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Will Volumetric Lightmaps Ever Support Streaming Levels?

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    Will Volumetric Lightmaps Ever Support Streaming Levels?

    When they were introduced in 4.18 two years ago, I had figured the lack of streaming level support was going to be a short term issue given how many games rely on streaming levels to handle loading transitions and build bigger worlds. But in the last two years, there hasn't been a peep from the Epic development staff about this or if it's even on the docket (haven't seen anything on Trello).

    The volumetric lightmaps can produce gorgeous results, especially when paired with Distance Field Indirect Shadows for interactable props, but only allowing games that use single levels at a time (like small multiplayer maps) or smacking the player in the face with a loading screen between level loads is a serious limitation.

    I'm just interested in hearing if this is even being considered or worked on, or if the development staff considers it a dead end that won't receive any further support.

    #2
    I have nothing useful to add other than the fact I'm very much interested also in knowing whether this will ever be supported.
    For now, we're relying on sparse indirect lighting volumes for our streaming levels, and I do worry that if this tech is deprecated, and eventually removed, we'll have no options.

    Nick! one quick question for ya, you mentioned you're using Distance Field Indirect Shadows for interactable props, much as we are, have you found a way to resolve the shadow bleed through occluded surfaces? it appears to completely disregard occlusion in our case, resulting in shadows from a prop that could not realistically create a shadow in that location. Just curious!

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      #3
      From what I've heard in the discord channel, it's being worked for 4.24 by Luoshuang himself.

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        #4
        Originally posted by Manoel.Neto View Post
        From what I've heard in the discord channel, it's being worked for 4.24 by Luoshuang himself.
        Wow, thank you for sharing. That seriously just made my day. I can’t imagine not using volumetric lightmaps, but it’s really difficult to make a proper game without level streaming.

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          #5
          Originally posted by Nick! View Post
          only allowing games that use single levels at a time (like small multiplayer maps) or smacking the player in the face with a loading screen between level loads is a serious limitation
          Just want to point out that it’s not so much smacking them with a loading screen as it is a blank/frozen screen, since it is impossible to make a proper loading screen in current engine versions without level streaming.

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            #6
            Originally posted by scragnogg View Post
            Nick! one quick question for ya, you mentioned you're using Distance Field Indirect Shadows for interactable props, much as we are, have you found a way to resolve the shadow bleed through occluded surfaces? it appears to completely disregard occlusion in our case, resulting in shadows from a prop that could not realistically create a shadow in that location. Just curious!
            Sadly I haven't. We get around the issue by using it mostly for pretty small props, usually up against larger objects (tables and walls) so the bleed isn't noticeable. In some instances we've had to relight areas to avoid casting shadows that would have issues. In some ways it reminds me of the modulated shadows from early UE3 stuff that would bleed through surfaces (like Gears of War where you could see characters' shadows through floors).

            Originally posted by Manoel.Neto View Post
            From what I've heard in the discord channel, it's being worked for 4.24 by Luoshuang himself.
            This is fantastic news! Do you have any more info on it or if Epic is picking up the code to roll into 4.24 officially? This would definitely be a huge win.


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              #7
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