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Dylock

Weather Modeling

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Hey there first time posting. I've been designing a game on paper and been looking into different ways to development the environment. One of the things I always wanted to do was have a real time weather system. Where you could create different weather situations in different parts of the world map(Also I have an interest in weather modeling in general). So I guess my question is if there is a SDK or package around that has been used in previous games so I can get an understanding of the make up of the system. Thanks for reading Dylock

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Torque has weather systems within it that I believe can generate different weather in different area. I've only seen some examples and haven't had the chance to play with it yet so I'm not sure the extent of it but Torque is a pretty strong engine.

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If what you want is a ready-to-use weather modeling package, I'm not sure you'll find one. Good luck though. But if what you want is to create a model like this yourself, that's a different story, I'd be happy to chime in with a few suggestions!

But anyways, for any single player in a world like this, it doesn't really matter if you use a simple technique that emulates weather changes well enough, or if you actually detail an accurate model. That's because from his/her point of view the detailed model is hardly noticeable. However, since you have an interest in the weather model itself, I guess this is not an interesting option ;)

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I've been looking at weather modeling for my game as well, and most of the stuff I have found has been for high performance and supercomputing applications. That's kinda out of my budget for a game. The next tier I found were straight hydrological apps, which didn't allow me to model a typhoon if I wanted the avatar to travel the stormy sea to get to the next level, or to save the princess, per se.


There were some freeware dl's here:

Link I don't know how useful they will be, from the looks of them, you will have to have a handful of them to have a complete array of weather choices available to you. If I find out more useful data, I'll follow up.

Adventuredesign

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I think that Planestide has a pretty decent system. One that I find much better than the standard immediate rain system.

Basically they randomly generate a storm and then let it track across the map. It works pretty good. Its not perfect, but it does add spice.

I personally would not try modeling too realistic a weather system. I.E. don't try to build a system with weather fronts, High pressure areas, realistic winds etc. The truth is that putting that much work into a system is going to be underappreciated.

However there are certain things that I like in weather system that don't go unappreciated.

Don't have zone-wide weather unless you're zone is supposed to be very small. Its neat to watch a storm move acrss an area get stronger and then weaken.

Have you're weather actually DO something. Nothings more annoying than having the rain do absolutely nothing except hamper vision.

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Thanks for all the replies.
i would actually like it to be a fairly detailed system, ive been reading up on the subject today.
one of the goals i wanted to accomplish is to have percipitation collect.
For example snow accumilating on the ground, rain causing puddles, flooding, so on and so forth. Granted that would be extrememly difficult, but I have my entire life. Even if I didn't make the weather feature for a game, i think it would still be neat to implement in another way, perhaps use it for educational purposes.

But thanks for the input guys :D
dylock

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Original post by Dylock
Thanks for all the replies.
i would actually like it to be a fairly detailed system, ive been reading up on the subject today.
one of the goals i wanted to accomplish is to have percipitation collect.
For example snow accumilating on the ground, rain causing puddles, flooding, so on and so forth. Granted that would be extrememly difficult, but I have my entire life. Even if I didn't make the weather feature for a game, i think it would still be neat to implement in another way, perhaps use it for educational purposes.

But thanks for the input guys :D
dylock


This is a feature that is far under-developed in most... every game. Flooding, snow drifts, torrents of rain... The possibilities for weather-affected world areas is huge. Perhaps a big storm comes along and completely opens up a new area of the world or whatever. This would be definitely a MMO-ish feature, since a single-player game wouldn't really have the potential to appreciate this kind of feature. But it is a good one nonetheless.

Since I plan on building a simulation/rpg engine, the most important feature of said engine will be the weather system because it will determine the rainfall which will determine the growth of plants (animal food), ad infinitum through the entire circle of life, right to the very top. Not to detrack from the current topic of the thread with my mad ramblings, but I for one can appreciate the necessity or desire to have a detailed weather system and think that the game world's desire to abstract things that they deem artificial only makes the games seem more artificial when they don't necessarily have to.

My two cents, something to chew on.

Vopisk

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I've been reading up on perlin noise lately (when you surf around the web a bit, this kind of thing comes back every once in a while). This has given me an idea.

Perlin noise is used to model realistic looking clouds, right? What about if instead of outputting the density of clouds in a given point of the world in a specific moment in time, it outputs the density of effects such as rain, snow, wind, and temperature?

