The online racing simulator
October Progress Report
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Quote from Scawen :
No-one is saying that a light sensor being used to control dashboard brightness is a highly innovative and incredible idea. The question is about how commonly the system has been implemented. You would be most helpful if you would give us some information about just how many cars have a self-regulating dash brightness and how many don't. When I code something like this into LFS, it's preferable to have some real world examples and general understanding.

https://www.autoblog.com/2017/02/28/bmw-x4-toyota-tacoma-gauge-illumination/

After some mostly unhelpful internet research, I reached out to BMW and was put in touch with President of BMW Designworks Oliver Heilmer. Designworks is a design shop wholly owned by BMW in LA, and it was intimately involved with the entire process that resulted in BMW's X family of SUVs. So it's appropriate that I'm speaking to Heilmer about the X4's dashboard.

Heilmer told me that BMW's characteristic orange-red hue is generated by light at a wavelength of 605 nanometers. The color was chosen to allow the driver to clearly see the instrument cluster, but also to be able to adjust to the darkness outside the vehicle quickly after looking up. The eye doesn't tire as quickly trying to read gauges illuminated with red-orange light, he said. BMW discovered this in the 1970s, and it's been both an aesthetic trademark and a conscious ergonomic decision ever since.

Heilmer explains that the new 5 and 7 Series cars use an intelligent system keyed to a windshield-mounted light sensor for more control of the light color and intensity presented to the driver. BMW has also conducted further research that's found less difference between white and orange-red light at night than previously thought, so these newer cars will maintain neutral white dial illumination even at night (at somewhat reduced intensity), with orange-red displayed less prominently. With fully programable and digital instruments, Heilmer says, "from BMW's point of view the ideal adjustment is always displayed accordingly."

So, if dashboard lighting can be resolved, perhaps a physics release could be the next priority, maybe, please ..............
Quote from lfsrm :I guess the majority of LFS cars should have normal side/edge light for dashboard (apart from VW scirocco) :

Hmm, you've got me thinking again. I haven't thought about dashboards in all that much detail.

It's only just occurred to me (or maybe I knew this before but forgot) that it seems a lot of them are backlit, rather than being lit from the front. Without going out to look in my car, I suppose it is common for the gauges to be on a transparent plate which is mainly blacked out, with light coming through in the lines and numbers that are not blacked out. And the needles of the gauges are light pipes, with light entering the needle at its base and coming out along the length of the needle.

https://duckduckgo.com/?q=dashboard+gauge+needle+lighting&iax=images&ia=images&iai=https%3A%2F%2Fi.ebayimg.com%2Fimages%2Fi%2F262815326502-0-1%2Fs-l1000.jpg


I know that the need for gauge brightness adjustment has been around for a long time, as it is a well known problem that they can be too bright when it is very dark and that can reduce your view of the road. So manual adjusters have been around a long time. But I'm not sure when it started to become common to use the apparently simple technology of a light sensor to automatically adjust the brightness, or actually how common that is in modern cars. Somehow I'm guessing it's quite normal and there may also be a manual adjuster.
Quote from Racer X NZ :Heilmer explains that the new 5 and 7 Series cars use an intelligent system keyed to a windshield-mounted light sensor for more control of the light color and intensity presented to the driver.

Thanks for the research. Interesting that the sensor is windshield mounted rather than near the gauges. That can at least avoid any feedback from the gauges.

Quote from Racer X NZ :So, if dashboard lighting can be resolved, perhaps a physics release could be the next priority, maybe, please ..............

It's a bit frustrating that the more I actually do interact with the community and talk about what I am doing, the more certain members become frustrated because I don't appear to do what they think is the priority. And that can result in slightly sarcastic quips like your ending comment.

It's just annoying and for a moment makes me feel like I should just shut the **** up and not actually communicate. Because giving insight to the development process seems to lead to less understanding rather than more.

As you may have noticed I've recently done a massive upgrade to the lighting system that uses light levels close to those of the real world. This does have the side effect that real world problems start to make their way into the game. Every development step has these side effects that need to be resolved and that is supposed to be an interesting journey.

So, just to help you understand, here is a screenshot of how the dashboard looks right now. Take a look at that shot then tell me I am wasting my time spending a few minutes thinking about how the dashboard is lit (a minor task among the very big tasks I have been working on).

