Dynamic shadows

i tried to test the shadow system in the game, and apparently there arent really one atm. i was watching some gameplay of sky saga (sorry to compare games) and something that really amazed me was the lighting system, the shadows reacted logically on their environment like this:

youtube is down so i have to use skyrim instead

any possiblity of you guys making shadows like this?


Exactly what I was thinking.

I imagine there will be considering how much effort has been put into the visual effects of the game.

1 Like

So are there any plans for dynamic shadows @ben @james ? I really hope so because I think shadows are very important for the atmosphere of games :slight_smile:

I had forgotten i had this thread.

This would be great but shadows seem to be a cause of performance drops, other than that they are great

We’ve thought a little about including shadows in the game. The question is to what extent are they included and ultimately what shadows what.

  • Do characters cast shadows onto the landscape?
  • Do characters cast shadows onto each other?
  • Does the landscape cast shadows onto the landscape?
  • Which light source do you cast shadows from? The sun? Torches? Gleam blocks?
  • How much do you respect the direction of sun light when casting shadows?

Because the environment can be remade by players it’s extremely difficult to built a true solution. (Huge walls would cast shadows across the entire map at dusk and dawn - as an example. What if this wall isn’t loaded, but should be casting a shadow over the player?) So ultimately any solution will be a subset of conditions that the system respects. Beyond this there will be visual glitches. The question is how well you can minimise and hide the glitches from players.

So shadows are on the todo list as a nice to have, but not a high priority.


are shadows made differently from lights? you have blocks that emit light, can’t there be blocks that emit shadow? would it work like that?

Maybe a shading instead of a calculated shadow map would be interesting. For example - A block side which is not directly shined on upon by the sun or moon could simply have a darker texture. The blocky style or grid system would allow a cellshading effect quite “easily”. I’m no programmer, but I believe it would not cosnume as much system ressources as it does in other games with realistic shadows.
If the sun rises above an object the sidewise darker texture could simply smooth into a a lighter texture. Like an alpha-blending(?).

Anybody familiar with SEUS shaders for Minecraft can testify to just how much visual impact proper shaders can make to voxel games, but also at a massive cost to performance. It takes a beast of a machine to properly run shaders without impacting playability.


Most possibly because each visible object of dirt stone or gleam is rendered as a (non movable) sprite. It’s not just the surface which contains information like color data or bump mapping. It is also outline variables of the edges of a block (block corner points are not aligned symmetrically, although there should not be much of a difference in data than when being aligned to an absolute grid), and the position of a voxel (be it the outlining points, or a whole block itself) also needs to be saved, processed and partially kept in RAM.

Shadows cast onwards the landscape or voxelscape and onto objects could be fascinating. Also could be confusing because one might misinterpret this visual information as a new texture or rare material.
If there were different type of sun colors, the world also could be bathed into different shades of light during the day. Maybe a more intense day night cycle than it already is in regards of the lighting.
I also had the idea of shadows being not just a darker tone of the texture the shadow is projected on. Instead a grey or black shadow tone of the existing texture, it could be just the opposite (mellow white shaded color, or lighter tone). Sounds unlogical or unreasonable maybe, or not according to nature, but it could be a visual experiment.
If there were two suns in a system and both come up at the same time on a planet, their sunray colour could add up mixing, and setting the world into a unique ambience; with, for example extra harsh landscape shadow contrast (very bright landscape \ very dark shadows), which could make things visible in the shadows, like glowing things (this system already applies to magical flying particles) or flowers which glow at night.

1 Like