Lighting in the game is massively important, it essentially works as the sun throughout the game, to light our game we use a directional light to illuminate the entire scene, fortunately as all of our scene is outside this is the primary light source, a directional light acts as a global light rather than a local light which means that it doesn’t have a position and lights everything in the scene from that angle. I also make use of some spot lights in Brasstown for the street lights, they work with volumetric shaders to create the effect of beams, the volumetric shaders aren’t actual lighting, they are pseudo lights, refer to shaders for more information.
Post processing is the layer of visual effects that are applied after the rendering of the game, they act as a filter in a basic manner but massively change the visual style, they control components such as anti aliasing, the interpolation between edges and corners of objects to create smoother looking graphics, DOF, depth of field, what’s in focus and what isn’t, Colour correction, bloom, exposure, etc. Post processing is designed and applied in profiles that can either act as global values or as local values, Global sets the profile to act all the time while local sets active areas and inactive areas. This means I can set custom profiles for each area, giving me full control over how each area should look.
I use Reflection probes in the game for several reasons, Reflection probes act as light bouncers and cast a general ambient in a given location. I set these in the darker areas of the game to make the game look lighter if not enough directional light is hitting the location, I use this for the wind level in the treehouses as the leaves of the trees block a lot of the natural light, this makes the location feel lighter and more friendly, otherwise the area feels dark and foreboding. I also use in in the triangle town, as the buildings and level is quite dark in comparison to the snow, by using reflection probes, I level the lighting so that they look less dark. As the buildings have been mistaken for burnt ships, I want it to be clear they are ruined houses.
Shadows are very important and a very intensive element of the game, Everything that accepts lighting also casts a shadow and so a lot of the style and lighting is actually defined by shadow. For the game I use a soft shadow with a medium intensity, the shadow maps are built in layers, that steadily loose information the further from the player they are, this keeps performance running smoothly and shadows looking nice.
Above without post processing, below with post processing, Applied effects: Bloom, colour correction, exposure enhanment, antialiasing and ambient occlusion
Reflection probes in action