Dynamic Shaders 2.0 CTP
Community Technology Preview
The long awaited version 2.0 of Dynamic Shaders is now available as CTP in the download section. When installing it make sure you've read the following notes.
Why CTP ?
This is a preview version, which means that the final release has not been finished. In software development we talk of a Community Technology Preview for pre-releases that don't "fit" in the regular "Alpha-Beta-Final" release chain, and serve as a showcase of what main features the upcoming version is about to contain. In terms of DS 2.0, there are still a lot of areas that need refinement, balancing, or even one or the other fix to be applied in order to be considered a "final" release.
In other words: Enjoy the new features - but be prepared to encounter some glitches or bugs ;-)
What new features does it bring?
The CTP contains almost all features that DS 2.0 has been advertised for, plus two or three things that haven't been announced publicly. A few minor features have been crossed out, and things that have not been mentioned as part of DS 2.0 will not be contained.
Feature List (as on the mod's summary page):
- Reflective dynamic wet surfaces (totally new implemented)
- Indoor light reflections in selected places
- New Sun Shafts aka "God Rays" (totally new implemented) with additional sun effects
- Dynamic rainbows
- Adaptive Night Vision Scopes, now also switchable by keypress
- Dynamic Depth of Field and Zoom DoF
- Reflective suit visors (from the outside and the inside)
- Reflective lighting optimized (slightly improved lighting model)
- Thermal/Infrared Vision
- Soft Shadows - Improved shadow jitter implementation
- NEW: Lens Flares on specific light sources (not only sun)
- NEW: Water Drops on Visor HUD during rain fall
- Semi-transparent HUD cross-hair of selectable color
- Improved Parallax Mapping
- Added jitter and edge distortion to night vision scopes and NV binoc
- support for all 41 levels of the extended Kostya's STALKER Map Pack
- support for mods with zoom-less weapons (to still have zoom DOF in aim mode)
- support for modified FOV (Field Of View), like with FOV-Switcher tools
- scopes with additional scope zoom
- many small fixes and improvements.
What unfinished things are to expected?
As for a CTP some areas of the mod either haven't been finished, or would be ok but haven't been fine tuned and balanced well yet. The following list contains features with refinement requirement:
- Wet surfaces create glitches under certain circumstances and are toned down for that reason.
- Indoor reflections behave like wet other areas, therefore they are not refined yet as well.
- Sun Shafts are most complete but might need adjustment to your liking.
- Rainbows move with the skybox when you have a rotating sky.
- Switching night vision on/off disables the "current task" feature as they take over the Tab key.
- Depth of Field effect looses intensity when used together with sun shafts.
- Thermal vision is a fake effect and therefore creates "false" or strange results sometimes.
- Soft Shadows change the way the entire shadowing behaves so need to be balanced out well.
- Lens Flares are only configured for Agroprom Underground, and only on certain light sources.
- Water Drops appear / dry out with the wet surfaces without taking indoor areas into account.
- Many things that need further fine tuning and sometimes even bug fixing.
Do I need to make any configuration effort to get this working?
This mod is all about configuration - it is not meant to be run "as is". Sure, the release *does* run out-of-the-box, when put onto a vanilla installation (i.e. no other mods installed), but realistically in most cases you'd wan't to adjust one or the other feature to your liking and other mods.
So, it's really worth the effort looking into the various pieces that might be configured:
The shaders themselves have several settings files - those end with .txt extension in gamedata/r2 folder. There is a general ShaderSettings file (including wet surfaces settings), and decidated files for sun shafts, visors, rainbows, and lens flares.
Some scripts have configurative elements as well: shader_control, weather_control, visor_control. Most settings can be left as they are, but you'd want to check the console settings in weather_control (only change first list value of respective console setting, leave the second one!).
There are some .ltx files in the config sections, most important those in the shaders subfolder. There you can also add locations for areas in the game that should have a ground always dry, wet, or reflective.
Can it be merged with / into other mods?
Short answer: Yes, it can. Realistic answer: In most cases some basic file merging might be required. This affects mainly a few script and config files, although in some rare cases shader merging might be needed as well.
I can't give a general merging instruction here because the effort to be taken depends very much on the mods that you want to run DS 2.0 along with. However some file comparison / diff tool will certainly do a good job in assisting the merge procedure.
Files that need merging in almost every case (when not run on plain vanilla) are bind_stalker.script and environment.ltx, often also level_weathers.script, ui_main_menu.script, and ui_custom_msgs.xml. There are also some files that you might or might not take over, such as the textures (but some features might not work then as expected), or anything that is duplicate with no differences in your other mods, obviously.
What about the system requirements?
DS 2.0 is a beast, shader-wise. You'll want to make sure you have a well optimized (and not extremely out-dated) rig. The mod is DirectX 9 only (full dynamic lighting / R2 renderer). Check the sample user.ltx provided in the download section to avoid renderer errors on a fresh game installation. Plus, DirectX 11 runtime needs to be installed on your system. But relax - you won't need a fully DX11 compliant graphics adapter to run the mod. Anything not older than a Geforce GTX 260 should do, although in order to get a decent frame rate you'll need something like a GTX 560 Ti or newer. CPU load is reasonably high as well, but a moderate multi-core machine should do. However be sure to have enough memory available and run a patch of the game allowing to address enough of it (in my tests the game used about 1.7 GB on full load).
Ah, almost forgot: An SSD disk or at least decent harddrive might really help speeding up launch times!
Why does it come with a bin folder?
As mentioned above, the mod runs on the DX11 runtime. To enable best hardware support I had to provide two binaries to copy into your bin folder. This way you won't need to replace any native DirectX binaries on your system.
If you got any questions or comments don't hesitate to contact me. I can't always reply instantly, but I will look into any request as soon as I get a chance to.
Important Note: Fix for start-up crash
In case you get an error message on start-up after installing the CTP with this log (or similar):
error is error X3539: ps_1_x is no longer supported; use /Gec in fxc to automatically upgrade to ps_2_0
error X3539: Alternately, fxc's /LD option allows use of the old compiler DLL
Can't compile shader postprocess
To fix this, simply copy this sample user.ltx into your stalker documents folder (something like C:\Users\Public\Documents\STALKER-SHOC).