Dark Souls 2 Lighting changes/Downgrade

Arkanius

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Jun 14, 2010
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I'm right now playing the PS3 version of the game.

It is true: The game doesn't look good at all. One of the main problems I've encountered so far (been playing for an hour) is the notorious inconsistency of the color palette in the environments. This is a problem that I never encountered in the original Dark Souls. The first game was always coherent. You were either traversing evergreen forests with blueish patches of water, sunlight bathed cathedrals, greyish halls and corridors, dark wooden areas, etc. I never found any contradictions.

Dark Souls 2 looks hideous because it breaks the visual style that characterized the prequel. The tutorial area is a
multi branched forest
that has patches of green moss randomly placed on light grey corridors. There's sconces scattered everywhere that serve absolutely no purpose because the ambient light saturates your surroundings.

There are too many colors going on at the same time. I've found brown, gray, green, blue, orange, black and white and I'm yet to leave the area. It's just way too much going on. Your character's skin tone contrasts your own clothes/armor big deal and it doesn't blend within the environment.

It's several steps down in quality when you put it side by side to the original.

(Will share more impressions as I keep going.)
The use of colour was a promise of theirs though. Some people complained that Dark Souls was monocolour in certain areas.
They probably overdid it though.
 

Big_Al

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Feb 15, 2013
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The thing that has me wondering is if From Software properly changed the colour palette or just quickly changed it so close to release to brighten it that it's fucked with the balance in the rest of the game.

From anyone that's playing it does it feel like the games initial mechanic of using torch or shield in the darkness has been compromised ? It just seemed such a big part of the game going into pitch black areas that it makes me wonder if/how much they compromised for the last generation.
 

Garcia

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The use of colour was a promise of theirs though. Some people complained that Dark Souls was monocolour in certain areas.
They probably overdid it though.
I finally got out of the first area and reached the main hub
Majula
. The difference is staggering; it looks beautiful. . .

I suppose this is what everyone means when they say the game moves from one beautiful area to a terrible looking one. I just experienced the first notorious transition of quality and it's just been over an hour.
 
Aug 22, 2013
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The thing that has me wondering is if From Software properly changed the colour palette or just quickly changed it so close to release to brighten it that it's fucked with the balance in the rest of the game.

From anyone that's playing it does it feel like the games initial mechanic of using torch or shield in the darkness has been compromised ? It just seemed such a big part of the game going into pitch black areas that it makes me wonder if/how much they compromised for the last generation.
No real pitch black areas in my game, with the in game brightness turned all the way off.
The demo that showed going down the staircase into the darkness. Yeah it's not like that at all.
 

Ahasverus

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When I said "the missing lightning" I meant stuff like the torches and the ambient lightning they produce which is missing on the columns in this GIF:



But you are right, the lighting changes completely kill the mood and atmosphere they achieved in the Demo.

Look at the ground in those GIFs, the orange casted light is completely missing from the Retail, and thats just a small example of all the stuff they took out for some reason.
HOly mother of God that's 2006 right there. Stop blaming the Last gen consoles, they surpassed this yeeeeears ago. For shame.
 

Garcia

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From anyone that's playing it does it feel like the games initial mechanic of using torch or shield in the darkness has been compromised ? It just seemed such a big part of the game going into pitch black areas that it makes me wonder if/how much they compromised for the last generation.
I encountered more than 10 sconces in the tutorial area, yet I didn't have to light any. You can perfectly see around you.
 

Soriku

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Aug 22, 2012
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Early/mid game spoilers below that highlight how detrimental the lighting changes are:

in No Man's Wharf, there is a giant torch you can light hanging from the ceiling by using a Pharros Lockstone. Considering this is one of the first truly brutal areas of the game, finding this giant torch would basically be a momentous, triumphant step forward, as it lights the whole area. With the original lighting I imagine this could have been a pretty iconic moment, as it would have bathed a huge pitch-black area in firelight.

