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Porting…

So I haven’t posted any updates for a while as things have been rather chaotic here over the past few weeks since we finally got access to the latest Source Engine Code and started the process of porting everything over. Originally I thought it would be a fairly straightforward task since DE’s code was minimal and the content being pretty much done. However, after some initial issues just getting the P2 Engine code to compile, it quickly became obvious once we had a build up and running that things were going to be far from straightforward…

Ouch!

Missing and broken shaders, broken sprites, colour correction, overlays, NPCs and a whole bunch of other stuff which had been changed or phased out during the Source Engine’s evolution from 2007’s Orange Box Engine; quite frankly DE was a broken mess! Originally the plan was to port the code from the mod and spend a few weeks improving it and adding some nice new features, but the situation being as it is, development has quickly shifted from porting the original code (which was done in just few days) to sifting through a mountain of bugs to just get DE up to the same standard as it was in mod-form.

It’s been a hell of a lot of work but we’re almost there, at about 2/3 of the way through the bug list at the moment, and hopefully it’s just a couple more weeks of work before we can start adding features instead of fixing things. The knock on effect of this unfortunately means that the plan to release this summer is no longer a realistic goal and right now it’s looking more like it’ll be sometime in autumn.

It’s not all bad however! There have also been some major improvements to the Source Engine in both performance and visuals. The new water shader for example is now much more sophisticated and has optimisations which Jack and I had planned to add but were already implemented – saving us a lot of work. There’s also a neat vertex wind shader that will allow me to add realistic sway to static prop foliage along with the detail sprites, proper multicore support, fast model rendering and a queued material system and much more which results in super-speedy render times that in some cases improved performance by 50-60fps! (And we haven’t even added in our detail sprite optimisations yet!) This is exciting as it means DE should be able to run smoothly at full detail on even the most moderate of PC’s, and hopefully at some point, Macs! – Also made possible with the new Engine.

I’m hoping to be able to post more frequent updates from now on and especially as DE gets closer to release, and I’m especially looking forward to being able to show off DE in the new engine!