The Order: 1886 to Mix Dynamic and Baked Lighting, Use Vertex Blending to Create Stunning Sets

on May 11, 2014 1:21 PM

It’s been a little while since we heard something new about The Order: 1886, and the team at Ready at Dawn seems to be crunching silently for the rumored stage presentation at E3. Yet, a few more details about the game’s lighting and rendering solutions came up in two brand new career opportunity ads published on the studio’s website.

Both ads mention “our new original IP,” but that has been the “code” for The order: 1886 on RAD’s website for a while.

The first is an ad for a Senior Lighting Artist:

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Ready At Dawn is seeking a Senior Lighting Artist to work on our new original IP, 3rd person action adventure game for a Next-Generation home console game system.

Working closely with the Art Leads, Designers, Concept and Environment Artists the Senior Lighting Artist is responsible for lighting visually stunning sets and characters for both in-game and cinematic content.

Successful candidates are able to demonstrate both a strong aesthetic sense for lighting, as well as understanding of how to effectively lead the player through real-time environments and gameplay scenarios. The lighting artist is expected to research and adapt to new techniques as they emerge and to propose lighting related improvements to our general art pipeline and proprietary tools and engine technology. The ability to work both independently and in cooperation with Designers and Environment Artists to complete assignments and a demonstration of strong artistic interpretation skills is also required.

Qualifications:

  • Strong understanding of color theory and practical lighting concepts
  • Solid knowledge of working within a HDR pipeline and tasteful balancing of post process screen effects
  • Knowledge of a wide range of game lighting techniques (vertex baking, lightmaps, light probes, dynamic, etc)
  • Able to take initial direction and color keys and use interpretive judgment to light gameplay spaces to a high degree of polish and playability
  • Demonstrate an understanding of a range of illustrative lighting styles
  • Efficient organization and communication skills and ability to prioritize and execute ideas within a schedule
  • Excellent technical and artistic problem solving

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Interestingly enough, this post tells us that the game is going to use a mix of dynamic, real-time lighting and baked, pre-calculated lighting for the best balance between performance and visuals. Using real-time lighting on every pixel would be ideal for looks, but it’s unnecessary and very costly resources-wise.

That’s why for static objects that are illuminated only by static lights, artists can use techniques like vertex baking and lightmaps. The former involves storing lighting data in each polygon mesh’s vertex colors, while the latter requires the creation of a texture with the shading “baked” on it, and applied to the object.

The second post seeks an Environment Texture Artist:

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Ready At Dawn is seeking a Environment Texture Artist to work on our new original IP, 3rd person action adventure game for a Next-Generation home console game system.

Working closely with Environment Modelers, Shading Artists, and Concept Artists the Environment Texture Artist is responsible sculpting and texturing global materials and working with the environment modelers to surface and blend the materials on the game environments.

Successful candidates should have a meticulous eye for detail to take the given conceptual and artistic direction, combine it with a strong personal understanding and research of real world materials, and create textures that are both highly convincing as well as aesthetically pleasing.

Qualifications:

  • Strong sculpting and painting abilities
  • Excellent grasp of strict environment art texel allocation and uv mapping
  • Understanding of vertex texture blending techniques
  • Strong artistic interpretative ability within the context of a particular art style and gameplay
  • Excellent researching and reference gathering skills
  • Efficient organization and communication skills and ability to prioritize and execute ideas within a schedule
  • Excellent technical and artistic problem solving.

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The most interesting mention in this post is the one about vertex texture blending. It’s a technique that all0ws designers to utilize vertex color to effectively blend two textures, and normally creates very pleasant and realistic material effects. As a basic example, you could have a texture representing the bricks of a wall, and another representing the mold, and you can use vertex texture blending to artistically blend the mold on the wall without needing to use a texture mask.

Looks like Ready at Dawn is pulling all the stops to make The Order: 1886 one of the best looking games out there, and it’s hard not to be excited for what we’ll most probably see at E3.

 /  Executive News Editor
Hailing from sunny (not as much as people think) Italy and long standing gamer since the age of Mattel Intellivision and Sinclair ZX Spectrum. Definitely a multi-platform gamer, he still holds the old dear PC nearest to his heart, while not disregarding any console on the market. RPGs (of any nationality) and MMORPGs are his daily bread, but he enjoys almost every other genre, prominently racing simulators, action and sandbox games. He is also one of the few surviving fans of the flight simulator genre on Earth.
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