So it’s been a while, in fact it’s been almost 4 months since my last update, however, during this time I have been tirelessly working on the third level of Dear Esther and have finally reached the point where I think it is good enough to show some of what I have been up to during my absence.
The third level of Dear Esther takes place at the heart of the island, through its many sprawling caves and tunnels. I have to admit, this was one of the levels I was most excited about working on as I’d never attempted this kind of environment before, and it allowed me a much greater freedom and creativity that is sometimes restricted when creating large outdoor environments and so I was able to add in much more detail and complex shaders to really help bring the caves to life without sacrificing performance.
I think the caves in the original were the one area that was most lacking and so I made a real effort to make sure they raise the bar both visually and atmospherically. (Note: As always these shots are pre-alpha and lack proper polish):
It’s been a tough journey on this one, both technically and creatively, with so many unique assets being made and pushing the 2007 Source Engine to its limits to meet my high standards, it took me a lot longer than I predicted to finish the level (hence the abnormally long absence), however I’m so close to finishing now I can almost taste it and I can’t wait to get started on the next (and FINAL) level!
Anyway as an added bonus for waiting so long, I’ve compiled a quick montage of the third level, and also showcasing some of the many effects that has been added/hacked in such as realistic flowing water and caustic effects.
Finally some high res screenshots for wallpaper! (right-click>save as):
One final thought I’d like to leave with you and would love to hear your feedback on; What would you think of Dear Esther breaking away from being a mod and becoming a proper indie game? (On the Source Engine of course!)