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You may have seen Ray Harryhausen credited with Technical Effects (meaning special effects) for his amazing stop-motion animation in movies like Mighty Joe Young, It Came From Beneath The Sea, and The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms. Well, this column isn't really about special effects, just technical game details and behind-the-scenes programming stuff that we thought you might find interesting. We'll be updating it regularly, or whenever Lars thinks of something.

9/25/02: THAR SHE BLOWS!
We're mapping wind and air pressure across the game map, allowing for local wind effects such as helicopter downblast and explosion pressure waves. Wind will also flow across the entire game map, influencing how fire and smoke spreads, dust, radiation and poison gas clouds dissipate and move. It will also influence some monsters' ability to smell food when in a frenzy. Wind will affect slower-moving aircraft, like helicopters and blimps, and strong gusts can cause indirect artillery fire to drift off-target. Flags and swaying trees will show the wind's direction and strength during gameplay. Large buildings can block wind, and gaps between buildings in a downtown area can act as wind tunnels, channeling the wind down streets. Below is a small section of an air pressure map in the game (the yellow blocks are buildings, the red is the wind direction):

Thar she blows!

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