Post news Report article RSS Feed Q&A + MODTY and new media!

So in my last update I asked for your questions regarding the Dear Esther Remake, and today I have been sifting through them and have answered some of the most common questions asked below:

Posted by chineseroom on Dec 7th, 2010

So in my last update I asked for your questions regarding the Dear Esther Remake, and today I have been sifting through them and have answered some of the most common questions asked below:

Q: Can you make some tutorials to give us some insight into how you built your levels ?
Yes most certainly, just as soon as development on DE starts winding down, and I have a bit more free time, I plan on doing a number of tutorials detailing the various steps and techniques I followed to create the visuals for Dear Esther. Keep your eyes peeled for those in the coming months! In the meantime, I have a couple of posts on my blog which should give you an initial idea of how I have approached displacements in Source here and here

Q: Are you going to use the same narration/soundtrack as the original Dear Esther, or is it all going to be redone?
We're working on a complete overhaul of Dear Esther's soundtrack for the remake. Fans of the soundtrack will get treated to new versions of all the music (re-recorded with real instruments/orchestra) which we'll also look at packaging up in high quality versions for iTunes download. In addition to this, we're looking at breaking some of themes up into different variations to drop into the environment at different places and maybe even adding in some randomization here as well, so like the voice-overs, you get a slightly different take on events depending on your run-through. We'll also be looking at enhancing the environment audio and SFX to compliment the new build.

Q: Where can I find the soundtrack playing in the trailers?
You can find the original soundtrack right here on ModDB!

Q: Will you be supporting different languages with this release?
Yes that is certainly the plan, I have already implemented subtitles into the game, and now it's just a case of translating the text. Right now we have French, Italian and Spanish covered, but are still looking for volunteers to help us with other translations, if you wish to see DE subtitled into your language and think you can help, please let me know!

Q: Are you doing anything new in terms of the story, such as extending the story from the original or adding new voice work?
We're hoping to get Nigel, our original voice actor, back in to supplement the existing voice-overs with some new audio cues (which means Dan is working on new bits of script), and also re-master the existing voice-overs. The plan is to reward more exploration of the island and offer some real incentives for wandering off the linear path. There are a couple of voice-overs which didn't make it into the original that will hopefully be going back in which throw a different light on some of the events of the story (so think of it like a Director's Cut!) On top of that there will be an extra visual layer of detail added, with each play through revealing unique details in the environment which expand upon the storyline.

Q: What kind of system do I need to run it?
A very modest one! My aim is to allow everyone to have to same experience on as broad a range of hardware as possible. Right now my benchmark is to run it at 30fps on my aging Dual core laptop with a Nvidia 9600M GPU at 1900x1080 at maximum settings. Right now it's actually running at more like 40fps which is good, and on my Radeon 4800 I'm aiming to keep the fps above 100! Basically if you can run TF2 or Episode 2 you will have no problems running this!

Q: Release dates?!
difficult to put at date on it at the moment, but by the way things are going I'm estimating sometime early in 2011.

Finally, I'd like to thank everyone who's been voting for us in Moddb's Mod of The Year Awards, we're now in the top 100! Phase 2 is still ongoing so if you haven't voted yet, and think we're worthy,

Click here to vote for us for best upcoming MOTY!

Oh and as a thank you for your support, here are a few more early screenshots from the final level:

More Final Level shotsMore Final Level shotsMore Final Level shotsMore Final Level shotsMore Final Level shotsMore Final Level shotsMore Final Level shotsMore Final Level shots

Post comment Comments  (0 - 50 of 66)
[MI]Stalk Dec 7 2010, 9:53pm says:

Oh god there's more pictures. I love the ones with the antenna behind. This is amazing... truly no words.

+6 votes     reply to comment
CaptainLagfail Dec 7 2010, 10:01pm says:


Still amazed by the sheer amount of detail in each of those images...

If Source has a limit, you're the closest anyone's ever been to reaching it, and to do that while keeping smooth frames on an old mid-range laptop GFX card is a feat in itself!

I hope you keep active here on moddb as I plan to buy any game you work on.

Honestly, the only game I've seen look better than this is STALKER Clear Sky with Faction Fronts or Artistpavel's Complete Mod retextures... Hell, even FakeFactory's Cinematic Mod doesn't look as good as this!

+7 votes     reply to comment
Mattey Dec 7 2010, 10:20pm replied:

I agree...
If CM had this detail, imagine how HL2 saga would be!!!

specially in HL2: Episode 2!!!

-1 votes     reply to comment
Prettyboy326 Dec 8 2010, 12:16am buried:


@ mattey and lagfail (incase of reply fail)

he is now using the udk engine if i remember correctly, he just hasnt updated the engine he is using.

-12 votes     reply to comment
Darthlex Dec 8 2010, 1:41am replied:


+4 votes     reply to comment
Mr.John Dec 8 2010, 1:51am replied:

This is Sauce all the way.

