MLB 09 The Show – Lighting Explained

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Hello all, my name is Patrick Hager, I’m the lead graphics programmer and I’m here to fill in some more info on lighting in MLB 09 The Show.

Lighting was a major focus for us this year, and we implemented a Global Lighting model. What does that mean? It means that objects are lit by their surroundings. It means that when players are in shadow, they can still get light from the sunlight hitting the dirt just beyond the shadow’s edge, or a bright wall behind them. It means that in stadiums, red floors cast red light on neighboring objects. It is another step towards that realism we all want in our baseball game.

How do we do all this? Well, I can’t give away our secrets, but I can give you an overview of our lighting model. There are several steps we take to make each image, and we make 60 of these images every second.

MLB 09 The Show - SF Comp

Starting with the stadium:

  • We begin by tracing direct sunlight into the scene, with detailed shadows.
  • We render a sky (without a sun), then use this sky to add the indirect sky light to the scene.
  • We then trace the sunlight’s path as it bounces off the ground and stadium. When sunlight hits a surface, it takes on that surface color, bounces off, and lights objects around it. We add that indirect light into the scene.
  • We do the same with the crowd (up to 50,000 people lit in place!)
  • All of these steps are done in HDR (high dynamic range), and tone mapped into our final frame.

The players are handled in a similar way. They are lit by the sun, the sky, the stadium, and the ground around them. They also sample the environment to get reflections and gloss energy. The goal is to always make the player feel like he belongs to the world around him.

MLB 09 The Show - Pedroia Face Comp

Pictures are worth a thousand words, so I’ll just let them speak for themselves. Scroll through the filmstrip images to see all the step-by-step (click on them to download full resolution). I hope you are as excited about this year’s lighting as we are, and have a blast with MLB 09 The Show!

MLB 09 The Show - WAS Comp MLB 09 The Show - Pedroia Slide Comp

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67 Comments

  • This is the only game I will pay full price. Where is the best place to pre-order…I want the hat!

    • No cap this year. This year we went with a $25 d/l music card. Great opp for guys to build their personalized soundtrack.

  • I can’t wait to get it!

  • I am getting this game day one.

  • The graphics in this game are sick.

  • When we unlock hall of fame players please add them to our free agency so we can add them to teams in our already running franchise and careers. We want to be playing our career or franchise and when we unlock hall of fame players we want to have them added to free agents list so we can put them on teams. We don’t want to have to start over a new franchise to use unlocked players. Please let us use your updated rosters you put out in our already running franchise etc. We don’t wanna have to start over again each time we download an updated roster. I know you can do this, you just need time I guess. Please let us buy an add-on classic stadium pack with stadiums like Ebbetts Fields, Polo Grounds, Kingdome, etc. Then please let us play in them during our franchise and career etc. I’d like to put the Yankees in polo grounds and seattle in the kingdome. I’d even put the yankees in the kingdome and seattle in polo. Have the old detroit stadium from the 80’s please. thanks.

  • This will be my first baseball game since Triple Play 98!

  • Speaking of Triple Play 98 that was the best game ea ever produced baseball wise so much stats and pictures.Baseball has a new crown……best baseball games by era somewhat
    1993? Hardball 3 Genesis even with fake names game was good where else could u make a pixel logo?
    1998-Triple Play
    2005 DEFINATELY Allstar baseball i mean the have options 40 man rule 5 draft and classic stadiums as well as baseball cards
    2007 MLB 2k7
    and now folks
    2009 MLB THE SHOW …..looks like they took cues from acclaims asb 05 now we need classic stadiums Detroit Stadium.ebbets field.kingdom.municipal stadium..etc heck i bet everyone would pay 10 bux for 10 stadiums…

  • What a great “game”.I’ve played this game many times already and I dont get tired of it.I’ve pre-ordered it already and I cant wait cool…I’m just wondering I dont like the idea of the players not entering the dougout after ending an inning will this still continue on the game or it’s just on the demo. Thanx “Best game ever”

  • Also will the retractable roofs retract on the stadiums which have them.

  • Patrick, the lighting in ’09 is top-notch. While ’08 nonetheless offers considerable realism, the lighting is/was flat. With ’09, because it’s closer to how objects in the real world are lit, everything looks more realistic.

    So we’ve gone from a Rex Hudler, “It doesn’t matter how pretty it is, just drive the run in,” to more of a Dave Campbell, “Oh, Doctor!”

  • already paid for………..killzone feb 27 and the show march 3rd……ps3 we love you. For me anyways this is the greatest not just baseball game but game of all time . If I was stuck on an island this is the game I want. I played more than 1000 games for the show 08 . The DEMO was great………

    • I think I\’m gonna squirt a tear. That was beautiful man! Glad to hear you\’re enjoying the game. Our dev group absolutely appreciates the feedback. Have fun this season.

  • Don’t hate on me too quickly when I say this but I am an xbox guy who just purchased a ps3 for blu ray capability. But, I have played both mlb 09 and 2k9 demos about 10 times each. I feel the overall graphics and presentation win out with 2k9 there is no comparison on gameplay. the show destroys 2k9 and and will be my 1st game purchase on the ps3. Keep up the good work scea.

  • Plus having pedroia on the cover helps. GO SOX!!

  • what happend to the Clock at the stadium it always point to 2:30 ??? is it going to be fixed?? hope hope… that’s like the only thing i notice… :(

  • Uh Mah Gawd… I have a dual man-crush: on the graphics guys for SCEA that developed this game, and on the game itself.

    I’ve played ’07 for two years now, waiting – patiently, mind you – for the next edition, and Sony, as always, comes up with EXACTLY what we needed as baseball gamers. The developers and graphic geniuses never fail to deliver.

    I was smitten with Madden ’09 and the Create-A-Superstar game mode (if you’ve yet to try it, you MUST), but I’ve been craving another RTTS… now I just hope I can get my player to the bigs and get a chance to play alongside one of the all-time greats – Griffey – before he retires! Go M’s!!!

  • nepats – no one will hate on you for having an x-box. Monoposoft has worked with some great game developers and has worked out some very beneficial licensing deals.

  • MLB The Show is by far the best baseball game out there. Thanks for all your hard work, fellas! GO DODGERS!

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