One more problem is people think that if they see me mentioning the climate in two posts in a day, that means I have spend my entire 12 hours of work thinking about the climate, when in fact it took 10 minutes a couple of times. And now you think that because I've mentioned dashboards, it has become my sole focus for several days. In fact I haven't been thinking about it much at all and I've been working on the lighting.

So it would be really cool if you could just trust my way of working, and enjoy the fact that I am talking to the community instead of keeping a big distance from them as many developers do.
Attached images
dash_bright.jpg
Quote from Scawen :So, just to help you understand, here is a screenshot of how the dashboard looks right now.

Looks cool in its own way, suitable for a Tron-like theme or something out of an anime. But indeed, not good for a real world simulation :-)

Basically the backlight should always be WAY dimmer than the sun or exterior lighting, and during the day much of it would be lit by the sunlight. But that, I'm guessing, is not immediately simple with the way it's currently rendered to a surface for all dash types.
Quote from Scawen :
So, just to help you understand, here is a screenshot of how the dashboard looks right now. Take a look at that shot then tell me I am wasting my time spending a few minutes thinking about how the dashboard is lit (a minor task among the very big tasks I have been working on)...

Ya right
indeed an enhancement sounds welcome Big grin

For my 1989 Polo Fancy, if you switch on the lights, you have a manually adjustable green lighting ...
In the 2011 c-class, everything is automatic ... sounds adaptative but I am not really looking to it. I will pay attention this night, but I fear after 7pm French time it will be dark and by a lot, so no variation to observe.
edit : From memory in my wife's 308 from 2008, I do not think it is adpating : only a brightness level to set manually.
edit 2 : the GPS have a night mode aswell for vws in case it displays the gps... Wink

NB : what I observe : working on brightness adaptation in modern cars while no modern cars are currently available can mean only one thing ... Big grin
Quote from Scawen :Hmm, you've got me thinking again. I haven't thought about dashboards in all that much detail.

It's only just occurred to me (or maybe I knew this before but forgot) that it seems a lot of them are backlit, rather than being lit from the front. Without going out to look in my car, I suppose it is common for the gauges to be on a transparent plate which is mainly blacked out, with light coming through in the lines and numbers that are not blacked out. And the needles of the gauges are light pipes, with light entering the needle at its base and coming out along the length of the needle.

https://duckduckgo.com/?q=dashboard+gauge+needle+lighting&iax=images&ia=images&iai=https%3A%2F%2Fi.ebayimg.com%2Fimages%2Fi%2F262815326502-0-1%2Fs-l1000.jpg



I think it's just as you said, in the image above they used a translucent numbers on dash plate lit by maybe 2 or 3 lamps/leds including the central needles, it's the semi-translucency which try to uniform the light distribution (clearly not that uniform), but that's only for 80's, 90's and early 2000's cars (depend on countries), now they use maybe a full adjustable led stripe backlight.

I guess it can easily be done with some textures work, tho I don't know if it's possible to make them animated or dynamic in the LFS engine to simulate adjustable backlight.

Quote :It's a bit frustrating that the more I actually do interact with the community and talk about what I am doing, the more certain members become frustrated because I don't appear to do what they think is the priority. And that can result in slightly sarcastic quips like your ending comment.

It's a burden and a heavy task (well if it was easy we should've have it in the pub version by now), so I am 100% with you focusing on other areas (graphics), if some are not happy well they can be ignored.
I wonder if a simple constant emissive term for the lit elements + diffuse reflection from the surface * time-of-day-dependent ambient incoming light would look good? Just adjust the emissive lighting strength to look good in dark, during day the it would just disappear because physically-based ambient term should be far greater. + small amount of bloom for the needle to fake direct lightning onto the dash plate. The backlit numbers probably don't need bloom because the light is somewhat directed out and doesn't hit the front side of the dash plate.
Wouldn't it be easier to link the gauges lights to the headlights ? Like if you turn the headlights on (manually), the gauges' are dimmed.
Quote from Scawen : You would be most helpful if you would give us some information about just how many cars have a self-regulating dash brightness and how many don't. When I code something like this into LFS, it's preferable to have some real world examples and general understanding.

OK my E90 LCI had it and the current F36 also has it (working on dash+navi screen). Any BMW road car would be most helpful @LFS. The Passat B6 didnt had it. This is N=3 .. 2/3 had/have it. I'm sure I've seen it in other cars as well but its not the first feature I keep in mind when I drive a car.

