Interview with Sailaway Game Developer Richard Knol

Sailaway - the virtual sailing game for sailors

Sailors love talking to sailors, especially when they can get the inside scoop. We had the opportunity to interview Sailaway game developer Richard Knol and get his take on why he created this virtual sailing platform. Our interview with Richard was a disappointment! Now that we know a little more about him and how he developed this game, we have come to like this game even more.

Sailaway game developer Richard KnolGWS: How long have you been sailing? 

R: I’ve been sailing since I was 8. First with my brother on a small wooden dinghy called “Flits”. People could hear us shouting and fighting with each other all over the lake. Later I started sailing International Moths. I built my first 2 boats myself and since those were not the biggest success in terms of durability, they sailed and my next Moths were built by professionals.

 

GWS: Where did you learn how to sail?

R: My brother and I learnt to sail through trial and error. We were self-taught and got much of our knowledge from the few books that our local library had in their collection.

GWS: Where is your favourite place to sail?

R: I’ve never sailed there yet, but would love to explore the beautiful and treacherous Norwegian coast one day!

GWS: What is your favourite boat to sail on?

R: The International Moth equipped with hydrofoils. Of course!

GWS: What motivated you to develop a sailing game?

R: My big dream is to sail around and explore the world one day, but these things are a little hard to achieve for most people, including me. Family, obligations, lack of funds, lack of support, lack of serious experience, etc. are what keeps me from doing that for real.

Since I spend some of time developing games, it was a small step to start experimenting with a virtual sailboat. After creating my first virtual sail bots, that boat needed water to sail in and instead of setting up a limited space, I decided to let it sail on a global scale with latitude/longitude as position coordinates rather than the mathemetical  x, y, z. The infinite ocean needed land, so I used the real world landmasses for that. The newly created world needed wind, so I used the real world weather for that. It gradually evolved from experimenting with a boat to the global scale realistic sailing simulator, Sailaway!

GWS: What is your favorite part about the Sailaway game?

R: Sailing towards a coast that I have only seen while standing on land (like the island of Tenerife) and then watching it appear through the distant fog and slowly take shape.

Read our official review of the Sailaway game.

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