It's been several months since any real updates have been made, and even then, it hasn't been entirely reassuring to the many skeptics who peruse the L.U.R.K. page. Many are painfully aware of the months after months that have past with no release of 1.1, and reassurance that hasn't quite gotten through to many.
Why haven't there been updates? Why are we being left in the dust? Over and over the same question is asked and I feel the need to address it publically, officially, specifically, however you'd like to word it. I've realized that the mist and secrecy is pointless in a project so non-commercial as this one. It's all being laid out on the table tonight.
So what's been done so far? We might as well get the good news out of the way. Looking back I realize just how little 1.0552 has become compared to what it is now. We've had so many development builds that it's hard to believe we have so little of what we've down now in the hands of the public. I'll try my best to summarize, not all of it hasn't been announced so bear with me, I'll try to be more specific as well about what each thing actually is, you might learn a thing or two:
- New grass sprites for every level. Grass sprites are layered 2D partially transparent textures that are strewn across the level. We've tried our best to make them detailed and convincing without contrasting the ground texture too much, which is important since there's a limited cutoff distance for grass sprites.
- Trimmed memory usage for optimization. This means we've loaded dramatically fewer skyboxes, and compressed their size as well, and we've trimmed many texture sizes to improve load times and performance on lower end machines.
- Increased weather variance, and fixed issues and complaints regarding weather and graphics in general. Many complained of the world being too dark in L.U.R.K., we've changed that significantly, and it's accented in tandem with the graphics renderer changes.
- Modified Graphics Renderer, meaning the shadows now have a unique method of softening the edges, calculated by distance from the projected surface. Shadows are no longer sharp blotchy or jagged. Sun lighting is much more natural and fluid, as opposed to overcontrasted and very DX8'ish looking. Many changes that would be hard to explain without seeing.
- Weapon reanimation, not entirely finished, which has taken the bulk of our time in development. Which includes Clear Sky hand meshes as opposed to the jagged SHOC ones, weapon animations are no longer painfully reused, and generally of a much higher quality then before. Words don't do justice.
- Optional checkpoint system. Basically restoring a survivalist aspect that's otherwise missing with quicksaves. Rather then saving at your own convenience, more daring individuals can choose an option where saves are generated at the start, update, and end of a quest, at a level changer, or activated by use of the sleeping bag, which is only usable in areas safe from cover.
- Ballistics overhaul, meaning weapons accurately scale to their real life counterparts. Balance and complaints have also been addressed, such as general inaccuracy, which is now counterbalanced by recoil instead, and so on and so forth.
- Arena Extension. You can now wager and spectate matches, enter and select your contenders, and battle mutants in the new expanded Arena. Arnie holds them at specific times in the evening, until then he'll be at the bar. Listen to your newsfeed for when it begins.
- Color maps overhaul. Color maps are a little more complicated to understand just from the words, but they're critical in creating a convincing and appealing environment. Color maps at a glance look like the PDA map you see in each level, but a color map is actually a texture that overlays the entire map, and shifts the colors of the specified horizontal detail textures, and modifies their color across the entire level. This gives them a sense of depth, and less repetitive tiling. X-Ray is an old engine that doesn't have more modern techniques like texture blending, so we've tried to make color maps replicate such an effect to the best of our capabilities.
- Weapon Upgrades. Vendors will repair, outfit, and now improve your weapons combat statistics. Everything from increased magazine capacity, to tightened barrel for increased accuracy, or whatever the hell kind of gun logic goes into that.
- Enhanced Arsenal, with new weapons previously unavailable, like the SKS and whatnot. Mostly new models for existing poor vanilla models since we've already amassed so many fucking weapons already, dwarfing any other game by a longshot. Quality over quantity is the real focus here. Although with over 100 weapons many bring up such a query.
- Overhauled Interface. Blood seeps at the corner of your screen, and your vision becomes blurred and grayed as you take more damage. Many indicators will arise from different states previously indicated with bars and numbers. Immersion is key, and right now we're trying to make these visual indicators give the same level of information as numbers and bars without sacrificing immersion. We've also overhauled the inventory interface, and pretty much every menu you'll be accessing.
There is probably a lot more then I've listed here, but I can't for the life of me bring it all up from memory. Bear with me they'll be no more or less present in the final, regardless of my feigning memory.
However the question remains, what is going on with development? Where are you guys, and what is the time spent away from ModDB doing for the project? Well the answer is simple, and discouraging at first. For me? It's nothing. My work hinges on the completion of the work of others, which remains incomplete, and right now the primary goal is completion of the reanimation project regarding weapons.
There are only a handful of weapons that remain, after about 80+ that we've gotten so far. Following that, the configurations for these new meshes will have their ballistics information inputted into the actual in game logic, which remains in data tables for the time being before the animation work is finished. After that, we'll do some test runs, make some finishing touches, and release the game to the public. Until then I, like many others in the team remain in limbo, with nothing to do, and no desire to add more shit to the project and delay it further, a mistake I lament too often.
So yeah, believe it or not, completion is quite actually just around the corner now! Until then, I've become quite infatuated with Bad Company 2! So many of you are right, I am not working on L.U.R.K.! However that is actually a good thing, in this case. Maybe I'll see you in Bad Company 2 in the meantime. Until then, drink some Kool-Aid, play some great games, expand your horizons, and patiently await our work to hit the intertubes. In fact, I'm going to tell you some great games I've played recently in the time I've spent with nothing to do:
Bad Company 2
Penumbra: Black Plague
Devil Summoner 2
Diddy Kong Racing DS (FUCKING HOVERBOATS)
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Call of Pripyat (Who woulda thunk it!)
Tower of Heaven
Take some time, relax, play some good games, and come back to our page and maybe we'll be done by then. Until then stop flooding my comments page with drama and rage.
Have some screenshots, nothing special here: