A deserted island... a lost man... memories of a fatal crash... a book written by a dying explorer. Dear Esther is a ghost story told using first-person gaming technologies. Rather than traditional gameplay, the focus here is on exploration, uncovering the mystery of the island, of who you are and why you are here. Fragments of story are randomly triggered by moving around the environments, making every telling unique. Features a stunning, specially commissioned soundtrack. Forget the normal rules of play; if nothing seems real here, it's because it may just be all a delusion. What is the significance of the aerial - What happened on the motorway - is the island real or imagined - who is Esther and why has she chosen to summon you here? The answers are out there, on the lost beach and the tunnels under the island. Or then again, they may just not be, after all...

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Just wanted to make a quick update to let you know things are progressing nicely with DE. The lack of updates lately was due to me taking a month off over the Xmas period, but I have since been working hard towards getting you something nice to look at as a reward for hanging around...

Posted by chineseroom on Jan 24th, 2010

(I just want to point out for everyone that the post below and what you are seeing is Robert Briscoe's work, not mine - credit where credit is due! - you can also check out progress on his dev blog - www.littlelostpoly.co.uk/devblog )

Just wanted to make a quick update to let you know things are progressing nicely with DE. The lack of updates lately was due to me taking a month off over the Xmas period, but I have since been working hard towards getting you something nice to look at as a reward for hanging around. Anyway so as soon as the alpha build of the first level was completed I set straight to work on the second level. What you see here is pretty much only a few weeks work which is kind of exciting, now I have established a base set of textures and props I’m finding myself being a lot more productive! Anyway what you see here is the shipwreck from the first part of the level with added sand dunes and significantly larger ship wreck and debris as well as a small winding cliff path:

A quick update...
A quick update...
A quick update...
A quick update...
A quick update...
A quick update...

Please note this area is still an early WIP.

This was a particularly tough area to create. Most of my time was spent researching and developing the look of the sand dunes before I came up with something I was satisfied with. The ship was also a big challenge and something I think still needs work. However overall I’m pleased enough with how the area looks right now and will be moving on to the second half of the map.

That’s all for now, I will post an update when I have more to show!

Post comment Comments  (50 - 77 of 77)
TwoToes Jan 25 2010 says:

Amazing work man.

+1 vote     reply to comment
ausbushman Jan 25 2010 says:

Love the grasses, looks very convincing. Top work!

+1 vote     reply to comment
Aurel_Tristen Jan 25 2010 says:

Great use of blend textures, and the engines new stamped blending! This is a prime example of what it can do.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Jesternz08 Jan 25 2010 says:

Looking incredible, as always. Currently have a bunch of the dear esther (remake) pictures being cycled as my desktop. Keep it up, cant wait for release!!!!

+1 vote     reply to comment
St33m Jan 25 2010 says:

RHHRHRhrhrHRhrhrhRHhrhrhRR.R....! *faints*

+1 vote     reply to comment
HandSolo Jan 25 2010 says:

you deserve a job at valve i mean WOW!, cant wait to play the mod, its gonna be like your really there

+1 vote     reply to comment
JoshZemlinsky Jan 25 2010 says:

wow, when i saw the second pic, i thougt it was from Reallife O.O thats just super skilled mapping :D

+1 vote     reply to comment
Kazanunda Jan 25 2010 says:

I still can't imagine that this is the source engine...
Looks soo, *drool* better...

+1 vote     reply to comment
MajorBanter Jan 25 2010 says:

Rob, this is astonishing work. Keep it up, hope you sort out the shader difficulties.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Limeninja Jan 25 2010 says:

Wow. Just, wow.

+1 vote     reply to comment
arieas Jan 25 2010 says:

Stop taking photos and show some screenshots :D
Great attention to detail in every way.

+2 votes     reply to comment
freredarme Jan 25 2010 says:

Impressive work :O

+1 vote     reply to comment
The.Reap3r Jan 25 2010 says:

Fantastic, keep it up

+1 vote     reply to comment
Hezus Jan 25 2010 says:

Great piece of displacement mapping there! I would love to get my hands on your set of detail textures :)

+1 vote     reply to comment
Hendrix Jan 25 2010 says:

amazing stuff, really well done.

+1 vote     reply to comment
sauerfreak Jan 25 2010 says:

My Lord. 0.0

Beautiful screens.

Played the original version, but the update....my eyes..........

+1 vote     reply to comment
gregfriis Jan 25 2010 says:

That just might be the most beautiful source map I've ever seen.

+1 vote     reply to comment
TacoForPaco Jan 25 2010 says:

Holy shiz! That looks amazing! I just hope my computer can handle it.

+1 vote     reply to comment
urinal-cake Jan 26 2010 says:

@Robert Are you creating LODs for most, or if not all of these models? It wouldn't seem like you're using that many models to begin with. Are you investigating any techniques into LOD fading? What is your methodology behind the grass, have any interesting techniques? With experience working with source, I see the potential for a lot of performance problems here, especially if you plan on going higher than 30fps than you could run the risk of killing your CViewRender.

+1 vote     reply to comment
chineseroom Author
chineseroom Jan 26 2010 replied:

There are currently no lods on any of my models and I havent done a proper optimisation pass at all. However right now I make sure my fps never dip below 100fps on my quad core/ATI 4870 rig with everything at max settings, and on my low spec laptop with a nvidia 9600M, my target is to be able to run it at 1920x1080p with max settings at 40fps. Basically if you can run Left 4 Dead you will be easily be able to run this. There is also a slider option to set the foliage render distance depending on your rig.

+2 votes   reply to comment
JohnnyMaverik Jan 26 2010 says:

Already seen the fantastic vids, but these screenshots are equally awesome. Dear Esther is already one of the best source mods around, and this can only elevate it to new levels of said greatness.

+1 vote     reply to comment
MP81 Jan 27 2010 says:


...my god...

You sure that's not real life? Incredible.

+1 vote     reply to comment
nipzor Jan 28 2010 says:

are you freaking kidding me? lately there have been high quality mods with amazing looking maps, but this tops them all.

+1 vote     reply to comment
D3VIL Feb 6 2010 says:

Fantastic! Some really great mods to look forward to!

+1 vote     reply to comment
Qured Feb 14 2010 says:

This might seem like a strange request, but is the any possibility to get to read the script for the voiceover? I would gladly pay for a copy! Just love the story, it simply beautiful...

And the ongoing changes... Simply stunning. Didn't think you could push the engine that far. Amazing.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Forsete Mar 4 2010 says:

This is absolutely ridonkulous!

+1 vote     reply to comment
TyeTheCzar Aug 15 2010 says:

I just wonder how much my graphics card could take from this mod once released. Oh, and will the wall writings remain in the caves?

+1 vote     reply to comment
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Released 2011
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