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I spent some time tonight doing art-related things. I converted a bunch of models, bought some good textures and created a batch
conversion process. The incoming source textures were 1000x1000 jpg files, which I used the nvDXT program to convert to resize them, convert to dds files, create mip-maps, etc. Next I renamed the files to make shorter names. I then converted the textures to normal maps via another pass of nvDXT. Some of the new textures are from photos, and are quite good.

Often photo texture maps have too much lighting built into them, or aren't tileable, but these don't have either negative property.

One of the models I converted was a nice metal gate, which I converted into a door for the game. The shadow looks really good with the gate. I also have a door model that contains a little gate window which I should use more.

Right now the gate is treated as a solid model by the game, instead of letting you shoot through it, but you know, I don't mind it at its current size. Perhaps if I make a bigger gate I'll do statistical collisions for small objects like bullets, sparks, etc.

Last night I adjusted the lighting a bit. In my original averaged-L bump mapping scheme, I calculated per-vertex and per-pixel L.N, and used their average as the actual lighting term. This had a nice effect of making the light colors a bit more pervasive, and the expense of de-emphasizing the bumps somewhat.

I added a similar step in the engine last night, so that the diffuse & specular are combined with the tangent space L.z term to give a softer and more realistic look to very bumpy surfaces. Another way to achieve this would be to force N.z to have a minimum value in the normal map. The nvidia normal map filter supports this feature ( at my request ), but many of my bump maps were created before this, so I'm sticking with the L.z method for now.

This morning I fixed the metallic shaders, which weren't doing the right thing anymore, which is to use a scalar 'metallic' term to interpolate the between light color and the material's specular material color. Then this lerped light color is scaled down by the scalar 'reflectivity' parameter in order to control global specular. The reflectivity term dropped out of the shaders at some point, so I added it back tonight. Now the metal shaders are much better, and have color shifts, and the specular bump mapping is more subtle by using the reflectivity term.

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