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Paralee Harris Group

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Henry Yakushev
Henry Yakushev

Fallout New Vegas Shadows [UPDATED]


Weird I can't believe the world in FNV casts 0 shadow, like not even from a single dynamic light (the sun). I understand why they would remove them from console versions to cut on GPU costs, but this is a baseline visual effect that is essential in most games, at least allow it in the Ultra settings for PC. I asked about this to my Technical Art Director today and he was perplexed as well. The only thing that casts shadows in this game are you and NPCs/creatures around you, using a separate lighting model to achieve this. Doesn't that end up being a useless feature when everything else looks out of place? The world as it is looks flat at lacks volume, dynamically cast shadows from the skybox would have been incredibly beneficial to the overall look of the game, given that the bar is set so low in the asset quality department as it is; or at least have some AO. I still can't figure out how to force Ambient Occlusion in FNV with the nvidia drivers. Oh well, the game is still fun and that's what counts I guess. It's just a shame, such a relatively simple and essential graphical feature would have helped bump up the visuals by a massive amount.




Fallout New Vegas Shadows



I don't believe I've ever seen world-cast shadows in a Gamebryo engine game (but I haven't played that many of them). The shadows in Oblivion were just a faked texture projection effect (but interestingly Bethesda said at one point they had real time shadow mapping for the trees but it was too intensive). I do enjoy a good universal shadow mapping system as titles such as Red Dead Redemption implement. Most games (virtually all games) don't really use the lighting model in shadowing these days. Sometimes the illusion is well made. That is you really wouldn't need dynamic lighting to have shadows.


Nah. No shadows in the world in Oblivion or Fallout 3. Why would there be in New Vegas? edit: wait I do seem to remember an ini tweak that allowed them in oblivion now that I think of it. But wow did it ever look awful. Want aweomse thick shadows? Play STALKER. In fact play STALKER regardless. At all times. Ever. Use the nvidia Inspector tool to force Fallout 3's ambient occlusion in NV or Oblivion. I used to use nHancer but the new drivers broke it and the devs don't care to update it.


" I don't believe I've ever seen world-cast shadows in a Gamebryo engine game (but I haven't played that many of them). The shadows in Oblivion were just a faked texture projection effect (but interestingly Bethesda said at one point they had real time shadow mapping for the trees but it was too intensive). I do enjoy a good universal shadow mapping system as titles such as Red Dead Redemption implement. Most games (virtually all games) don't really use the lighting model in shadowing these days. Sometimes the illusion is well made. That is you really wouldn't need dynamic lighting to have shadows. "


The engine is capable of it, but it was taken out prior to the release of Oblivion because it was supposedly too demanding at the time, so shadows were only enabled for NPCs and some objects but not the world as a whole. My guess is that it has never been re-enabled due to consoles being their primary target. Still, modders have enabled it in Oblivion so it's likely it could be enabled in the FO games too.


On top of that exciting development, they've finally merged in support for shadows back into OpenMW which was removed when they switched from Ogre3D to OpenSceneGraph so the next release of OpenMW should be a rather nice one for completeness.


bDeferredShadows toggles deferred rendering of shadows. It is required for bDrawLandShadows and bShadowsOnGrass to work. It is recommended to be enabled. If using ENB, this must be enabled. bDeferredShadows was added with the official 1.6 patch.


bShadowsOnGrass toggles the ability of objects to cast shadows upon grass. The grass itself does not cast shadows. If using ENB, this must be enabled. This may be disabled for a minor performance increase. bShadowsOnGrass was moved from Skyrim.ini to SkyrimPrefs.ini in the official 1.6 patch.


fInteriorShadowDistance sets the distance that shadows are cast from the player while indoors. Wherever no shadows are cast, the place is put in a perpetual shadow, effectively decreasing the light cast indoors. See fShadowDistance for the outdoor shadow distance.


fShadowBiasScale sets the depth bias of the shadows applied to surfaces. Low values reduce peter-panning (detached shadows), but causes more shadow acne (AKA shadow striping). Slightly higher values increases the depth angle slightly, causing far less shadow acne. Extremely high values eventually remove shadows completely. Negative values remove the shadow depth bias progressively until everything around the player is covered in shadow, effectively removing the lighting around the player. It is recommended to be set to 1. ENB users using ENB shadows may safely reduce it, but should realize that doing so seems to cause the shadows to be more pronounced and create a darker atmosphere.


