Development continues on a Thermal and Cloud system for the Virtual Gliding Game. The current system looks great but reduces the frame rate considerably.
In the Thermal and Cloud system, the terrain textures and sun direction are used to model how the sun heats the ground. Differences in surface temperature result in the spawning of thermals. This mimics real life, the best place to look for thermals is over darker rocky ground and ploughed fields that face the sun directly.
As the weather system models lapse rates, thermals climb at a rate dependant on their temperature and size. Thermals continue to rise and drift with the wind until they reach the dew point height , when they spawn a cloud. Different thermal types (column and bubble) are modelled and result in various cloud patterns forming, including cloud streets.
The clouds are particle based and volumetric which look great when flying through them. Cloud grow and shrink over time, their lifetime dependant on the strength and type of thermal that fed them and they generate lift and sink.
The current system looks great but unfortunately reduces the frame rate significantly. Work continues to optimise the code but it may require a switch to a shader based system due to the calculations required.