Assisted environment probe placement
Matthäus G. Chajdas, Andreas Weis, Rüdiger Westermann
Technische Universität München
Placing probes for environment maps is a tedious and time-consuming task for current game developers. In particular, locating the significant places for reflection requires the artists to manually scan through a whole game level. Even then, probes may wind up being too similar and have to be cleaned up manually later on. Furthermore, the whole process needs to be repeated when the content changes.
We propose a novel algorithm which assists the artist when placing environment map probes. Based on the original game content, we produce a set of candidate locations for inspection by an artist. By setting a few parameters like sampling density and aggressiveness of probe elimination, the overall number of generated sample probes can be easily adjusted. All of this requires only a short preprocess which can be done using the available in-game renderer.
From the generated sample set, the artist can decide which locations are important, add or remove probes manually and adjust the placement to account for supplemental, content-specific parameters. Our initial probe placement, together with additional information computed by our algorithm, allows the artist to place probes more efficiently. Early user testing indicates that the total time can be reduced by up to half a day for a single game level.