Fake contrast vs. even lighting

Fake contrast can cause awkwardness in some of the more meticulous lighting effects some mappers implement, but the overall effect adds tons of depth to the geometry. The game looks very flat and ugly without it. Thoughts?

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I couldn't stand it a few years back. Lighting didn't look realistic to me since a lot of times walls that would be covered in light in real life would be darker than those that are less exposed to it if the sectors they're in have the same light value. As years went by, fake contrast began to grow on me since, as you said, it adds some depths of geometry. Though to me it doesn't look very neat on software rendering still. I guess it grew on me as well because it looks better on hardware rendering, maybe? I have smooth fake contrast turned on.

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I hate that fake "contrast" is the same for any non-cardinal direction, instead of being gradual from N-S to W-E. Pretty much the reason for ZDoom's evenlighting.

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In the olden days, it was great for adding "fake shadows" in maps where people hadn't really grasped how easy pseudo lightsourcing is the the engine. These days, however... It just forces me to put a tiny vertex in the middle of many 90 degree lines, then move it 1PX just to avoid the effect and get the sector's true light level on the walls. (I hope that makes sense)

printz said:

I hate that the fake "contrast" is the same for any non-cardinal direction, instead of being gradual from N-S to W-E.

The effect would look so much nicer if they had made it gradient depending on the angle of the line. I'm guessing they either didn't even consider adding the feature, or just didn't see it as worthwhile.

I didn't even notice the effect until at least 10 years of playing, then once I saw it, it could never be unseen.

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I prefer even lighting, but in some Source ports it makes dark areas far too bright.

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I use ZDoom's "smooth" option which applies contrast based entirely on the angle of the wall. I see it as the best compromise.

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My map sucks in some places because of fake contrast but smart people say it also sucks without it so ill just keep it and look past some random brighter and darker walls.

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Doomkid said:

The effect would look so much nicer if they had made it gradient depending on the angle of the line. I'm guessing they either didn't even consider adding the feature, or just didn't see it as worthwhile.

Actually it may be for technical reasons: the light levels in Doom are finite and are only 32, stored in the COLORMAP lump.

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Fake Contrast is very underappreciated, and is one of my favorite features of Doom's renderer. It's a godsend for vanilla maps, because it can be used in rocky/natural areas to create smooth gradients between two light levels, with no extra visplanes and only a couple of vertices.

edit: BTSX E1M17, this vine-rock wall gradient only uses light levels 128 and 160 (for the tile floor, and the nukage, respectively): http://i.imgur.com/n44c9UJ.png

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I wish Doom source ports were capable of vertical gradient lighting like Doom 64's.

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I like to use wide curves in all my maps, and I've noticed it really adds a lot when I use the smooth fake contrast option. In big open spaces, even before I add shadows to buildings, they look fabulous because of the feature.

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The main reason I avoid even accidental orthogonal lines while mapping e.g. a cave.

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I prefer the fake contrast most of the time, but even lighting can have its use. Many years ago, I played an in-development CTF map pack that never got completed (or anywhere close to). Although it was clearly Doom, with mostly Doom textures, it seemed to try to get away from having a very Doom-like theme. Crazy skyboxes with heavy constrast and high saturation, slopes and unique (though limited) detailing, odd lighting effects, electronic/trance music, and so on. It also had even lighting. I don't think it was a major contributor or anything, but I think it helped.

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It still makes for a pretty nice effect with my pyramid.

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Looking this and essel's picture gives quite good representation of how to use fake contrast.

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Joe667 said:

It still makes for a pretty nice effect with my pyramid.

[IMG]picture


Reminds me of Alien Vendetta map 20 start.

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That's why I suck at mapping, or anything else creative. I can't visualize something ahead of time and then make it happen.

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printz said:

I hate that fake "contrast" is the same for any non-cardinal direction, instead of being gradual from N-S to W-E. Pretty much the reason for ZDoom's evenlighting.

Well, it's a step function at the granularity of the lighting table: it's only one light level brighter or darker than normal so you can't even have a "halfway" between the levels.

However it doesn't make much sense that it's only on cardinal directions that it applies. It would make more sense if it applied over a range of angles: eg. Darker at 0-90 degrees, brighter at 180-270 degrees.

A couple of theories about why it might be done the way it is:

Firstly it's easier to code and more efficient than calculating an angle: you just compare the X or Y coordinates and you can tell immediately if the line is on a cardinal. Maybe it was just a quick hack that Id added in and they left it because it looked nice.

Secondly, imagine that you're looking at a corner of a room that has been "rounded off": two walls on cardinal lines at 90 degree angles, with a diagonal wall connecting them. In that situation you have three levels of contrast in the transition: darker-normal-brighter, so it looks nicer. Suppose instead that fake contrast applies over a range of angles: in that situation you'd probably only get two levels of contrast instead, so it wouldn't look as good.

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fraggle said:

Secondly, imagine that you're looking at a corner of a room that has been "rounded off": two walls on cardinal lines at 90 degree angles, with a diagonal wall connecting them. In that situation you have three levels of contrast in the transition: darker-normal-brighter, so it looks nicer. Suppose instead that fake contrast applies over a range of angles: in that situation you'd probably only get two levels of contrast instead, so it wouldn't look as good.


Also it's good to point out that Wolf3d had the "fake contrast" thing going on too with walls, a dark and bright side. I bet that was the idea they were going for with doom's contrast as well.

GoatLord said:

Fake contrast can cause awkwardness in some of the more meticulous lighting effects some mappers implement, but the overall effect adds tons of depth to the geometry. The game looks very flat and ugly without it. Thoughts?


The mapper should know about that by now and work with it. BTSX does this everywhere.

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Face23785 said:

That's why I suck at mapping, or anything else creative. I can't visualize something ahead of time and then make it happen.


Don't be discouraged by this, sometimes it ends up nothing like the vision in your head, but becomes something else that's still awesome in a way you didn't expect.

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When I made some modifications to Chocolate Doom to have it support truecolor lighting, I did smooth lighting, rather than even lighting. Rather than a sudden jump in the light level when things were orthogonal, there was a smooth transition. It added an awful lot of clarity to the map's geometry, especially in "rocky" areas.

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