RAD explains how it created the beautiful lighting of The Order 1886 using baked GI on PS4

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The Order 1886 is among the most graphically impressive current-generation games out there, and Ready At Dawn takes pride in the advanced rendering techniques used to create its Victorian era setting. The developer conducted a comprehensive presentation on the extensive R&D that it went through in order to come up with a modern lighting solution for the game.

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Ready At Dawn explained in detail why it chose to opt for a baked Global Illumination (GI) solution for The Order 1886. The screenshot above shows complicated  lighting across a range of materials, none of which is is real-time. Everything is based off the developer’s baked Global Illumination solution.

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Ready At Dawn had a clear graphical target in mind with respect to The Order 1886’s game design. Since it is a linear game with medium sized levels with static environments, it made sense for the developer to employ a baked Global Illumination solution. Doing so, allowed the developer to save up on precious GPU resources, and subsequently use those resources in boosting the game’s quality in other areas.

The developer’s intention was to capture both diffuse lighting and specular GI. Among the many reasons why the developer pushed so hard on baked specular GI was the limitation it hit using cubemaps, with spatial reflections turning getting inaccurate results.

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Ready At Dawn tried several techniques (as seen in the slide above), but each of them failed to fit the developer’s exact requirements. Some of these techniques, such as H-basis AO for specular and diffuse occlusion for props, remained all the way through into the final release build of the The Order 1886.

Ultimately, however, the developer ended up using a Spherical Gaussian solution in order to enhance the scenery and have the lighting as well as the shadows represented more accurately. The difference can be seen in the screenshot comparison below.

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In the comparison above, the hot spots around light sources are more visually appealing and lit more naturally. It would have been difficult for the developer to do the same via cubemaps, as doing so would have required to place many cubemaps around each light source, which may well have led to memory limitations.

For other similar comparisons using other areas from the game, follow the link here in order to check out Ready At Dawn’s full presentation on advanced lighting. Share your thoughts on the presentation in the comments below.

  • Cristian Cornea

    Baked game.