Are development monitors calibrated?

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Are development monitors calibrated?

Post by ivankio » Wed May 15, 2013 1:43 pm

New video of overgrowth and I can't stop wondering if wolfire development monitors are uncalibrated and set too bright with a high gamma.

I understand that often there is a gamma setting in the game client as there are lots of desktops with poor color calibration themselves and it is beyond the control of a game developer.

But my concern is that non calibrated development monitors are offsetting the color of assets to start with which can not be fixed in a single slider. Screenshots and videos always feels uncomfortably dark to me(1). They rarely have RGB over 210 and we are talking about a primarily outdoors game (2).

(1). I understand that a dark mood is sometimes a design choice, like Thief, Amnesia, Skyrim, Starcraft and many others. But I feel that Overgrowth is not intended to be so dark. Also, Receiver being understood with a mood thief-like feels darker (by default) specially once gameplay mechanics benefit very little from it compared to Thief, causing a little bit more frustration than challenge. I think Receiver is probably the darkest game I've ever played except by Solar 2.

(2). I understand that LDR has it's implications into making a 3d scene dull, as everything have to fit a single exposure from several views. But being outdoors, I would guess that more often than not, we would see brighter tones than darker ones.

Now it's just speculation... It also seems that wolfire is multiplying lights with sRGB (or near sRGB) textures, aggravating the uncanny of it's graphics to me. I do like the retro look of sRGB * light, but so much contrast between light and dark is not fit with this, ambience is often brighter in such cases. In case of unawareness of the former issue, search for linear workflow.


I mean, respecting limitations of the media and "indieness", I feel that Overgrowth (a carefully and beautifully worked game, from mechanics to art) has a lot of it's value obfuscated by a flawed color management.
If it's satisfactory as is for most, at least promo videos and images could pass a quick gamma and exposure boost to be perceived similar relative to quality media.

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Re: Are development monitors calibrated?

Post by Endoperez » Wed May 15, 2013 5:45 pm

That's too technical for me, but I do remember reading a blog post that explained their approach to in-game gamma-correction.

I don't know if that's got anything to do with this issue, I'm just posting it in case you find it interesting.

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Re: Are development monitors calibrated?

Post by David » Wed May 15, 2013 8:05 pm

That's a good observation! We do use linear lighting, though it may be disabled by default in the alpha builds ('post effects' and 'gamma_correct' must both be enabled for it to use the linear path). We're planning to do a color correction pass later on to make sure we are properly using the monitor's range (with the lighting and skyboxes), but it's not the highest priority at this stage, compared to making the game playable from start to finish.

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Re: Are development monitors calibrated?

Post by Freshbite » Wed May 15, 2013 8:34 pm

You should consider yourself blessed, son. The David smiles upon thee.

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