LFS: Latest Graphic Update Blog Post and Previews

Paul Jeffrey

RaceDepartment Editor-in-Chief
Yorkshire, UK
LFS Kyoto Update 2.jpg

The LFS Development Team have been showcasing the latest work on the big graphical update for the Live for Speed racing simulation.

Still very much in the throws of performing what has all the signs of becoming a significant overhaul to this classic racing sim, the latest previews of which once again feature the Kyoto circuit - specifically some of the lighting improvements that are being added to the simulation.

LFS Kyoto Update 1.jpg

Hello Racers,

Our previous progress report was about the Kyoto updates and the new lighting system. Since then, Scawen has done more work on the lighting which may be interesting for some readers. Eric continued with Kyoto for some time. He has now moved onto South City, which isn't yet ready to show but we can show you some more pictures from Kyoto.

Originally the plan was to minimally update the existing track areas to make them work well with the new lighting and shadows. But some of the tracks were very old and Eric wanted to do extensive updates to bring them up to a more modern standard. It takes a long time to update the tracks, scenery and buildings, so Scawen has had the chance to do a lot of updates on the program side. We described in our April report the new lighting system that changes in real time from day to night.

LFS Kyoto Update 3.jpg

Sometimes there is a lot of technical work do be done, which is not all that interesting to describe. Many readers may hope for a long list of cool things that we have done but the reality, most of the time, is a lot of research and experimentation for small steps forward. So for this month's report there are some technical descriptions, with random screenshots of Kyoto between paragraphs.

We mentioned in the previous report some experiments with a realtime generated sky, which is the best way to allow day to night transitions. The sky is generated by a system created by Lukas Hosek and Alexander Wilkie. The sky itself is an important part of lighting, especially in shadows where surfaces are not lit directly by the sun. The sky can produce quite different light colour and intensity depending on the direction a surface is facing. In older versions of LFS the sky light was considered to be a single colour but we now use a method called spherical harmonics, described by Ravi Ramamoorthi and Pat Hanrahan. This produces diffuse lighting that is different depending on the direction.

LFS Kyoto Update 4.jpg
LFS Kyoto Update 5.jpg

The Hosek and Wilkie sky system can also produce the sun lighting colour depending on the sun's position in the sky. When the more realistic lighting values were used, we found the solid surfaces in game appeared too dark. Researching albedo values in the real world and comparing them with LFS we were able to apply a suitable adjustment, bringing us one step closer to a physically based lighting system. We still need to work on the night system, allowing some lights to be on all the time (e.g. pit garages) while other lights come on only in the night (e.g. flood lights).

We mentioned the problem of exposure in the previous report. When lighting changes in a realistic way there can be very bright or dark scenes so the exposure sometimes needs to be adjusted, just as it does with a real camera. Also there is the issue of very bright and dark areas within a single image. Part of the solution can be to use a high dynamic range (HDR) backbuffer. It uses more memory but allows for very dark or bright pixels to be represented accurately. To present the HDR image to a monitor, which only has a limited range, some kind of tone mapping must be used. You can read a bit more on this page by John Hable. We can now select an HDR backbuffer and tone mapping options in our development version. They have not been used in these screenshots but they may become more important as the night system improves.

Planned development on lighting includes a system to produce clouds in the generated skies and better night support including the brightness of artificial lights and automatic exposure control. Other development topics include getting the new tyre physics up to a good standard for release, and hopefully a system to allow the physics and graphics to run on different threads, making use of the multiple CPU cores.

We hope that was interesting for some readers, though it was a bit technical!

LFS Kyoto Update 6.jpg

So let that be a lesson for you all - you can never write off a good sim racing title - even after all these years.

Live for Speed is available exclusively to PC.

Check out the Live for Speed sub forum here at RaceDepartment for the latest Live for Speed news and discussions.

Like what we do at RaceDepartment? Follow us on Social Media!

These guys are an amazing team. LFS and netKar PRO were so ahead of their time in many ways. Sure GTR2 was amazing, but for 2 small teams to do what they did showed us that the future was bright. I hope the LFS team can get some new traction, maybe a larger outfit to partner with and make a new version that can be released. Thanks for the update @Paul Jeffrey :thumbsup:
I liked the driving in LFS but the online community was pretty bad when I joined races...the worst I've ever seen. They pretty much acted like children in every public lobby I joined so I only raced a few times in a league.. Respect to the developer though...Still, I am not sure how much acceptance the redo will get
i like a lot to see that the game is still being worked on. Still wish that the development went a little bit faster tho. The last proper content update was with the new blackwood in January.... 2017. I like how the game is looking but these are still just a slow update to every single map and they probably wont release this big update until EVERY map is done, which is gonna take, what. one more year? more?
I liked the driving in LFS but the online community was pretty bad when I joined races...the worst I've ever seen. They pretty much acted like children in every public lobby I joined so I only raced a few times in a league.. Respect to the developer though...Still, I am not sure how much acceptance the redo will get
Yep, tool time for sure. I don't know what some people get out of being a pain in the butt, but that's why I never raced online anymore until I joined RD in the winter of 2017.

Are you on VR, Triple Monitors, Ultrawides or ... ?

  • VR

    Votes: 400 37.2%
  • Triples

    Votes: 185 17.2%
  • Ultrawide

    Votes: 220 20.4%
  • Single Screen / Other

    Votes: 271 25.2%