Washed out colors

Post here if you need help getting started with Daggerfall Unity or just want to clarify a potential bug. Questions about playing or modding classic Daggerfall should be posted to Community.
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MegaRhettButler
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Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2021 11:56 pm

Washed out colors

Post by MegaRhettButler »

I've been trying to get retro rendering set up to match the look of the original game and I'm hitting quite a significant snag. I can't, no matter what settings I change, get the colors to look as deep and rich as in the original game.

Here's the original (DFSetup version):
Image

And here's the DFU 11.1.1:
Image

Quite a profound difference, especially in the blacks. Look at the right side of the rat in both images.

I use retro rendering mode (palettization - full) and I've tried changing lighting settings and every setting I can think of. Is this fixable? I love how DFU plays compared to the original game and I absolutely love the mods, but I can't get past this color problem. After playing DFU I can't stand the clunkiness of the original but after playing the original I can't stand the color palette of DFU. Can anyone help?

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King of Worms
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Re: Washed out colors

Post by King of Worms »

Id use ReShade for that and there set a new black. I think its in a shader called Levels. But basically, reshade is what u need.

MegaRhettButler
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Re: Washed out colors

Post by MegaRhettButler »

I guess I'll give it a try. I'm not exactly technically gifted (I'm an end user, not a modder) but I'll look up a tutorial and give it a shot. Thanks.

Edit: I've hit a roadblock right at installation. Which API does Daggerfall Unity use? I don't even know what an API is...

Edit 2: Okay I'm messing with it. The blacks probably aren't fixable with levels because there is black in everything. Turn the black up and the world goes dark. I don't know if reshade would do it, all the individual sprites would probably need to be darkened or something. Which is beyond me. What I have managed to do in a few minutes of experimenting (don't laugh I've never done this) is darken the blacks very slightly with levels and massively increase the saturation with tonemap.

Before:

Image

After:

Image

The rat:

Image

It doesn't look like the original but I like it a lot better. I'll keep tweaking it. Thank you so much!
Last edited by MegaRhettButler on Mon Feb 15, 2021 1:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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King of Worms
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Re: Washed out colors

Post by King of Worms »

There are many ways to get the job done.. try various shaders 😊 tonemap can help as well
... or maybe some shader to just increase contrast.

This is my preset but its not for retro mode:
place it where your DaggerfallUnity.exe is, and load it ingame in the Reshade
DREAM 2020 R3 - Prefer Looks.rar
(10.34 KiB) Downloaded 3 times


Here is the ReadMe Ive created for Dream Reshade users:
With retro mode - you most likely dont want the antialiasing... maybe not even sharpening, dunno, experiment... and try also different shaders, good luck

-------------------
Setting up ReShade:
-------------------
1)Start ReShade_Setup_4.8.2.exe
2) Click grey button "Click here to select a game and manage...."
3) Click "Browse"
4) Navigate to your "DaggerfallUnity.exe" (Game folder - example: "C:\GAMES\Daggerfall")
5) Click "DaggerfallUnity.exe" & than click "Open"
6) Select "Direct x 10/11/12"
7) Make sure "Standard effects" + "SweetFX by CeeJay" + !!! "Legacy standard effects" !!! are selected
Legacy standard are at the bottom of the list!
8) Click OK
9) Always "Select all" and click OK
DONE!

--------------------------------
Import the DREAM RESHADE preset:
--------------------------------
Copy "DREAM 2020 R3 - Prefer Looks.ini" + "DREAM 2020 R3 - Prefer Performance.ini" to
the same folder where you "DaggerfallUnity.exe" is located (for example "C:\GAMES\Daggerfall")
DONE!

------------------------------------------
Load the DREAM Reshade preset in the game:
------------------------------------------
Reshade starts automatically when you start the game, displaying info on the tab at top of the screen briefly.
1) Open the Reshade menu by pressing "Home" key - click "Skip tutorial"
2) At the top you can see "ReShadePreset" - Click it
3) Click on "DREAM 2020 R3 - Prefer Looks" (or Performance)
4) Click on "Select"

5) I suggest setting up ON/OFF key to "End" key (its under the "Home" key)
You can set it up in the "settings" - "general" - "effect toggle key"
DONE!


------------------------
RESHADE TROUBLESHOOTING:
------------------------
Fix for PCs where Reshade is crashing the game on startup:
rename dxgi.dll and dxgi.log to d3d11.dll and d3d11.log respectively.

-----------------------------
WHAT IS THE "DREAM RESHADE" ?
-----------------------------
Custom shaders specificaly tailored for Daggerfall Unity DREAM mod and mod presets.
Its very spartan and non intrusive while making the final picture more detailed, focused and clean.
Plus its light on you HW. My GTX970 and Ryzen 5 3600 CPU do the locked 60fps no problem.

IT USES THESE EFFECTS:
1) AdaptiveSharpen
2) SMAA
3) Tonemap
4 + 5) BloomAndLensFlares
6) EyeAdaptation
7)AmbientLight


1) Sharpens the textures and sprites, using Adaptive Sharpen
2) Injects SMAA antialiasing, which is superior to the game AA. (Dont use ingame AA in the "postprocessing" mod)
3) Tones the colors very slightly to create a nicer more pristine look

4) Adds a high quality Flare to the sun (Dont use Flare in the "Enahnced Sky" mod)
+ 5) Injects very subtle brightness bleeding effect tweaked to appear only at the sun borders and
similar areas like lights. This creates a more graphicaly advanced and moody lightning in many circumstances.

