To start today's Dev Log, I'm happy to announce that it's currently Summer Break (and has been for the past three weeks), which means I have more time to procrastinate! I mean more time to work diligently!
So, ah, *ahem* let's get on with it.
So, first order of business deals with the level in the above screenshot. Or, more specifically, the ridiculous scale of the level in the above screenshot. I'll dial back a bit to explain.
That level, in all it's majesty, is probably the largest thing that's ever been made in HPL2. I'm not saying that to toot my own horn (most of it's just decorative, anyway), I'm just saying there's no reason anyone would have wanted to build something so big that the game can't even render it by default.
Therein lies my dilemma. I want to include this level in the mod. Of course I do, I've spent days upon days on it alone. But doing so would require every single person who downloads it to manually change the game's settings to allow it to render at a further distance (the default limit is 400 meters, I've changed mine to 1200). Fortunately, changing this value doesn't have any effect on the game aside from letting it render farther out, but most people would be understandably hesitant to dig into the game's files and change a setting like that.
The other interesting thing about this level, aside from it's scale, is the way I've had to light it. Since lights start bugging out at radii above a value of 100, I've had to use gobo'd lights to fake the shape of the sunlight coming through the mountains. An interesting experience, to be certain, but an enjoyable one at that. A bit like making a painting.
With twelve dozen spotlights.
This bit is actually about something I figured out a long time ago, but never showed, and have never seen done anywhere else, so I'm showing it now. Reflective surfaces!
World reflection is pretty expensive rendering-wise, so it was important to get the materials to look normal whether the player had the effect turned on or off in their video settings. Fortunately, I ran into very few snags, and the system works very well. Basically, the game thinks it's rendering water, which is the only material that can have dynamic reflections. All I've done is fiddled with the settings so it looks natural, and then layered it on top of another textured plane.
Sadly, it's applications are still limited. Without being able to soften the reflection, it isn't possible to accurately simulate any materials outside of those that reflect light very sharply, like the polished floor in the screenshot above. That means wooden floors are out of the question, as well as most rough wet surfaces and metals. Still, it adds a lot to the scenes it can be applied to, and I'm glad it works as well as it does.
The last thing I want to mention is my current post-release plan for Lament. Mainly, that the short prequel and sequel I had planned (as mentioned a while ago in an article) will no longer be made. This is mostly because of the decline in Amnesia's modding community, but also because I haven't really thought of anything interesting that would make those custom stories worthwhile projects. This probably isn't much of a surprise to those who actually remember when I first made that announcement, but I felt it necessary to mention. Trilogies are overrated, anyway.
I do, however, have other projects to move on to from here. When I'll announce those, I don't know, but rest assured they will come.
That's all for today's Dev Log, I hope you enjoyed reading it, because I spent way too long writing it. Until next time.