Visual update – reflective roads


Roads are pretty important in a driving game. Recently I looked into ways of improving the visuals and realized one subtle yet important aspect missing from our roads was reflectivity.

By creating a simple reflectivity cubemap and mapping it onto the road, then masking out the parts that shouldn’t be as reflective I’ve got the road reflecting the sky at certain angles and not at others. Here you can see part of the cubemap. When looking from above you see the grey at the top but when you are looking straight at the horizon it’s reflecting the blue parts. It’s not proper fresnel but in the vast majority of cases there would be little difference. It’s simple but effective.

If you look directly down at the road (high angle) it’s just a standard grey road, but look at the road in the distance (low angle) and it’s now got a blue tint. It also has the added benefit of remaining partially reflective when in shadow which makes it look much more realistic than before. Here are some screens:


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