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rabidrage

Ever light a level only with dynamic lights? GZDoom specific.

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I seem to try a lot of annoying things, but I don't stick with them unless they seem to work. That being said, has anybody had success at trying to light an entire level dynamically? I'm talking about setting every sector's light level to zero. As far as I can tell, its effectiveness is not very promising.

Options seem to be floor lamps, candles, candelabras, dynamic lights in GZDoom Builder that should usually be placed so that they look like they're emanating from something that would give off light, and glowing floor/ceiling textures. Oh, and of course sprites that flash or otherwise give off light. And gunfire and richochets.

The point is, it doesn't seem versatile enough to work. Any opinions or experience to "shed light" on this?

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Dynamic lights are something that's tacked on, not part of the original engine design. They suffer from several problems that make them unsuitable to be the only source of illumination:

1. Performances. A sector with light level 255 is one thing, another sector with light level 0 but one white dynamic light every square map unit to bring the light level to 255 this way would kill your FPS.

2. Shaping. Dynamic lights emanate in a spherical way. They don't project shadows: if you put a column in front of a light, the light will shine through the column. With sector lighting you can trace shadows in a more convincing way.

3. Reliability. Dynamic lights may be disabled altogether, and their intensity is subject to changes by user settings. It's also possible to force them to render as additive lights for performance reasons, even though it's generally not the best aesthetic choice.

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In terms of the performance issue, this is assuming that the player doesn't have a very good computer, correct? Mine is half decent, but I wouldn't go as far as to call it a "gaming computer", at least not in this day and age. I have a hand-me-down graphics card a friend gave me years ago (my computer's only a couple years old too), and it doesn't have FPS issues. I load levels with hi-res sprites, 3D models and dynamic lights all in one, no problem.

I see what you mean about shadows. That kind of sucks. I was thinking I might use the shadow effect straight out of Brutal Doom. Seeing as I don't use Brutal Doom right out of the box, so to speak, I don't know if it uses shadows in a more sophisticated fashion or not.

As for issue three...I guess my WAD's readme will call for turning on dynamic lights. Though given what you've told me, I might scrap the idea altogether. Still thinking about it, as I've got a lot of time yet.

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I forget which map I played that made heavy use of dynamic lights, but it had a strange settings area at the start to help you calibrate all the lights and brightness settings. It was necessary for the map to look good on a wide range of setups.

A map lit with only dynamic lights would have to be designed with their limitations in mind. The final look would be quite different from a typical DOOM map. It would look more like the 2000 version of AvP I suspect.

The shape of the light projection is determined by an image in gzdoom.pk3. If you override that with one in a wad you could have different-shaped lights. Somebody on the ZDoom forums used it to look like sun casting shadows through windows with bars. The limitation there is of course that you can only have one shape of light in your map. Not very useful in most cases, and Graf_Zahl has suggested not very future proof either.

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rabidrage said:

In terms of the performance issue, this is assuming that the player doesn't have a very good computer, correct?

No, this is assuming that the mapper used A LOT of dynamic lights (like dozens or even hundreds of them) in order to light up whole large areas.

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In my experience, using dynamic lights effectively usually takes multiple light sources to look convincing. Usually, for a ceiling light, I'll place a point directly under it with a high intensity, low radius and directly under it place a second light with a lower intensity and much wider radius. Using a middle of the road light level, say 144-160, you can make use of subtractive light sources as well to compliment the standard light points. It takes some finesse, but the best results I've found are a mix of sector and dynamic lights with sector lights adding in some high contrasting elements.

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Aliotroph? said:

The shape of the light projection is determined by an image in gzdoom.pk3.

That's no longer the case IIRC.

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scifista42 said:

No, this is assuming that the mapper used A LOT of dynamic lights (like dozens or even hundreds of them) in order to light up whole large areas.



If you could inflate the radius of the dynamic light, that would ease up on the need to use so many.

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That's the level I had in mind.

Gez said:

That's no longer the case IIRC.


I just had a look in the file. I see what you mean.

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Okay, now here's another relevant question. Is all of the above assuming that the level is lit perfectly? Because I've noticed that glowing floors and/or ceilings let you see the walls and where the gaps and doors are, so at least you can navigate the level. Of course, it would be a huge leap to go and make every floor and every ceiling glow. But then you can put floor lamps or candelabras in the corners and see enemies either pass through their light or pass in front of them, and then you can see where they are. The same should generally be true of other well-placed dynamic lights. It wouldn't be a whole set of rooms lit at 255, but you'd be able to find your way and see monsters coming. And, of course, if you have some glowing powerups (like green armor flashing green, blue armor flashing blue, etc.) you have some beacons to help you.

It's not perfect, I'm still on the fence, just wondering.

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