Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Natural Cave Lighting

Thunder Moon has a radiosity lighting system for the voxels which until today was only being used by the environmental skylight. Today I added code to allow individual voxels to emit light, which I think turned out pretty well.
New lights and a bit of action

Here's a video showing a few minutes of simple exploration in the caves. Towards the end you can see a bit of the Time Warp pack in action, which I'm liking more the more I use it. Check it out:

The main thing this does for the game from a design standpoint is it solves the problem of being so easy to get turned around in the caves. If you haven't noticed by now, caves in Thunder Moon are HUGE and go down further than anyone is likely to ever want to go. The lights give a much needed sense of direction and cues for orientation. It's always been my intention for cave exploration to be as fun as the surface of the world and the new lights really help push it in that direction.

A while back I created a tool for preparing voxel data which streamlines the process of getting new textures into the game. Today I just added controls for tagging voxels as emitting light, and then tagged all the voxels that look like they should be lit up. And just like that, the content pipeline took the changes and the voxels are lit up in game when placed. There are a number of lit blocks the player can create, generally they look like concrete and steel with embedded lights in keeping with the sci-fi theme.