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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.

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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  (50 - 100 of 106)
FootBallHead
FootBallHead

And I thought the pictures were stunning... I almost cried during the video. The way the rocks shine, how the light was reflecting off the water and onto the rock, the water effects and shaders, and... the waterfalls were just stunning. There is a huge difference between the old, bland, brown caves and the new, living, colorful caves. I am really impressed. This is going to be freakin' amazing.

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Saint_Stan
Saint_Stan

**** ME.. that's beyond Godlike

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boredgamer
boredgamer

This looks so...surreal.

No, really.

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PrivRyan
PrivRyan

This looks like a commercial game. No kidding. This is stunning.

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Bluedrake42
Bluedrake42

holy ******* balls... that's source?

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alvarojmarquez
alvarojmarquez

Great work.

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JopiMan
JopiMan

oh my god that is pretty

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JoshZemlinsky
JoshZemlinsky

Most beautiful source mod ever :O

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Vcc2cc
Vcc2cc

i would really, really love it if you didn't showcase ANY pics of the last level. Though most of us here have played DE, I think it'd be a nice surprise to not show the last third of the game.

Yea people will bitch, but I think (like the Black Mesa team is doing with Xen and a few other chapters) it'll make people want to SEE and PLAY the final area, rather than just look at the screens.

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DazJW
DazJW

I think it'll be fine as long as the stronger visual moments are kept. There's one particular epic view near to the end that really needs to be held back to give it the most power possible, though I suspect it might end up being shown as it's also one of the more intriguing sights that might get people to play Dear Esther if they haven't already.

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awesomepossum
awesomepossum

Impressive as always, Best looking source mod I've ever seen!

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sauerfreak
sauerfreak

My lord, it's even more of a dramatic change than how Crysis was to Far Cry. :O Such massive improvements, I can't even tell it's the same mod. You've dethroned Raindrop as the best-looking Source-based mod in existence, IMO.

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D3VIL
D3VIL

Absolutely incredible! You have serious talent!

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sadobash
sadobash

Fantastic work!

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sadobash
sadobash

Very atmospheric!

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Ekonk
Ekonk

I think I died and went to heaven.

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liamh101
liamh101

Wait one second...this is "Pre-alpha" for you? For anyone else this would be done and dusted if there level looked like this on any engine. You sir are a graphics god!!

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Jokerme
Jokerme

Jealousy is killing me T_T

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eldes
eldes

Seriously, is your mappers/artists team the same as Fallout 3's or Half Life's? (Not Half Life 2, Half Life 2 maps kind of suck)

Edit:
I saw the video, and judging by the waterfalls, I don't think this is source...I mean...artists can do alot by themselves, but the tools have limits...

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Kiory
Kiory

He's created his own unique shaders specifically for the waterfalls and such.

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legio_noctis
legio_noctis

Stunning.

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swiftseraph
swiftseraph

So, I'm not going to waste many words, as pretty much it's all been said before, but this is the most impressive thing I've seen artistically in a mod. Have an award, please. Someone get this man an award. If you don't win at LEAST one moddb award, I think something is wrong with the process.

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Master_Of_Hiddenry
Master_Of_Hiddenry

Bloody stunning. Simple as that.

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Krayziee
Krayziee

Unbelievable!

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LORDDEREX
LORDDEREX

amazing :)
If not valve get an eye on this, they have missed something very very good art!

Keep up the good work, man so nice.

Seems to me we wont be able to stop the tears of beauty ;)

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flameknight7
flameknight7

i just jizzed my pants because that level is so awesome

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Gearson
Gearson

oh god. Its beautiful.

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UKcharlie
UKcharlie

Cant really add any more original praise for this that someone else hasnt already said but this really is amazing. Big congratulations

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Theon
Theon

Holy shi-

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blobb.karkov
blobb.karkov

hell man, this is too awesome to believe. seems like source engine with proper mappers is getting closer to cryengine than ever thought.

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HellsHigh
HellsHigh

Lack proper polish my ***! Man thats amazing!!!

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KompressorIsCool
KompressorIsCool

If only you could send all of these to every reviewer who criticized the original for its terrible mapping and forgot about it 3 days after.

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Dr.Worm
Dr.Worm

Is this real life? I wanna visit that place!

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dvlstx
dvlstx

" As always these shots are pre-alpha and lack proper polish "
" pre-alpha and lack proper polish "
" lack proper polish "

Like hell they do :P These look fantastic as-is

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Rikachu
Rikachu

WTF.

HOW.

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Darthlex
Darthlex

You need to change the "Dear Esther" preview image, on your website, with one of these beauties.

I am .. Impressed .. Beyond any level of comprehension.

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RKotern
RKotern

not bad, not bad.... :D

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SpaceRanger
SpaceRanger

www.pcgamer.com notices you

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RocketSurgery
RocketSurgery

you are some sort of demigod

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bobsbarricades
bobsbarricades

this is unreal!!! congratulations man! I'm super impressed with the quality that you've managed to achieve on the source engine. Can't wait to replay one of my favorite mods!! Any idea if Korsakovia will get some lovin'?

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Stone.Heart
Stone.Heart

ITS LIKE A MIND *******!

AWESOME OWRK DUDE!

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kfhammond
kfhammond

no ******* way... omg....

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Ithilgore
Ithilgore

Bloody hell.

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Piuneer
Piuneer

I've heard people say things along the lines of "ZOMFG I CNAT BELEEV DIS IS SOURZCE!!!" and every time they seem to be stupid and underrating the potential of this engine. But after seeing this in all its glorious glory, I am now one of those people...

I just cannot believe how great the Source engine can look.

Thank you, Rob for your tireless work for us humble modders to enjoy.

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Door
Door

I swear some of those screenshots look like paintings, and in motion it's simply staggering the amount of detail and effort you have put into it.

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Sleepl3ss
Sleepl3ss

Good job! The caves look stunning :)

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sbman
sbman

Absolutely Epic! Wow this is on source, why hasn't valve offered you a job yet

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Qured
Qured

I... I think I love you.

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Youngtusk87
Youngtusk87

This looks just amazing. I cannot wait for this to be finished!

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Bad_D0g
Bad_D0g

I love how he says "...these shots are pre-alpha and lack proper polish"
That's more than enough polish for me

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