I'm Dylan. Artist by heart, game dev in practice, and writer on the side.
Pleased to make your acquaintance.
Thanks for the heads up!
v2.0 is now up, which should fix most of the problems with the old bloom. It still alters image contrast, but now it's intentional, and only evens out bright spots.
Fixed it, nobody panic.
Thank you for the feedback.
I've downloaded and run through the map you were using to test, both in-game and in the map viewer, and the only problem I've been able to recreate is the white box when picking up items. The other things you mentioned might not be directly related to my shaders, but rather to your game's installation, meaning there's nothing I can do to fix them.
I'm looking into fixing the box now, and I'll update the mod with the results.
Thank you. Sadly, I can't say when this will be released, as it's far from the only thing I work on (in fact, I joined a very large project late last year, which takes up quite a bit of my time).
I can, however, say that it WILL be finished and released. I am dead-set on that.
First off, thank you. :D
Second, most of the mountains in the scene use a landscape mesh by "The Chaser" of the Frictional Games forum, just scaled vertically to look like mountains. Each mesh is pretty big, so they go pretty far back on their own. Behind all of those though, I have a custom mountain range texture I made from photographs of real mountains, mapped to a dome surrounding the entire level.
Hope that helps.
Almost like people have lives outside of the things they work on for fun in their spare time.
Sure is. Though I admit, it'd be a lot easier on HPL3.
I am, just been busy as of late. I've still been working on it intermittently, so whenever I do the next Dev Log there's gonna be a lot of cool stuff to talk about.
Ultimately, the tools you use to make the mod are of greater consequence to you than they are to us. If you can do in Unreal what you can do in Source, only easier and faster (and prettier), then I'd say go for it.
Whatever you feel most comfortable using for this project is going to be your best option, especially since your resources are limited now.
Tasteful color palettes and aesthetic choices will always outshine raw graphical fidelity in my book.
Oh, if only we were making this in Unity...
Actually, you'd be surprised how well you can fake sun/moonlight with spotlights, though the shadow quality tends to suffer from the sheer size of the lights.
I've also played with scale to make the castle and towers in the distance look farther away than they really are, which makes the whole area feel more expansive.
If performance is a concern, you can always disable the specularity on the lights (set the alpha value to 0, basically). Games that run on deferred rendering, like Amnesia does, can have a near infinite number of non-specular lights while barely taking a performance hit. Specularity is relatively expensive, but lighting is still really cheap in HPL, even with it.
And if they look too bright, you can always half the RGB values to make them dimmer. Really small bright lights tend to look unnatural, so darkening them and increasing the radius might be a good idea.
It looks a bit strange to me that the Christmas lights aren't giving off any actual light. You don't necessarily need to put a point light on every single bulb, but at least some large multi-colored lights around the roofs would help.
I like to say that "if it glows, you should put a light on it" for situations like these.
Hopefully it doesn't take THAT long, but it may still be a while.
Glad to hear you're excited.
I have put some thought into it, but it only made me realize that I don't even know where to start. :/
There's a lot of stuff I could cover, though. Lighting, particles, entities, materials, optimizations, etc.
It's definitely something I want to do, but, again, I'm not sure where to start.
The main thing that made the effect work was setting a blank white texture to the diffuse channel. Water materials always render as a "Mul" transparency, meaning they only ever darken what's behind them, so a pure white texture effectively made it invisible save for the reflection.
All the wave settings are set to 0, so there isn't any unwanted distortion, though that's probably a given.
I'm still messing around with the Frensel settings, but the 'FrenselPow' doesn't work below 1, so I keep it there to avoid overly bright edges. 'FrenselBias' depends on the kind of surface, but I generally have it at or below 0.2.
It's also possible to lessen the strength of the reflection by setting 'ReflectionFadeStart' to a negative value, which helps a lot in instances where the effect is too bright.
That's about all there is to it. Just make sure the Normal maps of your two materials match, and put the non-reflective plane 0.01 units below the reflective one.
Hope that explains it sufficiently, feel free to ask if you have any more questions.
How DID you manage to make all the lights 360-degree shadow casters anyhow? HPL hasn't had anything like that since the days of Penumbra, outside of faking it with six spotlights.
This is the kind of design choice I've seen developers struggle with on a few occasions in the past. As a developer, it's easy to think that players will always act logically and in a way that maximizes their enjoyment of a game by means that they already fully understand, but that's very rarely the case. Most players will act on impulse if given the chance, and the decision they make will probably lean more towards gaining material of value efficiently than doing something because it might be fun.
I'm glad to see you're thinking of gameplay options this way, and I'm interested to see how it pans out in the future. Keep up the good work.
Your choices in color are fantastic. This is really beautiful.
I hadn't considered it before, but I'll see what I can do.
Shouldn't be terribly difficult.
Glad you like them! I want to make more interesting effects in the future, but for now I'll have to keep it pretty straight-forward.
I used to try to guess, but far too often something happens in my life and I end up getting very little work done for a very long time.
I know it isn't a very satisfying answer, but I don't want to let people down by failing to meet their expectations. All I can really say is that it will be done eventually.
A different breed of horse in a different land would actually make a lot of sense. I'd like to see that.
I hope you have extra-large mitts.
Glad you asked!
For the most part it's been business as usual, but I've also been doing a lot of cool stuff with new particle systems and lighting entities, which I plan to feature in an article sometime soon.
Aside from that, I've been putting extra time into some of the "cinematic" sequences that are in the game, but I'd rather keep those a surprise for release.
That's cool as hell. Wish you all the best.
Holy hell, I didn't expect this much of a response!
Truly, thank you. You guys are what keeps me going.
I must say, I'm quite flattered.
Rest assured though, I won't let this die any time soon.
Can't say how long it'll be until it's actually finished, sadly, but it certainly won't die.
Sorry it took so long to respond, I wasn't really expecting any comments yet.
I'll make sure to message you when I start beta-testing, just be aware that testing is a long ways off right now.
Take all the time you need. Nothing should be more important to you than your own happiness.