Possibility of striking a deal with Silicon Studio (Enlighten / GI Solution) for Indie Devs

Hi Epic,

I was wondering if there was a chance for you guys to strike a deal with Silicon Studio regarding the use of Enlighten for Indie Developers. Currently they seem to block any request by small companies that don’t have budgets north of 1 million dollars.
From what I could gather it appears that all other available GI Solutions (like VXGI, AHR, LPV, etc) have been either abandoned (or at least slowed down significantly in development) or/and turned out not feasible for current hardware, respectively being unsuitable in creating products able to reach a wider market (Exception being DFGI maybe which appears to be only suited for sunlit/outdoor scenarios)
On the other hand there is Enlighten which, at this point, appears to be an industry proven solution which already features an integration for UE4.

Im not trying to get at this from the angle of wanting some graphical candy on a small budget (One could argue that you simply have to pay premium for premium graphics solutions), rather I try to argue from the standpoint of a small developer trying new things gameplay-wise with dynamic lighting scenarios as well as wanting/needing to save time setting up lighting - not having to worry about how to get enough light into an interior scene with dynamic lighting only (juggling issues like light bleeding into adjacent rooms when using large light sources to get evenly distributed lighting, splotchy lighting when creating more lights with smaller ranges, performance for overlapping shadow enabled light sources, etc). While Lightmass is able to produce really pretty static lighting, we find it really hard to mix it with dynamic needs, like toggling lights in a room. Im pretty sure that there is a demand out there beyond ours for better dynamic lighting in interiors as well as for many other setups (like 24h day night cycles) where a solution like the one enlighten provides could either improve the visual look and or save time setting up lighting. I think UE4 would greatly benefit from having this tool at it’s disposal (not a very bold statement I think ;))

So since the chances of our budget climbing that high are very slim, I take the chance to ask if there was a possibility for Epic to negotiate with Silicon Studio on Indie Developers behalf (while realistically already bracing for having to throw dynamic lighting out of the window ;))


How things are now, it looks like we can forget about that happening anytime soon.
I would also like that but I don’t believe it will happen.

Seems more realistic to wait for realtime raytracing than that. Stuff is only added to the engine when epic needs it for their own games.

It could very well be that Unity paid a hefty sum for the integration and that there is some sort of exclusivity deal attached to that but that’s all speculation and doesn’t lead anywhere. So Im not thinking that we will ever see an integration into the core of ue4 for all developers(Probably more likely that Epic will have it's own solution in a couple of years). For big companies that are using UE4 it's a no-brainer. If they need Gi, they just license it. What Im hoping for is a path for Indies to license it as well. A single indie developer is in no position to do that but epic could kind of represent indie developers of ue4. I agree that it’s very unlikely that this will happen but I had to ask :slight_smile: And I`m not asking to get it for free which would of course be unfair towards larger developers that are paying for it. But a scaling model based on revenue or something along those lines could even make them some money in the end.

I think we can do better than Enlighten, since it has so many limitations and still requires a long build time I think we can find a fully dynamic GI system instead.

I agree with that. The arch viz guys may not, but with opensubdiv coming into our hands the grass is looking a whole lot greener. I was so extremely impressed with pixar at there gdc when they said it would be Open sourced. I think if we are able to emulate more poly’s cheaper. Lighting will always look better. If I was Epic, and I had to choose sides it would be Pixar. I think I would try to collaborate with using renderman, open subdiv, and usd before doing anything with anyone. There stuff is polished to be productive from the get go.

Lighting is still a big issue for archviz. Epic has the Datasmith plugin for moving scenes easily to UE4 while also converting materials and stuff, but since lighting has to be built to lightmaps it requires the lightmap UV’s to be done which don’t give as good of results if it’s done automatically. If there’s a dynamic GI system added then you don’t have to deal with that or the build times. Sure it won’t look as good as baked lighting, but at least it’s easy to use and fast.

I’d vouch for in-house dynamic GI solution made by Epic, without anything 3rd party to be fair. Pre-baked GI does not offer a lot more over what lightmass can do.

Lighting is a huge issue in workflow for me, and sometimes a serious setback. I don’t know how many meshes I’ve had to tear down, and rebuild as components. It would be nice if something could divide up the lightmaps on a complex mesh. As of right now I’m tearing down a mesh to make it modular, and cut it into 8 pieces instead of 4 due to lightmaps.For a simple mesh like a door, fence, or roof the engine does fine. It would be nice to have an option that would slice the mesh into 4 pieces, cut the lightmap into 4 pieces, and then generating lightmap from each quadrant. While combining the mesh.

It will be a decade at least before the geotools get released much less any real-time lighting GI :frowning: so don’t hold your breathe

Lol. We heard that before.…pabilities.php

5 or 6 years ago we were all being lead to believe that UE4 wouldn’t even have baked lighting. All these UE4 related ads were hyping up UE4’s dynamic lighting. What did we end up with? Something that looks fine, most of the time, but nowhere near what was being implied or ahead of other engines.

While I agree that in the long run we might be able to do better than Enlighten and that in the short run there are a lot of optimizations that could be done for lightmass, my point was explicitly about being able to use enlighten in the here and now.

For us and probably others as well, long build times are not a big issue compared to the amount of time spent on unwrapping lightmap uvs and setting up lighting in addition to the general limitations of using dynamic lighting in interiors as described above. Hiring more artists is way more expensive than adding hardware - so build times are actually comparably cheap to deal with.

Enlighten still has to use lightmap UV’s. The only thing that Enlighten offers is the ability to adjust lighting dynamically for objects and lights that currently exist in the scene.

you are right of course. Having a clean method for good auto unwrapping or methods that don’t require lightmaps is indeed a whole different topic. The core point for me is that it’s really hard to get good dynamic lighting in interiors in ue4 if you can’t rely on static baking with lightmass and that is where Enlighten would help a great deal.