Feature #26352

Improving the light engine

Added by PurePassion over 3 years ago. Updated over 2 years ago.

Status:In progress Start date:11/14/2011
Priority:Normal Due date:
Assignee:Dwarden % Done:

10%

Category:Rendering
Target version:Upcoming version
Reproduced by another DH user:No First affected ArmA3 version:Please select...
Reproducible for you:No Single / Multi Player?:
Affected ArmA3 version:Please select...

Description

Improving the Light engine and shaders

Why?

In my opinion, the only thing that keeps most people from saying "Wow, Arma has some really impressive graphics" is it's lighting. We have one of the highest polycounts, texture size, viewdistance and a lot more but still it's somehow not quite convincing for a big part.
Popular games such as BF3 show whats possible with a fancy light engine.
It has some very poor models and muddy textures, however the overall picture looks stunning.

An advanced light engine opens endless possibilities for artist so they can change the values and post-processing to create certain atmospheres and work with it as stylistic device, create schemes for different times of day. How they actually look like is completely up to the artist himself.
Realistic Lighting is in my opinion the only thing that stops Arma 3 from breaking through all masses and setting a new milestone. We can create something that people will remember for a long time here. Arma 3 is a game designed to be played for years and as we already see it, CPU and GPU power is quickly increasing. We all know this is connected to work, money and ressources but the results that could be achieved with this speak above and reward all the effort. :)

Here http://forums.bistudio.com/showthread.php?t=127228 you can see a thread on this matter at the BIS Forums with an representative poll that askes users to evaluate the importance of said changes.
Out of 290 votes, 277 users think the light engine should be improved and 149 of them think it should have a very high priority. This shows what the majority of the community thinks about this matter.

What?

A major problem with A2's renderer is how it does bloom and HDR.At the current stage it is almost impossible to make good use of underground structures as they were said to be likely in the game.
I think, like already pointed out by many users, dynamic soft shadows, lightsources and the implementation of indirect illumination (deferred shading) are the way to go for Arma 3 and the awesome RV engine.


How?

Most likely outsourcing.

I saw an engine called "Leadwerks" using the pureLight's global illumination lightmapping system. Maybe the team could make use of it? Here is a link http://forums.bistudio.com/showthread.php?p=2056100#post2056100
It is programmed in C++ like trueSky, the system used for the volumetric clouds. As we speak about it and this seems like a more fitting place to ask it, do you know of other solutions the team could use?

The greatest achievements were at first and for a time dreams. The oak sleeps in the acorn.

Dwarden, discuss harder :D

History

Updated by Minoza over 3 years ago

ATM I can't think of any other solutions, I might have something but I'll have to research a bit...

Anyways, PurePassion summed it up pretty well. It seems as a good investment for the future.

Updated by kordax over 3 years ago

Minoza wrote:

ATM I can't think of any other solutions, I might have something but I'll have to research a bit...

Anyways, PurePassion summed it up pretty well. It seems as a good investment for the future.

Agree with all that said.
Light engine in Arma looks very outdated.

Updated by Beee8190 over 3 years ago

Fully supporting this ticket, Arma 3 should look like true 2012 game

Updated by tyler2 over 3 years ago

Before you make changes you need to understand what Arma is a tactical simulator, rather than film. Playing in the Arma I need to see the game world through the eyes of a soldier and not the shitty camera, as in Battlefield 3! Do you want to post-processing effects, let's find out which ones are realistic in Battlefield 3:
1) Blur - blur effect is peculiar to the camera, not related to the human eye
2) Bloom - overexposure camera blur of light, has no relation to the human eye
3) Depth of field - the effect of focal length is peculiar to the camera. Eyes still lose focus right side of the monitor when viewing the left side without this effect. The human eye has an angle of Focus 2 °.
4) Lens Flare - camera problem, due to the inhomogeneity of the material in the lens. Has no relation to the human eye.
Regarding these effects, which are still not able to be disabled in the Battlefield. On the official forum has a very large topic, which is now gathered in 1400 disaffected people, and I'm there! No need to create Arma3 of Hollywood crap!

Updated by PurePassion over 3 years ago

hehe this is misunderstood so often :D

BF 3 is only an example to show what an awesome light engine can make out of low-poly models and muddy textures and point out it's importance.
Overexcessive Lensflares and Post-Processing colour corrections have nothing to do with the light engine itself. They are nothing but artistic choices.

Herehttp://junk.kegetys.net/hdr.jpg you can see the current problems Arma has quite good.

Also remember that propper implementation of soft shadows, indirect illumination etc. is adding a lot to visual realism, which is one of the 3 elements of a video game: Graphics, Gameplay and Sound.

