How should directional light sources work?

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How should directional light sources work?

Post by heruca » Wed Apr 16, 2008 2:09 pm

Suppose I assign a beam light source to a unit (e.g. a flashlight) with an illumination range of 10 cells.

Should Battlegrounds...
A) Illuminate just the 10 cells in front of the figure, leaving the unit itself in the dark?
B) Illuminate the 10 cells in front of the unit, plus the cell the unit is in, for a total of 11 illuminated cells, despite the specified range of 10 cells?
C) Illuminate the cell the unit is in and the 9 cells in front of the unit?
D) Illuminate 9 and a half cells in front of the unit, and half of the cell the unit is in?

Option D is probably the most realistic, but then you end up with situations where an opponent is in a cell that is only half illuminated, probably causing arguments over whether the opponent is visible and what the hit/spot penalties are for a partially-illuminated target.

Options B or C are probably the way to go. I'm leaning towards option C (because I like the claustrophobic feel created by smaller light ranges when you're wandering around in the dark), but I would like to hear what you all think.
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Post by ingeloak » Wed Apr 16, 2008 3:13 pm

id say do it this way if you can:

illuminate the 10 cells in a narrow cone in front of the flashlight, since the flashlight's power is directed forward. then illuminate the source cell dimly, to signify the glare/reflection or shadowy cone that all flashlights have.

my reasoning is this: if you stand in front of someone in a dark room, and they point a flashlight at you, you cant see much of that person, usually only a sillhouette at most. the glare from the light is disrupting your vision.

otherwise, id say option B.

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Post by Omnidon » Wed Apr 16, 2008 3:22 pm

ingeloak wrote:illuminate the 10 cells in a narrow cone in front of the flashlight, since the flashlight's power is directed forward. then illuminate the source cell dimly
I like that idea, but I don't rely on cells so it doesn't matter much to me.

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Post by ursus » Wed Apr 16, 2008 6:24 pm

As a GM, I would say C.

But as a player, I would probably go with B.

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Post by heruca » Wed Apr 16, 2008 6:30 pm

ingeloak, that dim light effect on the source cell could be accomplished by tacking on a Candle to the Beam.
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Post by Omnidon » Wed Apr 16, 2008 7:05 pm

heruca wrote:ingeloak, that dim light effect on the source cell could be accomplished by tacking on a Candle to the Beam.
Only if you go with option A ;-)

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Post by heruca » Wed Apr 16, 2008 7:14 pm

Or perhaps option D. :P

Do any games actually have Beam-shaped light sources, BTW?

For clarification, Beams are different from Cones. Cones will probably come in 60, 90, and 120 degree variants of various lengths, but Beams are just 1 cell wide, and of variable length.

In your games, would you treat a modern flashlight as a Beam, or a Cone?
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Post by Omnidon » Wed Apr 16, 2008 7:24 pm

Technically I would say Beam for most modern flashlights, like one attached to an assault rifle.

However, cone would still work since it can be assumed that the wielder of the flashlight would move it back & forth a bit in the space of a turn.

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Post by ursus » Wed Apr 16, 2008 10:48 pm

I think 60 degrees is too generous for flashlights. I would want beams for them.

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Post by Full Bleed » Thu Apr 17, 2008 12:19 am

Sounds like you need a fully customizable interface for directional lighting to account for various interpretations. Some easily selectable preset options would be nice though.

And I think being able to set the degree would be nice too.

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Post by heruca » Thu Apr 17, 2008 12:22 am

Yeah, 60 degrees IS too generous, but on the other hand, if a game turn represents a longish period of game time, it could be assumed that the flashlight is being panned around to search the entire area covered by the cone, as Omnidon said.
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Post by Omnidon » Thu Apr 17, 2008 12:32 am

Full Bleed wrote:Sounds like you need a fully customizable interface for directional lighting to account for various interpretations.
Definitely, but that should wait for LoS-based FoW, since heruca will have to do a significant rewrite anyway.

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Post by heruca » Wed Jan 12, 2011 2:40 pm

I'm bumping this thread to get everyone's feedback on how cone-shaped light sources should work in BRPG.

In the pic below, note that I've halved the Bullseye Lantern's light range from what it normally is.

The 1-square reveal at the source of the light is something I added, because without it, a player wouldn't really be able to see their own figure, despite having a light source. That didn't seem right, so this was my solution.

For the top figure, I think the light should extend another half a square, even though what I am showing is the technically correct range assuming range is measured from the center of a figure's square.

For the bottom figure, is what is shown in the pic an acceptable way of rendering a large figure's cone-shaped light? I realize that much of the figure isn't visible, but I'd rather not have to make custom cone graphics for every possible base size. Not only would it be a heck of a lot of work, but it would also end up bloating BRPG's download size.

