Devblog 40 - Lighting Optimization | Particle Improvements ++

Friday, May 7th


Hello everyone,


We’ve had another quick and productive week at a2z. The boys have been cracking along on 1.8 features. James spent most of the week working on rich presences and integration along with assisting Jos with the particle update.


1.8 is proving to be what is likely our biggest update yet. It seems every time we feel we’re ready, we find another area for improvement. This week Andre has spent a good deal of time optimizing our lighting system. The result is very impressive with lighting looking fantastic and more importantly being optimized better than we’ve ever had it before.


Lighting Optimization


While our current lighting system is pretty nice looking, it’s not perfect and it’s not at all optimized. Structure lighting was always heavy on performance mostly due to the need of multiple light sources for a single light fixture. We have found ourselves often using one spot and one point light to simulate light bounce. This improvement removes the need for bouncelights by adding a cubemap mask. This will improve the general look of lighting along with making shadows and gradients easier on the eyes. And generally just improving the performance overhead of lighting.


Vehicle headlights have been turned into a single light source instead of a spotlight and point light saving tons of batches. Exterior lighting has seen its share of improvements. We've reduced batching and implemented a 3d cookie system for a nicer overall look.

Interior lighting before and after.

Hearth lighting, smooth and well optimized.

Before and after, new lighting features fixture cookie and gradient

Before and after, new lighting looks far less like the mask of Sauron.


Particle Updates


Jos has spent some time this week updating our particle system. For some time now we’ve wanted to introduce world particles. This week, with the help of James, Jos was able to program and implement the initial system. This system will allow us to expand and introduce all kinds of good looking goodies. Trash particles will now blow around the world creating a very creepy vibe. Leaves and vegetation will also flow with the air. This seemingly small effect really does a lot to improve the world. It’s something the team would love to expand on so if you have any particle ideas feel free to share them.

Summary


We’re hoping to have experimental builds out shortly. 1.8 has turned into another passion project for us. This isn’t a bad thing. We’ve got hosting out and you guys have quite a put together game to explore so the more time spent here the better. We’ll have experimental builds out as soon as possible and we’ll keep you updated with these weekly devblogs. As always, thank you for the continued support and if you have any questions feel free to join us on our Discord. Have a great weekend!