Dynamic Weather Coming to Battleground Europe- New Screens and Video

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MOTORMOUTHOne feature that CRS devs have long wanted to add to Battleground Europe is changing weather conditions. After a lot of testing and tweaking, v1.31 will see the addition of cloudy and rainy weather to the game. Our goal is to provide more variety to game play while increasing the "fun" factor.

How it will work
At midnight of each game day cycle, the host will run a process to decide if the upcoming game day is going to be a "bad weather" day. On "bad weather" days, lighting is reduced, and a layer of dark clouds is added to the sky. Limits have been included to ensure that consecutive "bad weather" day selection are minimized. Every game hour of a "bad weather" day, the host runs a secondary process to determine if rain will fall anytime during that hour. If the result is positive, a random selection is made to determine how many minutes rain will fall. This will range from 5 to 60 game minutes.  This step is done to avoid having a state of rainy weather for an extended period of play and to create variety. When rain is active, a rain texture within a certain radius of the player is displayed. The rain drop texture is actually composed of dozens of drops applied to a tile or "sprite", giving the appearance of volume. There is an additional sprite that displays splashes of rain hitting the ground. To complete the entire rainy day experience, random claps of thunder will echo throughout the game world. All weather settings and effects are global for the game world.

At midnight, the next cycle begins and if the system determines the next 24 hour game cycle is to be a clear weather day, then the "bad weather" cloud layer will be removed and it will clear skies ahead- at least until the next cycle is set.

Aircraft and weather
One important issue that has been addressed is ensuring that weather didn't negatively affect the air game.  When a "bad weather" day is active, there are lighting changes and a layer of storm clouds are added at approximately 800 meters. This elevation has been set by the production team for play testing through Beta and may be adjusted. This layer does have breaks through which bombers can still see the ground below. Above the new cloud layer, the sky lightens and the rain vanishes leaving clear, blue skies for pilots. All changes created by the "bad weather" day are erased once a pilot climbs above new cloud layer. The fog settings do not change on "bad weather" days. Above the "bad weather" cloud layer, pilots will see no differences in air-to-air combat.

"The original implementation of weather, which consisted of fog and cloud changes created severe challenges for air combat that we weren't able to find an effective solution for back then", says Al "RAFTER" Corey. "But with the recent update to game engine, it was decided this would be the best time to try again. Once we figured out a way to have the weather effects capped at the new cloud layer, the new weather system started to take shape".

Other challenges
While Chris "MARTINI" Fennell was busy coding the new effects and systems, Jeremy "DEKARD" Lindstrom was designing new cloud textures and Rick "GRANIK" Ashby was determining new settings for lighting.  Several other factors had to be taken into consideration in making sure the new weather days flow smoothly; collision with vehicles and buildings to avoid anomolies like rain inside, the density of the rain sprites as well their path of travel, cloud density and frequency of thunder. Fog was another difficult challenge. Our current fog system limits what we can do and in order to avoid additional problems, we chose to stick with current fog settings on both clear and "bad weather" days.

"Weather 2.0"
Future developments on this system may include things like flashes of lightning, effects to vehicle speeds to mimic mud/traction changes and localized weather.  We would also like to deliver a weather forecast- initially for the global weather effects and later, forecasts for localized weather events.

Closed and, subsequently, open Beta testing will see some of the weather settings and features altered and tweaked to provide the best performance and game play possible before release.

Dynamic weather is an example of a long time feature on our wish list. Implementing it adds another aspect to realism, gives more variety to the game, sets up new challenges for air-to-ground attacks and adds a new options for air combat. The rain and diminished lighting gives tanks and infantry a natural concealment from each other and the new cloud layer provides more cover from enemies in the sky. Pilots will now be able to duck below the cloud ceiling during air combat to try to outmaneuver pursuers.  We are excited to add this new feature to increase the excitement and ever-changing experiences available to our players.

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Weather FAQ

Q. How often will it rain and will it rain at night?
A. At midnight of each game day, the server will randomly choose if the next 24 hour game cycle will have "bad weather" settings with a new cloud layer and diminished lighting below that cloud layer. Each hour of that 24 hour cycle, there is a chance it will rain for some amount of that hour. These random choices will happen every game day and every game hour. Variety is our goal with the weather feature.

Q. What will pilots see above the "bad weather" clouds?
A. Pilots will experience the same conditions above the clouds as on a clear day. Breaks in the cloud layer will provide some visibility of ground targets but fighter pilots should prepare for new wrinkles in air-to-air combat at low altitudes and in air-to-ground attacks.

Q. Does the weather and rain effect cover the entire map?
A. In this first version of our new weather feature, the effects will be map-wide. Later versions may see localized weather events.

Q. Will vehicles have reduced traction? Will infantry slog through mud?
A. No changes to the terrain or effects related to rain are being made to this first version of new weather. We hope to extend the feature in future releases.

Q. Will the altitude of the "bad weather" clouds vary from day to day?
A. Not at this time. Variable altitude could be added in a future version.

Discuss this feature in our forums

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+2 #41 OmfgOwned 2009-12-10 15:13
Just a queston,Is the weather 2.0 going to affect like waves for sea combat?

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+2 #40 ddsmvwls 2009-12-03 17:54
you said your trying to decide on a celing for the cloud layer, why not make it random within limts and act like natural weather with worse weather occuring when the celing is lower.
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