How light comes alive in Dying Light on PS4

Hi, I’m Maciej Jamrozik, the Lead Technical Artist at Techland, developer of the upcoming first-person, action survival-horror game Dying Light.

Light and shadow play a crucial role in Dying Light. They affect not only the gameplay and its day-and-night cycle, but also the visuals.

This video illustrates how the game uses a physically-based lighting system, which means that light is generated in accordance to the actual laws of physics. This in turn assures that lighting looks convincing and cohesive, regardless of the conditions and surroundings.

Dying Light, 05

It’s especially important as Dying Light features a variety of locations and environments, from open spaces to claustrophobic rooms, as well as a range of weather conditions and changing time of day.

One of the most important parameters of indirect lighting is “roughness,” which defines the level of smoothness and dullness of a surface. Implementing our new physics model eliminated the limitation of using only pre-set groups of materials, which translates to much more varied and faithful representations of materials in the game. Our artists now have full freedom over the level of roughness on objects, and can save the result in a form of texture.

Dying Light, 06

On PS4, we use the console’s additional horsepower to generate dynamic reflections. Similarly, they make use of the “roughness” to diffuse and reduce the impact of the specular reflection. It helps render the given material in the most realistic way possible.

Dying Light boasts a dynamic weather system, together with a real-time passage of time. That’s why indirect lighting data, which is stored in so called environment light probes, has to change according to the current weather and the time of day. These two factors can change independently. That’s why we compute the Spherical Harmonix function offline for all weather conditions and times of day, and then it is dynamically interpolated in the game.

The physically based lighting model influenced what all wet surfaces look like. When it’s raining, wet surfaces get increasingly shiny through the modification of the roughness parameter. We emphasize that weather conditions, like time of day, change gradually, and it applies also to all wet surfaces. As a result, a surface becomes wet only if it is actually exposed to rain.

Dying Light, 02

Another field directly improved by the new physics model is water. It’s a crucial feature, since Dying Light allows the player to swim and dive. Water in the game can have varied levels of transparency, which affects light diffusion. Moreover, water has an effect on all objects immersed in it. We modify the parameter of roughness so that they look wet, but only to the point of immersion. The rest above the water level remains dry.

All the above improvements, and many other changes, are to make sure that Dying Light will deliver an unprecedented visual fidelity that will surprise you with its level of realism. Next year, when you’re leaping between roofs and trying to lose the zombie horde behind you, take a moment to appreciate all the great lighting effects around you.

Just don’t stop for too long – zombie bites hurt!

0 Author replies

Like the look of this but think it would have been better in 3rd person rather than 1st person perspective


‘How Light Comes Alive In Dying Light’ LOL

Not to be mixed up with Daylight from Zombie studios.


I think it’s time that developers give the option of either playing in first or third person.

Cannot wait to play this game on ps4, looks gorgeous and gameplay looks so fun. Mirrors edge and dead island, what’s not to love :-)

Not still making zombie games, think they may have run their course now.

Looking forward to this. I am a big fan of Techland I like their COJ series.

what engine is this run on Chrome5?

This is looking very promising, I agree it would be great to have both 3rd and 1st person perspective view.

Number9dream68 22 November, 2013 @ 14:00

yeh it would be good having the choice of third person an first person but thats basically two different games,so takes twice as much to make,takes longer to make,so prob not gonna happen,an anyway in my humble opinion this will be better in fps view.

I think the fact that it’s forced 1st person is for the effect more than anything. A bit like Mirror’s Edge. It wouldn’t have been the same game in 3rd person.

Plus it gives you less spatial awareness, which again I think is a conscious decision given the setting.

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