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Has anyone successfully created a top down view of a stream/river? I need to also work out how to make it look like a boat is cutting through the water.

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Yes people have successfully done that before. Your question is very open ended. Try to ask questions for specific problems you're having. See the FAQ about what types of questions to ask. – Byte56 Jun 20 '12 at 16:51
up vote 1 down vote accepted

This might be what you're looking for to simulate the surface of water.

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Thank you, I've also downloaded particle designer, there are a few particle systems on their which look useful, but this is brilliant. – Lewis Jun 20 '12 at 19:24

You would need to animate particles in a wave fashion, so that each particle's velocity is affected by - 1. wave motion over time 2. the opposite of the boat's velocity ... and move each particle over time.

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