Help me with screen brightness info...

Discussion in 'Game Development (Technical)' started by Game Producer, Feb 14, 2009.

  1. Game Producer

    Moderator Original Member

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    I'm working on my Dead Wake zombie game and some folks have reported that the screen is way too dark.

    I've made some adjustments, and would be one happy camper if you guys could help me out a bit and:
    1) tell which of these screenies are TOO DARK for your monitor.

    (TOO DARK = as in "you can see nothing or barely nothing, and there's no way you could imagine yourself playing the game if it was that dark")



    Picture #1
    [​IMG]

    Picture #2
    [​IMG]

    Picture #3
    [​IMG]

    Picture #4
    [​IMG]
     
  2. jcottier

    jcottier New Member

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    None, they are all visible.
     
  3. 320x240

    320x240 New Member

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    Same here. Everything is easily visible in all of them. The first one conveys darkness the best but even that aint very dark.

    Edit: I tried it on a laptop with a very cheap, dark screen, driven by a Via 'card', and even the top one looks okay there.
     
  4. Game Producer

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    Excellent, thanks guys!
     
  5. Sol_HSA

    Indie Author

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    On the other hand, you are asking the question from people who most likely have adjusted their monitors at some point =)
     
  6. Ciardhubh

    Ciardhubh New Member

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    Screenshot 3 is ok for small, intentionally dark areas. For regular gameplay only 4 would work for me.

    Basically every monitor is different due to model, manufacturer, settings or age. A gamma slider should be in all games. The best solution I've seen are those where you adjust gamma "until you barely see the image/grey box/etc".
     
  7. mooktown

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    If anything they're too bright for a zombie game. Have you played Left4Dead? That's mostly lit by flashlight and gunfire, the rest is low ambience stuff. Being in the dark for most of the game helps the scariness too.
     
  8. vjvj

    Indie Author

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    This is what you need to do. The only way to get consistent results is to expect every one of your customers to have calibrated their monitor (preferably with a tool designed for this). Since you obviously can't rely on that, the above is the only other way to prevent inconsistencies.
     
  9. Deva

    Deva New Member

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    Best thing to do is to make sure your own monitor is properly set first. You can do that with a program called QuickGamma, which is found here:

    http://quickgamma.de/indexen.html

    While others might have their monitor's brightness and contrast totally out of whack, making sure yours isn't is a good first step.

    You should also take a look at some Monitor Calibration images like the following, to insure that you can see shades of gray and color properly, as well as seeing how flesh and other tones look on your screen:

    http://www.wcmsolutions.com/links/MonitorCalibrate.jpg

    http://tomyeah.com/images/Monitor%20calibration%20chart.jpg
     
  10. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    My biggest problem with it is that it's too ambient.

    You seem to have some sort of lighting going on there, so why not use it ? The buildings look unlit as opposed to not being in light iyswim.
     
  11. electronicStar

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    Yeah the main problem is blandness, ie not enough difference between lighted areas and shadows.
    I know it's supposed to take place at night (so naturally not very contrasted) but the building and the crates (the ones in shadow) look too bland.
    Maybe you could give them a bright side which would be brighter and thus help those people with dark monitor.
    I remind you that Gile(s) is now free.
    If you're already using a lightmapper, then add an infinite blueish lightsource (to simulate moonlight).
     
  12. Acord

    Acord New Member

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    They are all visible, but your lighting is terrible. That's really what you wanted to know, ja?

    In TV and movies, there is a trick that is done for night time - basically, they put a dark blue filter on the camera. For night time, there needs to be some color.

    Set your ambient to a really dark blue, and your light to really pale white/yellow. It should improve things a lot.

    The other trick is not to use ambient light. Set yourself a strong light source to use as the moon, for example. Where you see the moonlight hit stuff, imagine where it's going to reflect and bounce around to, and put some area lights in.

    Light collects near convex edges, and stays out of concave areas, like corners.

    Lastly, if we're talking some post apocalypse world, there will still be some light sources - maybe solar lights, broken power lines, impromptu campfires left by survivors, long life flashlights etc.
     
  13. Nexic

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    Those images all appear too bright on my screen, doesn't look at all dark. Compared to the default lighting in my own zombie game, your scenes are incredibly bright. However, I do get complaints of things being too dark so I wouldn't necessarily make it as dark as that. Best bet would be to set the default to a fairly dark level but have a gamma slider just incase. Remember LCD screens are naturally much brighter than CRT monitors, so people with older computers are the ones likely to have brightness problems.

    [​IMG]

    Also I agree with above posters that you don't have anywhere near enough contrast. I'd remove the ambient and then balance it by placing more real light sources. Giving the player a flashlight is a good start.
     
    #13 Nexic, Feb 15, 2009
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2009
  14. Nexic

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  15. GaiaDreamCreation

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    The first 2 screenshots look more realistic for me, but I believe the problem is more seeing your character in the middle of the screen than the brightness itself. Since it is third person point of view, it would be nice to contrast the your character, but keeping the dark places (like in the house's shadows). By adjusting the brightness, you lose the some of the environment's aspects. The screenshot on your website seems to be closer.
     
  16. Nikster

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    I think I know what Juuso is asking here (correct me if I'm wrong) as when I first saw the thread I was just going to say "just have a gamma slider" which is the obvious, having re-read, I notice he asked about how the screen shots look, so I assume this is from a "get people interested in downloading", if so, on desktop monitors I used, samsung 19", dell 22" and HP 20.1" they all looked fine.

    However, on my dell vostro, the 1st image, I couldnt work out what was going off, 2nd one was a bit better but still bad, and it was the 3rd one which seemed the better, the vostro does seem to have a poo screen, one of these shiny reflect jobbies, and this was on full brightness.
     
  17. zoombapup

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    make it easy on yourself and your customers, give your character a torch.

    the blue thing acord suggested is a good idea too.
     
  18. vjvj

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    Yeah, I may have misunderstood the question. If he's just asking about the quality of the images, then yes, the lighting is DEFINITELY a problem.

    Just drop in a simple directional light (with the same position and orientation you are using for your shadow map light source). It won't look amazing or anything, but it should be enough to highlight why the image doesn't look right. Right now you have uniform illumination across every surface, with the only differentiator being "in shadow" vs. "not in shadow".
     
  19. Game Producer

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    Okay thanks guys... I was mainly after for info about what pics were TOO DARK but all the comments have been noted.

    (gotta go through them once more, since there was so much info).

    What will be done is the gamma/brightness/whatnot slider for sure.... but I'd still want to get 'decent guess' as a default.
     
  20. vjvj

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    Well that's the thing; you won't be able to get a reliable consensus because everyone's monitors are calibrated differently. Sure, you'll get *a* consensus, but as soon as you ask a different group of people the consensus will change.

    Your gamma slider will be the best you can do. It's probably a good idea for you to calibrate your monitor to some known standard as well (I've been meaning to do this, myself), but you'll still need the slider for all the "wrong" monitors your customers are using :)
     

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