I did some campaign stuff today, but also tried to finish off my weekend stencil buffer fun, had a brief flirtation with shadows, and got loads of stuff working, but was not happy. Basically my plan was to be able to take an image and draw it so it only appears on the ships. This would work for light sources, as well as shadows.
It worked! using pixel shader version 3, mind, but that would be togglable. The downside is, it looked crap, mainly because the ships are just sprites, and shadows therefore just splat over them rather than ‘rolling’ and it looked fake, and maybe worse than none. The lighting glows stuff looks better, but still bad. Using normal maps for the ships is theoretically possible, but insane amounts of grief, especially because it wouldn’t work on the turrets without re-doing them all. Bah.
Here is how it looks, if you can even tell. There is a brighter light glow around the laser bullets, as they move over the ships.
It sucks, and I am determined to get the game looking better than this. Also looking at other potential effect improvements…