Question about storm clouds in Sea of Theives

Hi all. I just stumbled across this site yesterday, really helpful stuff!

I was wondering if anyone had any idea as to how the clouds (the storm clouds in particular) were created in Sea of Theives.

It looks to me like the storm cloud (and maybe the others) is a rotating polygonal mesh with a fancy-pants surface shader applying some vertex distortion (which is also rotating at a faster rate). At some points in the clip, it sort of looks like you can see some faceted edges along the top of the cloud, which is what makes me think it’s a 3D model.

But beyond that, I’m not entirely sure how to approach it. It has some really nice soft lighting which makes it look soft and fluffy, and it reacts appropriately during the dynamic day/night cycle.

It’s hard trying to find any information online about VFX in Sea of Theives, because everyone just talks about the water!

For reference, I work in Unity with the Amplify Shader Editor, I don’t really have experience building shaders from code.


sped up x2

main cloud shape looks like the model is twisted
has panning vertex displacement
whole thing slowly rotates
doesn’t seem to have any animation on the texture itself, just a gradient that is tone mapped with the rest of the scene
it has vertex lighting from the bolt flashes as well as a directional i think