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Getting started with VSK5

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Although the game is sold with a 12 month license key the annual subscription model has been postponed until further notice from Ubisoft.

A partially defeatured but free to download and play version is available and has all the essential features for participating in online regattas.

  • Hardware minimum requirements can be satisfied by even very dated desktop and laptop computers.
  • A user account with administrator privileges is necessary to install and to play.
  • Since the graphics rely on DirectX and not OpenGL there is no linux compatible version. It may run under Wine.
  • Alternative key bindings that are mindful of the more restricted laptop keyboard are suggested.
  • A guide to the configuration screens is provided.

System requirements Edit

OS RAM
Windows 2000
Windows XP
Windows Vista
256 MB
256 MB
512 MB
CPU 1.6 GHz
Video memory 32 MB
Disk space 1.5 GB
DirectX® 9.0c

With the game configured for "high quality" graphics mode and a DirectX 9.0c capable graphics processor the in-game scenery and effects are truly beautiful however, even very dated hardware can run the game successfully when the "fastest" graphics mode is selected.

Of course you will need an internet connection for online racing and 128kbps is probably the slowest you might get away with. You will need an internet connection for the free VSK5Online game regardless of whether or not you intend to sail against other human players. Modem (56kbps) is not satisfactory for online racing but is satisfactory for getting the free game to initially launch for subsequent offline solo racing against AI boats.

Windows 7 compatibility
Virtual Skipper 3 and Virtual Skipper 4 are not Windows 7 compatible.
32nd America's Cup is compatible but you must install the 2.0.2 patch.
Virtual Skipper 5 is fully Windows 7 compatible.

Compatible graphics processor units Edit

Although the minimum system requirements specify DirectX 9.0c, user experience indicates that the game plays well enough on older processors that do not support shader model 2.0 (SM2.0). For a list of legacy GPUs (those predating DirectX 9.0c) that are known to work with VSK5 or VSK5Online see Compatible GPUs.

Linux compatibility Edit

If you have first hand experience getting VSK to run successfully via Wine then please contribute an article explaining the steps required.

  • Admiral reports that VSK5online will install and run (with some qualifications) on SUSE linux using WINE - read details here.

Download and install Edit

Nadeo has provided the opportunity for you to try before you buy. See the article Evolution of VSK for a table comparing features of one generation previous and the current versions of VSK5.

When you buy the full version it is best that you completely uninstall the free VSK5Online game and then download the full version for a clean install. See the above-mentioned table for detail as to why this is recommended.

Download
VSK 5 
(pay) Follow the SHOP link at the game's official website: www.virtualskipper-game.com
VSK 5 Online 
(free) Follow the DOWNLOADS link at the above website and select a mirror server from which to download the 256MB VSK5Online setup file.


Install 
You must install the game using an account with Administrator privileges.

Launch Edit

Nag screen

VSK5online (free) nag screen

Use an administrator account to launch the game. Alternatively, if you routinely use a limited user account, then read the article Run as admin for instructions on how to configure the shortcut for this game to always run the game with the credentials of a specific administrator account.

  • It is recommended that you play the game with administrator credentials. The game may seem to play from a so-called limited user account but when you eventually start downloading community developed boat models and boat skins then you will run into complications with folder security settings.

Configure Edit

For hardware and software firewall configuration, see Configure a router for hosting.

Most users find that little or no additional configuration is required. The optimum screen resolution is suggested based on your computer's display and video card. The game is best enjoyed in full screen mode. You can always press Alt+Enter to toggle between full screen mode and windowed mode. This can be useful if you need to check on a rule of racing or consult this reference wiki.

The gallery of images below shows each of the configuration screens with recommended default settings.
Caution 
Pressing the button Restore defaults on either Display or Network advanced configuration pages will affect resolution and kbps settings made at the primary configuration page.


See also: TechnicalFaq_en.html in the installation subfolder c:\Program Files\Vsk5Online\GameData\Translations\en\

Key bindings Edit

You could learn the game default key bindings or you could learn from the experience of others and rebind some functions for an ergonomically pleasing game experience. Key bindings are adjusted after the game has launched. Select Settings then Inputs. There are 3 pages of key bindings.

