Post news Report article RSS Feed Deferred Rendering: Dynamic Lighting & Soft Particles

Our newest update to Freelancer's ancient graphics engine includes support for current state-of-the-art graphics effects.

Posted by w0dk4 on Dec 6th, 2010

Freelancer's capabilities of rendering dynamic lights has always been massively lacking. Not only was there a 4-light per object limit, once there were more lights affecting an object, lighting would get bugged quickly, not drawing the closest lights. To counter this major disadvantage in rendering lighting I've been converting Freelancer's forward rendering pipeline to deferred rendering.

In deferred rendering, the geometry is first written to geometry buffers in a single pass. Then, in further passes, the geometry buffers are used to calculate the correct lighting. This allows us to render many lights per object without critically affecting the frame rate. However, there is still a noticeable performance decrease due to the nature of deferred rendering. I wont go into more detail at this point since its very technical. For further info, simply search the internet for deferred rendering.

Besides much improved dynamic lighting, deferred rendering also enables us to implement more next generation effects into the 7 years old Freelancer engine, such as Soft Particles. Soft Particles basically get rid of hard edges where particle effects collide with the environment. On intersection, the depth buffer is queried to make the particle fade out seamlessly, resulting in effects that feel a lot more natural. This is especially useful for smoke and fire effects as well as explosions.

Now to the eye candy. We are still exploring ways to add light sources to the game, however, FriendlyFire has added light sources to many beam/impact effects (and to stations) in order to show off the power of deferred rendering:

Starry Sullust

Also, here is an effect, made as well by FriendlyFire, to show off Soft Particles:

Soft Particles

Please note, this is all still a work-in-progress. However, stay tuned for further updates on our quest to update Freelancer's graphics engine! Also, please vote for us in the MotY Upcoming category!

As always any comments, suggestions or questions are always welcomed!
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Post comment Comments
alpha69a Dec 6 2010, 9:54pm says:

looks awesome, just wondering were you guys gonna try to do shadows too?

what you guys have done has already gone way beyond what i thought was possible in freelancer, keep it up

+5 votes     reply to comment
FW:ToW_Sushi Dec 6 2010, 10:20pm replied:

Shadows are definitely coming :)

Thanks for the kind words! It's much appreciated!

+3 votes     reply to comment
Expack Dec 7 2010, 7:49am replied:

<EXPACK loses his jaw after seeing the INSANE improvements to the Freelancer engine!>

Need I say more?

+2 votes     reply to comment
FW:ToW_Sushi Dec 7 2010, 7:51am replied:

Ya, that was similar to my reaction! Thanks man :)

+1 vote     reply to comment
ChadaFACE Dec 6 2010, 10:59pm says:

what about normal maps?

+1 vote     reply to comment
FW:ToW_Sushi Dec 6 2010, 11:00pm replied:

They're coming, too ;)

+1 vote     reply to comment
mods_only_man Dec 6 2010, 11:05pm says:

I'm pretty sure that was one of the coolest things I've ever seen. I'm now about 30% more anxious to play this when It's finished :D

+2 votes     reply to comment
FW:ToW_Sushi Dec 7 2010, 6:46am replied:

hehe. Me too! Thank you!

+1 vote     reply to comment
Kampher Dec 7 2010, 2:37am says:

Truly Fantastic. The station really caught my eye. The mod is making freelancer look like a current generation space Sim (If there even are any, anymore)

I hope you guys get this out to as many people as possible, because this mod really deserves accolades for what it's doing to an age old game like Freelancer.

+2 votes     reply to comment
FW:ToW_Sushi Dec 7 2010, 6:45am replied:

Thanks, Kamph. :)

+1 vote     reply to comment
ChewieBacca Dec 7 2010, 4:24am says:

Looks good guys..keep it up..=P

+2 votes     reply to comment
FW:ToW_Sushi Dec 7 2010, 6:46am replied:

CHEWIE! Great to hear from you, bro. Hope all things are well and glad to see you're still following the mod.

+1 vote     reply to comment
R3bornSh4dow Dec 7 2010, 8:12am says:

Waaaaaaaaaaaaaah. Now I think that this is going to kill my PC :( Gotta get a new one to play FW: ToW!

+1 vote     reply to comment
Bird_of_Prey Dec 7 2010, 12:17pm says:

Simply marvelous! Some great new tricks you're teaching that old dog.

+1 vote     reply to comment
FW:ToW_Sushi Dec 7 2010, 2:09pm replied:

Thanks, BoP.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Twigs Dec 7 2010, 12:26pm says:

Very nice work guys!

+1 vote     reply to comment
FW:ToW_Sushi Dec 7 2010, 2:09pm replied:

Thanks, Twigs. Hope all is well with the First Strike mod!

+1 vote     reply to comment
TALON_UK Dec 7 2010, 4:41pm says:

Excellent! Looking gorgeous with the dynamic lighting and what not, if you guys don't get best upcoming mod just for all these technical improvements you're making to the Freelancer engine, there is no justice in this Galaxy.

Keep up the top notch work.

+1 vote     reply to comment
FW:ToW_Sushi Dec 7 2010, 5:38pm replied:

If we get into the top 5 I'll be tickled pink :)

+1 vote     reply to comment
BlueSunsleader Dec 7 2010, 11:08pm says:

one word "Wow"

+1 vote     reply to comment
DireWolf2000 Dec 11 2010, 8:24pm says:

Simply stunning. I never imagined the FL engine could do stuff like this. Can't wait!

On an unrelated subject, will you be changing the repetitive AI voices in the final?

+1 vote     reply to comment
Tilranus Dec 15 2010, 10:27am says:

When will this be out?
I can't wait any longer.

+1 vote     reply to comment
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