A Light Obsession


Tweaked the overall light settings in the compiler. My previous settings were a little too bright and happy (because I had been experimenting.) I think this is at least in the ballpark now. I’m having different colours associated with different light sources, too (they’re so close together in this image because it’s a testmap.)

It’s really time for viewmodels. I guess I should put one in there for screenshots at least.

I’ve also had sucess importing a 2500 poly building asset into one of my testmaps. This kinda proves that doing a lot of stuff in Blender is viable. There are some associated compiler eccentricies regarding lighting though. The asset seemed to get lightmapped despite ordering vertex lighting (ie not having the lightmap spawnflag set.) I need to verify if those are bugs. It cost me hours to find out what the compiler was actually doing and how to sort of circumvent it. This kind of stuff proves that Quake 3 tech isn’t really production ready for making (outdoor) single player games IMO. It’s not that the engine can’t do it – it’s more the associated tools and formats. It’s not really acceptable to lose that much time hunting ghosts.


Another thing I did recently was to use Blender’s sculpt mode to “ruin” buildings. It is very effective and allows you to apply some “aging” to assets with a large brush without having to go in and tweak all the vertices.

Skærmbillede fra 2013-09-04 01:12:06

Skærmbillede fra 2013-09-04 01:22:07

The ruined shrine and the large temple on the other side of the water will make for a nice juxtaposition in screenshots one day.

5 responses to “A Light Obsession

  • Spiney

    Q3 can have lightmapped mapmodels? I didn’t know that.

  • kneedeepinthedoomed

    Yeah, spawnflag 4 on a misc_model will have it lightmapped (that’s what it should do at least!). This is really limited though because lightmaps are axially projected and the lightmap resolution isn’t really high enough so you get black splotches on small models with high triangle density, or visible stairstep shadows on larger ones with non-axial surfaces.

    Lightmaps really work best on large axially-aligned surfaces in Quake / Quake 3. If you have a mapmodel that fits that description, lightmaps might be the way to go, but the more wobbly and detailed it gets, the more vertex lighting (with smoothing groups) has an advantage.

    I’m sure there are assorted hacks that allow you to, for instance, bump up the lightmap resolution on certain things. You can also go and use external 4096×4096 lightmaps, but that has drawbacks again.

    Compromises, as always.

    I’m sorry I didn’t upload a cubemap testmap for you yet Spiney, I was just kinda busy.

  • Spiney

    Ah I see. In a lot of modern engines you can supply a UV set for the lightmaps which makes it indistinguishable from bsp. You can have selfshadowing and such. In Quake engines you need to jump trough hoops to get that kind of consistency, sadly.

    Oh the testmap was just a curiosity item. Don’t feel pressured 🙂

  • kneedeepinthedoomed

    Yeah, lighting is one of the downsides of using this kind of tech. It’s never going to look like Beast. There are, however, upsides too, for indie studios at least.

    • Spiney

      What I like about the Quake tech is that the engine source is out in the open, where as the commercial engines tend to be much more locked won. It gives me some peace of mind to know that if the game should ever break on a future architecture or the engine dev stops working the source is always there to get fixed. You don’t get that with the commercial tools, though those have workflow benefits.
      And yeah, there’s no fees or licenses or anything 🙂

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