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...

So I hit a big milestone today, bringing the second level to alpha and subsequently reaching the half-way point in the project! It took me roughly two months to complete this, which is not bad considering the first level was almost 6 months in the making!

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So I hit a big milestone today, bringing the second level to alpha and subsequently reaching the half-way point in the project! It took me roughly two months to complete this, which is not bad considering the first level was almost 6 months in the making! To celebrate here are some screens:

Dear Esther Level 2 Progress
Dear Esther WIP - level 2
Dear Esther WIP - level 2
Dear Esther Level 2 Progress
Dear Esther Level 2 Progress
Dear Esther Level 2 Progress
Dear Esther Level 2 Progress
Dear Esther Level 2 Progress
Dear Esther Level 2 Progress
Dear Esther Level 2 Progress
Dear Esther Level 2 Progress

I also have more screens as well as some High-res wallpaper over on the blog so be sure to check it out!

Overall I’m very pleased with the results, although technically it has been quite a struggle, in comparison to the first level this one is utterly huge, I broke the Source engine quite a few times in the process of building it to the level of detail you see here. Performance is looking great though, currently on par with the first level, and for those of you who are wondering, if you can run any OB/L4D game then you will most certainly be able to run this. Right now I can run it at 30-40fps, 1900×1080 on my humble laptop with only a 9600M GPU with everything maxed out.

Anyway I’m already looking forward to starting the next level, the caves under the island, I think it will be a truly unique setting where I can really break out the eye candy and play with some interesting art styles, which will be a refreshing change compared to the wide open environments I have been working on previously!

Anyway hope you enjoyed the update!

Comments  (0 - 50 of 72)
Chain_the_Warforged
Chain_the_Warforged

*Head explodes*

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Zlandael
Zlandael

My god, this is reality.

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BoredGunman
BoredGunman

like the whole avatar depression?

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nopushbutton
nopushbutton

Gosh.
I just want to go out there... and have a picnic, or something.

Videogames as Art

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MrMattWebb
MrMattWebb

Holy. Crap.

This texture work is unbelievably unbelievable.

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Armageddon104
Armageddon104

Amazing stuff here!

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SirMordred
SirMordred

(buried)

Cryengine? This rocks, so atmospheric.

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HellsHigh
HellsHigh

Its source.

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Centaur1um
Centaur1um

T_T

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sneakymcfox
sneakymcfox

(buried)

this is porbably the best thing i have ever seen done with the source engine (except deleting it obviosly)

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awesomepossum
awesomepossum

well... I'm jealous of your skills!
excellent work

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NullSoldier
NullSoldier

(buried)

Who ever mapped this would you please <robotvoice>sit on my FACE.</robotvoice>

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SinKing
SinKing

Really cool and thoughtful mapping! I like the sense of depth of canyons and ocean (even without a high viewing distance). When I see something like this on Source I have problems defending what I don't like about the engine. You obviously brought in some talent and made the best out of Source. This is good advertisement for Valve, and I can't wait to replay Dear Esther.

Will you expand some areas, perhaps? For example the ship actually looks like you can walk around on it. One thing I wished for DE was to have more scavenging and exploration abilities. The story can be the same, but there could be some "side" discoveries apart from the main plot.

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jjawinte
jjawinte

Agreed SinKing. The whole setting and mood of DE just begged for more expansive exploration ( Even with little to find ) and this will be even more so. Let's hope.

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weroper.GX
weroper.GX

Please make many many little secret things to find!
Very awesome stuff! Keep it on!

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LORDDEREX
LORDDEREX

very impressive work!

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vfn4i83
vfn4i83

Just lost my jaw, for good.

Thats the single most impressive piece of work I've see.

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Spiffy664
Spiffy664

Ever heard of the artist Nathie over at DA? your rock technique reminds me of a 3D version of his rocks. (how the rocks are regularly disperse by little "lines" of sand

you have captured the randomness of nature very well, keep it up with the disp maps

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ariehl
ariehl

Wow, these really look fantastic!

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ALIENwoods
ALIENwoods

Extremely looks good ! :D

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Tharapita
Tharapita

Wow, just wow.

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pedro0930
pedro0930

This is almost like a tech demo

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Radu_IceMan
Radu_IceMan

Ladies and gentlemen! The winner of this round, Robert Briscoe who managed to knock out his opponent, Vavle.

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Aaagreen
Aaagreen

Pff, and people say Source is getting outdated.

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Squiggers
Squiggers

Outdated methods for getting stuff in engine, and technology wise? Certainly, compared to Unreal3 and CryEngine2.

However, in this case.. Its hard to believe its Source technology. Outstanding work, I love it.

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jjawinte
jjawinte

Well said " Aaagreen " and " Radu_IceMan " and " Squiggers " !

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ghostings
ghostings

TTATT, Now I know for sure my computer can't handle this awesomeness.

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Hendrix
Hendrix

As usual, absolutely stunning work.

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altercuca
altercuca

looks absolutely awesome!

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Adude
Adude

Dayum, It barely resembles the original version it has improved so much! I'm really looking forward to the release of this. =)

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Gman366
Gman366

Wow... didnt know that the Source Engine could be that beautiful...

Amazing work dude. Keep up the good work : )

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`DarcK
`DarcK

Oh god... Simply magnificent!

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Mr.John
Mr.John

All we need now is some guns, explosions and multiplayer!

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Ekonk
Ekonk

Get out of here, Micheal Bay.

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NNihad
NNihad

Absolutely amazing! I think there is no way to discribe it!

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Master_Of_Hiddenry
Master_Of_Hiddenry

Gotta be the most realistic grasswork I've seen in a game. Ever. I swear, you gotta make valve jealous.

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SiPlus
SiPlus

I got shocked.

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DazJW
DazJW

There are no words.

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chsignal
chsignal

Amazing. Cant believe that u made this in source. Good work.

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jjawinte
jjawinte

This work is a perfect example of why I love following this modding community.

Seeing such masterful manipulation of an engine to transform an artistic vision into this caliber of awe inspiring and visually stunning work should serve as an example of inspiration to current and aspiring modders everywhere.

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freredarme
freredarme

Awesome !
FPS ?

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zonbie
zonbie

i thought the big black Valve van might have come by already to snatch you up and whisk you away to Success Island.

This island, however, already appears to fill that role. It looks like a Half-Life 2 concept artist's wet dream.

This project is explosively impressive. Keep up the good work. Don't get lost in the tunnels.

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DreamOo
DreamOo

are u kidding me? that´s not the source engine...
just being puzzled ... 0.o

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Erwaitin
Erwaitin

Thank you.

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KEEP_IT_UP!
KEEP_IT_UP!

best (!) source pictures i EVER saw!!! respect.

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Held
Held

that's just amazing

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Danboe
Danboe

I've never played DE yet, I was just going to but I've decided to wait now, tremendous stuff!

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SolidFake
SolidFake

very cool
although I would like to see some more ligthing in some parts, like at the parts where the sun breakes through the sky, that looks incredible

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Xiox
Xiox

Wow.. at least you're pushing the source engine somewhere! It's a relief to see something like this in comparison to most maps :P

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Resin213
Resin213

Like Danboe seeing this in development is causing me to wait to play DE.
Awe inspiring. just beautiful.

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