How Light Comes Alive in Dying Light on PS4

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How Light Comes Alive in Dying Light on PS4
How Light Comes Alive in Dying Light on PS4

Hi, I’m Maciej Jamrozik, the Lead Technical Artist at Techland, developer of the upcoming first-person, action survival-horror game Dying Light.

Light and shadow play a crucial role in Dying Light. They affect not only the gameplay and its day-and-night cycle, but also the visuals.

This video illustrates how the game uses a physically-based lighting system, which means that light is generated in accordance to the actual laws of physics. This in turn assures that lighting looks convincing and cohesive, regardless of the conditions and surroundings. It’s especially important as Dying Light features a variety of locations and environments, from open spaces to claustrophobic rooms, as well as a range of weather conditions and changing time of day.

One of the most important parameters of indirect lighting is “roughness,” which defines the level of smoothness and dullness of a surface. Implementing our new physics model eliminated the limitation of using only preset groups of materials, which translates to much more varied and faithful representations of materials in the game. Our artists now have full freedom over the level of roughness on objects, and can save the result in a form of texture.

Dying Light, 05Dying Light, 06

On PS4, we use the console’s additional horsepower to generate dynamic reflections. Similarly, they make use of the “roughness” to diffuse and reduce the impact of the specular reflection. It helps render the given material in the most realistic way possible.

Dying Light boasts a dynamic weather system, together with a real-time passage of time. That’s why indirect lighting data, which is stored in so called environment light probes, has to change according to the current weather and the time of day. These two factors can change independently. That’s why we compute the Spherical Harmonix function offline for all weather conditions and times of day, and then it is dynamically interpolated in the game.

The physically based lighting model influenced what all wet surfaces look like. When it’s raining, wet surfaces get increasingly shiny through the modification of the roughness parameter. We emphasize that weather conditions, like time of day, change gradually, and it applies also to all wet surfaces. As a result, a surface becomes wet only if it is actually exposed to rain.

Dying Light, 02

Another field directly improved by the new physics model is water. It’s a crucial feature, since Dying Light allows the player to swim and dive. Water in the game can have varied levels of transparency, which affects light diffusion. Moreover, water has an effect on all objects immersed in it. We modify the parameter of roughness so that they look wet, but only to the point of immersion. The rest above the water level remains dry.

All the above improvements, and many other changes, are to make sure that Dying Light will deliver an unprecedented visual fidelity that will surprise you with its level of realism. Next year, when you’re leaping between roofs and trying to lose the zombie horde behind you, take a moment to appreciate all the great lighting effects around you.

Just don’t stop for too long — zombie bites hurt!

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4 Author Replies

  • Release date?

  • if you need a job try this site JOBS61 (dot)COM. Dan does it at home and makes $17.90 hourly just sitting and typing stuff all day…No experience needed too

  • Damn spam

  • Wow, a spammer, I’m almost surprised this is the first one I’ve seen on here.

    Anyway, is there a release window for Dying Light yet? At least what quarter you plan on putting it out in? The game sounds pretty good.

    • Hi, everyone.
      I’m glad that you liked the article and are so excited about our game :)
      Currently the release window is next year, 2014, and really there isn’t much more I can tell you now. But, hey, 2014 isn’t that far away after all ;)

  • Cant wait for a good horror game

  • Improvements in fidelity and polish like this are exactly what I think will define this next generation of games. Can’t wait!

  • @ 1 its april 1st of 2014 for release date……also im looking to getting this game and and cant wait because im looking forward to playing it since im into playing games that involve zombies

  • @7

    The release date hasn’t been announced yet. Anywhere saying April 1st is using that as a placeholder date.

  • looks interesting. cant wait

  • Release date

  • i know some of those words! and I also can’t wait for this game, it’s looking better every time I see it!

  • Wow, and hours later the spam is still there. Where’s the moderation?

  • This game NEEDS stereoscopic 3D support!

  • Omg I CANNOT WAIT for this game!!

  • looks amazing so far! hopefully they release it by the second quarter of 2014!

  • I’m so down for this game can’t wait


  • How long will this game be?

    How will the co-op sessions work?

    Size of disc on PS4?

    60fps or 30fps?

    • Dying Light is an open-world game filled with main quests, side quests, a variety of random encounters, collectibles and much more. So it’s quite hard to tell how long out game will be, but I can guarantee at least tens of hours of exciting gameplay :)

      As the game is still work in progress, please understand that the rest of your question have yet to wait for their answers ;)

  • This game will be a day one/ preorder for me!!!
    Im loving my PS4 and its new browser… Too bad I cant view the video thats posted here. Some I can see but the ones like this one I cant. Bummer…

    I am not a big fan of first-person games, but I’m getting used to it because I loved Battlefield 3

    anyway… I hope you will use the PS4 sensor in order to aim more accurately just like on the PS Vita!! This feature is great for shooters.. I really hope to see it works with the upcoming shooters – it helps a lot!!!

    and I love DYING LIGHT

  • Czesc Maciej, game looks great so far. You guys clearly know how to make a beautiful game. Where does it take place? It looks like it might be South America or southern Europe, which would make sense for showing off pretty lighting effects, but it would be awesome to have an expansion take place in the ruins of Katowice or some other Polish city.

    • Hi :)

      As you probably already know, the game is set in Harran, a fictional European city where the East meets the West. It’s a kind of a melting pot, where ancient history collides with modern civilization. You can easily guess what our inspirations were. And Istanbul woudn’t be a bad guess ;) But still, we don’t set the game in any particular country or actual city, which gives us creative freedom.

  • Fantastic looking game, and I’m sure it will have great gameplay! Glad I bought a PS4 this time around!

  • As long as they keep improving the already solid gameplay and progression of the previous versions of this game and keep the co-op I’m all for it!

  • is the multi player going to be the same as dead island riptide?

    • Yes and no.
      It depends what you mean. Generally speaking, the multiplayer will be a 4-player cooperative mode, which is indeed a similar case to DI: Riptide. However, on a less basic level, it will be a new experience. We’re giving players a lot more freedom as to how they cooperate, what they do in the game world, what startegies they adopt.

      What’s more, this time around, we’re preparing an additional competitive multiplayer mode.

  • I assume I missed the point because I didn’t see anything impressive that I haven’t seen in other games.

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