The Problem With Water

As stated in the previous post, we’ve recently moved over to the Portal 2 branch of the Source Engine. With it comes a pretty big feature: dynamic water reflections. Now, you may be thinking “but Sam, hasn’t Source had dynamic water reflections since Half-Life 2?”. The answer is yes, it has. The issue is how it deals with rendering said reflection.

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Engine Switch

Kept you waiting, huh?

Okay, so you might be wondering what’s been going on in the past 7 months. Well, quite a bit actually! Firstly, we had investment from a close friend to really kick Elite Treacle Ltd. off in the right way. That meant we could purchase hardware and software licences for the company from the likes of RAD and Valve. I can’t go into details on this stuff, but suffice to say I’m very happy with how everything went, and the game is (contractually) ready for release sometime next year.

Thanks to this, we’ve been able to properly get going on custom code – while the bulk of the time since paying the licence so far has been spent mimicking the original Portal’s gameplay style in it’s sequel, we’re making excellent progress. I always said that I wouldn’t switch to Portal 2 because the game feel of Portal 2 just isn’t what I’m going for, but now I don’t have to make any compromises in that department. We’ve got some fantastic features and a wide range of customisation options in there, and we aim to make this the Portal game that you can play exactly the way you want.

With this comes a new visual style too – I was never entirely happy with the look we had going in Portal 1’s engine branch, but now we’ve upgradedĀ a wide range of features are available, including proper Portal-supporting dynamic reflections, better projected texture support and detail masking. Detail masking in particular will shape how certain parts of the game look from now on. We’re still sporting the grey tiles of the original, but with a Portal 2 twist.

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got to say today. There’s a heap load of extras and important announcements that I want to talk about, but I’m waiting until we have some new media to show off (which hopefully won’t be too long).

Happy holidays!


I don’t know about you, but I’m a sentimental fucker. I feel a twang when I send off PC hardware to get replaced. So it won’t come as a surprise to know that I feel the same way about game development. I’m getting better, but I find it hard to let go of certain things. This really isn’t good in long-term creative projects, especially game development. Lately I’ve gotten ruthless and started replacing maps created back in 2012 (when the current version of the game was started – I plan on a post about the history of the development sometime soon), and changing design attitudes to fit better with what I love about the original Portal.

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