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HDR lighting + New look ?

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I've been getting tired of having my scenes washed out by my bloom effect, so I spent yesterday getting HDR + Tonemapping implemented into the game. The HDR path of the game is still heavily in the works, but while messing with the HDR I came up with a new look for the game :-)

I'm having trouble keeping the contrast of the HDR in the same range, it seems the scenes get too bright once the tonemapping is applied. I'm going to be tweaking this a lot trying to get it right. Then I've got to get back to the traffic AI.

I'm trying to be satisfied with the graphics so I can focus on other areas...but I know I'd hate myself once the game is released if I didn't get as many features (both visual and gameplay wise) into the game as I can.

There is no HDR in this scene, if I could get my HDR to contrast like this I'd be a happy camper :-) I like the look...I had to tone down the skydome texture, it was washing out the scenes. I made a few other tweaks and here ya go...

The new menu GUI skin....

New Options menu...

Possible Video settings...I'll detail it below, let me know if you have any suggestions.

Low quality bloom, PS1.0

Early HDR lighting

Reaaaallly early HDR lighting

Early HDR with textures disabled

Here are the various options for the visual settings...


Screen Resolution: 800x600, 1024x768, 1280x960, 1280x1024, 1600x1200

Texture Resolution: Low ( 25% ) , Medium ( 50% ), High ( 100%% )

Shadow Map Size: None, 1024x1024, 2048x2048, 4096x4096

Shadow Map Filtering: None, 4x4 PCF

Texture Filtering: Linear, Bilinear, Trilinear, 2X Anisotropic, 4X Anisotropic, 8X Anisotropic

HDR / Bloom: None, Bloom Low Quality, Bloom High Quality, Full HDR Rendering

Water Quality: Low Quality Diffuse, High Quality Planar, High Quality Cube

Motion Blur Quality: None, Low Quality (6 Samples), High Quality (12 Samples)

Fullscreen Antialiasing: None, 2x FSAA, 4x FSAA, 8x FSAA

Reflections: None, Vehicles Only, Buildings Only, Vehicles and Buildings

Run in Fullscreen: Yes, No

Display FPS Counter: Yes, No

View Distance: 10% -> 100%

Motion Blur Amount: 5%->500%

I'm gonna get back to tweaking the HDR...hopefully I can have it lookin' good by tommorow...Any opinions on the darker style of the game would be appreciated :-)

- Dan

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Oh. Hell. Yes.

That darker palette really emphasizes the atmosphere of the game. Go for it. Spare no expense of effort.

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I like the new atmosphere :)

Does it apply the tone-mapping to vehicles and characters and such as well? Could we get some images of their new look?

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ApochPiQ - Yup, I agree..I think the atmosphere is much better now. Plus the scenes aren't as washed out which was the killer before.

Iced_Eagle - Yes, the tone mapping is applied to the entire scene. The average luminosity of the scene is calculated and the whole thing is scaled accordingly. The actors/vehicles look a lot better now, I'm going to see what I can do in terms of HDR cube mapping on vehicles, and tweak the characters some more...and I'll have some new screens soon :-)

- Dan

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Something I read somewhere once and I fully agree with:

I don't give a damn about all those different parameters in the Video options menu. It's nice from a developer point of view, but the average Joe doesn't care. He (and I [grin]) just wants a simple slider going from high performance to high quality.

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Original post by rick_appleton
He (and I ) just wants a simple slider going from high performance to high quality.

I second that. Less clicking, the better. Plus, you are helping those that are less technical on the concepts of graphics jargon.

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Do that slider thing but put in another advanced graphics settings menu in there for us guys with "the knowledge".

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Yup, good point. I mostly need this for debugging/beta testing all the graphics features, but that's a good point....I'll have 2 menus I suppose. One with a slider bar for quality/performance and a combo box for resolution adjustment, and a button to go to advanced options where they can specify for themselves.

I personally HATE it when games don't give you the choice to tweek all the graphics features you paid good money for :-)

Any more opinions on the new look? I got one...the top of the buildings and crosswalk look like florecent white paint :-D I'm reallllyy close to the project so I do need lots of opinions!

Thanks for the comments guys.

- Dan

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