It's 2 years past from announcing 2.0 version, which I didn't really planned, but after all this PC Gamer stuff, I was kinda inspired and when I started to play 1.2 version, I found that mod has lost something on the way to its release.
2019 was pretty rough to me and I've lost the route and vision of ABR MOD. I got lost in ideas, plans to change stuff drastically and I found that I don't know what to do next at all. I found myself in development hell. Yes, PYP and me finished the weapon pack, engine has all necessary tweaks. But I've forgot what I even started from and gamedata looked like abandoned attic. So in the end of the March, I've started over.
First of all, now all files will be from 1.6.02 patch, since old version's files had some bugs from unpatched game, since I didn't unpacked patch and not implemented patched files to gamedata as a base for modding. Welp, I was green and reckless and didn't knew the half I know now.
What a new build have right now. First of all, now it's based on Unofficial Patch 2.0 by Yurok, it's like ZRP and SRP for previous games, it had only a few line of text addded, so there was no problem to translate it.
Atop of it is a lite version of AN4.04 by Cromm Cruac, same it was before. Also, I made a quick option to turn it to native green colours (this is from AN4.04 by Cromm Cruac too, OFC) but still fitting the weather. That's how ABR looks in green:
Clear weather on Jupiter is not so overbrighten like it was before. Emission is working pretty ok. After Emission to smooth the transition between it and for example Jupiter's clear weather, there used a foggy sunless weather to prevent popping up sun and fast clearing fog right after the Emission. It will look like this on Jupiter for 1 game hour:
Well, other things about Emission are mentioned in previous article same to the video of it.
Next, Absolute Structures Texture Pack by CrommCruac, Ceano, NeilMC with my fix for overshiny textures:
May be somebody like such shiny stuff but I do not. One of my goal is to catch 'em all and de-shine.
Next. The Hud. It's the same like it was. Adapted to 4:3 ( does anybody even use it?) and 16:10 aspect ratio. Some stuff can be shifted to 1-2px, since game stretches stuff when changes resolution and something always can go wrong a bit, but nothing gamebreaking.
Scopes. Again. Absolute Scopes are deleted, since I can't live with DX11 scope bug anymore. Now the mod uses vanilla system of scope stretching, textures were redid again. Now, there are no DX11 shift. 16:10 probably will need a custom file to avoid it being a bit oval, but now mod is DX11 from the box, no gamebreaking bugs as before.
Scratches are black because in night, white stuff looks aweful. Mask overlays are inbound. They will be something like this:
Weapon holster while using consumables, mask overlays and recoil effect will be easily switchable via 1 file tweaking. Recoil cam effect will be nerfed, old version from the box is too much.
Upscaled and sharpened menus and inventory textures. Scopes and masks are using bigger textures too.
Loading screens were tweaked to look like vanilla's. Green nature style has own loading screens.
Many stuff already there too, but that's for a feature atricle on release. Since now I make notes from the start, there will be every change listed.
About the balance, stuff like radiation healing from sci medkits will be restored, same to army medkits and bleeding heal. But, they will effect slow as it was in 1.2, no instant healing like in vanilla. Radiation and bleeding will not go away on itself, treatment is needed. That leads to armour upgrades. I'll keep them as they are but there will be some tweaks, nothing drastic. Mostly I want to move healing upgrades to the 3rd toolkit upgrades, so there wasn't too op armours and all others just are trash. I want to keep vanilla way as much as possible. I really can make a new upgrade trees but what's the point. Stalker has its system, if delete every "unrealistic" stuff in game there will left almost none, less than the half of upgrades for sure. And spending time on that, well, 2.0 will be released never then, I feel the house burning, it's not fine, time to push the mod to release.
Same goes to weaponry. I read many info about it, watched many videos, tried many "realistic" ballistics setups and different mods. Realism doesn't help to make game funnier. Realism in numbers and stats doesn't provide a better gameplay. Weight of the weapons, well yeah, I shoud tweak it. But considering that new engine tweaks makes NPC shoot much accurate, believe me, even vanilla damages will be ok to erase Major from the Zone for good in seconds. Though, I'll check damages sections, may be I'll tweak it if it will give more benifit. And that leads to... AI.
