A Guide to Dynamic Lighting

Discussion in 'Articles' started by WAR, Dec 6, 2012.

  1. Waterfall

    Waterfall Legendary
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    This is very good news thanks.
    Regardless I will probably have this thread open whenever making maps until I learn it without needing the thread open.
     
  2. ToXiC SPlaTTeRz

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  3. NOKYARD

    NOKYARD GrifballHub
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    Not so much like framerate or disco problems.

    You can keep all of your original items. If you set enough of them to a 2 second delayed spawn it will bring your map back to under the breaking point without reducing the piece count. The items set to delayed spawn are not counted during the "GENERATING LIGHTING" thang. The items spawn during the 10 second countdown so there is no worry of nearby players affecting the spawn in. The only caveat is you can not do this with pieces within close proximity to items which show on radar like turrets and vehicles since this will cause the item to not spawn.

    You must be careful when choosing which items to select for delayed spawn as they will be MUCH brighter than surrounding pieces, and will not cast a shadow. Floors on Erosion and nebula-side walls on Impact seem to work best by not looking artificially bright.

    You can also use this technique to brighten up dark areas and to highlight select parts of the map.
     
  4. the_suicide_fox

    the_suicide_fox Forerunner
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    Are station cores supposed to be very white? I'm not sure if I'm having lighting issues or not.

    I built an enclosed map on Impact, used all base shields, shield doors, lights, majority extraction crates, and I do have some of the pieces that cause issues but not that many really. Rest of the map is building blocks, ramps, and some platforms. Plus I don't seem to have the issue with any other piece besides cores.
     
    #24 the_suicide_fox, Dec 27, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2012
  5. WAR

    WAR Cartographer
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    Station Cores appear lighter than other objects in dark environments because they don't interact with the dynamic lighting as much as blocks or ramps. They don't even produce shadows, this is why they are friendly pieces to use when trying to maintain lighting on your map. These Cores consume framerate however, so I'd recommend using them sparingly.
     
    #25 WAR, Dec 27, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2012
  6. the_suicide_fox

    the_suicide_fox Forerunner
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    I only have 2 and TBH the only thing that looks odd is the base but I can live with that. Thanks for the info, I was about to tear my map apart to fix it LOL.
     
  7. Gravitas

    Gravitas Promethean
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    Is it safe to assume that these same "expensive" pieces will also be most likely to affect the framerate? Most of the maps on here, including mine, are unplayable in splitscreen.
     
  8. AussieForger

    AussieForger Legendary

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    i just wish you could turn lighting on or off if it is going to be this bad where you cant even use a select number of all pieces, weather they are being light med or heavy, on off switch for lighting in options would be better than some of the lighting glitches i have seen since forging with halo 4
     
  9. Deniedoath

    Deniedoath Legendary

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    Not necessarily. Lighting is only one factor in many different aspects of the rendering pipeline that will give you a performance hit. Technically, Halo 4's dynamic lighting implementation isn't truly dynamic lighting since all the shadows or lighting values are baked into individual forge pieces after generating lighting. An example of this is picking up a forge piece after you've generated lighting; you'll see that the object retains its shadows regardless of where you move it until you generate lighting again. so I think it's safe to say there isn't too much correlation with framerate drops and "dynamic" lighting.
     
  10. StrongRobin

    StrongRobin Legendary

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    Yes! Now I can break the dynamic lighting on Impact. Thank you so much! That map is way too dark for indoor maps!
     
  11. Gravitas

    Gravitas Promethean
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    I had forgotten that, thanks for the reminder. But even considering the "pre-baked" lighting, it makes sense to me that at least some of the high-poly count pieces that adversely affect the lighting would similarly affect the frame rate. The bigger and/or more detailed the geometry of the item would likely hinder both, in my opinion. Isn't that why different object have different values within forge, and why there exist more stringent restrictions for those items with more detail in the first place?
     
  12. Deniedoath

    Deniedoath Legendary

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    Yeah, there's no doubt the budget system in forge is in place in case of people using objects haphazardly, but it's mostly do to hardware limitations, i.e., likely game crash if you were to place everything available to you if there were no budget. I wouldn't use the budget system to depict how resource/performance expensive an object is going to be though. When judging an object for how it could affect game performance, you'd have to look beyond just poly distribution and at things like texel resolution, collision mesh complexity, LOD model distances, and a bunch of other technicals which you can't really know without documentation. But since none of this stuff is documented for halo, It'd be cool for someone with an xbox dev kit to pull up an FPS counter of some sort and make a structured list (such as this thread's) for which objects are more likely to cause framerate drops.
     
  13. Fauch

    Fauch Promethean
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    the devs implemented limits in forge to prevent use from making maps that would be too hard to handle for the 360?
    but then, it would make more sense if the least taxing objects in term of processing power were only limited by budget, because once you run out of them, you have to rely on much more taxing objects.
     
  14. Digital Limit

    Digital Limit Promethean
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    This would be an amazing thing. If anyone with a devkit investigated optimizing framerates in Forge maps, we'd all be indebted.
     
  15. ManRayX

    ManRayX Forerunner
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    if you break the budget and then delete objects to get back under the cap will the light effects kick in again?
     
  16. WAR

    WAR Cartographer
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    Yes, sometimes you can restore lighting by deleting a single object.
     
  17. ExTerrestr1al

    ExTerrestr1al Legendary
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    i'm confused about the naturals... rocks.

    Impact specifically....

    Given that visually you can see the number of edges/vertices that a bridge piece has, but then if you look at a rock, it seems impossible to determine the complexity of the piece, I would have expected a rock to cost more lighting $ than it does.

    Can you shed any light (lol) on why that is? I'm not saying it's wrong, just that I don't understand.

    EDIT:
    Also, why do you think that bridges such as Small and Large are $1 while while Medium and XLarge are $25?

    Similar suff going on with the bridge inclines...

    It would seem logical that they would all be the same, or that the inside edges of the longer bridge pieces would cost more due to having those little indents with detail on them.

    Thanks
     
    #37 ExTerrestr1al, Jan 8, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2013
  18. WAR

    WAR Cartographer
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    @JKaddict - Rocks on Impact are extremely efficient pieces for retaining lighting. They also cast clear shadows. It was confusing for me as well. The testing I've done brought up some strange anomalies. For example, "Station Corridors" are terrible pieces to use while "Station Ramps" are better. Both objects seem to have the same geometry and poly count, the difference is that one is angled on a green axis. I'm not a developer and don't have access to their tools, so its hard for me to explain why these objects interact with lighting differently. Sorry I couldn't help you understand this better.
     
    #38 WAR, Jan 8, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2013
  19. ExTerrestr1al

    ExTerrestr1al Legendary
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    no that helped, thanks.

    I have taken your findings and done some playing in impact with making 100 of each Impact item, such as the aforementioned Corridors and Ramps. Definitely confirms that Station Ramps are better to use. Same with 90deg sections.

    Using Ramps and 90deg pieces as big walls is a useful option it appears, though, as I discovered with Ramp Bridges from the Inclines pallet, it is frustrating because you can't get the ramped pieces to line up perfectly flat as if they were not inclines because or instance, 25 deg is slightly inclined one way, and 26 deg is slightly inclined the other way.

    On maps that need lots and lots of wall pieces, I've had to resort to using ramps so this is something I'll just need to get used to.

    ANOTHER QUESTION: Can you explain what is happening when you get past the lighting budget limitations but the new pieces do seem to be casting shadows? Some inside surfaces seem to have the coloring off, but the shadows are still there.

    Another thing I'm noticing is that there seems to be a shadow draw distance that may not always be the same for each type of object.
     
  20. WAR

    WAR Cartographer
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    @JKaddict - Yes, the "Corridor, Ramp" is a great piece to use for floors on smaller maps. I strongly discourage you to use them in large quantities though as they are very 'frame rate' intensive (even if you bury the glass).

    In regard to your question, some objects light up differently because they don't interact with the lighting system in a consistent / true way. The "door" piece for example produces a shadow but will be much brighter than surrounding pieces in dark settings. And are you referring to shadows following your character on impact?
     

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