fShadowDistance sets the distance that shadows are cast from the player. Increasing this also has the side effect of lowering the resolution of shadows, as the shadow map is stretched across this distance. This may be offset by increasing iShadowMapResolution. It is recommended to be set to 4000 or higher to avoid obvious shadow transitions. 2800 is a good compromise for lower-end systems.


iBlurDeferredShadowMask sets the amount of blurring applied to shadows. It is NOT dependent upon bDeferredShadows being enabled (deferred here means that the blur is applied after the shadows have been rendered). Lower values make sharper shadows. Higher values make softer shadows. Negative values produces the maximum blur level. Lowering this value may help reduce the aura or glow around the player. This should be set to at least 1 if using ENB shadows. For vanilla shadows, this should be set to at least 3 (5 is recommended) to help blur the shadow striping away.


iShadowFilter toggles the shadow filter on and off. If set to a value between 0 and 4, the shadow filter is on. If set to any other value, be it below 0 or above 4, the shadow filter is turned off, which causes buggy shadows that induce CTDs. It is recommended to leave at its default value, since all values between 0 and 4 appear to produce the same result.


iShadowMapResolution sets the resolution of shadows. It can have a significant performance impact if set too high (or if set to 0 or -1). If set to 0, everything will be covered in a global shadow within the fShadowDistance or fInterorShadowDistance, and this is rather performance costly. Negative values (all negative values do the same) produces the maximum shadow resolution and is insanely performance unfriendly. A value of 1 gives the best performance, but quite naturally looks awful unless used in combination with other settings to effectively turn shadows off (see the Skyrim Configuration Settings Guide). Values that are not texture sizes produce flickering shadows (e.g., 1000 will flicker but 1024 will not).


Enable Shadows: When this option is enabled (ticked), Fallout 3 will allow shadows to be displayed. However it appears that there are no environment shadows at all in the game - namely shadows cast by objects. Most objects will react to lighting in a generic way: for example the side of a building facing sunlight will be brighter, while the other side will be darker. But there are no actual object shadows, not even any static shadows, so the only visible impact of enabling or disabling this option is on shadows cast by characters, such as your own shadow when in third person view. Hence while disabling shadows can improve performance, it is primarily only when you're in third person view and/or when there are other characters around. This means that disabling shadows will net you a few more FPS in combat situations, without otherwise noticeably reducing the overall image quality of the game world. Note that if you disable this option then all the remaining shadow-related options under this tab will become disabled as well.


Shadow Quality: If shadows are enabled, this option determines the overall resolution of Shadow Maps used. In practical terms the visual difference is barely noticeable given the sparse use of shadows in the game, so if you want to keep shadows enabled but reduce the FPS impact, lower this setting from High to Medium or Low for a small boost. You can further customize this setting by adjusting the iShadowMapResolution .ini variable as covered in the Advanced Tweaking section.


Shadow Filtering: This option can be set to High, Medium or Low, and controls the way in which the edges of shadows blend with the surroundings. The screenshot comparison above demonstrates the difference - note that at High the shadow edges are very soft and blurry; at Medium they become slightly more distinct; at Low the edges are hard and crisp, which is a bit unrealistic. Lowering this setting will improve FPS when shadows are visible.


The two settings above control the maximum number of shadows which are allowed on screen at any one time. The Max Interior Shadows setting controls, as the name suggests, the maximum number of shadows possible when inside buildings; the Max Exterior Shadows setting controls the maximum shadows cast when outdoors. Lowering the slider(s) will reduce the number of shadows visible on screen in return for a potential increase in FPS in situations where there are multiple characters with visible shadows - in practice this is usually during combat. Where there are more characters than shadows allowed, the shadows cast will actively switch to the character(s) which have moved most recently. Note that you can further adjust the maximum number of interior shadows beyond the limit of 6 by using the iActorShadowCountInt .ini variable, and similarly boost exterior shadows beyond 6 by using the iActorShadowCountExt variable - see the Advanced Tweaking section. 350c69d7ab


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