Video games are getting more realistic. Long gone are the days of simple 16-color EGA graphics that made games like Sierra Online King’s Quest possible. Today computers have powerful graphics chips that allow processing for each pixel on the screen in real-time. As demands for virtual environments increase the challenge is to use this power to generate realistic scenes. One important feature is the weather in outdoor scenes.
Elvar Örn Unnþórsson, a student in my 2010 New technology course wrote a paper titled, The possibilities of a virtual weather engine that addresses this topic. This is the abstract:
Weather is an important feature in any virtual environment that strives to be realistic with outdoor scenes. This includes virtual environments created for computer games and 3d simulations or environments for motion pictures, music videos, advertisements, etc. So far developers have had to create their own solutions for each weather phenomenon that was desired in their environment which is time consuming and costly. By providing developers with a powerful and yet simple tool that can create different weather phenomena; much time, money and effort will be saved during the development of virtual environments. This paper takes a look at the possibilities that such a product has including features, potential market, users, impact and future. This paper will give the reader a good understanding of the possibilities that lie with such an engine.
The paper is here: The possibilities of a virtual weather engine (PDF).