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Shadow concepts

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Hi, I'm working on a game with an overhead view. I got lightmaps mixed with dynamic flashlight held by character, it looks ok, but... I've been playing FEAR lately ;-) and when I played my game I noticed that's something's missing. Shadows. I have no idea how to put an image in here (except for putting a link, but I have no site) so you have to visualize a game with view from above, no vertical movement possible, just X-Z, so it's basically a 2d game rendered in 3d. What's an easiest way to implement shadows in such a game? What methods are currenty most popular? And what's the best method available now (soft and exact shadows, like in Oblivion) ? Thanks in advance Bartiss

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Original post by bartiss
when I played my game I noticed that's something's missing. Shadows.

Shadows are often classed as "eye candy", but they're actually essential for representing realistic images. The human eye makes heavy use of shading/shadowing to judge the positions/distances of objects in the real-world. I can't find any links right now - but there are a few interesting research papers (not just computing/graphics, but psychology as well) and some strange optical illusions...

Quote:
Original post by bartiss
I have no idea how to put an image in here (except for putting a link, but I have no site)

Unless you're a GDNet+ member you have to find somewhere else to host your image (Image Shack and Photo Bucket are popular) and then use regular HTML - <img src="...">.

Quote:
Original post by bartiss
What's an easiest way to implement shadows in such a game?

The easiest possible method is probably "drop shadows" (can be done using D3DXMatrixShadow()), but to be honest they look a little rubbish these days [wink]

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Original post by bartiss
What methods are currenty most popular?

There's a lot of love going around for "Shadow Mapping". "Shadow Volumes" (Think Doom 3) were cool and I still like them.

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Original post by bartiss
And what's the best method available now (soft and exact shadows, like in Oblivion) ?

There isn't a "best" method - pretty much every real-time shadowing algorithm has "ideal" conditions and various restrictions. It's quite difficult to find (and implement) a "one size fits all" shadowing algorithm. Your best bet is to do some thinking about what your game would benefit from and what restrictions you have.

For example, completely static geometry but dynamic lights might benefit most from SH/PRT lighting. Simple directional lights could work very well with shadow maps. Point lights can work better with shadow volumes. Then there is the rest of your engine to consider - if you're already full of shader-goodness and per-pixel eye candy you might not have any GPU power left to implement a fancy shadowing algorithm and might have to settle for one of the "lesser" techniques.

There was a good thread on this recently - I'll see if I can go dig it up for you..

Jack

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