It also has a delay otherwise it would go loco in environments with shadow/sunlight situations

By the way, I do not know where the sensor is located. I have seen it once above the light switch... Hmm E46 maybe? [lets see]

edit2: yes.. It was my E46... Longggg ago.. Its that little transparant dot. If I putted my finger on it the display went brighter. Magic Wink .. Need to do something when stuck in traffic jams..
Quote from Scawen :
It's a bit frustrating that the more I actually do interact with the community and talk about what I am doing, the more certain members become frustrated because I don't appear to do what they think is the priority. And that can result in slightly sarcastic quips like your ending comment.

Just ignore it, time doesnt matter anymore by now.
Attached images
6e1f09ed-766a-4d24-a10b-aefea9cf3afa_184599.jpg
Quote from Rejekt :I wonder if a simple constant emissive term for the lit elements + diffuse reflection from the surface * time-of-day-dependent ambient incoming light would look good? Just adjust the emissive lighting strength to look good in dark, during day the it would just disappear because physically-based ambient term should be far greater. + small amount of bloom for the needle to fake direct lightning onto the dash plate. The backlit numbers probably don't need bloom because the light is somewhat directed out and doesn't hit the front side of the dash plate.

The diffuse + emissive approach is what I expect to try at first for the main surfaces on traditional dashboards. As I say I haven't looked into it much yet (because I'm working on other things) but I think the dashboards currently work differently from the world (track) self-lit surfaces which do already use environment lighting + self-lighting. I think the dashboards use a primitive "prelit" system so they don't get lit by the environment at all and are 100% self-lit. So they need to be changed to work like the world lights, then it should start to naturally do what you are saying.

The self-lit numbers and dashboard lights will have to work a bit differently though. They will need to be brighter in the day, because they are designed (in real life) to avoid being lit by the environment at all because you don't want to see 8 for every digit. Big grin

So that's where a constant self-lighting value will go wrong, because to be visible in the day they must be quite bright, which will be too bright in the night. There's no control over where bloom appears because it's totally a post-processing effect.

Of course I could solve this all incredibly easily by simply drawing the dashboard with a brightness that is the inverse of the camera's exposure value, but that's cheating and I prefer to set brightness of these objects the same way it's done in reality. I'll probably use the equivalent of the 'windshield-mounted light sensor' to control the mainly emissive lights.
Thanks for the other replies that I haven't replied to!

I'll be keeping an eye on mine when the lighting changes next time I drive. If mine does it, it must work very well because I've never noticed it. I do notice the radio volume adjustment and the self-levelling headlights, in my BMW from 2003 which my mechanic called an 'old' car. Smile
2000 Celica just dims dashboard a little when switching lights on. '01 Colt also if I remember correctly. '91 MR2 has dashoard unlit normally,it's lit with lights switched on,has manual dimmer though,probably like most 80ies/90ies japanese cars. Have no other experience. Shrug
You know... I'm kinda worried now that Scawen mentioned he has a Titan GPU. All these lighting effects will probably hammer a weak GPU.

Hopefully Scawen kept a 6xx series GPU around to test on ancient hardware Big grin
Quote from Eclipsed :2000 Celica just dims dashboard a little when switching lights on. '01 Colt also if I remember correctly. '91 MR2 has dashoard unlit normally,it's lit with lights switched on,has manual dimmer though,probably like most 80ies/90ies japanese cars. Have no other experience. Shrug

Yes, manual dimmer in 90% cases. ( little twist roller under the wheel or driver's left side. Also to switch on/off...

Usually have 1 bulb on each main gauge... and any kind of warning indicators are so bright that with poor eye sight you are unable to see what actual icon it is, unless you know it of course lol. Perhaps main purpose of having them so bright is simply to notify driver instantly. I like it that way. Big and bright icons. Matter of taste.

