RDR2: A Storm-Chaser’s Dream Videogame

Since its release in October of 2018, one of the highlights of Rockstar’s latest creation has been how they revamped their time cycle and weather system.

The new system allows for localised storms to form, for players to see rain in one spot but not in the other unlike other previous Rockstar Games, among many other phenomena.

Couple this with raymarching (a much less expensive form of ray-tracing) and you have one of gaming’s best weather systems.

Storm dissipating, pic my own

This enhanced weather system in RAGE has prompted some curious members to even storm chase within RDR2, as if it were real life. There’s no tornadoes that we know of, but it’s possible to chase storms around, see them progress and even get hit by lightning!

Earlier I was reading an article on Eurogamer about someone on Reddit who went huntin’…

The Chase and The Mystery

Meet /u/IncertRandomNameHere, the Redditor from the Red Dead Mysteries subreddit who went storm chasing in Red Dead Redemption 2, in an attempt of mapping out where lightning struck more often.

According to this Redditor and the interview he gave for Eurogamer in the article linked above, he was inspired by the mysterious tree by Butcher Creek that spells out “W H Y” if you look at it right.

Credits: Eurogamer and MC_Ulfric aka /u/IncertRandomNameHere

“It sparked my curiosity and made me start wondering if lightning had any deeper hidden meaning in the game,” (…) “As another redditor commented on the thread, we had to follow a random group of birds to find bigfoot’s cave. Why not lightning to another Easter egg?”

MC_Ulfric aka IncertRandomNameHere to Eurogamer

It seems like this place is actually one of the game’s hotspots for lightning, so for this Redditor it was an all-in-all educational storm chase. Not only he found content worthy of posting on the Mysteries subreddit, but he also found out all the intricacies of the game’s weather system…

To Eurogamer, he explained each of the storms lasted about 30 minutes in real-world time as long as he was chasing them. Shorter storms move and drift more rapidly and randomly, and longer storms linger.

Reading the article also made me learn about more mysteries. For example, I had no idea that the native burial camp spawned a storm if you happened to set it on fire…

The Result

In this case, storm chasing led to the investigation of a mystery in the game, as this Redditor ended up properly mapping out where each storm struck more often in an effort to find if there were any more hotspots (like the WHY tree) in the game.

The fact that you can actually chase storms around the map, map where lightning strikes, and even measure how long a storm takes truly is a testament to how far Rockstar went with details like this.

I have stared at storms in this game for many many minutes myself, looked at them form and dissipate in incredibly realistic ways, and have even looked at the game’s inner workings (thanks to the modding community) to see how it all worked and it truly is rather impressive, but maybe that’s an article for another day.

Actual cumulonimbus clouds! Pic by me.

I can only wonder what they will be doing with this for GTA VI, especially if we’re indeed going to Miami, and if they indeed add hurricanes to the game. Oof!