trsh
Been a voxel farm fan for a while. One thing that bothers me and I think hasn't change a lot, it's lightning system. The renders just Look pale and miss color depth. Basically in the end every shot and video looks like very old 3D games, or old internal Blender rendered shots. Also this >  https://twitter.com/miguelcepero/status/971793665105506305 > latest shot.

So question:

1) Is this kind of limitation of Voxel Farm? Also in UE4? Or is this due artist do not caring about lightning. 
2) Any plans to improve lightning - have some GI, AO kind of stuff?
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voxelfarmtorres
Voxel Farm does not handle lighting, it is up to the artist to set up the scene in the engines to be lit just like any traditional game scene.

Since the content is dynamic (the player could make a large hole in a roof for instance), static global illumination solutions like the ones in vanilla UE4 and Unity do not really apply. A dynamic GI solution like the one from Nvidia must be used.
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trsh
"A dynamic GI solution like the one from Nvidia must be used"

1) Would be nice to have some docs, how to implement that.

2) To be honest it's a little bit confusing. Using some lightning that is made for polys, when there should be one working much faster with voxels (made for voxels).
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voxelfarmtorres
1) Yes, of course, you can find their doc here:  https://developer.nvidia.com/vxgi

2) Nvidia's GI solution uses voxels. At the moment there are no real-time GI solutions using polygons that can run at interactive framerates. No Triple-A games have been released using dynamic GI, this is still a very fringe technology. UE4 at some point included this voxel-cone GI solution but had to be yanked out of the engine due to poor performance. If you have dynamic scenes (content can be changed by players, or there is a day-night cycle) you must resort to traditional lighting.

When you see a game scene that has a look you would identify as modern, it either uses static baked GI, which prevents player and time-of-day changes; or you have scenes that have been carefully lighted by artists. Whether you use Voxel Farm or not, does not change this.
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trsh
OK! Clear! Although would be nice if VF rolls some own solution for enlightening the voxel scenes 😉. Plugin orsmth!? Because, I think, VF devs can view things from a different angle, and come up with new stuff that blows as away. Using slow GI / old-school lightning / getting the artist get MAD, neither sound like a good option for me. 
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voxelfarmtorres
We have developed most of a voxel-based, very efficient GI solution. Getting this to run inside an engine like UE4 is a different thing, because of the level of access the host engine provides to plugins. If you noticed from the Nvidia's solution for UE4, it is not a plugin but a full UE4 engine fork.
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trsh
"We have developed most of a voxel-based, very efficient GI solution" / Any showcase of that? It's implementable via source code (C lang)?
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trsh
Any comment on my last questions?
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voxelfarmtorres
The solution is not released, it is still an experimental branch of the engine.

Miguel's post about it:  http://procworld.blogspot.ca/2015/11/global-illumination-over-clipmaps.html
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trsh
Okay! I hope it's polished and merged to main branch soon 😉, and we can play with it.
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GageCornelius
"We have developed most of a voxel-based, very efficient GI solution. Getting this to run inside an engine like UE4 is a different thing, because of the level of access the host engine provides to plugins. If you noticed from the Nvidia's solution for UE4, it is not a plugin but a full UE4 engine fork."

The Unreal Engine has opened access to lighting being capable of being in the form of a plugin as of a couple builds ago. I particularly remember due to when it wasn't capable there was a discussion on how lighting was programmed in a way that wasn't possible to be made into a plugin without redoing a great deal of the engine itself. But I want to say that they made it possible sometime after 4.15, I'll look to see which engine version allowed it and reply back soon.
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GageCornelius
Actually it looks like it's 4.17 that allows global shaders plugins, sorry about that. While it is definitely a step forward, it may not be what you guys need. Have you guys thought about having a git branch specifically for the work you do to fully incorporate what you have to offer?
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Adam4lexander
Do you have any tips on a simple lighting solution that might not be accurate but still gives semi believable results in obscured areas like caves? I've just started using Voxel Farm in unity. Are we able to change the shader? Is it possible to use a lighting algorithm similar to minecraft?
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Ginsan
Hi, I am not a programmer but i don't think there's a way to know if you are "underground" unless you create giant trigger box, i am not sure. Otherwise, you can play with the ambient lighting and the fog to create depth when the light is not here. I often use a gradient so in the shadows, you can still control where the ambient light come from (from the top, from the sides, from the bottom), for instance here i reduce a bit the top color, because the directionnal light gives already too much light because it's zenith time.
Also you can use the fog to make close elements to pop a lot better.

There's also the cubemap to play with, in the lighting tab you have environment reflections, so you can put a custom cubemap here.
It's mostly like a mat cap in ZBrush for everything in your scene. There are tools and scripts that allow you to capture a panoramic view of your scene in real time and update your cubemap, so the lighting is changing according to where you are, but i don't have this script anymore (google is your friend).
Simple solution is to create an image (a circle gradient) set texture shape to cube and map it onto a ball (mirrorball). Once you did that you can use it as a cubemap for your scene's reflections. (all elements that is a bit shiny , thanks to the roughness map and metallic, will be affected by this cubemap). In caverns you have a lot of reflections on the ground so i suggest you use something bluish/ brighter on the bottom part to make everything pop.

Hope that helps, Ben.



lighting.jpg 
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Adam4lexander
Thanks those are some really great tips!
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