6) It uses soft eye adaptation, which brightnes the dark dungeons and darkens the brightest game areas dynamicaly
7) Uses very soft Ambient light, this is used to create more advanced light effects around sun and lights

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Interkarma
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Re: Washed out colors

Post by Interkarma »

Hey MegaRhettButler, welcome to the forums. :)

Short non-techy version: Retro mode palettization does in fact use the exact same palette as classic Daggerfall, including any dark blacks. What you're seeing is a result of how textures interact with lighting prior to the render being palettized, so it snaps to lighter shades in the Daggerfall palette. As of now, material handling has a few compromises to better support modding and this is the result. It's also something I'd like to refine before 1.0 (more on this below).

Here's the longer more techy version: Modern game engines do something called physically based rendering (PBR) where materials define multiple properties of a surface like the colour, bumpiness, shininess, etc. This requires a material to provide multiple textures to define all of these surface properties, such as a diffuse map, normal map, specular map, etc. Because Daggerfall is from a pre-PBR time, none of those additional surface properties exist in game data. There's only a diffuse (colour) map. When this is used by a modern game engine in the absence of other properties, surfaces pick up a bit of a "flat shine". This shine is translated by the palettization shader into lighter shades from within the palette space.

So why does it pick up this flat shine when not using mods? Simply put - everything is using a PBR shader at all times so that it's easier for people to mod the game, and so that more people can enjoy the game in more ways. That's the compromise. Fixing this is possible but impacts everyone modding the game and playing with graphical mods, which is the majority of players. So any changes need to be rolled out thoughtfully.

Now on to how I'd like to refine this before this before 1.0. I have a lighting and material review in the pipeline that will significantly improve this. But it needs to be rolled out gradually and in a way that doesn't just break everyone's graphical mods. The first change is to use linear lighting over gamma, so colours will be smoother and more accurate at render time. The second change is to use a bespoke material for the base game unless overridden by a mod or replaced through loose files. This bespoke material would use a diffuse-only style renderer to better snap to correct colours in Daggerfall's palette.

Using the rat again as an example, here it is from 0.11.1 with the Standard shader in absence of any other PBR maps. This is using retro mode + palettization.

rat-pbr.png
rat-pbr.png (9.21 KiB) Viewed 199 times

And here's the same rat with just the material switched to Diffuse only. Everything else is the same.

rat-diffuseonly.png
rat-diffuseonly.png (9.64 KiB) Viewed 199 times

You can see that darker shades of black are selected from palette and it better matches the classic screenshot in your first post.

Fortunately not everyone notices this kind of thing, or they play in a way it's not an issue (e.g. modded with DREAM and real PBR materials).

I don't have a timeline on when this change will go into the game, but it will be prior to 1.0. There are many more critical things I want to get out of the way first. So if this particularly bothers you, I'd say to wait until 1.0 before playing DFU. This will be improved, but not until later this year when 1.0 is closer.

I hope that helps answer your question. All the best! :)

Edit: And thankyou KoW for offering help on how to improve things in the meantime. Very much appreciate the assist!

MegaRhettButler
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Re: Washed out colors

Post by MegaRhettButler »

Thanks to both of you for taking the time to give such in-depth replies! I'm a huge fan of both your work and very appreciative of what you are doing for Daggerfall! I don't understand the specifics of your explanation but it's enough to know that this is a known issue and a resolution is in the works.

I actually love the effect I've gotten from using reshade. I re-enabled the item based torch and messed with the levels a bit and now the game looks better to me in many ways than the original. Especially at night. It's a good thing I like my nights dark because this makes them very dark indeed.

Image

Image

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Ralzar
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Re: Washed out colors

Post by Ralzar »

That looks really good. I might have to look into using reshade myself.


And yeah, I keep telling people to adjust down the dungeon and night light. The game gets a lot more atmospheric if you have dungeons at around 0.2 and and the torch at 0.8. At the default 1.0 dungeon light there's no real use for torches.

For a bit of extra atmosphere, throw in the Improved Interior Lighting mod and Torch Taker.
My released mods

"I feel like Ralzar specifically wrote those mods for me and then said "Use them". Just so he could watch me die more."
-FuzzyBeanPlays

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King of Worms
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Re: Washed out colors

Post by King of Worms »

Sure thing :) Nice results!

MegaRhettButler
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Re: Washed out colors

Post by MegaRhettButler »

So I've been mucking with my Reshade settings for a bit, looking at things in different light and weather conditions. I think I've found a good compromise between everything being too dark and too washed out. Here's a preset if anyone is interested. If you use this you need to turn your dungeon ambient light, night ambient light and player torch light up to max. Nights, dungeons and stormy days will still be realistically dark at that setting.

It's not as dramatic as the effect in the above screens but it's a better compromise for different lighting conditions (I also found the pink flecks that are in everything too noticeable at max saturation). It's still a big change.

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