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[Dead] Pro-Grade Complete Dynamic-Weather-Toolkit

Hi all, this is pretty much dead now. I’m not going to have any real time to work on it for the forseeable future but may come back to it again at some stage, and I’d definitely go about this differently next time. Sorry folks!

Hi Folks,

As this is almost ready for submission, I thought I’d announce it to give y’all a little teaser of this upcoming Marketplace item. Screenshots will be coming either tomorrow or later in the week, as I’m currently mid-crunch and squeezing dev on this in when I can.

The Weather Toolkit is a set of tools and assets that allow a developer of any skill level to quickly add an intuitive weather system to their environments, which automatically handles everything from light drizzle, to thunderstorms and blizzards. The system pivots around the ‘Weather Manager’, an event-driven system that talks to numerous sub-systems that control the appearance of the level. The entire system is as plug-and-play as possible and very scalable. You can drop the weather manager into a level and hit the ‘auto’ button to generate the most basic system, or you can use the Weather Brush tool and make use of the drop-in material functions and FX for a more artistic and fully-fledged approach.

Tools
Weather Manager & Weather Brush
Brush_Icon.png
One Blueprint to rule them all. The Weather Manager is responsible for handling the state of the entire weather system. It determines when to start and stop raining, how wet the ground is, cloud formation, thunder and lightning control and much more. The Manager controls everything from Materials, to Post-Process Blendables to FX and Audio. Certain functions in the Manager can be accessed by other classes, so you can drive the entire system through other events, anything from a mouse-click to a dramatic narrative climax.

Alongside this, the Manger can also be set to an intelligent and customizable ‘automatic management’ setting, which dynamically changes the weather based on certain parameters. The manager has the ability to trigger and talk to an unlimited amount of materials, FX and audio cues at runtime for a completely dynamic weather cycle. At this point it’s worth noting, the entire system is multiplayer compatible :slight_smile:

If the Weather Managers automatic set-up doesn’t tickle you, The Weather Brush should. The Weather Brush is a Blueprint-powered artist tool, that allows the developer to more precisely place weather systems around their environment quickly and efficiently. You can use the managers auto-setup to get you started and then use the brush to touch it up, or use the brush from the beginning, entirely up to the user.

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Assets
Weather Dome
A powerful Sky-dome system that comes as an optional component to the manager. The sky-box generates procedural clouds and sky-coverage based on user input, along with configurable effects such as God-Rays. The dome supports a full day/night cycle and can also be used alongside atmospheric effects. The dome is fully managed by the Weather Manager, and it will match things like cloud-cover, wind speed & direction to the current weather setting.

Stackable Drop-in Material Functions
The kit comes with several easy-to-use parametrized material functions that enables any existing surface in your game to react to changes in the weather system. Any of the functions can be dropped into a material and hooked up in a matter of seconds, saving a developer time and allowing you to add convincing effects to all surfaces. The ‘Stackable’ term comes from the functions ability to be used alongside one another seamlessly, providing of course you have enough resources to drive the system.

The list of currently supported options is as follows:

  • Surface-Rain Function (Adds ‘wetness’ & flowing water to surfaces, regardless of orientation)
  • Surface-Snow Function (Adds snow build-up to a surface, wet surfaces will appear ‘icy’)
  • Surface-Ripple Function (Adds droplets and ripples to a surface, suitable for water, wet ground and puddles)
  • Surface-Wind Function (Adds billowing dust to a surface, suitable for sandy and wasteland-like environments)

Brush-Drawn Weather Planes
Controlled and placed by the Manager and/Or the Brush, the Weather Planes breath life into the environment by blending rain, wind and snow seamlessly into the world at runtime. The planes are super-optimized, allowing you to completely over-fill an open world environment with virtually no performance impact. No more player-attached particles or mysteriously localized effects.

High-Quality Audio & Sound Cues
*The weather manager drives a complete set of audio, from wind, to bellowing thunder and rain:

  • Interior & Exterior Rain Sounds
  • Thunder
  • Lightning
  • Ambient Wind

Optimized FX and Particles
Included are several particle systems that cover everything from water splashes to gusts of wind. These are typically handled by the Manager, but can also be placed manually if desired.

  • Lightning Strikes
  • Rain Splashes
  • Water Droplets / Sources
  • Wind / Dust Gusts
  • Blowing Litter / Debris

Self-Managed Decals
The toolkit includes a bunch of decals for puddles and ice effects. These can be handled by the Manager, or placed in the level by hand.

Post-Process Blendable
Finally, the kit comes with a single post-process material that adds additional camera effects depending on the weather systems state, ranging from effects like distant heat-haze, to fog and water droplets.

