This month we hear from the infamous Wolf on the importance of light in game design!
I have always been very vocal about the importance of lighting in game design. It is often the key ingredient that separates a great looking game from its more mediocre counter parts, simply because it is one of the main aspects that make something work visually when it comes to atmosphere.
My favourite feature of FPS Creator, the precursor to GameGuru, was its robust lightmapping system. While archaic from a modern perspective, it was highly tweakable and allowed the user to create very unique levels, despite them potentially using the same 3D content as someone else or using lower resolution media.
Lightmapping allows you to unify scenes that use many different 3D models with slightly different styles to them, it allows you to set the mood, whether it will be a neon lit, futuristic city or a sepulchral dungeon, dimly lit by torches.
GameGuru came equipped with a lightmapping system very early on in its development. It was similar to the one in FPS Creator, albeit faster and a lot more stable. I have been using it ever since and was among those that were very disappointed when, in the process of porting GameGuru to DirectX 11 (which is very much appreciated indeed), and implementing the PBR rendering pipeline, it fell by the wayside. For a while it was broken and unusable which made designing interiors in GameGuru exponentially harder. However, Preben, a valued GameGuru user with many talents, has taken the time to fix it up and ever since the Christmas Update of 2019 it is fully functional again. It’s a bit different than it was in the X9 version but operational again none the less.
As I mentioned, it is a bit different and one will have to get used to how it operates by experimenting with it. For this purpose I have opened a thread (https://forum.game-guru.com/thread/221433) and, if this is something that interests you, would like to invite you to join me.
If this is news to you, or if you are a new GameGuru user entirely, allow me to link you to my full tutorial on the subject (https://forum.game-guru.com/thread/219206). It covers all the basics on how to use the lightmapper and includes some tweaks and tricks to improve the overall aesthetic of your scene.
Below you will see a few of my levels using this feature in GameGuru, so you can see for yourself how it looks and how it’s different from sticking to the dynamic lighting approach. However, before I get to that, as we are on the topic of lighting in games, I'd like to link you to a very special GameGuru project by Avenging Eagle (https://forum.game-guru.com/thread/220722), that I think every GameGuru user should see.