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Blurry shadows trick (used in cloudy maps) - A Tutorial for Counter-Strike 1.6

Updates

Version 2/Final 2.0000 6y
  • - Added how to accomplish blurry shadows with light_environment
  • - Changed the first picture so now you can see the result when you apply what the tutorial says
  • - Not much...
Version 1.5 / Final 1.5000 6y

How to simulate cloudy weather, that is, how to make the shadows blurry

NOTE: Now i know how to insert pictures into text, don't worry, my trees tutorial won't be boring when i release that mega-tutorial.

People have met this problem a lot of times... and they always tried to solve it, but some people just can't get it, yet it's very simple.

  • Situation #1:

Making a map with simulation of cloudy weather (LIGHTING ONLY).

So, the sun light is covered by clouds, so the shadows are supposed to be very blurry, but while on a sunny day, you can see that shadows are razor sharp, at least at close distance towards the object the light is projected on

(if an object which casts shadows is closer to another object, it will have sharper shadows).

So how to do this? Simply put:

Step 1: Place the light_spot (set "Is sky" to YES) , or light_environment.

Step 2: Go into the entity's properties (Alt-Enter), and in "Pitch, Yaw, Roll" set this: 30-120 (this means something between these values), 0, 0. (Last picture)

(Once a false assumption, corrected by Lord Canistra)

OLD THEORY (stupid to me now) : Light reflects off the SKY brushes, that is, the, umm, bounce lights... i don't remember the text i deleted it.

In short, the original light source is partially missing and we only have ambient occlusion left by the light entity's blah blah blah, and when the RAD calculates the light, it will make the shadows very, very blurry (look at picture number 2).

I also noticed on a WiP of mine (indoors map), that when the fading part is reached at a light spot (not sky), it begins to act just like if you set the light environment to face upwards, again, blurry shadows. I think it's caused by the lack of intensity of the light, caused by the big distance of the object from the light source, but i'm not sure.

You'll notice it sooner or later.

(Optional) Step 3: Insert in the "Custom Appearance" field: ddd or fff or ggg or your own value.

That is how much bright the light will be, you can make the light behave like a candle (dddccbabccddd=bright,slight dim, dim, slight dim, bright), but only do this if you want to really add more darkness to your map, and the 4th value in "Brightness" is just there to control the major brightness, and the details are up to the "Custom Appearance".

blurry shadows with light_environment

Well, i did some trial and error, but it's there.

It is very good for night maps, but i'll get into that later.

Step 1. Place a light environment entity

Step 2. Go into it's properties.

Now, this is where it gets a little bit complicated. The parameter Shade is used to define the color of shadows, and because of the fact that the entire map will be in a shadow, we'll need to set it's color.

Step 3. Adjust Shade to your will:

If it's quite cloudy, set it to grey, with a bit of pure blue.

Set the Shade to: 115 140 180 200, and you can adjust it to your own values if you'd like to.

The 4th value, again, sets how bright the shadows will be, a bit strange to be honest, but if you set it to 100 or something, the map will be darker.

So let's see the result:

Step 4. And of course, set Pitch to 90.

  • Situation #2:

Night lighting (a bit weird name, simply just like clouds but at night).

Step 1: Place the light_spot entity (light_environment uses the Shade parameter to define shadows in night maps).

Step 2: Go into it's properties, set "Is sky" to YES.

Step 3: Copy these specific properties: Pictures 5 & 6

Brightness: ???, ???, ???, <50

(first 3 values can be adapted to your own values, make them nightly, but the 4th value MUST be under 50, in order to be dark enough).

Pitch Yaw Roll: 30-120, ???, 0

(1st value must go between, 2nd value whatever, 3rd doesn't work on lights).

Step 4: Just like Step 3 in situation #1.

It will give additional darkness, but it is not neccesary, as it will give you a very dark map, so avoid this, unless you set the 4th value in "Brightness" to 100 or something.

This tutorial is quite useful if you want to make, let's say, Gotham City in Counter-Strike. Because it's quite cloudy. I also made an example replica of a city:

Additional notes:

You can also set the Pitch to 0 degrees, and that is an OK value for maps set in at around 6:00 AM (dawn) and if they're cloudy. Experiment! You may get crazy things you have never seen. And use light spot, as it's more flexible than light environment, at least i use it.

