About the Southern BC and Puget Sound AI ferry project

This all started soon after Orbx PNW came out. The realism from the various bodies of water that I knew was astounding, which made the stock FSX ferries stick out like a sore thumb. Imagine a WSF ferry docking in Nanaimo.

The original idea was to provide a realistic experience using a pilotable boat in this region where you might see some of the typical commercial vessel traffic in the area. One of the goals was to approximate the visibility range and arc of running lights so that at night you could decide if you were making it across the bow of an oncoming vessel by watching the running lights, a basic skill needed when it’s dark.

I currently have 15 ferries most of which will be re-done before release, and 47 revised routes. See the chart below. Most of these routes were in the default FSX boat traffic file, although some of them were not active — no boat was assigned. The FSX routes as drawn were likely reasonable for FSX, however with Orbx PNW boats would run aground, cut navigation aids, even try to pass over small islets. All the revised routes are reasonably accurate, and the boats will dock in close proximity to the custom slips. The boat assignments are somewhat arbitrary, however they should be plausible or have been plausible and they are arranged so that two instances of the same boat are not too close together.

I have already posted the AI ship package for Puget Sound with a number of commercial AI vessels which is intended as an enhancement for the ferry system. The cruise ship Norwegian Pearl can also be considered consistent with the original purpose; the traffic file for this boat comes with Vic+ SP1. In keeping with the idea of navigating at night, I have lighthouses with appropriate light characteristics for the navigation aids in Puget Sound that are not present in Orbx PNW. For the first installment of the ferry system, I have swapped out one of the two default AI cruise ships for Puget Sound with the Norwegian Pearl, and I may swap out other commercial vessels in the area covered in the future.

This is and has been a long-term project. Although it all functions on my machine, much needs to be revised before it would be suitable for distribution. Whether or not I add new vessels or not remains to be seen. And whether or not I can complete all this remains to be seen. Life is uncertain.

Boat Name From To
Carlisle II Lopez Is Decatur Is.
Carlisle II Decatur Is. Blakely Is.
Carlisle_BC Nanaimo Newcastle Is
Melissa Ann generic Seattle Vashon
MV Bowen Queen Swartz Bay 2 Fulford Harbour
MV Bowen Queen Swartz Bay 2 Pender Is.
MV Bowen Queen Blubber Bay Powell River
MV Bowen Queen Chemainus Kuper
MV Bowen Queen Saturna Island Mayne Island 2
MV Bowen Queen Swartz Bay 2 Mayne Island
MV Bowen Queen Pender Island Long Harbour
MV Coho Port Angles Victoria
MV Hiyu Orcas Friday Harbor
MV Hiyu Anacortes Guemes Is.
MV Kaleetan Friday Harbor Lopez
MV Kaleetan Anacortes Lopez
MV Kaleetan Seattle Bremerton
MV Kitsap Bremerton Seattle
MV Kitsap Clinton Muckleteo
MV Kitsap Friday Harbor Sidney
MV Norwegian Pearl Seattle Seward
MV Tenaka Crofton Vesuvius Bay
MV Tenaka Chemainus Thetis
MV Tenaka Campbell River Quadra Is
MV Tenaka Denman Is. Hornby Is.
MV Tenaka Buckley Bay Denman Island
MV Tenaka Gambier Island Langdale
MV Tenaka Quadra Is. Cortez Is.
MV Tillicum Port Townsend Keystone
MV Tillicum Vashon Fauntleeroy
MV WallaWalla Clinton Muckleteo
MV WallaWalla Edmonds Kingston
MVTacoma Seattle Bainbridge
MVTacoma Kingston Edmonds
MV Bowen Queen Nanaimo Galiano Is.
PBoat_22ft_Blackstripe_sm Nanaimo Protection Island
Queen of Cumberland Mayne Island Tsawwassen
Queen of Cumberland Swarts Bay Galiano Is.
Queen of Cumberland Salter Bay Earls Cove
Queen of Cumberland Langdale Horseshoe Bay
Queen of Nanaimo Tsawwassen Duke Point
Queen_of_Nanaimo Powell River Comox
Queen_of_Nanaimo Departure Bay Horseshoe Bay
Queen_of_Nanaimo Long Harbour Tsawwassen
Spirit of VI Swartz Bay Tsawwassen
Spirit of VI Duke Point Tsawwassen
Stephenie_under_sail Earls Cove Salter Bay

PNW ferry system update

A quick update for the search engines, (my most devoted and if I might say so, discriminating audience); I’ve mostly finished what will be the first part of the PNW ferry system. Jon was kind enough to do what I never seem to get around to…take a bunch of screenshots.



One of the main issues with this scenery is that although I did it with the intent that it will look OK close up, few will see it that way. For flight simmers, there is little reason to land the floatplane near a ferry terminal, and from any appreciable distance, it does not look much different with or without it. So at Jon’s suggestion, I adapted a Zodiac model so that it is pilotable. It’s an experiment, and it’s not much more detailed than an ordinary piece of scenery, but it does work, and it does have some of the standard marine instruments. How it will be distributed has not been decided.

A word about wakes; P3D v2.4 resolves the issue from v2.3 of tile sizes being twice what they should be, however at least on my machine they become trapezoidal over time so that the wake ends up with a sawtooth pattern that may or may not be that visible depending on the scale. On this basis, I’ve decided not to make P3D specific wake effects; the ones I use for FSX are at least reasonable. There is a lot more that could be done with wake effects but for now I’m going to stick with what I think is at least passable. I think it’s as important or perhaps more important to have the wake match the vessel based on its size and speed, and I’ve further revised my Excel spreadsheet such that after entering the appropriate characteristics of the boat, acceptable estimates for the various parameters in the effect are given. This means that I can quickly tailor a wake effect to match the boat.