Monday, May 4, 2009

Lordfly Digeridoo trips the light fantastic with dynamic shadows + His pros and cons

Posted by Bettina Tizzy

He's been a Resident of Second Life® for nearly six years (rezzed on July 21, 2003), so it's saying something when virtual architect, builder and podcaster Lordfly Digeridoo takes such pleasure in playing with dynamic shadows, expected to hit our optional viewer any day now. Just look at him cut a rug!

Lordfly: "Dynamic per-pixel shadows, spotlights, and the ability to project textures onto arbitrary surfaces"

Want to do a little Alpha-testing yourself? Pick up KirstenLee Cinquetti's S17 viewer sporting a very thoughtful single-click installation feature for the non-nerds amongst us, but have a look at her blogpost and the ensuing discussion in comments before you tinker under the hood.

"So what, in your view, are the pros and cons of dynamic shadows?" I asked Lordfly, and this is what he said:

Pros: More realistic depiction of the simulation allows less uncanny-valley moments (brain automatically searches for depth and shading cues, adding this in greatly enhances realism), graphics engine takes another step towards keeping up with other major engines (we're now finally at Unreal Tournament... 2004).

Cons: More forum drama, people ragequitting over no support on their 5-year old laptops, content creator confusion over whether to build for the lowest common denominator or not (hint: baked shadows look fine, generally, even with dynamic shadows over them).


qarl said...

> we're now finally at Unreal Tournament... 2004

so not true! ambient occlusion and other GI tricks bring this renderer up to date.

Thingy said...

Yep, SL will be at GTA IV level with its fancy deferred shading.

Although we still need normal maps to bring SL's engine fully up to date. But I suppose it could be argued that the engine is already capable of handling normal maps and the capability just needs to be exposed through the building tools.

Ruina Kessel said...

well damn. Guess it's about time I upgraded my comp ...