I’ve decided that putting gpu power towards approximating indirect lighting not limited by screen space would be a better idea than spending processing on variable penumbra shadows. The performance hit is about the same. I also feel that it removes the need for SSAO.
The method is quite simple, blend a normal shadow map with a very very blurred version of the same shadow map and some great area light/indirect lighting effects are achieved. Even the leaves in trees have a radiosity/sub-surface scattering appearance to them.
The goal of this lighting change is a more realistic appearance in Minecraft’s lighting on small and large scales. Note the beautiful effect it has on this great Mirror’s Edge map that I found via google. Whoever built that is brilliant, by the way.
With a little more adjusting I’ll probably release this version as an experimental set of shaders that people can use/test.
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