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Windows 7: Why do older games have better shadows?

22 Oct 2013   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
Why do older games have better shadows?

Hello, I'm CrazyKilla

Sorry but I don't know where to put this thread so I dumped it into general discussion.

I noticed that older games such as Dawn of War and F.E.A.R. have really nice shadows, it's like a copy of the model is made transparent, dark and flat and put on the ground, but now in these newer games all shadows have a resolution, usually a very low one and anything that goes above 4k has a giant performance hit.

What's the deal? do some companies just choose to use certain shadows, is there something wrong with the older ones?

My System SpecsSystem Spec

22 Oct 2013   #2

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

Games of today are a lot larger in size (Data) thus more processing power is needed. Not to mention they are built on different engines and have a lot more details. In your two pictures, sure the shadow looks good, but notice the detail of the wooden fence and other small details. It also depends on what kind of machine you're running these games on. The newer the game, the better your rig has to be, to be able to stand up to the needs. Also to be honest, the bottom shadow of the fence looks more realistic to me than the upper shadow of the man.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Oct 2013   #3

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1

Just my opinion but the older ones are not very realistic.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

22 Oct 2013   #4

W7 Pro x64 SP1 / W8.1 Pro x64 / W10 Tech Preview x64 VM

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by kado897 View Post
Just my opinion but the older ones are not very realistic.
Agreed, the Skyrim one looks loads better. Crysis 3 is pretty new and these shadows are miles better than that first screenshot in the OP.



My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Oct 2013   #5

Windows 8.1 Pro (x64)

The difference, is most new games with shadows have dynamic shadows that adjust to the lighting of the world. In (most) older games the lighting was at a fixed (most of the time) position, the angle of shadows were also fixed. This is much easier to render then fully dynamic lighting and shadowing.

As for Skyrim, its using the older DirectX 9 capable shadow rendering which accounts for its blocky like appearance. Where as new DirextX10+ games have Soft Shadows at there disposal.
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 Why do older games have better shadows?

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