In Deadstick, the ‘weather is the enemy’

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.

Read the whole developer update to hear directly from the developers on this feature packed update.

8 Comments Add yours

  1. Gretsch_Man says:

    Weather is a fascinating topic indeed.

    i think the lack of proper weather modeling in combat sims leads to the fixation of the player on achieving rows of kills instead of just been proud of having made it back to base in one piece.

    In WW2 I think about half the pilots killed actually died due to accidents, often related to weather influence. And this didn’t only happen to novice pilots. Apparently many vet pilots also died in such accidents.

    So, having a more detailed weather modeling in combat sims would be great indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      Agreed. I’d love to see some more weather system modeling in IL-2 and DCS World. More varied clouds would be a part of that (which IL-2 is doing a good job of) but also incorporating icing and at least some basics of weather front modeling would be interesting too.

      I guess the big issue is ultimately developer time and performance. Does doing some weather modeling translate into a good combat sim? Does it unnecessarily affect the performance? Hard to say.


  2. CanadaOne says:

    Looks great.

    I’m glad you’re covering all the flightsim bases here. I like the one-stop shopping.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      Do my best! Anything simulation is kind of fair game for me… there’s likely a Train Sim World and maybe even a Cities: Skylines editorial coming up at some point. Stormbirds will always be focused on flight sims but there’s fun stuff to be learned by checking out other sim titles and connecting with titles like Task Force Admiral that are flight sim “adjacent” 🙂


  3. Henri Schoots says:

    needs VR though


  4. Al-Azraq says:

    So is this some kind of Snowrunner but with planes? Please say yes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      Yeah I think that’s a pretty close analogue. Deadstick focuses on a persistent aircraft and world where every ding and scrape is counted. Where your pilot needs rest after a certain time and has to pitch a tent.

      Keep an eye on this one. It looks cool!


  5. BlueHeron says:

    Between this and MSFS2020, I’m going to regret having sold my TrackIR!

    Liked by 1 person

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