GZDoom lighting levels

I was playing GZDoom for a long time with the standard light level (Sector Light Mode on options) and never realized that the light diminishing effect was missing. Also I was missing a lot, some of the genuinely dark areas are way more bright, that contrast between dark and bright areas, the ambience all lost if not having the proper classic lighting. I realized, maybe the option Software is closer to it, there is light diminishing and also it's dark like I guess Doom was. Of course that would make some levels too dark and switching to other modes would make navigation easier, but I forgot how the original Doom was in that aspect and realized it when I fired it up in Dosbox and compared to what I had in GZDoom as default.

 

Then there are other options, Software, Standard, Bright, Doom, Dark, Legacy. What are the difference between them? I am not sure I understand what are their actual differences besides some are darker, but only Software seems to have the light diminishing effect. Do you have a preference?

Edited by Optimus

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The Software light mode is what the ZDoom software renderer uses and is probably the one closest to vanilla Doom. I personally prefer Software + Radial. The radial feature makes the diminishing effect circular around the player rather than strictly based on the depth in the scene - it is a subtle change but for the better I think.

 

As for the other light modes, from my point of view they are all just various versions of "wrong Doom light". Only if a map has been explicitly designed for them would I use them. I don't know the historical background for them, but none of them give the correct light as Doom was intended.

Edited by dpJudas

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The historical background is actually quite simple: The lighting got closer to what it should be, as hardware power increased.

 

'Standard' is unaltered linear lighting, and what the engine started out with.

'Dark' was the first attempt at approximating the light levels of the software renderer on hardware without shaders.

'Doom' just adds some subtle brightening around the player to 'Dark' and was added when shaders became usable, but before they became powerful enough to run the expensive calculations for proper software-style lighting. This is recommended for weaker hardware.

 

 

'Bright' is just a combination of linear lighting (i.e. 'Standard) with 'Dark's fog calculation. This was mostly a waste product of implementing 'Dark'.

'Legacy' is an approximation of how Doom Legacy's GL renderer handled lighting, and yes, it really did it this badly.

 

Edited by Graf Zahl
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