In a traditional video game, there’s always an antagonist – the enemy that you must somehow defeat to win the day. Even in combat flight simulators you are more often then not confronted by enemy forces. In Deadstick, however, there is no enemy army to confront so this flight simulator has chosen to make the environment and specifically the weather your enemy instead and that sounds really cool. Let’s talk about the latest developer update from the makers of Deadstick.
It’s all about the weather
Deadstick is very much directed around having the player live a virtual pilots life. From camping at a back country airport to dealing with changing weather conditions, the developers of Deadstick want to make sure that they can keep you on your toes.
The developers have created a fictional but very real feeling weather model according to their update using a combination of historical weather data for the last couple of decades in the Alaska region plus their own weather system. The model goes beyond just the weather existing but rather they have also worked in TAF (terminal area forecast) and METAR (Meteorological Aerodrome Reports) systems to help pilots gather the information they need to carry out various jobs within Deadstick.
Interestingly, the developers have built a degree of variance into their weather model so that the forecast doesn’t always completely match the weather state in the sim. Thus introducing a very real world challenge where weather models (which have improved to a tremendous degree over the last few decades) are not quite accurate.
The dangers of clouds
One of the interesting pieces of information is the ways that clouds by themselves can be a real hazard. Here are the ways that they can negatively affect your flying according to the developers:
- Clouds can quickly lead to spatial disorientation and rapid loss of control.
- Icing can quickly lead to loss of aerodynamic lift and the ability to maintain altitude/flight.
- Fog and poor visibility can entirely obscure a runway, leaving you trapped in the air.
- Wind can wreak havoc on take off and landings, as well as ground speed and fuel planning.
- Combine wind with mountains, and dangerous downdraughts on the leeward side can pull you down into the terrain.
- Not to mention the implications of flying into storms.
To make the clouds work in Deadstick, the developers are using modern volumetric graphics to generate the clouds and give them form. It’ll also ensure that you won’t suddenly emerge from thick cloud into clear skies without some sort of realistic transition.
I love this!
The more I read about Deadstick the more excited I get. It’s been a long wait but I am very excited about the possibilities for simulation gameplay that Deadstick offers in their niche of the flight sim community. I think this will provide for a very interesting and varied experience that combined with their other gameplay goals should be a heck of a lot of fun – and may lead to some nail biting situations where landings at some remote locations will be challenging in the changing weather conditions.
As a weather enthusiast that regularly reads weather reports and knows my GFS, ECWMF, and GEM from my HRRR and NAM3k, any sim that takes weather modeling seriously has my devoted attention. Although Deadstick is creating a fictional world for their sim, its very much one rooted in real world challenges and making the weather part of your sim experience is both great to see from a visuals perspective but also fantastic to know about from a simulation and gameplay point of view too.