncharted 2’s yachts defy nautical logic

Uncharted 2 may look pretty, but is it accurate? *

As a certified yacht skipper, licensed by the Royal Yachting Association of Great Britain, I enjoy looking for nautical inaccuracies in my videogames. Which is a ridiculous and stupid thing to do, but hey! It’s like historians who play RTS games and point out the fact that the Germans technically didn’t use a specific kind of tank in 1943, or something.


Games, books and films have and always will have technical inaccuracies. IMDB is resplendent with movie-based gaffs, showing how certain things can’t be possible.

In Uncharted 2, an exceptionally beautiful game, you come to a part with a view of the harbour. Now, as any self-respecting skipper will tell you, you lay your anchor and sufficient rode so that you can swing with the tide while moored, of course first making sure that you’re not dragging. The tide meanwhile will be going in a constant direction until it turns, at which points it becomes slack for a time and then changes direction. There’s also windage to take into account, quality of the sea bottom, and so on.

All boats should be facing the same direction – the direction the tide is going. Even if there was slack water, they should in theory be facing the direction the wind is blowing. This screen shows at least 3 different drift directions in the same harbour (more depending on those further out). I suppose the horizontal boats could have anchored using their port cleats, hence the direction faced, but this seems weird, and doesn’t explain what the boat on the far right is doing at such an odd angle.

And this is a shame, because whoever created this scene had gone to the trouble of giving each boat an anchor light, which is a good sign of accuracy.

And if anyone asks, yes, I made this not-entirely-accurate post purely to let everyone I’m a licensed yachtsman. Now, if you’ll excuse me, there’s some brandy which needs warming and skeet which need shooting.

* To be honest, I'm not entirely sure my theory is correct - can any other sailors care to share their views?

1 comment:

  1. Now you're going to start a trend. The "eerily accurate yacht eyeballin' in games" trend.