Things have been pretty hectic recently! I’ve been doing an important cutscene for the past week, and it’s been a complete grind. Fortunately, things have worked out well. I’d like to show you something, but I can’t do it without spoiling a surprise related to a story device that’s new to the metroidvania genre, and maybe to some other genres. Once the official trailer comes out, you’ll see what it is.
Now, I said I was going to talk about the lighting system, so let’s!
(click to see the comparison)
In the old “lighting system”, which wasn’t really a system, the lights were merely bitmaps or images pasted above the night-time colour layer. Back in the day (2007), this looked pretty nice if you used an additive ink effect. If done right and if you used it at the right places, it had a nice feeling to it. But it wasn’t really lighting at all, it just made the image brighter on that spot. Actually, it was harder to see things that were behind a light.
The problem here is that, since half of the game happens during the night, some visibility problems could arise at the wrong time. Say it’s night-time and you reach a milestone in the game: a cutscene unfolds and the plot advances. But things are a bit hard to see. Maybe you’d wish you would’ve been here during the day instead. Or, worse yet, you realise you missed something important. That’s a considerable design problem.
To solve this, the lighting system was remade to support real-time lighting, which means each location can be designed so that it’s lit if there’s something important for you to see. Also, the new engine adaptively displays the number of lights on screen with as least performance loss as possible. In any case, an option can be added to display the old “lighting system” if it does cause slowdown for some users (or if you like it better!?).
It goes without saying that such a lighting system should’ve been the one to start with. Many games today have systems like this by default. However, this game does date back to 2006-2007, and so does the technology I use to make the game, so this was a small achievement for me :). Having this system will let me design areas and puzzles that specifically require lighting spells, aside from bringing a lot of life to the night-time world!