Filmmakers, theater directors, and designers take extreme care in aesthetically composing their scenes. This sense of aesthetics is important to promote presence, immersion, and involvement. Video games have adopted many design theories and techniques from linear media, particularly film. However, interactive environments are dynamic and unpredictable, and thus require the development of theories, techniques, and tools specific to their interactive nature. In this paper, we present a lighting design tool that algorithmically adapts lighting to user interaction within game environments at runtime. Previous work includes our work on the Expressive Lighting Engine (ELE), which uses intelligent algorithms to adapt lighting in real-time accounting for variation in context, narrative, and intended artistic effects defined through numerical constraints. We encoded cinematic lighting techniques within ELE as mathematical formulae that guide the system’s choices in terms of lighting to achieve artistic constraints while maintaining visual continuity. The work presented in this paper expands this work in several directions. First, ELE did not take objects’ or scenes’ materials into consideration. This is important since the appearance of objects under lighting conditions depends on their materials. Second, using numerical constraints as a method by which designers encode their artistic intention for lighting proved to be unintuitive. Thus, we present a prototype that builds on ELE and focuses on exploring solutions to resolve these problems.
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