The sky in games - development from 1984 until 2009
The sky is the limit - even in many computer games. PC Games Hardware takes a look at the development of the virtual sky.
The atmosphere of our planet aka the sky is changing continuously. And most games also contain some sort of sky and thus its virtual realization has of course evolved over the past years. The azure background wallpaper has vanished and now we can see moving clouds, daytime cycles and birds.
In the early years especially adventure games had good looking skies since the static background offered the possibility to use drawn pictures. Games that used a 3D engine had to cope with a lot less. Often a single texture had been applied for the whole sky. Movements, day and night cycles or weather effects had been a distant idea in the future. But in the meantime graphics accelerators offer the performance to realize movements, clouds, birds and all the other stuff that appears in the skies.
The currently best realization of a virtual sky can be found in Crysis - who would have guessed? But other titles can show off their capabilities, too: Test Drive Unlimited has a nice day cycle even if there is not night. The mostly apocalyptical sky of Half-Life 2 is worth seeing, too and Grand Theft Auto offers a full daytime cycle with precipitation. The atmosphere of Mass Effect is an example for a more colorful version of the firmament. The list could be continued until infinity but pictures are more or less self-explanatory.
Taking a look at the sky is worth the effort in almost any game, but often nobody pays attention. PC Games Hardware took a look at the firmament of lots of games to see - the virtual sky in the course of time.
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