Finally worked out why the AI was so 'distracted', and put it right. The latest Escape demo is now populated with mean sons of guns who like nothing better than to hound you into extinction.
I also spent my Sunday on the project as well, with improvements in what I am calling the light balance of the scene. Now all element such as static entities, dynamic entities, terrain, characters and other bits use the same calculation for both ambience and direct sun lighting.
As you can see, with ambience only you get a general coverage which all elements in the scene agree with, plus the shadows which are factored in.
In this direct lighting shot, all ambience has been removed so you can see the surfaces that have a direct line of sight to the sun (again, shadows factored in as they work in a slightly different way).
The final composite which adds the two together is the white matt surface on which the texture colour is eventually applied. The weapon is deliberately brighter as the textures on the guns are a little darker and has additional visual effects such as cube mapping applied and tends to lower the overall luminescence of the weapon models.
I also discovered that some SSAO coding in the bloom shader was not actually doing anything, so I removed this and gained an FPS boost from 84 fps to 90 fps which was nice. I have lost the subtle blurring I got from the NINE texture reference samples, which might introduce some anti-alias effects, but I am sure there is a new technique I can try which does not cost that much more than the standard bloom shader. I am not ruling out a screen space ambient occlusion trick in the future, but right now I am all for performance and more honest visuals, and removing it felt like a step in the right direction.
With the great victory of new faster, more FUN enemy AI, I am now moving onto one of my pet peeves which is the ability for characters to enter and logically track a player through a building. That is, a single entity which is subdivided into walls and other vertical obstructions. Making a building out of individual wall entities already works fine, but most single entity buildings currently act like a huge obstacle that the enemy must run around. Nice effect when you want them outside, surrounding you, but for the most part you want to be able to run inside a building and be chased inside! It could be an hour or a day, but today is the day this task gets my undivided attention!