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Lighting is Cool

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I spent about half of today meeting with a former colleague at his new job, and might have found some interesting consulting work with his new firm.

Before I left, I tried to put together a build, and of course, had many last minute problems - including a strange inability for the game to import the level from the editor.

It turned out I had an giant mesh that was so big when loaded that the entire world was inside of it. Since I took out automatic clipping of large triangles, it was too big for my bounding volume code to split into reasonably sized chunks, so it was making way too many separate AABB trees for a single object. Plus the large size was making it impossible to fit into a 1024^2 lightmap.

Of course, I realized the problem right when I left for my meeting, so I didn't get to fix it until I got back.

Then I fixed up the level, and wrote a new tutorial in the level editor documentation on how to build levels by carving them out of a grid.

Here are some shots from my two newer levels :

I also tweaked the ambient occlusion lighting, trying to find the right way to combine it with the ambient normal maps. I added a hotkey in the game flush the shader cache, which forces a reload of all shaders. I think I will add meshes, textures, etc to this as well, so that assets can be reloaded at runtime when possible. It certainly saved me about an hour of time not having to restart.

Tomorrow I must debug the sound. It's been working fine for ages ( I use fmod 3.74 ), but today I realized that 2d sounds are not playing when building the level, but work fine when loading a saved game...I'm forcing all sw, so it can't be a driver issue... can it?

Not sure if I should try to fix it as is, or just use the chance to switch over the newer build of FMOD Ex.
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