Author Topic: Need help with smoothing.  (Read 5327 times)

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oneofthe8devilz

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Re: Need help with smoothing.
« Reply #15 on: February 22, 2015, 06:12:05 AM »
I agree with most of your last post's statement...

Yes ShadowMapping can be accelerated entirely on the GPU allowing crazy polycounts in your scenes and Yes at specific light setups they render nice soft shadows and filter nicely through alpha channeled textures/shaders...

I just didn't agree with your generalized statement that shadowmapping is in ANY case and ALWAYS better than stencil shadows, performance and precision wise...

Many times when I play modern games and enter extended indoor environments I cannot help but notice how the majority of the lights in those modern games are not casting any shadows at all (due to performance cost reasons). My eyes instantly detect the lack of shadowing which quickly brakes the immersion.

I guess over the years I just got used to the continuity of the "unified light and shadowing" concept that was introduced by idtech4 in 2004 and just recently I was having a talk with a friend about how lame it is that even in the year 2015 (11 years after the release of Doom3) modern shadowmapped engines still don't release games where really every light (or at least 90% of them) cast proper softshadows...

This might be entirely related to console performance limitations though instead of being a technological limit...

 
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BloodRayne

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Re: Need help with smoothing.
« Reply #16 on: February 22, 2015, 06:41:23 AM »
<snip>.... This might be entirely related to console performance limitations though instead of being a technological limit...
 

I think that game devs have been focussing less on such graphics details and more on overall style/art direction and gameplay specific stuff. If I'd had to break it down the focus was on:

- General art style (moreso than graphic fidelity)
- A 'cinematic' experience
- Gameplay interaction, multiple choices
- Some kind of 'emotional stake'.
- Animation and 'emerging gameplay'

Such things have gotten far more focus than the latest/greatest VFX jump. A great example of this is Dishonored. It uses the basic Unreal 3 engine, but it's art direction is second to none. I love that game to death (also because of it's visuals). But it has all those artefacts mentioned in this thread, shadow issues, light bleed etc..etc... But the overall style is just so beautiful (and the gameplay is so immersive) that I don't care (at all) about glitches and hardly notice them.

Sure if I focus on them, I'll see them everywhere. But immersion does requires a certain suspension of disbelief (I forgot how it's written in English, I'm tired today). Because if you start to look logically, it always comes down to 'I'm looking at a screen that's serving me pixels in a variety of colours.'

If such minor graphics issues are bothering you during gameplay, perhaps you're focussing on the wrong thing when you're playing your games? ;)
« Last Edit: February 22, 2015, 06:43:03 AM by BloodRayne »

oneofthe8devilz

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Re: Need help with smoothing.
« Reply #17 on: February 22, 2015, 06:57:47 AM »
If such minor graphics issues are bothering you during gameplay, perhaps you're focussing on the wrong thing when you're playing your games? ;)

Maybe... or maybe I hold the view that as a game developer either your decide to have shadows in your game or you don't...

But constantly using that "hybrid" way of selectively placing "modulated" shadow casting lights throughout the gameworld that don't blend in with the rest of the gameworld at all IMO feels like one giant cheap dirty hack that constantly triggers my visual cortex (we humans perceive over 90% of our information through the eyes) and Dishonored is a perfect example like you mentioned...

How come that a game from 2004 (Thief Deadly Shadows) manages to create a better lighting/shadowing consistency compared to recently released titles like Dishonored or the new Thief ?

I think we could agree that in a Stealth Game where the player is supposed to use shadows to his advantage as a major gameplay element, a unified light and shadowing rendering approach, should be mandatory ?
« Last Edit: February 22, 2015, 07:23:03 AM by oneofthe8devilz »
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BloodRayne

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Re: Need help with smoothing.
« Reply #18 on: February 22, 2015, 07:44:47 AM »
If such minor graphics issues are bothering you during gameplay, perhaps you're focussing on the wrong thing when you're playing your games? ;)

Maybe... or maybe I hold the view that as a game developer either your decide to have shadows in your game or you don't...

