onsdag 23 februari 2011

That is the big question

Sunburn or no SunBurn, that is the question.

For a while not, i have contemplated if i really should use SunBurn for my Liero3D project, it seems like such a huge Overkill, with a hole heap of problems and very little gain.

Admittedly, I think SunBurn is an awesome product(even if i don't like the direction the developers are taking with it), and i don't regret getting it(or asking my family for the money), but i still feel that it is way over the top for the L3D project.

So, lets make a list of pros and cons of using SunBurn:

  • Deferred shadows is Awesome!(with capital A), especially with lasers, missiles and explosions casting long shadows all over the place.

  • Running my game with SunBurn and deferred shadows is dramatically slower than it would be without, so the computer specs is much higher and 3.0 shader support is forced unless you turn off shadows. Without SunBurn the game would run on much older computers, and of course give much better frame rates for everyone in general.

  • With the exception for real-time shadows and lightning, we use no other features in the SunBurn engine, no normal maps, parallax map, HDR, or the simple physics that is included into SunBurn.

  • From some of the tests i have run on ScreenSpaceAmbientOcclusion(SSAO), it is a very slow post processing effect, and i might not be able to run both SSAO, DOF and use SunBurn with deferred shadows all at the same time, I feel that SSAO is far more important effect to make block more visual(not invisible in shadows due to single color shading).

  • I'm still a bit new to SunBurn, and like most big products... the engine feels a bit overwhelming at times, and implementing features might be far more tricky and time consuming than it would be otherwise(in pure XNA). I also don't like the feeling of being Dependant on support from SunBurn crew and forum if i manage to get stuck.

So i have to ask my self, why would i give my self all this extra headache, just to have dynamic shadows... would people even care about the shadows that much?

One of my biggest reason for stubbornly sticking with SunBurn, was the fact that my grand mother gave me the money for a SunBurn Pro license, with the soul purpose that it would create something that could bring me money in the end, and now i feel a bit forced to stay committed to the cause.

But I have to ask my self, is that not using SunBurn for all the wrong reasons?

What do you people think, is Dynamic shadows really that important? or would Minecraft style lightning work just as well?

3 kommentarer:

  1. My personal oppinion in the matter would be to skip all fancy effects and focus on getting the "retro" feel right, like minecraft. If I had to chose between a modern, performance hungry and a retro, blocky, 8-bit music version, it would surely be the later one.

    You can always go for the minecraft style of lighting first, and change your mind later if the game could gain anything from it. I think that it's easier to get the feel of the game later in development.

  2. Hi Johan, and tank you for the feedback :)

    It sure is nice to see that someone bother to read the junk i write here hehe ;-)

    Well I think you are right, people don't care about fancy graphics and effects as long as the game-play is gold, minecraft has proven that much :)

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