Progress has been going well; I’ve been working on a number of different things over the past couple of weeks, starting with some research into VTFs and light bounce. I remembered reading a while ago about how VRAD determines light bounce and colour based on a value in the VTF’s header info which is calculated when you save the VTF. As most of my level will only be illuminated by the sky light I realised I could potentially have a lot of very dark areas, which can be good in moderation, but at the same time I don’t want to mod to suffer from ‘Doom 3 syndrome’. I figured that if I could exaggerate the light bounce in the level I could more effectively and realistically illuminate the environment without having to add lots of small, fake light sources. Editing the VTF header information was tricky as there were no user-friendly VTF editor’s or convertors out there which allow you edit these values, however, with some help from “ifO” over at Mapcore I finally managed find a way of doing it and set up a scene to test out the results:
As you can see the initial tests I did were very promising, and I think with some tweaking, could be very useful. However I’m still on the fence on this one as editing the values on a per-texture basis with the current method will be a long and fiddly process. Saying that, ifO has mentioned he might be able to come up with something more user friendly, so watch this space…
After that curiosity was satisfied, I set about making some more small structures for the Retreat area such as a small barn/stable, wood shed, tool shed and the docks where your boat will eventually reside. To save time I changed my working method slightly, in that instead of making as much of the buildings from models as possible, I blocked out as much as I could in BSP first instead. This way is much quicker and I can get some fairly decent results which can be refined and converted to more detailed models later. Right now I feel like it’s more important to concentrate on details later in another pass (which I guess I should’ve done at the start!).
Once these were made to a fairly reasonable standard I began to work on a foliage system for the surrounding area, which even though still early, has already begun to bring the area to life! I also made a custom skybox and added some nice moving clouds.
My next task is to start detailing the retreat with various junk and smaller structures such as fences etc.
Finally, I managed to get some free time to put together a short video demonstrating some of the new features mentioned in my previous post as well as some others. Enjoy! (apologies for the quality)