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Author Topic: Stencil shadows  (Read 6711 times)

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FogGobbler

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Stencil shadows
« on: July 20, 2006, 11:23:15 AM »

Hi,Mnemonic & all WME-users!

I´m sorry to bother you again (because I asked this a couple of months ago) with my question, but I´m just curious..

Will a new version of the wme be able to handle stencil shadows? That´s the only thing that bothers me at the moment with wme. Real-Shadows like in "still life" seem quite important (just talking about the graphics) to me for a modern adventure game. Or is this only my opinion?

I guess this feature could be integrated without to much trouble (please don´t hit me  ;D ), because the hidden geometry is allready there.

So what do you think about this?
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Mnemonic

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Re: Stencil shadows
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2006, 08:42:02 PM »

Believe me, if it as so simple, it would be already there ;) But anyway, don't you worry, it's in the pipeline.
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FogGobbler

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Re: Stencil shadows
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2006, 02:43:52 PM »

Quote
Believe me, if it as so simple, it would be already there

Yeah, I´m quite sure about that. Sorry, didn´t want to offend you by any way.

Quote
it's in the pipeline

Great! I´m looking forward to this new feature.

Cheers,
Oliver  ::beer
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Mnemonic

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Re: Stencil shadows
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2006, 04:10:19 PM »

I blogged about stencil shadows, comments are welcome.
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hanser

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Re: Stencil shadows
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2006, 06:55:36 PM »

Sorry, I must write here, because in your blog is it impossible (at least for me - I don't know why ???)

Hi, Mnemonic!

Really nice work, but I have one question. Is possible features from new hidden geometry off? Off by player in some options dialog (WME options or some in game interface)?? If you say "yes", so what's the problems with FPS?

Sorry, if I wrong.

This feature is really nice and for Syberia like adventure games..maybe necessary. I can try it!

Sorry all, for my english.

Mnemonic... Great, Great, Great!
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Mnemonic

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Re: Stencil shadows
« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2006, 07:28:14 PM »

I suppose there will be an attribute such as Scene.ShadowType, which you'll be able to set programatically. So you can provide the player with an option in some settings window and then set this attribute appropriately when entering a scene.
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Orange Brat

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Re: Stencil shadows
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2006, 09:51:43 AM »

I'm glad to hear that SS will make it the engine. I can attest to the CPU intensive nature of them with my experiences in 3DGS. One thing for users to keep in mind is that they don't get clipped. I don't how it will behave in a non-realtime environment, but I would assume the same given you're still using the same base as a full realtime engine. If you're using z-pass SS(the fastest), you also have to make sure the shadow volume never enters the camera space or you will see nasty artifacts. However, you can get around this with z-fail method and other more advanced SS methods.

Anyway, with this feature, you'll basically have everything you'd need to pull off the look of Resident Evil 0 and RE 1 remake(Gamecube). RE0's shadows and the way they made each static camera angle more alive was fantastic.
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Mnemonic

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Re: Stencil shadows
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2006, 10:00:31 AM »

Quote
If you're using z-pass SS(the fastest), you also have to make sure the shadow volume never enters the camera space or you will see nasty artifacts.
Indeed. I think I'll make the shadow volume extrusion depth user-definable, because even though I'm using some relatively long extrusion, it might not work in some scenes.

Quote
However, you can get around this with z-fail method and other more advanced SS methods.
I'm using z-pass. I tested z-fail too, but it was unbearably slow for high-poly characters (the capped shadow volume had way too many polygons). But I think z-pass should be enough for WME's purposes. It's unlikely the camera will ever get inside the shadow volume. And, well, if it does, the developer will have to work around it somehow.
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leucome

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Re: Stencil shadows
« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2006, 04:21:07 AM »

For realy highg-poly character i think we can use an invisible lower poly character  to cast shadow ...
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Orange Brat

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Re: Stencil shadows
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2006, 07:48:54 AM »

Yeah, SS LOD is good for speeding things up.

Another couple ideas for SS enhancements:

Allow the shadow's color and opacity/transparency to be changed. Instead of 50% black, allow the user to make it any color(for color correction/tinting purposes) and any opacity. Also, it would be nice if the closer an entity is to a light, the darker the shadow, and moving farther away leads to a lighter/fainter shadow. Lastly, multiple shadows if there are multiple lights that influence the shadow simultaneously.
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shuin

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Re: Stencil shadows
« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2006, 06:38:34 AM »

Hiya!

   I must say i wanted support for stencil shadows for some time now (though no1 on my wishlist is another feature)... Take Still Life for example.. the shadows look awesome. Now that it's been announced the next version of the engine offers support 4 stencil shadows i'm very happy. I'll try to address some stencil shadows issues.

   Performace: it shouldn't be an issue in adventure games. They are not as cpu hungry as other genres so i think we could afford a fps drop as the price 4 stencil shadows.
   However trying to optimize the code should always be important in any engine. And i really mean it..so what if we have more powerful video cards and CPUs? If most engines would be optimized (and i'm talking about fps engines, rpg engines and such) games would look like cgi on a decent configuration (just look at consoles.. take ps2, by optimizing the engines kh2 or god of war look better than their predecessors on the same hardware so the PS2 is used at its max performance. On PCs the hardware that appears is never used at max capacity because new hardware appears very fast and the new engines preffer to use the new power of the new hardware instead of optimizing and taking advantage of the max capacity of the old hardware). OK, sorry this is like an off-topic, but i felt the need to share this.
   Another issue regarding performance: an option of setting the shadow detail per-scene as Mnemonic suggested is a great ideea. I mean why generate a stencil shadow in a scene in which there is little to none interaction with the geometry? It'll just use CPU for no gain. Optimizing your game to use stencil shadows only in the scenes that need them is key to great game design. Optimization is the word :D
   Another good ideea is the alternate model 4 the characters. A very low-poly model, only 4 stencil shadow use, sounds good and combined with the option to use stencil shadows only in the scenes that need it, would make performance loss unnoticeable.

   The next issue, realism: the farther the shadow is from a lightsource, the dimmer it gets. The closer, the darker. It adds just a bit more realism to it. I hope it'll be implemented in a future release. That will increase even more the realism.

   However before stencil shadows, i really wanted a render-to-texure feature. Realtime mirrors and reflections is something i really need in my 1st game. I woun't even use real-time shadows (only simple shadows.. the blob :P ) in my 1st game, but i'll need lots of reflections. So Mnemonic, is there hope for a render-to-texture feature? Anyway i congratulate you for adding stencil shadows.

Keep up the good work!
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Orange Brat

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Re: Stencil shadows
« Reply #11 on: September 23, 2006, 12:13:34 PM »

I don't want to start a new thread, but I came across a 2D dynamic shadows feature that the creator of Shadowplay developed in AGS. Think stencil shadows in 2D and reactive to a lightsource. I wouldn't know where to begin scripting something like that, but I think it would be a nifty future engine feature:

Here's the thread with 2 screens:

http://www.bigbluecup.com/yabb/index.php?topic=8237.80

Quote
The most interesting one (for the sole reason that I've never seen it done in a 2D adventure game before) is probably the dynamic shadows. The ShadowBox script module will allow a character (currently only the player character, but that's a trivial matter to change) to cast a realistic shadow from a light source positioned anywhere in the room.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2006, 12:17:02 PM by Orange Brat »
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