It would change slowly with time of course, and you could add some extra variables such as a higher probability to rain in a given area, or different global probabilities varying with seasons. The bottomline is that from the point of view of the player, all that is needed is weather varying smoothly with time and place. I think that Perlin noise can simulate this pretty well, it would look really cool.

BTW nice idea, floods and all! But of course it wouldn't fit in the same old linear story game, just like most simulations wouldn't.

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the idea of making a very dynamic world is almost more appealing then making a MMORPG :D
Also I think the need for "cooler"(more complex) environments is going to increase with the increased use in home projecter units. Some people here around campus play all their games projected on a wall in their house, and some of them have said the envionments just dont fit. OF corse this is opinion.

Take it easy
dylock

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Original post by Jotaf
I've been reading up on perlin noise lately (when you surf around the web a bit, this kind of thing comes back every once in a while). This has given me an idea.

Perlin noise is used to model realistic looking clouds, right? What about if instead of outputting the density of clouds in a given point of the world in a specific moment in time, it outputs the density of effects such as rain, snow, wind, and temperature?

It would change slowly with time of course, and you could add some extra variables such as a higher probability to rain in a given area, or different global probabilities varying with seasons. The bottomline is that from the point of view of the player, all that is needed is weather varying smoothly with time and place. I think that Perlin noise can simulate this pretty well, it would look really cool.

BTW nice idea, floods and all! But of course it wouldn't fit in the same old linear story game, just like most simulations wouldn't.


You know I state again that this could be too much work for a simple thing needed in a game...(not the floods and stuff thats good) but the density of rains and such, as I said in an earlier one...creating TOO realistic a weather model will go underappreciated.

You don't need to create a realistic MODEL of a weather system, just create one that doesn't seem fake. It may sound like the same thing, but its really not.

Create circular storms, have the intensity of the rain, wind, snow, dust etc, increase towards the center of the storm, then move the storm through the area. As a storm passes through the area you will see a natural increase in storm intensity and then watch it die off. It creates enough realism for the player, without creating alot of uneccissary hard work for the program. It saves time, saves money, and appears alot more realistic than what is currently out there.

I'm not saying you're ideas are without merrit, but why build the San francisco Bridge, when what you're trying to do is cross a stream on a bicycle.

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Original post by robert4818
Quote:
Original post by Jotaf
I've been reading up on perlin noise lately (when you surf around the web a bit, this kind of thing comes back every once in a while). This has given me an idea.

Perlin noise is used to model realistic looking clouds, right? What about if instead of outputting the density of clouds in a given point of the world in a specific moment in time, it outputs the density of effects such as rain, snow, wind, and temperature?

It would change slowly with time of course, and you could add some extra variables such as a higher probability to rain in a given area, or different global probabilities varying with seasons. The bottomline is that from the point of view of the player, all that is needed is weather varying smoothly with time and place. I think that Perlin noise can simulate this pretty well, it would look really cool.

BTW nice idea, floods and all! But of course it wouldn't fit in the same old linear story game, just like most simulations wouldn't.


You know I state again that this could be too much work for a simple thing needed in a game...(not the floods and stuff thats good) but the density of rains and such, as I said in an earlier one...creating TOO realistic a weather model will go underappreciated.

You don't need to create a realistic MODEL of a weather system, just create one that doesn't seem fake. It may sound like the same thing, but its really not.

Create circular storms, have the intensity of the rain, wind, snow, dust etc, increase towards the center of the storm, then move the storm through the area. As a storm passes through the area you will see a natural increase in storm intensity and then watch it die off. It creates enough realism for the player, without creating alot of uneccissary hard work for the program. It saves time, saves money, and appears alot more realistic than what is currently out there.

I'm not saying you're ideas are without merrit, but why build the San francisco Bridge, when what you're trying to do is cross a stream on a bicycle.


You're talking as if we're not advocating the same idea :) I'm all for having a simple weather system as opposed to one that mimics real weather. Perhaps you're not familiar with Perlin Noise and think it's overly complicated -- actually, it isn't. A system like I described would be all copy-and-paste, standardized perlin noise code, outputting how much rain, snow or wind should be in the player's area. And the result wouldn't be as simplistic to the eyes of the player as a storm approaching and then leaving.

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You're right I don't know about the noise thing..

But then perhaps a combination of the two systems. You definately want the concept of a storm "coming and leaving" because in general thats what storms do, they move through an area.

SO we use the storm movement system to create the path of the storm, with the increasing and decreasing intensity, and then use the noise to flesh out the details inside the storm itself...

