Pinned Summer Update

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    • Summer Update



      Happy summer all! We hope that everyone is having a great start to their summer. To celebrate, we proudly present to you our first public screenshots of a Xen exterior. All running real-time, in- game, with no edits.



      Unfortunately, as some of you may have already predicted, we are going to need to push back our planned release of Xen to later this year, in December. We know that this is not what anyone would want to hear, but after taking a long and hard look at what we want to achieve, we have decided that this is for the best. We do not want to compromise on Xen’s quality in any way. That said, we consider December to be a do-or-die deadline.

      To soften the blow of the bad news, here are some additional tidbits and updates regarding what we have done for Xen so far.

      Example of the Level of Detail We Are Going For


      Interloper Map B Scale


      New Dynamic Light System
      As part of our continued efforts to bring Xen’s graphics up to the best possible standard that they can be, we have upgraded Source to a new deferred rendering system that supports fully dynamic lights! These new “next-gen” lights cast real-time light, shadows and god rays. These won’t replace all the lights in the game, but we can use them in many special cases where we want the lights to be particularly gorgeous. These lights are much better optimized than other Source implementations of dynamic lights, and are more robust.



      Not only will this new lighting system help crank parts of the the game up to 11 in terms of graphical fidelity, these will also be powerful tools for modders as well!

      Color Correction
      We’ve started a color correction pass for the whole game. The goal is to better unify the game’s visual style and to add full screen effects during the more intense sections. Most of these effects will be quite subtle, but here is a more noticeable example.



      Weapon Holds
      We fixed the soldiers holding the weapons wrong. It took some serious animation trickery to retarget the bones on top of the existing Half-Life 2 animation library, but it worked well once we figured it out. No more hands clipping through the guns!



      Thanks as always to you guys, our wonderful community, for your support! As always, we will continue to work at full speed on Xen, and we hope to have more updates, information and media for you guys soon.
      Chon Kemp - Level Designer and Community Manager
      Creator of the Black Mesa "Uncut" Mods - Surface Tension Uncut and
      On a Rail Uncut
      My dev blog on the development of dm_gasworks
    • ok poring over the images details. man there is a lot though most is plant life. oh my god the plant life. this xen looks like an actual living world and this is a static image. just imagining how some of the things fit into the world is well epic.(limited vocab sorry).


      My biggest bit of happy is how in thoughs screenshots and images I see no sign of the spiky alien to be alien plants. and see more coral and underwater like life forms which make more sense for a low grav world.

      Now I am just wanting to see how the healling pools look and my life is complete hype wise.
    • Looks. So. GOOOOOOOD.

      Pretty amazing what can be done with such an old engine (heavily modified but still). Still looks like Source, and that's good. If you were to tell me that Xen as shown here is a real world I'd believe you. Source always had that realism feel without going overboard like modern engines do.

      Anyway, any chance of getting some multi-threading going on, especially with particle calculations? Especially with fog in the part where the alien grunts come out of the refrigirating chamber fps drops down to single-digit numbers. Got a quad-core i7 at 3.8 GHz turbo on a single core (mobile but still) and a GT750M (not a powerhouse but manages a solid 60fps on pretty much every map). Worried that those shiny new lights and particle-infested Xen (infested in a good way) bring a big drop in fps on lower-end systems. Don't suppose a switch from DX9 to Vulkan can be done on old Source right?
      Cascaded shadow maps are love, cascaded shadow maps are life.

      And a pain in the rear to render.

      The post was edited 4 times, last by Vel0city: Grammar yo ().

    • Holy shit, this looks awesome! Thanks you very much for sitting down and taking the effort to present this mean screenshots! And regarding the delay, no regrets! It actually kinda fits into my personal year's plan, though I know nobody will care about that, hehe.

      Man, this game will be beautiful. It already is, but will be more so! Thanks again and keep up the great work!
      Now excuse me, I need to clean that saliver from the floor.

      EDIT: Once this whole project is done, wouldn't it be just so damn awesome to get something like a "raising the bar"-book by the devs? I am so damn curious of the creation process, all the influences that were taken. That'd be a nice item to have and to be able to close this project for good some day.
      Co-creator of two humans.
    • Amazing! It's worth the wait!

      I know Xen is heavily reimagined, but for those of us who love comparisons, is there any equivalent to these photos in the original game?

      If not, are there places that are more faithfully recreated, and so comparison images can be created? I don't want to be greedy, but if you could show a place, however small, clearly based on a Half-Life part of Xen, that would be awesome.

      I always loved those comparison pics! It shows how far this game has come from the original.
    • Stobing17 wrote:

      Now, seeing that Xen is THAT gorgeous, one question popped in my mind: How does it performs? Will it be similar to Surface Tension Uncut or worse?
      We're using quite a lot of new techniques that we couldn't use with ST:Uncut to try and squeeze the most out of performance. We've gone really all-out to try and get this being the best it can in every way.

