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U.S. Patent No. 7,349,830: Weather profiles
Issued March 25, 2008, to Microsoft


Summary:

The ‘830 patent, issued to Microsoft, can be used for its popular Flight Simulator game. The patent allows for weather simulation in a video game and allows for dynamic weather scenarios to a computer user based on the player’s location. The patent also calls for a time function which will help determine the weather pattern for the user’s current location. The software represented here also allows for a player to move a certain weather pattern an insert it into any geographical location during its flight path. For example, the user could take the weather associated with a hurricane from one area and place it along a flight path in another geographical location.

Abstract:

Methods and systems for providing dynamic weather simulation in a computer gaming environment are disclosed. Weather may be user-specified, computer simulated, based on periodic updates of real-world weather conditions, or based on a pre-existing or user-created weather profile. A weather profile may include a data structure that stores weather over a location neutral geographical space, which may subsequently be applied dynamically to any selected geographical space in a simulated environment. To dynamically simulate weather while conserving computer resources, a weather simulation manager may periodically alter temperature and dew point values and determine whether to render or dissipate clouds based on the current temperature and dew point values.

Illustrative Claim:

1. A tangible computer readable medium, other than a modulated data signal, storing computer executable instructions, which when executed perform a computer-assisted method of graphically depicting weather defined in a pre-existing weather profile to a simulated geographical environment in a computer game, comprising: a) a computer reading a data structure storing predefined location neutral weather information, wherein the data structure comprises weather information for each of a plurality of cells in a multi-dimensional array, and wherein the weather information for each cell comprises a plurality of layers of weather information; b) the computer applying the weather information read from the data structure to a grid within the simulated geographical environment of the computer game based on a user's starting position within the computer game; and c) the computer graphically depicting weather in the computer game based on a current position of the user within the grid.

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