Feeds

BBC Weather goes 3D

Realistic raindrops indoors and out

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

The BBC is set to use gaming technology to spice up its weather bulletins. Just in case we poor Brits forget what rain looks like, Auntie Beeb is going to generate rain drops in three dimensions to better illustrate precipitation in its forecasts.

The news organisation said it would use a version of 3D software Weatherscape XT to produce the graphics, which we'll be able to enjoy from our armchairs early next year.

Colin Tregear, project director at the BBC's Weather Centre explained that the idea is to generate weather graphics that actually look like the weather.

It's not just the rain though, delightful as it will be to see it falling as realistically on screen as out the window. The topography of the ground will be more accurate, presenters will have control of the 'camera angle' and clouds will cast shadows on the ground. The BBC says the system will feel "like a 3D flying game".

The system will generate its images from information from the Met Office and will generate the images in real time. The current system takes between three and four hours to generate the graphics for a one minute, thirty-second broadcast.

And so to the kit list (take a deep breath): Each forecaster will have a graphics PC based on a 2.6GHz P4 and NVidia's FX6800 Ultra 256MB graphics card and 1GB of 333Mhz DDR SDRAM.

The weather data will sit on two database servers, which will constantly update the weather graphics servers based in each studio. These are basically (extremely) high end gaming machines, the BBC says. It has them specked up with Dual 3.06GHz Xeon Processors (533MHz FSB / 1MB cache), 2GB of dual channel DDR, 266Mhz ECC SDRAM, the NVidia FX6800 Ultra 256MB graphics card, two 73GB 15,000rpm SCSI hard drives and an Ultra 320/M SCSI controller card.

According to the BBC, much of its computer equipment was rather aging, and due for replacement anyway. It likened its current graphics to SuperNintendo gaming: "When Super Nintendo gaming came out, people thought it was really clever," Tregear said. "If you were to make a game like that now, people would ask why when we have the technology of Xboxes and PlayStations." ®

Related stories

Satellites get smart
Met Office bags shiny new supercomputer
Tropical storm delays Mercury mission

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
Human spacecraft dodge COMET CHUNKS pelting off Mars
Odyssey orbiter yet to report, though - comet's trailing trash poses new threat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.