Gamers face real weather in new sports simulations

Thu Aug 20, 2009 7:02am EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By John Gaudiosi

RALEIGH, North Carolina (Reuters Life!) - If it's raining outside or hurricane season is in full swing, it won't just be real-life sports games affected but also sports video games with real-time weather starting to impact virtual players.

With game publishers just about perfecting ground visuals in games, the next step to boost realism is to replicate the actual weather, be it at a football stadium or on a golf course, which impacts how virtual players perform and how the game looks.

EA Sports has partnered with The Weather Channel to introduce real-time weather into its "Madden NFL 10" football videogame so if a hurricane hits the United States, gamers will also find certain stadiums more challenging to play.

"Tropical systems typically bring with them strong winds and heavy rain, so hurricanes on a path closer to a stadium would certainly affect gameplay, creating a wet field, wind gusts and more," said Tom Moore, lead meteorologist at The Weather Channel. Broadband-connected consoles like Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 allow the new "Madden" game to get constant weather updates.

"Our teams at The Weather Channel provide a data feed that allows EA to pull real-time weather for any location chosen as a venue within the game," said Derek Van Nostran, director of marketing for The Weather Channel Interactive.

"We also provided historical data for the past three years so that the EA producers would be able to match realistic weather conditions at every venue for games played at any time of year."

From a gaming perspective, players will see their virtual NFL stars drop more passes, fumble more balls and slip and slide in the gale force winds and rain associated with a hurricane or tropical storm.

"We basically have the traditional weather conditions covered," said Phil Frazier, senior producer of "Madden NFL 10" at EA Tiburon.   Continued...

<p>Guests play the new video game "Madden NFL '09" at the Madden NFL &rsquo;09 VIP Premiere party hosted by EA Sports and XBox in Los Angeles, California August 7, 2008. The game is set for release August 12. REUTERS/Fred Prouser</p>