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 Post subject: BAM Lighting Setup
 Post Posted: Mon Dec 17, 2018 12:18 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 17, 2010 7:41 pm
Posts: 869
Starting a new thread here based entirely on setting up BAM to more accurately reproduce real world lighting. Something I've been obsessed with since the early days of Future Pinball.

First a quick trip back in time: Everything in Future Pinball is fake, it's all smoke and mirrors. Like a movie, my job is to sell you an illusion. Like bad sound or a bad edit in a movie, if you notice it, then it's a bad job. Everyone is familiar with how a flasher works, or how lights cast shadows, so if it doesn't happen in a pinball game, you kind of notice it. This has plagued me over the years and I still can't fully enjoy any pinball simulation until the lighting is more accurate.

To mimic real world lighting back in the early 2010's, I had to use texture swaps - all plastics and the playfield were swapped out with darker versions to simulate the GI lights turning on and off. In more extreme cases I would add a splash of colour to texture swaps depending on the colour of the lit flasher (too much work and dropped pretty quick).

Then I added non-rendered bulbs to the surfaces of the plastics to create a lit plastic effect.

Later I used hardware lighting to create an illumination effect. In FP only flashers have this ability, so flashers were used (non-rendered) and away from the playfield, hidden somewhere in the gameroom. These would mimic GI, fire and explosion effects.

Then BAM came along with it's fancy new renderer and changed everything.

Now it's possible to create more realistic hardware lighting thanks to it's per pixel lighting capabilities. So now I use a combination of texture swapping and BAMs new renderer to create realistic lighting in my games. And it's very easy to set up.

PinCab owners don't have to worry too much about this because they'll have real flashers set up around their cab, but for people like me - desktop players, it makes a big difference to the atmosphere of any game if the lighting is more realistic.

The best lighting I've ever seen in any pinball simulation is Big Score, closely followed by Zaccaria Pinball on PC. This is where I'm hoping Future Pinball will get to eventually.

But for now, we have to fake it. So I've produced a quick video on YouTube explaining how I fake it (during the shoot I was interrupted twice by a persistent double glazing salesman, so it's not great).

BAM can also create shadow maps for flashers and that's something I will play around with later.

https://youtu.be/7IlN3ksxGdw


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 Post subject: Re: BAM Lighting Setup
 Post Posted: Mon Dec 17, 2018 5:37 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 27, 2014 12:36 pm
Posts: 2608
Location: Ontario, Canada
I'll have a look thanks Slam for teaching us some of you tricks!


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 Post subject: Re: BAM Lighting Setup
 Post Posted: Mon Dec 17, 2018 7:29 pm 
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Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2012 11:12 pm
Posts: 2161
Location: Arkansas, USA
Thanks for the video. I prefer the New Renderer lighting on BAM although have never been too partial to night versions of tables. It might be because my eyesight isn't very good. Of course, I suppose your lighting tricks won't work very well on a day version of a table. It might be the reason I couldn't seem to get Rav's shadow map enhancement to work very well because I was using a day version of the table.

You might want to look through Rav's posting here on shadow maps if you haven't see it already:

viewtopic.php?f=86&t=6656

George


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 Post subject: Re: BAM Lighting Setup
 Post Posted: Mon Dec 17, 2018 10:21 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 17, 2010 7:41 pm
Posts: 869
The hardware lighting effects are more effective when the table is darker but they will still work on a brightly lit table.

Lighting is a personal preference and BAM can accommodate any and all tastes.

Another tip I forgot to mention: when you activate a flasher in the game, turn off the GI at the same time, this makes the flashers appear much brighter.


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 Post subject: Re: BAM Lighting Setup
 Post Posted: Tue Dec 18, 2018 12:38 am 
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Joined: Sun Sep 13, 2015 1:16 pm
Posts: 324
Yah, BAM's New Render when setup right is amazing....in particular when a table has been designed to best utilize it. I would love to see a table like SLAM's work with shadow maps and bump / normal maps ,etc... The toys in BAM are there... we just need some really real good "in game" examples for others to use.

I have mentioned before...the one limitation FP DOES have when using different levels of global lighting,etc in BAM is the "image lights" in FP are NOT self-illuminating. They rely on the global lighting to be seen. So if you darken your Global lighting, they darken too and can't be seen. :( The only option I know of is the add the "flares" to them to help out...but it's still not what it should be.

For anyone who hasn't played FP in BAM VR with Rift or Vive,etc... it is AMAZING with New Renderer and SLAM's example of lighting. It is a total game changer! You will look at your tables in ways you never have before!


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 Post subject: Re: BAM Lighting Setup
 Post Posted: Tue Dec 18, 2018 12:52 am 
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Joined: Sun Sep 13, 2015 1:16 pm
Posts: 324
SLAMT1LT wrote:
The hardware lighting effects are more effective when the table is darker but they will still work on a brightly lit table.

Lighting is a personal preference and BAM can accommodate any and all tastes.

Another tip I forgot to mention: when you activate a flasher in the game, turn off the GI at the same time, this makes the flashers appear much brighter.


