The Dark Mod 2.08 is HERE!!!
A new baseline
In With the NEW...
The Doom 3 engine has served TDM well even long after the source code was released but over the years there has been a steady desire to move past it's 2004 era limitations. (Really more like 2001 era due to it being targeted for the original Xbox.) Many mods or Doom 3 projects have extended the capabilities of the engine but few have tackled a fundamental overhaul of the core rendering features. Re-plumbing any fundamental part of the renderer is risky and can lead to protracted bug hunts and end-less beta testing. Even the somewhat minor "soft particle" update in 2.03 caused some alarming visual breakage in unexpected places. In spite of these concerns, the TDM team challenged themselves to make some bold moves to replace obsolete rendering code with more modern equivalents. We suffered many bugs during development but the resultant cleanup has the project in a much better place!
To update, simply run the tdm_update.exe file in your darkmod folder. Please be aware that old saved games will not be compatible with 2.08, so finish any missions you might be in the middle of first
One of the most impressive feats of this development cycle was the COMPLETE replacement of all ARB Assembly shaders with GLSL. Sgtatilov did something that the Doom 3 community had wished for many years ago at places like doom3world, he created a script to automaticaly convert ARB Assembly to GLSL!!! (Of course, there is no generic way to use this across all games since these shaders point to parameters in the engine but this feat could be used to develop other similar converter scripts for other engines.) Anywhoo... Thanks to this conversion script, all of the custom ARB shaders in TDM have been preserved with little to no visual differences (as compared to redesigning the shaders from scratch).
OpenGL 3.1 Core Context
TDM 2.06 and 2.07 had hybrid shader standards that ranged from 2.x to 4.x. Graphic drivers, especially on Linux do not like it when such mixed shader standards are used in the same scene so we encountered many folks who could not get TDM 2.07 to render without reverting to the legacy ARB 2.0 mode (no soft shadows :( ). Now all of TDM's GLSL is OpenGL 3.1 core based so there is no mixing of different versions and the graphics drivers are (mostly) happy.
Update: stgatilov clarified that he was able to get things working on OpenGL 3.1 (this means more old hardware is supported).
GLSL for Surface Materials
Starting with TDM 2.06 the work to replace ARB shaders with GLSL has one major hurdle that seems to have stumped most similar Doom 3 projects: "surface shaders in GLSL".
Duzenko solved this issue and worked with the community to test the feature.
The new GLSL for surfaces is "at least" as flexible as the legacy ARB surface shaders were.
For example, one of our forum members "HeresJonny" used the 2.08 beta to implement "Interior Mapping":
Uniform Transform, Persistence Mapping, preparing for AZDO
The new mantra in graphic engine design is "reduce draw calls" and the TDM team has worked hard this release to find as many opportunities to accomplish this. This has provided a nice performance bump and has set the stage for future work to get closer to Vulkan levels of CPU usage.
Cabalistic and Stgatilov worked to cleanup the remaining issues with the current multi-core mode of TDM. The Vertex Buffer has been updated to be even more like the one used by Doom 3 BFG.
Uncapped FPS Fixes:
Swinging ropes and other physics bugs that happen when "uncapped FPS" is enabled while the FPS is below 60 have now been cured. Uncapped FPS is now deemed stable.
The curse of moving from older MSVC versions to 2013+ where replacing legacy 80-bit precision stung us one last time in 2.07 and caused some major issues with map compiling. As a workaround, mappers could DMAP with older TDM versions but now 2.08 has addressed this.
EYE CANDY -- EYE CANDY!!!
AMBIENT OBSCURANCE SSAO
Late in the 2.08 development cycle, Cabalistic threw a "Hail Mary" and implemented the long requested Screen Space Ambient Occlusion feature.
(Note: these were taken with non-standard ssao settings but the effect should be comparable with the default menu options.)
Banding artifacts are substantially reduced in Fog and Soft-Particles thanks to this new color mode which was originally added to better support Bloom
The HDR-Lite Bloom from 1.03 has been fully replaced with a proper Bloom implementation that is native to the engine and can utilize 64-bit color resolve and emissive color sampling.
