During Siggraph 2018, Ubisoft Montreal technical lead Stephen McAuley gave a presentation on Far Cry 5. Particularly, the presentation was about the technical challenges faced by the folks working on it with respect to creating and then maintaining such a massive, open world. One part in particular is a great piece of game development trivia that most people probably wouldn’t think about, much less be on the lookout for on the other side of the controller.
Far Cry 5 is a good-looking game, that also takes place outdoors a lot of the time, in the American midwest. But did you know that the developers had a realistic date/night time cycle, but ultimately decided not to use it?
Turns out, when you render a realistic time cycle, you can’t also be deliberate and meticulous with your lighting. At one point, your perfect scenery placement could be ruined as the sun or moon behave in a way you didn’t expect when you were building it. To fix it, the team ended up making a single day and night, then had it loop over and over, thus maintaining the vision of Hope County.
If that sounds interesting to you, you can dive into the whole presentation, which is publicly available. It goes far beyond the sun issue, presenting graphs, calculations, and more for all sorts of aspects of Far Cry 5.
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[Source: Ubisoft Siggraph 2018 Presentation]