“The steady advancement of computer graphics, and par ticularly of real-time rendering technology, is the reason for major improvements in 3D-graphics used in interactive entertainment. The visual representation of a game is an important part of the “gameplay-gestalt” – which means a player’s complete gaming experience.
Digital lights and shadows contribute significantly to the expressive value of graphics in a game. The lighting-process of a level for a next-gen game can take up to a few months because the interactive nature of a game creates very different conditions for lighting than other media. Nevertheless, a well-lit environment can considerably improve a game’s immersive quality, which is crucial for the player’s “aesthetic experience”. In a state of complete immersion, that involves concentration and mental undistractedness, a game will evoke the player’s emotions, which is a very high objective for game development.
Entrancing the viewer has also been a goal of painters for hundreds of years.
Light in painting has been used to create the most stunning masterpieces in history, so this thesis makes an approach of exploring the phenomena of light and shadow in painting and applying them to today’s ar tistic challenges in simulated illumination for games. A thorough knowledge of historical and technical backgrounds of painting and game-lighting creates the foundation for a differentiated discussion about the conception of light aesthetics in games. The assumption this thesis is based on, is that the two very different media, painting and games, show parallels and intersections in terms of light, and that game ar tists can indeed learn from closely observing the use of light and shadow in the paintings of the great old masters.
This thesis correlates with the master’s graduation project “SIDELIVES”, a third person action game. A great part of the generated knowledge was acquired by practically testing and creating level lighting, while the findings of the research conversely benefitted to the development of the game.”