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!
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.
Weather Manager & Weather Brush
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
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.
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
- 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
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.
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.
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!
(WIP) Sun-To-Rain / Thunderstorm / Lightning Transition