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another thing i was thinking of, if it was detailed enough it might actually produce its own annual forcast. where you could set certain beginning factors and it progresses from there. Again wayy in the future :D

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The question becomes, given we have a long enough timeline in any given game, can we institute randomness into the system, that is, it doesn't always rain at the same time, in the same place, while still giving habitats and environments different weather conditions based upon seasonal climate shifts? Could elevation play a factor perhaps? Or are we stuck with "It's a winter month, therefore it snows instead of rains"? But what if the air temperature is high enough to allow for partially melted snow (aka sleet)?

As for permanent effects of storms. I would suggest that if this were to be done, it would have to become a tangible artifact upon the game world, so if someone just cast a huge fireball spell in the general area, the snow is melted, or if a dragon used "Ice Breath" then everything becomes frozen, footprints in the snow/mud, etc.... The possibilities are wide open so long as one is willing to put in the effort.

I must respectfully disagree with Robert4818. Simplifying any aspect of a game system merely to cut the corner on development is not an acceptable option. When you focus more on saving yourself time and hassle, then it becomes evident in the poor output of the work. If what we're going for is a vibrant world in which our characters exist, then we must make every effort and pay every attention to the smallest detail to enhance the overall game experience.

If the wind is blowing (and assuming your game has the graphics to handle it) noticing the blades of grass and tree limbs around you swaying gently is a much better descriptor of the true weather than a weather-vane in your HUD or some squiggly lines blowing across the screen. Consider how important things like the seasonal flooding of the Nile river have been to the development of humanity and how we can add something like that to our games in order to enhance them visually as well as mechanically.

The players may not appreciate the true detail lurking behind it, but they will notice the additional effort paid I guarantee it.

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You missed the point of what I'm trying to say.

Depending on what type of game you are building, creating an entire realistic weather system is not so much "doing it right" as going with a level of sophistication un-needed in the game.

Do you need to worry TOO much about elevation and its effects on weather, barametric pressure, cold, warm fronts, pollen in the air, air flow dynamics through a cavern etc? No, unless the game you are building is actually FOCUSED around the weather. Its not cutting corners, its too much work for the payoff.

Take a look at the most technically advance racing simulator on the market. Do you think that they have a program written in it that simulates every single piece of the equipment under the hood? Carboreators, Radiators, gas injection pumps, spark plugs, alternators, battery, etc. Do you think that they calculate out the exact amount of friction that every square inch of grass has on the car, or do you think they generalize, give different features different effects on the car.

What you call "cutting corners" is actually finding a way to mimic the real thing ENOUGH to immerse the players without over taxing you're self.

If you create an adventure game, do you want to take into effect the change in endurance and stamina the character has based off of his last meal. Did he have spegetti or a candy bar? Well if he had spegetti, how much did he have, it may give him extra fuel to burn, but if he ate too much it may weigh him down. Is it going to break immersion if you just assign it a number and give the actiosn different amounts that they take off?

I'm gettnig overly dramatic here, but I am trying to make a point. The only reason to create an entire WEATHER SIMULATION is if you are creating a forcasting game. Otherwise you are just over-workign yourself.

and BTW I take offence to the suggestion that my idea was "Cutting Corners"

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Original post by robert4818
You missed the point of what I'm trying to say.

Depending on what type of game you are building, creating an entire realistic weather system is not so much "doing it right" as going with a level of sophistication un-needed in the game.

Do you need to worry TOO much about elevation and its effects on weather, barametric pressure, cold, warm fronts, pollen in the air, air flow dynamics through a cavern etc? No, unless the game you are building is actually FOCUSED around the weather. Its not cutting corners, its too much work for the payoff.

Take a look at the most technically advance racing simulator on the market. Do you think that they have a program written in it that simulates every single piece of the equipment under the hood? Carboreators, Radiators, gas injection pumps, spark plugs, alternators, battery, etc. Do you think that they calculate out the exact amount of friction that every square inch of grass has on the car, or do you think they generalize, give different features different effects on the car.

What you call "cutting corners" is actually finding a way to mimic the real thing ENOUGH to immerse the players without over taxing you're self.

If you create an adventure game, do you want to take into effect the change in endurance and stamina the character has based off of his last meal. Did he have spegetti or a candy bar? Well if he had spegetti, how much did he have, it may give him extra fuel to burn, but if he ate too much it may weigh him down. Is it going to break immersion if you just assign it a number and give the actiosn different amounts that they take off?

