This page concerns a number of the Game Mechanics of Raft.
The wind direction of Raft can be determined in two ways. Either, the player can build a Streamer, which points in the direction the wind is going, or the player can take note of the direction the raft is drifting when neither Engines nor a Sail is in use. The wind direction never changes in Raft. It always points to a specific point towards the "end of the world". The illusion of changing wind direction can be caused by rotation of the raft and the raft having its position reset after traversing the "whole world" (See section Navigation).
The center of the raft is important for the way the game works. The center of the raft is determined on game-start, where the connecting corner of the 2x2 preexisting Foundations easily mark the center. The player may find this point hard to locate later in the game after having built and removed foundations. Raft Mods can be used to determine this point should the player have completely lost track of its location.
Islands and Flotsam spawn relative to the center of the Raft. When coming within a certain range of the center, Islands are loaded into the Ocean of Raft to give the illusion that all islands are spawned in at all times. In reality, non Story-related Islands spawn at random intervals just outside the player's view range, and within the specific biome the player is currently sailing. Story Islands receive a randomized spawn point within a predefined distance-range relative to the raft before being loaded into the game. In other words, when the player attempts to locate a Story Island using the Receiver, the game decides on specific location for the Island to spawn, and will then spawn the Island on that point when the raft center comes within range of the Island.
Flotsam always spawns on a line perpendicular to the raft's current heading, and within a 14 Foundations width of the center of the raft. It is spawned ahead of the raft, much in the same way as Islands, in order to make it seem like the Ocean is filled with it.
Raft World and Directions
The raft travels in the direction of the wind. Throughout the game, the player discovers new ways to manipulate the raft's travel-direction. In the early-game, the player can build Paddles which can be used to momentarily sail in a specific direction as long as the Paddle is used. Sails are permanent solutions to affect sailing direction, but only allows the raft to sail sideways of or with the wind direction. Once engaging with the Story, the player will gain access to Engines, which used with a Steering Wheel allows the player to sail at a constant speed in any direction.
In the screenshot to the right, a player has set the Sail to point directly to the left of the wind direction, which results in the raft moving on a diagonal between the two opposing forces. Angling the sail to point further left will allow the raft go all the way up to 90 degrees sideways of the wind direction, however the bigger the angle the slower the raft will go.
The Raft world can be described as a flat plane, on which the player drifts endlessly. When reaching the "end of the world" the raft location is instead moved to the start of the world, allowing the player to traverse the same plane again - much like the old Pac-Man game, in which the player is moved from the right side of the screen to the left when moving "outside" the screen. If the player misses a Story-related Island before obtaining an Engine, the can simply continue past the destination until it moves in front of the Raft again.