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godescalcus

SSE light sources casting no shadows

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Some (most?) light souces seem to not cast any shadows at all and light halos aren't occluded even by walls or platforms, making everything look out of place... Here are examples at the East Empire Company warehouse.

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Makes everything look hideous especially when compared to other situations where everything seems to work as it should:

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Even actors cast their proper shadows. Most of the shadows look right, definitely better than on the previous images. I did some reading and got that there's an ini line, iNumFocusShadow= that can't be set to a number higher than 4. Does that mean that in a cell with more than 4 light sources only 4 will cast shadows? How are they picked, at random? Why don't actors cast shadows in most situations? Can this be fixed?

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It means that all interior cells are limited to no more than 4 shadow casting light sources. Exceed that, and you'll start getting them turning off as you're not facing in their direction. So any additional lighting has to be satisfied by non-shadow sources.

It's a problem they fixed on the FO4 engine but didn't backport for SSE unfortunately.

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There also is another limit in that no object may be lit by more than x light sources at the same time (where x = 4, as far as I remember). Place more and you will get strange glitches.

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I tried a little patch in xEdit to make more light sources in the game shadow-casting. You can imagine the absolute mess. Who turned off the lights?

I guess a good dungeon/interior design will use shadow-casting lights instead of torches to make things more dramatic, and use corridor twists and turns to avoid flicker... That East Empire Company warehouse mega-cave looks like a rushed job.

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What Sclerocephalus mentioned is also dependent on the mesh. If the interior is modular and composed of many pieces, like Whiterun interiors. then it isn't as big of a deal. Whereas places like Riften or farmhouse interiors will be a pain because the entire interior is either one large piece or made up of very large sections.

Using room bounds to restrict things doesn't seem to help either.

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I tried loading a small mine to mod for testing if it would be possible to make a lighting overhaul mod with shadows in mind. I use a combination of ELE+ELFX and a "tailored" RS that looks usually great - except that not enough attention was given to shadows and they make such a huge difference. The problem with my attempt so far is that the game uses multiple objects for light, it's like having lighting fixtures and light bulbs and I don't know what else. I just wanted to copy one light source as a new record and add the omnidirectional shadow flag, then copy the record that places that light source in the mine as override and reference the modified light source - but I still have some reading to do, apparently. Thanks for the articles, I'll read them.

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For LE, there was also a Skyrim Project Optimization that blocked light going through some walls. It was for frame rates, but seemed to me to improve my visual expectations. When last I looked, it hadn't been ported to SE.

If you want to see a really bad example, sit inside the Windhelm bridge at night, and watch the light sources move with the guards through the floor above. That's some very translucent stonework. Also, there are more than 4 shadow casting lights, so as you walk around lights flicker on and off.

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The only lighting mod I use is Relighting Skyrim SE, a lot of nice changes to make things look better than vanilla light placement.

I think there was one mod which overcame some big interior issues by splitting up the whole building into two big meshes instead of one (I think it was CandleHearth Hall in Windhelm) allowing for them to add a shadow caster or two beyond the normal limitation.

Skyrim Project Optimisation SE is all about Occlusion Culling Planes, and mostly affects internal areas to gain FPS. Attempts were made to use them outdoors a bit but it was found they can have a bad negative impact outdoors if you are in a position to be behind one occlusion plane, which in turn is lined up with being behind another occlusion plane in the distance = You go down to something like a quarter of the FPS you had without them. So the idea was binned (by the original LE author), because Bethesda have already put in place occlusion culling planes where they could in outdoors areas. The new SE author said he was going to have another look when asked by someone in the comments, but I know the original LE author RGabriel spent a lot of time looking at every area in the game and did a thorough job of deciding where occlusion culling planes could best be used. Right now after it was converted I think its already as good as it will ever be, although I dont know for sure if it was taken through the SE CK as part of the process.

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