Parallax Corrected Cubemaps
While this will be a little cumbersome to setup without the planned inclusion of cubemap probes, mappers can now create beautiful high-performance reflections. Thanks Cabalistic!
MD3 Water Simulation
Now water surfaces can have real geometric warping rather than just normal map based effects.
RAIN PARTICLE OVERHAUL
In addition to the water fix above Sgtatilov also created a whole new particle framework for Rain so that it can detect roofs and obstructions. It will be much easier to create realistic looking rainfall now!
SO MUCH MORE!!!
Fog can now paint over water surfaces and other transparent surfaces thanks to the fogAlpha keyword. Soft Particles can paint over water using "sort last". New "easy to use" parallel light for sky based lighting. More options to make use of the Spectrum keyword. X-Ray Render System now has functional features!
(A small update to Penny Dreadful 3 takes advantage of the "sort last" flag to fix particles not rendering over water.)
Grayman has fixed one of the most immersion breaking bugs in TDM. In 2.08, AI no longer sit or sleep above the ground in random positions nearby chairs and beds.
Grayman also improved the way that AI behave when they lose sight of the player during a chase.
Finally, he implemented a feature that makes it easy for mappers to instruct AI to stop patrolling due to some event.
Werebeast and Beastmen AI
The long in development "standalone" Werebeast replacement is now available for mappers to use. It is considered partly complete. The TDM team decided to release the current version with the hope that contributors will tinker with it and offer improvements.
Kingsal's excellent custom Beastmen AI have been incorporated into TDM.
New Zombie Characters
Springheel has created some nice variants of the Zombie AI for mappers to use
* Mantling physics with running and jumping have been further refined. Players can perform actions that resemble parkour.
* There is now an animation for Shouldering AI
* Keybinds now exist in their own config file
* Swimming now has an undulating animation
* Rope and Ladder sliding is now safer for the player. No longer a damage risk.
* It is now easier to drop and position ragdolls
- New swim sounds
- New mantle sounds
- New Rope and Ladder slide sounds
- Fixes to sound defs with dashes in the names
- New arrow bounce sound fixes
- AI "Help!" barks fixed
- New Inventory Grid menu theme
- SSAO Settings
- Removed legacy Ambient and Interaction settings
- Updated Bloom settings
- Max FPS setting
- Optional new console font
- New borderless vs native fullscreen options for lower latency (Windows Only)
- Gamma and Brightness now control software instead of hardware (no longer affect desktop)
- New Widescreen Resolutions added
- New environmental models (Springheel & Epifire)
- Many more Dragofer models incorporated (Dragofer)
- Atheran's covered furniture models have been fixed and added (Dragofer)
NEW 500MB+ MEGA MISSION !!!
Pushing the limits of TDM almost past the breaking point, this MONSTER mission was a collaborative multi-year effort by almost every notable mapper in the community:
Shadowhide, Bikerdude, Amadeus, Baal, Dragofer, Fidcal, Flanders, Melan, Skacky, UberMann
Over the course of 2.06 to 2.08 development, the TDM engine was continually altered to accommodate this mission.
It all started many years ago when Shadowhide laid the foundation for a sprawling and convoluted city and worked with MoroseTroll and Clearing to create a macabre storyline to befit this medieval metropolis. At some point, however, the beast grew too large to handle, so he handed the keys to the City to Bikerdude and Melan. Together, the two worked tirelessly, passing the map back and forth, each playing to their respective strengths. Notably, Melan reworked the story concept, toning down many of its darker, R-rated elements.
Eventually Melan, too, moved on in 2017, but by then large swathes of the community had become involved in this map’s development. Mapping work was contributed by Baal, Grayman, Fidcal, Ubermann, Skacky, and Flanders, while Destined, nbohr1more, and Obsttorte wrote story texts. Several scripts were provided by Grayman, Baal and Obsttorte, such as an elevator with scissor gates, a TDM first.
Even after all this input, the daunting task still remained to transform what had grown into the largest TDM map ever made into a playable mission. Bikerdude hammered away at this for some more years still, on and off between other projects, until in early 2020 when he deemed it ready for public viewing.
