I am in the process of creating a flying game. One thing I really wanted was to have “fly-through-&-get-lost-in” clouds.
In my experience with FSX (Microsoft Flight Simulator X) and its add-ons, I have NEVER (with the exception of War Thunder) seen these types of clouds. Most clouds in that game look like paper cut-outs (because they are).
I have been working close to a friggin’ year trying to get some good clouds to run in UE4 but I keep running into problems; the biggest of which is large particles = massive frame-rate drop.
The following probably sounds like some sort of ad, but I swear I am just some guy trying to get UE4 to cooperate. I’m just infatuated with these clouds, it is near EXACTLY how I wish I could get my clouds to look.
A video I made:
They are MASSIVE, they produce equally massive shadows!(another problem with UE4; it seems if the cloud is too high it will not shadow the ground), they are fluffy on the edges, they are reflected in the water, and when flying through them you are blinded.
You can see the clouds for MILES; if you see a cloud and continue to fly in its direction, you will eventually go through said cloud.
They have an article on these cloud on their website: [Development] New photorealistic technology for sky and cloud rendering in Dagor Engine 4 - War Thunder
And it all runs at a smooth 60 fps even with every other graphic option turned to the highest.
The only complaint is that there are no poofy cumulus clouds; I am thinking their absence must be a necessary limitation. They seem to be low-resolution (soft pixelated edges) but I can forgive that.
And I know War Thunder uses its own game engine, not UE4, but is anything like this possible on UE4?
How? How is it done? How are the clouds so friggin’ big? Are they meshes? Particles systems? Some type of code? The article posted seems to indicate neither, and they never give away the secret.
I have looked up tuts for volumetric clouds, but they are all very expensive, requiring thousands of particles packed into a tight space with some sort of world-position alpha mask on top. To create a whole sky, there need be hundreds of thousands of particles.
-Particles also seem to be very costly depending on their size. The clouds in War Thunder are massive and yet they do not slow-down my system at all. I mean, they have a completely overcast sky in some levels, layers thick (takes like 5 min to go through in-game), that look beautiful when you break through the top layer and look down at them.
-I have tried static meshes, but (even with a fresnel mask) they look paper-flat when viewed from the side and when flying through them.
- And either system, particles/meshes, requires thousands if not tens-of-thousands of pieces to create an entire sky, at which point, frames start dropping.
War Thunder’s clouds. I want them. I want them very much. Hell, if someone could make such a system and post in the UE4 store, I would buy it immediately.