I want to create a (non-realistic) 3D representation of a true nautical environment (e.g. a harbor). I get a real-time stream of data for each ship in the harbor, containing position, size, speed, direction etc. over a tcp/ip interface. (For each vessel, I get an update every 3 seconds. Potentially there are hundreds of ships in the harbor.) Each ship can be represented e.g. by a simple box with the right dimensions floating in a blue plane representing the water. Then I want to put a number of virtual cameras in this virtual harbor, and output a video stream (h.264 over tcp/ip multicast) for each virtual camera at e.g. 10fps. These cameras are at a fixed position, but I need to be able to change pan/tilt/zoom from an external (tcp/ip) interface. All this needs to be done in real-time... Would Blend be the right tool to accomplish something like this? What would be a good approach to make something like this? Or do you have suggestions for other tooling that may be more suitable?
Blender is capable of doing what you describe.
One major hurdle with this system is going to be the viewing client. If you need to output a stream over the network, your simulation will need to render to python socket. Probably most easily done in BGE. possible. Then you'll also need an adaptor to make that a usable video stream. (If you were trying to open it in VLC or iTunes type app)
Another option might be to build your clients with BGE also, then you could use a Multiplayer framework to let people login to the running simulation.