      Vel0city wrote:

      Anyway, any chance of getting some multi-threading going on, especially with particle calculations? Especially with fog in the part where the alien grunts come out of the refrigirating chamber fps drops down to single-digit numbers. Got a quad-core i7 at 3.8 GHz turbo on a single core (mobile but still) and a GT750M (not a powerhouse but manages a solid 60fps on pretty much every map). Worried that those shiny new lights and particle-infested Xen (infested in a good way) bring a big drop in fps on lower-end systems. Don't suppose a switch from DX9 to Vulkan can be done on old Source right?
      I don't think multi-threading is on our radar right now, primarily because it's quite a lot of work for relatively little payoff. I think our programmers determined their time-investment could be spent better optimising the game and the levels in other ways.

      Vulkan is a big no-no though. That would require an almost complete engine rewrite.

      Artic Xiongmao wrote:

      Amazing! It's worth the wait!

      I know Xen is heavily reimagined, but for those of us who love comparisons, is there any equivalent to these photos in the original game?

      If not, are there places that are more faithfully recreated, and so comparison images can be created? I don't want to be greedy, but if you could show a place, however small, clearly based on a Half-Life part of Xen, that would be awesome.

      I always loved those comparison pics! It shows how far this game has come from the original.
      None of the Xen areas we've shown so far are direct analogues of the original. The map we've been showing off in all the screenies so far (Xen A) is heavily inspired by the original first Xen map, but is very different from it. All the memorable areas from the original Xen do exist in our Xen in different ways and forms, but we probably won't show any of those areas off before release. When you play it, there will probably be a few areas that you won't even realise were in the original until you look at it later and get an "oh damn!" moment.

      There are plenty of them though, so don't fret. There are also places where our artstyle is closer to the original. You will just have to wait and see, for that one!
      Chon Kemp - Level Designer and Community Manager
      Creator of the Black Mesa "Uncut" Mods - Surface Tension Uncut and
      On a Rail Uncut
      My dev blog on the development of dm_gasworks
    • TextFAMGUY1 wrote:


      Vel0city wrote:

      Anyway, any chance of getting some multi-threading going on, especially with particle calculations? Especially with fog in the part where the alien grunts come out of the refrigirating chamber fps drops down to single-digit numbers. Got a quad-core i7 at 3.8 GHz turbo on a single core (mobile but still) and a GT750M (not a powerhouse but manages a solid 60fps on pretty much every map). Worried that those shiny new lights and particle-infested Xen (infested in a good way) bring a big drop in fps on lower-end systems. Don't suppose a switch from DX9 to Vulkan can be done on old Source right?
      I don't think multi-threading is on our radar right now, primarily because it's quite a lot of work for relatively little payoff. I think our programmers determined their time-investment could be spent better optimising the game and the levels in other ways.
      Vulkan is a big no-no though. That would require an almost complete engine rewrite.
      I've always had a big issue with Source (mostly due to its age), it has really nice particles but they are a pain in the rear to render when they start looking nice because they occupy the same thread/core as the main game rendering/logic/AI taking up huge amounts of CPU time. Don't need full-on multi-threading, but at least something could (and should IMO) be done about particle rendering, to keep the fps out of the single-digit numbers.

      As for Vulkan, expected. Maybe when Source 2 is out and you decide you need 4 more years of work in porting Black Mesa to Source 2. No pressure, get Xen out first in the best state you can.
      Cascaded shadow maps are love, cascaded shadow maps are life.

      And a pain in the rear to render.
    • I'm not gonna lie saying that I'm not a bit disappointed by the delay, but I understand completely. I have to give credit that this team has achieved what we're looking at in any time. I just hope I won't die for some reason before actually playing the game again.
      As for your december "do-or-die" release, I don't know if you had to do that, unless you're 100% sure you will achieve it by then. You never know when some horrible error shows up somewhere requiring another delay.

      Anyway, I appreciate the effort Crowbar Collective has put into this game along with many more patient fans, all delays aside better late than never. I hope it won't disappoint after all that waiting.
    • See? I don't care when the XEN Update will be up. I just wanted a general update on how things are going. Of course some will say that it's only fitting that we get one, since the XEN update got a 4month delay.

      But i'm still happy. I can wank to those pictures. Text also seems juicy. Will come to you later

      Until then, thank you for updating us!
    • THIS IS AWESOME! It looks very good and I am hoping with all the engine modifications some engine fixes come too... you know, show some love to us, the modders!

      Also, please, feel free to keep us updated more frequently, a lot of us would rather know that you're working on it and that you did X and Y thus far, rather than just make an update either if there's a (new) set release date or something is released.
    • You know what's funny? That an outsider (regarding the HL universe) looking in the first picture would be sure that it's an underwater place. Hell, i'm even not sure if it's underwater or above the water's surface!
      All i know is that i wanna hear this song and fall into a 6 month sleep in XEN's healing waters with this song :



      and have fun with my Houndeye and Vortigaunt buddies when i wake up. :D

      On a more serious note, i'm glad to read the text and see that it's gonna have more graphical updates!
      A good summer to everyone on the team and on the forums!