I'm gettnig overly dramatic here, but I am trying to make a point. The only reason to create an entire WEATHER SIMULATION is if you are creating a forcasting game. Otherwise you are just over-workign yourself.

and BTW I take offence to the suggestion that my idea was "Cutting Corners"


Take offense if you will, but I am unable to sit by without response here. First and foremost, any weather system in any game, would not be visible/applicable inside of a cavern in any way shape or form. So if your entire game takes place in a cavern then you're all set and have no need of a wather system.

Also, I very explicitly said that such a system would only be benefitial in a long time-lined game like a MMO or something with a peristent world that could benefit from such global events as a blizzard, flooding or whathaveyou. As for your racing game analogy, besides my belief that realistic weather in a racing game would be the best idea ever(road gets wet, car starts sliding so you have to adjust your driving style to accomodate), I also believe that further levels of realism in driving games only serve to add to the purpose, but perhaps unlike myself you've never driven a dragster down the strip in 10-seconds flat, or raced in a quarter-mile shootout in a beat up old stock car. All those different parts have a hand in making the car drive better or worse over the long haul and while a certain amount of over-simulation could arise from having all of those parts, each has a very definitive and plain way of "going foul" that causes different reactions by your vehicle. While most of these faults are rare, it would be fun to see them at work, but not to mention, if you have a game like the Gran Turismo series, why doesn't it make sense that you should have to change your tires and your oil? These are cost-strategies for the early-level player and can make a huge difference on your engine depending upon where you're racing and under what conditions.

what YOU call "finding a way to mimic the real thing ENOUGH", is actually forcing the player to step back and look at your game world through shrink-wrap, like a toy that only wants to be taken out of its packaging and played with but it's owner is a collector and too worried the toy might get hurt. Game Developers need to stop worrying that their entire audience is two years old and can't handle the big, difficult concepts, it is entirely possible to design a game where the player doesn't need to know the reality in order to enjoy the game while at the same time the player that does know the reality and how to manipulate/understand it can benefit and further enjoy your game.

However, I will concede that there are points at which reality breaks immersion and detracts from gameplay, such as your example as to eating. Certainly I think that metabolism should play a part in any game that focuses specifically upon the character, and perhaps the more effort that is exerted the greater the hunger level, however, it should really be simplified down to numbers as to how much need be eaten.. but then again, the prospect of someone stuffing their face and reaping the negative side effects is somewhat pleasing, warm and fuzzy you might call it.

However yes, this would be a mindless obstacle to the player, and I'm not that much of a sadist.

The real point here is that in certain game types, not just including "simulations"(the big taboo word everyone on these forums is afraid of), an in-depth weather system can be beneficial, however, while I believe there are games that do not require an in-depth weather system to affect the game world, it can be forgone in the sake of an easier weather system, but I absolutely refuse to believe that it is ever better to simplify something for the sake of your convenience rather than the enjoyment of the player.

I won't say it offends me, because it's your personal opinion and you're entitled to it, but it is disheartening to think that you are on a game design/theory board and can find no better example of a fitting place for a realistic weather system than in a forecasting game.

Anyway, not in the spirit of anger or to spread further discontent,but merely to give the argument from my side of view and spread the discussion a bit further, that is my opinion. Take it as you will.

Vopisk

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The main point though is that Weather, even in a long term game such as an MMO (Which I will concede MMO's do need a BETTER weather system) is largely overlooked by the player. What good does it do the player to know that the weather follows real world barametric patterns? That storms flow along hot and cold fronts.

Do you plan on including barometers in your game? Is everyone going to carry around a thermometer? Also, are you're players going to be able to affect the weather? If so how much are they going to need to know about REAL weather to do so?

I'm all for creating realistic weather effects such as flooding and snow banks and such, I just still state that the cost-benefit analysis of creating a REAL weather system in a game is going to reveal that its just not worth doing.

Plus, do you intend to create an MMO with zones in it? If so how do you figure a realistic weather feature flows into a zoned world? For the system you're talking about you are going to need a seamless world. But you know, weather DOES affect Caves and caverns...where do you think that flood waters going to run? Large flash floods come streaming down the cave mouth and drowning people inside the caves.

Realisticlly you are going to have to create a random system anyways. Weather is driven by so many variables including temperature, seas, currents, jet streams, magnetism, solar flares, earths rotation, tides, altitude, Mountains, etc that you cannot account for them all. So somewhere you're going to have to fudge and randomize the numbers...which eventually means down the line, reguardless of how complex you're system is, your weather will end up being random.

