Developed in conjunction with actual fire fighters, the game uses a very sophisticated fire model to faithfully recreate the behaviour of fire. Once an object has ignited, the spread and intensity of the flames are determined by many factors. Wind can change the direction of a fire, increasing its intensity and spread. The landscape can increase or hamper a fire, as it leaps quickly up slope or comes to an abrupt halt at a down slope or fire break. Highly flammable substances will combust and spread with ease (butane bottles, vehicles, PVC ducting, electrical ducting, burning animals running from the scene), so hosing key areas is vital. Within the game, the fire will naturally spread to areas where it is easiest for it to take hold. It is therefore down to the player to analyse the situation and judge how best to prevent the fires spread.
Smoke is an enemy almost as dangerous as fire itself. Moving much quicker than the fire, it often is the first indication of a much greater threat. Following the path of least resistance, smoke will fill the area it's contained within, travelling along any available ventilation paths. Noxious fumes suppress the oxygen levels, incapacitating people without breathing apparatus. Smoke also carries heat and combustible gases that can build up within rooms. When the accumulated smoke reaches threshold, the smoke bursts into flames, a phenomenon called a 'flashover'. In certain circumstances, fire is almost totally extinguished within a room which has no smoke outlet. A substantial intake of air into the room re-ignites the fire, literally exploding it outwards â€“ commonly known as 'back draft'.
- Illustrate fire and smoke dynamics in an interactive way. Fire Department 3 features an advanced fire and smoke engine, providing an enhanced sense of realism. Fire behaves just as it does in real life - no script determines the way it evolves. Smoke follows ventilation paths, flows through open windows, heats up closed space. To be even more realistic, fire and smoke combine their effects together to make an even more lethal opponent.
- Simulate crew and vehicle management in real-time. Response time, crew and vehicle resources, and environmental conditions affect events on the scene.
- Demonstrate fire fighting strategies and techniques. Fire Department 3 engages players to make the same split-second, strategic decisions that fire and rescue professionals make in the field every day. They must organize the crews and reinforcements on the ground to combat the blaze strategically and tackle hazards on the scene, think strategically in order to minimize casualties and damage, and follow the Fire fighter Code of Ethics and standard fire and rescue procedures.
- Dynamic particle and lighting effects within a full 3D game world. Fire, water and smoke are realistically reproduced using particle effects. Gravity affects the objects just like in the real world: smoke spreads to the sky, fire propagates rapidly upwards, normally sideways and slowly backwards, water flows from the original source based on terrain and gravity. Fire and explosion effects light up the surrounding areas. Realistic spread of flames, as well as hazards such as back draft and flashover.