Monday, February 12, 2007

More bugs -- or are they features?

My evening was consumed with what I thought would be a very simple task -- expanding the top floor of FRWCC's Artists' Refuge Tavern a bit to allow for more NPC's and a down-staircase to enter the basement. ::sigh::

I ran into all kinds of problems. The worst of these had to do with interior walkmeshes. I added a few tiles to lead over to a down staircase, added a few tables and chairs, (thanks to prefabs from the vault for some nice placesettings), and then baked and ran the module...only to discover that I couldn't access any of the new or modified tiles.

It turns out, from reading the forums last night, that interior walkmeshes are very sensitive to having placeables on them. Basically, if there are more than a couple, the tile is essentially just removed from the walkmesh. The solution is convert all placeables to environmental objects and add walkmesh cutter triggers as necessary to keep characters from running through them. Unfortunately, it took me about an hour of getting made at the toolset before I went to look for this help, and by then I was ready for bed.

The other problem I ran into was lighting. I'd read about this before, so it wasn't a surprise, but it turns out that shadows do not get stopped by walls. They'll show up on the walls, but then are cast through them. This is a problem because my chandelier light--the main light in the level--has a huge radius, and thus when I created a back hallway that cuts behind the bar, all the objects just behind the bar will cast shadows into that space, which looks really weird.

To compensate, I tried to reduce the radius of the chandelier and make up for the overall loss of lighting by adding a directional light source to the level. I fiddled with this a lot last night and ultimately completely messed up lighting in the bar to the point that I couldn't stand it.

So, tonight I'm going to start back at version 1.0.2. I'm going to first convert everything that can be converted to an environmental object, after which point I'll re-expand the bar. I think I'll solve the shadows problem by just setting some of the objects to not cast shadows. Might hurt immersion slightly if people are really paying attention, but it should let me get down to working on the basement--and that's going to be the fun part anyway.


  1. Hey there Berliad,

    One thing you may try to do, is set the lighting placables cast shadows to False.

    Basically if I understand you right in what you're trying to do... if you leave your chandelier radius a little lower, you can also set some lighting placables that don't cast shadows to illuminate the other areas. without giving you a shadow effect.

    That said, as long as you don't expect perfection you should be ok.


  2. Hmm, that's an interesting point. I really like shadows, but I could probably have two lights coming from the chandelier like you say and get the effect I want. I was able to get around the problem by setting a few objects to not cast shadows, so I'm happy with it now, but I'll keep it in mind going forward.

    Last night I re-did the level and did a bit of decorating to make it pretty. Everything that isn't useable is set as an environmental object, with walkmesh cutters to keep people from walking through things. It came out really well...bit less of a smoky bar atmosphere (the there are now some windows that emit a white light), but I actually like the result better for this module. I took a screenshot of it last night, but it was too late to make a post about it.

    I also did some initial work on the basement. I think your no-shadow light idea might be useful down there, as there's less need for atmosphere...except in the non-denominational altar I've set up, but that's already nicely torch-lit. -B