This is very much a matter of personal preference. Many important camera angle and sail trim controls are bound by default to the numpad keys. Since laptop users do not have the benefit of easy access to those keys the suggested key bindings below may make the game more friendly if you are playing on a laptop. Feel free to use these as an alternative default subject to your further customization.

Suggested laptop key bindings (qwerty)

Known bugs and fixes Edit

Of course there are dozens, if not hundreds, more bugs than this short list. These are just a few "show stopping" bugs which newcomers might encounter early on.

My boat does not respond Edit

Not so much a bug but a common newbie trap. If you have pressed the Enter key then you'll find that the chat input box is active. While that box is active it makes sense that none of the key presses that would normally control rudder, sail trim, camera angle, protest, etc. will be active.

  • Simply press Enter to send whatever text is in the chat input window and exit chat mode or
  • Press Esc to abort the chat input and return to game mode

Wind arrow malfunctions Edit

A couple of different malfunctions have been reported:

  1. Wind arrow may vanish completely and pressing the key (Left-Shift is the default binding) does not cause it to reappear.
    • Double check that the race you are in does not have Simulation game-mode enabled. (There is no wind arrow in Sim mode.)
  2. Wind arrow may stay the same color even as you luff up and pass through head-to-wind.
    • Try changing head-sail. That has been known to remedy the situation.

More often than not some misbehavior of the logical key state creeps in when you are using AutoHotkey. If you can temporarily live without your AHK script then try a few races without it and see if the symptom reappears.

  • If it does not reappear then you have some AutoHotkey debugging to do and the detail for that is well beyond the scope of this article. See the AutoHotkey article and pay close attention to the KeyWait statement.
  • If the symptom does reappear then terminate as many background processes as you can get away with while playing VSK.

My camera view keeps spinning Edit

One event that may cause this is by opening the map or the menu whilst turning the camera. After closing the menu, the game continues as if you still have the button pressed. This can be resolved by re-opening the menu, holding the same key while closing it, then releasing after it is closed.

Other events that trigger this are not clear, however reported strategies for exiting that giddy situation include:

  1. press whatever key you have bound to ChangeCamera - this should work in all cases except a stuck key
  2. Press and release left and right mouse buttons at the same time - common for laptops with a touch pad with 2 mouse buttons adjacent to it
  3. Press any one of Esc, Ctrl, Alt - to see if it clears a stuck key.

Graphic card issues Edit

Some graphic cards (e.g. Intel, see link) require to be "customised" to minimum, low, or medium quality preset (manually under "Advanced" in the "Configure" section). This solved the very frustrating "white sea" problem that I had.

Game client modifications Edit

There are two broad classes of game modification. Those the designer intended for end users to take advantage of and those the designer did not. To the extent that the designer clearly intended users to create custom skins and to share them across the community of players; and since the installation of skins requires copying and pasting ZIP archives of .dds files into specific folders within the installation directory structure - it is reasonable to assume that any other .dds file in that directory tree is also "fair game" for modification.

Based on that premise, these are the currently known modifications available for VSK5. Manual installation is required and instructions are provided however no further support is provided. You are always wise to backup the orginal file in case you ever wish to revert to them and avoid having to reinstall the game client.

ZIP archive of VSK mod files

  1. Instrument panel customizations
    • radar grids, rings and radial lines
    • digital readout background colors
    • compass graduation customizations
    • compass center-piece customizations
  2. default skin for opponents whose skin has not yet been cached locally (a.k.a. transparent opponents)
  3. increased contrast for wind effect on water surface (a.k.a. puffLull)
  4. See also the articles:

There may be other mods circulating and so if you are aware of one not listed above then please (i) download the ZIP archive, (ii) add the missing mod and (iii) re-upload to replace the same file (iv) in the upload summary make notes as to the changes made. (A history of past versions are preserved and so willful abuse of this honor system is easily traced. Please do not include any form of executable file in the ZIP files uploaded to this wiki. Unfortunately such ZIP files will be deleted on sight.)

Feel free to expand this section or create a dedicated article if you have more to share on this subject.

Language localization mods Edit

Some users have provided modifications that alter the language used in the game's user interface.

If you have experience with one of the language modifications then please write about it here in either english or your native language.

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