Over the next month or so there will be a couple of interesting
releases via Steam, in addition to the upcoming Counter-Strike map cs_compound.
First, we'll be releasing an update to Half-Life 2: Deathmatch that will include
the Slam, Stunstick, and the Crowbar. We're not ready to release the contest
winning maps just yet, but we will be releasing a new map we've built at Valve
to tide people over while we sort out the contest winners. There will also be a
release to Counter-Strike: Source around the same time that will address a few
One feature that we'll be adding to the Source engine in the coming months is
high dynamic range lighting. To showcase this we've taken a part of the Highway
17 chapter of Half-Life 2 and worked it into a single level that incorporates
HDR along with some new gameplay. We're calling this short level "The Lost
Coast," and it will be made available free of charge to Half-Life 2 customers
that meet a specific set of high end hardware requirements. We'll be publishing
those requirements soon.
Below are a few early concept sketches of the level early in its
Because they knew about the sound skipping/texture loading problem that still currently exists then and decided that they had to take something out to compensate for the low perfomances they were seeing.
I can't believe they still haven't fixed the stutter. I'm running on a 2.1Ghz XP and I still see it stutter occasionally.
HDR means different things to different developers. To some, it's just doing blooms, but if they're doing HDR with tone-mapping then it's fairly significant. The short description is that it simulates how your eyes respond to bright or dark lights, when looking at a bright light other objects gradually get darker, and with low light the whole scene would get brighter. The likely reason they had HDR before and now don't is that to get optimal speeds it breaks FSAA (a frustrating hardware limitation that takes too long to explain here), which is I suspect why some time before release they said they weren't supporting FSAA. In the end if they're doing it right then it can make a big impact on the atmosphere presented.
In real life, a scene lit by direct sunlight can be more than 1000 times brighter than an indoor room lit by a couple of standard lightbulbs. (and there is plenty of brightness variance in each scene)
Right now, games have to represent a range that big with only 256 levels of brightness.
The single player game already has a couple of places where it faked HDR. Before you emerge from the underground after the cavern filled with head crabs, you can see the opening, but it is just a white blur. The bright highlight fades away as you approach it.
The likely reason they had HDR before and now don't is that to get optimal speeds it breaks FSAA
no, HDR generally doesn't break FSAA. Currently only nvidia's high precision HDR does disable FSAA by design although low precision HDR (like all ATI cards can do and the way valve will implement it in the upcoming level) is still possible with FSAA... on all PS2.0 cards.