I'm not sure if you have ever seen the VP work of G5K. He has done his own version of T2, Tron Legacy, and AFM. His version of these tables in a cabinet look amazing... but it's ALL done "fake"...but in a good way. (He's a professional animation / effects guy)

It does what you describe above with changing the rest of the table's GI lighting for flashers, but also changing the textures of the PF and other objects around...and he also "pre-renders" the objects (in another program) with the flashers lighting effects "baked in" to the textures.

This requires the entire table be recreated in another 3D rendering program to create all the different versions possible of the object's textures with respect to the flashers on the table. Then ALL those changes need to be scripted for all variations, etc. It's a crazy amount of work..but the results can look stunning...

...but the limitation is that something like that can't work well in a full 3D environment, hence why with VP most don't care as they can't do real-time 3D for gameplay as their view will always be static. (In a cabinet this is fine)


So for FP...I'm sure the Shadow Maps can be used in a similar way...and maybe somehow Image Lights too...but that would be A LOT of work! Flashers them selves don't need this as they work like you demo in the video...BUT we are restricted to 7 Hardware Lights. :(


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 Post subject: Re: BAM Lighting Setup
 Post Posted: Tue Dec 18, 2018 7:41 am 
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Joined: Wed Nov 17, 2010 7:41 pm
Posts: 869
The light inserts all need the glare added to be effective and a bit of bloom effect can make them stand out more. The glare on the inserts can obscure the text or graphic on them which is why some authors move the glare away. This is an easy but time consuming fix, for anyone who wants to help out. Each light insert needs an individual image file (as you'll see with Jaws ULTIMATE Pro), so the glare is behind the text not in front of it.

It's takes an insane and very unhealthy amount of time to make these games and going into these small details would just consume my life completely. Future Pinball certainly has the power to make any game look almost photo real, but I doubt anyone has that amount of free time on their hands.

For cab users, VP will always be the best for sure. It's built and designed mainly for this purpose.


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 Post subject: Re: BAM Lighting Setup
 Post Posted: Tue Dec 18, 2018 7:58 am 
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Joined: Sun Sep 13, 2015 1:16 pm
Posts: 324
SLAMT1LT wrote:
The light inserts all need the glare added to be effective and a bit of bloom effect can make them stand out more. The glare on the inserts can obscure the text or graphic on them which is why some authors move the glare away. This is an easy but time consuming fix, for anyone who wants to help out. Each light insert needs an individual image file (as you'll see with Jaws ULTIMATE Pro), so the glare is behind the text not in front of it.

It's takes an insane and very unhealthy amount of time to make these games and going into these small details would just consume my life completely. Future Pinball certainly has the power to make any game look almost photo real, but I doubt anyone has that amount of free time on their hands.

For cab users, VP will always be the best for sure. It's built and designed mainly for this purpose.



Yah many cabinet guys don't understand that many people love to play in desktop view with the real-time 3D gameplay (or VR,etc)...and don't want to be stuck to a static view...and FP offers that. VP probably never ever will. Simple as that.

Every time I see a VP version of a FP original game...no matter how nicely converted it is...it just doesn't render in "real-time" and look as nice as FP.

All this new FP talk has got me wanting to fix up all my BAM configs now to have better lighting, and more important POV that looks much more correct now as I know what I'm doing with that to make it look really good and "correct".


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 Post subject: Re: BAM Lighting Setup
 Post Posted: Tue Dec 18, 2018 8:21 am 
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Joined: Wed Nov 17, 2010 7:41 pm
Posts: 869
PinCabs have come a long way since I last played one....in the Pinball Hall of Fame, Las Vegas of all places! I thought they were a fun novelty but didn't like them that much.

Today, with much better graphics and all the extra stuff people add to them, they seem like a lot of fun. I can imagine having friends round and firing that thing up, what a blast.

In the real world of pinball, they're dabbling with virtual visual effects in new games. So the gap between what's fake and what's real is getting narrower each year.

2019 is going to be a big year for pinball, I feel it in my bones.


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 Post subject: Re: BAM Lighting Setup
 Post Posted: Tue Dec 18, 2018 9:37 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 27, 2014 12:36 pm
Posts: 2608
Location: Ontario, Canada
Quote:
.Yah many cabinet guys don't understand that many people love to play in desktop view with the real-time 3D gameplay (or VR,etc)...and don't want to be stuck to a static view.


What do you mean desktop view with respect to 3d ?

I play 3d games in cabinet view on a 50' Samsung 3d tv....I would love to play PinCadia with a 3d tv ....that would be near perfect

I actually load 3d in desktop view then use BAM to switch to 'force cabinet ("arcade") view'

Fyi, all cab users should do this , especially now with Bam camera views for cabs.

You can create default cam sequences for all tables in menu activated by a simple keypress and even include script based ones to temporarily let cab users view the table graphics and room art/animations...


But I digress , in 3d cab view I crop and then recess the whole table towards the floor until the DMD on the backglass is viewable and hovers about 6 inches above the TV and tilt it a little...


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