Post news Report article RSS Feed A Light at the end of the Tunnel

So it’s been a while, in fact it’s been almost 4 months since my last update, however, during this time I have been tirelessly working on the third level of Dear Esther and have finally reached the point where I think it is good enough to show some of what I have been up to during my absence.

Posted by chineseroom on Jun 29th, 2010

The third level of Dear Esther takes place at the heart of the island, through its many sprawling caves and tunnels. I have to admit, this was one of the levels I was most excited about working on as I'd never attempted this kind of environment before, and it allowed me a much greater freedom and creativity that is sometimes restricted when creating large outdoor environments and so I was able to add in much more detail and complex shaders to really help bring the caves to life without sacrificing performance.I think the caves in the original were the one area that was most lacking and so I made a real effort to make sure they raise the bar both visually and atmospherically. (Note: As always these shots are pre-alpha and lack proper polish)

Dear Esther - Caves
Dear Esther - Caves
Dear Esther - Caves

Dear Esther - Caves
Dear Esther - Caves
Dear Esther - Caves
Dear Esther - Caves
Dear Esther - Caves

Dear Esther - Caves
Dear Esther - Caves

Dear Esther - CavesDear Esther - CavesDear Esther - Caves

Dear Esther - CavesDear Esther - CavesDear Esther - CavesDear Esther - Caves

Dear Esther - Caves

Dear Esther - CavesDear Esther - CavesDear Esther - Caves

It's been a tough journey on this one, both technically and creatively, with so many unique assets being made and pushing the 2007 Source Engine to its limits to meet my high standards, it took me a lot longer than I predicted to finish the level (hence the abnormally long absence), however I'm so close to finishing now I can almost taste it and I can't wait to get started on the next (and FINAL) level!

Anyway as an added bonus for waiting so long, I've compiled a quick montage of the third level, and also showcasing some of the many effects that has been added/hacked in such as realistic flowing water and caustic effects.

For more media, including high res wallpapers and a HD Youtube video head on over to my devblog!

Post comment Comments  (0 - 50 of 107)
Henley Staff
Henley Jun 29 2010 says:

Awesome as always!

+4 votes   reply to comment
MrMattWebb Jun 30 2010 says:

I cant believe its Source! Its all in the artist, dont blame the tools!

+35 votes     reply to comment
FishMan:E Jun 30 2010 replied:

Tools have metter too (in the question of time), but I agree all stuff is in the artist hands... +1

+2 votes     reply to comment
TingPing Jun 30 2010 replied:

shift better look like this :P

+6 votes     reply to comment
MagnumPI Jul 1 2010 replied:

Cave driving?

+3 votes     reply to comment
KEEP_IT_UP! Jun 30 2010 replied:

@korge word +1

+2 votes     reply to comment
jjawinte Jun 30 2010 replied:

Amen and well said Korge ! A wonderfully cinematic piece !

+4 votes     reply to comment
MagnumPI Jul 1 2010 replied:

People say this a lot, but this literally redefines the boundaries of the Source Engine. Next time someone complains about how the engine is outdated and useless, I'm going to link them to this.

+6 votes     reply to comment
RogerRamjet Jun 30 2010 says:

I am amazed that is source. The mappers and texture artists should win an award. In fact, I will present one. For the best mapping ever seen in source, the award goes to the mappers and texture artists of Dear Easter. Congratulations.

+11 votes     reply to comment
DaveW Jun 30 2010 replied:

Mapper and texture artist. Not plural. It's one guy doing this.

+6 votes     reply to comment
chineseroom Author
chineseroom Jun 30 2010 replied:

Yeah. It's just Rob - all credit goes to him. I'm still scraping my jaw off the floor as we speak... (dan)

+5 votes   reply to comment
johnnyB96000 Jul 25 2010 replied:

lmao dear esther not dear easter Roger Ramjet

+1 vote     reply to comment
Xylemon Jun 30 2010 says:

Holy ****! This is the work of a god!

+4 votes     reply to comment
Keotalf Jun 30 2010 says:

I am completely and utterly awestruck. It is not an understatement at all to say that it is phenomenally beautiful.

+4 votes     reply to comment
eXeC64 Jun 30 2010 says:

Where's the source engine I know and what have you done with it? This is not my lil' source engine :<

+1 vote     reply to comment
ptc5010 Jun 30 2010 says:

"Lacks proper polish?" Whatever you say, man. If you can make what you've already done in these pictures look any better, my eyes are going to explode. I feel compelled to donate money to you. Seriously, I'm starting to feel like I won't be able to play this with a clear conscience without giving you like 10 dollars. It's obvious a lot of work is going into this.

+3 votes     reply to comment
Aguila. Jun 30 2010 says:

Go work for Valve. Or atleast give them your Source source code, goddamn best graphics I've ever seen on Source.

+2 votes     reply to comment
Medevila Aug 1 2010 replied:

The funny thing is- he isn't modifying the Source engine. He's an artist, I tell you. AN ARTIST.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Metalancer Jun 30 2010 says:

Um...This is by far the most amazing environment I've ever seen on the source engine. Valve could even learn a thing or two from you guys =D

+1 vote     reply to comment
Gulp343 Jun 30 2010 says:

no words..just beautiful!

+1 vote     reply to comment
TheDualWorks Jun 30 2010 says:

wow best work in environment in source. just by showing this to a game company you'll be able to work at em.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Argoon Jun 30 2010 replied:

I think he already does work for a game company.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Kiory Jul 2 2010 replied:

He worked with dice on mirrors edge.

He also did various other professional maps, can't remember where from.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Crazyspawn Jun 30 2010 says:

This is amazing!

+1 vote     reply to comment
Paxton Jun 30 2010 says:

I thought you'd moved to UDK! O:

+1 vote     reply to comment
meazum Jun 30 2010 says:

Oh what a beautiful surprise on my birthday!

+1 vote     reply to comment
HounderKnight Jun 30 2010 says:

The amount of quality and detail Robert has put into remaking Dear Esther is astounding. Bravo as always. :)

+1 vote     reply to comment
Radu_IceMan Jun 30 2010 says:

I have never seen anything so amazing, done on Source! FANTASTIC JOB!

0 votes     reply to comment
Cameron:D Jun 30 2010 says:

If this is not epic, what is?

+2 votes     reply to comment
Fox_Commando Jun 30 2010 says:

I seriously need a new PC to run this mod!!! awesome work!!!

+1 vote     reply to comment
alphaflight83 Jun 30 2010 says:

Holy salt and pepper, batman ... This is awesome stuff!

+1 vote     reply to comment
Croco15 Jun 30 2010 says:

This mapping is 10 times better than Valve. Holy ****! Good job!

+1 vote     reply to comment
Piuneer Jul 2 2010 replied:

Add a couple of zeros to that, and you've got a more accurate number.

+1 vote     reply to comment
cjone2 Jun 30 2010 says:

beyond stunning best source work I have seen

+1 vote     reply to comment
Held Jun 30 2010 says:

oh man that's so much nicer than a stupid cinamatic mod

+3 votes     reply to comment
LPFreak Jun 30 2010 says:

that is so incredible! You guys are modgods!

+1 vote     reply to comment
Robok Jun 30 2010 says:

Simply amazing, I didn't think this was even possible with Source :O

0 votes     reply to comment
WNxKraid Jun 30 2010 says:

beautifull, simply beautifull.

are you planning to do some kind of "making of dear ester" once you're done with the mod?
just to give the rest of us the chance to improve and learn from a true Master.

+1 vote     reply to comment
JohnnyJustice Jun 30 2010 says:

Truly remarkable. I'm in love with it.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Nauz Jun 30 2010 says:

better than anything I've seen in the source engine so far ! awesome

+1 vote     reply to comment
Icedecknight Jun 30 2010 says:


+1 vote     reply to comment
Pliqu3011 Jun 30 2010 says:

*searching his jaw...*

+1 vote     reply to comment
AngryNerd Jun 30 2010 says:

****-in-my-pants amazing! Congratulations!

+1 vote     reply to comment
PytoX Jun 30 2010 says:

Wow this is just pure awesomeness, are all the spikes low poly models or so?

+1 vote     reply to comment
altercuca Jun 30 2010 says:

this is hard to believe its Source Engined!!! seriously well done m8. IMO Valve should use this as a Tech Demo :D, showing the true potential of source in the right hands!!!

+1 vote     reply to comment
SolidFake Jun 30 2010 says:

You should stop that project, it isn't good for your health.
No, really, if you don't stop, you can expect god himself to come down to the earth just to stomp you under his giant fist due to such amazing works, which are questioning the existence of god.

+3 votes     reply to comment
projektariel Jun 30 2010 says:

Stunning, absolutely stunning! As the mapping and as a result the game play were the only areas not on par with the high level of quality of writing and sound in the original, I`m looking forward to play Dear Esther again in its new perfection! :)

+1 vote     reply to comment
Kamikazi[Uk] Jun 30 2010 says:

Wow very impressive level design.

+1 vote     reply to comment
VirusxXx Jun 30 2010 says:

HOLY SHIZZLES!!!! It doesn't look like the source engine at all! I bet even Valve didn't know it could look that good!

+1 vote     reply to comment
popsUlfr Jun 30 2010 says:

There are absolutely no words to describe the beauty gracing my eyes here.
If the sounddesign is on par with the graphics, I might die from awesome overdose.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Post a Comment
click to sign in

You are not logged in, your comment will be anonymous unless you join the community today (totally free - or sign in with your social account on the right) which we encourage all contributors to do.

2000 characters limit; HTML formatting and smileys are not supported - text only

Post news
Report Abuse
Report article
Related Mods
Related Games
Half-Life 2
Half-Life 2 First Person Shooter