Dear Esther delayed by Source engine upgrade

By Alice O'Connor, Aug 22, 2011 6:00am PDT

Unexpected hiccups with switching to a newer version of Valve's Source engine will most likely see the commercial version of Dear Esther, the critically-acclaimed mod, delayed into fall. Development began on the Orange Box branch of Source, and a recent upgrade to the latest and greatest, as used by Portal 2, has gone a bit awry.

"Originally I thought it would be a fairly straightforward task since DE's code was minimal and the content being pretty much done," Robert Briscoe of developer thechineseroom writes in a blog post. "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..."

Dear Esther's initial broken post-switch state

It's not all bad news, though. Briscoe explains that the new Source brings both better visuals and performance to Dear Esther.

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 PCs, and hopefully at some point, Macs! – Also made possible with the new Engine.

thechineseroom is currently ploughing through bugs introduced by the upgrade, but it's taking time supposed to be used for adding features. "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," Briscoe says.

Creator Dan Pinchbeck commented in June that they're aiming to price Dear Esther under $10: "same as a pack of cigarettes, a cinema ticket, a round of drinks."

Click here to comment...

advertisement

Comments

See All Comments | 1 Thread | 5 Comments