As it stands, though, it makes a few enemies slightly annoyed at the fire and back off a bit. It's a total waste of a Lockstone. You can see everything without torches, so lighting the giant one is pointless.
You should've just turned off your TV and navigated that way
 

epmode

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Jun 7, 2004
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Is the PC version affected by any of these downgrades?
There's no official word besides a vague tweet stating that the PC version will have improvements over the console versions. From/Namco haven't acknowledged the downgrades either.
 

JoeFenix

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Nov 17, 2005
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That isn't really significant at all if you didn't know anything about the game's lighting. Somebody that wasn't obsessively following the preview material would likely pass it off as a game quirk. Remember this is a game from a series that allows you to pour stats irreversibly into all sorts of useless stuff.

Don't get me wrong, it is bullshit, but it's only bullshit because you pay attention to pre-release game materials.
It's obvious right away that this mechanic is worthless but meant to be more than it is. You don't have to have obsessed over previews to figure it out quickly. It's a part of the game that was essentially gutted but the remnants of it are constantly in your face.
 

koryuken

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Feb 25, 2010
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HOly mother of God that's 2006 right there. Stop blaming the Last gen consoles, they surpassed this yeeeeears ago. For shame.
Graphics wise, its pretty crazy that we had games like Killzone 2&3, God of War, the Last of Us, Halo 4 and then in the final breath of the consoles, we get Dark Souls 2. Granted that I am comparing 1st party to 3rd party, but still... the difference in graphics is absolutely monumental. I know that Xbox360 and PS3 are more than capable of handling MUCH higher fidelity titles. I think (nm, I know) that the technical side of programming is not one of FROM's strong areas.
 

Kieli

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Aug 11, 2013
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I personally believe that Namco or From is delaying PC version to prevent piracy once the PC version hits (this is my personal opinion; I'm not looking to convince anyone).

Pirated copy =/= lost sale, but I think they're hoping to force some would-be pirates to buckle and pay for the console versions. I don't think their real aim is to reel in double-dippers.
 

Ghazi

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Jul 23, 2012
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is it even possible to turn on the lighting/shadowing through a patch??
I'm pretty sure it isn't. Doesn't matter, at this point I believe they only had the lighting working for the demo portions and stuck with their original plan for the rest of the game, then the main team made the demo portions like the rest (a B team probably made the demo).
 
Apr 27, 2011
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is it even possible to turn on the lighting/shadowing through a patch??
I don't see why not, it's apparently running on the same engine we saw in the beta. It would be quite a patch and not as simple as just turning them on, but yeah. Either way, I don't see this happening.
 

EatinOlives

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Oct 23, 2011
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I finally got out of the first area and reached the main hub
Majula
. The difference is staggering; it looks beautiful. . .

I suppose this is what everyone means when they say the game moves from one beautiful area to a terrible looking one. I just experienced the first notorious transition of quality and it's just been over an hour.
As you mentioned before, lighting has a giant effect on the way that the rest of the environment looks, color-wise. If the greens, oranges, blues, or what have you were meant to be in dark places, with the torch's warm yellow light flooding over the room, that's going to have an effect on the color of the original textures. If you gut that lighting and hastily up the ambient lighting everywhere, it won't look anywhere near the same.

I wouldn't be surprised if the hideous-looking areas were supposed to be pitch-black ones. I'd wager those are the areas where the color palette was designed for them to look well with the torch light over them, and they obviously didn't go back to retexture the areas if they didn't even bother removing vestigial torches in the actual levels.
 

zkylon

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I personally believe that Namco or From is delaying PC version to prevent piracy once the PC version hits (this is my personal opinion; I'm not looking to convince anyone).

Pirated copy =/= lost sale, but I think they're hoping to force some would-be pirates to buckle and pay for the console versions. I don't think their real aim is to reel in double-dippers.
probably a bit of both.
 