The sad thing is that nowadays a game is mostly reduced to it's graphical quality. We can sadly even see this on the serious games market. Better looking systems are often regarded as more realistic whereas others offer much more functionality.
Arma 3 is offering a lot of functionality but lacks in the visuals for most users. (Which is not entirely true)
Massive functionality might scare off possible users but appealing visuals serve as an attraction for really the biggest part of gamers. Don't worry about hardware requirements, there is nothing that couldn't be turned off ;) Not being able to turn all settings on will not make the game worse.
Offering stunning graphics is mostly depending on the light engine, so improving this aspect of the game will make it more appealing for more gamers, give it more attention ("WOW, this game looks awesome! Let me see more of it"),
make it more realistic and of course better looking :D There is a lot of potential left in the RV engine concerning lighting which is waiting to be discovered.

Anyways, let's not waste any more time on talking about the Why because I think it is obvious but ask ourselves the question: How?

Kind regards :)

Updated by Dwarden over 3 years ago

  • Status changed from New to In progress
  • % Done changed from 0 to 10

i don't like lot of BF3, the scenes (especially the HDR and PP filter) are too dark (house full of windows and shiny day outside + tons of artificial light-sources inside) or too bright (outside) and sort of not represent what i would expect to see (even with or w/o tactical glasses (against sun))

but to make You happy ... there is ... progress

Updated by PurePassion over 3 years ago

i wholeheartly agree!
I especially remember a scene from the campaign where this interrogation room was surrounded by 5 windows but still it looked completely overtoned and dark inside... Not even starting with the post-processing, and "dirty lens flares" etc. etc. :D

Wow, you certainly know how to make a man happy Dwarden! :] I am looking forward to what our magic developpers can achieve.

May I ask you which aspects have come into your evaluation? (meaning just "evaluation" and not "confirmed" ;))

Thanks for all your effort. I am sure it will pay off :)

Kind regards

Updated by tonci87 over 3 years ago

Dwarden wrote:

i don't like lot of BF3, the scenes (especially the HDR and PP filter) are too dark (house full of windows and shiny day outside + tons of artificial light-sources inside) or too bright (outside) and sort of not represent what i would expect to see (even with or w/o tactical glasses (against sun))

but to make You happy ... there is ... progress

I agree. I think nobody wants Arma 3 to look like BF3, but there is certainly room for improvement from Arma 2

Updated by neokika over 3 years ago

Current major problems with the light in Arma 2:

- Light points do not cause shadows when hitting objects and terrain (Only the sun and moon do)
- Terrain and Objects do not block light from lightpoints at all

neo

Updated by PurePassion over 3 years ago

True, those are indeed problems that should be fixed if possible.
Especially the second one has a major impact on not only the visuals but also on the gameplay and tactical aspect aswell

Updated by PurePassion over 3 years ago

  • Description updated (diff)

Updated by Magician about 3 years ago

Dwarden wrote:

i don't like lot of BF3, the scenes (especially the HDR and PP filter) are too dark (house full of windows and shiny day outside + tons of artificial light-sources inside) or too bright (outside) and sort of not represent what i would expect to see (even with or w/o tactical glasses (against sun))

but to make You happy ... there is ... progress

Many critics have praised the engine BF3 light, "It has some very poor models and muddy textures, however the overall picture looks stunning.."
I'm glad a lot to improve this aspect Arma 3 and I agree that it is very important.

Updated by i76 over 2 years ago

related issue #8748 #24891

Since this issue has not been fixed in A2 and was reported years ago I'd expect BI to ignore it unless it affects DayZ.

Updated by Dwarden over 2 years ago

developing completely new lighting , hdr, imt, pp engine isn't possible w/o rewriting lot of the rendering pipeline

but I guess you missed the Image Tone Mapping added in 1.62.x OA branch

[94699]  Tweak Reinhard tonemapping pars
[93654] Improved: Tone mapping

the IMT was improved for 1.63 betas
with ability to allow mod/mission makers chose between 3 main types of IMT each with many sub-settings
(most new/complex is Filmic, originating from in Arma 3 development)

https://community.bistudio.com/wiki/setToneMapping
https://community.bistudio.com/wiki/setToneMappingParams

DayZ is using specifically modified TOH engine with own separated branch

Arma 3 has different lighting engine than A2/OA/TOH which should avoid most of the deficiencies OA suffered from
(usually caused by way too bring spots on screen and not enough correct calculation of ground/sky light strength)
as usually it's WIP and subject to improvements

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