Project Colorado is a hobby project of mine that is supposed to introduce a semi-realistic weather simulation to Minecraft. The idea took off after I have discovered Weather2 (which by the way is a great mod, and you should really check it out), and decided to make something similar, but instead take a different turn. I'd like to focus on creating a more realistic weather model, and once it's done, change the weather system in Minecraft to a totally different beast! I would also love for Project Colorado to allow players to do weather forecasting (for those who are interested) and storm chasing.
I won't be posting any download links here, because there simply aren't any (and won't be for a long time). This thread will serve mostly as a means of presentation, feature discussion, and status update. I hope to also be making videos regarding the development of the project. There is a possibility that this mod never sees daylight, mostly owing to its size and complexity. But I'm really excited to be doing this. When I'm not totally swamped I always try to do at least a little, so there is always some progress.
At its core, Project Colorado would incorporate a weather model that works independently of the gameplay (although its space and time scale adjusted to the Minecraft reality), and at regular intervals update itself depending on some key factors (like the time of the day, terrain shape, biome, etc.). This part of the mod will have to be completed before any Minecraft-specific code is written. It is also too early to post the mechanics of the weather model as it's still a work in progress, and will likely change and transform, as it already has a couple of times since its inception.
But some key features can already be laid down.
The weather model will be a simplified generalization of what we see in real life. Because it will only be a generalization, you won't need to own a supercomputer to predict the position of every molecule out there. It will be a very dumbed-down simulation, so it will take negligible amounts of processing power, which you will likely not even notice.
It will be composed of several layers, each of which will contain a different set of data and perform different tasks. The layers, which I will also call planes, are as follows:
Synoptic layer - controls the position and growth of pressure systems. Creates thermal lows, thermal highs, tropical cyclones, extratropical cyclones, and polar cyclones.
Mesoscale layer - controls the position of air parcels, transfers heat and moisture between parcels and between parcels and the ground, takes pressure measurements, calculates wind velocity and several numeric parameters (some of which do exist outside of Project Colorado, like Convective Available Potential Energy; others don't). Creates cold fronts and warm fronts.
Microscale layer - controls convection (cloud formation and dissipation), accumulation of precipitation (and its subsequent downfall as rain, snow, or hail), updrafts and downdrafts, lightning, funnel clouds, and tornadoes.
Misoscale layer - controls the phenomena unique for each individual player or to the individual blocks in a Minecraft world, like apparent temperature (cloud cover, wind chill, shade), wind shielding, flooding, snow buildup, block damage and displacement, lightning-caused fires.
I'm still not 100% sure of what responsibilities which layer will have, and it's also possible that in the future there will be fewer or more of them, depending on what I deem more appropriate.
Also, the weather model will cover an area of billions of blocks, so you will have plenty of space to do your storm chasing.
I'd want players to have all the available tools for predicting and forecasting weather. The items I would love to see in Project Colorado are:
Weather stations (with cloud radars, pressure maps, temperature maps, etc.)
Forecasting maps with a way to place your own markers, front lines, pressure system symbols, etc. would be more than awesome, but of course it's waay too early to be talking about these kinds of things.
As performance is a big issue in weather simulations like this, it is my top priority to make it eat as little resources as possible. However, if a decision has to be made, I will always choose waste memory over waste CPU.
Things this mod won't be
This mod won't have volcanoes appearing right before your house or meteors falling from the sky. It won't introduce new biomes. It won't allow adding new seasons, nor popping them out of the calendar. This mod won't forecast the weather for you (because it will simply not know what the weather will be like until it actually comes); it can provide you with some details on the current atmospheric conditions, and from there you can conjure up your predictions.
As of now, there is not much done. Remember that the project is in the planning phase, so right now we're mostly just talkin' about dreams and hopes (hopefully goals).
Also, when (and if) the first actually playable version comes out, it will not support Minecraft 1.12, because Project Colorado will make an extensive use of the new oceanic biomes in 1.13.