LIGHTING

How often does the darkness hinder what you're doing in Exanima?


  • Total voters
    30

Pc Genie

Member
I've already said this quickly in the main suggestion thread but I feel like it deserves an entire thread dedicated to bringing the matter up properly. I joked in the "You know you've played too much Exanima when" thread that we players know Exanima is the real 'Darkest Dungeon'. Jokes aside however, it's extremely frustrating at times and I can think of many reasons why we should have a better lit playing field in all modes.

The AI will be what they always have been. They can sometimes see around corners, they don't think strategic steps ahead usually, and (with very few exceptions) they can see in the dark. It is an 'exceptional' grade annoyance when you are fumbling in the dark and tripping over furniture making guesswork hits from sound alone whilst fighting against your quarry, perhaps even a completely human foe, yet they can nimbly move about and fight with 100% efficiency as if it's broad daylight. This is not fair, fun, or useful in dungeons and arenas that are usually poorly lit.

You constantly have to manage the light, but to an extraordinary level. You can take up a hand with a torch, which disables using two handed weapon, double weapon or weapon and shield combinations at any time during the unyielding darkness (90% of the game). For a gladiatorial arena or practice room it makes even less sense that the fighters can barely see an enemy right next to them in several dark patches, let alone any supposed audience watching the presumably riveting spectacle.

It's not tactical or spooky in most cases. More often than I think "Oh no, what horrors await in the dark?" I think "Oh sh**, I can't see my own bloody hands." I can understand dark rooms where mischief lies in wait, but it seems like more rooms are obscurely pitch black abyssal caves than not, with no decent reason why we should constantly squint. Some specific areas made black to enforce usage of the torch can work, but anywhere that isn't meant to blind you should be well lit throughout (not in little spotlights).

Finally, on a note related to mentioning Darkest Dungeon earlier, you can clearly have eerie rooms and poorly lit corridors without having everything obstructively dark. Why not keep the mood but make people capable of seeing what the f*** they're doing at least? Perhaps an in-game brightness scale could help.
 

Jimmini

Insider
I admire Bare Mettle for not making compromises for the sake of providing the players a more pampered experience. An underworld is supposed to be dark. The sun cannot shine through the ground to light what's below. It would make no sense, would destroy the atmosphere and partially remove the need to be cautious. Darkness is supposed to be a handicap. The wish to use two-handed weapons is not a reason to alter the laws of physics. Torches don't burn forever, lamps require energy. The world is not player-centric - deal with the situation and accept the challenge. The developers put much thought into the lighting, as into everything else.
The fact that NPCs are able to see in the dark is only temporary and will change in future versions of the game. Darkness will probably also play a more important role, gameplay-wise.
 
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Peasant135

Member
Holey-moley what a wall of text!
I'll just say that the developers should implement dynamic eyesight sensitivity, like in real life, so potentially you can hide the torch and gradually start discering your surroundings going from pitch black to about the level of night vision helmet effect. Bonus points if when you look with the cursor at a bright light source your nightvision resets.
 

gugand

Member
I like the darkness in Exanima. I move mostly with one handed sword and a torch, as secondary weapon sword and shield. The weapon change is quick enough for me. Darkness was a pain in the ass before the weapon swap was implemented.
 

Zoltan

Supporter
Hi,

I am at the opposite of you PC Genie for that matter, leave everything in the dark unless there is a need for lighting, I like to use that torch, I would love it even better if I could use more kind of light sources, lantern, candles.

I would be glad also to be able to control the lighting where i go by placing lit assets where I want them.

If the dark could help my character being unnoticed, would serve a purpose with stealth if one day this is a thing.

The magical globes are already placed in a lot of places
 

Pc Genie

Member
I like to use that torch, I would love it even better if I could use more kind of light sources, lantern, candles.
I would be glad also to be able to control the lighting where i go by placing lit assets where I want them.
If the dark could help my character being unnoticed, would serve a purpose with stealth if one day this is a thing.
Now those are some decent ideas. Deliberately increasing and decreasing light to trade stealth for visibility.
 

Fawz

Insider
I'm all for darkness negatively impacting the player's ability to perform optimally, I just don't like that it's so complicated to mitigate and doesn't affect the AI.

