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This year at GDC Geomerics (ARM subsidiary) announced a whole new update to its Enlighten technology. Now this real-time global illumination solution is able to deliver large-scale dynamic lighting to open-world games. We’ve had a chance to see the demo of the tech paired with Unreal Engine 4 and it looked pretty darn good.
What Enlighten does is giving your game lighting more volume and vibrance. Without that solution the environments looked flat and boring, but with the touch of the magic button everything began to scream color and ooze style. This effect is achieved with no huge performance cost. Now you get dynamic global illumination effects, various light sources and hundreds of different settings to play with “in games where map sizes are vast and draw distances are long”.
To show all of the new tech features, the developers from Geomerics created a huge open world demo specifically for PC and PlayStation 4. The project titled Seastack Bay was created in collaboration with Ninja Theory, the developer of Hellblade – a pretty AAA-indie, we’ve talked about several times. With the help of the technology the team managed to build a huge 25km2 playable world with interior spaces, gorges, forests and beaches. Everything was running smoothly at 30FPS.
“ARM’s Enlighten global illumination technology is continually enhanced to unlock new potential for game lighting. The new capability it is now offering for large worlds will allow gamers to experience a quality and a style of gameplay that was previously impossible due to performance constraints. It will help inspire studios to implement the latest dynamic global illumination effects in a host of upcoming open world games,” – said Mark Dickinson, vice president and general manager, Media Processing Group, ARM.
Enlighten’s new technology includes advanced level of detail mechanisms for terrain, non-terrain light maps and probes. By solving the global illumination for distant geometry at lower resolutions than nearby geometry, users can achieve higher quality dynamic global illumination within the same map size and performance budget, or improve performance without sacrificing the user experience.
Our demo presentation was performed by Jaroslav Rzepecki from Geomerics, who described some of the biggest advantages of the technology. According to him, this technology grants incredible freedom to developers, who want to experiment with lighting more and build more impressive and visually attractive games with no technical hiccups.
Key features of Enlighten:
- Physically correct results even in highly occluded or vertical areas, such as gorges or cliffs.
- Continuous traversal between different environments, from enclosed spaces to large, open vistas, with consistent global illumination updates.
- Support for common open world features including foliage, rocks and grass.
ARM has a very flexible price for Enlighten. Everything depends on the size of your studio, the kind of games you’re making. The small demo shows that this kind of technology really means a lot for video game artists and designers. It’s an easy and powerful solution to make your games more interesting. Enlighten is already used in Star Wars: Battlefront, Need for Speed and Street Fighter V. You can check out the demo of the new Enlighten for openen worlds at ARM Booth 1624 and in the Geomerics Business Suite BMR2640.
Source: official press release