Definitive list of every game with stencil shadows

Discussion in 'PC Gaming' started by inlimbo, Apr 13, 2017.

  1. inlimbo

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    I'll admit this is a personal obsession, so if anyone thinks this doesn't warrant a thread, feel free to lock it. But I thought it'd be interesting to make a list of every game we can remember that makes extensive use of stencil shadows.

    Part of the reason I want a list of these games is that I'm curious to find uncommon examples of id Tech 4-esque unified light and shadow. But there will be a handful of examples here that don't quite fit that mold, as they rely on some baked occlusion, so really anything goes. Here's a few examples to get things started:

    Severance: Blade of Darkness
    Invisible War
    Thief 3
    Doom 3
    Quake 4
    Prey
    Wolfenstein 2009
    Quake Wars
    Far Cry
    F.E.A.R.
    F.E.A.R. 2
    F.E.A.R. 3, presumably
    Condemned
    Condemned 2
    Escape from Butcher Bay
    The Darkness
    Assault on Dark Athena (correct me if I'm wrong, because I'm not entirely sure)
    S.T.A.L.K.E.R., et all
    TimeShift
    Cryostasis
    The Evil Within (possibly? these could easily be projectors and probably are)
    Sudeki (I think?)
    Bullet Witch?
    Call of Juarez?
    Duke Nukem Forever?
    Dead Effect?

    So what am I missing? I'm unclear what kinds of shadow volumes the first three Splinter Cells use, and for all I know Chaos Theory is all projectors
     
    #1 inlimbo, Apr 13, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2017
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  2. AlBran

    AlBran Ferro-Fibrous
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    Hm... Splinter Cell is definitely not stencil.
     
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  3. inlimbo

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    Yeah, it's shadow buffers in Splinter Cell and Pandora Tomorrow, right? Exclusive to the GeForce 4 Ti or its equivalent hardware around that time...
     
  4. inlimbo

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    I guess we can add Silent Hills 2-4 to the pile
     
  5. Davros

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    didnt ati have a 32bit zbuffer while nvidia had a 24bit zbuffer with 8bit stencil ?
     
  6. inlimbo

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    And Demon's Souls, though that might be pushing it considering how infrequently they're used, comparatively
     
  7. inlimbo

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    I honestly don't know
     
  8. homerdog

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    What does ARMA 3 use? It looks like stencil to me but I'm sure it's not.
     
  9. Blazkowicz

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    Kingpin (1999) for a classic example.
    They're 100% black silhouettes of characters on the ground/floor. Fortunately, the art style allows them to look good. You can enable the same ones in Quake 3 and they look bad in a much brighter game, plus when you're running around and jumping everywhere at 100 mph it becomes apparent the "shadow" is following some weird alien logic.

    Doom 3 when run on grossly underfeatured hardware (no shaders, or maybe non ATI/NVidia card with 1.x shaders) is completely messed up and ugly, but the shadows still work. I thought that was cool, the humans looked like piles of vomit but you could play with the flashlight and the sliding shade in early game's resting area.
     
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  10. inlimbo

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    Looks like ARMA 3 uses a mix of stencil shadows and projectors

    That's interesting and reminds me that, though it never saw the light of day, early trailers for Frame City Killer showed the game almost certainly using stencil shadows -- in UE3, of all things



    and it's possible it went on to use a mix of stencil shadows and shadow maps, since it's hard to tell exactly what it's doing in later trailers
     
  11. inlimbo

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    Add Stolen (2005) to the list
     
  12. swaaye

    swaaye Entirely Suboptimal
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    X2: The Threat

    Tenebrae Quake
     
  13. Dictator

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    I think the early xbox game shrek also used stencil shadows from the sun:
     
  14. inlimbo

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    Yeah, looks like it. God, I wish Shrek had been a better game

    more:

    Cold Fear
    The Dark Mod
    The Xbox port of Shenmue 2
     
    #14 inlimbo, Apr 14, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2017
  15. Jawed

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    I was never really sure what kind of shadows are used in the original Operation Flashpoint:

     
  16. inlimbo

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    ^ I'd say those have gotta be stencil shadows

    I guess we can rule out The Evil Within, unless it uses some kind of software implementation of stencil shadows akin to what was possible on the PS2, but that seems unlikely. So in the case that it's all shadow maps, I'd consider it the closest a modern shadow map implementation's come to replicating the unified look of something like Doom 3. Hopefully MachineGames is working with that fork of id Tech 5/the Void Engine while putting together The New Colossus, because I'd love to see them return to their roots in dynamic lighting, even if it means 30fps on consoles

    edit: though I guess id Tech 6 would suit those purposes just the same, with better results. I do think The Evil Within edges out Doom 2016 in lighting, but I'm guessing that's in part due to the latter's push for 60fps on consoles, and possibly just art direction. The Evil Within's use of light and shadow is moodier and more dramatic; Doom 4's is broader
     
    #16 inlimbo, Apr 18, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2017
  17. swaaye

    swaaye Entirely Suboptimal
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    Some Quake 3-powered games have stencil shadows as an option. Elite Force 2 does for sure. It doesn't work very well though.
     
  18. Davros

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    There's a list of idtech 3 games here
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Id_Tech_3
    if someone can tell me how to tell if the game supports stencil shadows I'll go through the ones I have
    and post the results
     
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  19. swaaye

    swaaye Entirely Suboptimal
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    Elite Force 2 has a stencil shadow option AFAIK.
     
  20. inlimbo

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    I'd love to see an example of Elite Force 2's shadows
     
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