Lightning-cognition: Effective Weather Effects

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Hello, internet!

LightningEllen here and still filling in for the almighty Goddess of Wisdom while she takes a well-deserved break from writing brilliant articles here on AmbiGaming. Warning: I’m certainly not a great Athena substitute, but I’ll be babbling at my best during this blog-sitting gig, eh! The Goddess of Wisdom will be back after this post. Looks like nothing burned down, so I’ll consider this a successful mission!

Anyway, Lightning-cognition is my version of Athena’s epic Metacognition series of posts where she explores deep thoughts (and occasionally not so deep thoughts) on gaming. This week I’ll be talking about lightning! Not the cranky Final Fantasy protagonist but rather the weather event. Lemme explain.

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been fascinated and terrified by lightning. It all started after an event in my early days. We lived in an rural area in a wide open space. One big thunderstorm, a bolt of nature’s chaotic electricity struck the power pole and the end of our 300 meter driveway. The result was a massive boom that sounded like an explosion, shook our entire house, and fried every electronic appliance inside except my Nintendo 64 (Nintendo really does make good quality products). The experience left me very respectful of, terrified, and awe-inspired by lightning. Imagine my surprise when a character named Lightning actually turned into my favourite video game character later in life!

Lightning of the Farron variety
Lightning of the Farron variety, for those unfamiliar with my badass shero.

I always get thrilled whenever I see lightning related themes pop up in games. And trust me, it happens a lot. There are so many thunderstorms that pop up on Geralt in the Witcher 3. Dragon Age Inquisition has some of the best lightning strike animations I’ve ever seen in a game when you first enter Crestwood (I jumped). Not to mention the Lightning spells and enchantments present in the entire Dragon Age series.

Crestwood
Crestwood, pre-clearing the quest that makes the storm go away.

After Senua crosses the Sea of Corpses in Hellblade, a streak of lightning cracks across the sky before a powerful moment. Assassin’s Creed Black Flag and Rogue have massive thunderstorms that overwhelm your senses while you’re sailing along minding your own business (or plundering… yarr). Heck, Mario Kart even has a lightning item that shrinks all your competitors on the track. Oh! And OMG, the ship hiding in a lightning cloud during the Shadow Broker DLC of Mass Effect 2 was awesome. Plus Liara had a huge role in that part… But seriously, there are a lots of lightning effect examples in games!

Shadow Broker DLC
The Shadow Broker DLC in Mass Effect 2 was my best shameful DLC ever. Liara for life!

Back to weather effects in general, I think they really add a sense of realism to games when developers add them properly. Having too many storms roll in to mess with players certainly gets annoying, but have the occasional weather obstacle to deal with keeps things interesting, and sometimes awe-inspiring.

What about you, internet? What are your favourite lightning related themes in games? Have any favourite weather effects of your own? Do you think various weather effects are important to have in games? I’d love to read anything you have to say in the comments section thingy below!

Thanks for reading!
~ LightningEllen

You can totally help the Goddess of Wisdom’s Video Game Relevancy Crusade by supporting AmbiGaming on Patreon. You know, only if you wanted to, of course!

9 comments

  1. The Witcher III did it for me with the wind rustling the trees. So many trees. So much wind rustling! That sold the game to me. A simple little touch with big ramifications.

    But I like hanging out in Breath of the Wild at the Dueling Peaks, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Those wind rustling effects are 10/10 awesome. So creepy and relaxing at the same time.

      This noob still hasn’t got to the Dueling Peaks yet, I think. Working on it! Lightning has some kickass effects in BoTW. Gotta unequip all that metal or die, haha

      Like

  2. While Skyrim’s lightning effects are not that good, lightning effects in modded Skyrim is another story.

    Forza Motorsport 7 has surprisingly good weather effects though many can’t fully appreciate it due to its high system requirements on PC. Even a GTX 1080 has a hard time running it at max.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Modded lightning effects sound like they have the potential to be quite badass! I still need to play Skyrim. Backlog problems.

      Forza is known for having super graphics all around. I can only imagine the lightning effects 😱

      Liked by 1 person

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