Supported Platforms
Out-of-the-box support is provided for:

  • PC / Mac / Linux
  • Playstation 4 & Xbox One (Note: Only PS4 Tested)

Due to the quality/architecture of the product, there are no plans for a mobile version right now. The assets themselves however, can be adapted for mobile use.

More details and screenshots to come, looking forward to releasing this and seeing what people do with it! :smiley:

  • TJ

Previews
(WIP) Sun-To-Rain / Thunderstorm / Lightning Transition

Ah man, I need this in my life like NOW. Any plans to release it prior to marketplace release? For e.g on your own website or something? :smiley:

Will this be free?

Nah going to go full Marketplace since it’s my first attempt at doing this, I can’t imagine it’ll struggle to get votes once it’s up so hopefully it’ll be up sharpish!

Nope, haven’t decided what it’s worth yet so haven’t listed a price. I’m usually in the boat of low cost = more sales + less piracy, but a lot of work has gone into it. Will figure out a price once I can gauge the interest!

Definitely gonna give this a buy just for the weather planes/PP blendable.

Is there anyway to get fast access to it then? I have a project that would suit this perfectly and the wait is going to kill me!

Looks awesome. Please don’t underprice it! Developer labour is undervalued enough.

Looks awesome , definitely gonna buy this !

I have mentally pre purchased your pack just waiting to send you the money. Any chance to request video tutorials for the documentation?

hmm depends what price he wants for it :slight_smile: You need a reasonable price for newbies to buy it but not so low that you make no return. But do remember you will always get money if the price is right and the product is worth it. If you arnt making as much sales as you would like lower the price or build a better product.

Easier said then done with the Marketplace Meathead :>

This looks incredible! May I ask your method for wet surfaces from rain? I have been taking a good look at these articles trying to dissect and learn: Water drop 1 – Observe rainy world | Sébastien Lagarde

Things like darkening of the albedo, specular increase, etc come to mind. Are all these different things taken into account with your system, creating a realistic PBR rainy world?

Well this sounds incredible too bad we dont have any screens yet.

Thanks Joe, and I agree, I just need to make sure it’s not so valued that people end up turning to Piracy to get hold of it. I’ve seen a few torrents for UE4 Marketplace content to date which is really disappointing but sadly expected.

I’ll post more details ASAP folks! I’m going to be in crunch at work this week so trying to get as many hours in as I can on the dev side of things :stuck_out_tongue:

This is looking so nice, I definitely wanna try that out.

iThis looks amazing! I need it, now.

With that said, have you tested the system in VR? I know previously there were some issues with skydomes, curious if this has been resolved or if your implementation has resolved it. Also, what is the expected “hit” to performance?

By the way, the “paint brush” is ingenious! One question though in regards to that, since this is still in development, how hard would it be to create weather “templates” and “seasons”, so that the user can select a template, and this template has all of the normal settings. Such as: Rainforest, Desert, Artic, Normal for templates, and Summer, Fall, Winter, Spring for seasons.

If the hit to performance is low, and works perfectly in a VR environment, then my budget for something like this would be $100 - $150. I’m also in the camp of low-cost = high sales, however, as this asset will work for multiple games / genres / etc…, then the cost is worth it. If it was a character, or building, or something that I might use for 1, maybe 2 games… then I wouldn’t want to spend over $20 for since it has limited use.

I’m sure I could borrow a DK2 off of a friend to test it, but it uses a similar Skydome style to the default UE4 system. I haven’t seen any issues with it yet, and one of the teams at work is using a DK2 with the standard UE4 skydome. I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t work for VR, though I’m not explicitly aiming for it. I can test it though, and perhaps make a template suitable for VR users. You’ll need a beefy GPU either way I expect.

Performance hit is scalable, it really depends how many of the features you want to plugin. The Surface shaders add considerable instruction counts, and although the weather planes are very well LOD’d, they still take up a big chunk of screen space with a translucent material. That’s just the nature of the beast really.

Currently, there are no ‘seasons’ built in as such, but you can create one of your own just by changing the parameters. The Weathers’ AI Engine can select random weather patterns that follow after each other.

Say whaaat???

Sounds really cool James! Can’t wait to see screenshots :wink:

As someone’s who has paid out $1k from my pocket buying things I was interested in to help learn game development in the past few months, I feel torrents are super useful. Checked out a few before deciding whether I wanted to put the money down because really the Marketplace isn’t up to snuff with the Unity Store on ensuring that I know what I’m buying. As has been evident by the growing list of complaints on assets recently many other users wish they had better display options.

Don’t let the fear of piracy have an impact on your price. People pirate games, art, etc. regardless of the price, even if it is just $1.00. Piracy is very unfortunate, but there’s nothing you or I can do to stop it. Just focus on providing value to your real customers.

With that being said, this looks very promising and I wish you the very best! :slight_smile: