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...

Report article RSS Feed Halfway there!

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!

Posted by chineseroom on Mar 4th, 2010

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!

Post comment Comments  (0 - 50 of 72)
Chain_the_Warforged
Chain_the_Warforged Mar 5 2010, 12:48am says:

*Head explodes*

+15 votes     reply to comment
Zlandael Online
Zlandael Mar 5 2010, 12:49am says:

My god, this is reality.

+1 vote     reply to comment
BoredGunman
BoredGunman Mar 5 2010, 1:28am replied:

like the whole avatar depression?

+3 votes     reply to comment
nopushbutton
nopushbutton Mar 5 2010, 12:54am says:

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

Videogames as Art

+2 votes     reply to comment
MrMattWebb
MrMattWebb Mar 5 2010, 12:55am says:

Holy. Crap.

This texture work is unbelievably unbelievable.

+2 votes     reply to comment
Armageddon104
Armageddon104 Mar 5 2010, 12:59am says:

Amazing stuff here!

+1 vote     reply to comment
SirMordred
SirMordred Mar 5 2010, 1:01am buried:

(buried)

Cryengine? This rocks, so atmospheric.

-27 votes     reply to comment
HellsHigh
HellsHigh Mar 5 2010, 2:40am replied:

Its source.

+13 votes     reply to comment
Centaur1um
Centaur1um Mar 5 2010, 7:23am replied:

T_T

+1 vote     reply to comment
sneakymcfox
sneakymcfox Mar 5 2010, 1:12am buried:

(buried)

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

-12 votes     reply to comment
awesomepossum
awesomepossum Mar 5 2010, 1:23am says:

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

+1 vote     reply to comment
NullSoldier
NullSoldier Mar 5 2010, 1:41am buried:

(buried)

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

-5 votes     reply to comment
SinKing
SinKing Mar 5 2010, 1:57am says:

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.

+1 vote     reply to comment
jjawinte
jjawinte Mar 5 2010, 6:47am replied:

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.

+1 vote     reply to comment
weroper.GX
weroper.GX Mar 5 2010, 1:58am says:

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

+1 vote     reply to comment
LORDDEREX
LORDDEREX Mar 5 2010, 2:12am says:

very impressive work!

+1 vote     reply to comment
vfn4i83
vfn4i83 Mar 5 2010, 2:20am says:

Just lost my jaw, for good.

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

+1 vote     reply to comment
Spiffy664
Spiffy664 Mar 5 2010, 2:24am says:

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

+1 vote     reply to comment
ariehl
ariehl Mar 5 2010, 2:51am says:

Wow, these really look fantastic!

+1 vote     reply to comment
ALIENwoods
ALIENwoods Mar 5 2010, 3:34am says:

Extremely looks good ! :D

+1 vote     reply to comment
Tharapita
Tharapita Mar 5 2010, 3:37am says:

Wow, just wow.

+1 vote     reply to comment
pedro0930
pedro0930 Mar 5 2010, 3:38am says:

This is almost like a tech demo

+1 vote     reply to comment
Radu_IceMan
Radu_IceMan Mar 5 2010, 3:50am says:

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

+5 votes     reply to comment
Aaagreen
Aaagreen Mar 5 2010, 4:25am says:

Pff, and people say Source is getting outdated.

+3 votes     reply to comment
Squiggers
Squiggers Mar 5 2010, 6:49am replied:

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.

+6 votes     reply to comment
jjawinte
jjawinte Mar 5 2010, 6:50am replied:

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

+1 vote     reply to comment
ghostings
ghostings Mar 5 2010, 4:58am says:

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

+1 vote     reply to comment
Hendrix
Hendrix Mar 5 2010, 5:33am says:

As usual, absolutely stunning work.

+1 vote     reply to comment
altercuca
altercuca Mar 5 2010, 5:39am says:

looks absolutely awesome!

+1 vote     reply to comment
Adude
Adude Mar 5 2010, 5:50am says:

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

+1 vote     reply to comment
Gman366
Gman366 Mar 5 2010, 6:09am says:

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

Amazing work dude. Keep up the good work : )

+1 vote     reply to comment
`DarcK
`DarcK Mar 5 2010, 6:14am says:

Oh god... Simply magnificent!

+1 vote     reply to comment
Mr.John
Mr.John Mar 5 2010, 6:35am says:

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

-4 votes     reply to comment
Ekonk
Ekonk Oct 5 2010, 2:31pm replied:

Get out of here, Micheal Bay.

+1 vote     reply to comment
NNihad
NNihad Mar 5 2010, 6:39am says:

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

+1 vote     reply to comment
Master_Of_Hiddenry
Master_Of_Hiddenry Mar 5 2010, 6:40am says:

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

+2 votes     reply to comment
SiPlus
SiPlus Mar 5 2010, 6:41am says:

I got shocked.

+1 vote     reply to comment
DazJW
DazJW Mar 5 2010, 6:48am says:

There are no words.

+1 vote     reply to comment
chsignal
chsignal Mar 5 2010, 7:06am says:

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

+1 vote     reply to comment
jjawinte
jjawinte Mar 5 2010, 7:23am says:

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.

+4 votes     reply to comment
freredarme
freredarme Mar 5 2010, 7:26am says:

Awesome !
FPS ?

+2 votes     reply to comment
zonbie
zonbie Mar 5 2010, 8:08am says:

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.

+4 votes     reply to comment
DreamOo
DreamOo Mar 5 2010, 8:09am says:

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

-4 votes     reply to comment
Erwaitin
Erwaitin Mar 5 2010, 8:39am says:

Thank you.

+1 vote     reply to comment
KEEP_IT_UP!
KEEP_IT_UP! Mar 5 2010, 9:04am says:

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

+2 votes     reply to comment
Held
Held Mar 5 2010, 9:05am says:

that's just amazing

+1 vote     reply to comment
Danboe
Danboe Mar 5 2010, 9:51am says:

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

+1 vote     reply to comment
SolidFake
SolidFake Mar 5 2010, 10:04am says:

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

+1 vote     reply to comment
Xiox
Xiox Mar 5 2010, 11:14am says:

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

+1 vote     reply to comment
Resin213
Resin213 Mar 5 2010, 11:18am says:

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

+1 vote     reply to comment
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chineseroom
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Release Date
Released Feb 15, 2011
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