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Submitted by Drew Hester, posted on November 16, 2000

Image Description, by Drew Hester

Drew Hester here of Max Gaming. This is a shot from a game that is currently in the works. Critical Subterfuge is planned to be a MMPOG. We are developing it with the LithTech engine. This is a basic shot with no real special effects. I wanted to submit something like this to show that lighting can make a huge difference. Although the lighting is not perfect and is still being worked on, I can say that it is in it's final pass. The room is part of an underground tunnel. You can see the air duct that provides air throughout the tunnel system to players. To check out some models and other shots, go to
From there you can learn a little more about the story and what not. Thanks for your time guys, check you later....

-Drew Hester

Image of the Day Gallery


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Archive Notice: This thread is old and no longer active. It is here for reference purposes. This thread was created on an older version of the flipcode forums, before the site closed in 2005. Please keep that in mind as you view this thread, as many of the topics and opinions may be outdated.
Timothy Barnes

November 16, 2000, 02:30 AM

Well you proved that lighting is an important factor in games. :) Also, the character there looks pretty good.


November 16, 2000, 03:16 AM

I am curious about how working with the Lithtech engine is, or any other engine. Do you get some SDK like thing and a set of tools to create your content? Do you get source so you can extend the engine? How is customer support?


November 16, 2000, 05:01 AM

Lith is GREAT!!! HAs its own 3d game operating system. Which lets you take full control over everything that you wanna do. When you get it it comes with an sdk yes. It will have the level builder and a model editor and hundreds more of stuff like that. this thing is tottally cool man. SO if you are thinking about going and trying out. It will be well worth it and so much more in the end. Talk with you later!

-Drew Hester


November 16, 2000, 05:01 AM

Lith is GREAT!!! HAs its own 3d game operating system. Which lets you take full control over everything that you wanna do. When you get it it comes with an sdk yes. It will have the level builder and a model editor and hundreds more of stuff like that. this thing is tottally cool man. SO if you are thinking about going and trying out. It will be well worth it and so much more in the end. Talk with you later!

-Drew Hester


November 16, 2000, 06:38 AM

What's so special about the lighting..?
Sorry, but it doesn't look any different from any fps-lighting-system I've seen since uhm... quake 1.
Just your average lightmapped-with-way-to-large-lixels lighting imho.


November 16, 2000, 06:55 AM


I'm really looking forward to your first positive contribution to the gaming world. Really.

- The Duke of Hazard


November 16, 2000, 09:04 AM

Yeahh LED,

You seem like such a hotshot over there at Lost Boys. Come on show it to us...give it to us.


Jari Komppa

November 16, 2000, 11:11 AM

This LED's post doesn't sound too negative:


..anyways, while it's a nice pic I also fail to see what's special in the lighting there.


November 16, 2000, 11:20 AM

Hey Drew, nice image. Your point was well made. Nice work! :-)

Hey LED, you little Hoser... it's not what you say, it's how you say it... jerk. If you weren't so preocupied with your mamma, you'd realize that Drew was demonstrating the USE of lighting, as in HOW IT'S USED. He wasn't trying to say that the lighting technology itself is special.

Jonathan Olick

November 16, 2000, 11:32 AM

LithTech sucks. Its way behind the times in engine development. It doesn't have shaders, is extremely slow, even on good computers. (NOLF chugs on my Athlon 800 w/ GeForce 2). Other engines have tools you can get for free off the internet (Quake 3). And they are better than half of the commercial crap I've used. As for engine design, they have something going. Thats the only thing they have going. They are like Voodoo's, nothing but holding the market back.


November 16, 2000, 11:46 AM

I have to agree with Jonathan. Lithtech is a bit behind, and the performance just sux.

Garett Bass

November 16, 2000, 12:26 PM

individual texels in lightmaps are commonly referred to as "Lumels". I don't mean to nitpick, just thought you'd like to know.



November 16, 2000, 01:09 PM

Viewing this on my monitor (at home) I find the image too dark to make out any details, and that's at full brightness.

Admittedly this monitor has seen better days... I checked out the shot down at uni, and it looked fantastic.

My point is, I now realise how important it is to have gamma correction...

Love the character model!


November 16, 2000, 01:42 PM

Heh. I see that you are using one of the no one lives forever models temporarily in that screenshot hehe. Someone asked a question about lithtech engine. Well the support is nothing short of phenomenal (MOST of the time). For their newsgroup you can post a question and usually by the end of the day have your answer (probably 3 or 4 replies at least). They give you a pretty detailed SDK as well, so for support they are great.


November 16, 2000, 05:08 PM

I think games in general are getting too dark, I have gamma and brightness on full and I still have problems seeing things in Diablo and Unreal. I wish game companies would start putting out bright sunny games for those of us that are going Dark Blind!


November 16, 2000, 05:21 PM

Well I would have to say that I think the lighting in a game can set the mood for it big time. In the case of this tunnel, I have the lighting set as it would be for an underground area. There is no sunlight so artificial lights would have to be used, and although I could light the whole thing up like a beast, I have chosen to keep it lit low. It is always hard to tell with a pic, but in the actuall game the lighting isn't that bad. Of course I can't speak for those of you who say your monitors are going out except to say that I am sorry to hear that, cause it has to suck. But I will stick to my belief that lighting is a huge factor in gameplay. Think about the last time you hid in a dark corner and snipered a guy from afar? Would it have been the same story had you been standing in the brightest area of the map? With that said I leave you with my thoughts. Thanks guys, for all the comments and thoughts.


