Martin Doege wrote:
By having the water as a separated mesh, we could finally
simulate the plane-water interaction properly.  I feel that this method would
move us into the right direction.

And since one of the major selling points of "Flight Simulator X" will
be, at least according to the screenshots and trailers, the more
realistic depiction of water in all its pixel shader-rendered glory,
it would be great if the water in FG would also be a little more than
just the big blue parking lot it is right now. :-)

Martin D.
If there's an interest in improving FG's handling of water, might it be good to take in the idea that maybe one day the FG engine could be used for sailing ship simulation too? After all, FG's already got the 3D graphics engine, world scenery and a weather engine. Add in a sailing ship simulator "FDM", and a proper concept of water (tides, currents, depths, waves, 50-ft sea monsters etc) and you'd have it.

Last year, I discovered Peter Davis's Tallship simulator "surprise.exe" and made a partial port to linux.

Davis's website (for the original windoze program) is: http://home.wxs.nl/~pdavis
My RPMs of the linux port are here: ftp://tallyho.bc.nu/pub/steve/surprise/surprise-20030924-2.i386.rpm

My port is nowhere near complete in terms of options and eye-candy, but it does run. Mine only simulates the three-masted frigate (the original does that plus a two-masted brig). Mine doesn't have the "map" display nor any concept of land. The original modelled some "islands" to provide some entertainment trying to navigate. Mine doesn't yet show the "thrusts" diagram which tells you what forces are being provided by which sails. Mine doesn't yet have configurable weather, the original does.

Porting it required me to tease out the "FDM" for Davis's ship simulator - it had been somewhat intertwined with the calls to the windoze API needed for his GUI. My version uses his "FDM" but with the GUI implemented with "Glade", the GTK+ GUI writer.

I was actually using the project to teach myself Glade. Funnily enough, Peter Davis taught himself Visual Basic (and later Visual C) in order to write his ship-sim in the first place. His inexperience with computer programming does show in the code (along with its rather BASIC-like layout due to its heritage), but it does at least work.

I've seen various people post queries about ship simulators on this list before, all to no avail.

See here for a (commercial) 3D model of an 18th century frigate: http://www.turbosquid.com/FullPreview/Index.cfm/ID/240860/Action/FullPreview

FG can't use this (obviously) but the FG project's got quite a few excellent 3D modeller experts in need of a challenge :-)
If you get the "The Making of Hornblower" book that went with the UK's "Carlton TV" dramatisation of Forrester's books, then on the inner cover flysheets and the centre-spread there's a reproduction of a set of technical drawings for the "Grand Turk" (the ship used in the TV series, and used in the BBC's "Longitude" TV programme).

To answer one obvious comment before it happens: yes, Peter Davis's source code (and my existing work on a linux port) are all GPL! I asked Davis last year if he would consider some sort of formal licence for his work, and he GPL-ed it last August.

Steve