+2 votes     reply to comment
Medevila Dec 8 2010, 7:40am replied:

People say "lol best Source mod" to any decent looking Source mod, but this, seriously, to me, is the best. The. Best.

+2 votes     reply to comment
IndigoSC Dec 8 2010, 12:03pm replied:

Fakefactory is ********, over-sized textures, non fitting characters, and many more things which makes it awful.

-2 votes     reply to comment
Gradius Dec 8 2010, 12:25pm replied:

Yes, if you wanted to make maps look better you'd focus on replacing low poly or flat textured stuff with proper models instead of just bumping up the texture resolution to impotent levels of detail.

-1 votes     reply to comment
thecuteturtle Dec 7 2010, 10:02pm says:

I wish i havent played it yet.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Shirk Dec 7 2010, 10:03pm says:

Fantastic Job!

+2 votes     reply to comment
FishMan:E Dec 7 2010, 10:11pm says:

Cant wait to see it on my big screen )

+3 votes     reply to comment
Vcc2cc Dec 7 2010, 10:35pm says:

I thought you were gonna say "okay Q n A time kids, wadda wanna ask?"
So I didn't post anything :(

I just wanted to know how u guys r gonna deal with the overlapping VOs. Perhaps force the player to walk slower, in general? Or maybe slow the player down to a walk once they trigger the sound?

looks sexy, want to penetrate DE.

+1 vote     reply to comment
chineseroom Author
chineseroom Dec 8 2010, 1:53am replied:

We'll be taking care of those. Mostly they were caused in the original by having to retro-fit VOs to a pre-built environment, which was kind of an inevitable problem caused by the way we built the whole thing. Not only has Rob been able to build to the original but avoid these problems, but he's implemented a slightly different way of calling the VOs which enables subtitles and should prevent double-fires at the same time. (Dan)

+1 vote   reply to comment
Croco15 Dec 7 2010, 10:36pm says:

Incredible as always.

+1 vote     reply to comment
HounderKnight Dec 7 2010, 10:43pm says:

Amazing work and great update. :)

+1 vote     reply to comment
Shirk Dec 7 2010, 11:05pm says:

Yeah because I always hated in Dear Esther when I would be listening to the guy talk and walk into another trigger and here the guy talking about osmething else while the first triggers sound is still playing.

+1 vote     reply to comment
madcat1030 Dec 8 2010, 12:02am says:

Wow. Totally nerd-gasm worthy. (that's a good thing)

+1 vote     reply to comment
chineseroom Author
chineseroom Dec 8 2010, 1:54am says:

Update: We've also had an offer of Russian, Ukranian, German, so add them to the list. Btw - if you made us an offer and we haven't got back in a while, do nudge Dan via PM as he's putting together a translation pack to help out with some of the more obscure bits of script over the next couple of weeks. (dan)

+2 votes   reply to comment
ianna_keeper Dec 8 2010, 2:21am says:

I will curse you if you don't finish this project!

+1 vote     reply to comment
BlazeHedgehog Dec 8 2010, 4:20am says:

If that's what you consider an "aging" computer, then I guess I'm out of luck. :\

0 votes     reply to comment
Mkilbride Dec 8 2010, 5:12am replied:

It was an aging computer in 2008, it's an ancient computer by todays standards. :P

+1 vote     reply to comment
chineseroom Author
chineseroom Dec 8 2010, 5:15am replied:

What's your system, if you dont mind me asking?

+1 vote   reply to comment
BlazeHedgehog Dec 8 2010, 6:28am replied:

3.2ghz Pentium 4
GeForce 6600GT
2gb of RAM (PC-133)

THAT'S what I consider "aging". I can still run a handful of today's games, albeit on pretty low settings. But it's usually more than enough for Source Engine stuff.

I WAS in the process of buying some upgrades (just bought a new PSU, currently window-shopping a new processor and graphics card), but something personal has come up recently that's probably going to make that difficult. :\

Granted, I shouldn't complain. For as beautiful as these screenshots have been, I more or less expected I'd probably be left behind, and I shouldn't hold the mod back just because I'm lagging behind, right? (Like little old me would even matter!)

+1 vote     reply to comment
chineseroom Author
chineseroom Dec 8 2010, 8:14am replied:

I still think you'll be able to run it ok, just without Anti-aliasing on and perhaps a lower AF setting. It isnt very demanding on texture memory or RAM, just dont expect it to run smoothly at 1080p with that :P

+1 vote   reply to comment
CaptainLagfail Dec 9 2010, 9:33am replied:

If your mobo is PCI-e and not AGP, then get yourself a new card now. For under a hundred quid you could get an Nvidia GF450 (Or even a 768mb 460 for a little more, but avoid the SE version) if you want to play games with PhysX on, or you could get a Radeon 5770 near 100 quid or a 6850 for around the same as the GF460 (More grunt, no PhysX).

