Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Light Lessons and RPG Scale.

Last night, I was working on the room scene for the MMD demo when I noticed a bizarre, but very annoying lighting quirk with Unity. In the corners of the room where I'd placed a lamp, there is this bizarre effect where the corners of the object are unusually unlit relative to the areas immediately surrouding them. This kind of effect can be found in life, but it is nowhere near as drastic as I found it was in Unity, which quite bothered me so I tried to inquire about what the issue might be. Unfortunately, it seems to just be part of the engine's nature as the only thing that made it even remotely "okay" looking was enabling global illumination. Even in Unreal Engine 4 the effect was still persistent enough to bother me so I can't really jump ship to get what I need. I'm REALLY, not a fan of "baking" and "static" objects since they feel unnatural to me, but I'm going to try to put up with it for the sake of making the MMD demo look a bit better, but I know for a fact I'm going to do everything in my power to not use the GI systems in Unity for the RPG. I've got it in mind to see if I can implement an alternate variety of "GI" by making it so the bounce light is applied towards the ambient light in an area rather than a real bounce that goes towards other objects. Really, my personal favorite solution would be a live baking solution that steadily calculates the bounce of light and adds it in slowly. While light bounces are practically instantaneous IRL, this isn't IRL and it wouldn't hurt to try to play with the laws of physics to better suit the limitations of our hardware. Alas, even the cheap "GI" solution I've got in mind will probably test the limits of my current programming knowledge so I'd best shelve the idea for later on in my career.

With the lore dump from yesterday out of the way, some design notions ought to get some fleshing out. The scale of the game by the logic of the narrative will probably have to be pretty large since the mountain in the tale is can't seem climbable from the outside. If we used IRL as a metric, then 8.8 kilometers would be the height for the mountain as that's roughly the size of Mount Everest. That's doable from a scale metric in Unity, though from a build standpoint, it'd be a nightmare to set up. Were the average height of each cavern's tunnel to be about 10 meter, that would be 880 floors to design. Even using a more reasonable height of 4000 meters, making it an average mountain, it would still be a whopping  440 floors. I want to personally design each floor for this title since I'm trying to focus on a tighter, more thoughtfully designed system than having a ludicrous amount of floors just for the sake of content. Shrinking things down further down to the more reasonable 1000 meters, that would put things at about 100 floors using 10 meters as a metric. It's still a bit much, but I can actually use the odd shape of the mountain to level things size off a bit here. 1000+ meters would be the size of the tall cliff edge while the end the player would be able to exit from would be about 600 meters. This would result in 60 floors at the 10 meter height scale. Much more doable, though  I could cut it down further by increasing the caverns height more and by making the slant between each level stronger. Especially if we consider the platforming traps which could probably eat up a good amount of height with each one. If I'm honest with myself, the most I could probably design would be about 20 levels. That's way smaller than any such structure has a right to be, but I guess I'll have to figure out where my limit lands as I begin work.

Using 25 floors as a baseline though, I think I'll be able to start working on the monster encounter ideas tomorrow.

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