Hardware cheating aside (eg: Increasing Brightness/Contrast/Gamma) it's just too easy to quickly drop a torch on the ground before each fight. I know there's the helmet of light to make it more lore friendly, but I wish there was other non-magical ways (eg: Waist lanterns) or more accessible magical ways (eg: Create globe of light with Thaumaturgy).

In the end though the lighting system of the game is super cool and I really like what we currently have, and I'm curious to see what they'll do with it later down the line when stealth is added.
 

dennisftw

Member
I would prefer a more well-lit environment, all this 'but muh skillcap' comments are simply elitist bullshit the darkness is simply an inconvenience that forces me to carry a torch around doesn't really add a handicap other than the fact that sometimes I won't be able to use 2 handed weapons or dual wield. It's game not everything has to be perfectly realistic, it's like complaining that fast travel is unrealistic and ruins game immersion, it's a quality of life change.
 

gugand

Member
Don't blatter about "elitist bullshit". That is trolling.
The game is dark in the very beginning. After that fighting in darkness is rare. You can swap quickly between 2 weapon sets, one of those with torch. Usually i use torch just to explore corners or small rooms. So it is not a real problem. In my opinion darkness can give some additions to gameplay, like hiding in shadows (not yet implemented, sadly), hiding traps, hiding useful items. Darkness make you feel scary also. I love that feeling. It is so rare in games, expecially RPG.
 

dennisftw

Member
Don't blatter about "elitist bullshit". That is trolling.
The game is dark in the very beginning. After that fighting in darkness is rare. You can swap quickly between 2 weapon sets, one of those with torch. Usually i use torch just to explore corners or small rooms. So it is not a real problem. In my opinion darkness can give some additions to gameplay, like hiding in shadows (not yet implemented, sadly), hiding traps, hiding useful items. Darkness make you feel scary also. I love that feeling. It is so rare in games, expecially RPG.
Is it though? The thing I find annoying about communities of any games that are supposed to be hard is that as soon someone asks about a quality of life change or devs implement feature that might allow the game to be easier for some people, etc we get a bunch of people screeching 'git gud' and that the game isn't for casuals etc. If you look at the steam forums people are having a cry over the smallest things, I remember this one guy having a massive sulk about how devs allowing people copy and retain save files was ruining the entire game for everyone and other ones about how being able to start as a knight completely ruined the game.

Although I will admit calling all the comments here elitist bullshit was a bit harsh, I was fairly triggered after reading steam comments. I agree with darkness setting a great atmosphere and feel for the game but on the other hand its still annoying at times, maybe if they implement a zone of higher visibility within x-radius of the player that gradually drops off. That way you still have the ambience that the darkness brings on top of realism and convenience for the player.
 

gugand

Member
It is not easy saying what is good for playability or not. In my opinion the lightining system as it is implemented is not frustrating. That is enough for me. It was frustrating when the weapon sets were not implemented, not now.
 

Jimmini

Insider
dennisftw said:
I know you're just posting your opinion, but generally I think there's something going wrong when players constantly want to have games changed in a certain direction, especially with games like this one, that aren't just made to tell the player a story or just have a certain unique mechanic and ignore all the rest that makes up a game, but instead offer something more, where everything you experience is an important part of it.
I think they're well aware of the reasons they chose one way of doing things instead of another, including darkness:
Bare Mettle said:
Darkness is indeed a theme with Exanima, and having stuff like actually dark nights instead of the typical blue tinted dim daylight is something we always wanted.
...
Somewhat related, we do also plan to implement realistic sight handicaps for AI based on lighting conditions.

https://steamcommunity.com/app/362490/discussions/0/135508031957329241/#c135508292190942508
I recommend suggesting things that add and fit to the game, not revert the creators' decisions (which is futile).

I always had a torch and a one-handed weapon in one load-out for quick defence and a two-handed weapon in the other. When there was light, I switched to the two-handed weapon. If someone attacked me in a dark place, I searched for a moderately lit area first, before switching weapon, or fought with the one-handed weapon in the worst case (not to mention that I tried my best to avoid combat in the first place).
I have a really hard time seeing any problem in that. I just accepted the lack of light and adapted. You're not supposed to be a hero with the advantage of always perfect conditions that allow you to just chop, slash and crush through enemy waves without interruption or breaking a sweat using your one favorite weapon. You can do that in the arena. You've said the low light conditions don't add anything to the game, but still it forced you to leave your comfort zone and use a different approach - isn't that a good thing? What's the point in breezing through a game without hindrance? Many of the members of this community are here because they're tired to death of exactly this meaningless waste of time in current games, as are the developers.

