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Pillars of Eternity Kickstarter Update #79: Graphics and Rendering (and E3)

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Pillars of Eternity Kickstarter Update #79: Graphics and Rendering (and E3)

Development Info - posted by Infinitron on Wed 28 May 2014, 20:38:22

Tags: Adam Brennecke; Obsidian Entertainment; Pillars of Eternity

In this week's Pillars of Eternity Kickstarter update (now permanently moved to Wednesdays), Adam Brennecke tells us about the game's area rendering pipeline. He's clearly in his element when it comes to technical stuff:

You might be happy to hear that Obsidian have taken steps to address the issues some people had with certain screenshots they've released in the past:

We noticed, and so did many of you, after releasing our first few screenshots, the 3D characters were not matching the 2D rendered scene as much as we would have hoped. So we put our thinking caps on, and we came up with new features since our first batch of screenshots, including dynamic ambient and a shadow control system.

To really make sure the characters fit in the scene, we came up with an ambient system that samples color from the 2D background, simulating a quick and dirty global illumination model. Characters pick up subtle color variations depending on where they are standing and what type of environment they are in. If a character is standing in a lush green jungle, it will pick up a subtle green hue from the light reflected off the environment. Game programmers love fast and cheap methods, and the ambient system gives us great results with little impact on rendering performance.

Another feature that we've added recently to solve the issue of grounding characters into the scene is a system to shadow 3D characters when traversing into dark shadowy areas in the 2D image. The new system samples a low resolution image map which controls the contribution of the directional sunlight on the character, and to avoid double shadows, the same image controls the value of the dynamic shadow map. Lastly, to better match the 2D and 3D shadows, we color the dynamic shadow to match the 2D rendered shadow color (which often has a blue hue to it).
But that's not all. It's E3 next month, and the update confirms that Obsidian and Pillars of Eternity will be making an appearance there. I quote:

We are going to be going on update hiatus for the next three weeks as we prepare for E3 in Los Angeles. After E3, the next update will feature the final classes covering The Front Line (fighters and barbarians).

At E3, the team will be showing Pillars of Eternity at the Paradox booth behind closed doors. To avoid spoiling what we will be showing, we will be saving these moments until you get to play it. Because we want to include you in the experience, we will be taking photos at the booth, and in a future update we will be sharing more screenshots from the demo. To give you a small taste, here's a sneak peek at a scene that will be shown at E3:

A press-only demo, huh? I bet some of the backers won't like that. I think we can all understand why Obsidian might not be keen on showing off unfinished gameplay, though.

There are 204 comments on Pillars of Eternity Kickstarter Update #79: Graphics and Rendering (and E3)

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