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Night in Space Engineers

Discussion in 'General' started by abrtn00101, Mar 9, 2017.

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This last post in this thread was made more than 31 days old.
  1. abrtn00101

    abrtn00101 Trainee Engineer

    Messages:
    59
    I'm just gonna drop these here:
    [​IMG]
    Before we go any further, a humble offering to Clang. See how the little one bends its pistons to bow before its Lord and Savior in anticipation of His blessing.


    I was in the middle of conducting an experiment on a creative-mode copy of my survival world. Night came around, so I decided to snap a few outdoor pictures of my work-in-progress base while my experiment ran:
    [​IMG]
    The current main entrance to my base.


    [​IMG]
    A small outdoor pad with a docking station and collector array to service my miner during mining operations.

    [​IMG]
    The delivery pad with East Ramp in the background.

    Here's the reason why I presented Clang with an offering:
    [​IMG]
    A rig for testing high-stability drilling.

    I'm using this rig to test the viability of using an ultra-stable, slow-advance (0.0005 m/s) drilling setup to dig tunnels with highly smooth sides. Lord Clang looked favorably on my offering since my setup didn't completely go bonkers even with 8 strings of pistons, each 5 pistons long. The only abnormality was a 12 degree twist of the drill assembly about the vertical axis.

    The takeaway:
    Executed correctly, Space Engineers has the potential to look absolutely effing gorgeous at night. I'm using a version of the Darky Shader Mod by @plaYer2k that I manually put together for the latest game build by comparing the current shader files with the modifications in the mod. I really think that this is how darkness is supposed to work (not necessarily look) in Space Engineers.

    Notice how the reflections still work and work correctly (they reflect the color of the background accurately). The darkness mods on the workshop only tweak the values in Environment.sbc, and none of them are able to reproduce this effect correctly since modifying the diffusion and specular values exposed by the developers also affects the quality of these reflections. I don't have pics to show for it, but the reflections appear brown on unwelded blocks when I'm building underground (I may post some pics when I wake up in the morning)!

    The relative night-time brightness in my screenshots is a result of keeping basically everything else vanilla (no mods aside from the shader mod and vanilla settings in the mod as well). I keep it this way because, with the vanilla skybox being so bright, the slight glow from the player-made objects is in line the way man-made stuff also stands out against a natural background when subject to the same lighting conditions. This "glow" only emerges when you're exposed to the skybox, though. You can create pitch-black room :tu:with the same settings.

    If you're a stickler for squid-ink nights, however, tweaking the mod's values or using an Environment.sbc mod that lowers the EnvSkyboxBrightness on top of Darky Shader Mod can give you the darkness you want while maintaining a higher quality to the darkness than is achievable with Environment.sbc darkness mods alone. A modded skybox is also a good option.

    A bit of critique for SE devs (regarding the skybox):
    I'm fine with the vanilla skybox - I really am - but we need to talk about making it better.

    As great as the night-time pictures I posted look, when I'm playing survival, that is what I see every two hours or so. I'm wowed by it every time I step outside for a look around to check for dead wolves, plan exterior lighting, and do other night-time stuff.

    I enjoy being wowed, but if I'm awestruck by how pretty Space Engineers is every 2 hours (sun rotation set to 4 hours) or so, I get wow-fatigued and distracted. I know it's probably a shot in the dark, but it would be awesome if you guys found a way to make the skybox change in some way - maybe the day-time skybox gets stormy dary every now and then when you're on the planet, maybe a muting or brightening of the night sky depending on some RNG-based "weather" (please, please, stay away from anything too complicated - no rain or snow or storm or whatever - just a simple texture-based solution will do).

    Use the Darky Shader Mod by @plaYer2k:
    As far as I've seen, the Darky Shader Mod hasn't been maintained in quite a while, and the link to the new dev branch renderer mod files is dead. However, the modifications made in the original mod are still relevant, they just have to be adapted to the current state of the vanilla shader. I'm making my adapted shader files available here, but please refer to the Darky Shader Mod thread linked earlier for instructions on how apply it.

    Adapted shader files from Darky Shader Mod by @plaYer2k: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7RzPkJF2jviYnl0YWlORWhfSkU/view?usp=sharing

    ADAPTED SHADER FILES UPDATED: 3/10/2017

    EDIT: I'm going to try to keep this ZIP file updated. The last updated made a change to one of the shader files that (temporarily?) commented out lines that added back light diffuse and specular. This is why people were complaining about Space Engineers being a little too dark in the last update thread. I reverted that change.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2017
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  2. Hotshot Jimmy

    Hotshot Jimmy Senior Engineer

    Messages:
    1,500
    The only issue I have with your idea for the skybox (critique for devs) is what is everyone else going to see when you want weather textures during the day and they aren't even on the same planet as you? Everyone sees the same skybox which is why they have made it this amazing blend of colours. It is the usual issue. You can't please everyone so you make it as pretty as it can be. As for the darkness level in the pics I like it aswell. Who knows maybe they'll spot this thread and have a discussion about it. As for the images they are flipping fantastic :D . It is a beautiful game for sure.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. Renegrade

    Renegrade Trainee Engineer

    Messages:
    40
    Normally I'd be all "NO" about enhanced darkness, but it seems like lights have actually been working of late in SpaceEng. Even the bizarre light-fog seems to be behaving itself.

