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ARM Announces Dynamic Lighting Tech Enlighten at GDC 2016

The Game Developers Conference (GDC) 2016 opened its doors yesterday, and announcements have been steadily streaming out from companies showcasing their latest technologies. The newest reveal is from Geomerics, an ARM company unveiling its Enlighten real-time global illumination technology.

Enlighten has been designed to deliver large-scale dynamic lighting to openworld videogames. One of the main functions of the tech is its ability to halve the performance cost of dynamic global illumination effects like time of day lighting, where map sizes are vast and draw distances are long.

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“ARM’s Enlighten global illumination technology is continually enhanced to unlock new potential for game lighting,” said Mark Dickinson, vice president and general manager, Media Processing Group, ARM. “The new capability it is now offering for large worlds will allow gamers to experience a quality and a style of gameplay that was previously impossible due to performance constraints. It will help inspire studios to implement the latest dynamic global illumination effects in a host of upcoming open world games.”

To demo Enlighten, Geometrics has collaborated with Hellblade developer Ninja Theory with a new title for PC and PlayStation 4, called Seastack Bay. The demo features a 25km2 playable world made up of interior spaces, gorges, forests and beaches,  while maintaining a steady 30FPS.

“Reproducing the beauty of natural lighting is central to the look and feel of Hellblade,” Commented a representative from Ninja Theory. “In a world as rich as ours it is a challenge to achieve realistic dynamic lighting effects at our target frame rate, but this is something Enlighten will allow us to do, adding great value to the overall Hellblade experience.”

With the performance improvements Enlighten aims to provide, it could prove useful to virtual reality (VR) developers as VR is so resource intensive. VRFocus will continue its coverage of GDC 2016, reporting back with the latest announcements.