Developer Journal: Weather

Bo Marit

Lead Community Manager
Welcome to our sixth Developer Journal! We love introducing you to our hard-working team behind Planet Zoo and highlighting features they have been creating! We've taken a deep dive into Zookeepers, Climbing, and more, and for this Developer Journal we wanted to talk more about Weather.

Please give a warm welcome to Render Programmer Clement Bellot and Gameplay Programmer Joshua Tanner!


Hello everyone! We're here to chat more about the weather in Planet Zoo - thanks for having us!

It was very important for us to have weather in Planet Zoo, because weather conditions are what really makes the difference between biomes; switching from the Savannah to a temperate climate becomes much more than a visual change!

On a basic level, varying weather conditions bring a beauty and liveliness to the zoos. Beyond that, they also bring out interesting behaviours in the animals. Seeking shelter in rain and snow, and taking a dive in the hot sun are a couple ways animals will react to the changing weather. Every species of animal has evolved to thrive in a particular climate. In bringing animals from all over the world into your zoo, you're going to encounter challenges in satisfying each species' temperature needs. Building a suitable habitat for a species, far from its natural environment, is always a satisfying problem to solve.

Weather ranges from sunny to cloudy, light and heavy rain, snow, and a wide range of temperatures. Guests will shiver in cold weather, sweat in hot weather, and (if you choose to sell them), purchase umbrellas to protect themselves from rain.

Each weather type drastically changes the atmosphere of the zoo! The weather conditions in your zoo will have a direct influence on the temperature. Over time, an animal's body temperature will tend towards its ambient temperature. If the animal is used to a significantly different temperature than what it’s experiencing, its welfare will be reduced. Animals will move about their habitat to find areas which will bring their temperature to a more comfortable value. For example, if an animal is finding themselves too hot, they might head to their habitat's lake for a swim.

Managing temperature inside habitats is an important part of the game. Timber Wolves will not thrive under the heat of a park in the Sahara, nor will Plains Zebras enjoy the Northern Europe climate. Placing down coolers and heaters to keep temperature within their favourite range is going to be the best tool to solve those problems. Animals also will seek shelter under trees or buildings when it rains, so make sure you build some options for them.

As Clement said, heaters and coolers will be very useful to moderate temperatures. These handy devices allow you to increase or decrease the temperature within a small radius. Animals can seek out heaters and coolers to satisfy their temperature need. In a hot climate, coolers can be used to keep an area cold and prevent snow from melting away. Likewise, in a cold, snowy environment, heaters can be used to melt the snow.
Different locations around the world are naturally going to have different climates. That translates to different temperatures and probabilities for each weather type to occur. The weather changes gradually throughout the day, selecting weather types based on the probability of them occurring in that environment. You won't see a hot, sunny day immediately turn; it will become cloudier first. In Sandbox mode, you'll be able to change the weather to whatever you fancy. You can try to make it snow in the Savannah but it still won't get cold enough for snow to build on the ground.

A big challenge in bringing the weather to Planet Zoo was handling sheltered areas. We knew you would build elaborate structures, and we needed to figure out which areas were sheltered from precipitation in a believable and aesthetically pleasing way. Another interesting part was the intersection of snow and heaters/coolers. Having snow melt around heaters, or stick earlier around coolers, was a neat way to give temperature a visual impact beyond just the behaviour of guests and animals.

I'm looking forward to seeing what sort of habitats you will build to make animals from distant parts of the world feel right at home.

I'm excited to see the more unusual zoos that you will be creating. What made Planet Coaster great was seeing the crazy parks people made, and I'm eager to see what you will come up with in Planet Zoo!
Another great Developer Journal! Thank you! :love:

Indoor enclosures will definetly become a thing in my zoos, since it's a little unrealistic to heat up or cool down an outdoor enclosure. But it sounds very neat and I'm glad the animals (and guests) truly interact with the weather.
This is a really neat feature that I never knew I would be looking forward to so much in a Zoo game, well done. By the way, if I remember correctly, one perceptive YouTuber noticed that the guests still wear summer clothes in snowy weather. Will this be addressed?
What a brilliant interview! I knew weather would be a big task to bring in but it feels so right for the game, I'm sure we're all really really glad that all the love went into this. I'm really happy that climates are a thing and that weather changes won't be drastic.

Is there any news on what kind of biomes we can get? If for example Savannahs can never see snow forming on the ground, is there a middle ground biome that will let us have both of the relative "extremes" of temperature?
Well, this kinda confirms that we will be able to build a zoo in more than one (Africa) place at launch. That's great! I LOVE that I can sell my guests umbrellas. I can't wait to see my animals react to the weather and seek shelter. This is a great bit of news - thanks Bo!
Thanks for another detailed dev journal!

This one really has me excited to test out the weather simulation, I can't believe the guests also react to the temperature.. That's so cool!
Sounds like a lot of work has gone into creating such a detailed system. I also like how this will change the game play and give the animals purpose to move around the habitat using the lakes/shelters we build.

Can't wait to see more! :)
Sounds really cool. But is weather depending on seasons? Because if it starts snowing in august (assuming it’s in the northern hemisphere) it would be kinda ridiculous. Also will guest have different clothes changing with the weather? Because if a guest starts complaining he is cold in the snow while wearing a t shirt, like that’s just his fault. Though I understand if it isn’t high priority to make a mechanism for that.
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I'm happy to see that they put a lot of hard work and detail in the weather/temp/climate in Planet Zoo. During heavy rainstorms will there be lightning and thunder, because if so that'll be really awesome and I love hearing the sounds of thunder? Also, it would be really cool if some of the animals would react to the sound of thunder and seeing lightning. The animals for example being scared and finding a place to hide. Maybe even seeing some guests being startled, children being scared of the loud thunder and cowering by there parents.
Thanks for the insights Clement and Joshua.

And WOW!
I love this even more than I thought I would. I thought that the animals looking for shelter in the rain was a great feature, but everything else just blows my expectations out of the water. I love how different animals have different temperature needs and how weather can affect them, just like real life. I know there's going to be a bunch of us players getting attached to our furry friends, but seeing them shivering in the cold or panting in the heat is going to make them even more real.
And I know I'm going to find myself just staring at the screen, slack-jawed, (as I do with Planco), just being amazed at how beautiful a world, you amazing artists at Frontier can create. I know that all these gorgeous nuanced weather effects will be beautiful.

Great work Team Frontier
Wow, really cool journal entry!

-The level of detail in this game is amazing. Guests being physically affected by weather is such a neat concept.
-I'm really glad to see how smart the animal AI will be, going off the fact that the animals will seek out heating/cooling areas so that we apparently won't have to just blanket an entire exhibit with them (the Wildlife Park series and having to place 6 heaters in an enclosure comes to mind) to keep our animals comfy.
-Umbrellas :)
-Very neat that we will be able to control the weather in Sandbox mode!
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