Dragon Empires Q&A
GameZone Online has a pretty interesting Q&A with Codemasters' Peter Tyson about the upcoming MMORPG Dragon Empires. He gives some great insight into the complexity they are striving for. The economics and combat of the game sound as though they can be micro managed much more than the usual point-and-slay or point-and-sew we've seen in other games.
The game also has a unique weather model to assist you in your quest to immerse yourself in an imaginary world. So, if the day is too nice around your house this summer, and you're dying for some crummy rain or something, you might be able to find your wretched downpour as easily as clicking your Dragon Empires icon.
Dragon Empires has been a game I've been keeping an eye on for a while. It's had some of the nicest looking screenshots I've seen for a MMORPG. Of course, that's just one frame. When you're trying to actually walk along that pretty shoreline, you might have to ratchet all the graphics back down to fuzzy blocks in order to get a decent framerate. (I learned this firsthand with Asheron's Call 2 this weekend. I'm still trying to get that game to run at a reasonable clip.)
Each type of terrain has a different temperature and humidity value. Also, it has an altitude which determines the air pressure and influences the other factors. When combined the engine then determines what the weather is in a particular location. Thus, swamps tend to be rainy and wet and deserts have clear skies as often as not. What is particularly cool is that you can use the weather to find your way. I was using the editor the other day and found myself zooming around out at sea, very lost! I headed in one direction and eventually saw some clouds, sure enough, that was where land was!