All of those will give you decent frames on 1920x1080, the 460 and 6850 can run dual monitors up to about 1650x1050 smoothly if you want to go that route for purposes other than gaming.

That processor will be a choke point for any of these cards, but for another 130 quid when you have it, you can get a good current mobo and a decent dual / quad core AMD. The Phenom x2 555 Black Edition would overclock like a beast, and currently retails at around 70 quid.

(UK prices, adjust accordingly)

+1 vote     reply to comment
Newbez Dec 8 2010, 4:39am says:

has valve picked you up yet?

+2 votes     reply to comment
Mkilbride Dec 8 2010, 5:13am replied:

I believe that Robert, the guy who is remastering Dear Esther, as I like to call it, "Dear Esther: Remastered Edition"(You should use that as the title page, also), works for a company already, his page said he worked for DICE, makers of the Battlefield Franchise, but not sure if it was in past tense or not.

Be awesome if they did pick him up though, Episode 3 could use a mapper as good as this.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Guessmyname Dec 8 2010, 6:08am replied:

Robert Briscoe + the guy who made Minerva (known to be on the Ep3 team now) = inevitable awesomeness.

+4 votes     reply to comment
CaptainLagfail Dec 10 2010, 8:57am replied:

Adam Foster made Minerva (Goes by Cargo Cult on his own forums, still active)

+1 vote     reply to comment
PytoX Dec 8 2010, 5:16am says:

This is amazing, you should make episode 3

+2 votes     reply to comment
MrMattWebb Dec 8 2010, 5:23am says:

this is seriously as close as it gets to Crysis: Source

+1 vote     reply to comment
Mkilbride Dec 8 2010, 5:30am replied:

Crysis doesn't compare. Crysis feels like a game.

This looks like a world; it's much better in terms of being photorealistic.

+1 vote     reply to comment
ianna_keeper Dec 8 2010, 5:38am replied:

do you really believe in this?

check in cave shots again.

-2 votes     reply to comment
Mkilbride Dec 8 2010, 6:03am replied:

Yes, I believe this. It looks much better than Crysis.

-1 votes     reply to comment
xXMaNiAcXx Dec 8 2010, 3:14pm replied:

Have you ever played Crysis? >.>

+1 vote     reply to comment
Mkilbride Dec 8 2010, 10:02pm replied:

Several times, on high.

+2 votes     reply to comment
Darthlex Dec 9 2010, 6:47pm replied:

It has nothing to do with the graphical advantages; It's about the creativity of the mapping .. Crysis is pretty, but boring and cliché, when it comes to the mapping.

+3 votes     reply to comment
Hotels Dec 8 2010, 5:43am buried:


This isn't ****** source. No way. The jig is up. I will never believe it.


-9 votes     reply to comment
Guessmyname Dec 8 2010, 5:52am says:

Y-You should work for Valve...


+1 vote     reply to comment
KEEP_IT_UP! Dec 8 2010, 5:59am says:

can't wait to see these tutorials, you mentioned. not because i am able to to maps - i just want to see and understand how this is possible and why are so many can't achieve that level of detail with source. :)

great update and interview.

one question: is it still "pure source" ? i bet you edited the code / engine so much (to have all that eye candy going on) that it's not "just source" anymore. right? wrong? ;D

+1 vote     reply to comment
Mkilbride Dec 8 2010, 6:04am replied:


It's just engine changes. This has all been possible, but no one has been using it, basically.

0 votes     reply to comment
Guessmyname Dec 8 2010, 12:28pm replied:

I know there's a few fixes to the material system (there was a thread about it in Interlopers when he was looking for a coder) to - for example - let detail textures be used with seamless scale, but that's about it.

+2 votes     reply to comment
Darrosquall Dec 8 2010, 6:44am says:


+1 vote     reply to comment
Soldier11 Dec 8 2010, 6:58am says:

Holy awesome ****! Your mapping skill is outstanding. I've never seen anything like that in a Source based game or mod.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Jokerme Dec 8 2010, 8:03am says:

My heart can't take it. Too much awesomeness :(

+1 vote     reply to comment
Held Dec 8 2010, 9:08am says:

already voted for you, good luck!

+1 vote     reply to comment
Bird_of_Prey Dec 8 2010, 2:05pm says:

More beautiful landscapes. Great work!

+1 vote     reply to comment
Rakym Dec 8 2010, 2:39pm says:

If you still need a german translator pm me.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Wolf0x Dec 8 2010, 2:43pm says:

The details looking good can't wait.

+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
Dear Esther (Half-Life 2)
Dear Esther Half-Life 2 - Single Player First Person Shooter
Related Games
Half-Life 2
Half-Life 2 Single & Multiplayer First Person Shooter