Kurt Miller

November 16, 2000, 05:58 PM

">>I wish game companies would start putting out bright sunny games for those of us that are going Dark Blind!"

Serious Sam ;p


November 16, 2000, 06:49 PM

Since we're on the topic of lighting, I was wondering about a bit
of an industry wide problem that exists currently. Although
I've not played any MMORPGs, one of the cooler things I've heard
is that there is day and night. The lighting in the world changes.

The major downside of employing such an effect is that you have to
use vertex lighting. Calculating the lightmaps every time there
is a change is not an option. Even if we were cycling through
prerendered lightmaps, uploading the textures to a video card would
drop the framerate to unacceptable levels.

The more I think about it, the more it would seem a Valuable Thing
to be able to modify textures procedurally when they are already
on the video card. If we could lower and raise the red, green and
blue colour channels of the lightmap texture while the bitmap is
already on the card, we could have lightmapped shadows. The ground
could simulate a reflection of sunset orange by slightly taking the
blue channel of the lightmap down faster than the red and green ones,
for example.

Warren Marshall

November 16, 2000, 07:34 PM

I was about the say the same thing. "What the hell is a 'lixel'?" :P

Jim York

November 16, 2000, 08:04 PM

You could have a 4x4 alpha map, all one color, that you constantly update and then modulate the light map what that. Then it's just changing and reuploading this 16 byte texture whenever the light intensity changes. Of course, you'll have to account for the light direction changing in another way, and that won't be cheap.

Serpent Warrior

November 16, 2000, 09:31 PM

Ack, I wan't going to post a reply to this but..

Seems you are just "Anti-Lith" but that's ok.

I have been using the lith engine for a bit now and it seems to be extremly versital. And on top of that, if you are a licensee, you get free engine upgrades for a year. The engines are scalable so updating to a new engine isn't to crazy.

The tools are pretty good, easy to use and they are free. You just need to download them from their site or one of the fan sites.

If you have only played the Tech Demo Version of NOLF, that's a shame. The game really destroys that demo and it is fun to play. I am running NOLF on a lesser computer (PIII500-TNT2 Ultra-128ram-800*600rez) and thing seem to be accurate. There seems to be about the same as running Q3A on this PC. The poly counts on characters are about double, but there isn't as many on screen. Not sure, but NOLF might have a cut off at 60fps.

If you have trouble running NOLF, then you are going to have a hellavu time with what I have been working on.

If you new what they had planned for future engine updates, then you would hold back a few comments. I am pretty sure I am not allowed to say what they are doing so I will keep my yappa shut.

All engines have their own quirks, even Lith. But Lith evolves to fix those quarks and in due time, it will become a more powerfull engine.

(Yes, I know I siad I wasn't going to reply, Lachie :p)


November 16, 2000, 09:58 PM

The only reason i made the comments i did is because ive played the NOLF Tech Demo at work on my p2-450/TNT2 Ultra and the game is damn near unplayable, i experience upwards of 5 second freezes, and the sounds skip/replay/studder. Quake3 on this computer works pretty good, dont get freezes and the sound doesnt studder. I know these are two different engines and im only using Q3 as a point of refrence.

I did go out and buy the full version of NOLF and im sure itll run sweet on my p3-1Ghz at home (just got it like 3 hrs ago, and im still at work so i havent had a chance to check it out), so i shouldnt have any problems there. =)



November 16, 2000, 10:09 PM

vertex colour * (texture colour * lightmap colour)
^^ ^^
gouraud shading, multitexture

I'm sure you could do something fancier w/register combiners


November 16, 2000, 10:15 PM

I think it all boils down to the skill/budget of the artists/level designers, irrespective of engine.


November 17, 2000, 12:51 AM

You know, I had the same problem for a while.. Then I figured out it wasn't the game's problem at all, it was my refresh rate! If you have your refresh rate set to automatic, most of the time Windows chooses a crappy one for you (at least in my experience). So switch windows to 640x480 (or whatever res. you want) and pump the refresh rate, you'll notice a huge difference in image quality and can leave most settings at default if you are lucky.

Just for reference I have rates set as follows:
640x480 120hz
800x600 100hz
1024x768 100hz

Hope this helps!


November 17, 2000, 02:49 AM

If you people think that screenshot is dark, you obviously haven't played EverQuest! Man sometimes I'd put the monitor's brightness to 100 and I'd still have to put my nose on the screen to see anything.

Then night would fall and it'd be worse!!


November 17, 2000, 05:36 AM

gotta respect,,,,,,,,,, Ever Quest!!! that is what a wise man onc said. He died a day later.........


November 17, 2000, 09:02 AM

Muhahahahaha :)

Serpent Warrior

November 17, 2000, 04:18 PM

Just keep in mind that NOLF wasn't geared to run on small systems. They could have easily made the models in 700-800 polys.. also, the AI is also pretty heavy. Wierd that you are getting all those probs though. Might be somethig with the D-music.

Should have no probs running on that beast you have at home though ;)

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