If you want the RMF, here you go: cs_cloudylighting

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    I might try this out for my next map.
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    This could use some good re-wrriting.
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    Posted by 0nurky

    This is very useful, thank you, but my question is, how did you made that "terrain" or whatever you call it?, I tried making map that has terrains in it but I don't know how :/ .
    Some guy told me that it was brush work but I still don't understand how?? Could you please make a tutorial about it, thanks!
    Lol, I already made a tutorial on terrain:

    http://gamebanana.com/tuts/11950

    But I suggest you to use J.A.C.K.
    Valve Hammer Editor was good, but in the late 90s and early 2000s. It isn't any more ;)

    Anyway, I made the terrain with triangles.

    Basically, take 1 square, and cut it diagonally into 2 triangles. Then, copy the polygon (1 poly = 2 triangles) and then use the Vertex Tool to raise and lower the edge points/vertexes :)
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    There are also some useful commands for rad. -ambient r g b (Set ambient world light (0.0 to 1.0, r g b).) -extra (Turns on 9 point oversampling for lighting, making it look much better) -incremental (This is a handy option for tweaking lighting, especially on slow or lower memory machines. BuildVisLeafs, MakeScales, and SwapTransfers can be skipped entirely on subsequent runs of HLRAD. Note that geometry must not change, but lighting can.) -estimate (Display estimated time during compile.) http://zhlt.info/command-reference.html#hlrad
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    > **Posted by Lord Canistra** > > I'm afraid there's a false assumption at the base of your method. > > Lightmaps are not generated for surfaces covered with "sky" texture, and I've never noticed - and have no reason to believe - that these surfaces would reflect any falling light rays either. > > I'm pretty sure what happens here instead is the following: > > - You align light\_environment entity angles to point upward. > - Ground surfaces no longer recieve basic, direct lighting which was previously traced from "sky" surface above them. > - The only remaining light source traceable from ground is ambient sky light, with colour & intensity taken from corresponding setting of light\_environment. > - You essentially end up with only ambient occlusion pass in your lightmaps (as long as there are no other light sources). > > Which can actually work - and work very well - for fully clouded sky. But still, you should know how exactly the lighting is calculated and how its settings can be changed. I guess that partially explains why weird things happen when i set the pitch to 30. The occlusion is gone on specific parts where they are lit with the light source. Updating tutorial...
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    I'm afraid there's a false assumption at the base of your method. Lightmaps are not generated for surfaces covered with "sky" texture, and I've never noticed - and have no reason to believe - that these surfaces would reflect any falling light rays either. I'm pretty sure what happens here instead is the following: - You align light\_environment entity angles to point upward. - Ground surfaces no longer recieve basic, direct lighting which was previously traced from "sky" surface above them. - The only remaining light source traceable from ground is ambient sky light, with colour & intensity taken from corresponding setting of light\_environment. - You essentially end up with only ambient occlusion pass in your lightmaps (as long as there are no other light sources). Which can actually work - and work very well - for fully clouded sky. But still, you should know how exactly the lighting is calculated and how its settings can be changed.
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    > **Posted by Alberto309** > > Well, I must say that this is an unusual but definitely smart tutorial. > It's nice to see these "nitpicky" tutorials for such an old game engine. I just wonder if this technique would work on Trinity Renderers and XashXT/Xash3D engines too. > > Great work, by the way. :) Well, i'm planning to make tutorials for a lot of unusual things, actually. Yeah, the technique will work on Xash engines, because it's the same process, and i also believe that the technique will work even on Source, but i have never set foot on that soil (Source SDK problems). _Edit:_ Yeah, never mind, in Source there is a parameter called **sun spread** or something, but if you set it to a very big value, the shadows will be blurry, and what's the best, you can even set the direction of the sun's angle so you don't have to deal with simple shadows which are cast downwards. _Edit of an edit:_ And Trinity Render is probably used only for things like flashlights, gibs, blood, etc. things that are related to shaders and particles and such, not lightmaps.
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  • > **Posted by Alberto309** > > Well, I must say that this is an unusual but definitely smart tutorial. > It's nice to see these "nitpicky" tutorials for such an old game engine. I just wonder if this technique would work on Trinity Renderers and XashXT/Xash3D engines too. > > Great work, by the way. :) This will work on XashXT and 3D, because there is mapping compatibility, and most likely Trinity Render will work as well.
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    Well, I must say that this is an unusual but definitely smart tutorial. It's nice to see these "nitpicky" tutorials for such an old game engine. I just wonder if this technique would work on Trinity Renderers and XashXT/Xash3D engines too. Great work, by the way. :)
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