MSO. Many stuff from Troyanuch and Alundaio. Cool stuff, but too unpredictiable for my case. Though, I tried NPC's not to spoil story quests, some stuff happened anyway. Remember when Mitay friends flew and you couldn't get a reward or when The Hit mission gone bad since everybody just started to shoot even in cutscene? That's the reason I will need to recheck all MSO mod and stop this chaos. That's not a hate, I respect their work and I will never achieve something like that, but I think you don't want to have randomly spoiled quests. I try to preserve the story.
Also, forgot to mention, my lite version of AF3 is on the board too, cleared from unused code and etc. Still foggy Zaton, still Clear Jupiter. Still no fallouts, still no psi storms.
What's next. Yes, AI distance will be 300 meters. So I need to make something in between of vanilla and MSO to work properly. Don't know how though, I am not programmer. May be I'll figure things out.
Traders. You will be able to sell weapons you bought or found in stashes or gained as a reward. I want to avoid a hamster style to carry tons of guns here and there. Jut collect valuable stuff as ammo and consumables. Some challenge must be there to make it more up to date. I raise 90-100k on Zaton without selling guns and artefacts. I don't raise prices for the stuff ingame, so, I just save your time from moving stuff around. And I know by myself, if you will be able to sell the gun, you will carry it whenever it could be sold.
Old version was kinda cheaty, VAL's and SG550's in start of the game. On the other hand, you can freely go to Jupiter and take same guns from stashes. So, progression and open world in stalker is hard to balance (for me). For sure op guns will be awailable from traders after 100k achievment, as it said "traders will sell you rare stuff".
Outfits. Freedom and Duty light armours will be available sooner. May be from the start on Zaton. They're not much ahead from Sunrise or Berill, which you can acquire on Zaton. May be they're be awailable in start of Jupiter. Sold by faction leaders. Many options, but having light armour in later mid-game make them useless, when you will be able to buy Bulat.
In general, stashes will be mostly untouched, there is an unreachable stash fix from Unofficial Patch, that means stuff should be fine there, but putting there new stuff with different size probably will mess something up. Some stashes could be changed, but probably just a couple and for the same weapon variation. I plan stashes to get integrated in gameplay, so their coordinates will be given as a reward for quests. And that's another reason to roam thru locations, which is more cool than just moving piles of guns from one place to another.
May be new weapons and outfit skins will go as a separate addon, may be it will be there from the box. But probably everything will be in one piece, weapon pack is more about variety, same to skins.
Variation mod will be reassambled again, with tweaking all the textures and new NPC icons. And as I said in previous article, vanilla NPC's textures will be tweaked as well, since they're over brighten. So, a little bit of a contrast and soft light overlays and they will look a bit better.
Besides too bright boots there is the problem with hands. Some of them are too cartoonish and mostly all are kinda ugly and unrealistic. Here I tried to make it a bit smoother and not so acidic in colours.
Someone can ask, why haven't I started over on x64 engine. My answer is simple - I have enough work to do, then try to do it while porting on x64. I don't use 16k textures, yes, there are some memory crashes from time to time and stutters on Jupiter. But overall mod is stable.
With a good work tempo, 2.0 release is something about 6-12 months, so I could check stuff, catch all bugs and reintegrate all the mods to work together as one. Back to vanilla+ route.
What's the point of this article? Probably warning you that there will be not much news on this mod soon. Since I can't show the same stuff over and over again. I aimed on finishing 2.0 asap. That doesn't mean I will make it bad or loose, I mean I can't do some stuff better that it was in vanilla or just don't know how, so I'll just improve what's there already, or this, or no release. And not releasing 2.0, that's what is bad.
So, if there will be no news, I'm just reassembling my 2.0 lego castle. It will provide more optimized resources, overall improvement, more content and fixed bugs. I'll make a new article when I will have enough really new material to show.