Garcia

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Oct 5, 2006
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The game is so visually inconsistent it really breaks any sense of immersion. The exteriors of
Majula
look really pretty, while the house interiors are sub par. You walk through dark corridors and suddently stumble upon highly illuminated trees. It really makes no sense at all.

Several parts look too cartoonish and oversaturated. Too much green followed by too much brown.
 

TheGrue

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Jun 17, 2005
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Did that @EpicNameBro guy every explain what he meant about his response to the lighting downgrade?

As for the downgrade itself, I don't care too much. The game is a Souls game and I have the brightness turned down enough that honestly in the first caves you go to, I couldn't see that great without using the torch. I definitely don't come to the games for graphics. I mean, I wish it had looked like the demo and such, yeah, but I imagine they probably had to cut it down for performance reasons.
 

epmode

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Jun 7, 2004
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I wouldn't mind as much if it was just a graphics change. But this is tied right into the way the game is played.
 

jimmypython

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Nov 27, 2010
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Just for fun:

the full lighting system will be unlocked for the NG+ to boost difficulty..... - if it were a Kojima game
 

doofy102

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Nov 21, 2013
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I wonder if it's been toned down since all the new B-roll footage we saw in January? A 3-way comparison between the E3, January, and release versions of Mirror Knight would be a good way to test this hypothesis.
This has been done for the area in the reveal footage. It's like watching a step-by-step downgrade.

It goes: reveal footage - massive removal of textures and polygons from the environments - January footage - removal of pitch blackness/torchlight loses lots of lighting effects - retail
 
Jun 6, 2010
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Found footage of the mansion of the dragons. There's no way anybody anywhere can't claim this game hasn't been completely gutted. Just look at this shit, LOOK AT THIS SHIT:






































LOOK AT THE PLAYER'S SHADOW



 

UnrealEck

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Jan 29, 2013
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is it even possible to turn on the lighting/shadowing through a patch??
Very possible. The realtime lighting is part of the graphics engine. I doubt they went and changed the instructions for the lighting system much if at all. It would make more sense to simply turn them off.

All I can say is that if the PC version looks like those screenshots above (of the currently released build) I won't be buying it.
 

Ghazi

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Jul 23, 2012
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That is seriously disgusting what happened to that section, ugh.


Also, I see that screen tearing haha.
 
Feb 27, 2013
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I'm not saying there isn't a downgrade, but it's hardly fair when you're posting shots that have been compressed to hell and back. Check out this post for better representation of how the game actually looks.
 
Jun 6, 2010
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I'm not saying there isn't a downgrade, but it's hardly fair when you're posting shots that have been compressed to hell and back. Check out this post for better representation of how the game actually looks.
Sure, compression completely changes the lighting, shadows, particle effects, textures and geometry of a level...



Of course, both videos are quite compressed so it's not an unfair comparison at all.
 

FaintDeftone

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Oct 1, 2012
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If the PC version truly does include the original lighting system, I will easily double dip and buy the PC version.
 

Kai Dracon

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Jun 7, 2004
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I am greatly enjoying the game but I will say: if the PC version looks like those shots (with better resolution and IQ taken into account) it seems to confirm the theory that the public was never shown a real game at any point. And a separate team worked on crafting a vertical slice that was bigger and more playable than most, full of not just better lighting but unique level geometry and visual assets.
 

Havel

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Sep 27, 2013
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Found footage of the mansion of the dragons. There's no way anybody anywhere can't claim this game hasn't been completely gutted. Just look at this shit, LOOK AT THIS SHIT:
Holy lord.

I mean that's not even SUBTLE, that's like a whole different game.

plz PC version.
 

Altazor

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Nov 9, 2009
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my reaction to this latest bunch of screens, perfectly summed by Cedric Daniels (as played by Lance Reddick)

 

Branduil

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Sep 20, 2006
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Excellent Eriador
Yeah this shows why the issue isn't just one of "worse graphics." By gutting the lighting at the last minute, they've completely destroyed their own art direction and with it, the carefully planned mood.