First, my background:
I've been developing a game as a project in a Master in Game Development, I'm a game programmer. In this game, we've been using 3DsMax as our art tool. Well, I never liked 3d studio and I've been always a "free software" fanboy, also I had learned Blender years ago and developed a plugin to export some models.
Recently, I came back to Blender to see if it had all the features we used, and I found almost all we used (I haven't touched nothing avt animation, but I guess it's all OK), even some things are clearly better (python vs maxscript? not even a match... Normalmaping baking? a bless in blender). But there is something I miss: Lightmap Baking.
I've searched tutorials avt how to bake a lightmap in blender and they told me to set the material of an object to white and bake a full render. Well, this is not lightmap baking because, for instance, radiosity lighting changes the scene if even one object does not have the materials it needs.
The idea of Lightmap baking is to record the light that arrives to each element, and use it as "ambient light" in the game engine. Doing that should not be difficult, because in "full render" baking you get that information somehow and you use it.
I would be even willing to offer myself to code it if someone guides me what should I touch. Even more, once this is correctly done, I thing I might add the baking of "radiosity normal mapping"
, a very usefull technic to use in games, we tried to bake it in 3ds max and it was such a pain that our artists denied it.
In other words, I'd say that this features whould greatly add to blender the capacity to be used within the game industry, and I was greatly surprised that blender does not come with an easy but usefull decent Lightmap baker.
Thank you for reading, and excuse me my poor english as I'm not english (nor american, nor australian, nor british, nor ...) myself.