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Why Ambient Light Sucks

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  • Why Ambient Light Sucks

    I once played a game called Asheron's Call. It was an MMO with some fpslike skill mechanincs, and it was relatively vast and almost completely non-instanced.

    Why am I telling you this? Because there was a dungeon in that game in a place called Tusker Isle. At the bottom of this dungeon was a room with no visible sources of light.

    Now, one would think "If there are no sources of light, then the area should be dark, right?" Well no. In this room (it was a major grinding spot) it was as bright as day. So instead of seeing things from a "what could be lurking in that corner?" perspective - everything was effectively on fullbright.

    It really doesn't matter how much ambient light there is. If there's light in the corner, coming from no discernable source but the map developer's own ass, it looks unrealistic. It kills the mood, and it ruins dark rooms because... well, because they're no longer dark.

    Thus my post. I hate ambient light. With a passion. It serves no purpose except the laziness of a developer who doesn't want to play with lighting to make it look right. It decreases realism not only logically, but graphically. When everything is perfectly lit it comes out not looking like a well-lit room, but a statically lit room, which NEVER occurs in nature. Thus you end up with a room that looks like a box, instead of a room that looks like a room, and don't even get me started on what it looks like with gamma set to max.

    So, in conclusion, I want nothing to do with ambient light for the map in any way shape or form.

  • #2
    Re: Why Ambient Light Sucks

    i agree and you do see a good bit of this in ns. one thing i'd like to see in future maps (like perhaps the map that you guys are developing) is points in the map where light sources either must be turned on through weldables (i.e. the hallway to maintenance on hera) or aliens have the ability to chew down lights and make it dark. incorporating these in games would make for interesting mechanics, especially considering the backstory on some maps...i.e. marines get onto an alien infested ship/station which is running on reserve power, thus meaning that unnecessary power drains (i.e. lights) have been shut down. i think it'd just be a cool dynamic to add in.

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    • #3
      Re: Why Ambient Light Sucks

      Interesting you should say that, our map has a "powering" mechanic. For example, the control room I just posted in the progress thread has two states for whether or not the room has been powered or not, and much of the lighting is contingent on that.

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      • #4
        Re: Why Ambient Light Sucks

        I played AC. The farthest i bothered to play it was a giants dungen, and that rock that EVERYONE stood on and shot down at the uber bosses that they couldn't hit you, it was used every day to level and you'd never die.

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        • #5
          Re: Why Ambient Light Sucks

          thats awesome slayer...my question on that is do the aliens have the opportunity to turn the lights back off if the marines get em on? we could have light wars!

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          • #6
            Re: Why Ambient Light Sucks

            Well, it wouldn't only be "light wars" - the lights are just a side-effect of whatever is going on in the room at the time. I'm not sure how dynamic the HL engine will allow us to be with this though. i.e. whether or not a button can be enabled and disabled remotely or whether the power could be turned on and off if it's coming from multiple sources. I've been doing some experiments in hammer to test some of these mechanics. Stay tuned.

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            • #7
              Re: Why Ambient Light Sucks

              I don't have any grand plans for power going on in the hive I'm making, but I do have a pump like thing I can shut off if there is no power. We could probably make every room controlled by one multimanager that toggles everything on or off for the power of that room.

              I like the concept of having some visible moving machinery stop when power is off and run when power is on. I'm sure once I get to the point where I'm putting lights in I can make some of them toggleable.

              One thing I will warn you on though, toggling lights will greatly increase the mapsize and compile time. One thing to watch out for, never ever ever have multiple lights that can toggle seperately near each other. Give all the lights in one room the same name and have them toggle together. Make sure the toggleing lights are arourd a corner through a hallway before reaching another room with toggling lights.

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              • #8
                Re: Why Ambient Light Sucks

                Machinery when running could make sounds - thus providing aliens with a tactical advantage of audio cover.
                Former TGNS admin until WoW blinded me with flashy lights.

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                • #9
                  Re: Why Ambient Light Sucks

                  and the aliens being able to turn off lights would provide a strategic advantage seeing as aliens can essentially see in the dark and rines would have a very hard time seeing them in the shadows.

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