Modding, Mission Design, and Coding > Test Builds

Physically-Based Rendering Builds

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UPDATE 2/12/2016:

- Increased the color threshold for the brightpass.
- Made specular maps render at all detail levels.

UPDATE 1/16/2016:

- Got rid of "-albedo" maps. Having two different types of diffuse maps just because they didn't look right under unlit environments seemed silly. It was also hard to process transparent vertices for both maps so I think getting rid of "-albedo" was the right call.
- Added support for "-unlit" maps. These maps will only be used if being rendered without lighting. Seemed like a better compromise.
- Added support for "-ao" maps. These maps will be used for ambient occlusion. The red channel is the ambient occlusion map and will only darken ambient lighting. The green channel is the cavity occlusion map and that will affect diffuse and specular.


Physically-based rendering builds are ready for testing. Included in this package is a simple mod to use with the 2014 MediaVPs. Just extract and place the folder into a Freespace directory that has a MediaVPs 2014 folder and point the launcher to run the pbr_test mod.

The Ulysses is rendered differently now thanks to the two replacement maps in the mod. One is a simple diffuse map which is black which may seem confusing at first but is normal in a PBR workflow for rendering metallic materials. Another map is what I call a "reflectance map" denoted by This is an example of the new specular map format required to take advantage of physically-based rendering. RGB values in the -reflect map is the specular reflectance color. The alpha channel is the gloss map.

Setting the diffuse map to black allows the specular values in the reflectance map to exclusively drive the light response in the rendering of the model. Wear and fine details of the model better respond to light thanks to the gloss channel of the specular reflectance map. Go ahead and take a look at the Ulysses in the F3 Lab to see how it looks.

Also take a look at the Material Overrides button in the F3 Lab next to "Render Options". The Material Override window provides a bunch of sliders you can mess with to get a good idea how how certain parameters look in the new lighting model.

A more exhaustive guide about creating PBR assets has been posted.

PBR-enabled texture maps for the MediaVPs:

Phantom Hoover:
ban this sick filth

jesus christ it's an angry manta ray

get in the aeolus

If you had a ship which is basically matte (only diffuse lighting), would the PBR method make it look any different? Or does this basically only concern specular lighting?

If your ship needs an instant metallic look but you only have a diffuse map, a quick conversion would be to import the diffuse colors into the reflectance map's RGB and set the entire diffuse map to black. You can either set a constant gloss on the reflectance map's alpha channel or copy-pasta the red or green channel of the old diffuse map into the gloss channel. Some parts of the model will look wrong but it's a nice quick and dirty workflow to get started.


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