( EDIT: Of course, the dim switcher can also be on at gauge clusters, usually there where you set digits of time, which is shown in 12 hours. )
Phew, just generated the realtime sky on the graphics card after a power coding session. Converted the Hosek & Wilkie sky radiance function code into an HLSL shader. Now it is generated on the GPU instead of doing it in the CPU on a separate thread then downloading it, as I was doing up to now. It's just the sort of thing that graphics cards are good at and now there's no need for a little glitch as the completed sky texture is sent to the graphics card. Few more things to update but for now... relax! Smile
Will FPS drop very much with new graphics?
Very curious to how you will tackle the dynamic clouds implementation.. Petals
Id think that BMW from 2003 if E46 would still have manual adjustment of brightness.

In case you have an E60, buy an E46 Big grin
Quote from NumberTwo :...
In case you have an E60, buy an E46 Big grin

isn't e60 from 2005 ? (with the damned v10 ^^ )
5 series were E39 in 2003 iirc

edit : some research later, e60 has begun in august 2003 ... shame on me !
Quote from kbb051 :Will FPS drop very much with new graphics?

The shadow maps, more detailed shaders and higher resolution textures will require a more powerful graphics card than is currently needed.

I really can't give any kind of figures or estimates but I'm sure it should be lighter than most of the big modern games, although a lot heavier than the old LFS.

On minimum spec I can't be sure either, but we have moved on to shader model 3 / DirectX 9.0c at the moment. I don't think that can be a problem for many users, as DirectX 10 came with Windows Vista. I'm not expecting to move over to DirectX 11 yet, though I'm not giving any guarantees. So I don't expect the DirectX version to be a problem for anyone but I guess shadow maps and high resolution textures could be more of a problem. I think bloom could be switched off (at the moment I'm planning to keep supporting the SDR mode) and there could be some options for lower quality shaders for less powerful graphics cards. I don't know what is needed, but I guess we'll see when it comes to public testing. No-one should upgrade their hardware yet purely for LFS as we aren't giving any estimate about when it will be ready.
Quote from Scawen :It's just annoying and for a moment makes me feel like I should just shut the **** up and not actually communicate.

Please don't stop communicating. I think it is better and far more interesting to know what is being worked on, some of the problems and their solutions. Smile
I do not remember at all about next one I am posting and asking, so, sorry in advance if someone done already before in some cases but...

I am assuming all the work has been done so far... and we do have some few aspects of water ( Blackwood and Fern Bay )... Water gets another update? Last time I remember was DirectX 9.0 update and water reflected sun.

Quote from Evolution_R :Please don't stop communicating. I think it is better and far more interesting to know what is being worked on, some of the problems and their solutions. Smile

I find it more appealing to have news out of nowhere after silent moments... or just moment. Tongue
Quote from Scawen :

It's just annoying and for a moment makes me feel like I should just shut the **** up and not actually communicate. Because giving insight to the development process seems to lead to less understanding rather than more.

The more communication with the community and sharing with it the progress - the more the community is calm that the game is not abandoned.Thumbs up
Scawen, you never tried make the dashboard on or off with lights materials?

just saying...

lfs have some materials to make lights work, maybe you can do anything for users see the dashboard glowing when lighs are on, same "3" button

i think this can make some diferences day/night
Quote from NumberTwo :Id think that BMW from 2003 if E46 would still have manual adjustment of brightness.

In case you have an E60, buy an E46 Big grin

No, like I explained, the E46 has this light switch with dot (at least the LCI had). The E60 has it too, the dot is on the left side of the switch. Could be a E39 where the light switch is directly next to the dail area. Whatever you do, do not switch car or car brand before at least 150 times thinking if the seats are OK for your back or not. The Passat killed my back and it took sadly way too much time before I realized it was coming from the car. It never fully recovered and I am very sensitive for soft seating now. Rather sit on a floor then on a soft sofa. So I can understand why sticking to an "old" car can be beneficial. If it drives and sits good then it drives and sits good. Although 300.000 km (188.000 miles) was getting too critical for the E46 at the time and had to let it go. All these trips to Wales/Newcastle, Norway, Croatia and now St.P (The Great Tongue ) are not really helping to keep the mileage down but car > plane. Quite safe to say after so many months that I am the only western license plate in the city so if you see me driving just wave hello and think ah this is this ass***e from LFS Smile .

Quote from MacedoSTI :maybe you can do anything for users see the dashboard glowing when lighs are on, same "3" button

I still refuse to buy a VR headset but I think the dashboards in VR can be very aggressive for the eyes and he is investigating this ambient light auto adjustment feature for this reason.
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October Progress Report
(394 posts, closed, started )
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