Specular You Biatches

After years of not having anything, last year Martini was able to enable normal mapping in Unity. At first we were just using them on buildings and other static world objects. We were having an issue with Granny and support for deformable tangent vectors, but that has since been cleared up and now we have the complete package. We will be adding normals to infantry very soon. I mean real normals…normals that add some of the minor detail you want from the mapping, not just a blank normal which helps with the lighting of the object.

I found out yesterday that Martini has specular mapping working now as well. This is great news as it will only enhance the look and detail of the model. He has included it into the normal shader which means specular and normal mapping will go hand in hand. Overall, it means a bit more work for the artists (creating specular maps, baking hi-poly objects for normal maps), but it will be worth it in the end.
A specular map is basically a map that emulates light reflection on your mapped surface. As a normal tries to represent surface deformation on the object, a specular tries to represent light levels on the object. These work real well with normals as it helps enhance the detail that a normal tries to emulate. You can also do some other cool things with specular maps, such as portraying slick surfaces, enhance wood materials versus metal materials. etc.

Now I need to remind Ramp to get the ability to display normals and specular maps in the tool. He’ll love it. 😉

16 Responses to “Specular You Biatches” »»

  1. Comment by Sparre | 05/30/07 at 5:50 pm

    This is really good news Toto. Tell Martini we löve him. ALOT! 😀

  2. Comment by hchris | 05/30/07 at 6:16 pm

    Excellent, you guys ROCK! Can’t wait to see some results!

  3. Comment by Sparrow | 05/30/07 at 8:47 pm

    According to the 1937 heer manual on fieldgrau actually absorbed light allowing German soldat ninja like ability. 😉 This is good news that you get to play with some new stuff and make the infantry look better.

    Will you be showing off the mortars in the Friday youtube vid?

  4. Comment by Bryan N. | 05/30/07 at 9:20 pm

    You guys are going to have some real work to do now. ;P

    Ah, there’s surely a little party happening in that corner of the office right now. Hell, you’ve even got me giddy lol.

  5. Comment by Toto | 05/30/07 at 9:30 pm

    Nah…I don’t get to do the YouTube BS. It’s only the important people.

  6. Comment by mwhitman | 05/30/07 at 9:45 pm

    Not important???? Try telling that to everyone who plays infantry in the game! 🙂

    Plus I’m sure they said the Youtube video would show the weapon through it’s stages of development, and like it or not that means you taking centre stage! 🙂

    The normal & specular mapping should rock. I’m sure at times it’s felt like you have had to work with one hand tied behind you back. Now you can realy show us what you can do. Looking forward to it.

  7. Comment by jwilly | 05/30/07 at 9:53 pm

    What does specular mapping assume for the position of the light source(s)?

    What does your specular mapping do under “night” conditions, or when skies are depicted as clouded-over??

  8. Comment by Bryan N. | 05/31/07 at 12:11 am

    Q – What does specular mapping assume for the position of the light source(s)?

    A – Their implementation should be directional rather than position+direction based. It can be calculated either way in OpenGL but directional is a little faster. So in theirs it should just take the already available sun/moon direction.

    What does your specular mapping do under “night” conditions, or when skies are depicted as clouded-over??

    A – Theoretically… during ‘night’ the intensity of the light is much less, so it should work as expected. For cloudy conditions the exponent value for the spec would have to reduce in some way to be accurate, but that shouldn’t be terribly difficult to do in a sane world.

    Bruce, he is giving you a spec/gloss map slot I hope and not just per pixel spec highlights for the normal map to work correctly. I’m assuming so based on your post but we artists tend to completely butcher proper terminology lol.

  9. Comment by Toto | 05/31/07 at 5:39 am

    Yeah, ain’t that the truth.

    From what I understand, he is giving us another map slot; diffuse, normal bump, specular.

    Bryan pretty much answered your questions jwilly. Specularity is “built in” the map…and the artists assume directional lighting.
    At night, the specularity is not as prevalent, so the same conditions will apply as far as the material’s (or object’s) specularity, of course muted to some extent.

    Here is a link to a good example of the different maps usually associated with a good model. Color = Diffuse, You can also sub out the bump with a normal, and the displacement map shown actually would displace the geometry of the model, rather than give the illusion of displacement like a regular bump does. That’s the cool thing about parallax mapping..it actually displaces geometry on a 256 color scale.

  10. Comment by Thunder | 06/04/07 at 5:59 pm

    Nice, I know that feature has been requested for .. well .. a while. Since I was there 🙂

  11. Comment by zebbeee | 06/07/07 at 9:53 am

    And the day we have spotlights, how will it handle this ? Today we only have the moon and the sun, but imagine the future…

  12. Comment by Toto | 06/08/07 at 9:45 pm

    Spotlights. I would assume those to be like any other light…they are dynamic in the engine. They would affect the model according to it’s normal and specular map.

  13. Comment by Toto | 06/08/07 at 9:46 pm

    Heya Thunder..how goes it? Are you filthy rich yet?

  14. Comment by Darren Rowse | 04/11/08 at 12:11 am

    My opinion is that this website is one of those, created for people with a low intellect level, with a stupidest points of view ever. Seems like only retards gathered together here, to discuss their retarded thoughts. Just read there comments! Man! It’s hilarious. They all act like kids in kindergarten, but kids are even smarter!

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