In between work on improved character meshes and the game's combat system - I've been taking some time here and there to add features that the game is starting to suffer from the lack of: distant tree billboards, collisions, and for this week - dynamic shadows.
I haven't personally implemented dynamic shadows myself before, but as someone who likes reading about various graphical algorithms, I was already familiar with the common techniques. I opted for a cascading shadow map approach - although I'm not sure how much of the 'cascading' part I'll have the fillrate for. Sometimes there can be a significant difference between what works in a simple scene vs. what works in a complex scene.
Being someone that likes to learn by 'trying things myself', I think the results worked out pretty good. I'll present the player with a few shadow quality options in the details window so they can adjust the tradeoff between quality and fps hit for themselves - but with a few more performance tweaks, the shadows are certainly a 'keep'.
The difference between the old shots without and the new shots with are night and day - adding some nice visual contrast to the scenes and bringing the animated swaying tree leaves and treetops down into the players line of sight more.