Small-town USA and farm assets in progress...
Going 'old-school' with blob shadows for intermediate range shadow effects. It's subtle but a cheap and easy workaround that scales well. Compare the above shot with the one below.
The above shot using LOD1 model with old school blob shadow only visible beyond certain ranges till LOD2 kicks in.
We'll adjust of shadow offset to match the position of the sun. Up close we still have cascaded shadow maps but these fill in the gap when you have a slightly larger view distance.
The model has the shadow built into the base and is approx 75cm raised from the tree base to prevent a good range of flickering scenarios. These kinds of trees can be used in less capable rendering systems too.
Updating the engine for hopefully the last time (we kept delaying for a multitude of reasons but as the bugs got shaken out there were fewer reasons not to update). The main build is now using Leadwerks 2.42 which adds improved culling, vegetation rendering/collision/picking and global view range configuration.
As usual there are some issues to iron out as a result. Some are a result of changes to how we're articulating the Apache model and not directly related to Leadwerks (more that Newton Dynamics doesn't handle compound objects very well....or at least we can't make it handle them well for ground dynamics such as landing gear struts, wheels, shocks).
The main engine upgrade issues :
- Soft particle colour (easy fix though)
- Cockpit instrument back-lighting (already fixed and updated to allow variable settings)
- Flight dynamics (broken, but upgrading to higher fidelity model shortly anyway)
- Coronas in the 'background world' just can't get them to work at all (investigating)
- Ground effect dustoff effects, missing in action.
- Tree density and directional light with shadow
Biggest problem looked at over the weekend was firing range tree-density. I think this is a new issue relating to shadows that I'll file later with the engine developer. Adding a directional light to a scene with lots of vegetation, even if that vegetation is set to NOT cast shadows FPS is hit hard (as much as 50% to 100%). I'm guessing this is due to pre-lighting pass culling that is having problems with large a quad-tree? One to collect data for and forward to Josh for investigation. Turn off shadows for the light source and this problem goes away.