It's been a year since my last update, which should give you some indication as to how busy life has been, and how long it's taken for me to get the enthusiasm back for this project. In the intervening months, I have returned to Game Guru on several occasions, mostly to toy around with the new PBR updates, and to make a Formula One track in Game Guru
(that was another project I put on the back-burner). Despite being optimistic about the development of Game Guru, I am more than a little disappointed that lightmapping is still an issue. Much of the praise my screenshots drew was from their lighting, but the DX11 updates to Game Guru seem to have severely affected the second (and third) level of Extraction Point by making it impossible to have both subtle moonlight and streetlights.
Also, dynamic spotlights seem to have no effect on the terrain?
There's also issues in level 4, the mines level, which now seem to feature severe banding/compression artefacts and looks...terrible.
In both cases, I think proper sun controls (brightness, colour, direction, angle) would be a solution. But
Lee only knows when that'll come about...
So what else have I been up to?
Not a lot actually. Level 1 always worked reasonably well in X9 aside from some chugging towards the end. In addition to converting some of the content of level 1 to PBR, including my crashed chinook model, I have also been experimenting with optimisation and PBR rocks but not having much luck; most PBR elements just seem to have a detrimental effect on framerate. I was also led on a bit of wild goose chase when one particular iteration of level 1 randomly gained 45MB despite no additional media being added. This made load times shoot up to nearly 5 minutes in the standalone. Reverting to a previous save, which still has the converted PBR content, has addressed this and the load time is now about 1:40 on my machine. I've also figured out a way to load the intro cinematic as its own separate level so players don't have to sit looking at a loading screen as soon as they click 'start' (instead, this happens afterwards!).
The future of Extraction Point is uncertain while Game Guru is still being brought back up to pre-X11 presentation standards. It may yet die, and that makes me sad because of all the hours I've invested so far. I don't want it to have all been a waste, so I have decided to try and get at least level 1 to a workable, presentable state and release it as a standalone episode/demo. This will be available in the Showcase board hopefully by the beginning of October. As is always the way, now that I've got the inspiration and motivation, I am off on holiday abroad for a while so that might stunt my motivation.
With any luck though, my next update will contain a download link