More powerfull lights, better light profiles

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mudcrabempire
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More powerfull lights, better light profiles

Post by mudcrabempire »

In my games I basically never build lights, for the simple reason that they don't do their job well enough. As far as I understand, lights are supposed to counter the detrimental effects of darkness (due to nighttime). Why they don't do that well enough can roughly be described as follows:

-small radius; one lamp can illuminate one or two machines; illuminating any reasonable area would require spamming the whole screen full with lamps; since lamps are not self-sufficient (like eg. torches in Minecraft) one also needs to spam power all over the place; at which point everything just looks awfull, not to speak of the pain of moving the whole thing whenever one wants to build something new and lamps/poles get in the way.

-bad profile; the sharp dropoff of the lamps looks kinda bad and it forces the player to strictly connect the areas of several lamps; not doing so will result in pools of utter darkness which are what one was trying to get rid of; for comparison again the torches of Minecraft, where the lightprofile is quite smooth (linear with distance I think), allowing players to space the torches as per the level of light they want and one bad spacing does not result in instant-pool-of-darkness-that-hurts-to-look-at.

-contrast; when using light, the contrast makes everything that is not illuminated harder to see; if one does not consequently cover the whole base with lights it is better to not use lights in the first place and just squint at the dark screen; if one plays in a dark-ish room or with a bright screen this is actually rather easy, making nighttime more of a cosmetic aspect of the game instead of an actual restriction.

-nightvision; rather easily available and completely throws this aspect of the game out of the window, reducing all so-far placed lamps to cosmetic rubble (can still be used as signals); makes me wonder why nighttime was there to begin with.


Most of those aspects apply to other lightsources as well. So I propose the following changes to the light system:

-drastic increase of the illuminated area of lamps, cars and trains. It needs to be large enough that one can reasonably illuminate an entire (early-game) factory without spending a felt eternity placing and moving lamps and poles and without interfering (too much) with the rest of the factory.

-smooth light-profile. Linear with distance, quadratic, whatever, just more smooth.

-move nightvision to end-game equipment. Personal light removed except crappy flashlight. Introduce armor equipment that is basically a portable lamp (with respectable area of illumination, see above)(probably in green science, where nightvision currently is). Should be powerable by portable solar panel(s) + battery.

-introduce upgraded lamp for industrial-scale factory illumination (and maybe make nightvision worse, so that those lamps are actually worth building).

-maybe give the lamp sprite an overhaul. Those little bulbs on the ground look nice as signals, but the just don't look as if they can provide any respectable illumination.

ejg
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Re: More powerfull lights, better light profiles

Post by ejg »

I suppose keeping the radius of light but adding another radius of gradient light to dark wouldn't hurt indeed. I would definitely be more inclined to build lights.

Honktown
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Re: More powerfull lights, better light profiles

Post by Honktown »

There's some tweaking one can do with lamps. Technically you could probably do your own scaling by making the light type "oriented", but then using a circular sprite with a different gradient.

A little unrelated, I increased the intensity and power consumption because I was playing a caves mod that spawned enemies in darkness. That mod used 15 for the "safe" distance of a lamp, so I standardized it: a lamp has a "standard" power / area, and assume safe range is based on that. Requires tweaking mod(s) because they all hard-code searching for small lamps and a discrete safe distance.
I have mods! I guess!
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Oktokolo
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Re: More powerfull lights, better light profiles

Post by Oktokolo »

I just removed my nightvision from the power armor because the new bluish night has way more contrast than before the color palette update. I don't think, darkness is an annoynace anymore. Lights are more for decoration and signaling now.

But that new palette is probably modable somehow. So there might be a way to make the night less dark or eben more crisp.

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Khagan
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Re: More powerfull lights, better light profiles

Post by Khagan »

mudcrabempire wrote:
Sat Nov 09, 2019 3:07 pm
In my games I basically never build lights
Me neither; do without until you get night-vision, problem solved. Until that point, what actually irritates me most is that the headlights of the car and tank are noticeably less powerful than the miner's lamp on the players helmet. Sometimes I'm reduced to getting out of the vehicle to see more clearly what's going on, which is rather silly.

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planetmaker
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Re: More powerfull lights, better light profiles

Post by planetmaker »

mudcrabempire wrote:
Sat Nov 09, 2019 3:07 pm
-nightvision; rather easily available and completely throws this aspect of the game out of the window, reducing all so-far placed lamps to cosmetic rubble (can still be used as signals); makes me wonder why nighttime was there to begin with.
Yes, nightvision makes nighttime somewhat irrelevant wrt to building - but I don't think that's bad: on the contrary. Solar power definitely depends on the day-night cycle, irrespective of how advanced your tech is.

That said, I don't think lamps illuminate a too small area. They work well, when placed along a path or within a factory - and there are powerpoles anyway, and one per powerpole is enough. If there is anything to improve it is indeed the way they fade into darkness. And that probably has good performance reasons.

spisplatta
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Re: More powerfull lights, better light profiles

Post by spisplatta »

Honktown wrote:
Sun Feb 16, 2020 8:20 pm
There's some tweaking one can do with lamps. Technically you could probably do your own scaling by making the light type "oriented", but then using a circular sprite with a different gradient.
This was the solution I came up with for https://mods.factorio.com/mod/SeeNoEvil . I could put it in a separate mod if there is interest?

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