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Forza Horizon 5‘s photorealistic skies have been explained in detail in a new official video blog.
The second episode of Forza Horizon 5: Let’s ¡Go!, which is embedded above, breaks down the game’s sky and weather effects and how they were accomplished.
The team used an enhanced version of a camera rig used in Forza Horizon 3 and 4, which uses three high-resolution cameras that take photos simultaneously and combine them to create 12K images of the entire sky, with photos taken every 30 seconds.
Over 400 hours of sky photos were shot, which then had to be shipped back to Playground Games‘ UK studio on physical hard drives because its 75TB of data was too large to upload from Mexico.
“In terms of how this compares to Horizon 4, the best way to explain it is with the weather presets that we have,” explained lead lighting artist Lukas Koelz.
“When the user creates a custom race they can choose to race at midday [when it’s] rainy, for example, or during a clear sunset. In Horizon 4 the system would then pick one preset from our skies to give them their selection, and we had about 300 of them. This time we have over 2000, so there’s quite a lot more variety, and in free roam of course you’ll experience that too.”
The new video also explains the game’s variable weather conditions in more detail, most notably the regional weather variations and the new special weather effects.
“Weather is regional in Forza Horizon 5,” says art director Don Arceta, “so if you’re in the living desert you could get just a sprinkling of rain and then if you go down to the jungle, it could be a torrential downpour. So we have all these different weather behaviours in the different biomes which really reflects and enhances the experiences you have.
“Along with that is we have two new weather effects, which are seasonal, which are our towering dust storms and our tropical storms. The one thing that’s new about this, as well, is that it doesn’t just happen around you, you can actually see it from a distance and approach it, which is something that we’ve never done in a Horizon game.”
Arceta also explained that while seasonal weather makes its return from Horizon 4, this now combines with the regional variations to allow players to better choose what sort of environment they want to drive in regardless of the season.
“In our winter season, which in Mexico is our dry season, if you want to get a snow experience you could drive up to the volcano and drive around the snow. If you don’t want that snowy winter experience you could drive to the coast and have a very vacation-y type experience.
“So it is very different per region as well as seasonal, so we also change those weather patterns and weather behaviours based on the different seasons.”