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Lighting "Resistance: Fall of Man"


31a_lit.jpgWhether you make games, play games, or even if you don't like games, you should find this article useful. Eric Gooch, a game lighting artist working for Insomniac Games, has put together this interesting article about how he lit the recent game Resistance: Fall of Man. You'll learn about the difference lighting makes both in realism and in mood, and a bit about the artist's workflow.

The article contains numerous images, which are set up as roll-overs. Mousing over the images will reveal what the scene looked like prior to being lit. The contrast is stunning: it's an amazing example of the effect of powerful, realistic lighting.

Lighting has been referred to as an "unseen character" in both films and games, as lighting quality has a strong effect on the atmosphere of an environment. Nearly any scene's mood can be altered simply by modifying its lights: the same scene may feel cozy lit one way, and terrifying another way. Learning to manipulate the power of lighting is extremely important for any artist.

This article represents an excellent resource about the use of lighting, especially for the game environment artist. Blender now supports many different ways to light models for the game engine, including a powerful render baker, so everything you see in this article should be easily reproducible in Blender. So go ahead, check out the article and let a master of lighting show you the ropes!


  1. Bleh, baked radiosity lighting model with limited dynamic lights. 'Next-gen' games could do so much better... Where is realtime screen-space AO, and a fully robust lighting model?

  2. That was really informative. I learned a lot from looking at all those pages. the level inside the aircraft carrier was made so much better with light maps. Any idea on whether the new games people talk about, like Crysis are using light maps or is everything dynamic there?

  3. Well, last time I checked, realtime screen-space AO and a fully robust lighting model were still shoved up your virtual arse.
    DUDE! it's the result that matters, not the howto. it's a neat article, it's a good and solid technique. First post and you allready go bashing things?

  4. Old or not, the results speak for themselves. Awesome article, good peak to the inside of game texturing and lighting. I found it to be a good read.
    Thanks for this!

  5. nice info thx for sharing. Is this game done with the new Unreal engine?
    baked puts much less strain on computer power so I say go for it if you dont need flexibility of dynamic light.

  6. Nice find, thanks! I come more from a game/graphics programming background. Modelling with Blender is more a hobby thing I do at home. Lightmaps might be old but they have a lot to offer when used correctly. I actually don't care what lighting algorithm a game uses as long as it achieves great results. Developers can choose one of many tools/algorithms to do a job and it's important they choose the one that fits their needs. Just because something new comes out does not mean you should toss out something that already works (and importantly, works well) just because it's considered old. When fully lit, their scenes look great and are cheap to render leaving more resources for additional effects/gameplay elements.

  7. Thanks for the link, Plantperson! This is really great. One of the big things I noticed is how the textures are all very bright, since the lightmaps seem to only subtract light from the scene. Using the BGE, we should be able to use the "additive" option in multitexturing, which would let the values below mid-gray subtract, and the values above add light to the scene. This might let us simulate the effect achieved by HDRI texturing.

    ysvry: On page 9, he mentions that they built their engine from scratch.

  8. assuming finite computer resources (usually the case!) baked lighting gives you much more potential for good looking artwork. What's the point of dynamic light if it looks crude?

  9. Great article Plant! It is a nice read linked to Blenderartists, nice to see it here.

    Suppose you are an architect or a designer (you are dumb or something like this). And you want to put some realtime stuff inside your portfolio (i said that you are dumb). And then you want people to SEE this work as realtime! :P (dude you are really dumb!).

    O God!

    I can't believe that!...
    Some very important offices don't have the ultimate graphics card from NVIDIA! And DirectX 101 (

  10. with patches).
    O God!

    Some bosses even don't know what is a videogame. This is a nightmare! I quit. I am out.

    Make your game works inside YOUR computer, is very veeeery easy. Add others to this recipe and you are doomed. DOOMED (i miss Chad Vader episodes).

    Btw baked shadows is important inside my toolkit.

    Sorry for the tryple post.

  11. That's a great article to show the difference that lighting can make. I can see how you could save a lot of re-render time by baking light, even on stills.

    Also, if you look at the tutorial page (one level up) there's also a set of C4D textures - all of the procedural noise textures.

    This would be very nice to have, and not just for noise textures. I'm not sure how C4D displays textures, but in Vue and Bryce a pick-able thumbnails of textures (although not noise I think) are shown. Much easier and faster than a drop-down list. The rendered texture preview that Blender has is a great improvement, but let's keep going. Thumbnails of various presets would be reeeeeeally nice.

  12. The graphics are out of date (noticeably low-res textures/light maps), but the design is still fantastic. Lighting makes an amazing difference in any scene.

  13. Hey, thanks for the link to my lighting article, I'm glad that some found it useful. A few mentioned that this is older technology, and that's true to an extent, but light mapping is still being used a fair amount. I imagine one day it will no longer be required.

    Full dynamic lighting is available in some games now, and we'll be seeing more of it in the future. With games it's always a question of priorities and balance, what you want the player to be able to do vs. how you want the game to look. Bear in mind that we shipped Resistance: Fall of Man last year, and worked on it for over a year before that. Changing lighting models in the middle of the project is usually not a good idea, so what you're seeing in the latest games today is going to be more advanced. 8)

    For instance, R:FoM is one of the few console games (maybe still the only one?) that has 40-player online multiplay, and never drops below 30 fps. That was quite a feat, and full dynamic lighting would have eaten up more available cycles than I care to imagine.

    Also, I wanted to say that I've been very impressed with some of the work that I've seen in the Blender gallery. When students ask about different software, I always mention can you argue with free? I have only had time to look at it briefly, but hope to spend more time with it in the future.

    -Eric G.

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