You can call all of these things a "quality of life change", but they are really just steps towards making the game shallow and taking away the things that make it unique. For you it's dark places, for others it's the lack of manual saving, physics-based combat, lack of maps and so on. Grant all these little wishes and soon you'll have a generic action game beneath the hundreds others that will be forgotten within weeks, just because players refuse to adapt even one tiny bit or don't want to invest any of their time in return for a worth-while experience.

Nothing wrong if you're just looking for some challenging combat action, but you should be aware that it's just one part of the grand whole, which consists of things like permanent consequences, lack of guidance and the lighting.

If you look at the steam forums people are having a cry over the smallest things
If you mean those that whine about the game not being like every other and demand changes to make it "enjoyable" for them or make the game a "success", I agree.
It's like the gaming equivalent of university safe-spaces with puppies and bubbles in case you encouter a challenge, trigger warnings for things that could possibly widen your horizon and protests against problems that in reality aren't that much of a problem at all.

we get a bunch of people screeching 'git gud' and that the game isn't for casuals etc.
In many cases, the only possible answer is indeed "git gud", and the game just isn't for casual players. Some people should learn to accept that. I'm not saying that new players shouldn't receive any help, of course. Exanima is not supposed to be terribly hard, but some people do a good job at making it more challenging than it has to be. Finally, a community is just a group of individuals, not some Borg-like hive mind. I strongly disagree with preventing the players from backing up their saves, for example (I found that whole thread completely ridiculous).

complaining that fast travel is unrealistic and ruins game immersion, it's a quality of life change
I think fast travel is often just a confession of the developers that their world is too boring to cross it more than once. Not gonna happen in Sui Generis:
Bare Mettle said:
You are always in game, whether riding a caravan, engaged in conversation or whatever else.

Complete darkness was one of the many reasons why I fell in love with this game in the first place.
 

Pc Genie

Member
Okay, I am noticing a pattern here, so I pose a revised question:

Since darkness is so good for story mode when you make tactical use of the torch and set the mood of an unexplored dungeon, how does that make it good for the practice and campaign arena modes where you likely can't get a torch and have night vision enemies?
 

HopeDIV

Moderator
Okay, I am noticing a pattern here, so I pose a revised question:

Since darkness is so good for story mode when you make tactical use of the torch and set the mood of an unexplored dungeon, how does that make it good for the practice and campaign arena modes where you likely can't get a torch and have night vision enemies?
Several arenas were brightened recently, however I'm not sure if that change was pushed to steam or not.
 

dennisftw

Member
While the darkness creates a great atmosphere I just feel that in its current state it doesnt serve all that much purpose gameplay wise given that there arent any real mechanics that implement the darkness (e.g stealth, sneak attacks etc).

Most of the time its simply that the room has areas that are too dim to comfortably play without torch but if you really wanted to you can still make out everything and continue on as normal which kind of punishes you if you want to try out other equipment setups that the game has to offer by forcing you to always play with a torch if you to see the game world comfortably
 

gugand

Member
I think that depend mostly by personal tastes and/or hardware status. I can play comfortably in the actual status of game.
 

ThornEel

Member
The problem with darkness is that the game doesn't gives the RL ways of dealing with it.
Natural night vision and other lighting system like waist lanterns have been evoked, but even in total darkness, we still have the senses of touch and hearing to guide us, as well as spatial orientation when moving.

Maybe the character itself should always be visible, to represent how I can always feel the state of my body.
Maybe a very small circle of ground around the feet should be visible, to represent what I feel I am walking on.
Maybe very close walls and furniture should be visible as vague, untextured shapes, to represent what I can touch while moving around. (Maybe the character should visibly feel around, making things appear. But that may be unnecessarily elaborate.)
Maybe a vague silhouette of the enemy (or parts of the enemy) should become briefly visible every time they make a sound, to represent how I can perceive sounds and their origin. Maybe even with an immobile shape lasting a few instants (last known position, maybe it has already moved).
Maybe objects like ground, walls, doors, furniture should keep being visible for a few moments after I interacted with them to represent my spatial orientation and immediate memory of what is where.

With all that, darkness would still be dark, full of unknown and dangerous as it is in real life (you really don't want to pick a fight with someone there), but at least I would be able to navigate it as well as any real human would in such situations.
 
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