    I wouldn't mind darker nights as standard, given that we can now engineer our way around the problem.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
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  4. Forcedminer

    Forcedminer Senior Engineer

    Messages:
    2,227
    that is one awesome looking nighttime skybox.
    and its even better with the reflection off the ice. :)

    I have this video from a while back......its a nice reminder of how pitch black space engineers got.
    the planet was Sha Cold Void a frozen planet with some nice ice stacks.

    the only real difficulty here is.....theres no stone for reactors

     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2017
  5. PLPM

    PLPM Junior Engineer

    Messages:
    850
    To be fair, I myself hate the skybox.

    I do respect the ridiculous amount of work put into it, nevertheless, I find it too distracting, too artificial. Making a "better" skybox for me is not about putting more colors or invasive features, it´s about mantaining a balance.
     
    • Disagree Disagree x 1
  6. Spets

    Spets Master Engineer

    Messages:
    3,214
    I disagree, but not going to hi that button...
    skyboxes adds a LOT to the game immersion

     
    • Like Like x 1
  7. abrtn00101

    abrtn00101 Trainee Engineer

    Messages:
    59
    Fair point. I don't play a lot of multiplayer, so I'm a bit biased to the single player experience. Having said that, it should be possible to set any weather effects server-side and propagate it to the clients. I know that raises the concern that it might cause lag, but since we're just working with textures that each client has, the server wouldn't need to update the weather all the time. Instead, it would tell the clients to update their weather every x number of minutes. Something akin to this pseudo-code:
    Code:
    currentTime = now();
    
    if (currentTime > sleepUntil) {
        sleepUntil = currentTime + randomTimeInMinutes();
        sendWeatherToClients( pickRandomWeather() );
    }
    Each planet would have its own weather code. The planets already employ a texture-based approach to rendering the sky on planets, so the additional textures would just overlay that, much like the sun already does.

    Admittedly, this is all just wishful thinking at this point, and it's not something I want the devs to be working on right now - we all know there are bigger issues. I just wanted to let it out there that looking at the same ultra-colorful sky night after night can be a little tiring on the eyes. Randomized weather effects would solve that and make clear-sky occasions when the skyboxes manifest all their glory much more dramatic and emotional experiences.

    ---------------------------------------------------
    On that note:

    I wonder if anyone could provide some insight into how difficult it would be to make the skybox dynamic, i.e., overlay other moving things on it. Imagine if the blackhole in the Gargantua skybox in @Spets video actually moved by separating the Gargantua image from the background and replacing it with an animated image overlay. Same thing goes for the Earth orbit skyboxes.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2017
    • Agree Agree x 2
  8. SilentShadow

    SilentShadow Apprentice Engineer

    Messages:
    286
    I know I'm late to the party, but wow! I just updated the shaders last night and even with my low end system on medium settings everything looks so much better even during the day.

    I dare say it looks a bit more real than the vanilla shaders.

    Specs:
    AMD FX-8250
    Radeon R7 270 ( 2GB)
    16GB RAM
     
  9. PLPM

    PLPM Junior Engineer

    Messages:
    850
    Well, for me, many of those skyboxes are too much fantasy for my tastes. It ends up being swallow "immersion", just like a wall paper in my perspective, I still can see why anyone would go with the others though.
     
  10. abrtn00101

    abrtn00101 Trainee Engineer

    Messages:
    59
    Your specs are even higher than mine. The pics I posted were made on a laptop running an i7-4500U, Nvidia GeForce 840M, and 8GB of RAM. Surprisingly, I don't seem to have any issues running the game without AA on mostly medium settings with a few settings set to high.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  11. SilentShadow

    SilentShadow Apprentice Engineer

    Messages:
    286
    I'm hoping to get a SSD soon. I play SP it just feels like the game suddenly lags a few seconds now and then but my CPU isn't maxed out nor the RAM.
     
  12. Soup Toaster

    Soup Toaster Apprentice Engineer

    Messages:
    227
    I have an SSD and have the same problem. For a moment the game just stops, then starts again sometimes with a rather disturbing sound right after. :p
     
  13. REDSHEILD

    REDSHEILD Junior Engineer

    Messages:
    888
    You could probably do a lot of weather-esque effects (and in general planetside skybox modification) by adding texture layers into the atmosphere that are synchronized to sun rotation.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  14. The Churrosaur

    The Churrosaur Junior Engineer

    Messages:
    744
    That nebula reflecting on the ice... hnnnnnnggggg

    your suggestions here and the discussion going on is fantastic.
     
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