Game Design, Programming and running a one-man games business…

Shadow maps make me happy

I’ve been watching some WW2 footage, some war movies, some video game footage, etc, in a bid to up the visuals in GTB. A lot of it can’t be seen in a screenshot, it’s moving-picture stuff really. UI’ve also been re-visiting how I make the shadow maps, and massively boosting their resolution. What PC’s can’t handle a 2048 square texture these days? None, I suspect.

Anyway here is a very sparse GTB screenshot:

And here is the same frame, but without the shadowmap.

I think the shadowmap wins by a huge margin. (It’s more apparent full screen, when moving and zooming etc. Combining a grayscale shadowmap with tileable textures not only makes it look less 2D, but it also means you can detect the repeating tile patterns a lot less. I am using a tile-based system to afford easy level design for players. I’m also toying with the idea of automatically generating the shadow maps from the player-designed paths. I think it’s quite doable, although non trivial, and better than expecting players to use photoshop etc.


12 thoughts on Shadow maps make me happy

  1. To answer your question, Intel GMA 950/945 does support 2048 textures, but takes a huge performance hit on textures > 1024.

  2. Yea, we still stick with 1024 as the highest required texture side length to keep up support for old cards, though I’m not sure how many of our customers would be negatively affected if we didn’t.

  3. Well it would be pretty easy to ship with two texture sizes and pick the most appropriate. Plus I’ll likely make shadowmaps an option anyway.
    I suspect the average GTB player has a better than low-end video card.

  4. Yea, we use some bigger-than-1024 textures for the dynamic skies (which are shader 3.0 or something like that) in the newest project, and have <=1024 textures for the static sky fallback (which could run on an etch-a-sketch).

  5. That look really nice. BTW, these are more details map than (real) shadow map.
    The only problem is that you are doing a multiply and this is darkening all your world.

    Instead of using D3DTOP_MODULATE, try using D3DTOP_MODULATE2X
    Or reproducing this if you aren’t using FixeFunction pipeline anymore.

    Basically, you can create the effect of sun and shadow with the same shadow map.
    if your texel is 128, then you’ll get the original pixel from your ground. If it is less, then you’ll get callsical multiply. If it is greater than 128, your floor pixel will start to light up and it will look like you have an heavy sun burning the floor.

    It could look awsome.

  6. Looking awesome, i have only 1 comment: “I cant wait to taste GTB”. :p

    off the topic, Cliff, im sure u know by now that “Star Trek: The Next Generation” tv series will be remastered and released in blu-ray the next year. I noticed u are a fan of Star Trek (i am) or almost u like it, so i imagined (if u dont know) that this info wil be make you smile like it did to me :p it was about time that maybe one of the best and greatest sci fic tv shows ever made will be remastered and hi-definitioned.

  7. That magicka thread is depressing. People buy a $9.99 toaster and then insult the technical prowess of the games programmers because a 3D game won’t run at 60FPS with shaders on it.
    I wonder if those same kids (I assume kids) whine at the doctors telling them that the surgeon clearly sucks and isn’t doing his job properly either?
    Internet anonymity is very much a double edged sword.

  8. You’ve said a few times now that to see how nice GTB looks you need to see it in motion, which I quite believe, but does it mean, by any chance, that we might get to see a preliminary video of any of the stuff you’ve shown off? I’d be quite excited by that. The screenshots are looking great anyway, and the shadowmaps definitely look like they’re making a sizeable improvement.

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