It was then that Dragofer and Amadeus joined in. In the months that followed, the trio reworked, finished, and polished the mission in nearly every aspect, fully writing out and editing the story as well as adding countless scripted effects and (with help from Bienie) many new readables. The good working atmosphere and pooled creativity brought forth several new secrets, of which the largest likely hasn’t been done before in TDM (hint: check the libraries). In the very end, the name “Fractured Glass Company” was drawn up to refer to everybody who was involved in creating this very special mission.
Without the hard work of all these people, most of all Bikerdude and Shadowhide, this mission would likely never have seen the light of day, let alone become what you see here before you. The mission is, as Bikerdude puts it, a homage to Thief 1 & 2, and it’s our hope that you catch these vibes as you explore and enjoy this mission.
Voice Acting: AndrosTheOxen (Andreas), Joe Noelker (Player)
- Video Editing: Bikerdude (briefing), Goldwell (briefing intro)
- Custom Models: Bikerdude, Dragofer, Dram, Epifire, Grayman, Obsttorte
- Custom Textures: Airship Ballet, Dmv88, Hugo Lobo
- Custom Sounds: GigaGooga, Sephy, Shadow Sneaker, alanmcki, andre_onate, Deathscyp, dl-sounds.com, Dmv88, dwoboyle, eugensid90, gzmo, lucasduff, mistersherlock, qubodup, randommynd, richerlandtv, sfx4animation, Speedenza
- Betatesting: Amadeus, Biene, Bluerat, CambridgeSpy, Dragofer, JoeBarnin, Kingsal, Krilmar, ManzanitaCrow, Noodles, S1lverwolf, s.urfer
NOTE: While some people have successfully run this mission with the 32-bit executable, it is designed to be played on 64-bit. Please use TheDarkModx64.exe (windows) or thedarkmod.x64 (linux).
Mission Releases since 2.07
Over the course of 2.07, we saw a marked up-tick in the amount of mission releases. Springheel's modular assets have greatly eased the process of producing missions. Team Members and Community Members alike have taken advantage of this to great effect!
This collaborative effort by some1stoleit and Bikerdude is a good early example of the power of the 2.07 modular asset collection to produce high quality visuals.
Goldwell has gradually grown to be one of the most formidable mission authors in the darkmod community. Shadows of Northdale 2 feels even more like a large-scale Thief 2 mission than it's predecessor. Do not miss this one!
ERH+ has released a mission that could stands out as one of the most distinct artistic endeavors ever put forth in gaming "in general". I defy anyone to name anything remotely similar to this ENORMOUS (and bizarre) gothic horror story in any game setting.
William Steele returns with style for this 5th outing! In addition to the solid story and game-play that grayman is known for, the modular assets once again offer arresting visuals. This mission is the perfect showcase for the new SSAO feature in 2.08
Bienie has been steadily producing excellent missions since the original "Chronicles of Skulduggery" debuted in 2018. Bienie has become quite adept at using the power of TDM script features to achieve unique new game play and this mission shines for it.
JackFarmer has also been very productive and has produced large, high quality missions the "traditional way" without any substantial amount of modular content. Vitalic Fever is another gem with excellent story and scripting events.
Dragofer adopted part of "Wrecker's Reach" an abandoned mission by the Crucible of Omens team and ( with assistance from Bikerdude ) fashioned it into an enormous sea-side mission. Dragofer's was a natural to take on a project like this with his extensive nautical asset contributions and nautically themed missions!
joebarnin has made a surprisingly good horror mission as his 2nd release! joebarnin has been with the community since the beginning and was one of the original coders who worked on TDM menus and mission loading so it's great to see him get to participate in this way!
Bienie! Why is this horror mission so fantastic?!?! Not for the faint of heart...
Another new mission author! Krrg enters the scene with a well designed mission that also showcases modular assets.
Kingsal and Goldwell together!?! YES! This winter mission was designed as a speed-build but you would never guess so based on the size and quality.
New author Geep brings us a creative nautical and underwater themed mission. Geep has managed to create a very clever mission with non-standard game-play.
Amadeus releases a tour-de-force beauty of a first mission! Great lighting, wonderful story and even a few technical achievements such as the new func_peek mechanic allowing players to peek through any door that has a keyhole by leaning forward!
New author OGDA starts with a bite-sized but respectable heist mission in an antique shop!