SOTF Weather - Lightning, Snow Flakes, Clouds, Wind physics, and Frequency
I love what you've done with weather; the dust particles are fantastic and the incremental gradient of severity is perfect. That being said I do have constructive criticism regarding the lightning, snow flakes, clouds, lack of wind physics, and storm frequency.
Starting with the latter, Storm Frequency. Simply put, the storms happen too frequently; 3 extreme storms in one day is quite common in the game. Perhaps having 1 minor weather even every 2-4 days and a major storm every 5-8 days would work better?
Second, why is there no wind physics?
Sand storms on Earth can be quite significant and light non-anchored objects do get blown away; Sand storms on Mars can be significantly stronger with gusts that can tear away houses with ease. Also to note, Mars is covered in little blueberry sized iron spheres which do get thrown by the wind (little clusters of these Mars Berries caught in the wind would add to the damage threat of Martian Sand Storms). This addition would add the need for Engineers to seek shelter while preparing to build structures that can withstand the storms (maybe have near negligible storm damage on heavy and blast door armor blocks). Last point in Wind Physics; having the Engineer react to the storm like struggling to walk through stronger winds and even having the Engineer pushed by the wind would do well to add reality to the storms. This could be simulated by having gravity in the heavy winds area adjusted in congruent to the wind direction and having the engineers arms up to shield their helmet's visor against the direction of the wind. Additionally, having the Engineer lose footing, stumble, or even get pushed in the direction of the wind a little would be "La creme de jour" in the effects of weather.
As for the Snow Flakes, what can I say? They look like either small crumpled pieces of paper of small broken chunks of polystyrene foam.
For the storm clouds .... what storm clouds? My point exactly, there are no storm clouds. Having the flash of lightning illuminate the storm clouds would help sell the ambiance.
Finally, and I hate doing this, the lightning effects are sub par. I'm sorry, but this is a pet peeve of mine seen in many games, even some AAA rated games suffer from this. What can be so hard about getting lightning right? There is countless video references on YouTube. Instead what we get is something akin to a kindergartner's drawing. I'm not trying to be mean. But you don't need dozens of lightning branches in every strike to add ferocity to lightning strikes. Bright ambient directional light flash from the lightning and distance respective crisper thunder will do quite well. Lightning will also find the most efficient path to ground when it strikes ground, and when it strikes, grids and trees that are struck should have sparks and/or embers for a split second that travel the lightning path to ground through the grids and trees.
I hope I haven't offended anyone at Keen. I am really appreciative of what you have done for Space Engineers and recognize the difficulty of the "path-not-taken" that you have set. Thank you.
With kind regards