Monday, August 30, 2010

Thunderstorm v1.1

- New Feature: Rain and its preferences
- Bug Fix: Camera speed pref
- Update: Background image is higher res
- Update: Lightning depth range further from camera

Yeah, kind of obvious in retrospect, but the initial release didn't have rain!  Well, it's here now, exercising the particle system I've been writing on and off over the last few weeks.  Some meaningful optimizations went into this one, as the system will now avoid updating fields that don't need to change, and can detect which ones to ignore fairly well.

The default rain effect simply plays overtop the camera - this is the least expensive one.  Fancier than that is rain that actually falls from where the clouds are, which is noticably more complicated as it means there's something like a dozen systems all updating at once.  Fancier still, you can enable both the global rain and the cloud-spawned rain all at once.  If you have framerate problems, I recommend sticking with the default 'everywhere' rain, though all of them behave fine on my HTC Incredible.

The depth range thing is a bit non-obvious... when a bolt of lightning strikes, it's placed randomly within the scene.  This includes depth, and previously it could get as close as 25 units from the camera.  This showed as noticeably low res sometimes, so now the close-range threshold is something like like 40.

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