Okay, after a long period of inactivity I think our pace or motivation might be slowly picking up again (at least mine is). The first map (ep2_outland_01) is done and the demos are posted above. The final time should be 2 minutes and 4 seconds if I didn’t miscalculate. As we’re not submitting the run to SDA we don’t have to think about segmentation penalties anymore either. We’re now on to ep2_outland_01a.
I decided to compose the movie of the run as we move along with it instead of starting the compositing when the last map is done. That way it will be possible to release the video a lot sooner after finishing the run. Additionally, I plan to post a clip of every completed map so that people who don’t have EP2 or our preupdate version installed can follow our progress a little better. The first clip I will post also includes the game intro. I’m capturing the clips with Source’s built-in tools rather than 3rd party software like Fraps or Camtasia. The format I chose is 1080p40. As for the intermediate clips, I decided to resize those to 720p40 to save some space on my Dropbox account. Lastly, you might notice that there is no HDR and just a very discreet amount of motionblur in the clips. This is by choice because I think that both features do not really add to the visual quality of the movie (or the game itself for that matter). I think HDR is way overdone in the Source engine and also makes segment changes too visible due to the brightness adaptation at the beginning of every new demo. If anyone feels the movie needs HDR and/or MB no matter what I guess you’ll have to record the run again by yourself.
Due to the nature of Source’s demo system there will almost always be visible breaks in the flow of the movie. These are mainly caused by HUD updates that are sent to the server when a client starts recording a demo. In order to hide the problem a little bit I created empty weapon fonts to avoid that you get the weapon pickup symbol to the right of the screen when a demo starts. I also tried to locate the original sound files in the GCF files that may have been cut off when a demo was stopped. This also includes replacing sound files of ammo pickups that are audible at the beginning of each segment. Moreover I noticed that it can be beneficial sometimes to cut out some frames of the demo entirely or use short fades between segments.
In many situations these measures really improve the viewing experience in my eyes. In other situations we’ll simply face problems that are impossible to circumvent (a good example are the last two segments of the first map - 1. segmenting while ABH’ing - 2. segmenting while or at the end of wall-climbing). I reckon the biggest problems occur when the segmentation is done in full ABH motion because there’ll be large gaps in the player’s trajectory due to the delay of starting/stopping the demo recording process. I tried to solve this problem here by crossfading the two consecutive segments 4 and 5.
I also tried to add an HL2-style playerbar. The font definitely needs some tweaking as I couldn’t figure out the exact settings Valve uses to render the font ingame. I might add an animation as well when the player changes so it’s more obvious when it happens. I’m not sure about the position of the bar yet. I might try to place it next to the flashligh symbol to see if it’s more discreet that way.
I think that’s all for now. Happy reading!