Valve, the makers of Half-Life 2, have released “Lost Coast”, a mini-level designed to showcase their new HDR (High-Dyanmic Range) system. If you own Half-Life 2, just restart Steam (if you have it open right now that is) and then right-click HL2:LC and install it. 🙂
Oh, and here’s HDR off vs. on:
(ignore the orange and white talk bubble thing – it’s used to activate commentary in the level)
It may not seem like much, but you really notice it in-game. When you’re in a dark area and then go outside, everything is really bright and over the matter of a few seconds, your virtual eyes adjust and all is good. Oh, and yes, I realize HDR is in Day of Defeat: Source meaning many of you have still seen it, but Lost Coast is still cool as it features commentary from the makers. 😀
Oh, and here’s another prettiness screenshot. 🙂
I’m not a fan of HDR. If implemented properly it certainly looks nice. Especially in outdoor shots (As seen in your first screenshot).
However, the effect is simply to much indoors. Everything looks like it’s illuminated by stadium lights, which takes away from the realism it strives to archive.
For me the performance loss (Compared to the HL2 engine sans HDR) doesn’t justify the visual improvements at all. I think we have to wait for games/engines that are designed from the ground up with HDR in mind to see what the technology is really capable of.
The demo itself falls a bit short as well. The audio commentary is a nice feature but I expected a bit more than just a tech demo. Not much I can say about the final product after finishing it.
Yeah, it was rather short and uneventful. :/
It was always advertised as a tech demo. The fact that it was also a playable level with some element of story tied into HL2 was an added bonus.