Thoughts?
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Cone-Shaped Light Source Test.png
Cone-Shaped Light Source Test.png (305.08 KiB) Viewed 13701 times
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Post by Shayd3000 » Wed Jan 12, 2011 3:22 pm

I am okay with what you are showing in the pictures (illuminating the figure that is the source of light and the way you handled the large figure), but it would be my preference if the distance the light travels remains within whole squares, so don't count the square of the holding unit and go the extra half square.

On teh topic of light, I've noticed that the light goaes "around" speces that are manuallyt blocked off, so that for example, a unit can see around a corner. That is, I may unblock a corridor that is at an intersection up ahead, and as the unit approaches it, he can start to see done that corridor even though he did not enter the intersection yet. I am thinking this is because light is set to a radius function. I would prefer for light not to go around manually blocked squares, would changing to "burst" work?

George

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Post by Kazander » Wed Jan 12, 2011 7:13 pm

I agree on both counts.

The light should include whole squares/hexes, and that revealing the figure is sufficient in most circumstances. It breaks down when you have very large figures though; especially something really large like a dragon. Your sample only has a double-size figure, which is not bad.

Do you think this is something that could be rectified when (someday) that major re-write comes along, including LoS, and a host of other feature requests and ideas?

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Post by heruca » Wed Jan 12, 2011 7:58 pm

How about exposing the lantern-wielding figure by assigning it a minimal night vision that will only reveal an area approximately the size of the figure's base?

Something like this...
  • Expose, 10*1*1*0
    Expose, 15*2*1*0
    Expose, 20*2*1*0
    Expose, 30*3*1*0
...could be added to the Night Vision definitions, and assigned as needed. This would also be useful for situations where a PC has NO light source, but the controlling player needs to be able to see their token on the map.
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Cone-Shaped Light Source Test 2.png
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Post by Kazander » Thu Jan 13, 2011 1:21 am

I could see that working, and adding additional useful functionality.

I take it that it isn't possible to do something like raising that particular figure to a layer above the FoW just for that single player?

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Post by heruca » Thu Jan 13, 2011 6:27 am

An "above the FoW layer" feature could be added in v2.
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Post by heruca » Thu Jan 13, 2011 2:35 pm

What should be the point of origin of a cone-shaped light? The center of the figure's base, as shown in the above pics? Or should the origin point be in the middle of the front side of the base?

What about when the source of light is an object, rather than a figure (since objects have no base)?

I have to re-do all of the cone-shaped graphics that I had already made in order to give an extra half-square of range to each one, and I'd like to get all the technical/design details finalized ASAP so that I can start creating the new batch of light templates.
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Post by Shayd3000 » Thu Jan 13, 2011 3:50 pm

I had a big long answer typed up, but upon reflection, I would say - what makes the most sense to you in contact of your present system? That is how you should do the conse shaped light origin.

I bought into BG because I liked how it implemented the dynamic lighting - I would stick to that formula as much as possible.

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Post by Kazander » Thu Jan 13, 2011 11:42 pm

You're going to have situations where it's going to make sense both ways. It's unavoidable.

I'm going to lean towards the middle of the front edge though, as a preference. As long as the figure itself it still shown, this works. If there were no other way to get the figure shown, I'd have to say Center for sure.

I'm also going to say center for objects too. Again, there's always going to be times you want it the other way, but you have to make a choice.

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Post by heruca » Sat Jan 15, 2011 7:09 pm

I've redone the 120 degree cone templates, and created the 60 degree cone templates. The image below shows how they turned out.

Note that the circular reveal is handled as night vision, so only the figure's owner will see that area of the map revealed, if the area is otherwise unlit. The night vision radius is automatically assigned to the figure by BRPG whenever any cone-shaped light source is activated, and the size of the night vision radius is determined by the size of the figure's base.
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Final Cone Treatment.png
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Post by Shayd3000 » Mon Jan 17, 2011 2:37 pm

Looks good. When can we expect to see it :)

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Post by Shayd3000 » Mon Jan 17, 2011 2:40 pm

The only thing that concerns me - upon some reflection - and this is a minor quibble - the circle of night vision extends a bit into the adjacent squares, meaning adjacent units with bases would be visible to the unit. Again minor quibble, and if this large radius only happens when a cone shape light is going, then not worth worrying about.

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Post by heruca » Sun Feb 06, 2011 10:16 am

I've once again tweaked the automatic reveal of the token carrying the cone-shaped light source. Now it reveals just enough so that (on a square grid) all four corners of a figure's base can be seen, regardless of base size. I think this approach works well, since it doesn't over-reveal, as it was doing in the last picture I posted.

The question now is: would you like this feature implemented for the wielders of beam-shaped light sources, as well?
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