A Light Touch

I’ve been trying to get better lightmap precision / better definition of shadows out of the compiler; it turns out that in a major slip-up I didn’t read the manual carefully enough and thus was compiling with very blurry default lightmap settings. Doh. For the record, -samplesize must be added to the BSP stage as well as the light stage.

Anyway, I decreased the samplesize from 16 to 6. This results in shadows from handrails and even chainlink fences suddenly becoming visible. What a nice surprise! It also blows the BSP up to over 90MB, most of that is in the lightmaps.

I switched to the yellow sky and a sort of amber colour for the windows – it’s not perfect yet, but it fits better than what I had before.

Here’s the result of the higher lightmap resolution. The stairwell makes a sharp shadow on all surrounding walls. Individual steps’ shadows are well defined. There could be some more smoothing of the shadows, but overall this is a huge improvement. Partially due to my own ineptitude at reading manuals… luckily I caught the mistake.

Here, too, clearly visible shadows from handrails on the floor. Amber windows somewhat harmonizing with the overall colour scheme.

All the stairs became a lot more detailed and there are now several types of them.

We’ve now got actual doors with glass panes in them.

Both the frame and even the chainlink fence now cast actual shadows. Before, there was nothing of the sort.

Well defined shadows of the pipes; again, chainlink fence casting shadow as well.

Here, too, patches / alpha blended textures casting shadows. Needs more smoothing though.

That staircase with proper shadows.

Close up. Again smoothing needed.

Fan room; cables etc. are now casting discernible shadows.

A nice improvement, I think. This isn’t the end of the totem pole as far as lightmaps are concerned, either. There’s still some headroom that can be used to get the shadows both well defined and smooth. The compiling time goes through the roof doing this, and for more extreme settings / for a final compile I probably need a hardware upgrade.

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8 responses to “A Light Touch

  • ericw

    Oh man, the high res lightmaps look awesome :D. Definitely looking Source-like!

    btw, thanks for posting the tutorial on using q3 tools and fteqw, looking forward to trying it out soon.

  • Spiney

    Looking awesome! :O

  • Spiney

    PS: personally I think a regular plain blue sky would work best. Nothing too saturated. The beige makes everything a bit too monochrome imho.

  • Spiney

    Maybe disregard that last bit, I’m sure color will get added along the way 🙂

  • RawShark

    These screens look awesome!

  • tehSandwich

    The big problem with “-samplesize” is that it’s applied everywhere. The surfaces that needs it will look nice but in uniformly lit areas, you might not need that much resolution. Because of the limitations of the tools (and especially the Q3 .map format), you can only change the lightmap resolution brush by brush and that’s by using func_groups and _lightmapscale.
    That thing aside, I am really interessed in what you are making and I would be willing to help if need be.

    • kneedeepinthedoomed

      I hear what you’re saying; it might be worth looking into tailoring the lightmap resolution to different kinds of areas.

      I’m using FBSP, which has a standard lightmap resolution of 512×512 vs. Q3’s 128×128. So I’ve learned to accept 90MB .bsp files, but you make a good point.

      The game has some rather varied maps (concrete techbase as well as rotten dungeon and still other stuff), and techbase tends to have more fiddly details than brick-and-wood castles. So perhaps I could just vary the samplesize per map.

      I’m glad for some help, although there isn’t any “SJ team” (unlike what RemakeQuake did). There is only a group of people mostly hanging out in #rmq at irc.anynet.org exchanging, testing and sometimes donating stuff and generally socializing in a nerdy fashion.

      If you’re interested, you’re welcome to hang out with us.

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