Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Lighting Tweaks

My plan today WAS to get started with ragdoll but have been beset with visual and in-game tweak requests, so spent the whole day chasing those little errands. So much so that by the end of a seven hour stint, I have a pile of tweaks under my belt but a list even bigger than it was this morning with more 'little tweaks'.  Believe me, little tweaks add up!

Last night I just finished one such visual tweak to create a nice contrasting scene for a lighting test:

This morning I went into the shader and rock texture to see what else I could do to improve things and create some more pop:

You will maybe be pleased to see not much bloom hiding the issues, and forcing me to think more about colour balance and contrasts.  Our conclusion is that we need some more assets, specifically rocks that have deeper veins to create dark shadows as the current ones are too uniform and pockmarked. I attempted to create some detail as you can see above, but it resulted in lowering the resolution to get the details large enough.  We really need an artist to create a HIGH resolution normal map and supporting geometry that exhibits super deep cracks.

In order to play with lighting, I also added a new slider which some users might enjoy:

As you can see, you can now adjust the sun position in real-time, to make your scene light at the right angles and so forth. It's not 100% as the shadows do not move with the sun, but it's something that will get sorted for the next major build.

Anyhoo, once I have rid myself of these flees (small tweaks) I can get back to the major strokes of this next version which is ragdoll, explosions, smoke and particles. Darn gnats!!


  1. Sounds great lee glad to see the new slider :) and i agree the top screenshot looks better the bottom one looks a little plastic and too shiny keep up the great work :)

  2. So that second screenshot just makes everything look fake. Like one of those really old screensavers or games. It's really not very nice.

  3. I agree. First one looks good; second one looks much worse, with the overuse of normal and spec mapping.

  4. We continue to work on the rocks...we want full use of the normal map but not make it look shiny and plastic, watch this space!!

  5. So many vegetation settings spread out. Just an idea maybe make vegetation have its own window for all its settings?

  6. First screenshot looks really great! The rocks are possibly a little flat, as you say, they need some dark crevices as would come from minimal use of AO. Not to say AO is a good idea as it can be a huge performance drain, but it can create the right look. The second screenshot is far too specular-ee. Shiny, plastic and fake-looking.

    I assume you were trying to get some deeper shadows through the use of excessive specular lighting. That would work to a fair extent, but has the obvious issue of making the rocks shinier than they should be, as if coated in a thin film of water. The better way to do this is through baked lighting in geometry crevices. I think this is what you were getting at.

    1. To summarise: Excellent work, very pleased! :D