[0.16.51] more natural shadows

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Burner Inserter
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[0.16.51] more natural shadows

Post by osndok » Fri Jan 18, 2019 4:57 pm

At the moment, it seems that shadows are (1) rendered with a point-light source, and (2) are baked-in to the object sprites.

Regarding the first, this has the effect of making sharp shadows even for highly-elevated objects. As I recall, the first time that I saw the shadow of a long-distance power pole wire, I could not figure out what it was, and thought that it was a strange map seem or rendering error. This can be seen in nature, as even with a few feet of distance one can see a shadow become quite fuzzy (e.g. when lifting your hand from the ground on a sunny day).

Without knowing the specifics of how your team creates the object sprites, I imagine a fix for the first might be as simple as (1a) setting the light source to be a sphere of some size, or (1b) putting a translucent object between the light source and character models before rendering.

Regarding the second, the low-light visuals in the game have always seemed a bit off. Omitting (for the sake of brevity) the fact that one can clearly see and place ghost-buildings at night by using the radar view, there is a bit of an uncanny-valley effect for having shadows at night... especially when the characters flashlight can illuminate (and *reinforce* them).

I know that it is probably beyond the scope of the game to have a full render-time light model (where your flashlight might cast shadows & shadows can be cast on nearby buildings), but perhaps if the shadows could be put on their own sprite/layer... then that layer could simply be faded out with the sun at night?

This might have an interesting side effect too, if there were an option to simply disable shadows altogether... which is probably an option I would leave on permanently, and might seem more visually plausible anyway (if the sun on this planet took up nearly the whole sky).

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