Since the game environment always covers almost 80% of the screen, you were forced to enhance it with extra detail. Why did you choose the Flatiron baking tool instead of the other existing solutions?
Of all the solutions we had investigated, the FlatIron baking tool gave us the best results with the minimal effort required. FlatIron does exactly what we need and it does it incredibly fast. We literally just select our objects, specify the texture size and type of map we want to generate, click a couple of buttons and we have our lightmaps, instantly visible in the viewport. The MaxScript support has also allowed us to streamline our lighting and baking process considerably, with custom scripts linked to hotkeys and toolbar icons. Finally, the unwrella UV unwrapping technology provided by FlatIron has removed the painstaking process of having to adjust or completely redo the unwrapping of objects in a scene.Basically the rule says that the larger the single pixel is on the light-map, the more blurry (worse) will be the texture later.
Besides time saving and automated procedures for texture creation, did you also experience texture quality improvements using Flatiron?
Definitely – we’ve noticed that with the unwrapping provided by FlatIron our UV mapping wastes very little space on the lightmap texture compared to the build-in flatten mapping in Max. This has reduced the area that pixels cover on our lightmaps and increased the quality of the lighting in our environments tenfold.
Baked light & GI Maps require significantly less resources than real-time lightning solutions. I am aware that your company is targeting a diverse selection of hardware platforms with a wide range of supporting graphics chips. Are there also plans to port Multivaders to Wii, IPhone and other platforms that can profit from this advantage?
In the small amount of free time I’ve had recently, I’ve been experimenting with content generation through mobile platforms such as Apple’s IPhone and Google’s Android. One of the biggest unforeseen advantages of baked lighting I’ve experienced has been how easy it makes rendering on different APIs. We don’t have to consider seperate shader paths, extensions or techniques – we can jump between OpenGL or DirectX or potentially any graphics API – the engine is performing simple render methods on the preprocessed data. It also allows us to maintain a high framerate on lower-end hardware such as the Wii and makes a potential port of the game much easier.