But constantly using that "hybrid" way of selectively placing "modulated" shadow casting lights throughout the gameworld that don't blend in with the rest of the gameworld at all IMO feels like one giant cheap dirty hack that constantly triggers my visual cortex (we humans perceive over 90% of our information through the eyes) and Dishonored is a perfect example like you mentioned...

How come that a game from 2004 (Thief Deadly Shadows) manages to create a better lighting/shadowing consistency compared to recently released titles like Dishonored or the new Thief ?

I think we could agree that in a Stealth Game where the player is supposed to use shadows to his advantage as a major gameplay element, a unified light and shadowing rendering approach, should be mandatory ?
I don't miss it for one second in Dishonored, neither do any of the other players (I've never heard this to be an issue in Dishonored). Did you play it?


oneofthe8devilz

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Re: Need help with smoothing.
« Reply #19 on: February 22, 2015, 08:44:25 AM »
IMO Dishonored's indoor lighting is abysmal...

Let's take a look at some indoor shots:

Scene 1

There are a ton of objects in this scene but only 2 objects bother to cast a shadow  ::)
Look at how fake and superimposed the modulated shadows look (obviously having 2 different origins). They have the wrong darkness (totally mismatch with the scene's ambient brightness) and then the NPC's shadow "overlaps" with the table shadow although only one light source seems to light the scene ?!?! I mean seriously WTF... this just screams "EyeCancer" right into my face...

Scene 2

In this one we seem to have got rid of ANY shadowing at all and completely stick to prebaked lightmaps "Quake 3 from 1999 says Hello"

Scene 3

In this one we seem to witness the miserable attempt to blend modulated shadows with prebaked lightmaps, which of course fails.

...

The lack of dynamic indoor lighting/shadowing consistency in Dishonored is a shining example of what irritates me in today's "modern" games.

When you bring up the argument of gameplay importance over correctly rendered visuals I start to wonder why to bother with writing new game engines at all ?

Let's just stick with the Wolfenstein 3D engine and start focus on awesome amazing gameplay for the next 50 years...

Now I am not trying to pick on your experience with Dishonored (I bet you enjoyed it otherwise you wouldn't have brought it up) but with all the current PC horsepower available I wish more developers would pursue a dynamic "unified light and shadowing" rendering approach. There definitely are games that do it (even with shadowmapping) but the overwhelming majority of developers sticks to hacks like the above mentioned ones, which just keeps irritating me...
« Last Edit: February 22, 2015, 10:36:18 AM by oneofthe8devilz »
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motorsep

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Re: Need help with smoothing.
« Reply #20 on: February 22, 2015, 09:44:22 AM »
It's a simple fact - either have a game with shadow volumes that has only 4 low poly characters seen at once on the screen and have only people with 4+ core CPUs playing it; or have shadow maps and have many more higher poly characters on screen at once and have people with average PC playing it.

Good case to look at is The Dark Mod - people with powerful GPUs that runs Crysis 3 well complain about horrible performance in The Dark Mod, that looks nothing like Crysis 3 :/ "Thanks" to shadow volumes.

Btw, Crysis 3 has all real-time lighting and shadow maps, and I didn't notice any horrible artifacts from shadow maps.

As for Dishonored, I absolutely love the game and I didn't even pay attention to minor glitches due to general awesomeness of the game :)

oneofthe8devilz

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Re: Need help with smoothing.
« Reply #21 on: February 22, 2015, 10:55:34 AM »
I for my part would be careful using the words "simple" and "fact" that inflationary...

Anyways, to get this topic back on track, I wonder what the chances for me might be, to find a graphics programmer to apply that stencil self shadowing poly popping fix by "insetting the stencil volumes" to my idtech4 codebase. I am seeing a variation of that approach in the game "Thief Deadly Shadows" and I really like it...

Any ideas at what forums I might meet experts in that field ?
« Last Edit: February 22, 2015, 10:57:25 AM by oneofthe8devilz »
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