I'm not saying put in a cheesey 100% random weather system where you get zone-wide snow in the middle of June...but there are many simpler ways to handle the system (even to create seasons and such) than to try to create a world-wide weather network...

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I'm not saying put in a cheesey 100% random weather system where you get zone-wide snow in the middle of June...but there are many simpler ways to handle the system (even to create seasons and such) than to try to create a world-wide weather network...


Very true. We must keep in mind the fact that even the best weather prediction and simulators are still far from good enough. Take a look at the weather forcast for instance ;). As was mentioned, the point of simplification will need to be when 1) the complexity does not affect the game or 2) when the players computer can't handle the system along with performing all the other required tasks. It's one thing to talk about a perfect weather system - another to implement it and have it serve its purpose while running fast.

It's all a balancing act between features and computing power. A simplified, but still complex weather system sounds like the perfect solution. After all you aren't going to model weather perfectly. If you do I know some people that will want to talk to you =D.

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The most practical approach is to design a system based around the four seasons. When a certain season is active you have the computer randomly choose the type of weather based on the season. Now to keep it from suddenly becoming summer or winter, you actually overlap the seasons by about a month or two. While both months are active ANY weather from those two seasons can happen. Put in a couple of logic checks so that the weather doesn't make complete nonsense...

Go back to the storm tracking system I mentioned earlier, and you'll have a semi-realistic system that will work for most MMOs, and won't cause undo work on you're part.

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Original post by robert4818
Basically they randomly generate a storm and then let it track across the map. It works pretty good. Its not perfect, but it does add spice.

I personally would not try modeling too realistic a weather system. I.E. don't try to build a system with weather fronts, High pressure areas, realistic winds etc. The truth is that putting that much work into a system is going to be underappreciated.

However there are certain things that I like in weather system that don't go unappreciated.

Have you're weather actually DO something. Nothings more annoying than having the rain do absolutely nothing except hamper vision.


No, no, NO. The world in the player or the player in the world? Does romanticism mean anything to you?

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Original post by infrmtn
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Original post by robert4818
Basically they randomly generate a storm and then let it track across the map. It works pretty good. Its not perfect, but it does add spice.

I personally would not try modeling too realistic a weather system. I.E. don't try to build a system with weather fronts, High pressure areas, realistic winds etc. The truth is that putting that much work into a system is going to be underappreciated.

However there are certain things that I like in weather system that don't go unappreciated.

Have you're weather actually DO something. Nothings more annoying than having the rain do absolutely nothing except hamper vision.


No, no, NO. The world in the player or the player in the world? Does romanticism mean anything to you?


Color me confused...I have no idea what you just said

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Original post by robert4818
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Original post by infrmtn
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Original post by robert4818
Basically they randomly generate a storm and then let it track across the map. It works pretty good. Its not perfect, but it does add spice.

I personally would not try modeling too realistic a weather system. I.E. don't try to build a system with weather fronts, High pressure areas, realistic winds etc. The truth is that putting that much work into a system is going to be underappreciated.

However there are certain things that I like in weather system that don't go unappreciated.

Have you're weather actually DO something. Nothings more annoying than having the rain do absolutely nothing except hamper vision.


No, no, NO. The world in the player or the player in the world? Does romanticism mean anything to you?


Color me confused...I have no idea what you just said


It is the opinion of a select few of us out here, that the player should be a player WITHIN a greater game world. The game world should be crafted and perfected, and then, when it can thrive and flourish on its own without any interference from the players, we let them in to create whatever havoc they may. Thus the player is in the world, the players is not THE world.

Too often we circularly rotate around the player, the player this, the player that, does the poet worry about the reader? Or the poem? If people find it beautiful and recite it to their lovers, then all the better, but the artist is creating his art for himself. If your scheme is to get rich or die trying, you're probably going to end up dead. The bare-bones facts are that not many people become overnight super-millionaires by creating the greatest game ever.

When I spent some time as a musician, not even being moderately succesful, the most meaningful moment ever was to have someone listen to a tape of a performance of mine and be moved to tears by the words/sound of a song. It was the pinnacle and completion of my career, to have moved someone to that extent. But I was just singing a song that I wrote, not with the intent of making someone cry, they were just the word in my head and I wrote them down and later sung them, but they did mean something to someone.

Make your game not worrying about sales or who (if anyone) will like it, make the game that you want to make, make your masterpiece, you will find that people will appreciate it much more than a game overly stuffed with features that every other game has because you decided that's what the players want in a game.

Anyway, that's where the romanticism comes in.

Vopisk

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