The Dark Mod 2.09 is HERE!!!
Performance improvement was the main focus of the 2.09 development cycle.
Cabalistic has continued to struggle with making The Dark Mod play at acceptable framerates for his VR branch and wanted to ensure that his best efforts were ported back to the core TDM project so it would be easier to synchronize and would grant performance benefits to the TDM community. This was a gargantuan project and really started in 2.08. Stgatilov and Duzenko contributed changes and fixes to some of the more complex areas of this code merge.
As a surprise last minute bonus, Cabalistic added an "Image Sharpening" feature that can take a low resolution "Render Scale" of something like 75% and sharpen the image to look almost like native resolution. This is basically the same type of thing that Radeon Image Sharpening ( Contrast Adaptive Sharpening ) does and it is a welcome addition to TDM.
(No, I don't think Nvidia DLSS will arrive in TDM any time soon.)
Meanwhile, Stgatilov has been performing a heroic amount of work to make hosting and updating The Dark Mod more reliable and future proof.
He has completed version 1.0 of "tdm_installer" a new tool that allows you to more easily install, upgrade and even down-grade TDM to any standalone version. The tdm_installer tool is much more efficient at updating and will allow you to go from version to version without needing to download as much data. He has also worked with Taaaki and Cabalistic to ensure that the hosts for TDM files are suitable for this new update structure.
Stgatilov also significantly improved the fortunes of The Dark Mod mission authors by creating a new linking feature that allows TDM to act as a real-time preview for changes made to maps in the Dark Radiant Editor. Now mappers can more accurately visualize how the final design will really look!
Stgatilov also refactored the entire Particle System code so that it will be better suited to be moved to a GPU accelerated structure and is more accurate with regard to particle geometry and physics.
Our newest team member, Dragofer has been a tremendous asset to the team! He has added many high quality models, prefabs, and textures to TDM. He also fixed many longstanding bugs in existing prefabs and rearranged the assets to be more easily located in Dark Radiant's browser. He also assisted with fixing asset contributions from the community such as LDAsh's wonderful "Rodin's Eve" statue. Finally, he has also done significant work to make the Security Camera feature more usable.
A full changelog can be viewed here, but some highlights include:
A brand new Backend that uses UBO, Persistent Mapping, Bindless textures, and Multi-Draw has been added.
“Frontend Acceleration” (Multi-Core job based rendering based on Doom 3 BFG) now works as expected.
Normal Map compression now uses RGTC resulting in lower storage, VRAM requirements, and less artifacts ( load times should improve in future TDM versions when pre-compressed RGTC textures are added )
Background texture loading has improved. This should shorten load times and reload.
A new Sharpening Filter has been added. It can make 70% Render Scale look almost like native resolution (more performance).
( It also cleans up some blurry textures for all Render Scales. )
Bumpmap lighting is smoother, so that lighting does not instantly flip to off when getting close to edges of occluded objects.
Particle physics have been substantially improved for both accuracy and performance.
Borderless Fullscreen works properly on Windows.
Water and other GUI effects that did not respond to Gamma now brighten properly.
AMD and Intel fixes have been added for SSAO rendering
Experimental Gamepad support has been added.
Creep works in alway-run mode
A new linking system allows The Dark Mod to act as a real-time preview of Dark Radiant
The redesigned particles now have improved setup and configuration.
Automated fixes have been created for “rotation hacked” models
Prefabs have been seen numerous fixes and reorganization to make them easier to use
Conversation and other sounds are no longer stopped by saving or going to main menu.
EFX reverb has been added to “Mission 1: A New Job”
Extinguished gas lamps are no longer noisy when doused
Dragofer, Epifire, Bikerdude, LDAsh, Kingsal, Dram have all added substantial asset updates ranging from updated Werebeast animations, Steam Engines, fireflies
A huge number of fragile code areas have been overhauled to either fix crashes or prevent likely crashes due to risk of divide by zero, uninitialized values, or dangling pointers (leftover settings) on entities and functions.
We recommend that you upgrade using the new “tdm_installer” available here. Please be aware that old saved games will not be compatible with 2.09, so finish any missions you might be in the middle of first!
More article updates will arrive over the next few days.